Friday, August 21, 2009

The Improvements in Nightmare This Year Pt. II

A few postings ago I discussed that there were three areas i always strive to improve every year in the haunted house. The last posting i discussed how i was going to improve the LENGTH of time it took to walk through (making it longer that is) and now...

MAKING THE DESIGN LOOK AS AMAZING AS THE MONEY WE SPEND ON IT: The Amazing duo of Justin and Aaron Haskell over at BAD (Brooklyn Art Department) are the art directors of the house. At times i hamstring them with big ideas that are impossible to achieve with the budget we give them. It is not that we don't put a lot into the props and art - we do. A LOT - but sometimes it is absorbed by the hefty costs of things that don't really get the bang for the buck that it deserves. For instance there were three items in the house last year alone that costs over $20,000 - the rocking bridge, the isolating turnstile, and the giant head that came swooping down on you at the end. Out of those, only the turnstile that isolated some people outside of the house only to be attacked by a dedicated scarer - for those of you who were that person out of every group...sorry (tee-hee) - had any real impact. The other things were nice, but the money would have been better spent on extra actors or more detail in the rooms. And that's how i thought about it this year. DETAILS and ACTORS. But in terms of this column, this thing is going to be loaded with details. We are getting very precise with the museum feel of this thing (The MoVa as we call it - the musuem of vampyric artifacts). There will be "artifacts" and "antiquities" and statues, and busts, memorabilia, and novelties, and signs and placards, and "security guards", and case lines, and red velvet ropes protecting the "exhibits", and on and on.

In fact, it is going to be so incredibly detailed that instead of wasting all of these little touches because you are running away from the things attacking this "museum" we are going to open up the venue during the day for $5 for people to roam around and really look around without the fear of things trying to scare you. Even if you don't visit off-hours i believe the verisimilitude of the house will amke you feel totally transported into another world. A world where the things that happen to you inside this house could really happen. There is nothing haunted house cheesy about it. It bis not like i am just going to have a ton of typical haunted house props. This is wholly original. You will feel like you are really there, and hence the fear will feel really real as well.

So instead of large set pieces that have very little pay-off (the other large set piece we have had in the past that really works was that spinning vortex tunnel. that thing was awesome. that unit is currently in Miami at the house down there. But we are going to bring it back for next year), we have focused on details, and thoroughness in design. It will be beautiful...and scary as sh*t!


Kira Zmuda said...

While walking through Nightmare last year, I crawled up into the fetal position ... it was that good. Are you having open auditions for extras? I have experience as a "Severed Head" from a haunted house in Brooklyn last year.

Looking forward to this year,

Frances said...

This will be my third year. The first year I went a day or two before you closed for the season, and I loved it. I wanted to go through a second time but the tickets were sold out - drat the bad luck. But I'm ordering early and frequently this year. Can't wait!

Crystal said...

Oh wow did I love that isolating turnstyle. I wasn't the one picked to be isolated (that was my friend and it was great to hear her screams echoing. We all cracked up and she had a blast!), but I was the first one through the turnstyle, so I was isolated briefly by coming out into a dark, empty corridor and that alone was REALLY freaky. One of the scariest moments in any haunted house I've ever had.

And I love that vortex tunnel! That thing is so much fun.

I love the storyline involved this year. I will totally convince my group of friends to go in character to pretend we're going to a musuem exhibit and not a haunted house for the spirit of it ^.^