View Full Version : Room Covers VS. Themed

08-20-2008, 08:19 PM
I Co-Run a fairly large Haunted Attraction in Alabama. We are starting now to compete with the likes of some better known haunts like Sloss Furnace and even got some comparisons last year to Netherworld. (No where near on that level yet.) However we did bring in a nice group of around 8,000 last year... which is not bad considering we are in a rural area. Several experienced haunters have came through from magazines and larger haunts and told us how much we have progressed in such a short time of just 4 years. We seem to be doing quite well...

Or so I thought... The original guy who started our haunted house and the man who has final say so wants all the rooms to either be based on a movie or a phobia. I didn't think it was such a bad idea even though my haunts on my own have always had a theme tying it all together. We have butted heads a few times on it but overall it is HIS attraction. This was never really an issue until the other day when I received a phone call from the Chief Editor of 13th Hour Magazine about our attraction. He seemed really interested in us to be featured in their next editions "Feature Haunts" article... That is until he asked about our overall theme. The entire conversation was really optimistic until I mentioned that we covered movies and phobias. I even told him how we duplicate movie scenes down to the smallest detail along with having live snakes and spiders. He was still really nice about it all but I could tell by his tone that he was no longer interested. Eventually he did say that we were not quite what they were looking for. He then tried to sell me on buying an ad in the magazine but my heart was already crushed.

Now I know we are not in the top 25 haunts in America, but it really bugged me at the turning point. My question to you all is this... Which do you find a more professional haunt? A house with Leatherface and Jason hacking everybody or an original theme/storyline to tie it all together. I have been doing this for 8 years and have seen both successful... But what is considered the cream of the crop in the business today? Can a house still covering movies ever be considered one of the best in the world? What do you all think?

08-20-2008, 08:41 PM
Here is my take on the whole Proffesional Haunted Attraction concept.
Overall i feel a haunt is considered proffesional if they treat there haunt as a buisness and if they present themselves and there haunt proffesionally. I dont feel it has to do with wether your haunt charges admissions, pays actors or anything like that. So i dont think changing your room themes makes you any less proffesional.
If anything, if you can take a good movie scene and pull it off that takes a lot of talent. Its just like if you were in a band, it would take a lot of talent to take a really popular song and pull it off well.
Hope this helps, dont let this event alter your thoughts about what your haunted house should be about. Your haunt is about what you want it to be. :)

08-21-2008, 12:12 AM
As a business, you need to do what draws in people. There are many businesses that win award after award for creative thinking, new ideas, etc, and go bankrupt. As a business, you need to provide to your customers what they want. If 8000 people came through, then I think you are accomplishing goal number one which is bring them in.

What percentage of your 8000 guest will read a haunted house mag and decide to come to your attraction? How many more guests will you attract if you are featured in a HH mag? But then will you alienate current customers?

Basically, if creating a central theme draws more people, do it, if not, then don't.

Now convincing the boss may be a whole other story.

08-21-2008, 08:12 PM
Thanks for the reply guys. I guess that makes sense. As long as our customers ar happy then thats all that matters. I just can't help always looking for a way to improve.

On a seperate note... My crew and I have been wanting to have Billy (Saw Doll) on a video giving the customers the rules of the house followed by a good scare from the Saw Pig. We have the room built with a hollowed out TV for the pig to come out of but still no video of Billy. It turned out to be beyond my abilities and now I need some help. If anybody has any advice or knows anybody that can help it would be really appreciated.


08-21-2008, 09:39 PM
Make a fake tv screen out of plywood and turn it into a drop panel. Then project your video onto the fake screen so it apears that it is the tv playing the video. Then once video is over drop out the screen and the pig can scare them.
IS that what you were going for.

08-21-2008, 10:13 PM
wow. great minds think alike. We have somthing very similar set up to that. Only trouble is that we don't have a video of Billy giving the house rules. I'm not that experienced with voise altering or video editing. The video itself is what we need.

08-22-2008, 06:40 AM
yes sir lol
well just get the saw mask,and get a guy to say the rules with it on and record it. Then put the video windows movie maker, or any other video software, and add lots of static and make it really blury. As for the audio, what you could potentially do was put the audio into a simple audio editing software such as audacity and try and add effects to make it sound like saw voice. Then mix it all togethor and see what you can do.
Let me know if you understand

Jim Warfield
08-22-2008, 06:48 AM
If you place a thin piece of plexiglass infront of your plywood (phoney) TV screen it may look more real since it would give off that sheen like a piece of glass rather than no-sheen like plywood.

08-22-2008, 05:58 PM
I understand. I thought we would have to take a clip from the movie and loop it with our own audio. That sounds much easier but might not come across quite the same.

As for the room... We have tried a Saw room before and it never really sold to the customers. This year, since we cannot ditch the Saw theme due to customer request, we decided to do an intro room with a Saw theme instead of duplicating a Saw scene. The room is pitch black until a TV comes on. The light from the tv shows that the room is covered with TV screens. (No glass, just plexiglass and TV fronts attached to the wall.) After the video finishes giving the rules for the house, the customers are told that before they can face the horrors of the house... They must be tested to see if they can face what is about to come. The screen cuts off and another screen comes on that is a bust of the SawPig. The TV is actually built into a large drop panel which then falls to reveal that the Pig is actually standing there. The pig dives into the room with the customers as all lights go out.

Greg Chrise
08-22-2008, 07:14 PM
If you are having the customers acclimate to TV screens, I would have the plexiglass and behind the actors head another TV playing white noise or clips of saw scenery to give the same intense light as a video presentation. It also protects the actor from the occasional return visitors that would like to reach into the screen or whop the guy on the nose.

I would have the stack of TV faces slide to the side and walk/dart out rather than dive out.