Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's Great About Going This Week...

So why in the world would you go to a haunted house after Halloween? i ask myself the same thing, yet my house is still open. Here's why i would go to a haunted house after Halloween: it's fun no matter what! Why do you need Halloween to be scared? Horror movies don't obey those rules. But why should one go specifically after Halloween? that is why i am writing this.

I am not daft, i know it is more in the spirit of things to go before the big day, but here is why in some ways going this week might actually be a more enhanced experience - THERE AREN'T THE CROWDS! I ain't gonna lie to you, this as well as any other haunted house is diminished when there are ridiculous crowds. The energy is good, which certainly preps you in the right way, but the groups get too big, the groups often catch up in the middle of the house, and the actors are pretty taxed. On slower nights you lose the energy, but you gain on a greater distance between tours, smaller groups, and the actors better suited to focus on you specifically and scare the crap out of you. I know it is not as fun to go somewhere without the spirit, energy and camaraderie, but there is some use in going when it is a little slower. And that is what it is this week. It is doing well still, and it is worth it to us to still be open, but it is not the same thing as before All Hallows Eve. The house is pretty battered after 6 long weeks of patrons trudging through, but the actors are at their best, they have 6 weeks of experience learning how to scare you, and it is this last week that they are really gonna give it to ya. So tix are a bit cheaper and i think it is still a great, fresh original thing to do instead of another evening of dinner and a movie. use code VOTE and you can get tix for $15. So what are you waiting for! OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I will be on the Today Show!

check me out on the Today Show on Halloween morning at 10 AM. i will be demonstrating how to do some extremely simple (and somewhat cheesy) things to do to trick out your house haunted styles. So if you are not a player hater check it out, tell me what you think (and don't tell me what i teach is corny, because i know. they have to be things that anyone can do with what is in their house right at that moment).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Do You Wanna Work In The Central Park Haunted House?

So I can't use the actors from Nightmare to be in my Central Park Haunted House because they happen at the same time. So i need a whole new batch of actors for this Friday and Saturday only (10/24 and 10/25). Friday you would only work from 5-8 (with rehearsal beginning at 3 PM) and on Saturday you would work from 3-8 PM. It is a family haunted house and there will be like 10,000 kids walking through. You will also be playing a zombie, so that's always fun. I am looking for people who can say "braaaaaiiiiiiins" for 8 hours. drop me a note letting me know if you are interested in working with us. It is a small house and i only need 10 zombies. Do it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nightmare Backstage. Go To It

We did NIGHTMARE BACKSTAGE last year and it was a big success and a lot of fun. Basically, me and a few of the designers who worked on the house this year will answer any questions you might have about how we did certain things, why we did certain things, or what our favorite color is or was. we then turn on all the lights in the house and show you things you wouldn't normally see, reveal secrets that you might find vaguely interesting, and show you the one secret "nightmare way" that we couldn't show you when you went through the house the first time (no one will ever see this secret room other than at Backstage!) We will also discuss why there are no more live eels, what the piss is made out of, show you how the claustrophobia walls work, and more. we will also do some demonstrations of how you can do things in your home to make it a bit more haunted for halloween!

Finally, you can use code BACK1 to get $5 off the already cheap $20 ticket when ordering. The whole evening will last about an hour (maybe a little more) and you can get a preview of some of the things i will be demonstrating on the Today Show on October 31st. yeah, that's right, I will be on the Today Show on NBC on October 31st at 10 AM. There will also be some take-home stuff, so you really don't want to miss this, it is so worth $15!

See You There

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Some Amazing Stuff Happening Down Here

Haven't been able to get to my blog for a few days here, and i know most of you are pretty forlorn about this. So i am going to try and make it up to you, talk you off the ledge, and recap what you've missed and what to expect:

Hot 97 Weekend, as always, was an incredible success. Cipha Sound is a pretty damn good deejay. he also brings a fun, good-spirited crowd. Hot 97 couldn't be a better sponsor and I hope we work together for a very long time. HOT 97 Night was completely packed, Cipha was spinning, people were dancing and then getting scared, and the only disappointment was that he didn't play that Rhianna song Disturbia which i thought was a shoe-in to be played considering it is supposed to be a creepy song. Not the next Thriller, but good.

