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Haunted House Review America's Best Haunts of 2021
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Every October, thrill seekers travel the country looking to visit the scariest haunted attractions in America. Hauntworld.com is the World’s biggest directory of haunted attractions with over 4,000 haunt listings. Hauntworld has been publishing it's TOP 13 SCARIEST HAUNTED HOUSES list for nearly two decades. Today many websites publish haunted house best of lists, for click bait, despite never attending or researching any of the attractions on their list. Hauntworld is the leader, creating content for the haunted attraction industry, publishing the industry's only magazine, Hauntworld Magazine, and how to videos with educational content for attraction owners. Hauntworld knows the haunted attractions and which haunts will make you SCREAM!
Haunted Attractions have drastically changed over the last 5 years, adding escape rooms, outdoor scream zones, horror arcades, scary photo opps, haunted midways, axe throwing, pumpkin festivals, hayrides and more. So, which haunted houses give thrill seekers the most SCREAM for their money? This year’s list includes the best of the best from theme park attractions to your locally owned & operated haunted attraction. Most theme park Halloween events aren’t very scary, but there are a few that take fear to another level. A newere phenomenon is travelling scream seekers, and they use Hauntworld.com to plan their annual road trips across America, visiting the scariest haunts in the country.
So carve your Halloween pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, decorate your yards with skeletons & ghosts, and pack your bags, because Hauntworld is taking you on the scariest road trip across Haunted America!
Hauntworld now presents the scariest and best places to celebrate the season of Halloween. The only list that matters to find the top 13 scariest, best, biggest, and best places to SCREAM this Halloween 2021.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
13th Gate includes amazing set design, animations, and character actors who actually act out the parts of each scene.
13th Gate is one of the longest indoor haunts in the country at over 60,000 square feet and features everything from Hollywood level sets to LIVE Snakes!
2) Headless Horseman Hayride
Ulster Park, New York
Headless Horseman is a massive SCREAMPARK with the countries best haunted hayride, several haunted houses and unique gift stores.
3) Haunted Overload
Lee, New Hampshire
Haunted Overload is probably the single most creative Halloween experience in the country, with massive one of a kind creations. Your trip thru the forest will never be the same.
4) Field of Screams
Field of Screams is a very intense haunted attraction with an all-volunteer dedicated staff of actors, massive hayride, haunted houses and a giant haunted midway.
5) The Darkness
St. Louis, Missouri
Some rank The Darkness the best haunted house in America due to its amazing set design and the industries largest collection of monsters, animations and special fx along with a huge gift store.
6) Pennhurst Asylum
Spring City, Pennsylvania
One of the most notorious abandoned asylums has been transformed into one of the scariest haunted experiences in America. If there is such thing as real fear this place has it!
7) Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights
Probably the most famous haunted event in America, Universal Orlando shows all other theme parks how to do fright right! Universal features haunted houses, rides and more.
Created by the Zombie Army near Chicago this haunted house features amazing detail but a cast of monsters second to none. Hells Gate is a throw back haunted house when haunts where scary!
9) Knott's Scary Farm
Los Angeles, California
The longest running Theme Park haunted event is bigger and better than ever. The highlight is ‘The Hanging’ a show where they mock a celebrity.
10) Bennett's Curse
Bennett’s Curse features some of the biggest collection of monsters, animations and high end costumes and masks. Prepare to take a trip to the Underworld at Bennett’s Curse.
11) The Dent Schoolhouse
Your worst nightmare is going back to high school where your long lost teachers are back to torture you from the other side. Dent Schoolhouse will leave you scarred for life.
12) Disney Haunted Mansion
California & Orlando
Disney’s Haunted Mansion is the original haunted house and today is still as spooky as ever with ghosts around every turn. You can’t visit Disney without a trip to the haunted mansion.
Archdale, North Carolina
Spookywoods is more than just a haunted screampark, with zip lines, trains, tram tours and so much more. Spookywoods is fear by night and Halloween fun by day.
The FEAR doens't end... Here is our list of the next best haunts 14 thru 31.
