View Full Version : Brain Storming Session

Greg Chrise
11-21-2008, 06:28 PM
I have a local drive through Christmas light event that has inquired about also doing something for Halloween.

So, if such a thing existed, what would you find entertaining or awe inspiring driving though a Haunted event from the comfort of your own car?

11-21-2008, 07:29 PM
PYRO!!! WATER!!! ... and maybe a tune-in radio station that would play horror/halloween music! Maybe some drive through sets and buildings, that be kinda cool! -Tyler

Greg Chrise
11-21-2008, 08:21 PM
Some Christmas drive throughs already have big ass sound systems laying way too happy music.

What to you mean WATER? Ponds and fog, creatures and ghost ships? Or Zombie babe car washes? Drive thru water falls?

Would big cemeteries and coffins up out of the ground be appropriate or families?

Old hearses? Massive toxic waste areas? Driving through foam?

I'm thinking it can't be anything that actually touches the cars or freaks any one out enough that they would vear off the path.

Corn fields in Texas? Scare crows with a sign: this scene brought to you by the Illinois bureau of spooking.

Jim Warfield
11-22-2008, 06:11 AM
High blood pressure as clouds form in the frontal lobes followed by cooling winds up the sweaty back of the neck.
Brain-inspired lightning and occassional showers in the underware, clearing by noon, when you have to feed yourself.
The good news is, all this should be off the map by next October, just in time for the fall harvest$ "Ca-Ching!"

Raycliff Manor
11-22-2008, 09:09 AM
What a fascinating topic! Of course it would be more difficult to scare people, but look at how many of us love to go to Disneyland and enjoy the Haunted Mansion. I think you're on to something here! Tyler, great suggestions! I would imagine the event as being a cross between the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, only you'd be in your car as opposed to being in a doom buggy or boat. This could potentially save on overhead. One immediate challenge I could foresee would be getting people to keep moving. on Hayrides the driver is in control of the throughput. Again, fascinating concept!


Jim Warfield
11-22-2008, 09:37 AM
you might have to give every car a 11/2 inch block of wood , installed under the gas peddle.
People get scared, distracted, run into another car or run over somebody.

11-22-2008, 10:35 AM
Well...one way to keep people moving could be to install a track like those used at car washes. People put their cars in neutral, and the track will take them through the haunt. Of course this would probably be very expensive....but cool as hell. Haha.

I think you could have some fun with claustrophobia. Anyone remember being slightly weirded out by the big giant brushes at the car wash as a kid? Or maybe that was just me. Anyways, you could have a sort of claustrophobia tunnel for cars to drive through. Also a lot of fun with fog and such. Drive through a dense rolling fog past a creepy swamp. I think this would be like a hayride, you'd need to have massive sets. Maybe have actors try to jump in the cars that are left unlocked? Even if the car is locked, the sight of some monster trying to jump in your car could be freaky. The question is, how family friendly does it need to be? But then again as Kelly pointed out, this could be like haunted mansion. It's not really all that scary, but sure is fun, and is definetly family friendly.

I think you may be onto something...a drive-through haunted attraction. Has anyone actually done that before?

Greg Chrise
11-22-2008, 11:12 AM
Keeping them moving can be accomlished with the move toward the light method, the show they are near has ended, might as well move on an hit the next set of sensors.

As far as a Disney budget, I doubt they have billions to do a transformation. At this point I have mentioned upgrading even some of their Christmas drive through whereas what ever is built has candy canes on one side and green slime on the other that can spin around for the given event.

The Christmas event charges $15 a car. That is really only $3.75 to $2.75 per person in haunted house terms. But, parking is not the problem because they never get out of the car?

It would be like a hayride except you cant come out and beat on their car. With outdoor music to hear it beacons the patrons to roll down the windows so the occasional car invasion might occur.

As far as facilities, if they can run gazzilions of lights and programs, they can certainly run props and scenic lighting if it would lend to the show? The great pctures from Bad Boys Scenic Design/Terror on the Fox and Haunted Over load come to mind.

I have noticed an entirely different kind of timing between haunts and christmas. Haunts tend to be sensory on a continuous basis and Christmas wants you to watch some light show playing along with some song that is way too long but the program plays the whole song.

