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Well I wouldn't let Disney borrow any of my movies either. That would be weird. They can get their own movies.

Weird analogy aside, other haunts do on occasion get the rights to IPs. Even smaller ones like Sinister Point got the rights to Silent Hill before Universal did, so it clearly can and has been done. For the most part, it isn't. So if getting the rights can be done, and has been done, why don't most parks do it? Come on. You know somewhere in your heart that it's ridiculous to say that A&D just has to "copy paste" a movie into a live attraction with a constant flow of people. Is it just a matter of being insecure about putting down somebody's hard work so you lie to yourself and say it's easy?

If somebody likes or hates the event for the reasons they have, that's a matter of taste. A movie and a live attraction are two very different things, and translating the language of cinema (especially a movie like AWIL) into a live attraction and doing it right under the guidelines of the rights owners takes a lot of freaking work and talent. If it was as easy as getting the rights and "copy pasting" it, you would see more haunts doing it.

Edited by ferox

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I like IPs when they are done well. My favorite year (house wise) will always be 2007, a year of mostly IPs.
This year Evil Dead and American Werewolf are my absolute favorites. I Also love the Walking Dead this year too. I guess it depends, but there is nothing I love more than a really good IP house, I love that. But at the same time an IP house that sucks is more disappointing than an original house that sucks. I
Dont even know why, maybe it makes no sense but the disappointment from an IP house is a little bigger than from an original

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I think (and I could be wrong) it's because anything that is adapted from something else is judged twice. First as a product and second as an adaptation. Like how A Clockwork Orange and The Shining are pretty bad adaptations of the source material, but great movies.

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I actually get to see the houses and makeup in much more detail than a layman, considering that I'm able to examine them with lights on and during the creation process.

Trust me guys, it's not easy. And I would go so far as to say that the makeup and prosthetics work this year is actually more complex than most houses and streets have had in the past. While not all of the makeup is perfect, Evil Dead is a prime example: many, many of the actors have prosthetics that have to be slowly attached piece by piece, with some actors having literally almost their entire face covered in latex. They're also the first house to make such heavy use of colored contact lenses for the Deadite eyes.

The masks, at their worst, are no worse than what we've had in previous years. Many of them are manufactured to very tightly fit the actor's face, which allows them to actually move their facial muscles and even move the mouth when they speak, rather than being frozen in one expression. The Surgeon masks in CITW have very intricate detailing on them and are convincing even under full house lights.

The werewolves in AWIL are likewise some of the most complex puppets they've had, and I've had a chance to actually discuss their creation in more detail. They're built to the same standard in terms of durability as a permanent fixture (which is why they've stood up so well to abuse), and all of their range of motion comes from a single puppeteer with a single main control mechanism. I remember when people before the event were predicting that they would require as many as 5 people per puppet, and some have even mistaken the werewolves for costumed performers due to their fluidity.

To deny the amount of work put into the event is to deny that it takes any effort, and that's a line of thinking that betrays your lack of experience in the field. Perhaps if you started trying to make similar content yourself, you'd realize that it's NOT easy, and that even the "last minute houses" take more effort and money than you could imagine to put together. It's even more difficult with an IP, as you need to carefully search for or manufacture props, set dressing, and costumes and meticulously research the property to allow for a faithful reproduction. Copy+Paste may be easy on a computer, but it can be mindbogglingly difficult to do it with a live action performance.

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The fact that they think TWD is good enough to even have a house at HHN really makes me laugh honestly. Whoever thought that idea was good needs to be fired. In fact, everyone whos on marketing needs to take a look at the Art of the Scare doc that the travel channel did and educate themselves on what HHN was.

#1 show in the (fairly large) target demographic. Not #1 genre show, not #1 cable show, #1 most-watched show. You run a theme park and you pass up a chance to exploit your existing rights to the IP? That's what gets you fired in the real world.

You don't have to like the show--it's extremely uneven for me--but you do have to recognize the general public eats it up with a spoon. To the vast majority of Americans right now, TWD is "horror." HHN isn't a horror con like Spooky Empire--it can't limit its appeal to a tiny subset of hard core fans. And if all the tickets sold to TWD fans mean extra money for the designers to make their pet AWiL house they've dreamed of for years, all the better. (Maybe even some of those TWD fans will discover AWiL the movie now.) But you don't build any event the size of HHN without catering to the masses.