14) Creepyworld Haunted Screampark - Fenton, Missouri - creepyworld.com
15) Woods of Terror - Greensboro, North Carolina - woodsofterror.com
16) Realm Of Terror - Round Lake Beach, Illinois - realmofterror.com
17) Double M Haunted Hayride - Ballston Spa, New York - doublemhauntedhayride.com
18) Sinister Tombs - Eastview, Kentucky - sinistertombs.com
19) Fright Kingdom - Nashua, New Hampshire - frightkingdom.com
20) Basement of the Dead - Aurora, Illinois - basementofthedead.com
21) 13th Floor Haunted House - Denver, Colorado - 13thfloorhauntedhouse.com
22) NetherWorld - Atlanta, Georgia - fearworld.com
23) Howl o Scream - Tampa Busch Gardens - buschgardens.com
24) Ever Haunt - Angola, New York - everhaunt.com
25) Factory of Terror - Canton, Ohio - FOTOhio.com
26) Erebus - Pontiac, Michigan - hauntedpontiac.com
27) Spookyworld - Litchfield, New Hampshire - NightmareNewEngland.com
28) Lake Hickory Haunts - Connelly Springs, North Carolina - lakehickoryhaunts.com
29) Azra Haunted House Chamber of Horrors - Madison Heights, Michigan - azrahaunt.com
30) Haunted Nightmares - Winchester, Virginia - hauntednightmares.net
31) Haunted Club Farm - Virginia Beach, Virginia - hauntedhuntclubfarm.com
Halloween doesn’t stop there… now here is our list of best haunts 32 thru 60. Did a haunted house in your city make our list? PLEASE SHARE THIS PAGE!
32) Land of Illusion Screampark - Middeltown, Ohio - landofillusion.com
33) Frightmare Farms - Fulton, New York - frightmarefarms.net
34) Spooky Ranch at Rockin R Ranch - Columbia Station, Ohio - spookyranch.com
35) House of Horrors - Buffalo, New York - houseofhorrorsbuffalo.com
36) The Warehouse Haunted Attraction - Weber City, Virginia - hauntedbewarehouse.com
37) Nightmare in the Gorge - Minden, WV - aceraft.com/event/nightmare-in-the-gorge
38) Twisted Fields of Terror - Prince Frederick, Maryland - twistedfieldofterror.com
39) Chambers of Hell - Hauppauge, New York - chambersofhell.com
40) A Fright Haven - Stratford, Conneticut - frighthaven.com
41) Factory of the Dead - Saginaw, Michigan - factoryofthedead.com
42) Mount Mayhem Haunted House - Phoenix, Arizona - mountmayemhaunt.com
43) Rolling Hills Asylum - East Bethany, New York - rollinghillsasylum.com
44) The Dead End Hayride - Wyoming, Minnesota - thedeadendhayride.com
45) Fear Forest Haunted House & Hayride - Warren, Ohio - fearforest.com
46) The Hill Has Eyes - Franklin, Wisconsin - hillhaseyes.com
47) Hotel of Horror - Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania - hotelofhorror.com
48) The Dark Side Haunted Adventure - Ixonia, Wisconsin - darkrideproductions.com
49) Kreepy Hollow Haunted Attraction - Bishopville, South Carolina - kreepyhollow.net
50) Fortress of Fear Screampark - Alliance, Ohio - fortressoffear.com
51) Soul Takers Acres - Warsaw, Indiana - soultakersacres.com
52) Haunted Shadows Lake Trail - Colony, Texas - hauntedshadowslaketrail.com
53) Midway Wicked Woods - Statesville, North Carolina - midwaywickedwoods.com
54) Rochester Horror Fright at the Farm - Goodhue County, Minnesota - rochesterhorror.com
55) Carnival of Horrors Haunted House - Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio - carnivalofhorrors.com
56) Hanna Haunted Acres - Indianapolis, Indiana - hannahauntedacres.com
57) Enigma Haunt - Boca Raton, Florida - enigmahaunt.com
58) The Haunts at Zombies Realm - Yankton, South Dakota - zombiesrealm.com
59) Camp Fear - Hiddenite, North Carolina - campfearnc.com
60) Barrett's Haunted Mansion - Abington, Massachusetts - bhmansion.com
About Hauntworld.com: Hauntworld was the first industry website with magazine to rate haunted houses nationwide. Hauntworld is the only media outlet which produces haunted house how-to articles both online and inside our industry magazine, Hauntworld Magazine. Hauntworld provides the haunted house industry with information & education and helps haunt seekers find haunted houses worth traveling to each year, or find haunted houses near you at www.Hauntworld.com. Plus join Hauntworld's 600,000 Followers on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HauntworldHauntedHouse
|Posted by Larry 11.14 PM Read Comments (
by Hauntworld.com Staff
Get Ready to go Behind the Screams -
Videos below show different behind the screams at haunted houses.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like in a day of the life of a haunted house owner? I will detail what it's like to own and operate a haunted house, and what the daily grind is all about. As you search the web to find your favorite haunted house to visit each Halloween season, haunt owners nationwide are working all day and night with the end goal to make you SCREAM. In fact, most for-profit haunted house owners work on their attractions YEAR ROUND! Haunted House owners attend a full schedule of events throughout the year such as tradeshows, conventions, learning seminars, and more.
