|Your Rotten Hosts
|Plus Size Stripper Laura, Demon Mike, Zombie Vet Michelle and Redneck Zombie Bill
As many of
you know, last year my family held our first large home haunt at my home in Worcester MA. This year, we switched venues and
decided to have our 2004 haunt at my brother's home in Blackstone MA. Early on it became apparent that it would
take a concerted effort on behalf of my brother and I to make our vision a reality. Our first meeting and planning session
was held on August 8th. Over the next 3 months, we had many sleepless and/or long nights building and planning
the haunt. Our vision was about 4 times the size of our 2003 haunt. This included changing every room of my brother's house
into it's own separate horror theme. I figure the best way of sharing and passing along the details of our haunt would be
to give you a walk thru of each area starting with the front yard. Be sure to check out the pictures on pages 2 and 3 of the
site. The navigation bar is at the top on the leftside. Also, be sure to click on all the links as they will add to experience
of this site and be sure to have your speakers on. I added music for each page. Just a sampling of the soundtrack that we
used for the Haunt.
The Haunt Begins/ Our haunted yard and porch
entered the front yard they could hear the sounds of Midnight Syndicate and all of their ambient and atmosheric best
haunt music intercut with the sounds from Evil Dead saying “Join Us….Join Us”. I had wanted
to do some interesting fog effects and ended up making my very own fog vortex. This was created by setting up a fog machine
in front of a specially altered holiday image projector. I chose a blue light as I felt it gave an eerie glow. The effect
worked well and many people hadn’t a clue on how I achieved it. Simple but effective.
Here is a
link to see how you can achieve this effect and see some pics of the vortex in action.
As they progressed
up the path I had grave stones painted with floresent green paint as well as some home made zombie arms also with the
same green paint. In front of those I placed a blacklite to illuminate them and also to bring to life some cheese cloth ghosts that I created that were hanging in the trees with their cheesecloth whipping in the breeze.
The porch area had a green light bulb in the lamp to illuminate a sign on the door. The sign instructed guests to sign a guest
register to their left. The book was placed on a black table that held two jack o’lanterns (carved as oogie boogie and
the pumpkin king) and a shelf that supported a skull with cob webs. What our
guests did not see was that the shelf was actually a support for a curtain dressed in the same material as the rest of the
table which concealed one of the hosts. The book was just a distraction for said host to fling back the curtain and give out
a good scare. A boo-door of sorts. This worked very effectively as many people jumped and yelled after a scare was given.
This set a good tone to the fact that guests might want to stay on their toes.
|Ghouls and Ghosts Outside the Haunt
|Demon F.U.B.A.R. and Some Props in the Yard
|Our Boo Door
|Lurking Behind The Curtain Is Pure Evil!
the porch area, guests entered into the house. Their first sight was a sign stating “I’d turn back if I were you!”.
This was the main seating area of our home, which was normally the living room. To the right we constructed “St.
Teresa’s Cemetery”. Half the room was divided off by an old, dilapidated cemetery fence with a sign that
hanged crookedly. Amongst the half dozen tombstones, including a 4 foot gothic cross and thick, clinging fog (courtesy
of my home made fog chiller) was our beautiful flying crank ghost. If you are not familiar what this is, see this link;
early on that we wanted to get into some animatronic or pneumatic props and settled on building The Flying Crank Ghost. In
all, my brother did a fantastic job at building and setting up this beauty. I helped in the creation of the marionette, but
the actual work of the crank and building of the mechanics was all big bro. The ghost became the most obvious thing to
base this room and a story around. Michelle had purchased a Haunted portrait from Haunted Ventures .com.
Check it out
here under haunted portraits 1 and click on Granny Hazel to see the one we got ;
These portraits are
really effective at adding some subtle effects that people really liked and it gave us an actual person to base a story off
of for the Crank Ghost. We angled a light above the picture and people had to look twice to see if they saw right.
