Help! Epic Witch Scene
Hello folks. Hoping I 'crowd source' some brainstorming here. I'm looking for ideas for an epic witch scene toward the end of a haunt. I'm focusing on European witches from the 14-16th century range which were thought at the time to be a fairly ferocious and awesome monster. So a kid with a scraggly wig and a mask isn't going to cut it for this one.
Anybody have any thoughts on cool new (or even old) technology I could employ to achieve an impressive and terrifying rendition of a witch? I'm going to be at Transworld and will be scouring the floor for ideas, but in the meantime... any generous souls out there care to lend a bit of their creative thinking? Could be actor, could be animatronic, projection, fire... who knows! Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
(I'm on a crusade here, I feel witches are under represented as monsters, and I'm out to prove that they're formidable!)
Witches freak me out...
I own a monster museum at a renaissance festival. Witches are pretty badass alone, but they are also linked to werewolves and Hags.
I tend to make my witches more hag like in appearance than vanilla witches.
Watch "Legend" with Tom cruise, there is a great Hag in there called Meg Muckle bones, another great hag is called Jenny Greenteeth google them because they are awesome. the witches/hags in "Beastmaster" are also pretty cool looking. Also look up Baba Yaga....
I would definitely go stilts for the character to make it larger than life. 7.5-8ft tall would be plenty. In the past I have done "Hag huts" as sets with shelves full of spell components, herbs drying and hanging from the ceiling, magic circles and all kinds of detailgasm strewn all over the set, tons of chances for eye candy in a witch set.
A witch haunt could be awesome, it could span from collecting spell compoments (bat cave for bat wings, a graveyard for the finger of a birth strangled babe, ect...)to summoning a demon, an alchemy chamber where they are creating a homonculous, making the salve to turn a man into a werewolf, creeping into a pregnant womans room to lay her hand on her stomach and steal the baby. So many creepy creepy things that ypou can show and do with witches, cannibalism, orgies with demons that are possessing animals, a candy house, an oven for cooking children so many things are creepy as hell if you take them seriously.
So flash concepts...
Three witches at a cauldron
stilt hag attack
summon a werewolf
stealing the corpses of hanged criminals for components
taking the dirt where the hanged mans seed spilled to make a Mandrake
standing over a fog machine vent so smoke billows up and out their robe
Swamps and water are great set concepts
There is so much you can do and so much lore to rob Im sure you will get a great show. If you want to call and talk over a few concepts then please do, Im happy to help.
Allen H 469-337-4929
Allen typed the wrong # the correct on is 469-337-4929, but I have always liked the old hunch backed type witch with a cane. Bubbling cauldron with smoke coming out of it with a projector that you can trigger different images on. If this is towards the beginning of your haunt it could be images of creature that they will see on there travels through your haunt. If you need some help with making a smoke projector scream I may be able to help I have taken one a part to fix it and have a basic understanding of how it works. Hope that helps.
surprisingly effective: Taxidermy. Maybe its just readily availble out here in the boonies, but if you can find anyone that has odd bits and pieces of treated animal parts, they'll usually just give them to you. Not being a whole critter, those bits and pieces (feet, bones, fur, feathers, hyde, beaks, etc) are usually completely useless to them, and they make GREAT, super-creepy, costume accessories or scenic dressing for that weird ritualistic witch feel.
also handy: taffeta, hemp cording, burlap, twigs, linen, and a venti starbucks drip coffee (trust me, its all about the proportions of coffee to water here, and thats where i worked for 6 years, its guaranteed to work), and a hair dryer.
make crude shapes, figures, staffs, dolls, jewelry, garland, etc out of the materials and then spill coffee to your hearts content. blow dry, repeat coffee spilling, repeat blowdrying, continue the vicious circle until you like what you see. you'll get a nice natural aged stain in the end. you can also add various stage blood products, as the brown-black coffee stains and hair drying have some fun effects on the corn syrup bloods.
Witches in general are all about that unsettling imagery and the chance to really make people feel uncomfortable in a weird sort of mystic sense, in my opinion. Make it look ritualistic and peoples skin starts to crawl. If you go hag with it, make the hag hyper realistic. be able to see the varicose veins in the design, broken capillaries, liver spots, receding hairline, realistic warts and wrinkles... Its a great concept to play with, and I really feel like you're on the right path wanting to take it beyond green skin and stereotypical cackling.
As far as technique and technology go, I'd recommend looking into projection mapped effects. they can really accomplish a lot, especially in a split second to an unsuspecting crowd. If the animation production daunts you, I would gladly offer my services (shameless self plug)
Much appreciated thoughts, folks! Definitely gives me something to chew on! (And werewolves controlled by witches, there's a whole new element!) Again thanks, I'll be sure to follow up with results as we nail down our plan!