Tag Archives: Stephen King

WHAT IF? Musings From a Haunted House

images (20)What if you decided to build a haunted house? What if you knew that you were uniquely talented to scare the bejesus out of your neighbors? What if all your friends had the same opinion of you? What if your talented friends wanted to get involved in the project?

What if your haunted house had a specific theme? What if that theme had rarely been exploited in the past? What if you not only had a theme, but you were hell bent on telling a compelling story? What if the story was so good that could turn your haunted house into a movie? What if you wrote the story before beginning to design the experience?

What if you viewed your haunted house as its own self-contained world of horror? What if you viewed the whole attraction as a hellish experience for your guests? What if your guests became totally immersed in your world? What if they felt as though they were stepping into a Stephen King novel?

What if you exploited the senses to their fullest in your haunted house? What if you decided to incorporate four, even all five senses in the experience? What if the lighting was theatrical in quality and interactive in nature? What if the light shifted as the story progressed?

What if your guests were greeted with a beverage tied to the story? What if the sound was immersive? What if accompanying music set the tone for the storytelling? What if sound effects rose and fell in a cacophony or ordered chaos? What if your characters each had their own unique voice? What if bits of dialogue helped flesh out the telling?

What if certain items were designed to be touched? What if jets of air gave the impression that something unseen was touching your guests? What if your actors used lighting, sound and touch to their greatest effect?

What if it smelled like a haunted house? What if the story included fire and the room reeked of burning material? What if the distinct smell of perfume fleshed out one of your characters? What if you used her smell – and her unique voice – to later imply that the same character was behind a closed door?

What if someone explained that surprise is a random startling where suspense intensifies surprise because of the building anticipation? What if you were determined to use suspense instead of the standard cheap thrills?

What if you decided not to use graphic blood and guts scenes? What if all the horror was implied? What if you used humor to balance the intensity? What if one moment, guests were laughing and the next terrified?

What if you decided against the familiar hockey masks for costumes? What if you knew exactly where to find custom masks for your characters? What if the clothing was custom and uniquely designed for your story? What if your actors all had stage experience? What if you directed them with the flare of a Hollywood director?

What if everyone tied to the project wanted this to be a haunted house like no other? What if the guests left the building muttering, “Wow”? What if they left with a satisfied smile on their faces? What if at the end of the night, you did the same.