Sunday, September 11, 2011

Really? How Can Fairy Tales Be Scary?

I knew choosing fairy tales this year was a potentially dangerous subject for a haunted house. I knew people who have come to our haunted house year in and year out would get it, and know whatever it was we were doing with the theme it would be in an attempt to scare them. But surprisingly enough, Nightmare attendance has consisted over the last 8 years of 60% returning customers, and 40% new. Without that 40% we would be in pretty big trouble business-wise; so how do you make sure that they understand that Nightmare is a scary halloween event? That this particular Fairy Tales is not for children (or families even - something we are being asked constantly)? That it is indeed a haunted house, and scary as shit!? That's the challenge, and we are addressing it in a number of ways, including: our artwork (certainly not sweet and innocent), our publicity and marketing and the event itself. Not only is this haunted house not for kids, it is perhaps the most gruesome, graphic, explicit and in-your-face haunted house that we have ever done.

And that was not done to offset naysayers. That is because the origins of most classic fairy tales are some of the most gruesome, graphic, explicit and in-your-face stories there are. And that is why i decided to tackle the subject. Most fairy tales are these brutal stories to scare the crap out of children into not doing certain things - talk to strangers, wander off on your own, be covetous, jealous and proud, to invade other people's space. And the repercussions of betraying the morals of the stories was a wolf eating you, an old witch cooking you, parents disowning you, goats and owls and goblins tormenting you. And the characters are so rich and iconic you wouldn't have ever known that originally they were cannibalistic, incestuous, narcissistic lechers.

We are actually building the woods. You will be made to get lost in that forest. You will go from cabin to cabin seeing the original stories as they were intended to be told. It's gonna be a blast. You will see flesh being burned, giant goat units, abnormal dolls come to life, demented puppet shows, and someone do something quite tragic to themselves to keep from ever having children. There will be blood. there will be flesh (sure, yes, this haunted house will be a lot sexier than all of the other ones we have done. You know you have a Snow white fantasy you would like for us to fulfill), and there will be many screams. There are so many unique gimmicks we are employing in each story to get you involved. Oh, you will watch some horrible things happen to some well-known fairy tale character, and you will do some horrible things to fairy tale characters. But there will also be some horrible things that happen to YOU!


FairyTaleLover said...

Great idea. Fairy tales are indeed great resource of terror.

One of the reasons of their creation really was setting boundaries/rules in family or society. Listen to your mother, don't open the door to strangers etc. But I don't think it was just about fear. It was about responsibility.

Best fairy tales talk about taking risk what can bring reward or punishment. O.k., open the door, but expect the unexpected. You can find a witch or prince. And don't be surprised if they are in disguise.

After all in fairy tales everything is possible. That and not their morals is the main reason of their popularity.

Frances D said...

As one of the 60% I am very much looking forward to this year's event.
See you on the 30th.