Every year, a company called Transworld holds the annual Halloween & Haunted Attractions Tradeshow and Escape Room Conference. Haunt owners from around the world gather in St Louis every March to see over 400,000 SCREAM feet of monsters, costumes, masks, animations, props, inflatables and more. Many haunt owners even start planning new scenes and screams PRIOR to the Transworld Show, then come together with vendors to make the purchases to finalize their vision. After the show is over, haunt owners head back to their attractions and start the construction process to transform their haunt into a bigger and scarier event than the year before.
Haunted Houses have changed drastically over the last decade, as many haunts have put more focus on hauntertainment rather than traditional scares. Many haunted house attractions have added midways, mini escape rooms, a horror mini golf, a horror arcade, massive gift shops, roaming monsters for photo opps, and more. Some haunts have added pumpkin festivals, video mapping shows, and carnival style games to entertain guests. In many markets, serious haunted attraction owners have created spin off companies with year-round Escape Games, and have literally taken over the escape room industry by building very elaborate and fully immersive escape games. The point is...haunted house owners have really branched out from the origins of the haunt industry. A typical haunted house owner might also own Escape Rooms or Axe Throwing, BUT their core passion remains the Haunted House.
After the yearly planning/purchasing phase, Haunted Attractions typically take 5-6+ months to physically get ready for the season. Haunted Houses take a brutal beating each season from the numbers of haunt guests screaming through the doors. Just to repair a haunted house from one season to the next takes weeks, not to mention developing & building new scenes. When you order new monsters, animations and more from vendors at the Transworld Haunt Show it takes time for these vendors to manufacture the products. In most cases, haunt owners start seeing new props and animations delivered in mid-Summer and these must be installed and fitted into the attractions. Many times these props are bigger than the maze pathways they must travel thru to their new home, so it's never easy. In our own haunts, it's even taken us a couple days sometimes, to move just one prop into scene... cutting down the props, re-welding, then a final install. At The Darkness Haunted House in St Louis, we actually fully renovate before March each year, so we can showcase it during the March Transworld Show. Our team of 10-12 fabricators will work day and night building new scenes to meet the early deadline. Each year at The Darkness we might create 4-5 new scenes, plus scatter new props and animations throughout the attraction too.
Haunt owners never stop expanding and creating. It's in our blood. If you ask haunters what's their favorite part...creating & building new scenes OR operating the attraction each October, they will tell you...creating! Haunted house owners are a group of very passionate creators, do it yourself-ers. To build a World class haunted house you must have creativity skills, management skills, carpenters, techs, welders, painters and the ability to train people to make you SCREAM! Beyond the creativity, Haunted House owners wear many other hats too including box office management, line management, concession stand operations, parking lot management, security detail, retail gift shop management, retail buyer, digital marketing, videography, safety manager, and more. The typical day in the life of a haunter during October might typically consist of never sleeping.
