Tuesday, October 5, 2010

2010 Review

Having lots of actors (probably more per square foot than any haunt I’ve been to) is the best thing about Dr Haunt’s. This goes for The Show, (the introductory attraction) Bloody Fun, (the clown house) and the main house, Dr Haunt’s Chamber of Fear. The actors work well as a team, have great timing, and are still respectful of the customers. This is in contrast to some haunted houses I went to last year where the actors seemed be determined to prove they were tough guys. As fun as props and animatronics are, there is no substitute for having plenty of quality actors.

The middle of nowhere, country feel of Dr Haunt’s is another strong point. Although it is by the frontage road for southbound I-35 in Gainesville, Dr Haunt’s has the atmosphere of a classic 80′s haunted house. Dark grounds (you have to walk in dim light between the attractions) and surrounding woods make the setting truly creepy. Roaming actors do a great job of surprising guests as they make their way between buildings.

Though scary, Dr Haunt’s is family friendly, and the staff puts the safety and enjoyment of guests first. Our newbie female reviewer mentioned that she had bad experiences in the past at haunted houses when male actors were rude to her, but at Dr Haunts she was scared, but still felt safe. This is an all volunteer group (staff and actors) and the profits go to charity, so you can have a good time and know that your money is going to good causes.

As far as the houses go, Bloody Fun has been upgraded significantly this year. What was once a fairly brief maze with clowns is now a full fledged haunted house with great actors, clown costumes, and an under the big top circus soundtrack that impressed the review team. The clowns were great at ganging up on customers and I was surprised by how many there were throughout the place.

Dr Haunt’s has an energetic greeter who leads you into the large morgue section, complete with caskets, cadavers, a funeral home, and plenty of actors. The asylum has scenes of experiments and some of the best props in the house, but the dungeon was my favorite part. Not many haunted houses go to the trouble to create a highly detailed dungeon/torture area, but Dr Haunt’s has. While all attractions frightened our group, Dr Haunt’s was clearly the scariest of the three. A developing and consistent medieval theme (the entire house will have it next year) is a welcome change from haunts that appear to be various rooms jumbled together.

With a $20 base price for a combo ticket (weekly discounts reduce the price quite a bit, check the site for details) Dr Haunt’s is a great value. It takes roughly 45 minutes to go through the three attractions, so you get a good dollar to haunt minute ratio. In fact, taking the discounts into consideration, Dr Haunt’s is now the least expensive haunted attraction in North Texas. For great actors and an old fashioned Halloween atmosphere, Dr Haunts is the place to be this October!

For dates open, hours of operation, ticket prices and discounts, location and directions, please visit the Dr Haunt’s site at http://www.drhauntshouse.com

Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 Season Has Arrived

The 2010 Halloween Season has arrived and Dr. Haunt's is having an incredible year with their opening weekend. Customers love the changes and they way each haunted house attraction builds up to the finale... Chamber of Fears. In addition, our actors are very solid this year, with over 30 returning actors we have a very strong base to start with and then with the energy of our first season actors there is never a dull moment inside the haunted house.

Other changes that the customers seem to like is the expanded gift shop, with over 30 mask and 10 different styles of tshirt to choose from, everyone can find something in the Gift Shop.

So far this season we have seen a first-time haunted house attendee go to the bathroom on themself... seriously no joke. Customers have come from Dallas, Durrant, North Richland Hills, Wichita Falls, Norman, Sherman, etc and the majority of customers have driven over an hour to get to our haunted house and they have all sung our praises say how it was worth the drive. In addition, our customers have told us we are better then our fellow haunted houses in DFW and bricktown in Okalhoma. So with great customer reviews we are very well pleased and look forward to our upcoming weekends.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Season is Almost Here

The 2010 Haunted House season is almost here, the emails, social network messages, and phone calls have picked up pace and everyone is asking when do we open and where are the coupons. So the energy and buzz is there for the haunted house. On top of that the Radio Commercials throughout Southern & Central Oklahoma has hit the airwaves and we are just days away from opening. The haunted house got the green light from our City inspection, the coupons are distributed, actors trained, and now there's only last minute details to take care of.