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"Hey, boss, I was thinking that you know how TWD is the most popular show on tv right now...I think the the popularity of the show could bring a lot of people into the park and sell merch. There's a lot of scenes that could translate well into a live attraction and..."

"HA HA HA! Of course not! We don't care about how many people it will bring and merch it will sell, our main focus is to please a handful of whiny self important troo fanz on the horror night nightmares forum! YOU ARE FIRED. GET OUT!"

"Wait...but...it's the most popular thing in horror and..."

"Don't you get it? A haunted event at one of the world's most famous theme parks is no place for mainstream appeal. Didn't you read that thread where they whined about how the event was too popular? The last thing we want at our event is popularity, we need to rectify this. Yes, we won't make as much money. Yes, this will mean a lower budget for the houses this year. But what's really important is that a handful of terminally negative forum posters get what they want. Being voted the best haunt of the year in 2012 by our fans means nothing if Goo doesn't give it his seal of approval!"

Edited by ferox
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Perhaps if you started trying to make similar content yourself, you'd realize that it's NOT easy, and that even the "last minute houses" take more effort and money than you could imagine to put together.

A Freaking MEN. i have built several houses myself. I do it on the super cheap and it has costed me (personally) upwards of 1500 dollars. Which is no where a detailed. Not to mention the manpower it takes to create these things.

For example, I'm building the Saws & Steam facade. Just the facade this year (which I will add to in subsequent years).

I have the top sign built mostly:

2z7r19d.jpg

Original for comparison:

6208717633_c48144484d_z.jpg

The thing is to scale and is massive at nearly 8 foot long. I personally have 12 hours invested so far (with the sign and the audio) and that is just some wood and audio files. I anticipate 30+ hours for the whole facade. Luckliy I have most of the wood but $300.00 + dollars for the facade alone.

It is a LOT of work and money. I cannot fathom how much it costs in both time and effort to make a fully function house to the cablibur that Universal does. My finished version may have 4 rooms in the next four years.

But it does take lots of effort. Then to force a movie to fit a house, make sense, all the special effects, custom riggins, costumes, makeups... It is insane.

there is a reason why other haunts can't touch the level of quality and some that do (and go beyond) but have one long house.

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A Freaking MEN. i have built several houses myself. I do it on the super cheap and it has costed me (personally) upwards of 1500 dollars. Which is no where a detailed. Not to mention the manpower it takes to create these things.

For example, I'm building the Saws & Steam facade. Just the facade this year (which I will add to in subsequent years).

I have the top sign built mostly:

2z7r19d.jpg

Original for comparison:

6208717633_c48144484d_z.jpg

The thing is to scale and is massive at nearly 8 foot long. I personally have 12 hours invested so far (with the sign and the audio) and that is just some wood and audio files. I anticipate 30+ hours for the whole facade. Luckliy I have most of the wood but $300.00 + dollars for the facade alone.

It is a LOT of work and money. I cannot fathom how much it costs in both time and effort to make a fully function house to the cablibur that Universal does. My finished version may have 4 rooms in the next four years.

But it does take lots of effort. Then to force a movie to fit a house, make sense, all the special effects, custom riggins, costumes, makeups... It is insane.

there is a reason why other haunts can't touch the level of quality and some that do (and go beyond) but have one long house.

ha... I have no memory if this house having that on top... that's pretty cool.

About people like us making these types of haunts... I don't know, I don't think it can be compared since you know Universal is a movie studio after all....

Edited by LV-426

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I agree that the mediocre endeavors of someone who can only work on a facade 1-2 hours a day on average with a minuscule budget does not compare.

I work for free. I have zero overhead and I don't require permits. I don't have subcontractors or any help of any kind. I'm not negotiating Intellectual properties or dealing with marketing.

I know they can out produce. But that is the point. They do. You get sets in most houses that could be filmed in movies. Events like Howl O' Scream only try harder because Universal has dominated the market for decades. Quality should never be an issue. No one creates in the volume and quality that they do in such a short time.