Even throughout the season, these Haunts need constant updating, constant repair and constant staffing & staff training. Marketing in the past was a lot easier, but today you must constantly update social media, and monitor all digital marketing. Haunt owners might also spend a few hours a day replying to customers' questions by email and on social media. Haunted attractions need very large staff to make them operate, parking lot, security and 50-150 actors. As a haunt owner, you’re constantly hiring more monsters then training them to make people scream! Haunt owners would also spend part of their day making repairs to sets, animations, or an outdoor haunt might need gravel for areas hit by heavy rain. As you get closer to the time of the haunt's nightly opening, you must get all actors in character with make up or masks and costumes. (To coordinate and prepare 100 actors in only two hours or less is not easy.) Simultaneously, you must start walking the haunt turning on air compressors, digital fx, show lights, fog machines filled, microban sanitizing complete, prep the cashiers with start cash, prep security duty with 2-way radios, and on and on. Proper delegation is key, but still you must ensure all tasks delegated to others are complete. Finally, the time to open comes!
While open, a haunt owner must manage every detail. Maintaining the perfect balance between through-put of guests and wait times is critical. Haunt owners must also manage the parking lot, safety, security, crowd control, cash management, staff management and more. Then, after every operational week, there's time-consuming payroll, constant restocking of both staff-supplies as well as gift shop items and concessions, and of course haunt upkeep or repairs before the next night of operation. As you can see, a haunted house owner wears many hats. Lack of sleep each October is normal for a haunt owner. The best day of the year for a haunt owner is always the last day of the season. And as you get older (as in my case) you need more and more time to recuperate to do it all over again. People think of Halloween as one month a year, but for a haunted house owner who opens in September, it's actually only 10 months away until another season. The day in the life of haunting never stops!
Find a Haunted House Near you here at Hauntworld
Our Next article: Hauntworld Annual Top 13 Best Haunted Attractions list
|Posted by Larry 9.42 AM Read Comments (
Violence in America is off the chart, mostly due to the main stream media, and liberal politicians’ vilification of police. Many cities and national politicians have called for a complete defunding of the police, while rampant crime, violence and complete lawlessness rack our communities.
Violence at any gathering place seems common now, but what can haunt attractions do to stop the violence at theme parks and local haunted houses. Haunted attractions are meant to entertain people, a place to go to scream with delight not run-in fear from gunfire. Let’s be clear haunted attractions aren’t the cause of the violence as this has been happening at all gathering places year around. Just take five minutes on youtube search for fights at Chuckie Cheese or even your local amusement park. But now that October has rolled around haunted attractions have to deal with the complete lack of respect for law and order.
(WATCH VIOLENCE SIX FLAGS FRIGHT FEST)
(WATCH ANOTHER RIOT AT A DIFFERENT SIX FLAGS)
Here is a list of things you should consider to make your haunted attraction SAFER!
- Hire only local police for security: You should strongly consider doubling your police. Not only that but have a meeting with the local police and ask about patrol cars parked in the parking lots with their lights ON! You need a show of force.
- NO DROP OFFS: Post on your website you’re NOT allowing teens without a parent or proof of a ride after their event. Parents have been dumping their kids off and pick them up hours later. Avoid this problem by not allowing drop offs of teenagers.
- ENTRY CHANGE: As you see teenagers enter your haunt tell them on the spot you need to call for your ride NOW. You want teenagers GONE off the property immediately.
- CLOSE ATTRACTIONS: Do NOT open most of your midway attractions this year. Open your haunted house and close anything that keeps people hanging around. At The Darkness we are not allowing bookings of our 5-minute escape online. Furthermore, at Creepyworld we have closed our zombie paintball. We need people to leave after experiencing the haunted house.
- METAL DETECTOR: Wand everyone who enters and check purses you don’t need guns on your property. Furthermore, post signs telling people no weapons allowed.
- Patrol Parking Lots: This year you need to patrol your parking lots because most of the fighting occurs in the parking lot.
- Shorten Hours/Dates: Do NOT open your haunt past 11 to 11:45 pm. If you notice the line is super long just SHUT DOWN any additional entries. Put cops up at the front and turn away all new guests. In other words, limit the number of guests. Do NOT be open past midnight it’s simply unsafe.
- Operational Changes: You want to give guests a great show, however you need to change how you operate the haunted house. For one you should be running people thru your haunted house faster. Do not space people out by more than 30 to 45 seconds and send in 10 to 15 people at a time. You want to get your guests into the haunt as quickly as possible. To offset the speed, add additional air cannons, and animations and actors if you can find them.
