View Full Version : Trying something new this season..your thoughts

Kevin Dells
08-24-2008, 07:20 AM
OK gang,

Were going to try something brand new this season that myself has never seen done at any haunt.

I need your feedback because even though i love this idea immensley im thinking the crowd may respond in weird ways.

Heres the idea which was inspired with our haunt marching in a parade this summer. We were waiting in the parade line to march and there was a marching band i front of us warming up. Myself and one of our zombie girls decided to start dancing around like idiots to their music.

By the end of two songs we had quite a crowd come watch us,the inspiration began.

So heres the idea. We have a rather large Midway at our haunt with a path that runs in a large circle through our concessions and games, our make up area is just on the other side of the fence to the midway.

Each year as almost every haunt iv'e worked has a warm up ritual, this year we would like to include the audience. Keep in mind were running with about 120 actors so yes were a small army.

At 7:15 after the midway is packed full of customers we are going to play a prerecorded song listing. This music is more a marching drum song that a platoon would march to. Were going to line up inside the gate leading to the midway.

The first thing were going to send through the gate is our Casket car which by the way is very cool looking and extremley loud (High performance engine with open headers!) The ghoul driving the car will make the circle to the largest open part of our midway, rev it up and shut it down. This does two things, gets the crowds attention and ques the marching music.

When the music starts we are going to march the entire staff of monsters haunt by haunt (each with their own themed float) out through the crowd lead by a drill sargeant.

He will stop us dead center in the crowd and start screaming questions out to us that we will answer all at once.
These questions will be directed at us but meant for the audience.

The music will que again and we will all turn and march straight at somebody in the crowd everybody picking somebody different to prey upon. Were training the actors to get near them like their going to pounce on them, but after about 15 seconds of the drum beat it will cut into a song (Not yet determined) thats actually hip hop music of today. Drill instructor will yell Break it down and we will all go into a goofy freaky dance of our own choice.
This will last about 30 seconds.

Drill Instructor will yell return to ranks, we will line back up as we were , casket car will fire back up and we will march back out of the midway following the car.

The whole idea behind this is we want to make the audience part of the pregame ritual this year, for them to experience what its like as a haunt actor to get truly fired up, to see how it all works on our side of the walls as they await us to get ready.

So what do you think guys?

I LOVE this idea, but at the same time im having apprehensions about letting the crowd see us before they meet us face to face inside the haunt.

BUT at the same time i think this will put the fear of god in many who just normally do see us one on one inside. Now they see just how many monsters we really have, that we are a small army to be reckoned with.

Has anybody ever seen this at another haunt or does your haunt do something of this nature?

Were also hoping this becomes an event patrons will love to be part of and were also hoping that it brings the crowd in earlier to experience this,hence getting people to the haunt at 7pm and not 12 pm !

Comments good or bad ?

Thanks in Advance, Kevin

08-24-2008, 12:43 PM
Hmmm this is something that I have never seen or heard of before. I don't know how people would react to this. I guess I would say if I was a customer waiting in your line and saw your idea. I would probably think this is kinda weird but at the same time it would be entertainment, which is good. So I say it doesn't hurt to try it and I would go ahead and give it a shot and see what happens. If your customers really get into it keep doing it. If you get laughed at, stop! LOL

Jim Warfield
08-24-2008, 03:21 PM
Intimidating! Maybe all right after they buy a ticket, but maybe not so good before?
Some of the thrill and mystery will get rmoved from their minds by showing all your cards at once...
It will be fun until someone yells , "KILL the Monsters!" and it's the Frankenstein versus the Villagers all over again! This happened when I was in the JCs at the Homecoming half-time, it was not "fun", unless you like being severely outnumbered as a fight begins!(Looking through mis-alined mask eye holes at the world.)
I would only display about 30 actors in the parade, hold the rest in reserve behind the abandoned rest rooms (where they were all born!)(Or was that "concieved?")
Think like a General, protect your troops.

Kevin Dells
08-24-2008, 05:59 PM
Thank you both for responding,Jim i about pee'd myself ,Good Lord!

Grater like you said this is something weve never seen or heard of before either and were thinking it's worth a shot at trying. Yes people will have already paid their admission so we consider it game on.

Jim had a great point and thats something we"ll have a huge talk with the actors about. We may not even have them step out of line at the customers like i earlier suggested, just have them break down in line formation.

Well make sure security is present as well.

And i do think we want to show them the full deck ! 100+ actors were very proud of and i think we do want to let them see whats going to hit them.

I know we will at least give it a try opening weekend to a smaller crowd and if it works then stay with it, if not and they hate it well crapola it. We do ask how patrons liked the attraction and Nah,Nah, Nah at the end so maybe we'll slide that question in and see what they say.

