View Full Version : Any Feedback on Hellevator

04-28-2008, 12:28 PM
If you guys have any feedback on the hellevator I would love to hear it. How long has it been around? How well is it built ?How effective is it? How believable is it? How reliable? Any thing I should look for on a used one?? Thanx Dave

Ken Spriggs
04-29-2008, 08:12 AM
Dave......did we have ours running when you stopped out?
We should have the trailers brought back soon....I will make sure we call you so you can look at the attic stuff and the rest.


04-29-2008, 08:58 AM
from Fright Props right? I have ridden on a couple of them at other haunts and they
are just a great addition to a haunted house. We have the Fright Props Bunker at
our haunt that we have themed haunted mine elevator and everyone LOVES IT!
its a big big hit!!!! They love it so much some patrons thought it was the whole show and try to exit the building after it.giggles

Matt Marich
04-29-2008, 05:33 PM
The Hellevator is the best enginered product out there, and Doug provides great tech support. You won't be dissapointed.

04-29-2008, 09:41 PM
$22,000 plus shipping. Wow. I'm beginning to think the best money in haunted houses comes from supplying them! We made our Hellevator for about $500 in materials. It's built sturdy too, but it did take a week to do and time is money. I have to say there is a certain extra pride in making your own props, products, and sets from scratch, just as the food grown from your garden always seems to taste better. For one thing, you know it's different, and they wouldn't have seen the exact same thing somewhere else.

I wonder why none of these companies ever offer a "Rent to Own" option on their stuff. If they can rent cars with a credit card, you would think they could rent $20,000 haunted house items using a similar deal. If they are as great as they are promoted, most the folks would keep them. And it would also be great for folks who wanted to change their haunt each year... They could rent somethings one year, try them out, and rent different things the next!

Ken Spriggs
05-01-2008, 08:55 AM
Forgive me for being a Richard Cranium BUT.......

I would seriously reconsider having customers ride that $500 elevator.

BUT you have peaked my interest....how does this elevator work? How much weight can it hold? How many customers did you have in it last year?

12-27-2008, 03:04 PM
Sorry, I missed your post earlier, Ken.

Don't let the $500 price tag fool you: That's for MATERIALS ONLY. The thing is built like a rock and the guy (volunteer) who built it is a excellent carpenter with brilliant engineering skills. He even made ramps that adjust with the weight of the customers, so people can't trip regardless if they are drunk or not (and the one wheel chair customer made it through fine).

The thing has lasted five years already and shows no sign of quitting. We do replace the cords that control the doors every season though ($5). And eventually, the faux wall that is on rollers will need replacing ($30?).

It can fit a dozen people (if they are not fat) plus a (optional) guide. The entire thing is on giant springs from pick up truck shocks. If the people are really fat (an ever growing problem each year) then the bouncing effect is lessoned, but you can break up the group when that happens. They basically go inside what looks like a freight elevator. The doors slide shut, and the motor kicks on. The outer shaft (seen though the bars) moves upward to show them they are descending, and the whole thing rocks back and forth as the lights flicker on and off. They hit bottom and the doors slide open revealing a different hall.

It continues to be a popular prop as it sets the mood from the very start. Once inside, and the ride begins, the guide says, "We're going to take you down to the BASEMENT where no one can hear you scream. No one that is, except our monsters! Oh, and look (glancing at his watch), you've arrived just in time for dinner! They've waited all night for you!" (Elevator stops and doors slide open.) "Now watch yours step as you descend the ramp. Sometimes the rats rush in to escape, but we want them down here to clean up the scraps... Go ahead. You have just 11,893 feet left to go!"

12-27-2008, 10:48 PM
I don't think a rent to own deal would ever work. How many years would it take to pay off the prop, when selling one would pay for it instantly? After all, there is only one month a year when you would be able to rent them out.

RJ Productions
12-28-2008, 01:39 AM
Unless you are utilizing a total motion base such as the Hellavator or the Studio Tek Motion base you really aren’t getting the same effect. I don’t know your exact unit, but I am guess that you have a base suspended on springs then something or someone bounces it to simulate motion. To try and sell the effect you probably have a little window to “see” the black walls zipping by.

The pneumatic motion bases utilize a four point system that REALLY simulate motion and they can simulate a drop. They have no need to utilize a “window” to sell the effect, you can FEEL the effect. Face it, why would you have a little window looking at a brick wall???? Old elevators utilized a cage door so you saw the walls and the doors at each floor.