Financially, Christmas lights can be bought in bulk and run on wire frames with some minor animation or hooked up to a computer controlled switcher. In Halloween the tremendous square footage along the path may mean scenes every so often with Christmas crap hidden behind things. In the beginning I'm thinking big and cheap like massive toxic waste area, big grave yards.

Maybe vampires slowly get out of their coffins, zombies slowly approach the car in a small army. A section is woods and you see little red light sets as eyes moving around and disappearing. Gypsy wagons and werewolves. Large crates of military explosives you drive through that leads to pyro displays. I dunno, it is actually inside the city limits.

I think they intentionally run a few cars together so one doesn't break out and become DeathRace 2000.

Maybe we can get one of those run the scene by text message things? Or each scene has a phone number to a recorded narration? The car radio station would not do individual scenes and the equipment is kind of expensive. It would be cheaper to hand them a CD to play that goes along with the show? Or hi, this smelly old man is going to ride with you.

Greg Chrise
11-22-2008, 11:36 AM
Maybe some modern looking cars have been run slighly off the path and monsters are dragging innocent looking people out? There is smoke coming from under the hood, the emergency flashers are on, lots of screaming and flayling, supernatural dragging into a shed you can see saw blades?

Our fire hall gets nice looking cars all the time to train on. All the hurricanes have yeilded lots of lemon cars that this way could be made into props.

One scene could be evil hillbilly towing that if something does happen to your car, they show up.

11-22-2008, 12:19 PM
Maybe some modern looking cars have been run slighly off the path and monsters are dragging innocent looking people out? There is smoke coming from under the hood, the emergency flashers are on, lots of screaming and flayling, supernatural dragging into a shed you can see saw blades?

Now that I like! That would sure get my attention.

As for sound, as long as there aren't any close by neighbors to complain about the volume, you could just have speakers outside. It doesn't take much if the car is close to the speakers, even with the windows rolled up. And the music will encourage them to roll the windows down. A ambient track at a modest volume will also help drown out the sound of other cars...far more creepy if you think you're alone in the woods and not following a trail of cars.

I think safety could be a big problem though. The whole moving toward the light concept only helps for the slow drivers. What about those who are freaked out and want to SPEED towards the light? Oops, just mowed down a handfull of actors and smashed into the car in front of me. What about those who decide to just get out of their cars to look at the scenery? It would be like haunted mansion, if you were allowed to control the speed of your own doom buggy, or get out whenever you feel like it. And of course I think you'll find lots of teenagers who want to just park and have sex in the backseat. Perhaps this could be a separate attraction that people can pay to watch. Haha.

11-22-2008, 08:20 PM
I think you would almost be better off finding 15 SUV's or mini-buses and having drivers. Take people though in a controlled pace with the driver part of the act. This way you control speed, sound, windows, accidents.

11-22-2008, 09:14 PM
I think acting would be key - not only to add to the effect but from a safety standpoint.

Here is what I would shoot for (knowing I couldn't do everything):

Start off with corny halloween lights. Make it like the Xmas displays with wire formed pumpkins, a casper like ghost, etc. Get people thinking it will be a gentle, cheeseball event. Have cheesey halloween music - Monster Mash would be good.

Then come to a fork in the road. One way is blocked (maybe by a fence and a sign that says GOVT PROPERTY KEEP OUT kinda thing) They continue down the road now a bit but the cheesey lights start blinking out, and are knocked over. The music skips, stutters etc. Then the road is blocked by a car that is sideways blocking the road (flipped over might be overkill). Bloody handprints and bloodsplatter are clearly visible. A man (obviously divsheveled) approaches the car covered in blood screaming for you to go back, save yourself, etc and he points to a dirt road to the left that teh driver can take. The actor does whatever he needs to do to make sure the driver goes that way as its the way the driver really is supposed to go. Whenever its obvious the car is going the right way, a zombie comes out and eats the guy.

On the "side" road have signs saying you are now entering XYZ Test Facility (you could go corporate or govt btw).

