View Full Version : Overhead Actors

11-23-2008, 12:21 AM
I want to set up a scene where our actor is above the area of the maze the guests are walking through. Our theme is a Haunted Hospital.

Has anyone had any success with a set-up like this. Did they swing down? Did they just scare them from above with very little movement?

I am looking for ideas on how to pull this off. What tactics to use, etc.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

11-23-2008, 06:43 AM
Look into a zip-line. I don't know how you'd work it into a hospital though, sorry, it's still to early in the morning for me! -Tyler

11-23-2008, 07:21 AM
We did this one time, we setup a indoor cornfield and had the actor swoop down at everyone, it was so physically demanding on the actor we had to cut it out after a few hours, plus we couldn'd control the actor while he was in motion, sometimes he was swinging backwards, looked cool but he couldn't keep lined up to stop his swing and would just keep swinging....it was bad....lol

Jim Warfield
11-23-2008, 08:58 AM
I happened to have some real nice big pieces of steel beams to build a very substantial rampway to go next to my outdoor maze.
Customers enter the outdoor maze looking at the sayings and warnings written on the walls, it's lit up with those 12 volt yard lights and of course it's a maze so it twists and turns to slow down the speed demons.
Some of the wall-warnings are true concerning wild animals that might be encountered in "Mister Tuxedo-land". There really are real ferel cats, raccoons, possuum, coyote, ground hogs that sometimes will be wandering through the yard since we live on the edge of a small cliff with a small river below it and the accompanying woods...
So..after reading all of this, a big , hairy, insect-like claw silently reaches over this wall....
A million years ago in the JCs we did the flying on a cable with a tree climber harness on, it was physically brutal on the flyer and controlling your landing at the other end on an elevated platform was tricky if you didn't push off strong enough to make it all the way there.
It was very memorable though. Years later some were still impressed by it.
We had a graveyard scene and would tell people to be very quiet, we were sneaking through before the vampire would wake up.
Then from behind them he would fly screeching and dropping a bloody torso in the graveyard!
This was all done in a tall basement of a commercial building which had very substantial concrete pillars to cable too.
We went diagonally between two pillars, maybe a distance of 35 feet?
All of the equiptment used was probably pretty primative compared to actual theatric stuff designed especially for such a job, I would hope. (Hope there is better stuff available)

Raycliff Manor
11-23-2008, 09:56 AM
There's a product I've seen at TW where the Actor wears a harness connected to bunjees and stands on a platform. When the patrons are passing through, the Actor jumps and lands in front of the guests and then springs back out of sight. This might be something for you to look into. Does anyone remember the name of the product and the company that sells it? I think I've seen it used in a Netherworld video. Ben, if you have used it, do you have any insights on where to get it and on its use? I'd be interested too. ;)


11-23-2008, 04:05 PM
StudioTek makes that device Kelly. You can see it here:


11-23-2008, 04:22 PM
I've never done this but it seems like you should work it the same as any other scare: Get the scare and then get out. Just as a character on the ground no longer becomes scary once your patrons have contact with him/her for an extended period of time and see the mask or makeup and realize it's just a person, the same probably holds true for someone overhead. Have them drop in or swing through and then disappear. Like others have said, you have to be careful he doesn't get laughed at if he gets left dangling.

I have seen carnival attractions that used a bungee and trampoline setup like this: http://www.amusementtrader.com/index/images/item4962.htm

This is pretty similar to the Studio Tek Slingshot

11-23-2008, 04:44 PM
At Rocky Point in the carnival section, one of the actors would walk across the beams, or sometimes crawl or walk on their knees. This is truly creepy, just looking up and seeing someone move above you.

Im not sure if they had a harness on, or just had alot of guts to do that, because i'd be afraid of falling XD

Raycliff Manor
11-23-2008, 05:52 PM
That's it Barry. I'm going to get in touch with them for pricing info. Thanks!


12-01-2008, 07:55 PM
From what I remember, it was over $3,000 for that slingshot. But you can always make something a lot cheaper.

Jim Warfield
12-02-2008, 03:49 AM
Like maybe a $200.oo pea shooter?
A $100 Frisbee?
A $50 deck of Old Maid cards?
A slingshot that big might require a FOID card, don't aim it at any airplanes.

12-02-2008, 10:23 PM
I'm thinking something much more low tech.

I'm thinking of building a platform above the hallway. The actor is up there laying down, somehow I want him either to lower himself down into the group, or scare the group from above.

A simple idea I had was to have the ceiling be fairly low with about 10 half arms severed and bloody hanging from the ceiling, of course two of them would be the actors that would react when they try to brush them out of the way.

12-03-2008, 12:51 AM
Boni, that sounds like a really cool idea. You'll just have to consider whether it's a good idea for customers and employees to have physical contact.

For the platform, I would think along the lines of a bed. If someone is going to be lying up there for several hours every night over a period of weeks they will have to be comfortable. It might also be better for them to just have one arm hanging, then they could roll over and switch sides every now and then. The only way to do both arms would be for part of their body to be unsupported (probably upper chest) and that would get uncomfortable real quick.

Let us know what you decide to do, and post some details.

12-03-2008, 12:55 AM
It would be kind of fun to snatch the baseball cap off of the tough guy's head. You know, the one in the back, walking all cool and calm like he's board. Reach down and steal his hat and then when he looks up there you are.

12-03-2008, 09:43 AM
We do something like that (the hat snatch) with an actor overhead. Only we use a giant puppet hand, and we just push the target's hat off. That way we can still claim there was no actor contact and we don't have to break character to return the hat. (The victim has to reach down and retrieve it themselves.) It deflates a lot of the "I'm so cool" factor when the guy freaks at having been attacked by an invisible hand, because he can't see anything. The bill of the hat prevents him from being able to see directly above him. Unless he thinks he's a real "hip" hopper who wears the bill at the side or backward. Either way, the bill provides an easy handle for the hand to grab and push off the hat. The other people see the hand though (a split second before it completes its mission), and they often duck or scream, which just makes the victim all the more paranoid because he sees their reaction but can't see what they see. I operate this prop often myself, right after letting in the first group, so as not to waste an actor doing it, and I rarely miss the opertunity to pull it off. I'd say it gets a scream 70 to 80% of the time, or at very least, a laugh from the others in the group laughing at Mr. Cool.

Using this stunt right at the start adds to the overall paranoia because they realize early on that an assault can come from ANY direction, even above!

Jim Warfield
12-03-2008, 11:23 AM
Bop the hat off, it falls on the floor, they bend over to pick it up, then a hidden camera takes a picture of their butt.
Use a flash, the paranoia will seep into their very soul of their buttox.
"Somewhere, somebody has a picture of my butt! (U-Tube?)"
Then have a sign later warning people that the new experimental x-ray vision camera is being tested in this building.
I did alot of extensive remodelling here years ago to eliminate a tour situation in which sometimes someone's butt (or the size of it) would become a joke and other customers would be pointing, laughing, making comments..not good.
Of course some people still mourn the loss of that feature here.
Not me.
I probably lost some customers because the option of pointing at a total stranger's butt, and laughing about it infront of everyone was eliminated.

12-10-2008, 02:13 PM
I have an actor suspended over the patrons with an air hose and then spray them with a blast of air as they go under

Jim Warfield
12-11-2008, 12:44 AM
"Anal" Air.