Its a business. In order to offset the tremendous cost of building and staffing such a massive event you get higher prices, more generalized marketing, and more IPs that will draw in bigger crowds. You can't have it both ways. The event hit its sweet spot for the fans years ago but Comcast doesn't feel it paid the bills as such so they took steps increase their revenue... don't think that will ever change.

However, look what A&D does do for you. Unmasking the horror, the back stories, the icons, they TRY to do these things for you. They throw in little touches where they can. But they are stifled because they have to get it approved to sneeze. The sheer fact that they even do the games or anything at all is a testament that they care for the fans.

Yes Universal is a corporation. It will do what is best for it's interest. Be thankful there are the amazing creative types who do care what you think because Universal as a company is trying to entice the guy I heard about today who told his girlfriend Resident Evil was about the Alien movie franchise or the other one whose favorite house was "Evening Dead".

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My point was that saying something like ("Perhaps if you started trying to make similar content yourself, you'd realize that it's NOT easy, and that even the "last minute houses" take more effort and money than you could imagine to put together")

is not really fait\r because no one here has the kind of budget and resources than a movie studio/theme park has.

that's like people hating on Michael Bay and Michael Bay saying: " Perhaps if you started trying to make movies yourself, you'd realize that it's NOT easy"......

It is not really fair to the people that make haunts or haunted decorations. I know the amount of work HHN takes to make.... just saying.


I think some of the criticism for HHN is the fact that sometimes previews experiences are better. I guess sometimes people can compare recent HHN to older HHN and wonder why some of the newer stuff is not up to par. I am just speculating here, and people are probably very Spoiled in Orlando. I am sure HHN is way better than most haunts out there.

But I could see why someone would be disappointed when they see something and it is not as cool as stuff done before. There are things I personally miss like Queue videos. I don't know why those stopped. Yes we have some this year, but I still miss houses having them with every house every year. That is a tiny example of something they did before that has been declining.

Other people might be disappointed in something else, like the scarezones. (Which, I really don't understand why they can't stop the parade for a couple of months to give us good streets, I mean, is the Parade really more important than the streets at HHN? Does the parade bring in more guests than HHN? It just makes me wonder) I know the parade is new and people like it, But when it comes to HHN I don't see why they couldn't hold the parade for some time just to have a great HHN event.

So Like I Was saying, I could see some criticism coming from people comparing the event to itself. Not even comparing it to other haunts.... I dont know, I guess people are just spoiled or something...

the other problem I see is that HHN doesn't really have any competition besides HOS. So speaking about people being spoiled with the event, some people have never been to anything else. They have never experienced any other haunt, and Like I said earlier since HHN is all they know, they might hate on it because they don't appreciate the amount of work?

Edited by LV-426
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I think that, in this case, it's an example of somebody focusing so much on one specific kind of work that all other types of work and the craft that goes into them are ignored.

For example, if you really enjoy A&E's original mazes, you are probably going to focus on that kind of creativity. Making characters, backstories, scenes, settings, all of that.

Where this can go wrong is the deductive reasoning that if a certain type of creativity is absent, then no creativity must exist.

HHN originals are creative and require effort to make.
IP houses lack HHN originals.
Therefore, IP houses lack creativity and do not require effort.

It makes sense if you don't think about it.

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ferox, really? Creating original houses is comparatively far easier. I don't get why this isn't even a discussion. They show you in the movies/shows/games how a scene should look, then they recreate it. There is NOTHING to think about. They rip the source audio, lighting, etc and just pop it in. It takes a lot of work, sure, but it's NOT near the level that an original house takes where they have nothing to go off of.

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ferox, really? Creating original houses is comparatively far easier. I don't get why this isn't even a discussion. They show you in the movies/shows/games how a scene should look, then they recreate it. There is NOTHING to think about. They rip the source audio, lighting, etc and just pop it in. It takes a lot of work, sure, but it's NOT near the level that an original house takes where they have nothing to go off of.

Again, your opinion betrays your lack of experience. Surprise surprise, I actually work professionally in the entertainment industry! I've worked on theatre, film, and television projects. I've seen this stuff firsthand.

