Friday, October 30, 2009

Announcing the theme for 2010: Superstition

I wanted to announce this a little earlier, but it has been absolutely crazy over there at Nightmare: Vampires. The responses have been incredible lately, I couldn't be more pleased. But as always I announce the next year's theme during the current year to take advantage of the interest from the current year's patrons.

I think I may be more stoked about next year's theme than ever before. It lends itself to the theatricality that i incorporated this year, but allows for me to come up with more ways to pop scare and hide scares closer to how we did it with Ghost Stories or Bad Dreams Come True (the last two years). Next year's Nightmare will be a blend of Vampires and previous years. So without further adieu...

SUPERSTITIONS. It is our 7th year next year so in honor of lucky number seven, i thought it would be fun to do a house on other superstitions like that. Walking under ladders, opening umbrellas indoors, stepping on a crack, saying the title of the Scottish play in a theatre, etc. I can see a SAW-like feel to this (making you do things that have dire consequences). We'll see. But now i need to hear from you. I want to use this forum for you to tell me what your superstitions are. Do you like to wear 3 pairs of underwear when going on a job interview? Do you think there is a number that is unlucky? Is there something in your life that if it happens it is an omen for bad things to come? Let me know! please post you comments to this blog post.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Meet The Vampires: Yenaldlooshi

Yenaldlooshi: a skinwalker in Navajo mythology. They wear coyote skins and travel at night. They appear naked, wearing only masks and jewelry, and tend to live in caves. They also practice cannibalism and necrophilia. Yenaldlooshi are also said to be able to create a pollen from ground human infant bones that when sprinkled on sleeping Navajo families, causes sickness, social problems, and death. They are generally considered frightening, evil, dangerous, and difficult to kill.

Don't Say "Eat a Tic-Tac"

When people get nervous they making pithy jokes. Unoriginal, pat, pithy jokes. Since I myself have performed in the house a bunch this year, I hear the same ones i have heard over and over again for the past 6 years. In a nutshell, one of our guys jump out at you. They scream or yell or howl or hiss, or what have you at you. And then you, the patron says "Your breath stinks", "eat a tic-tac", "lifesaver", "mentos", "brush your teeth", etc., etc. etc. We get it. If you humiliate our performers than they become less scary, and that is why you are at the haunted house, right? to figure out how many different ways to make it less scary! wait a minute...

Yes, these folks are trying to scare you, but deep down inside, believe it or not they are people. So when they are busting their asses to scare you, don't make a comment about their breath. Everyone in your group will laugh, and they may even give you a high-five or a pound and then blow it up, but the performer has heard that 2000 times that night alone. his/ her breath likely does not stink. You say that because they got in your face and it is a funny, mean thing to say. But I just want you to know how unoriginal you are. You are not funny. It really doesn't hurt their feelings, they are used to it and they know it is just something people say. And in fact, all of our actors are required to eat a tic-tac before they start.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Enter The Scream Contest

Enter the Scream Contest. If not, watch this hilarious video:

It's 27-30 Minutes Long!

One of the Biggest complaints for Nightmare: Vampires (and reading up about others), is how long the house is. It's not just Nightmare, people bitch about it about all haunted houses. "It takes 10 minutes!!!", "scary, but then its over in like 7 minutes!!", "nothing is worth 3 minutes and 4 rooms!!!". Ok, ok, ok, for all of you that say these things in public forums - BLOW IT OUT YOUR EAR! Nightmare is being consistently clocked in between 27-30 minutes long. And if you don't believe me, bring an effin' stopwatch and time it yourself. The other houses that you say this about are probably longer as well.