Speaking of Thriller, yesterday was the 25th Anniversary of the Thriller video and another of our sponsors, Crunch, sent a crew down to teach the Thriller dance to our patrons and then do a performance of it. It was hilarious. we were also able to do a quick demographics survey based on what I saw - we have an audience of mostly non-dancers. Good to know before we start taking out ads in Dance Magazine again next year.

RXP 101.9 Weekend is this weekend. they are going to have with 'em something they call a "mobile rock lounge" which sounds relaxing. They'll be there through Sunday, Oct. 12th.

Coming up we have Forbidden Planet Night (next Tuesday, October 14th), and they will be bringing down some swag to giveaway. They might have a custom pumpkin carver with them, but i am not sure yet. FP is that huge comic book store on 13th and Broadway for those of you who ain't know.

Now, in terms of the house,people seem to love it as usual and are getting very scared, but the detractors main gripe is that it is not long enough. Some of this is a testament to how good it is (leave them wanting more), but since we upped the production values so much this year i feel whatever shortcomings there are pale in comparison. but because i am eager to please i have added several things to the house to increase the length a bit. I believe the additions have not just lengthened the house some, but have added a few good scares as well, so i am becoming more and more pleased with the product (and i was initially more hyped than i have ever been). It's a good, creative, innovative haunted house that you will absolutely enjoy in several ways. If you see me there, come up to me and tell me what you thought. If you don't like it i iwll punch you in the nose probably.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Ode To My Bros

My brothers are the art directors for all of our haunted houses. They are Aaron and Justin Haskell. Now some may say nepotism got them this job, and you would be right, but only in the sense that because i was related to them i was able to identify the talent right in front of my eyes. These guys are amazing. And you will see their talents in spades when you go through Bad Dreams this year. It is an absolutely beautiful house. Our production values are through the roof. It looks like an installation art piece. One can criticize whether it is scary or effective (two things i think it is in a big way), but i challenge anyone who thinks it doesn't look fantastic.

We are different than other haunted houses. We are theatrical. We make everything. these are homegrown set pieces and that can be quite costly. we sometimes get criticized because when you walk through you don't see scores of haunted house props and animitronics everywhere. i could easily create a labyrynth full of things from a haunted house catalog and impress you with with the volume of our stuff. but i am going for something different. i am trying to create a house that you will literally not see anywhere else. you won't because it is wholly original in every way - from our props and set pieces to the room ideas and stories there is absolutely nothing rehashed or stale. Not even from our own houses from past years. This house in particular has nothing the same as last year. it is completely new. We have tried very hard to raise the bar and i am certain you will feel the same way. It pays off.

And my bros have a lot to do with it. they provide installations and props for other haunts around the country as well. They have a company called Brooklyn Art Department that specializes in these kind of things. I am very proud to be working with them, and the house is lucky to have them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just spoke to our Bad Dreams Production Designer

I just got off the phone with our Production Designer for Nightmare, Paul Smithyman. He was giving me an update about how NY was coming along ( i am in Miami getting this house up) and he was pretty thrilled. He said that this year's haunted house, thanks to an enormous commitment to raising all production values this year, is the closest thing to envisioning what was in my head in the 5 years that we have done this. I cannot wait to see for myself! Maybe you guys can tell me first!. If you have been to the haunts in the past let me know how you feel about this one. I couldn't possibly be more proud of it. I have been proud in year's past, but it was never a true representation of what i was hoping it would be. This year it is and i do believe it is going to make it the most amazing haunted house you have ever been through anywhere. tell me if it isn't.

Miami is Very Humid

So I got the ball a little more than rolling here in NY last week before i flew down to Miami to get our first ever haunt outside of NY up and running. This is of course the revamped Ghost Stories from last year. Man, this GH is friggin' awesome. Whatever i didn't like from the house last year i got rid of and kept the things i really liked and made them bigger, better, stronger and more beautiful and disgusting. You should see the Red Demon room from last year. It was supposed to be a gory delight in 2007, but it quickly became a squat because we didn't account for so many patrons/boneheads actually walking on top of the installation. That room, like all rooms, has become patron proof and twice as wonderful. It is now a 6 foot by 12 foot pile of guts that you can take a jackhammer to and it will remain warm and squishy and gross.

