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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of us who are involved in walkthru haunts I guess at some point it becomes necessary to decide where you want to place your best scares in your haunt. What are your opinions/thoughts on the pacing of your haunt? Do you save your best scare for last to leave a good impression? Do you shock the patrons right off the bat to keep them on their toes? Do you contrast noise and lights with sections of total darkness and silence? Just wondering what the different approaches are.

DW
 

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I actually walk through as a 'tour guide' with my groups.

I set up scenes that leave them apprehensive then hit the startle scares. I have switches and remotes to do this. I've tried motion sensors in the past, and they are fine for atmosphere things, but switches that have to be physically turned on work better.

I do the cliche'd 'chainsaw' thing at the end. People hear that noise and that makes them feel like running.
 

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I like give them maybe 20 sec. or so to absorb the atmosphere then hit them hard with a live actor scare. That seems to keep them apprehensive through the rest of the haunt. Then I try to mix up and alternate animated prop scares with live actors. I try to have at least one scare in each hallway and section. Timing-wise maybe 20 sec. apart or so. I try to do a big finish as well. Scare them out the door, so to speak. When people are running out screaming it make the queue line that much more apprehensive before they even enter.
 

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I like to use extreme differences. If one room is really dark then I like to have the next room really bright. I also like it when they walk into a room and the actors don't pay any attention to them until the exact right moment. Like when the dead lady in the fake table lies perfectly still until they are REALLY close to her and she sighs, "Help me!!" and lurches toward them. Or they walk up to a mirror and look at themselves then the behind light comes on and a devil is clawing at the mirror. This year I am going to try extreme temperatures and smell as well. One room is going to be icy cold (feel sorry for the workers... and dead rat smell) and one room will be blazing hot (with the smell of burnt flesh). We'll see how it works out. I don't like them to feel comfortable for very long.

We are also going to have our graveyard partitioned off and at the end. They won't see it until they exit and I will have zombies walking around the graveyard. Maybe a chain saw guy too!! Easy, but effective. The screams certainly affect the crowd waiting outside!!!:D :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah I've always thought to hit them hard at the beginning and end. And just like when you wait next to a roller coaster and hear the screams it's always nice to give your waiting victims a taste of whats to come.
 

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For the benefit of the queue line people... a friend of mine told me one thing they always did at theirs was the "oops we lost another guest" routine. They always had a wicked scare that sent them out the door screaming at the end. Every fifth or so exodus, two of the workers would exit right behind them lugging a body draped with a bloody sheet and chuck him over the dirtpile in their cemetery. It was of course one of the haunt actors, and he'd blend in with the zombies lurching around and eventually make his way back to get lugged out again as the next victim. The gate person at the entrance always did a head count, and when the body dump gag was done, she'd shake her head sadly and pretend to mark someone off on a notepad.
 
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Yeah I've always thought to hit them hard at the beginning and end. And just like when you wait next to a roller coaster and hear the screams it's always nice to give your waiting victims a taste of whats to come.
This is what the big boys do. I've been to many seminars on "what it takes to do a pro haunt". It all works the same for a home haunt as well.
Curb appeal to set the mood....anticipating.....screams from inside....

Well, this just sucks, not doing a haunt this year really blows!
 

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For the benefit of the queue line people... a friend of mine told me one thing they always did at theirs was the "oops we lost another guest" routine. They always had a wicked scare that sent them out the door screaming at the end. Every fifth or so exodus, two of the workers would exit right behind them lugging a body draped with a bloody sheet and chuck him over the dirtpile in their cemetery. It was of course one of the haunt actors, and he'd blend in with the zombies lurching around and eventually make his way back to get lugged out again as the next victim. The gate person at the entrance always did a head count, and when the body dump gag was done, she'd shake her head sadly and pretend to mark someone off on a notepad.
That sounds like a GREAT idea! I'd love to do something like that! :D

This is what the big boys do. I've been to many seminars on "what it takes to do a pro haunt". It all works the same for a home haunt as well.
Curb appeal to set the mood....anticipating.....screams from inside....