What we did
was create a backstory that our guests could read that explained more about “Hazel”, the women in the
picture and the ghost haunting our cemetery, and why she became the restless spirit that they saw in front of them.
Here is the
story that I wrote myself;
Story of Hazel De La Croix
It can be
said that it is a somber story, that of Hazel De la Croix. Hailing from France, Hazel set forth to America at the age of 20
in 1885 looking for a prosperous life with her new husband Guy. The happy couple settled in the town of Blackstone Massachusetts,
in the very house you entered tonight. Some 12 years after the joyous event of the birth of their first child, Francois in 1887, Hazel started to suspect her husband of being unfaithful. On a night just
like tonight and on this very date, Hazel followed her husband back from the house of the women she suspected Guy to be cheating.
Her plan was to beat her husband into the house, using the back door and position herself at the front entryway to confront
him. In a jealous rage, she grabbed her husband’s shotgun and waited for him to enter. Without reason or remorse, Hazel
pulled the trigger of the double barrel shotgun as soon as she heard the doorknob turn. As the smoke cleared, Hazel opened
the remains of the door to spy her 12 year old son, Francois , lying flat on the ground with a huge gaping wound in the center
of his chest. Poor innocent Francois was instantly killed and his shocked father stood by the driveway watching in disbelief.
Hazel in a fit of rage and anguish, ran to her husband and struck him on the head over and over with the shotgun. Hazel finished
the task by walking back into the house and failing to find more shells, she took the first thing that could strike a lethal
blow. Armed with a pair of scissors, she returned to Guy and thrust the scissors into her cheating husband’s head. As the result of the shotgun blast, the police came and found an insane Hazel clutching
the lifeless form of Francois. Asylum personnel were called in and Hazel was committed to The Shady Oaks Rest Home where she
remained until her release at the age of 85. The above photo was taken of her at the asylum on the day of her release. Some
say upon viewing this picture that in the right light, they swear to see her in a vicious, evil manner. Fateful as it may
be, this house stood vacant at the time she was released, so Hazel, recalling that horrible night some fifty one years before,
forced herself into the house. Tortured with the ghosts of her past and reliving the feelings of horror, Hazel was overcome
with grief. Using some rope that had previously been used to tie some bushes outside, Hazel made a noose and went about to
ending her miserable existence exactly where she killed her own dear Francois. All of the inhabitants of this house since
Hazel’s suicide say they have felt a certain presence in this house. One fueled by rage and insanity. Some even swear
to have seen a floating apparition in St Teresa’s cemetery behind this house, in the very section that Hazel was buried.
No one can say what this restless soul is capable of, even from beyond the grave.
Please note the HHN
(Halloween Horror Nights) reference “Shady Oaks Rest Home”. We also hung a noose in the entryway to help wrap
up the story. We hung black fabric all over the walls over the entertainment center to create an outdoor feel to the cemetery.
We completed the outdoors feel by putting real dried leaves over the cemetery floor and bringing in some branches and grass
tuffs. The main music source for the party was played in this room which was a grand total of 81/2 hours of Halloween themed
rock, techno, horror movie scores, Midnight Syndicate and movie and T.V sound bites cut in between. Overall, this room worked
out nicely and we felt that the Crank Ghost was a favorite of many guests. I know I could sit and watch her for hours. Once
again, these pictures just don't do her justice, but trust me, she is a thing of beauty and an excellent prop if you are interested
in building one yourself.
