View Full Version : The Problem with portraying a well known movie character...

Dr. Giggles
01-07-2009, 08:02 PM
Well i know i know haunts should stay away from movie character types but hey if the haunt your working for puts you in that scene what can you do? Your best right? Lets discuss, tell me your views, what are pros and cons?
Here is my opinion on well known movie characters such as Michael Myers for examples people KNOW him. A lot of the time its a learned fear, they got scared from the movie they will sh!t themselves from the reall thing in their face. If they werent scared of the movie...well your out of luck. You kind of need to stray from the silent slow gait to scare them. I was in the michael Myers in my room i personally didnt think i did rather well but everyone thought i rocked that room, i requested to be put back in the clown house (My home) which they graciously did. Being a HUGE fan of the horror movie i really tried to keep it synonymous with the movie, quiet, terror. But i have noticed something about michael myers and is a common misconception. People think that white mask he wheres is supposed to represent his face, this is not true it is a mask he stole from a hardware store according to the john carpenter original. But everyone kept saying "Oh look you can see the mask line!" Well yeah its a mask its what he wore! He is a slow character and eh doesnt talk so when another fan in the movie comes through they tend to tell all their friends "Dont worry he wont run he only walks, just take of." And the lack of speaking doesnt allow me to get under their heads enough. SSo whats everyones views on the characters? Because everyone has probably played a significantly well known horror movie in their time i bet. What do you think the pros and cons are of being a horror movie character?

01-08-2009, 07:09 AM
I think one of the big cons to doing a well know movie character is that people expect it to be just like movie. So they will point out any flaws in the costuming, makeup, or acting (for example: I've seen a version of the Jackel from 13 Ghosts that had a chainsaw. Most of the guests pointed out the character never had a chainsaw).

I enjoy creating a charater that is influenced by a movie character, but I think doing an exact version can be limiting from an acting standpoint (as you mentioned, Michale Myers doesn't speak).

Jim Warfield
01-08-2009, 11:24 AM
Latitude in character portrayal,.. so Mikey Meyers didn't speak, butt did he fart?
Make him into a farting "Machine" and see them run!
Maybe it would help if you watched alot of mimes and studied the finer points of their body language?
Maybe that horrific movie monster is really just a mime, white face, no expression...maybe the movie copied mimes ?
Mike Myers suddenly becoming a streetcorner mime! How scary!

01-08-2009, 09:30 PM
heres what makes them good:

alot of actors are just put as either a creature, clown, killer, or something along the lines. They have to create their own character, which can make or break the scene. They dont have much to study, unless they have been doing the character for a long time.

as for the movie monsters, you have something to study. Just watch the movies!!

At a volunteer haunt, i was given the Freddy Krueger room. since I didnt really understand what he did, I simply went home and watched them. I noted his posture, head movements, to even how he held and manuvered the glove. His voice was in my vocal range (sang in choir for tons of years) so i was able to be as close as the character as possible.

During the haunt, I personally got more scares out of the older customers, rather than the teens. I guess its because the teens these days have not seen them, or they arent scary enough.

what helps is that alot of old horror movies are being remade (halloween, Friday 13th..) so now you have new material to work with.

01-08-2009, 09:46 PM
"Oh look, kids - it's Michael Myers. You know, from the movie Halloween."

I think that is the reaction many have received. The problem is that people know it's a movie character. They know he's not real. Besides, they can buy the same costume at Walmart.

01-09-2009, 06:43 AM
I agree; the character is no longer frightening when anyone can be it for $14.95.

I think people are so used to seeing the movie characters played out in haunts that there is not shock to them.

Jim Warfield
01-09-2009, 07:45 PM
Maybe then the Freddie costume falls away to show what is beneath?
Maybe a writhing tangle of snakes shaped like a body?
Now Freddie's voice is replaced by 30 little squeaky snake-voices screaming and bitching!!
"I'm gunna Bite Your Toad!"
"I'll swallow you whole!"
"These fangs are killing me! I'm really a nice guy most of the time!"
"My arms! What happened to my arms?"
"You took my arms!"

Dr. Giggles
01-09-2009, 10:26 PM
I understand this fact. The fact that movie costumes dont scare people when they can have the same costume for 15 bucks. I mean Freddy Krueger is probably a blast to play...HE TALKS! Hahaha talking allows you to get under their skin and i noticed freddy seems to be fond of the words "Bitch" hahah he just seems to use it alot. But i feel we should discuss better ways to stay loyal to the character
while still frightening people because their is nothing we can about being michael myers in our haunt or freddy krueger because what our boss says goes.

Stephan (screamwalk
01-11-2009, 04:52 PM
in my opinion, no haunt should have any familiar faces, or if it does, well disguised, such as the mutant farmer from haunted overload. his mask came from the hills have eyes, but no one could've figured that out by looking at him.
but i remember seeing at haunted acres 3 michaels, 2 jasons, and a chucky. in my opinion, no haunt is good with horror movie characters.

02-17-2009, 11:40 PM
Movie monsters will never be as scary as original monsters in a haunt, and here's why.

As a customer going through a haunt, what could be the ultimate movie monster experience? For me to get the ultimate experience it would involve going to a digitally remastered showing at a box office theater to see the movie on the big screen.

No haunted house actor will ever be as scary as the movie monster itself, in my opinion it's just pointless to try if a movie will always beat you. Most people see Freddy, or Jason, or Michael Myers and think, "BADASS!" anyway, so there is no more mystery to them. Not only that, but most slashers end up killing their victims, obviously the customer has no fear of you actually killing them, so that alone takes away something that gave the slasher his power.

