HauntWorld #35

Consummate the marriage? I'll pass!

Consummate the marriage? I’ll pass!

I found the latest issue of HauntWorld Magazine inside my mail box last week and after reading it, I thought it high time to interact with all of you wonderful creeps once more. If you want a little nostalgic eye candy, check out the Fright Props ad on page 5. The artwork and humor are reminiscent of that found in EC Comics; it’s spooky fun and very colorful.

Issue #35 featured articles on five haunted attractions — Hex House, Atrox Factory, Legends: A Haunting at Old Town, The Darkness, and Wiard’s Orchards’ Night Terrors. I found the articles on Legends: A Haunting at Old Town and Wiard’s Orchards’ Night Terrors of particular interest.

HAUNTED SANDBOX

Legends is based in Kissimmee, Florida and is open to guests not only during the Halloween season, but indeed the entire calendar year. Every Tuesday through Sunday the ghouls prowl the halls of Ashdown and Son’s Undertakers and any warm body willing to pay the price of admission can get themselves a scare.

Surely, such a breakneck schedule would lead to repetition and familiarity for visitors or burn out for actors. However, this isn’t the case because Legends employs an innovative approach to scareactor management, says co-owner Jim Shackelford, “We designed our show to be a playground. The haunt actors can, and do, go anywhere.”

That kind of flexibility is a crucial element to the success of haunted attractions. I’ve witnessed first hand how this strategy can positively impact the overall quality of a show. Actors should be granted the freedom to roam and to adapt their performance for different guests. Do you want your cast to unleash its full potential? Then provide the ultimate canvas onto which their nightmarish vision can best be painted.

The best firsthand example I have witnessed was the team at Sinister in Utica. During a visit there last fall I had the opportunity to talk to the owner/operator at length and he explained that this was something on which he placed a strong emphasis.

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

There simply aren’t many major haunted attractions that we haven’t visited in Michigan, but Wiard’s Orchards’ Night Terrors is one such location. Despite six attractions and an eye-catching ad in the Fear Finder, a combination of a mixed reviews and a hefty admission have kept me from penciling in Wiard’s for a visit. However, after reading the current HauntWorld feature, it may be time to reconsider.

Wiard’s first opened their marquee attraction, the Ultimate Haunted Barn in 1984, which according to HauntWorld is the oldest known barn haunt in the United States! 2014 will mark the establishment’s 30th anniversary, a fact that singularly suggests that the operators must be doing something right.  My interest is officially peaked and I’ll certainly do some research in preparation for a possible trip this fall.

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