As I have always said there are things you can build and things you buy. Anything that moves an audience is something I would buy. These people actually look at structural integrity on an effects piece. The manufactured piece should be backed by a manufacturer that carries product liability insurance. If someone claims to get hurt on your elevator they will sue the manufacturer….YOU!

I have seen but have no personal experience with the Hellavator. I have hands on experience with the Studio Tek motion base. It will be less expensive up front because you are only purchasing the motion base. You can create your own elevator “box” to sit on the deck. This way you can customize it to fit perfectly with your attraction. Also after a few years you may decide to retire the elevator effect. Move the motion base and you can now have a collapsing bridge, or a moving room, hay rides have installed these bases and moved entire hay wagons or bleachers!!

No manufacturer will do a lease to own. Haunters or should I say actor and patron DESTROY props and effects. No manufacturer is going to give you a $20,000 or for that matter even a $5000 effect and rent it for $500 a season. You use it for 1 or 2 seasons and then send it back. He only gets $1,000 (maybe covering cost) but has had to sit for two years on the investment of time and money he had to build it. Now you ship it back and he has a used effect in stock. He’ll be lucky to sell it for a 1/3 of it’s original value (…now it’s USED!)

So if you are creative or want more flexibility I’d go with the Studio Tek Base. If you just want an elevator and can afford the price tag go with the Hellavator. Either way you will get WAY more effect, superior craftsmanship and above all a safe unit by purchasing these instead of trying to create your own. Trying to prototype your own and get to the bullet proof state these effects are already at could cost you more in the long run.

12-28-2008, 06:41 PM
Perhaps I gave the wrong impression. I'm not trying to convince anyone that a custom made Hellevator is better than and expensive factory made one. If they have the extra $20,000 to buy a ready made one, by all means, go for it. For certain haunts in the larger metro areas, that makes complete sense. For Haunts in smaller cities that don't have millions of people to draw from, investing $20,000.00 for one effect is probably not in the cards. I suspect there are a lot more haunts that fit the lower budget category than any of us care to admit. I don't take any pride in saying I'm one of those guys, but I am. If I had that kind of cash laying around, then I probably would have never experimented with making my own. But necessity is the mother of invention, and it worked great for us. We built three Helevators over the course of ten years. The first one was destroyed when the building was torn down. The second was struck down by the designer because he didn't think we had another year's lease on the place (although we did). And the third has worked five years straight. None of them have ever caused any injury and I doubt they ever will. (There are far more likely candidates for that honor in our humble house of horrors!)

As far as effect goes, the customers love it. They would probably enjoy the expensive one better, but how much better? Twice as much? I doubt it (but even if they did, it was 1/40th the cost, not 1/2.)

Like I mentioned before, the volunteer who designed this was no slouch but a very clever engineer and he did a remarkable job. When you buy a specialized product, the smallest amount of the cost is usually the materials, and I suspect that applies to the professional Helevator as well. What you pay the most for is the idea, the design, the advertising, the craftsmanship, customer service, plus a premium because the market is so small. From that stand point, the man who made ours gave us a beautiful gift for pennies on the dollar, and we will never be able to thank him enough. So it may not be right for everybody, but it sure was right for us.

Regarding possible lawsuits, I've worked enough in law offices (in a previous life) to promise you this much: If anyone gets hurt in any Helevator, it doesn't matter who made it. The haunt owner will be included in the lawsuit. The P.I. Lawyers are not only going to sue the manufacturer, and the haunted house, but probably the landlord, the insurance companies and anyone else they can add to the list, because that's how it’s done. It has nothing to do with justice or fairness, or even % of responsibility. If you are deemed to have only 1% of the blame but 99% of the money, guess who pays? (That's why they call it "deep pockets".) It sucks but the politicians are lawyers and they look out for their own, so don't expect it to change anytime soon.

Lastly, I rather doubt anyone will rent-to-buy expensive products in the haunted industry either (although I sure wish they would). One problem is people like me who would rent the stuff, see how its made, then make our own. So from that standpoint, I have no one to blame but myself. We have all sorts of high priced effects and illusions made for a fraction of the retail cost, but it's not because we don't WANT the ready made items, its because we can’t afford them! Once we make the mega bucks, I'll be happy to save the time and spend the money instead. Until then, well, that necessity thang is one big bad MOFO!