- OPEN EARLY: Who cares if its light outside OPEN EARLY! We’re opening at 6:45 light or day and we will put people into the haunted house as fast at 6:45 as we would at 9:45. Do not open slow then go faster later, pace your guests the same at 6:45 as you would at 9:45.
- Put Safety Over Show: Safety is your #1 objective not scaring people, not putting on a great show, just safety. If you can’t operate your haunted house safe nothing else matters. When debating to do something or not to do something pick SAFETY FIRST!
If I was operating a massive theme park I would strongly consider cutting out at least 1/3 of the park if not half to double the amount of security where people interact with rides and attractions. Furthermore I would limit the number of people who could enter Fright Fests by at least 50%. Lastly I would ask the local police to patrol the parking lots with lights flashing one hour prior to closing until everyone has left the parking.
(WATCH VIOLENCE AT BUSCH GARDENS)
(MORE VIOLENCE AT SIX FLAGS FRIGHT FEST)
Good luck this season and remember have a SAFE Halloween!
Your Friends at Hauntworld.com
PS: THIS ARTICLE WAS RUSHED IT WILL BE PROOFED AND EDIT LATER
(Watch Deadly Shooting at Pittsburgh Hayride)
|Posted by Larry 9.08 PM Read Comments (
The entire country is wrapped in a labor shortage because people simply don’t want to work. After the government has basically paid people for almost two years NOT to work, clearly some aren’t ready to return. The government has stopped all pandemic payments and yet business across the country can’t find workers to keep their doors open. Consider when a fast food establish offering up to $15.00 an hour can’t get enough workers how would a haunt which needs upwards of 100 to staff the attraction?
Consider a fast-food establishment needs maybe 5 to 8 workers, and they can’t staff where does that leave a haunted house? Haunts typically don’t pay well, some don’t pay at all, and on top of that some need everything from ticket booth, parking lot attendants, security, ushers, and tons of actors. What do you do? For starters here at Hauntworld, we warned you over a year ago against operating your haunted houses in your traditional fashion. Did you make the change? We hope so because right now you’re facing operation with a subpar experience due to labor shortage.
Make the future today and start operating your haunted house with 40 to 50% fewer actors. We’re going to go over how to make your haunted house operate more efficient while at the same time more profitable. Let’s start with a realty check you started your haunt from a passion for Halloween. Remember despite the passion this is a business one which can put you six feet under!
I have a friend with a 45,000 square foot haunted house and I explained to him reduce the size of the haunt by 15,000 square feet. Simply by reducing the size you reduce the dependency on actors. But what to do with the 15,000 square feet? Simple answer! If you can remove the back end of you haunted house and for the sake of the argument, we’ll go removing 10,000 square feet. What use to be 10,000 square feet of haunt should now be a business that can operate YEAR AROUND!! The obvious is building escape rooms, axe throwing or even consider a horror themed mini golf with an arcade. You may also squeeze in a massive gift store for your haunt, haunted photo ops, roaming monsters, food, drinks, whatever but anything but dead space 10 months out of the year.
The 8,000 or 10,000 or whatever square footage you pinch out of your haunted house is now an attraction which can be open every day of the year. Furthermore, this new business will get a major boost in October. Guests don’t pay you based on how long your haunted house is but rather how incredible the experience is! Whether you want to admit this or not today’s guests want social experiences with their friends, which means places to take tons of photos. This new space you build will create new revenue, new excitement and new buzz about your venue all while reducing the dependency on staffing.
In 2010 it was all about how long the haunt was today it should be all about how much you’ve diversified your business. Now your haunt can operate with at least 30 to 40% less actors, hiring just the best of the best actors, while creating new revenue streams. Haunts need to take other steps to secure better reviews despite lower actors and here are some suggestions.
- Reduce the Size of your haunted house. If you’re an outdoor screampark eliminate whole entire haunts. At Creepyworld we’ve removed several haunts to make the experience shorter and less dependent on staffing. While at the same time we’ve been improving the overall experience adding a midway, pumpkin barn, and even a video mapping show. Again, focus on the overall experience not on how many haunts you have!
