Just started haunting this year and if interested in my original ideas and a rough conceptual drawing off what I had in mind the original post is here.
Now on to the party and my garage haunt, it was a huge success this past Saturday night, probably 75 people or so went through and though I never thought I would have spent this much time building this in my garage it was fun even though I do have many hours and much more over budget than I ever thought I would but when I had 11 year old boys hugged up together while going through and even screaming at points that it made it all better because after all my original goal was taken as a challenge when my daughter told me that I couldn’t scare all those 6th graders with my cheesy garage haunt and that it would be embarrassing, boy were they wrong. Even the parents of some went through and were impressed. I even had some that got too scared about half way through and one of my actors had to turn the lights on and walk them back out in the opposite direction. I intend on getting some TOTs to go through it on Friday night but have some pretty major repairs to make before then since my black plastic walls and some props took on some damage.
I have learned a lot and will make some changes for next year as well, this one was definitely a learning experience and I hope to build on it for next time, things I will do differently are: More defined exits from room to room, there were a couple places where I had sheets covering the “doors” because I wanted to keep the lights in each room separate and they had a hard time finding them in the dark and with the fog so now I think they should either be opened or marked in a better way. Also make sure that the props on the ground (i.e. body parts, bones and such) are completely out of the pathway of the escaping visitors, they ran over these a few times, also I had various axes and saw set up in my final butcher room scene that could have been fallen over so I removed them after the first pair went through to make sure no one got hurt. Also I will make sure that it is more damage proof and constructed in a way that the errant visitor in low visibility can find their way through without damaging walls, doors or themselves.
Finally I believe that the time I spent for the small effect items were really a waste of my time in my haunt, maybe because of the small size of the hallways or the anticipation of what is around each corner but things like the swinging flickering light which I did get working was probably not even noticed, as well as the fact that the SEMITB was not that big of a scare. It seems that the biggest thing was the actors and their locations, actually the biggest scare was from a last minute impromptu add on that was a friend that wanted to help out, I had myself and 2 other guys already placed so I didn’t have anywhere to put him so I left a buffer zone between the final room which was the butcher chop with Leatherface chasing them out to this zone before the “real” exit, so I put him here and he simply wore a stocking over his face and crouched on the floor behind the door and when they thought they were safe that’s when he “got them” this was good for some great screams. I did also find that my sound didn’t work well with my intent which was that after crawling through the final tunnel they would enter the butcher room which was illuminated with a dim blue light, once they were all up and standing I was going to turn the blue light off and activate the strobe light then start the loud alarm and chainsaw sound with me coming out as Leatherface running them out, the queuing of the lights and sound was problematic and didn’t get timed too well because I couldn’t always tell where they were in the maze.
And of course on my last run through before I went green I found out that the two motion activators that I built, though working all week long just decided that they didn’t want to work correctly so I had to ditch one of them and then work the other manually by looking through a slit I cut in one of the walls, so I guess it pays to always remember to have a backup plan. So while this was a lot of work, it went over great and I appreciate all the ideas and comments from this board and will have an even bigger better one next year. Also I intend to take some pictures and post them here, I was going to take and post some building pics but I’m always bad about not taking pics.