I understand you enjoy going through these things, and I understand you want to get value for your dollar, but I would have to rent out Giants Stadium in order to make it the length you want it. It is just not conceivable. Our house is nearly 7000 square feet. that's pretty big for a haunted house. You know how long it would take for you to walk that if there was nothing in it? I mean, gimme a break. If you don't think 27-30 minutes is worth it, then consider this fair warning, but if you do, don't complain when it is over, and don't suggest that it wasn't that long. We have done some serious research on this because it is very important to us. we have been clocking over a hundred groups in the past week. And I am happy to report that it is one of the longest haunted houses that I know of. So it is up to you. But I will have a vampire really suck your blood if you whine about it otherwise!

obviously, this is a pet peeve of mine :-)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Meet The Vampires: Vlad Tepes

VLAD III, THE PRINCE OF WALLACHIA: More commonly known as Vlad The Impaler, Vlad Tepes, or simply Dracula. He is considered a savior in Wallachia (modern day Romania) but is mostly known as the person Bram Stoker named his character Dracula after. His Romanian surname "Draculea" means "Son of the Dragon" and is derived from his father's title, Vlad the Dragon. The word Dracul" means "The Devil" in modern Romanian, but in Vlad's day also meant "dragon" and derives from the Latin word "Draco", also meaning "dragon." Vlad III eventually came to be referred to as "Dracula"

The moniker Vlad The Impaler (Tepes) came as a result of the brutal way he would dispatch of his country’s enemies. Bram Stoker likely thought there was no more bloodthirsty of a figure in the annals of history than Vlad and the perfect character basis for his monster.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Nightmare is rated Number One on AOL!

AOL rated Nightmare: Vampires the Number One Haunted House in New York!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This me in the blue haze room in Nightmare: Vampires on October 10th. This is going down as one of the audience's favorite rooms. Clearly I was scaring the shit out of people, as well as my cohort in the mist.

Real Testimonials

Detractors are the most vocal. People who love things never motivate themselves to go on the internet and write that. People who hate things...are So this video represents the true feelings of the vast majority of the people who go to Nightmare. And that's the truth ruth:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Meet The Vampires: Peter Kurten

Another entry in our Meet the Vampires series. These are all vampires you will get to know upon visiting Nightmare: Vampires:

Peter K├╝rten,
the monster of Duffeldorf, was a necrophiliac, rapist, and cold-blooded killer. He would stab and kill animals as he was raping them, and staged an “accidental” death of two boys when he was 9. Starting in 1913 he went on to rape and murder up to 13 children with ages ranging from 5 to 14 years old. All of them he would suck their blood from their heads or neck in order to get aroused and achieve orgasm. He had an orgasm when he bit the head off a swan, and when he beat a 5-year old’s head in with a hammer and the blood spouted in the air and over his face, he also had an orgasm he said. At his trial he admitted to everything, was sentenced to death in 1931, His last wishes were that he could hear his own blood babble after his head was cut off. It was not something the courts could accommodate. His story is told in the book The Dracula Syndrome.

Go Slow

As much as the energy and the spirit of Halloween is infectious on a crazy Saturday night (and not to diminish that effect, it does add a lot to the experience), if you are looking for a longer, more concentrated and focused haunted house experience, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the way to go. There are crowds, but no where near the throngs as there are on a Saturday night at 8 pm. I like for the groups to be between 8-10 people, with about 5 minutes in between each group so there is no chance of them catching up with each other and so the actors can play out their entire scene without having to speed it up some so that the next group doesn't run into the current one. On a crazy night, the groups are slightly larger, and the gap between groups is less. We want everyone to get in and have a good time, without having to wait for ever (because we all know that dampens a good time more than anything).

There are obvious good reasons to come on Fridays and Saturdays, but there are equally good reasons to come Tuesdays and Wednesdays. We'll really go atcha on those nights, you just see. And what's more, to encourage people to go on those nights this week, October 13th and 14th (as well as the 15th) we are offering $20 tickets (that's $10 off!) for those performances only if you use the code HUMP1 when purchasing your tickets. Hope you take advantage of this offer, and believe me when I tell you these nights are special.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Look at All of the Great Press

We all have our detractors, but we tried something different this year with the haunted house - creating a story that you have to follow, much more theatrical than years past - and the critics have certainly responded. We have gotten lots of press including an amazing NY Daily News story, but I am only including here the critical reviews, not just stories. I am not just including the positive articles; they have all been positive so far. there are no negative articles:

NY Times
Haunted Attraction Magazine
The Whiskey Dregs
Entertaining Evil
The Jaded Viewer
The Courtesan Macabre

i hope you enjoy(ed) as much as these people did. We will continue to tweek and make it even scarier.

