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Discussion Starter #1
When you go to a haunt, hayride, corn field, house whatever. What do you feel could have made it better and why? What do you want to see at a haunt, what would like to stay? What makes a haunt great! Basically tell me everything you want in an haunt and maybe things you don't like and wouldn't want. Thanks for your opinions!
 

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Soccer and Lacrosse Dad
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I like a natural ebb and flow to a haunt. We have one nearby which focused on one clown for the hayride. The same clown costume in the forest, toxic wasteland, and cornfield didn't do anything for me. Perhaps I am to narrwo minded but I would rather have left the clown in the barn in an appropriate setting. The forest could have been creatures of the night, werewolves, ogres, spiders, mythical creatures or witches. The toxic wasteland could have been zombies, deformed humans or deformed creatures. The cornfield, could have been scarecrows, pumkin rots something other than repetitive a clown.
 

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I was just discussing this topic with a friend who is a pro in the fx industry. Our conclusion had to do with the build-up and the atmosphere: Too many just splatter blood everywhere, or have an zombie apocalyptic wasteland, or simply strewn everything about to imply the place was overrun. Basically they trash the place. It is quick, easy — and thoughtless. What do places like this usually miss? Class.
 

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I like a little of everything from the blood splatter crazy guy to the person who sits/stands there and just watches and you're anticipating them running at you but they never do.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I personally like the clown in the forest thing. It's freaking creepy and not the normal. It's not what everyone would expect. I don't like the same ideas, the same options that things have to stick to this or that. I like the twisted, scary and unthought of. I don't like one theme either, I dislike going to corn mazes and such because they are boring and over done in my area. You don't find haunted house in my area just hayrides and corn mazes. I love classic themes, if they are done right. My idea is that when I go to haunted house I want my fears to come alive. Realistically bring real life fears alive. I don't at all mind the more unrealistic scary stuff, they can be great!
 

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Human Candy Shovel
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I personally like the clown in the forest thing. It's freaking creepy and not the normal. It's not what everyone would expect. I don't like the same ideas, the same options that things have to stick to this or that. I like the twisted, scary and unthought of. I don't like one theme either, I dislike going to corn mazes and such because they are boring and over done in my area. You don't find haunted house in my area just hayrides and corn mazes. I love classic themes, if they are done right. My idea is that when I go to haunted house I want my fears to come alive. Realistically bring real life fears alive. I don't at all mind the more unrealistic scary stuff, they can be great!
Problem is, too many haunt operators aim for the lowest common denominator (i.e. age). Haunted houses can be too spooky for little kids, and thus they follow a flawed logic that such a thing will scare away potential patrons and they'll lose money. So you end up with "family friendly" hay rides, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes instead.
 

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What I don't like: Every scene is fragmented and in between is nothing at all or the actors just heading to the bathroom or whatever.
What I DO like: Even between scenes they've kept a scary atmosphere, the actors are still on the job, not just mingling.
I've experienced both and it makes a big difference.
What I would really like to see: Relentless horror all around, where the entire place seems haunted instead of the brightly lit snack shack and other out of place things.
 

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What I would really like to see: Relentless horror all around, where the entire place seems haunted instead of the brightly lit snack shack and other out of place things.
Totally agree. If there are concessions, they need to fit the theme. I've butted heads with many projects when discussing continuity.
 

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For me, they have to set up the atmosphere, get me feeling scared, and then hit me with a jump. I gotta scream and somebody who just jumped out in front of me. There is an amusement park in my area (Twin Cities members...Valleyfair) that does an awesome job of setting up the atmosphere. Before you even enter the park, there is so much smoke and fog that you can't help but get excited.
 

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A haunt that does not care if it OFFEND someone's poor feelings...

I know of the haunt that DOTO mentionned... I totally agree with him. the same CLOWN everywhere, forest, barn, asylum, zombie waste land, cemetary, washroom... MADE NO SENCE! Look, it's Blinky! HEy kids, look, It's Blinky again! and again, and again!

That is just lazy!
 

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+Food = Encourages people to linger
+Atmosphere/Vibe = If it is fun people will want to stick around / revisit. It should be age-appropriate, either by catering to all ages OR having separate areas for age groups to maximize the benefit.
+Detail = This is sometimes hard to convey at night, but if there is a lot of things to look at people will want to go through several times to pickup on things they may have missed.
+Prop Density = Some places have too few props placed too far apart and others the exact opposite. Balancing this is tricky and requires an eye for design.
 

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That's what we think happenend, for real, Annamarykahn! (L) At least it was a clown, thank God the Fred Flinston costume was not on sale that day, now, that would have been a worst haunt ever!
 

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Evil Wizard
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I know of the haunt that DOTO mentionned... I totally agree with him. the same CLOWN everywhere, forest, barn, asylum, zombie waste land, cemetary, washroom... MADE NO SENCE! Look, it's Blinky! HEy kids, look, It's Blinky again! and again, and again!

That is just lazy!
Something like that, with recurring appearances by the same character (portrayed by several actors) in different scenes could work though, given better planning and more attention to detail (not to mention some sort of overarching theme or backstory to unify the various haunt elements.)
 

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ohhh, a topic close to my beating heart.....

Disney is known for it's backstory on everything. Why? because it gives them attention to detail, follow through and focus. So many haunts throw in a bunch of random things that don't make sense or don't add up and it ends up lacking in many things.