Oh, and i miss the NY fall right now. Miami is like 102 degrees of pure humidity. i don't know how they do it down here. it is some thick air. and yesterday the air conditioning went out in the space because some local transporter blew out in the nabe. i lost 5 pounds of water weight. Feeling so good about my much needed trimming, i have promptly eaten every fatty Cuban delicacy this town has to offer. and it is yummy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Nightmare Way Suckas

I don't believe I have extolled the virtues of one of our greatest additions to this year's revamped Nightmare - "The Nightmare Way" (can be abridged to TNW). What is TNW you ask while talking to a computer out loud in front of people? Well, I'll tell ya weirdo.

In year's past i was not allowed to do things that were too physically compromising because it was unfair to expect people to spend their hard earned money (or even money that was unearned or stolen...who am i to judge?) on something they could potentially, physically, not be capable of executing. I have always wanted to be able to make people crawl, shimmy, climb, duck, avoid, duck again, maneuver, jump, search, abduct, beat, on, the, head, with, club but have been held back by the need to show restraint. But then it dawned on me. what if you suckas actually chose a path that offered all of the aforementioned and more? You could go one of a few ways, but you, with full knowledge of what is in store for you physically, chose to compromise yourself in all ways, and if you didn't you were still going to enjoy the Haunted House to its full extent? How would that sound? well, it sounds like something that's going to happen. The nightmare way is happening. this is happening. Several rooms will have alternative exits. Choose the Nightmare way and be prepared to crawl, climb, fly and eat pierogie because we're gonna git ya!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

SAW V Room in Legends

Say what you want about the Saw movies, if nothing else they are prolific and they have become a Halloween institution. So when creating a haunted house about Legends - called Nightmare Legends, we thought it natural to approach Lionsgate about participating in the house. They jumped all over it, and it is going to be one of the cooler rooms in the house. In the spirit of the movies (and you've gotta admit, the first one was pretty brilliant, and all of the others have had there moments for sure), the room requires the audience to make a choice in regards to whether they will inflict pain on the actor in the room or leave the house. I am sure you sick sons of b*****s are gonna rip that man to shreds. so have fun! All of your tickets include Legends, and i don't think you will be disappointed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

We're Hiring!

Every year we do a big job fair at the venue for the haunted house, and this year is no different. Come on down all of you freaks and get your scare on. The Job Fair is September 17th and 18th between 8:30-10:30 PM. All are welcome. Look forward to seeing you there and making you do something stupid!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

We Got Central Park...heard of it?

Yeah, Central Park. That Central Park. They are doing their own haunted house on October 24th and 25th. In Bethesda Tunnel, by, that's right, Bethesda Fountain. It is a beautiful location to do anything, but especially a haunted house! It is a family situation, it only runs a combined 8 hours between the two days, and they want about 10,000 people to go through. Yipes. It is only going to take 5 minutes to walk through, but it is FREE, and it is also part of their pumpkin harvest festival carnival fair. I was told the other day that we were awarded the right to do it. I designed it a month ago for the proposal. It is called Zombie Attack! and it is all about werewolves. No, silly, zombies. There will be zombies everywhere. Attacking. But since it is for families, these zombies can be killed by things like bubbles. So, it in no way interferes with what i am doing with Nightmare, but it will be fun and a new way to exercise that horror muscle. Harmlessly, but fun. So go to Nightmare, and then go to Zombie Attack!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Don't Fall in the Falling Room!

We had a workshop in the middle of July that was a great success. For the first time we actually tried out some of our more complicated ideas before we loaded in which is something i have always wanted to do. We have definitely raised our production values this year and I think our patrons will be blown away by what they see. especially our returning customers. It is not only the scariest haunted house i have ever created, it is also the coolest. I think you will enjoy it on many levels.

One such cool thing that we work shopped was our "Falling Room". You can't have a haunted house about Bad Dreams without including the ubiquitous falling dream we all have. For years i have tried to figure out an effective way to create this fear. Sometimes with more success then others, but never truly successful in my opinion. This year, the falling room may be the most impressive room; i think we finally figured it out. The problem with it is, as we discovered in the workshop, it is really, truly effective. It is extremely safe, and you couldn't possibly be hurt (unless you are drunk, wear really high heels, and act like a buffoon, but i guess you could get hurt just about anywhere under those auspices), but just be ready for it. It really surprises you. My warning ahead of time - hold on to the railings (and don't be a doofus)!

