View Full Version : What types of props???

04-06-2009, 09:22 PM
Hey everyone.

I wanted to start a discussion.

What types of props do you like the most? Are you a sucker for a great looking static zombie. Does a cool animated effect send tingles up your spine? How about a killer looking wall panel?

Just curious to gage what everyones professional opinion is.


Grimlock Manor Haunted Attraction

04-06-2009, 11:15 PM
Since my haunt is a Haunted Hospital, what I like most are realistic human forms in various states of mutilation.

I can make my own animated objects to an extent, wall hangings and scenery I can make, but to make a really good looking human figure that can fool people into questioning whether they are an actor or a prop is difficult for me, so that type of prop is going to win my dollars over other types.

creep house
04-06-2009, 11:33 PM
I like the kind of props that jump out at you..........

and are violent in their movements...like the ones Poison props makes....

04-08-2009, 02:07 PM
I agree with Boni. If there was a prop that looked just like a human, and you had to stare at it for a few seconds to figure out if it's real or not.... thats what I like.

04-08-2009, 02:30 PM
I agree with Boni. If there was a prop that looked just like a human, and you had to stare at it for a few seconds to figure out if it's real or not.... thats what I like.

One problem I have with a lot of human props is they are 4' 5" tall. I want some 6' tall props. For me, that is always the dead give-away, the props are so petite. Put a realistic 6'5" human prop and I guarantee you people will think its real because no one makes props that big unless they are impalers or t-rex's.

Another thing that doe is adds a scare factor, people are scared of things that are bigger than them. I'm 6'5" tall and the shear terror I see on peoples faces when I start hunched up and then spring out at them towering over them is incredible.

SCREEEEEEEEEMMMMMMM, then OMG that guy was so huge.

Give me a prop that can do that, that is what I want.

Allen H
04-08-2009, 02:32 PM
I like animations with subtle believable movements, the herky jerky air driven ones blow realism right out of the window. Corpses that slowly turn their head or reach out their hands slowly. I think human props that just have a breathing mechanism in place to look like they are breathing would be a big hit if they were affordable.
Im pretty hard to please though because there are few things that I cant make myself and I do not like to stray to far from my themes.
Good topic, vendors start reading ,buyers keep posting,lol.
Allen H

04-08-2009, 04:37 PM
I like the crazy violent ones. Just checked out poisonprops.com and that's right up my alley!
I agree that some of the props I've seen are small and not realistic...I can't get over even going into a Halloween store and seeing "Lifesize Coffin Prop" (small print: 48 inches) What?!? 4 feet coffin? Lifesize!
I'm 6'2 and wear boots that give me an extra inch or two and my character is a vampire. I crouch a lot when I jump out or come at people then when I get there I stand up and they freak out. It's fun!


04-08-2009, 08:01 PM
Glad everyone is liking this topic..keep the posts coming! Maybe we'll see some of this feedback acted upon by some of the vendors out there.

I agree with almost everyone. It's always cool to see a new unique creature prop but realistic props always seem to be the ones that creep people out a bit more.

I'd love to see some more slow moving/breathing type props, props that as you walk up to them you are not 100% sure if it is an actor or not making your guests more cautious and prone to being set up for a bigger scare!

What about wall panels. I know they are basic but does anyone like them? I do. I feel there is a need for more, they definitely add to the realism aspect of things not to mention attention to detail.


04-08-2009, 08:48 PM
lol.... how did you know what we were making ?? LMFAO ( SHHHhhhh)...lol

damon carson
04-08-2009, 10:23 PM
Dont get me wrong i like animatronics and some of the amazing stuff they do. But I love large foam filled static props as well. I love zombies rising from there tombs. Tombstones, crypts, coffins, old lanterns. Anything gothic. Im really into detail and making things look as realistic as possible. And nothings better than putting a static dummy that makes a person guess if its real or not. And then have a actor in an awesome costume that they think is fake stand further down in the maze and come to life and scare the hell out of someone!

04-08-2009, 10:42 PM
I like this topic A LOT!!!

I think ALLEN makes a great point too. Jerky moving props can look fake and not scary. Another good point he made was a Slow turning Corpes with a slow arm up motion....Very creepy. I think everything has its place. But in the end its all about personal taste and how to set up the REAL SCARE weather its an Actor or a Animatronic.

I look forward to more input.

RJ Productions
04-09-2009, 12:52 AM
Since so many Haunters are Artisans and like to create their own stuff, a vendor would be smart to offer more "kit" type products especially as Boni stated, human type forms.

Example, must of us can weld a pretty stable rig that creates a pop up, not a big deal.
But WHAT do you pop up??? Too many build a form that "almost" looks human shape, then they stick a mask on a wig head to complete the look!!!

Masks are made to go OVER a head so that are always larger than a normal head.

Now if a vendor creates a prop head or torso that had a stable insert like a metal tube or such that was cast into the foam, then we make the armature and then bolt or attach the foam prop head (torso) and WA LA !! an effective looking animation!!

Cast a few other pieces, hands, arms, legs with a standard insert in each and Haunters can create their own animated pieces. Then expand to zombie pieces, etc all with the standard insert and you have a whole line for the build it your self Haunter!!