Even Eli Roth's Goretorium here in Vegas is pretty, and big, and has a great backstory....but then the backstory, for some reason, gets lost as soon as you enter the doors of the maze. Totally vanishes like a ghost. It is supposed to be a tour of an old hotel, where once the owners used to take people, kill them and turn them into food to serve in the buffet. The owners suffered a fate, except one...So here it is modern times and we're going to take a tour of said hotel when 'suddenly things go wrong!' Well, what ever happend to that one remaining person??? We will never know, he's never mentioned again, never seen, never exists........Instead there's just a lot of random characters (but good actors) thrown in a bunch of scene rooms. The rooms all fit the story of being in a casino/hotel, but why are all these people now here to show us all this blood? It no longer makes sense... ... This is the fate of many haunts. Shame, it's such a nice haunt, with some great rooms and some wonderful actors. where it lacks attention to detail it has covered it in blood. There also wasn't a climax. There was a big bloody room finish with a lot of people and a lot of blood...but no big final scare at the end...but more about that later.

Worst yet, those trailer walk throughs that have a few stupid props then one actor at the end to jump out at you or something...They have the 'final room' but lack everything before that! what a waste of money.

If you choose a story, stick to it.
If you choose a story, take us on that ride through that story...
So many people fail to think this all the way through.

It'd be like a movie about zombies and all they show are a bunch of random zombie scenes that don't make any sense or relate to each other. Any bad movie can be good, if it takes you on a journey and gets you involved....it's the same with haunts & maze scares...it doesn't have to be high budget to be effective.

We had a brilliant corn maze that became a haunt at night. They kept is simple. First they hayride you out to the middle of the cornfield, in the pitch black to the entrance. Drop you off and you have to find your way through the well noted path. There wasn't clowns, zombies, theatrical effects, big budgets...There was maximum darkness with some minor perfect lighting for mood, rustling in the corn that you could hear and not see, a near pitch black shack you had to walk through with shapes you could almost see moving about (still don't know what the hell was in there, but it scared the crap out of me!) Foam sheets buried in the dirt so that sometimes the soil would give slightly under your feet (talk about unexpected and unnerving!). A random person here and there to jump out at you- was it a scarecrow? a person? I never could really tell. It was random and unexpected scares, not here's another room so there must be another person in here that will jump out at me...so expected! Of course it ended with the scarecrow/person/thing with a chainsaw at the end - who came out behind you (keep you moving forward!) which ALMOST made me want to run. I don't scare in haunts, period, but this whole thing had me on edge the entire time. They let the scenery do the work, spent minimum money on effective lighting, then created an atmosphere that let your brain do the scare....no matter what you're afraid of, clowns, aliens, zombies, giant spiders, doesn't matter...THAT is what you imagined in the corn field mvoing around. Your brain is your worst enemy.

So, in a nutshell:
They always do something expected: string hanging from a ceiling (how unoriginal) They never do something unexpected (why not play with other senses than sight and sound? what about smells? instead of something hanging from a ceiling, how about a squishy floor? Now my footing isn't secure as I'm accostomed to and something SMELLS dead! Who'd expect that??)

Do a few simple things to disorent at the begining not halfway through, put us on the edge and set the mood at get-go so our heads start to betray us at the begining. Your scares will be easier through the rest of the haunt.

Take one story and do it well. No matter what amazing thought you have, if it doesnt fit in put it in the file for next year. Tell the story from begining to end! here's a creepy laboratory..looks like they're doing tests on people....look they ARE doing tests on people!...Are we next?...something escaped!...what ever escaped is hunting us!...We barely escape! simple story and so many things can be built into that. Why add clowns or aliens? Just because you have the prop, doesn't mean you have to use it this year.

Don't forget a final big climax scare at the end (doesn't ALWAYS have to be a guy with a chainsaw!)



And that is my opinion. there may be those that like the 25 different scenes of different things, but to me it looses me in it's random ideas and lack of continuety
 

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Definitely agree that it's best when the atmosphere is continued in between parts of the attraction. No "now it's spooky ... now you're in the hallway, where people are just chatting ... and now it's spooky again." Even if it's subtle, with lights and music, just to keep us in the mood.

I LOVE an attraction that lets you go through at your own pace. Where you can actually stop and look at things, and not get hustled through. Sometimes, if there's a crowd, it may be unavoidable, but I've been to haunted houses where there was no one waiting, and they still tried to get us out as fast as possible. We're haunting people, and we want to check out the props! In some cases, it's felt like they didn't want us to look at anything because we'd notice how cheap things looked!

On that note, it's nice to see props and sets with real workmanship and thought involved, and of course, creativity -- coming across things you don't expect.
 

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I probably sound like a cranky old lady, but...what's missing from most haunts and every (grownup) haunted house I've been to in recent years is non-bloody, traditional Halloween stuff! I don't think I've seen a werewolf, witch, ghost, etc. in years and years! Not unless they have axes sticking out of their chests and ripped dripping faces tearing apart a toxic baby while they chase you with a chain saw, or scream those awful horns in your ears or squirt jets of air at you.

What I'm missing from haunts is them feeling "haunted." Screaming and bloody and chasing me around and around the place with a chain saw does not equal "haunted" to me. Moaning, floating, creepy, scary things do.

I may be the only person who feels this way...I must be b/c I just don't see this kind of stuff in haunted attractions anymore...
 

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Evil Wizard
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I probably sound like a cranky old lady, but...what's missing from most haunts and every (grownup) haunted house I've been to in recent years is non-bloody, traditional Halloween stuff! I don't think I've seen a werewolf, witch, ghost, etc. in years and years! Not unless they have axes sticking out of their chests and ripped dripping faces tearing apart a toxic baby while they chase you with a chain saw, or scream those awful horns in your ears or squirt jets of air at you.

What I'm missing from haunts is them feeling "haunted." Screaming and bloody and chasing me around and around the place with a chain saw does not equal "haunted" to me. Moaning, floating, creepy, scary things do.

I may be the only person who feels this way...I must be b/c I just don't see this kind of stuff in haunted attractions anymore...
No, you're not alone on this. I'm right there with you.
 
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