I think the idea of midways is really coming into play with a lot of haunts now a days. Iv'e had really nice midways at both haunts iv'e worked and they both use the no que line/number method which as an actor it's Glorious!

I"ll keep people posted on this and possibly have a video of it to post.

08-24-2008, 07:35 PM
I think your idea sounds unique and fun and you may be right that it will bring the crowds early.

I'm also guessing you have rules like other haunts that customers can't touch the monsters.

So how about having your freaky dance be to "Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer? It's one that everybody knows and seems to rev up a crowd. I realize it's not today's music but it just might work. LOL

Just a suggestion...

Kevin Dells
08-24-2008, 08:16 PM
Ha! Actually Fearseeker thats one we were considering!

Haunting Copy
08-24-2008, 09:59 PM
Kevin, I love to hear when people try to do something new and exciting.
And you had me going . . . until the dancing part.

I *love* the idea of the zombies/monsters coming at the people, making
them *very* nervous. That's just awesome!

But to me, it's like when an actor breaks character in the haunt. It - to me -
destroys the effect.

Remember the movie The Fifth Element? The first half of the movie was
serious in nature; then, suddenly, for the second half, it got all silly. Well,
I absolutely hated it. It even pissed me off, LOL. They had built things up
to be dramatic, and then they went all comedic. I wanted my money back.

If they had stuck with one or the other - serious or funny - I would have
been okay with it.

You can throw away my input if you want, because I'm probably just
being grumpy, but that's how I imagine the scenario you've described.

If you decided to go with "serious" (which is in keeping with the haunt),
then maybe your general could call the zombies/monsters back. He
could have some reason for making them pull back. I don't know, maybe
he doesn't want "witnesses."

Okay, so other than the dancing, I *love* the idea. And I think showing
ALL of your actors is super! Intimidating, YES!!!

With haunting love, :)

Kevin Dells
08-24-2008, 10:22 PM
Thank you for your honesty Sarah and thats why im putting this up is to get good feedback.
The last thing we want to do is spoil anybodys show for them.

08-25-2008, 08:38 AM
I think everyone's hit what I was going to say--showing your people beforehand will kill a LOT of the tension that a good scare needs--but having them dance will make them funny.

Imagine being in the haunt, getting ready to pop out for a scream from the customers, popping out--and hearing, instead of screams,

"Hey, that's ther guy that was dancing on the float in the parade, wasn't that hilarious?"

You'd be crying into your dragging entrails.

Beyond that your parade would encourage early attendence--and possibly hurt later ticket sales because people who came after the parade would get less for their admission fee than those who came early--and getting less is something that no customer wants.

I love the idea of parades, and I've been trying to get two organised with haunt/horror people--a group for our Mardi Gras(float, scary marchers, weird beads, strange music), and a zombiwalk/costume contest for the opening of the haunt(best zombie gets 4 free tickets)

Maybe if you do the parade once, at the start of your season...?

Jim Warfield
08-25-2008, 08:58 AM
Customers showing up too late for the parade will hopefully be manipulated next time into showing up early as is wanted.
We bend and try to accommodate our customers but there is only just so much of this that we can physically and financially do then they have to meet us halfway.

Killer Katie
08-25-2008, 05:50 PM
Kevin I like the idea of a "taste", but what I agree with a few other posters when they say DO NOT show all of them. I know you're proud of them, as you should be, but I think it would leave no surprises.
What I would do, having been a cast manager for several years, I would select the best actors from the night before and "showcase" them.
This would do 2 things:
1. Give incentive to do even better
2. You would show the best of the best (we all know that even in the best actor groups there are weak links.)
if you show all your actors, it would break the "4th wall", and there would be less mystery. Plus if one person goes out of character, it could cause a bad experience.
Just tossin that out there!

Kevin Dells
08-25-2008, 10:59 PM
Thanks Gang for chiming in on this, like i said im really on the fence with this as i consider myself a traditional haunt type of person to begin with.

Were still really pondering this idea and not sure wether to try it or not.
If we do it will be to the first weekend crowd of course and it will be all about wiat and see if they like it.

Nowadays haunts all seem to be stuck in the same themes every year mode and we were really trying to come up with something out of the ordinary.

Thanks Mucho times for all the input you guys rock!

Raycliff Manor
08-26-2008, 06:19 PM
I know I'm chining in late here, but I have to say, I love the idea! I'd even consider having them break into Michael Jackson's thriller! I know, don't hang me! I just think the song carries enough of the haunt theme with it, it's a lot of fun, affords a great zombie coreography and the music is very recognizable to most everyone. I would stick to having a group of 10 to 15 do this though and reserve the rest for the inside. Otherwise it's like having the inside of the attractions exposed all at once. In my opinion it would help you to stand out as a more professional and original attraction to include a production like this though. Knott's has the monsters assault the crowds at their opening each night and it always goes over really well! People make a point of getting there early so they don't miss it! ; ) I say go for it!!!


