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Discussion Starter #1
Ok
We went to our favorite haunted house last weekend.
Netherworld here in Atlanta.
NETHERWORLD Haunted House in Atlanta, Georgia - Celebrating 13 Years of Fear!
They must have at least 200 animated props inside and 100 or more actors.

Here is the biggest thing I noticed.
The animated props were usually a means to divert your attention from an actor lurking in a corner or behind a secret door.
Everytime I would be looking at a really cool animated prop, BANG, and actor would scare my pants off from somewhere.

Our neighborhood haunted house is going to follow this method this year.

Last year, people would walk by my props and say stuff like "Oh how cool". I always keep the actors separate.

Another thing they did was to confuse you on the direction. You would go into a room and there would appear to be two or three paths to follow. The room would make it apparent to go a certain direction but, it would led to an actor that would chase you back to the correct path. Wow that was scary!!!!

Just some ideas and food for thought for those of you with amatuer haunted houses like myself.
 

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It's a good idea to create a distraction scare (like an FCG) then a one-two punch with two back-to-back startle scares (like a trashcan trauma and an actor). By doing two startles, one right after the other, the person's brain goes into overload and the startle is more than twice as effective. It's a classic tactic used by the pros. I found some good information here (this is the first of several parts):

YouTube - Scare School 101
 

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Just thought this thread needed to be bumped to the top. It's something I never thought about before, but it makes a lot of sense. The video posted has a lot of useful info. If you go to their website there are four parts (I think) to the video, and they are worth watching. I just have a small home haunt with four or five animatronics and this year I'm going to have a few actors. Before I was going to keep them separate, but after these suggestions I'm definitely going to have them together. Thanks for the idea!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Dkelley
Thanks for the scare school 101 video. Great stuff !
A lot to be learned from that.
Much better than just standing in a corner.
I noticed in Netherworld last weekend, many times actors would come out from a hidden place and look over your shoulder from behing and make a breathing sound or grunt. I got it twice and it scared my pants off.
 

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It's amazing what's truly scary and what's not. Some of my props took a LOT of hours to build and look pretty good, if I do say so myself. They get comments like "that's really cool" from the kids but they don't exactly run away from the prop screaming in horror! Then, I can put on a little makeup, get about six inches away from even an adult's face and start quietly and slowly singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and they freak out. Fun stuff.
 

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Very interesting stuff! I'm very glad to see that I'm thinking along the right lines. Parts of my haunt are setup to work in the exact same way. I have an outdoor scene with three decrepit fellows sitting on crates around a barrel fire roasting body parts. As guest walk up they'll be able to look at the "dummies" and admire the scene. While they're doing that they'll find out that one of the dummies isn't really a dummy as he gets up and lunges at them. Inside, I have a scene with a surprise sit-up animatronic prop. The whole room is designed to lead the guests towards that prop and keep them from looking behind them. To their back is a cage with more "dummies" that will give them the one-two punch.

Thanks for sharing!
 
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