Next stop is a guard booth - you can either put a dead mutilated body in there or have a scared actor if you need to control the traffic here. Then the car enters the complex. Mix various scare scenes such as:
Toxic barrel storage with zombies circling around
a couple zombies feasting on a guy in a lab coat
a burning car
Various lab buildings (some on fire)
If you can swing large pipeline type props and maybe have some fire coming out of it
Zombies chasing lab coated people

You could have some solider actors who are your crowd/traffic control to tell people to stay in their cars etc. They could also direct the vehicle out of the compound on to an eerie lane. As the driver receives instructions, another actor comes up and says "no you can't send them that way" "But its the only way!" No !!!

Now they drive through:
A large graveyard - these zombie came from somewhere afterall
A car along the road with zombie going in through the roof of a convertible eating people
An occult scene where a group of people are trying to summon a demon. A bonfire and the Omen soundtrack are key here.
It climaxes with a large creature standing upright and moving toward the car. A guy in a demon costume on high stilts and a large wingspan would be nice

So the above is a ton of work and has a lot of actors. My view would be that because the customers are wandering to some extent (not in between walls and not on a wagon u control) that the action and props need to be further away and therefore have to be bigger in scale. Actors running up to the car screaming etc is great but I'd be worried about someone getting hit. Maybe a military escort can walk with the car for their safety. (if you wanted more classic horror, the "caretalker" could act as a guide as well. ) That actually would be ideal I think. Each "guide" could be equipped with an MP3 player and speaker to provide the sound track appropriate to each scene and control the speed. The downside is yet more actors needed.

The above is likely a bit unrealistic given how many actors you would need for this but maybe you got at least one ok idea out of the above....:)

Yeah this is pretty involved and I would anticipate scaling this down my first year. But I will say this for what its worth. I wanted to make my kids to this sort of thing this year and it didn't exist. They are too young for a traditional haunt but the safety of the car would provide the buffer they need and we would have done it.

Jim Warfield
11-22-2008, 11:27 PM
All of that action and actors could be simulated with plywood cutouts of people and monsters, just barely hit them with a off-centered small spot light at the right times as a narrator describes the action ("action" of non-moving cutouts!)
The quality of this one announce/actor would carry the show.
Beginning calm and gradually building with excitement in the voice, then have a few live actors maybe in costumes matching some of the previously observed cut outs could rush the car for the grand finale?

Greg Chrise
11-23-2008, 12:11 AM
Swampboy, I'm diggin it. Really.

Thankyou for that.

I can add hazmat suits, baracades and such to direct traffic. Just reading that was entertaining imagine seeing it all just happening and not knowing what you had run into?

Actors, Labs, toxic waste, cars it is all pretty easy. The hardest part is coming up with the cheesy decorations in the beginning.

It could be portable labs. Like the reanimator movies, maybe some of the barrels have plexiglass windows showing zombie faces where they had been packaged up and some are no longer contained. A few are busted open with smoke coming out of them and weird lighting. Any buildings have lights flickering.

The labs can be inflatable car containments! Similar to quarantine units. You can see through and things are going on in there on inspection tables then it goes all wrong as the monsters grab the doctors. All it needs is proper signage and lots of yellow and black stripes. As the zombie grabs the doctor the lamp gets knocked out leaving the rest to the imagination. The guy with the clip board always dies.

Anyone that comes up to direct the good citizens has a walky talky that is giving reports of terrible things at another place. No actual shooting scenes but the pop of gun fire, those propane cannons.

This particular Christmas event may not have parking space toward the front as it has all been part of the show in the past but, I know of another location that could do the vans that if they are mine can have places on the sides reinforced to beat on. At some point the van could stall out and the driver is trying to get it started as zombies approach slowly from all sides. Then it starts. The zombies have to be trained not to have their feet run over.

Greg Chrise
11-23-2008, 12:26 AM
I can tell from the satelite images that the path is already a "daisy" shape, so the actors would be somewhat centrally located and the same troup can hit the customers as many as 5 times without running for miles.

As there is some distance to where a scene would be, some could be cut outs, manequins, dummies that the monsters interact upon. It might not look right but some of it can be shadows projected on the inside of window areas.

I actually already have some heavy mill plastic that could be containments. It was a thick clear 1/8th inch thick garage floor liner for 2 bays so your Jaguar doesn't drip on the concrete.

Rolling cars over is easy. Pull the gas tank, drain all the fluids and go. For the special look a small motor is making one of the wheels still slowly spin.