Monday, August 11, 2008

No More Circus But Still Plenty of Clowns

Ok, so not so long ago I bragged about the 3 attraction nature of this year's event. Well, i have to backtrack a little bit. It is now a two-attraction event, but that is because we want to make it the most amazing two attractions as possible.

You see, Nightmare Circus was going to be a departure for us, and we discovered that too many of our resources, time and effort were being drained into making that work, so we collectively decided to do what we do best instead - haunted houses. So we are amping up Nightmare: Legends to be something even cooler then originally conceived. Initially it was going to be a fun little companion to Nightmare: Bad Dreams Come True, but instead we want to make it something you will absolutely love. It won't compare in size and scope to the big house this year (that is going to be very impressive, i swear to god), but it is going to be a ton of fun, and rather scary. It is a collection of classic monsters like Witch, Vampire, Frankenstein, and of course a guy with a chainsaw. It is old-school cheeseballs, but for some they might even like it more. It is completely different then Bad Dreams, and way cooler then the Maze last year (although that was pretty fun i thought, but a lark). This is the real deal Holyfield which is why we are selling tickets to the event this year as one attraction. Any ticket you buy gets you into the two haunted houses. There will also be loads of side entertainment for FREE this year that weren't there last year making the whole event a full night of entertainment. This is all you are going to have to do for the night. Yes, including that.

Oh, and there will still be clowns. Bad Dreams has clowns. I won't tell you how, what or in what context, but a house about nightmares is obviously going to have a few clowns.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stitching is Extended, Now With John Ventimiglia, "Artie Bucco" from The Sopranos



Although the reviews were mixed, the play i directed "Stitching" is a bona fide hit; Audiences are eating it up and coming back for more. The show was supposed to close on Saturday, July 19th and it has now been extended for two weeks and now has a new lead in John Ventimigli, or "Artie Bucco" the restaurant owner/ best friend of Tony Soprano on The Sopranos. I think this is very exciting news, and i am very much looking forward to inserting him into this very juicy role; i think he will be brilliant. What's more is that i asked for our Nightmare code to still be relevant throughout and it is!. It is still the cheapest discount code available. The show is now running through August 2nd, 2008 and you can still use code NMARE when ordering your tix and get $30 off the $45 price tag when going to the website at www.stitchingtheplay.com or by calling 212.352.3101.

So, you've got two more weeks and even more reason to check it out. I am surprised as anyone else that people are digging this play no matter how vulgar!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Announcing NYC's new Nightmare theme!

We've yet to update the website to announce this, nor have we sent out any press release to this effect. This is the first public announcement of this year's Nightmare haunted house theme. I am rewarding all those people who actually read this blog. Shhh, keep it a secret until we announce it, for rizzy.

This year's house is called Nightmare: Bad Dreams Come True. And there are several firsts. We have significantly amped up the production values this year, so for the first time there is not a single room that was in the house the year before. there is not a room in this house that has ever been seen before. As the title suggests, this being our 5th year anniversary we decided that Nightmare should actually be about nightmares. During the run last year we did an online poll asking people to tell us their most terrifying recurring nightmares and we are staging them. And they are scary. This year is sick, it is by far and away the best house ever. It's our anniversary for christ's sake, it's no holds barred, kid.

The other firsts are that we are having two haunted houses in one venue. Last year we had the maze, but this year we have Nightmare: Legends. It is a smaller house that focuses on all the things i would never put in the big house like classic horror characters. Be prepared to be reintroduced to Frankenstein, Vampires, Zombies, a guy with a chainsaw, and more. it is more fun than anything; it is supposed to remind you of the kind of haunted houses you went to back when you lived in the 'burbs.

Another first is we have a third attraction. We got possession of the back parking lot of our venue and we are throwing a tent up out there and doing Nightmare Circus. More on that later...tee-hee.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Miami is a definite!

There has been some serious presumptions that Nightmare Miami was going to happen, but it is for sure, for sure now. It is going to open at SOHO Studios on September 26th and run through November 2nd. We will indeed be doing a new and much improved version of "Ghost Stories" (which i was already happy with, but this one will blow your knees out) down there. The NYC house (which is going to be called Bad Dreams Do Come True - more on that in another blog) is opening at the same time, so, holy shit!

the Miami house will feature the main attraction, as well as a mirror maze and a 4-D funeral attraction. There will also be a 13,000 square foot "lounge" that i think will make this one destination that Miamians (what are they?) can't miss. Well, the Miami Heat would probably miss because they couldn't throw it in the ocean last year and this year doesn't look much better.