Any comments or ideas???


04-09-2009, 07:14 AM
I guess I'm kind of old school in a way. Going back to the first time I'd ever been through the haunted mansion at Disney as a kid, I've always been a sucker for pepper's ghost effects.

I'm not a blood and gore guy. I'd actually like a haunt to be at least somewhat kid friendly. I think Pepper's ghost is one of those effects that can amaze both children and adults, and there are just so many ways it can be used.

(My second choice is 2 way mirror effects.)

Gore Galore
04-11-2009, 07:30 PM
Well, I like big costumes. I hope that is obvious.

I also agree about most companies zombies being tooooo small. That is why our zombies range from 5'10" to over 6' and appearing to weigh 200lbs. It really helps them appear to be more real when a static zombie caught out of the corner of your eye, and you think it is alive. I know the main logic behind them being smaller is to save on shipping. But there are several companies now who make good quality zombies. Sadly now there is a glutony of companies who do zombies. But that is good for the customer. You can pretty much find anything you need in that regard these days.

I also really enjoy actor driven props or puppets because they have a level of detail such as an animation, but take the best advantage of an actor and that is their timing.
I am not a big fan of animations because they are usually very herky jerky, but they provide great eye candy and a good distraction to set up for a scare.

The Mad Hatter
04-11-2009, 10:55 PM
With me I like to stick with the "Victorian style haunted house". With all the essentials That a Victorian home would have in it. Old sofas, chars, candelabras, trunks, etc. These things should be accompanied by a realistic looking set. (Still working on that). I believe Animatronics are nice, but not essential to a good haunted house. Actors could take the place of any mechanical prop. But if you have a really really huge animatronic prop that would make your haunt that more ***king awesome.

04-12-2009, 09:54 AM
I like anything by Distortions, Unit 70, Death studios, Gore Galore and Scarefactory.
In this day and age you BETTER have some animations and animatronics as well. Actors and black walls just dont cut it! Haunted House patrons are now very sophisticated when it comes to being scared. You need to give them as much eye candy and detail as you can. Otherwise, you probably wont find that customer returning.

04-13-2009, 07:23 AM
I do agree with Kevin, I like seeing actor driven props and it doesn't always mean those props are puppets but even environmental props that an actor can interact with to produce a scare or trigger and illusion to happen. Animatronics are always cool to see but some are hit and miss. If I am going to buy an animatronic prop then I always look for one that I know will find it's way into my show for the next few years. I like items that all go together cohesively and won't look out of place. We run a haunted manor style attraction so illusions, CGI effects and great attention to detail will always win us over.


04-13-2009, 08:02 AM
For animatronics specifically, I like animatronics that do things actors can't do.

1) Huge animatrons. Actors can be 9' to 10' with some of the cool costumes out there. Animatronics can be 17' pumpkin kings, or 25' T-Rexes.

2) Physically impossible animatrons. I like skeletons. Actors can do zombies. But they can't do skeletons where you can actually see between the bones to the other side.

Animatrons are also good for "boring scares" where the actor might get sick of doing the same thing over and over, or tight spaces where actors would be really uncomfortable, but I think these kind of animatrons aren't all that memorable in the end.

Jolly Pumpkin
04-13-2009, 09:39 AM
It really depends on what company is making the animatronics. I love animatronics, but time and time again I've gone through a haunt where the air compressors being used are so loud that they overpower the audio being used for the animation. Another one of my gripes is that there are many haunts that have incredible animatronics, but they aren't lit very well or they shouldn't be in that scene to begin with.

Why would you have a Frankenstein prop in a military scene and why would you invest thousands of dollars on a prop to place it just anywhere? Scare Parts used to offer a Silencer and another company needs to come out with one to help with loud air compressors. They are very distracting and ruin the effect that a company is trying to achieve. The most impressive animatronics are ones that jump out and scare you or are out of the ordinary instead of frantically moving as fast as possible.

04-13-2009, 01:28 PM
Volunteering at a Jaycee haunted house, we rely mostly on hand made props and detialed scenes for our scares. I believe this works out much better in terms of both overall mood and scaring people rather then using an animatronic which also cost a lot more. Of course though, nothing beats an energetic and enthusiastic actor

04-15-2009, 08:46 PM
What are the thoughts about illusions? Does anyone prefer a good illusion over an animated prop, static prop or costume? More and more I am seeing CGI and computer effects used in various attractions. What types of visual illusions do you like or would you like to see? I still think there is so much still yet to be explored in this area. Would an over the top visual effect make you think twice from buying a really detailed static or animated prop?


04-16-2009, 08:26 AM
I am working on a living art gallery for people to view as they wait in line (Just some eye candy, all CGI). I also have been working on a dead fish tank (bone fish swimming around in a huge tank ,CGI as well). I think it has its places.

I like the costumes that make a person look like a prop but I also like the props that people will not want to walk by cause it freaks them out so much.

I think each has their own spot. Itís like a good stew. You will need all the ingredients to make it the best. Who wants just a broth stew (someone might if sick?) But I donít think all one thing really makes for a good stew (or show in our cases). I like this topic, its nice to hear what others are thinking. Keep it up!!

Fables Studios