Monday, October 5, 2009

How To Prepare To See Nightmare: Vampires

So we have been at this for two weeks now and it has been going swimmingly. We've had a few bad apples, of course, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I would say it has been the most positively received house in our 6 years. But I have noticed some things from our audiences that have gone through so far that might help you better prepare for attending this event:

1. Don't come drunk. It anaesthetises you. This is always true for coming to any haunted house, but especially ours this year because part of the enjoyment is not just from the shocks and startles, but also from actually following and understanding what is happening. There is a story and it adds to the thrills and chills when you follow it. And, in truth, it is truly much harder to get scared when you are drunk. When something does jump out at you your reflexes are dulled and muted, and hence not as fun. You are coming to get scared, so don't numb yourself so that you don't. I realize when a group gets together for a fun night out something you all say to yourselves is "I won't be able to handle this unless I drink." What i say to that is, aren't you paying for an experience where the only real pay-off is if you DO have trouble dealing with it? Sure, have a few libations, but don't get to the point were you are no longer alert and responsive. You simply will not have as much fun. And there is a bar at the venue before and after you go in. That should just about do it.

2. Don't wear heels. Its hard to walk in them, the vampires don't care if you look cute, and you will constantly be concentrating on your stepping and not falling to the point where you will miss things; things that are important to get fully invested in the experience. It will be like reading a book while on your cell phone. You are too focused elsewhere to get the real impact of the thing in front of you.

3. Wear comfortable, casual clothing. This is a sweaty, bloody hot-box you are going to, not exactly the cleanest environment. We won't purposely ruin anything you are wearing, and indeed there is nothing you are going to get on you that doesn't wash out if you get anything on you at all. But a lot of people go through in a night and that's a lot of make-up, sweat, hair product and actors who have rubbed their bloody bodies on every wall possible. So don't dress to the nines, there is no point. Like above you will be more concerned about your clothing than having a frighteningly good time.

4. Put your fists down. Don't come with the attitude "they better scare the s*** out of me or I am going to get pissed" or "if someone gets in my face i am gonna punch them." None of that. If you think it, it will come true. Come for a scare, suspend your disbelief, and mostly, have fun. You are paying good money to have this fun, not to challenge our idea of it. You know how life works, if you go into something with a certain mindset it will manifest itself. It always does. This is a scary, interesting, startling, creepy, creative haunted house. None like we have created before or any you have ever seen, but it doesn't mean that we can influence the biggest cynic. I think it is safe to say if you are generally a cynical person, haunted houses are not the kinds of outings you should be taking. These are entertainments. Some are better than others at making you forget reality, but you know if you put your mind to it you will be able to convince yourself that this isn't real and hence safe. because it isn't real, and it is safe. But it is scary, in fact, scary as hell...if you let it.

5. Be prepared to let go of your friend. There are certain spots that might separate you. let it happen. It will be more scary for both of you, and again, you're paying to be scared. if someone tries to divide you or put you into a different room, let it happen. There are reasons for it, and all of them lean towards a division has to happen if you are to get maximum impact. So don't sabotage your own good time. Let the flow of the journey happen as it is suppose to. Assume if you throw a wrench into that plan it will have an effect. I love the people who ask the actors who are trying to scare them questions like, "where am I supposed to go next? Is someone behind there? Are you cute?" ugh. They aren't the information desk. Don't you think that if they broke into a dialogue with you it would alter your perceptions of them? why would you want that? Don't be a knucklehead, we will lead you in the right direction for maximum scares.

And that's what I have noticed this year. If you abuse any of the above, I am telling you flat out it will lessen your experience. I think it is safe that you can apply these same guidelines to any haunted house you may go to this season. I know I do, and I go to a bunch. I go to get scared and have a good time. And even though many of them are my competitors, I don't go wanting them to fail. I want them to be scary because i enjoy the sensation. I assume that is why any of you are going to a haunted house. So let it happen!