08-27-2008, 01:28 AM
Hi Kevin,

First off does Eddie know you are putting out these type of ideas? Not that I would copy you, but others in our area might. We do have a Dancing Zombie in our Midway since 2007. See the video that inspired Spookywoods FX to get started. This zombie suit in the video is only half the suit we are selling today.


Back to your idea, I personally would not allow all my actors to be seen. I feel that it takes the unknown factor out of the experience. However, getting some of your best actors in amazing costumes is a great idea. When you can make a impression like this it only generates word of mouth which is the best form of advertising you can have.

Now, get back to work on that huge freaking boat!

08-27-2008, 09:26 AM
I agree with Katie and a few others here. I think it'd be a great "kick-off" to your evening to have a few characters entertain the crowd before the show, as well as great motivation for the actors to do their best in order to get a coveted spot in the parade. But once you allow the patrons to see all of the characters before hand, regardless of how cool the haunts are inside, it does eliminate that surprise factor.

I'd definitely think having a few start the pre-show would be great, but I'd definitely keep some of them behind the walls, too.

Kevin Dells
08-30-2008, 06:44 AM

Yeah eddie asked wtf why are you posting this due to other nearby haunts copying a lot of what we do(hckkk.cleers throat...pirate ship!) but if we did do this and iv'e announced it hear and they haven't then i guessed we announced it first.

Man i hope it dosen't get that petty that i have to fall back to this posting of who did what first,,,seriously!

But i did tell Eddie that i was very concerned from a traditional haunters standpoint that this idea is may be wrong to do and that we needed feedback especially from people here that run their own attractions.

Who better to know than all the haunt owners of america.

It's funny even with the great feedback im still very on the fence with this wether to do it or not but it's the mans show, i back him 110 % and then even more. So if he says do it we do it, if not then we go to our spots and get them there.

Just trying different things to make our show an original.

P.S. The boat is almost done!

Killer Katie
08-30-2008, 09:41 PM
Kevin - listen to your gut! If you have reservations about whether this is a good idea or not, then don't do it! Personally, everytime I have gona against my gut feeling - I have been royally screwed!

09-08-2008, 09:10 PM
As a guest I think the idea is cool. The marching thing...like an army of souls and ghouls and all out evil preparing to attack the innocent (the customers). If you keep it creepy with everyone running into the crowd and stuff thats very cool and unexpected.

Floats would be cool, but not necessary and could cost more time and money to make. I think it's good for everyone to come out in military formation.

I think the dancing DOES break character like someone above said, it'd make it funnier though. Maybe if you did do it, it'd be in the middle. Like for example the drill sear gent yells at people. Then the song plays everyone starts dancing the song stops, the sear gent yells and tells them to act serious and evil. All the people get back into formation and then some quick dialog and then they run into the crowd.

If I had to suggest a song though, for you to use, since you want something like hiphop I think 2 good songs from this year to use would be Disturbia by Rihanna or Lolli Lolli [Pop That Body] because it samples the Halloween piano in it. (look them up on youtube).

Just my opinion! I'd say go for it if you can handle it right. I think the first marching out kinda gives off the impression to people like "oh this sucks. it doesnt look scary." then you send actors out at the crowd and heighten their fear sense more.

09-10-2008, 01:07 AM
The opening performance at the MTV Video Music Awards last night was Rihanna with a group that looked like monsters doing a great spooky thriller-typed dance. I don't remember the name of the song, but I think this would be great for something like what you're wanting to do. I'm sure if I know MTV, they will be showing it repeatedly for a while. If you get a chance, you should watch it.

09-10-2008, 06:56 PM
Kevin, I think that this is a killer idea.

I worked with Raycliff Manor not too long ago, that did this during a parade.

It was a ton of fun for us actors, and it gave everyone in the crowd a great time. Plenty of laughs, plenty of pictures, and plenty of screams!

Now, doing this at your event, IMO is even better. It gives all your early bird guests an extra bang-for-the-buck. Usually when you go to a haunt really early in the nights, sometimes all the actors arent pumped up yet, so the experience isnt all that great.

This will deffinately give your patrons the feeling that they're getting a good value for the price.

Go tear 'em up man, and let us know how it goes!

09-11-2008, 01:05 AM
The opening performance at the MTV Video Music Awards last night was Rihanna with a group that looked like monsters doing a great spooky thriller-typed dance. I don't remember the name of the song, but I think this would be great for something like what you're wanting to do. I'm sure if I know MTV, they will be showing it repeatedly for a while. If you get a chance, you should watch it.

yes thats Disturbia by Rihanna, the video is pretty cool.