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Thread: Your History?

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  1. Default  
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Near Charlotte NC
    Shannon, (Mrs. Hopps)

    Rotting Flesh Radio covered Legends of the Fog a few weeks back. I would suggest you go to the RFR home page and download the show to get a good idea of what they're doing. It's a nice operation and I foresee good things in the future...


    /end shameless plug

    I also send my best wishes to Allen for a speedy recovery...

  2. Default  
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Cleveland Ohio
    This is a long one...18 years in the business and the leading events make for a long story...i will prematurely congradulate you if you make it through the whole "story" lol.

    For me.....I have always been fascinated with Halloween, the macabre, dressing up, horror movies, all that. I always enjoyed the really elaborate yard haunts...I remember there was one yard down the street from me that used to go really crazy with crank ghosts and the whole nine. It always gave me a tingly feeling at a young age.

    My uncle started me on horror movies early even at my mother's disapproval...Friday the 13th films always gave me a phobia of windows as a child...I loved them but they often scared the pants off me when I was young. Got to see some greats such as CHUD at the drive in...followed by The Fog...which weirdly enough...actually got fogged out...true story.

    My first haunt experience was a trailer haunt at a local Carnival...I was about 6 or so...and barely made it through. Next was going as a patron through a local Metropark haunt called the Haunted Chalet. I was terrified, and remember running a lot. I was about 8 at the time...and didnt go to another haunt until I was 13. The next haunt I visited was Bloodview Haunted House...and I really enjoyed it this time. Me and my friend were trying to scare each other in the dark halls the whole time...when we were going through for the 3rd time an actor at the door told us we should come up and work...but we kind of shrugged it off.

    The following year had a similar experience at the same house with a friend and then another friend at schoold who had already worked there in the past and encouraged me to try it. So I did...loved every second of it...and began my journey as a haunter from there. Studied makeup...at one point looked very heavily into becoming a professional FX artist, but my mother was not at all supportive of anything concerning that, and had I had some support I may have went on a different life path. But everything happens for a reason and I would not have had the same life otherwise...good and bad I have enjoyed my life so far.

    So I stayed on at Bloodview for many years joining the Legion Of Terror acting troupe...then through some political social issues they left Bloodview for a couple years and I decided to stay with a new group called the Nightmare Society which was basically formed in parts of Legion's shadow...Working with them after a year I met my now wife during acting...and there were rumors that that Lions club which produces Bloodview were going to bring back Legion and basically remove the Nightmare Society....so a core group of us decided to check out a couple other attractions for a backup home haunt for the group. Long story short...drama ensued because of this and that core group of people were asked to leave Nightmare Society...so we decided to start our our group The Demons Of Darkness. We toured around several haunts for about a year or 2 during which my wife and I visited Transworld for the first time in 1997. It was awe inspiring that there was anything like this for an activity we had so much fun with. Since then I have only missed Transworld twice, and that was the year it moved exclusively to Vegas, then the first year in St. Louis.

    We spent that summer with an we learned the hard way to be an unsavory owner who we worked with on trust of a later paycheck which never panned out. We designed and built about 3/4 of his attraction before we caught on that we would never be getting paid from him, and that funds for design plans we had made would come to a standstill.

    We left that, then continued on touring and found a "home" at a local attraction that was a modular setup at a Fairground. We enjoyed an amazing first half year with them, then got to design our own 3D attraction going into the next year. We started out the year with a huge bang...I was doing stilted acts, fire breathing etc... etc...Then there was an Ecoli scare at the fairgrounds and we got shot down for fear of public safety into our second weekend. We had Gunnar Hansen and Doug Bradley booked to appear the following weekends. In the end we ended up getting to just entertain them and hang out for the weeks they were booked....made for some great experiences and stories. There were never any findings that backed up that there was Ecoli anywhere on the fairgrounds within a week after that completed 100 tests....99 of which were negative, one was inconclusive, but they kept us shut down for the rest of the year. Many of us went and guest acted at Bloodview or other haunts again.

