Design of The 6th Fright didn’t begin until the middle of September this year, as I lacked inspiration at the conclusion of the haunt last year. Problems were many, including going well over budget, which didn’t sit will with me and took away shares (money) that were distributed to teachers. That along with a late start due to staffing and less foot traffic left me frustrated, especially know how much work Mark G. and I put into the haunt. Sure we could have gotten cheap and done a half ass job, but we try not to haunt like that.
This year, now feeling inspired and with a theme, the haunt is shaping up to be the best since I have organized it. I have a working layout I have been tweaking for the past few weeks, just one problem area remains that should work itself out in the coming week. I have been ordering pieces and parts and have nearly everything I need for us to get started construction next week.
As we have experienced the previous 2 years, what is drawn out on paper doesn’t necessarily translate to what is we build on stage. We seem to end up loosing square footage we had planned for hallways or rooms and end up modifying the layout on the fly. You would think after 2 years we would know how to make our haunt fit in a 24’x35′ layout. While I still need to measure the layout in person, I feel very confident for the plan before we have begun implementation.
This year the layout is very simple. No more intricate twists and turns, as we have learned a thing or two the past few years. There are some ideas that look great on paper, but didn’t work well in application. I have left us nearly 3′ of “wiggle room” on our length and width of the haunt, which should help alleviate spacing issues. We are down from 7 rooms last year to just 5 areas this year. We are bringing back 2 of the haunts from last year, but introducing 3 new scares that will hopefully have even more kids crying when they exit The 6th Fright.
With all do respect to those who don’t like clowns, sorry in advance. I had hoped to develop a carnival or carn-EVIL theme, but I was at a lack for scare ideas beyond clowns. Mark G. and I had great fun with clowns last year and will introduce even more “clowning around” this year. From props and animatronics to clowns popping out of picture frames, coulrophobia is here to stay for 2015!
With a reduction in the number of rooms, there is more dead space to allow for storage and access for actors. Like last year, the layout will hopefully make better use of electrical outlets, as there are some on the floors, which have always been a tripping hazard in the past. The wood walls carry a bit of a limitation, as they are built with a 3′ brace that helps them stay upright, which requires that amount of space behind the wall. This also allows room for an actor to operate the drop window. Each wall is about $16 to build, not as cheap as PVC and black plastic, but very functional.
The 6th Fright is broken three sections this year. The first two sections are predominately built using lightweight wood wall panels measuring 4’x8′. The entrance quickly transitions to a severed arm hallway that is currently being redesigned due to the length of the severed arms (just over 12″). With arms sticking out of both walls in a 3′ wide hallway that would leave just over one foot of space to walk through. I find that unacceptable, so the hallway is being widened to 4′.
Once you leave the severed arms behind, you will be met by Debutante from AtmosFX, a digital portrait that comes alive. Around the corner will be walls with clowns. This is our drop panel hallway, where both portraits will drop revealing…you guessed it, more clowns to give you a fright. Hopefully we pull off the drop panels better than last year, as we experienced some trouble with the panels and one of the operators.
A quick walk between rooms and you will be reacquainted with the Dot Room, which has been a guest favorite the past two years. Hopefully I won’t be suiting up in the one piece dot suite, as I have done the last 2 years, as I want to pass this on to another individual to have fun. Yet guests will be expecting this, those new to Vintage will enjoy it, but I hesitated to put it in this year, but after all the work that went into creating each panel, I figured we could get one more use out of it.
As you exit the Dot Room, you will enter a long corridor with clown masks on the wall, balloons and one scary assed clown! Still working on the clown, which I hope to play, as this allows me to manage the haunt from the center of the stage and quickly get me to each of the rooms as necessary. The plan for this hallway is to scare everyone who walks down it. But this hallway will also allow me to manage the foot traffic into the scare of the haunt.
New this year is a laser vortex hallway. After watching a few You Tube videos, this looked like a great addition to our haunt. Upon exiting the vortex you will hopefully walk down a short corridor without any clowns and exit the haunt.