So I just finished reading a discussion on haunted houses and if people found things more scary than others. What shocked me was the drastic amount of replies that said everyone was tired of the same lame jump out or yell scare. I saw it over and over that it was a cheap scare and not really fear inducing. Which brings me to this post.
I am aware that that is a very common technique and a very effective one, hell I use it often in our themes because something coming out from behind something or through something always gives me a good startle. However I think what we need to focus more on and I plan to work on implementing is inducing pure fear. So how do you do this you might ask, well it takes on a big change in the way you think of a haunt. First your small paths with turns and all do not work as well as maybe having slightly longer hallways where things can appear and follow or where its just dark enough someone can move through with the customers making creepy sounds from just out of sight, giving them that fear that there is something there but it just is not coming out at you yet. But that is not how far I want to go with this.
My idea is something I have only heard of twice now and have not actually experienced yet but would love to. The concept is a more open space with highly restricted view distance rather from fog or other structures. Then the key is to have creatures moving through the shadows just off to the side of the path the costumers will take. To make it really effective you need it to be quick and not human formed shadows which requires intricate costumes. Now the human shaped thing works especially for a zombie or undead theme where the scene could be an old town street that has been destroyed or a old farm but either way restricted vision with fast moving shadows off to the outskirts of the path.
This is not a new idea but it is sort of revolutionary in that you do not get many haunts that are open enough to do this, most have you huddled up moving through a maze of rooms and hallways. How about a free roaming haunt where they just have to find their way through on their own with all sorts of creatures just roaming around. I think this would be a really great experience and something that would go over hugely well because not only does it induce some fear but its something drastically different from what most people have experienced at haunts before so will scare them just because they have no idea what is going on.