|Our Flying Crank Ghost
|Restless Spirit Hazel De La Croix
|Another Look at the Ghost
|Still Pictures Will Never Do it Justice
early on in the planning process, Michelle said that she would like to see something Egyptain this year with some
hieroglyphics and paintings. From there I got the idea of making it the whole hallway and have a mummy in there somewhere
too. After deciding to make separate themed areas, this only made sense. Bill had the plan to make the hallway about twice
the length and then we naturely had to do the ceiling and floor too. I took this project on and really got into hand painting
the hieroglyphs and all the paintings which took about 25 hours to complete. It was also very fun to make the mummy face,
hand and scarabs.The
outside walls of this hallway that could be seen in the haunted room described above were painted black. The important thing
that we were trying to do with this Mummy hallway was to extend what is a 8 foot hallway and make it 15 feet. We did this
by making false 8’ walls out of 2X4s and tacked on card board. Over the cardboard we placed a special wallpaper that
had a old tomb-like stone brick pattern on it. So we made in all 4 –8’ wall sections that I personally hand painted
Egyptian hieroglyphs, a 2 foot winged scarab, a 5 foot tall Anubis, and right out of the Mummy “death is only the beginning”
in hieroglyphs. I created life size scarabs (7 in total) out of clay and painted them with metallic gold and metallic blue
paint. They came out great and looked exactly like the ones in the film. The ceiling was of hanging burlap to create a constricting
feel and we hung the same burlap in strips on each entrance (haunted house style). We had a hanging flickering cauldron in
the corner of each entrance to give that firelight feel which was very effective. The floor was done in the same wallpaper
over cardboard to complete the tomb feel and I added a sand covered finish on the sides to help sell the indoor/outdoor tomb
feel. So with every tomb there has to be a mummy. So we felt the easiest way to have a mummy in a tight hallway was to have
him breaking out of a wall. We achieved this by making holes in the wall in two areas. In one hole I created a mummy face
and had him peering out with extremely lifelike eyes and a pissed off manner. The other hole had his hand reaching out just
above the guest’s heads. I rounded out the walls by have signs stating that if you touch Prince Imhotep or his scarabs
you would be eternally cursed! The other sign was from an Egyptologist that deciphered the heiroglyphs to read “BEWARE
OF THE CURSE”. The very last wall that would lead guests into the dining room was half covered in vines, leaves and
forest-like substances to help set up the next scene and help blend it all together.
|Part of Our Mummy Hallway
|Please Do Not Disturb Prince Imhotep
|5' Hand Painted Anubis
|Some Of My Art In the Mummy Hallway
As guests left the
Mummy hallway, they immediately saw the sign “Welcome to the historic village of Burkittsville 1824”. What was
our most effective prop from last year would be the center piece for our dining room. Past the sign guests saw amidst the
flashes of a strobe light, the Blair Witch in all her glory. She hung in the corner swaying slightly in the breeze of a well
placed fan. What my brother did was to create what you never saw in the films which was based of this artwork for the Blair
Witch Legend ;
The face was
very skull like with thick crown of branches on her head and sickly gray hair clinging to them. Among her skeletal hands were
sharp nails and the signature stick figures hanging on ropes from the fingers. Her red gown was flowing to the breeze just
above a forest floor complete with real dried leaves, twigs and pine needles. Branches and real trees finished the illusion
that you had entered the witch’s lair. More of the Blair Witch stick figures hung from the ceiling and poster boards
explaining the Blair Witch legend and the disappearances of the 3 Montgomery College students were hang on the walls. On a
table draped in black fabric we had a 4 foot toe pincher coffin that was used as a cooler for what we referred to as “death
potions” or beer for all you mortals. We had a blue light behind the coffin to help round out the ambience.
|Don't Let Her Put A Hex On You!
The Kitchen/ Party Hub
So, our initial idea for
the haunt was to have every room done up with a theme. After thinking about how every party seems to end up in the kitchen,
we re-thought this idea. The beauty of my brother’s house is that the kitchen in central to five doorways, thus making
a hub of sorts. What we wanted to do is to create a brighter, less scary kitchen atmosphere were people could converse with
relative ease and still be in a haunt. What we ended up doing was to create various posterboards that were somewhat interactive
IE; What is your favorite Horror Film? Where guests could write down their picks.