    In a weird twist of events...the owner that we had the prior bad experience with before was kicked out of his location, and we seized the opportunity and moved the attraction from the fairgrounds to that very same place we had been just 2 years prior...most of it still the same with stuff we had not finished still unfinished. We decided to basically spend the summer gutting the entire haunt to one giant space keeping only a handful of the original wall panels and pieces. We were able to now take the once modular haunts and convert them into a permanent haunt. 2 attractions in one building and 1 modular in a picnic pavilion....the facility was really great...a bit out of the way...but the space and atmosphere itself was incredible. However, this was the year of 9-11...in addition to a very WET October....needless to say our numbers were horrible, and we feared not to re-open the following year due to such great financial loss the year of getting shut down, on top of a poor attendance year. Following that season, many of us worked at an attraction at a seasonal indoor amusement park along with some of the Legion Of Terror that spring and made lots of new connections (This is where I first mett Miss Katie Lane). Later that summer the owner got the funding together to keep the ball moving, and we were a week away from going in for some redesigns when I got a call from one of the new contacts from the indoor amusement park to turn on the news. I turned it on to see a helicopter view of our building engulfed in flames....Needless to say that, and the next morning going through the rubble of ash, plaster casts and nothing else but the metal frame skeletons of Scarefactory, Distortions, and other props...my wife's and my nearly 10 year collection of costuming...all nothing but rubble was utterly devastating. I've never felt so sick in my life. The embers were still smoldering.

    In keeping up with our contacts from the amusement park we decided to sign on with them to do a multipart attraction in Washington DC. We would be actors, trainers, costumers, makeup artists, etc...for the cast of over 100 and 6 attraction full blown show. We were then promised several other shows in the coming months and the possibility to take things to the next level. So the wife and I quit our day jobs to take this opportunity. We drove to DC and did the show....however, in another streak of bad luck, this was the same year as the DC Sniper...which was during October of course. The numbers the first 2 weeks were aweful...but then thankfully they caught them, and we then had lines around the block. We had a great time for the rest of the show, and began making plans to further the company we were starting to do other shows and beyond. Well, the people we partnered with were not the most honest of business people, and we were in the end left without jobs and again no haunt to call home.

    We remedied our employment situation and the attraction(s) that were burned down, we ended up being able to rebuild at a local outdoor concert venue (so back to modular again...but a priceless well known location). Success from the first year secured multi year contracts, and It is there since I have called my general haunt "home" with guest visits to others here and there... We also did shows 2 years in a row with this owner at the same seasonal indoor amusement park that we had been 2 years prior. My wife after all of the bad experiences seems to have lost her heart for the industry unfortunately and basically retired from acting, and staff coordination which she had come to enjoy...maybe one day she will get back into it....but we still enjoy horror and all things creepy together. We ended up getting married at Mansfield Reformatory (Haunted Prison where they filmed Shawshank Redemption and more) in 2007.

    I would love to one day produce and own my own attraction...maybe some day. I try to find ways to bring more aspects of my life to allow me to enjoy this industry...and is in part where I started doing marketing with Jakprints to the haunt industry....it is an industry I know, and I stand behind Jakprints service and products...so it was a golden match...looking forward to continue this as well as getting to meet more and more haunters and have great experiences to share for many many years to come.

    If you actually read through all of that I congratulate you...that's my history in a nutshell...lol. Lots more great details...but I have already written a book of a post...