If I was given Michael Myers as a character to play in a haunt, this is how I'd own him.

First off, I'd drop trying to be Michael Myers and be sure to "disfigure" my face before hand with make-up. As the groups go through I'd play a crazy man dressed up as Michael Myers. I would not hesitate to charge the groups at full speed and definitely make it a point to pull off my mask and show them that I'm not Michael.

This allows me to break away from that Hollywood character and visually tell them, that underneath this mask there is someone scarier that Michael Myers.

I may not end up playing Michael Myers, but I can guarantee you that my character will be scarier than Michael Myers.

Keep it simple and scare the customers, they paid to be scared, not to see an inadequate portrayal of a movie character.

Jim Warfield
02-18-2009, 08:53 AM
When some of my customers compare me (or is my performance?) to famous movie mad men?
All maniacs, serial killers.
Am I trying to do this? No.

Dr. Giggles
02-18-2009, 08:54 AM
I appreciate some of these responses albeit they were not what i was looking for. No matter how you guys disagree with haunts who portray movie characters, they will always be there. I posted this in hopes of helping actors to portray or put their own spin on the characters better. This is because they have no choice or they are assigned to that room.

02-18-2009, 10:43 PM
When a customer compares you to a movie character typically it's because they are not sure how to place you in their mind. Take for instance chainsaw characters, anyone at a haunt with a chainsaw will always at some point be called Leatherface. No matter how original you look, or how different you act, when people get scared they are going to try and protect themselves by categorizing you.

This mis-categorizing automatically opens them up for ridicule.

My advice to anyone who is cast as a movie character: Do what you need to do to be scary.

If faithfulness is important then use the subtle body movements when you are not rushing, and implement to sporadic movements when you attack.

Every slasher film has the fast paced moment, Jason and Myers both have their rushing frantic moments, typically when their arm is stuck through a hole in the wall and they are trying to grab someone's neck.

02-19-2009, 07:05 AM
Movie characters/masks/costumes in a haunt... are the BIGGEST LACK OF CREATIVITY IN THE WORLD!!! I mean, ANYONE can go buy a Capt. Spaulding mask, Jason mask, or the famous leatherface or Michael Myers mask. I mean, where's the creativity? Where's the showmanship? Where's the professionalism of the haunt? That's why my haunt you won't ever see these characters!

I just hate it when I see movie characters used in a haunt! Ugh...-Tyler

Dr. Giggles
02-19-2009, 02:26 PM
Tyler i appreciate your stand point. But what can we as actors do? In the haunt i worked in i was put in the Michael Myers house, its there every year and people look for it. It is almost a tradition. It is the only movie scene we have. But my point is as much as the people on these boards hate it, haunts still do and likely always will do movie characters be it lack of creativity or they just think they are adequate. But please everyone can we stop the posts on how much you hate it when haunts do that or they shouldnt do that. Because they do, its just a reality and we need to discuss how to make them scarier or better ways to play them. Because us actors in our haunt career will likely be placed in those positions at least twice.

04-02-2009, 09:31 AM
I went through a haunt that when we rounded a corner, had a 5 ft tall Freddy. There went any chance of getting a scare even though the room was well done and could have been much better with an original character.

I have worn a hockey mask even though I was not portraying a Jason character. The problem with that was everyone thinks you were playing Jason and would yell "Hey, there's Jason" whenever they saw me. I hated that character just for that reason.

It's a lot more scary knowing that you're creating an original character out of the dark recesses of your mind rather than copying some Hollywood writer's idea. If you want to study how movie actors portray their characters, that's great. Just study and use tham as an influence rather than copy it.

07-13-2009, 08:37 AM
I do A cenobite....not a recognisable one. No Pinheads needed. Why? Because then people expect the 'movie'.

I've made something that looks a lot like one of the nurses from Silent Hill. The actress has made it her own. It has a mouth fill of filthy sharp teeth....so it can make noises or even speak.

The nurse works.

But when I used Pyramidhead the expectaion of certain actions came back.

Similar monsters seem to be okay--exact copies always seem to be lacking something.

07-19-2009, 10:37 AM
Our haunted hayride is probably always going to be our biggest bang attraction at our haunt. It started about 45 minutes long through almost 2 miles of our farm and drove by approx 18 sets. Now it has condensed considerably, and I think it is much better. Our hayride was originally based on a mysterious fog created by a government experiment gone wrong.. blah blah.... but we set up an old drive-in movie theater with all of our actor's cars ("Look - employee parking"). We had a big projector that we used to play night of the living dead. We made it so you drove through the screen and the fog mysteriously put you in the movies... (I guess a spin off of the old last action hero). You drove by Jason, Michael Meyers, and Leatherface, then you exited to the 'farm' in our hayride. As far as continuity and matching the story (www.youtube.com/legendsofthefog) the movie characters played in to the mix very well. However, I decided to cut ties with the movie characters just before transworld this year... hoping that I wouldn't have some of my best actors/builders walk away as a result....

Long story short, we started implementing our own signature characters instead of portraying copy written characters.

Pros to using movie characters... character recognition, your actors know how to act (homework is easy), costume is easy, and your customers may already have an instilled fear of those characters.

Pros to using original characters... Branding/marketing your characters. Check out some of our characters on myspace or haunt space... Rip-Saw, Edwin Lotf, Maggie Rose, or Frostbite. (myspace.com/legendsofthefog) These are all characters who I couldn't use for promotions in years past... now I can push the hell out of them. You can copy-write your own characters and do anything you want to, because they're yours!

If its not too late... its best to give the can to movie characters