I created the board which featured a collage of color images from the very best spookfests I could think of. Another board
explained the rules to our small costume contest in spooky fonts and bloody drips and handprints. We also had assorted body
parts in small jars and bottles on a shelf covered in spider webs, a 12”or more diameter home made spider complete with
real hair and eight eyes dangling from the ceiling in a corner over the main food display. And to commemorate the recent World
Series victory of our beloved Boston Red Sox, I created a tombstone that sat in the kitchen announcing “Rest In Peace,
THE CURSE 1918-2004. It featured a Red Sox logo on the top and at the bottom, crossed out logos of the Angels, Yankees and
Cardinals. Many baseball fans appreciated the tombstone. While the party hosts were just happy that the Sox finished off the
Cards in under 5 games, because game 6 was scheduled for the night of the party. Whew!
The main food
was set up on the counter area and featured the following items;
Road Kill Chicken
Salad Sandwich- Chicken salad with BBQ sauce on finger roll
Sea Monster vs Attack
of the Killer Tomatoes- Tuna salad with slices of tomato on finger roll
and Swamp Grass Sandwich- Egg salad with watercress tea sandwiches
with Mustard Gas and Bee Venom- Honey mustard turkey wrap
and Brains- traditional baked beans with scrambled burger meat
Spud Salad- loaded potato salad of course
and Mutated Vegetable Salad- Pasta salad with an assortment of veggies
Fromage Fondue with Salty Skin Chips- Salsa cheese dip with ghost shaped tortilla chips
And as a prank
I purchased a latex pizza with a screaming face stretching out of the center, which I placed in a real pizza box with actual
fast food paper and all. Got a few laughs with this gag. Well worth the $9 I paid. We also had a punch that had ice hands
in it for a spooky effect. All the food was made by bro’s girlfriend Laura and sis Michelle.
the kitchen was a purple bulb and a green bulb. Bright, but not too bright.
Now on to
the real nice thing about the kitchen. As I mentioned earlier, there are a total of 4 entry ways leading out of the kitchen
(5 including the haunted room addressed earlier). We had a separate themed scene for each. I’ll discuss each here;
Bill and I discussed what fears we wanted to see exploited and he asked me what I thought. One film that has hit a nerve with
me ever since the age of 8 or so, is (go figure) The Exorcist. He laughed and we jotted the idea down, with no real thought
that it would become a reality. Well, big brother got thinking and figured that it might not be such a crazy thought afterall.
He came up with this great idea on how to have a possessed Regan levitating off the bed in his bedroom. Originally, she was
to be just sitting in bed with some padding on the bedposts and her arms strapped also. I had to see this to believe he could
make her levitate. He blew me away with his plan and it’s simplicity. I won’t give it away here (contact us it
you really want to know how to accomplish this), but after I saw the design drawing, I knew it would work and it would kick
ass! Our plan for completing the room and atmosphere was to have a traditional kids bedroom like in the film and mostly make
the bed the focus. We did this by having a light with purple bulb at the foot of the bed just below her. This caused a nice
bunch of shadows to form on the walls and ceiling. Attention to subtle details was the thing that made this room, along with
some audio effects, which I’ll touch on later. By subtle effects I mean, like a black upside down cross placed on the
wall to Regan’s right and a mirror to her left on a night side table that had the image of Captain Howdy in it. This
was a easy optical effect that got many responses. The audio that I mentioned earlier brought the whole thing together and
added a lot of life and shock. What we did was to have a discreetly hidden CD player with actual sound bites from the film
of the possessed Regan yelling and spouting off with her vulgar lines. We timed it so that there was a random space of
around 3 minutes to 7 minutes in between each sound bite so that people were caught off guard by the sometimes load retort.
Many people were shocked by the randomness and sudden colorful language. Very effective!