- Create Multi Point Scare Boxes: We learned this creating haunted houses from clients all over the world. The common theme from clients is they don’t want many actors. We created these boxes with multiple access points that touch on totally different points of the maze. You would do yourself a favor by making some of your scenes SMALLER to create a box between two or three scenes with access to all those rooms from one space.
- Air Cannons: Forgot super expensive animations go after AIR CANNONS because they are just what the doctor ordered. Air Cannons are CHEAP and are by far the scariest single item you can install into a haunted house. We have installed 25 air cannons into Creepyworld and Darkness. Last year we had the fewest actors ever but had better reviews… we thank in part installing more air cannons.
- Animations: If you can afford animations go after animations that actually have sudden movement with sound and light. The combination of the three get better scares. You can also install this animation in your all-new scare boxes. Always try to install jump out animations in area’s where the customers walk right into them!
- Visual FX: Filming actors and triggering them with motion coupled with loud sound by default adds another actor. Once inside The Darkness you will encounter at least 20 of such visual fx actors. Some companies actually sell digital actor animations.
- Noise Makers: Haunts had the opportunity to buy those cattle rods with light and sound, or loud horns. We’ve even bought maracas or created rattle cans with tin cans. Anything that helps your actors create more noise the better. Lastly on this point at The Darkness we installed several foot pedals with quick scary sounds. The actors can trigger these with a simple tap of their hand adding to their performance.
- Create Midway: Try creating a midway with 5 minute escape rooms, zombie paintball or a horror themed mini golf. Basically, add attractions which create a last impression that is positive and Halloween fun. Don’t have your haunt be rated solely on scares but how much fun they had at your event.
- Pumpkin Display: There are attractions popping up around the country where guests walk thru displays of carved pumpkins. Why can’t you do the same thing just on a smaller scale. At Creepyworld we added a Pumpkin Barn as the final attraction. We hired a pumpkin carver to create over 200 famous faces carved into pumpkins. Guests will leave thru the pumpkin barn giving them the opportunity to take a ton of photos. What a lastly impression!
- Ultimate Photo Opportunities: Again, focus on FUN your guests want to take photos and that is hard to do inside the haunted house. Create photo opportunities prior to and after the attraction. Fill these areas with ICON monsters who scare but also pose for photos. Some of these photo ops can showcase your logo, Instagram pages and more. Remember don’t’ focus just on scares focus on giving your guests an experience they can share on their social media pages.
- Create Actor Less Attractions: At Creepyworld we replaced our largest haunted house which required 10 to 12 actors with a new que line featuring an 8 minute video mapping show. Again, think outside the box its not all about haunted houses and actors its about giving your guests the ultimate Halloween experience.
The future is NOW and the days of having the longest haunt, way too many actors is over. You’re living in the social era and people want memorable experience they can capture on camera to share on social media. Create those magical Halloween moments at your attraction by thinking outside just the scare. Next year you don’t need to buy tons of new props, or building new scenes and screams you need to focus on creating a more profitable and successful attraction.
Have a great season and keep checking back to Hauntworld.com for all the latest haunted house news and happenings.
|Posted by Larry 5.57 AM Read Comments (
A Clear And Simple Way To Help Haunt Actors Develop Characters Fast!
Ben Armstrong - NETHERWORLD Haunted House www.Fearworld.com
As we know, the most important and difficult thing to develop in a haunted attraction is a well trained staff. The goal of the CHARACTER MATRIX is to give your cast the tools to get up to speed on their characters fast!
The act of building and opening a haunt is an out of control roller coaster ride and for many the last thing we do is hire a staff, get them looking scary and send them into the gloom to await the first customers. Even when you have the time for training there are always mid-season actors that have to be brought on line without delay. So once assigned to a position what are your actors supposed to do? Well certain things are obvious. Any basically designed room has some sort of obvious place for the actor to hide, or a clear place for them to be seen doing whatever that room requires them to do. Almost anyone you hire (Well almost anyone!) will understand that if you dress them like a clown and put them in a clown room they are supposed to “act” like a clown. So say for example we have a drop panel for them to use in the clown room. It is pretty clear they are supposed to slam down the panel shocking the patrons and do something “funny“. But the next step is the tough one: how do they interact AFTER that?
