Zombie debate –
I was planning a zombie run next Summer and decided to cancel the event due to seeing this trend playing out, then I noticed the main company doing national zombie runs announced going out of business. I think any actor that knows what their doing is going to get a scare, no matter the character or playing undead. I would not base my marketing on the zombies or shooting zombies in 2014. We have a large laser tag operation that we used in the haunt as a zombie hunt in 2001. It was a hit then, but we decided not to market that again and that was 3 years ago.
We had one set with zombies in 2013, it rocked and was a fan favorite. But it was intense due to the actors. They were amazing, so they could have been dressed as anything and got scares.
We held customer focus groups the week after we closed that were a series of direct questions and the results were zombies are played out. The customers want real fears, the video games and movies have forced us to become more creative. Create environments and situations that make our guest feel as if it's real. One example is we had a police officer character stop groups in the haunt asking them to wait until the scene is clear ahead as there has been a terrible accident. This was an actor, he was also a real cop in his day job so he was the real deal. It scared the guests since they bought into the idea that there was accident. They never seen the accident, no blood or anything. This is theater of the mind, they scared themselves more than we ever could by just płanting that seed.
I think there will always be room for undead in the haunt, it's been that way since the beginning.