As a housekeeping sign, outside the room, we posted a sign stating : “Regan
MacNeil and Captain Howdy would appreciate if you did not smoke in the house. If you do so you will be Exorcised out of the
party” It was completed with pics from the film showing Regan vomiting and looking particularly evil.
|Please Note Captain Howdy In The Mirror
|The Power Of Christ Compels You!!!
|Side View Of Regan
Entry/ Alien Anal Probe
The next door , which was the back entrance, had a scene of a space alien standing over Cartman
(South Park) while he was anally probing him. Last year, Bill created the alien head, torso and arms. It came out really nice
and we wanted to utilize it again. Another thing we wanted to do is to create a scene that lightened things up a bit, kind
of some comic relief. Everything else up to this point was of a scary tone so we had to add some humor. Bill originally thought
about creating a human looking subject for the alien to probe, but a friend (thanks K) mentioned it would be the perfect spot
for Cartman. So after thinking about how we could do this, we figured it could be done and must people will recognize Cartman
too. Turns out that the Cartman prop came out so good that many people could not believe I made it from scratch. So, the scene
looked like this; upon looking in the doorway, guests saw the large head and skinny body of the alien intruder standing over
a screaming Cartman. Cartman's head being about the size of a basketball and a body with a propped up, naked butt
in the air receiving the “HoopaJoob” or anal probe for those of you not familiar with Chef’s colorful description.
We created the “Hoopajoob” by melding a suction tip from Michelle’s work (Vet’s ER) and some parts
from an aquarium pumping kit including some plastic tubing. It came together pretty easy and had some nasty looking sharp
parts on it and a very cool effect; two blinking LED lights on the handle, one yellow, one green. The whole rig went from
poor Cartman’s bottom up into the aliens hands and over his shoulder where the tubing mounted on the wall. The walls
were covered in aluminum foil to help reflect a green strobe light that we had in the room. To finish the scene we draped
the table that Cartman was on with blue operating room linens and I put a plasma globe on the table to give an alien-like
look. We also had a housekeeping sign outside this room stating that “failure
to place trash in the proper receptacles would result in an anal prop from Mr. Alien Intruder. And he will like that”
Overall; the scene was a big hit and did it’s job in lightening up things a bit.
|Anal Probes For All!
|Cartman and the Hoopajoob!
The Scarecrow Room
the kitchen to doorway #3 we have the evil scarecrow room. Last year, Bill’s costume was an evil scarecrow, so he thought
that it would be cool to use this costume and build a prop from it. It was actually the first major prop to be created too.
I believe it took about a week of on and off work by Bill and was completed on August 21st. It stands 8 feet all
and is a scary sight indeed.
The room consisted of four 6-7”cornstalks
hung in the doorway and into the room to create a cornfield look. In the middle of the display was the eight foot tall cross
and ol’ Mr. Scarecrow menacingly hanging. We placed a yellow light in the room for atmosphere and a black background
behind him with a full moon on it. The floor had moss and leaves on it to create an outdoor-like feel. The cool thing about
this prop is that it is the size of a man and it might just be a real person up there that is going to spring to life and
scare you. Once again a cool use of something from last year in a different way.
|Care To Enter His lair!
The last of
our scenes was the bathroom. It was probably assumed by most guests that the bathroom is off limits to scares and that
it is a “safe zone” of sorts. Not at this haunt baby! If fact, I wanted to catch them off guard and give them
the goriest of all the scenes here and we delivered. Last year, I purchased a life sized half eaten human head and torso from
the local Halloween outlet. It is an extremely gory and lifelike prop that was used sparingly last year and I wanted to use
him (nicknamed Edgar) in a major way this time. What I did was hang him and other assorted body parts (an arm, leg, hand,
rib cage and peeled away skin from a face) in the shower and have a murder scene complete with bloody walls and police tape.
Bill even went as far as to make a female head to add to the bunch and made it look like her skin was all peeled off the face.
I added a satanic twist to it by drawing a pentagram on the shower stall and lit two black candles on the ledge. I also
filled the tub with an inch of water and added red food color and some chuck-like red foam pieces that looked like guts. I
made all the blood from scratch and it sure looked like a real blood bath by the time I was finished!
Other things I added to this room were red light
bulbs and some funny zombie survival board that I made. I am a huge zombie movie fan and found these to be very funny reading.