It's NOT a simple matter of "Just take all this stuff and throw it in there." Before you can even do anything, you need to spend hours of research on the source property to find good content to take, then even more hours and dozens or hundreds of photographs (or screenshots in the case of games and films/television shows) so you can properly reference every single detail down to the wallpaper and set dressing. Once you actually have your references, you need to find identical or close-to-identical props, set dressing, paint, wallpaper, and carpet to properly replicate the scenes. The cellar in Cabin in the Woods would have taken a rather ridiculous amount of time and effort to put together even if they had every prop already available in the on-site warehouses. If you can't just pull a prop from existing storage or requisition it from an off-site location (which takes paperwork that somebody needs to fill out), you need to go out shopping: sending out multiple employees (who all have to be paid for their time doing this) to scour the internet and stores for whatever they can find. If it can't be built, it has to be made: the mold alone for a rubber knife used in the event can cost a few hundred dollars to commission, with each knife costing as much as $70. It gets worse when props have to be carefully made and detailed, like Fornicus's puzzle sphere. The submachine gun for the Nazi in AWIL was recently replaced with an electric replica MP-40, which costs as much as $160 from my own research into the available props. It broke within one night. It got replaced because a guest ripped the silencer off the barrel of the old gun. Every prop that gets broken needs to be replaced, possibly at added cost.

Once you've finally spent weeks or months simply preparing, you can actually create more than just bare plywood walls. Hundreds of man hours are required to paint, paper, and carpet the sets. Even more are needed to carefully position every prop; not only do you need to get them in a setup as close to the original scene as is practical, you need to modify their position to suit changes to the set (the Donald Duck in AWIL was moved from the fireplace to a table, as the transformation scene lacks a fireplace altogether in the house) and to make them more visible. Many pieces of set dressing are nailed or glued down as well to keep drunks or clumsy guests from ripping off posters and knocking over barricades. Some pieces are modified to suit the actors as well: the first road barricade on the right of the finale in Resident Evil is secured to the ground and padded on the inside for zombies to run and fall over them to scare closer to the line.

And pretty much 0% of the lighting from the IP can actually be taken, as a haunted house isn't a movie. Films and TV shows have every single light very carefully placed for every single shot, with large light stands being shifted across the room for even minor changes in angle. You very, very rarely get to actually use existing lighting or keep the lights the same for each shot in the same room. Live performances can't get away with that, as they're viewed from multiple angles simultaneously and have to look good for everyone. Haunted houses have it worse, as guests are actively walking through the set, AND you need to lower the lighting enough to keep the scene appropriate for scares while keeping it high enough to see the detail. At a minimum, you need a trained electrician staff and lighting designer with many years of experience in the field who can set up every light appropriately and adjust them mere inches as needed (hope you know what a "fill light" is, or your house is boned). Then there's the more intricate detailing that flies right over your head: the finale in Resident Evil includes Nemesis shooting at the line, which involves static LED strobes and spinning spotlights, some of which have starburst patterns to imitate 90s video game effects when bullets hit the walls, all programmed into the computer and timed with millisecond precision to match the audio loop that it runs on.

For audio, an obscene amount of wiring connects the speakers, e-prompts, computers, and sometimes lighting into a large computerized system to ensure that every trigger works properly. Even just ripping the audio straight from the source material is harder than a layman would guess, and this is something that I HAVE done: if you can't get the masters handed to you on a platter by the creators (or are lucky enough to find someone who's done the job for you and put it online, which you may need to pay for anyway), you need to take the audio from the source material itself and try to isolate the exact bits that you want. Beyond simply chopping out a second or two of scare chords, you often need to clean it up if the source material isn't very high in quality and remove background noise that would make the trigger sound distorted or laughable. And again, it all goes into the computerized system (not dissimilar to the lighting effects, which are often connected to the sound) to millisecond precision that only a computer is capable of.

Regardless of whether creating an original house is harder on the designer's brains, it's no easier in the actual creation. You're only capable of discounting the amount of work it takes to create an IP house if you're ignorant of the process.

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And Cody gets a boo-buck.

Psh. I already got like, 5 of the real ones!

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Psh. I already got like, 5 of the real ones!

Well then, fine. I'll give it to someone who only tries scaring when they see the Stage Manager coming through the house.

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HOW ABOUT NO IPS? SERIOUSLY WHY DO YOU WANT UNORIGINAL CONTENT?

