View Full Version : Thoughts about shock skins
02-23-2008, 06:41 PM
I am wondering if anyone has any experience with the use of shock skins in your haunt? I am "green" to the business and in my second year as a haunt owner. I purchased the skins last year and during my interview with insurance company found out I couldn't use them. I had to sign a waiver that I agreed not to use them. Has anyone used them in the past? If so, what insurance company did you have? I know there is some risk to them with pace makers, etc but with disclosure I thought they were a cool idea. They only run off of a battery. Just wanted others opinion about use or sell them. Thanks!!
02-23-2008, 08:39 PM
Sorry if this is a stupid question, but what exactly are 'shock skins'?
02-23-2008, 08:51 PM
I have them, but I lable them "High Voltage Experiment" They are at the door to one of the events, and set up in such a way that people who know they should not touch, but are touchers can grab them. It is sort of a lesson! The door guy could dare tough guys to touch them - It is free will to do so.
I wouldn't just put them in the dark, so you had no choice but to accidentally touch them. It ticks people off to just get popped. It might even cause them to think your show was unsafe.
In general, if it sounds like a bad idea, it usually is!
Howie Slobber Erlich
02-23-2008, 11:15 PM
We used them for the first time last year. They were placed on both sides of a dark hall so they were forced to touch them. The reactions were amazing! After all, the shock is very minor. Not much different that a static shock from carpet. The whole point is to surprise them.
Nobody complained or got pissed off. We did here a lot of comments about them. Most people could not figure out if we meant to get them or if it was just a coincidence.
For the price, they were one of the best purchases that we have made over the last few years.
I say use them. If you are worried about anything, you can warn them before they go in.
Howie "Slobber" Erlich
Deadly Intentions Haunted House (Prison)
02-23-2008, 11:35 PM
Donovan: "E-lectrical banana is going to be a sudden grave...."
I could see having alot of fun with these shock skins if you placed them on an object or in a location that had a sign telling them NOT to touch , THEN when they touch it and get shocked , "Oh well? We told you not to touch, now didn't we?"
Maybe call them a new experimental perminent, electric toilet paper that you never have to throw away, "Go ahead, touch some see how nice it would feel on your softer parts."
New perminent electric toilet paper! Endorsed by Frankenstein himself! He uses it!
02-24-2008, 08:20 AM
I don't know, sounds like a big liability to me. People sue for anything and everything nowadays.
02-24-2008, 08:48 AM
I see your point Slobber. I guess we all have things we will and won't do to our guests, and once you have been open a while and you have tons of repeat business you sort of need to honor that trust. If you are the House of Shock, or the Haunted Hoochie the guests expect no limits, and you had better deliver. Likewise if your place is built on huge effects and monsters, you need to ramp that end up all the way.
We almost used them in our upcharged "second show" its the more reality based gorefest type event, but the stuff that happened at Dreamreapers with the skins (I think someone thought they had real electrical issues and was going to call the electrical inspector or something like that....) sort of put us off it.
The bang wasn't worth the risk to us, of giving some patron the wrong kind of amunition to complain and such didn't fit into our big picture. Also I knew if our Insurance ever heard we were "shocking" people, it wouldn't fly.
But really in this business its like the movies - almost anything goes as long as your guests dig it and it doesnt threaten you business with legal issues, it should be on the table for consideration.
Just my thoughts...
02-24-2008, 09:14 AM
This is kind of a dumb comparison but it does relate.
We used to have a character sitting on a platform in the rafters at the www.zombiefarm.net who when patrons walk by would sneeze on them.
He would squirt a spray bottle filled with warm water, and boy would some people get bent out of shape.
So, obviously stopped doing it.
But I created the character and sitting in the rafters and having customers jumping trying to pull me down out of the rafters completely pissed off sure was funny.
It was hard to believe they didn't ever consider it wasn't real.
So, there is your liability issue.
They really thought I was sneezing on them.
I am sure Haunted Hoochie could get away with such an effect, but many others would have liability issues since the customer would NOT expect them to do such a thing.
So, I think the shock skins are the same way. Some could use them in the dark where others couldn't due to the customers expectations.