One of the haunters commented tonight when they saw the to do list about how long it was... I just laughed because the list is extremely small when you consider we have been working on this year’s haunt since last November. Plus after doing this for eight years, I know this list is minor compared to some years when we were putting up walls still at this point. I can happily say that are design has been done for over a month and so now it's the extras that we have been working on to give the haunted house - that extra special feel. Which not all customers appreciate, like the ones that exit before they see every room or the ones that close their eyes and hug one of their friends through the entire haunt. But for an actor, those are the fun customers to play with! Plus we have our reputation to think of, what would people think if we did not emergency exit so many customers a night.

So, with the final details being finished, the cast at Dr. Haunt's Haunted House Fear Park looks forward to our season, and hope to see everyone out on Opening Weekend - when everyone can get $6 with our online coupon at www.fearpark.com

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bloody Fun is Bloody Hot

So I don't know if it is the Texas Heat but Bloody Fun is turning out to be one fantastic attraction. Bloody Fun is the 2nd attraction that customers go to following The Show at Dr. Haunt's. But for our customers they know it as Clown Hell. And this summer during the redesign it feels like Hell - well only the heat part because the awesome designs and new tricks makes you think you hear harps playing.

But seriously, Bloody Fun is the largest and best clown attraction in the South and possibly could be one of the top ranked nationally, which means Dr. Haunt's would have two top ranked national attractions... kinda of impressive for a town such as Gainesville.

The design team has worked on focusing and playing off of our customers fears which should result in more emergency exits from the clown house. Some new features - include smaller hallways, darker rooms, more bodies (real, fake, or just sleeping - who knows), and that's just the design. The music, lighting, and actors will also be in there to scare the customers that need an extra push. Don't forget Smokey - the new clown that has been selected to greet guest in the line awaiting to enter!

So far we have added a body part room, changed the entrance and exit scenes, and completed about 75% of the design. There has become increase places for actors to hide - which means expect more, much more then last year. But some favorites are being kept such as the Theater and the Room of Clowns.

Bloody Fun should be finished in the next week or two and then Actor Auditions will be taking place. The Lead Actor for Bloody Fun is still up for grabs!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

2010 Chamber Design

The Texas heat has been hot but the design at Chamber of Fears has been even hotter! The design is coming together and with an amazing volunteer crew - we witness the final six scenes get demolished; get rebuilt (complete new layout); get base painted; followed by detail paint; and the finishing touches are getting added.

The volunteer crew that has made this possible in only a 10-day period is Abby, Justin, Cody, Lea, Jamie, Brian, Josh, Cody (a different one), Kim, and JoJo! It's amazing watching how fast the scene really takes a life of it's own. Actors from last year have come up to see the progress and are amazed how much the layout and design has changed.

The crew has begun creating a number of torture devices to fill these six new scenes and customers will be amazed at the new gadgets that the crew builds themself. The fellow haunts in DFW are looking at the cast and crew of Dr. Haunt's to see how high the bar is set in 2010. With all new designs and original props, the haunt industry will be pleased!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Chamber Design

Creating the design for The Show or Bloody Fun attractions always seems to come easy compare to designing for Chamber of Fears attraction. Although, we pride ourself at Dr. Haunt's on having high quality attractions it is Chamber of Fears which was our first attraction and the one that has been nationally ranked so everytime that we begin tearing down and re-designing, I hope that it will be a design that blows away the previous attraction. And from our humble start and design in 2003 we have come a long way but we can always strive for better. So when you think 20 rooms inside a haunted house on average from one year to the next and then this is our 8th season - we have done some major transformations inside Chamber of Fears.

Other haunted houses do not spend as much time as we do changing their design up from year to year and although I know the reality is most customers do not remember in what order the scenes came and went from one year to the next. It has become a matter of pride. The biggest change in design and become inside the Chamber we work backwards meaning we start with the last room. Each room does build up to the big finish but this is where I like to focus a lot of my attention.