    Mike "Pogo" Hach
    -Mike "Pogo" Hach

  3. Talking  
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Hickory NC
    Well guys I started working at a haunt when I was 17 in high school 1998 . I know Teenagers are the worst but I was one of the few you see that are there to WORK and not flirt with the girls. I worked at the haunt in taylorsville NC. The guys name who put it on was Nick Diamond. I dont know why I still remember his name. Went out to the haunt 1 week before it opened and helped paint and put props in the rooms. Thats all it took I Knew I wanted to be a haunter. I worked as an actor that season. NO PAY FOR THIS ONE. all year I was trying to find haunts to work at and it just wasnt any around. But by sept of 1999 I had a friend whos family has a Big party the weekend of halloween and I set up a SMALL haunt in her grandpaws barn. It had like 10 rooms and it was built with plywood and scrap wood around the farm. we had over 200 people walk though it. I was very proud and scared most everyone. NO PAY THIS YEAR. then the next year I build a 5 room haunt in the front yard of my girlfriends mom and dads house. it was open for 3 hours on halloween. it was fun and The poster for the grass roots haunt.AND NO PAY. The next 2 years I worked at a FD haunt. They gave me and a friend our own part to build and run how we wanted. our sets were so much better and had more scare factor than anything the had or have had. YUP NO PAY HERE. Then I set out on my own with a REAL haunt called The Henry River House of Horrors. This was in hildebran NC. I talked with the OLD MAN and he let me use his land for the haunt. It was a bunch of old houses in the woods so it was going to be a trail into the woods that went into 2 houses. I worked all year on it got the FD out there. Did what needed to be done. The last thing left to do was fill it with props and actors. I met 2 guys from a haunt close to me who wanted to do some promos together So we went to work on that as well. Then at the end of summer a Huge Storm Knock a tree into the main house and crush it. And there wasnt any time to start over. So I went to work over the guys haunt for that year. NO PAY THIS YEAR TOO. It was so hard to have 8 months work Just gone. The next year I became part owner in the trail I worked at the year before. So I did get pay this year but it wasnt much. Then the next year the man who owned the land our trail was on sold the land. So I was back out with nothing once more. From that time I have worked at haunts all over NC and have build props and sets for these haunts. I have been paid good some years and some years just get lied to and some years Ive be told Thanx but no pay. in 2009 I did makeup for a Zombie movie that should be out on dvd in the next few months. Called one last sunset. then this year I helped a new haunt owner Build and run his show in Lenoir NC it was small but VERY scary. I did get pay for this. NOW im going to hauntcon this year to teach a class about latex makeup. And looking for somthing to work on in 2011. Im still looking for that big Break into the haunt industry. its hard here in NC the big haunts are over 2 hours away from me. I have been driving over 1 hour to work but 2 is just to far. One day it will be my turn and until then I will Pay dues like I have for 12 years. I hope to meet some of you at hauntcon this year. Please come say hello.

  4. Default  
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    I'm going to try and not be as long as some of the guys so this is me.

    I worked at my first attraction when I was 12 years old in City Park of New Orleans. I went one year with my stepfather and I would beg him to take me every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
    He knew the owner so we got in free so don't pity him. I think it was my 5th visit that I realized one of the trolls was not a midget but a child of almost the same hight and age as myself. Without even asking I went in the storage rooms and garbed a costume I could fit in and started to scare people. I would do any thing I could to scare people. I volunteered at Spooky Park till I was 14.

    At 15 to 18 I attended Alfred Bonnable High School where I studied in forensic law and basic law. In my two last years I was very lucky to study and work under Amy Smith (RIP) the Art director of the House of Shock. I learned about set and prop design and the workings of haunted houses. I was very lucky to be one of her last students. Her ideas and workmanship stay with me in every thing I do in this industry.

    I graduated in 2001 with scholarship and move to PA to go to school and also be married. I drop out and start working with The West Deer Nightmare as an actor and this is the first time I'm allowed to create my own sets. My family is disappointed in me, except Amy, she tells me to follow my heart.

    2003-2005 I work The West Deer Nightmare, Terror by the Lake, Zombie School, and Kennywood Scream Park learning management , prop work, detailed set designing, marketing, costume construction, scare tactic set ups, make up, miner FX make up, and more crap..

    2006-2009 I am to sick to work and its decided I am move closer to home to be treated. I lived in my family's vacation home in Shreveport instead of New Orleans because there is to much damage done to the city due to the hurricane, so I'm treated at the LSU medical center.

    2010 - I'm all better and my friends have brought me back into Halloween and I love and thank them all for it. Coming back has had its ups and downs though and that was expected. A lot of people expected me to move out of Shreveport with my return of my health and an already return to Halloween.

    Future- I want to keep my feet planted for a while and see what haunted houses in my area have to offer. I like working with good honest people that believe in positive enforcement to there community. With hope one day I would like to start a charity that puts money back into the communality and also helps promote the hard work of other haunters helping there communality.
    ~*~How is a raven like a writing desk ?
    ~*~*~There both the perfect tools for picking at the brain.
    ~*~*~*~An my favorite game you ask ?
    ~*~*~*~*~ Raven on the desk of course.