My play "stitching"


So I am sure many of you have read in one way or another that I have directed a new Off-Broadway play called Stitching at a new theatre in the East Village here in NYC called The Wild Project, NYC's first "green" theatre. You'll know it is because if you take a dump you will have to flush the toilet like 3 times because of the low flush nature of them. Trust me, i know.

The play is a very twisted take on a relationship drama. It is dark and hard-hitting and I wouldn't have it any other way. If you have a chance, check it out. I runs Mondays and Tuesdays at 7, Wednesdays-Fridays at 8, and Saturdays at 2 and 8. It stars Meital Dohan from Showtime's Weeds Second Season. It is nomrally a hefty $45, but for the lovely folks who actually read this blog, i can offer you $15 by using the code NMARE when purchasing the tix here. So flippin' go already!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Joshua Hoffine is Friggin' Incredible!


So our amazing photographer Jaisen Crockett who takes all of our Haunternet Girl photos, as well as took all of the shots for the Free Stuff wallpapers, is a discerning critic of other photographers to say the least. Justifiably so, Jaisen is truly top-of-the-line. So when he stumbled upon the photography of Joshua Hoffine and was blown away, he sent it to me immediately. And he was right to, this guy's work is beautiful.

He is a photographer who sets up archetypal horror scenarios (the monster under the bed, in the closet, the clown, spiders on your baby, etc) and shoots them Stanley Kubrick style. and they are stunning and frightening, and something that you will all get a kick out of. He even sells his prints for a very good price. I believe I am going to purchase one myself!

I encourage you all to visit his site. I cannot be effusive enough. If you are the least bit interested in horror you are going to be glad you did!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Miami, Haunternet, Nightmares.

Several announcements to make. It looks like Miami is a go for Nightmare Ghost Stories We are going to do last year's NYC house in the flamingo city, but fixing all the things that did not work last year in my opinion. So it is going to be a better version of Ghost Stories that you did not see. Guess you will have to fly down to Miami to see it. I am making improvements, but I will also be expanding it some because we have more space in Miami. I will also be implementing some of the ideas that our haunt partner has as well, the brilliant Steve Kopelman (of Thrillvania and The Nest). Crazily enough, this friggin' thing is going to open at the same effin' time as our NYC house! Am i out of my mind? Am I insane? Am i trying to sell you fireworks?

And finally, for craps sake, go to Haunternet is what i do all day. It is a site dedicate to all aspects of the haunted industry, and highlights the 1000's of wonderful haunts all across the globe. There is also a horror movie slant, and, i am almost too embarrassed to admit, a sexy girls in horror situations section called the Haunternet Girls. It is a cool site that you could spend some time on if you are at all interested in the horror/haunt industry or hot chicks.

Finally, I would like to formally announce that this year's NYC house will run a week longer - we have to figure out how the h-e double hockey sticks to get all of you foo's in - and it is about actual recurring Nightmares. we are going to be staging the nightmares that people emailed us, as well as classic psychologically meaningful nightmares. oh, and our production values are being ratcheted up in a big way. Last year's house did very well, and instead of resting on our laurels, we are putting that money into the house. You will feel it...viscerally.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hey Sucka Punks

Haunternet is about to launch for reals (it has only had a soft launch up until now), but we are rolling out all kinds of features on the back end, and all of that will be evident next week. you should go to the site and check it out. we have some cool features like horror movie news, hot girls, how-to podcasts, and a special Insider section that gives you all kinds of haunted house tips. what's more, the Insider will not be FREE anymore starting next week for new people, so sign up now to get it while it still is.

so that's it. don't forget to scare the shot out of people all year round, not just on Halloween.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Miami

we may very well be doing nightmare: miami in 2008. the only roadblock is finding the right space which we should be able to do. we are partnering with another excellent haunter, Steve Kopelman, who runs The Nest and Thrillvania out of Dallas and Phoenix. He's a great partner for this. there are no haunts in miami. what? that's right, none. until now. we are seriously going to scare the tan lines off those old people.