For the past three years we have been transforming Chamber of Fears which use to be a showcase or all fears to a theme attraction playing off the castle design. So in 2010 customers can expect 80% to be Chamber theme and in 2011 we plan on being 100% Chamber theme. But heck by 2011 we might also have a forth attraction!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Old School vs. Oldfashion

So at my house, I have a closet dedicated to movies and at least 100 of the movies fall in the horror section. Since my childhood I have been a fan of watching a horror movie which not only got me during the movie but played with my imagination long after the movie was over.

The best of these was when I was elementary school... the original When a Stranger Calls. Watching it with my childhood best friend, Aaron (he lived three houses down the street); my friends that were spending the night; and my parents. Half-way through the movie the doorbell rings and Kara (who lived next door to Aaron and was in middle school) was there. Kara said she was home alone and a car had been circling the block, she was scared, and wanted to stay at our house until her parents came home. In my entire childhood - not once did this ever happen until this night. This movie had me so scared that when I put the children that I babysit asleep I would sit and watch them sleep from the hallway to make sure no creepy man would be in their bedroom eating them and then begin prank calling me.

More than any other movie that stayed with me. Recently I watched the original slasher film, a Canadian film called Black Christmas. For 70's is was amazing and still today it was really enjoyable and scary. At least scary enough that I wanted to have someone stay the night but instead brave the night alone. Throw-backs to the 70's and 80's horror movies are my favorite.

Then I watched Paranormal Activity - I watched it in daylight since some made a big deal about it. I think it would have been better had the movie been cut 3 minutes sooner. The ending just made it a Hollywood film trying to look homemade. If you’re trying the old fashion home movie technique take a page from the Blair Witch (would make my Top 10 horror list) because it left you wondering and never showed too much. Then you add their marketing when it first came out. Let's just say camping alone in the woods became scarier after the Blair Witch.

So tonight as the weather starts to turn to Spring take advantage of the dark night, breeze in the air, and watch a 80's classic!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Behind the Scenes Creation

So, this year the first attraction to undergo renovation is The Show. Every year each attractions get redesign but the one that gets major renovation comes to the attraction that typically gets renovated first. For the past three months a volunteer crew of 16 haunters has been working on The Show for 2010. The Show is in it's final phases of being completed for 2010 and should be finished during March. The crew first went in and gutted The Show; then they placed 100 wall panels in the current attraction; added the base color of paint; and now the crew is in the detail paint stages. The Show will feature 8 foot tall panels with various skeletons, skulls, and zombies. The artwork inside The Show will assist with creating an atmosphere that customers will get into the mood as soon as they set foot inside the attraction. Since The Show is the first of the three attractions at Dr. Haunt's it is important that it creates a mood and fear that every customer will feel.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Martin Luther King Parade

The cast at Dr. Haunt's Haunted House Scream Park are natural performers and will perform anywhere. What I love best about our haunters is there willingness to do almost anything.

Like on a day when there is no school for our high school students or a holiday for our Army guy instead of sleeping in... they all vote to wake up early, brave the cold, and wear whatever I hand them to march in the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade downtown Gainesville, Texas! This year we had nine haunters that were able to make the MLK Parade to represent Dr. Haunt's Haunted House Scream Park and salute a national hero!

It was our first time to wear the new parade costumes and yes, even The Beast got dress up in a new coat of Black Paint (look at that shine)! The costumes we made where design off of the three musketeer style and still need to get our logo design on the front! The belts are made out of skull rope which seems just right for our crew!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Show in 2010

So in 2008, we added three attractions to our haunted house and the first attraction was called The Show. During the first year we featured a documentary about Julian Haunt whom is the namesake of our haunted house and in 2009 we continued that tradition, since our customers wanted to know more about this modern day urban legend. But in 2010 we are throwing it all out as we will feature an all new The Show.

Currently we have spent 20 different build days since November creating this new attraction and I would estimate we will be working on this attraction until the end of February to have it all ready to be revealed in 2010!

The Chamber of Fears (our signature house) is known to play off of all fears while our #2 attraction Bloody Fun focuses on people fear of clowns well now our first attraction is playing off of another popular fear... But like all good surprises I'm not going to tell you, you will just have to wait until we open the last weekend in September!