Here is a link for the poster;
Click Here For The Zombie Warning Site
Another fear that we had discussed exploiting
was the fear of bugs. Bill (and Tony) had made the rather large, hairy spider in the kitchen, but I wanted
to make some subtle props for the bathroom. What I did was make 5 cockroaches out of clay and fishing line (for antennae)
and painted them a nasty brown color. I hung them on the walls across from the toilet and posted a sign saying “They’re
Creeping Up On You!!!” ala the film Creepshow. I was so surprised how many people noticed them and remarked
how nasty they were. Funny really, because these were somewhat last minute, nothing props that we threw together. Fun times!
|More Gore the Better!!!
We had some
really good costumes in the bunch. Here are some of the most memorable;
Monster and NE Patriots QB Tom Brady – All green clothes, face paint including hair and a home made wall scoreboard
complete with the score for the game 7 victory over the Yankees. Tom Brady was actually a very petite girl that stood maybe
We had two
really good hippies that won Honorable Mention in the costume contest.
and his Ho Ho Ho were the third place winners
(character from Titus)- including helmet with 6 real steak knives coming out the top. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a
picture of this contest winning costume.
and Sister Superior- Great catholic father and nun costumes
and Inside out- One woman had a fake ass on the front of her and a bra on her back. I believe her clothing was all inside
some crazy guy in tourist gear who kept asking people if they wanted to see his scary face. Hmmm….don’t ask me!
60’s Go-Go Dancer- the dancer was a guy.
and Cow that were very large inflated costumes that had their very own internal fans.
A Bald Vampire
and Bloody Devil.
A Surfer that
had been attacked by a shark, complete with missing arm.
A Stoner Scream
Killer- ala Scary Movie.
And of course
Laura- A Very
A Zombie Vet
And many others
which are too numerous to list here. Sorry if I left you out!
Post Haunt Thoughts and Notes
dust had settled and the goblins and demons were all gone, it can safely be said that this year’s Haunt kicked major
ass. Bill and I came thru with the props and Michelle and Laura did a fantastic job with the food to deliver a memorable home
haunt for us and our guests. It was a lot of work and effort, but it is very fun to do this each year. Our creative impulses
helped us expand and broaden our haunt horizons and we did so much more than we ever thought we were capable of. I now know
I am much more of an artist than I ever knew. Wonder what next year will bring. Who can really say . I will say that even
in the midst of working on this year’s props, Bill was saying he had ideas already for Home Haunt #3. Venue? Who knows,
maybe somewhere new?
This web site
was designed to help relive the haunt for those who were able to attend and to help give an idea of how out haunt
was for those who couldn't. I was only able to post pictures of the haunt this time, but I really wanted to post some video
too. Unfortunatly, our computer won't allow it right now, but I might post some later. I'll be sure to let you know when
I do. The pictures don't do the flying crank ghost justice (as well as half the props) and we don't have any pictures
of the fog vortex. Some of the best effects were captured on video though and hopefully I can post some soon.
A big thanks
to everyone that put up with us over that 3 month span and everyone that helped out with ideas and inspiration (you know who
you are). Special thanks to Amber Gentile for helping out with the contest prizes and Dave Magee for building the fabulous
coffin cooler. Special thanks
to Tony (Pvt. Joker) Karait for the help on the spider and the Boodoor.And I hope all of our family and friends who made
the descent into our HELL enjoyed our Haunt. Let us know what you thought and what you might like to see at future haunts.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A BIG shout-out
to all my buddies at Chainsaw Wolf
keep me haunting year round) as well as my buds on XBOX Live (hopefully this website will give you an ounce of understanding
to where ol’ F.U.B.A.R. went for three months).
F.U.B.A.R. aka Mike Damon, Bill Damon, Michelle Damon, Laura Magee
be sure to look at the pictures on
2 and 3.
Please get in touch with me with any comments or reactions to my site. You
can reach me at email@example.com