Well, this just sucks, not doing a haunt this year really blows!
:O Why aren't you doing a haunt this year? I'm sure you've spoken about it somewhere but I don't know haha.
 

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For the benefit of the queue line people... a friend of mine told me one thing they always did at theirs was the "oops we lost another guest" routine. They always had a wicked scare that sent them out the door screaming at the end. Every fifth or so exodus, two of the workers would exit right behind them lugging a body draped with a bloody sheet and chuck him over the dirtpile in their cemetery. It was of course one of the haunt actors, and he'd blend in with the zombies lurching around and eventually make his way back to get lugged out again as the next victim. The gate person at the entrance always did a head count, and when the body dump gag was done, she'd shake her head sadly and pretend to mark someone off on a notepad.
That's hilarious. Our haunt has too few actors to do that, but it's a great idea, which I'd like to implement at some point.

Our haunt begins with the queue where we set up the grave yard scene, we only allow 3-4 people in at a time, it's a walk thru with no guide. We try to have one dark room, or long hallway and various themed rooms (it's in a garage). The hallway has a full sized mirror at the end and you break an invisible light beam to set off a flood light and buzzer combo. We implement live actors, props, and our limited supply of animatronics. Actors are free to go to any room to scare, but pretty much choose to stay in a certain scene, best suited for their costume.

Actors and quick surprise props works best. Nothing scarier than a ghost, is floating in the distance, suddenly lurches forward and upward towards you quickly to make you jump back, duck, and scream.

Mix it up. Have a calm, simply animated prop in a particular room, especially just before the BIG scare at the end. Various scares before is fun for all, but the calm before the storm always gets them, especially if the final scare is in a seemingly very calm room as well.
 

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I would say have as many scarers as you can without ruining the atmosphere in each scene.

I hate when theres like 4 monsters in one scene....It's like "Ok those 4 guys all trying to scare me at once just killed the mood in that cool scene."

PEOPLE LIKE TO BE SCARED FROM START TO FINISH. PEOPLE WILL WALK RIGHT THROUGH ALL THE HARD WORK YOU DID JUST TO GET FURTHER INTO YOUR MAZE SO THEY CAN GET SCARED. SPREAD YOUR ACTORS OUT!
 

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I agree with THeme essaGE on the actors thing.
I think that like, more than two actors tryig to care you ruins it.
The one spot where we have two actors coming at you at once is at our scarecrow crosses. We have two guys up on scarecrow crosses and you can hardly seen them (honestly) because of strobes attached to the arms of the crosses aiming at you. Then they both jump down in front of you or just one does, but regardless it looks like someone dropped out of the sky or something. It's amazing.

On the strobe topic, I suggest you set up a strobe and have someone with a mask on stand to the side of it so you can't see them at all. Then have them fast-walk toward you while keeping their body fairly stiff. See if you're amazed by how simple and disturbing it is. ;]
 

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I'm with Eric on the numbers thing. More than two people just spreads the attention too thin and numbs the scare. The exception would be when you're going for a mob-type thing, like a horde of zombies or mental patients rushing. At that point you're just trying to give the sensation of being overwhelmed, so the members of the mob are better being kind of "lo-rez" and similar and not stand out as individuals. Of course, thats all a moot point for the home haunter since there's usually not enough people to do something like that anyway lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It would be great to have the nurses scene from the 'Silent Hill' movie and have the patrons walk through them. LOL

At the haunt I contribute to they like to have eeire music playing over the loudspeakers thorughout the haunt (it's essentially held in a gym on a basketball court, plus a side room). I'd rather have isolated sounds for each scene. That way you can have dialogue or just eeire moments of silence. I'm hoping to talk them into that approach this year.

They also LOOOVE to use strobe lights everywhere! (except in my area LOL) I like your idea Erick and will try to work that in somewhere. Standing in front of a strobe or spotlight is creepy and was used a lot at Halloweekends at Cedar Point here in Ohio.
 
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