Haunted Houses Make Change from Animations to Actors
Haunted Houses across America are now set to begin the construction of their attractions now that the haunted house tradeshow has come and gone. After attending the show and seeing everything we have some observations about where the haunted house industry might be heading.
I have a few interesting observations and notices to vendors specifically... I've made here and there my opinions throughout these posts and thread. So here is another one...
The silicone mask is NOW officially a WAR and its on! Masks in general it's ON like Donkey Kong. And this is a WORLD WAR... the envelope is getting pushed to the edge and its taking the creative with it. Now we can talk all day long about how maybe price will be king in this category, rather than the overall quality, or we can argue that quality will stump price. My personal feelings is this war will be won with both... meaning whomever has a great product that goes along with the cheapest price will totally WIN or impact the industry by making prices drop. I think prices do need to drop honestly and now that we have 10 million of these guys prices should and probably will drop.
Now with all that said let me just say this... the animation end of the industry you are going to be slaughtered! Why?
Because these mask guys are setting the sculpting and creative mark SO HIGH that you'll need to keep up because the level of realistic look is now gone sky high. Back 10 years ago the sculpting on animations was acceptable and now its NOT! Most if not almost all the animations I saw looked like they always looked, or simply wasn't near not even close to the level of quality put into these masks.
Now you might be asking how does that change the game... well a few years ago everyone was thinking animations look cooler than actors, they do things actors can't do, blah, blah. Then we started getting sick of fixing animations, but our actors still didn't look at cool... but now EVERYTHING is shifting back to actors and making them look cool.
Even companies who didn't sell masks sold something an actor could use to scare someone from weapons, to drills that made sound, to fake shoes you could put on your knees, to costumes and more costumes and more costumes, to masks and more masks, to things actors could push around and activate to hold cow it was basically endless.
Seems now the movement is ON to actors and making them LOOK REAL like a real monster OUT of a movie!
Animation makers need to be prepared to step up the creative or shift their business to other elements of the industry such as Scarefactory making an inflatable facade, or something to mix it up. I'm thinking animations might be on the decline over the next couple years, while making things actors can use to scare, wear to scare, or just overall makes them scarier is on like Donkey Kong?
Can this many mask / costume companies survive?? YES AND NO... Yes if haunts don't buy big ticket items like animations and NO if they do keep buying big ticket items. Lets see if they all survive and thrive because if they do you'll start to see animation companies go out of business...
So my advice to the mask companies would be what??? FIND WAYS TO MAKE YOUR MASKS CHEAPER while keeping up the quality its the haunt industry way and it always prove that way in the end. Trust me! You will go out of business if your prices aren't affordable no matter the quality.
What would my advice be to the animation companies??? START TO SEE THE FUTURE ... these mask costume companies which I've been crying for all these years are here to stay. Haunts like Netherworld made actors popular again and haunts crave to have actors in the same quality masks and costumes as say Netherworld. So overall I think animations will be on the serious decline in the future. So what should you do? You should start to make a handful of animations you think are REALLY COOL while at the same time making them look more realistic. Additionally you should start to consider making more static props, smaller items like gory pots, arms, legs bodies or whatever or simply just props of dogs to monsters.
Actors are the new future as they where originally the only future when this industry started we've basically come full circle. When it comes to marketing gorilla marketing is also back and more important than ever when we just never know how to reach our customers anymore in the digital age.
Let this service as a wake up call to all vendors... big ticket items will be fewer and fewer and small items or just cool props just might save your company. Haunted Houses love cool stuff cheap! It's just the way haunters operate!
Just one more point to hammer home... when I was ordering tons of equipment from vendors for the Darkness haunt tour I never even KNEW all these new small companies would show up! Never knew! I never in a million years thought hey there will be ten zillion mask companies, I simply placed an order and never thought about how many props I ordered to animation. But now that I wrote this basically an article... I now realize I didn't hardly order any animations. In fact of the very few I ordered the two main ones I didn't even use they are still in my shop just sitting there... I bought mostly PROPS that helped enhance actor scares. I didn't know I was doing that until NOW but I did... I think we'll be seeing a change of direction and everyone should be prepared for the change from regular radio to digital radio and from animations to actor driven companies.