02-24-2008, 09:18 AM
I would prefer to simply simulate it in a safe manner. There is an arcade game that looks like an electric chair and you simply hold onto the handles and keep from freaking out. It gives a pretty good imitation of a shock. what is ACTUALLY happening is that it uses a strong variable speed motor and an eccentric weight in each handle.
The downside of this design is that it wears out bearings every 2 weeks or so.
02-24-2008, 10:24 AM
Sounds like "piss-poor" bearings to me.
Actual hardened steel and a little lubrication and they should last a long time, unless they were operating in a very caustic environment, salty, acidic.
Faking an electrical shock would probably ellict the same negative customer reaction as a real electric shock and do any of us on a busy October night really want to spend 20 minutes explaining such a thing to an irrate customer, I hope we are all busy enough to have the actual running of the house to occupy us.
I know customer relations is part of the "running" but why create unnecesarry problems.
I think this is a very predictable situation, unless you take the time to screen your patrons to make sure they are all thoroughly drunk before they come through the door.
02-24-2008, 08:29 PM
Thanks to everyone for their in put. It's a hit and miss in our town. Folks here are "small town, simple minded" so I guess I should have answered my own question. Some would love it and yes, I would be outside with someone else about a complaint or reading a letter from some attorney on Monday.
Maybe I will take the idea about setting them up and put a "Do Not Touch" and if they do, oh well. I'll have to see how the insurance thing pans out first. If it's not covered, don't use it.
Thanks again!! I would welcome any other comments with this only being my second year in the profession. I have a lot to learn. Looking to make a much better haunt this year with about three/four big items.
02-25-2008, 02:11 AM
Maybe a sign on the skins saying:"Currently the most Shocking thing in this place".
02-25-2008, 09:51 PM
We also used the shock skinz in our haunt for the past 2 seasons and plan to use them again. We place ours in the dark where they will usually be touched. We have added to our rules (on the website, posted on-site and explained on our videos in the que area) that the customers will be exposed to electric shock (as well as the usual loud noises, darkness, strobe lights, etc). The buzz from just putting that in the rules was great. People who have pacemakers or heart problems shouldn't be going through the haunt anyway, and like Slober said, the shock is very minimal (and adjustable). We would also at times have an actor wait for somebody to get shocked and then make fun of them (in a fun manner) so that the customer knows that the shock was intentional (not from faulty wiring).
02-25-2008, 10:58 PM
For these last 20 years I will hand a customer an object during my one routine, I have mentioned nothing concerning "electricity" but as I hand them this object I make a "Buzz!"-Noise with my own mouth("Just a pinch of faux-electricity between my cheek and gums!)
They will jump, jerk, throw down the object as they scream all in a well lit room infront of their friends!
The "object" I would hand them was an empty paper Dixie cup.
I never knew they conducted electricity!
I surely hope no pacemakers were fouled up in this act.
02-26-2008, 06:37 PM
I appreciate all the comments. I think they are cool and with the correct setting would be welcomed by most. Great ideas and thoughts from all. Thanks!!
02-27-2008, 06:32 AM
The only time I ran into one of those shock skins was at Transworld inside that little walkthrough. I didn't realize it was on purpose at first, I thought I had just gotten a static shock. It wasn't until later in the day when someone was talking about it did I realize it was on purpose! So that should tell you it wasn't much of a poke. I haven't really been interested in using them in our show though.
02-27-2008, 07:52 AM
"Mind", For a small fee I could rent you a carpet and a cat , you must shuffle your feet to walk up to the cat to pet it, is all.
Of course kitty Will complain.
02-28-2008, 03:38 PM
We used them last year for the first time. It was in a pitch dark area right after coming out of the Claustrophobia hallway. People loved it! And a lot of them thought it was just static they got from walking thru the claustrophobia. I will reuse them this year, if I have the right place for them. No worst then lickin' a 9 volt!
02-28-2008, 05:31 PM
"9" volts but HOW MANY AMPS!!!???
03-01-2008, 08:41 PM
It's amazing how many of you have or do use them. Lots of good idea on presentation. I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder. I think I am going to use them and do it "tastefully". Just sat in classes for two days about safety so I want to make sure people know it is coming (at some point). So, I'll post warning signs at the beginning of the haunt. Thanks again to everyone for all the comments. I really do appreciate it.
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