    Jessica Ward

  5. Default New Guys Story 
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    All right my turn... My name is Dan I am from Tooele, Utah, Man i sound like i am in AA.... Well I am hoping this October 2011 to open X-Scream nightmares.... I stared haunting a age 5-6 yrs yes very early.... It all hapend Ticker or Treating we went to the door and knocked and yelled Trick or Treat well i was the last to get my bag filled with candy... when I turned around and everybody was gone and Frankenstin was standing there... I screamed like hell and ran top speed all the way home.... after I calmed down and thought about it and my mom explained to me that it was the guy next door dressed up......That was cool I then started to make haunted houses in the basement with Disney haunted houses music and sound.... I got in trouble a couple a time for making my friend cry.... When we got older we started to make them in garages and old sheds..... When I say we....my brother, sisters and the kids on our street.... we have competion to see who was best.... that was the first time I was punched in the face for scaring people.... It was Fun.... That lasted about 3 yrs, that is also were i started to learned make-up, set design and costume.... when we moved to Tooele the kids there did not get my obsession with Halloween and horror movies.... After a couple a years I started to decorate the front yard.... building props and making costumes..... I did Stephen King one year building sceans from most of his book..... Made the local paper.... and everybody wanted to barrow my props.... I eather did not get them back or broken....lesson learned ...... I stared to do partys and make up and costumes for everbody.... One year I made a haunt through my dads house....He about killed me....and made me one of the seans in my haunted house.....A good friend and I made a haunted house out of 5 freezer boxes for here 6 yr old and friends for a party.... It was a big hit! I have done sets for partys and helped on haunts..... 9 yrs ago became a filghtattendent.... My very first day was SEPTEMBER 11 2001.... I kinda did not celebrate halloween was to busy drinking all the time and trying to keep my job took all my time and energy.... I have been sobber for 7 yrs now and have comback full to halloween my first year back went back to yard haunting and rememberd why I love this holiday so much..... This past couple years everbody has told me to open a haunt I am now going to follow that dream with family and friends.... and all the advice i can get..... I will dedicate one room to Cydney Neil from Rocky Point Haunted House for scaring the SHIT out of me for yrs.... and inspireing me to do this...find somthing u love and make money at it.... Thanks for reading and your time Dan AKA Crackers....The bringer of X-Scream Nightamares......

  6. Default  
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Hickory NC
    I wish you the best of luck on the haunt DAN.

  7. Default My two cents and story 
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    This is one thread I have to jump on. I have been fortunate to have worked a haunters "dream job" for the last 5 years - so maybe someone (besides my mother) might be interested in how I got here. Currently I teach haunting - virtually full time - to over 180 high school students (25% of the student body). I do have a few other duties but basically it's haunt! The result is a 70,000 square foot attraction that improved every year - up 23% for 2010. We actually fill the niche of the football team (no sports at school) and school pride rallies around the haunt event - even have our own cheerleaders "G-Star Cadavers"!
    THE BACKSTORY- Like many of you I started as a kid with simple home haunts that were - sad to say - usually pretty weak, but I loved it. Growing up career and family took precedent and I didn't do much until 1991. At the time I lived in what I referred to as the "Edward Scissorhands" neighborhood - everyone had 2.4 kids, lived in 3/2 houses and - above all - it was safe. Shades of my youth crept into my head - trick or treating and filling a pillowcase, dumping it on the bed and doing it again. And here I was in a time when we don't let kids out of our sight to do those things AND I lived in the perfect place to revive it! First year - lame home haunt, second year better - third year over 1,000 t or t ers and 2 tour buses! Time to move up. The following seasons found me rising through a series of commercial haunts - making mistakes, losing money at first and finally reaching into the black! After that I managed to end up a "gun for hire" doing large Corporate haunts full time. I could get detailed but that's a book not a post! Finally 5 years ago I was approached by a VERY forward thinking founder of a Motion Picture Studio and High School - odd in itself. He wanted a fund-raiser haunt for the school - then I met the kids. As they say, it was all over but the crying! Never had I met such a motivated bunch of people. So X-Scream Halloween began as an off the grid class with teenagers actually designing and building a world-class haunt. What is really cool about the project is that these are film and tv students and by working a haunt they are having a ball while they learn skills that will help them if they move into motion picture production, I mean think about it - we as haunters build sets that take the abuse of thousands of people - so how hard's a movie set after that?
    So now here we are with 180 cast/crew members, a 12 person makeup team, movie level costume department, a slick "lineless" entry system, video cameras throughout the haunt and a 70,000 s.f. single entry haunt - although we added another 18,000 s.f. for our last weekend of the 2010 season -(story all by itself!) and did record numbers BUT most impressive of all - I got to go back into character for the first time in 5 years! This was possible because FINALLY they ran it - all of it - and I had a little time to "play" instead of manage. It's really been quite the trip for me and will continue to be so I'm sure, - teaching what I can and watching a new generation of people develop a love of the haunt business. Life just doesn't get much better - and I'm thankful for it everyday! AND one VERY lucky SOB!

  8. Default  
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Hickory NC
    WOW ive nerver heard anything like that That is so great. Thanks for sharing.

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