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Strategies for Making a Horror Event Scarier

October 15, 2014 - Haunted House
Many haunted house producers like to design haunted houses with fantastical themes that are not realistic at all. These can be fun for both the producer and the patron, but they are simply not as scary as more realistic haunted houses. At Scream Park California, we focus on creating real life scares that could really exist. For instance, vampires are simply not very scary. We all know that they don’t exist, and whenever we see them we are reminded of the fact that we are viewing a fictional character. It creates a barrier between the customer and the scare, greatly decreasing the scare value of the scare. Is the idea of a vampire frightening? Yes. The idea of shadowy creatures that feast on the blood of humans is horrifying. But the simple fact that it is well-known that there is no such thing as vampires ruins the scare value.
A haunted house that focuses on creating ultra-realistic situations will find far more success in scaring its patrons. For instance, a haunted house themed after a serial killer could be horrifying. It is important to choose a theme carefully, and brand the haunted house accordingly. A carnival theme is realistic, but could easily go badly if it is branded as a demonic carnival, or a ghost carnival, etc. A simple abandoned carnival grounds with terrifying characters in it will do just fine. People have walked through carnival grounds before. They can easily picture themselves at a carnival, and so when they walk through the haunted house, they will not be able to use a “this isn’t real” blanket to shield themselves from the scares. Realism is highly important, but the public’s standards of what is realistic are constantly changing. It is important to keep attractions updated, using themes that are relevant and nixing aspects of the show that are no longer scary.