So let’s begin with some of the basic haunt acting descriptions from the Ohio/Bloodview/Scab 5 school of thought to set the stage for the discussion.
A) PRESENTATION: How the actor looks: the make-up, the costume , the mask, etc.
B) APPROACH: How the actor reveals to the patron, i.e. a drop panel, curtain, pops out from around a corner, was in sight the entire time (for atmospheric characters, trapped people, actors working at a task, like a butcher chopping meat, et al)
C) INTERACTION: What happens between the actor and the guest - The “act” of delivering lines, startling the guest, etc.
The CHARACTER MATRIX is designed primarily to help your actors with the INTERACTION but it can also affect the PRESENTATION and the APPROACH.
First comes the obvious: what is the TYPE and OCCUPATION of the character? What I mean is for example the TYPE could be a CLOWN, the occupation could be a DOCTOR. So we have a clown doctor - that alone gives your actor much better guidance than just being a CLOWN.
Now we go to the MATRIX. Pick One PRIMARY TRAIT and one or two SECONDARY TRAITS that make sense. That may even be too much, it really depends how elaborate you want to get with the act.
A) Determine actor TYPE (Vampire, Werewolf, Clown, etc.)
B) Determine actor OCCUPATION (Doctor, Cook, Gravedigger, Butler etc.)
C) Pick one PRIMARY TRAIT and one or two SECONDARY TRAITS that do not conflict with each other.
Find the DESCRIPTORS under the TRAIT and use them to flesh out your act.
Kill for Fun
Talk to themselves
Be Afraid of Nothing/Everything
Order people around
Ask Dumb Questions
Be Easily Fooled
Now let’s take our CLOWN DOCTOR. Let’s say the PRIMARY TRAIT is he is SMART. The SECONDARY TRAIT is that he is INSANE. Now go to the DESCRIPTORS under the Trait and pick out a few that work for you and go to town! Our Clown Doctor can be very Bossy (Smart characters tend to order others around) but since he is insane his orders are nonsensical. For example when folks enter his scene he might say, “The operation is about to begin! You will be my assistant. Give me the rubber chicken. I wish to make the incision!”
The goal is to give FAST direction to your actors, to give them something to work with that can really help flesh out a character in no time at all. So if they are playing a Ghostly Butler, make them OLD and GOOD, so now maybe in a very slow and cranky way they are trying to warn (Help) the patrons about the horrors ahead.
Someone playing a WEREWOLF might play it differently if they were told to be a YOUNG werewolf. You could play a GOBLIN as ANIMALISTIC or as COMICAL. Even within a Trait there could be many differences. Our ANIMALISTIC GOBLIN could be cowering, i.e. afraid of the patrons or it could be stalking them or putting on a show of intimidation.
Dialogue will naturally come once you merge the TYPE, OCCUPATION and several TRAIT SETS, but in many cases BODY LANGUAGE and or the APPROACH is the thing the actor will understand as many characters won’t even have dialog in their act.
So there you have it… a very SIMPLE EASY way to give your actors something more to go on than just the room and costume. Do you have a Zombie horde and you want to make them different from each other? Easy! Make some YOUNG, some OLD, some STUPID and some INSANE. Now you have variety! The CHARACTER MATRIX is by all means not finished. You can add endless TRAITS and DESCRIPTORS to it. It is more of a shorthand way of thinking to get the crew rolling. When your actors come to casting to get assignments you can hand out a few TRAITS along with the costume, and it will help a great deal with the performance.
TYPE TRAIT SETS
There are certain trait sets that lend themselves to certain Haunted House Characters. Here are a few obvious ones to start with but you can make up a million of them… use these as an example and have fun!
Nazgul /Wraith Trait Set
Werewolf Trait Set
Demon Trait Set -
Goblin Trait Set -
Clown Trait Set
Creeper Trait Set
Zombie Trait Set
Monster Trait Set
Vampire Trait Set
Victim Trait Set
Greeter Trait Set
Camo Creatures Trait Set
Statues/Golems Trait Set
|Posted by Larry 6.24 AM Read Comments (