Serious question, why do you want to bring back icons where the things they were involved with were heavily IP-related? It's quite honestly contradicting to what you've been ragging on.

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Rip the lighting? Do you have any idea how movies or mazes are lit?

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Last night was COMPLETE HELL. Omfg. 2 hours to get into the park, 100+ wait for every house. Both Transformers and Rockit were broken down almost all night. Crowds had nothing to do but to go home. Ive been to HHN in the past years with some tough crowds, but NEVER like last night. My god, hopefully the end of the month isnt like that.

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Who thinks it's funny that people keep saying how, "Everyone is complaining on the Facebook page," when the official Facebook posts a video of guests saying it's the best year ever.

Obviously, some people seem to be enjoying it this year.

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I enjoyed that essay Cody. :)

I enjoyed making it! I've been working professionally in entertainment for several years now and unprofessionally for a few years before that, and I've done multiple jobs and worked with different departments. Unfortunately, a lot of laymen think that somehow everything is easy or that you can slap a bunch of crap together in a few hours and have it look like anything but bare plywood and people in street clothes shouting at you. "Easy" in relative terms is still harder than most people can imagine when it comes to building any piece of entertainment, haunted houses included. It's even harder when it's a corporation-run event and there's all sorts of legal kerfuffles and restrictions that nobody could ever untangle by themselves.

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Agreed the only difference between an IP and a "original" is the brainstoming process specific to coming up with new content. which, in all honesty is the easiest thing to do. Anyone can say "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if". Granted some people are better at visualizing and coming up with original content than others. But spitballing a concept is the easy part.

Doing the research, conceptualizing a finished product, and then realizing that product is the challenge. IPs are arguably much harder because, not only do the owners of the properties expect certian things, but people going through the house have higher expectations and expect certain things to appear. Sometimes these expectations force you down a much more complicated path as you are forced to work them out, while with original work you can just change what needs to be done.

Also, Live action and movie/TV are completely different animals. In real life, you don't have the luxury of forced perspective, 5 second blips, every shot having perfect lighting and perspective, and perfectly metered and leveled audio. People can look anywhere in a house and it needs to look and work right from any angle they see it. Plus, with movies it may be a one-off effect. A house has to repeat an effect 1000 times a night.

There is a certain level of pride that goes into creating anything. When people say what you did was "easy" or "lazy" you take offense (or you ignore that person) because you know what it took to make that thing a reality... and most people who say that are not in the position to judge how "easy" or "lazy" it is.

A "Fan" I think should logically understand that and, at the very least, appreciate the massive amount of creativity and effort that everyone involved.

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It's NOT a simple matter of "Just take all this stuff and throw it in there." Before you can even do anything, you need to spend hours of research on the source property to find good content to take, then even more hours and dozens or hundreds of photographs (or screenshots in the case of games and films/television shows) so you can properly reference every single detail down to the wallpaper and set dressing. Once you actually have your references, you need to find identical or close-to-identical props, set dressing, paint, wallpaper, and carpet to properly replicate the scenes.

Hours of research? I could have figured out how I wanted everything to look in AWIL within five minutes. The pacing of that house is absolutely common sense - I mean, they literally followed each notable part of the movie in order. When I went through CITW and AWIL, a lot of the set pieces / rooms were completely off and took a ton of liberties. So, they aren't creating to follow the original that precisely. So let's see, they have media of each room (pre-made in the movie), have an idea of where things should be (relatively - major pieces are about positioning, everything else is taken with liberty), and then they throw it together. For their original houses, the same process occurs AND there are even more details. Heck, take a look at the wine bottles in La Llorona and look at its label.

Why would they post a video of me saying, "A highly disappointing year - and if the trend continues, the event will continue to fall," ? Selectively choosing for promoting it.

From what I heard, only John Landis (sp) made sure the house was perfect. So they had three years to perfect it. Original content has a few months to imagine, design, visualize, construct, test, modify, and complete. Otherwise, most IPs (from what I know) are pretty hands off.

And FYI, Dead End, Legendary Truth, and a million other original houses are FAR more detailed than IPs. And, details do NOT make a haunt. Catacombs and the original Body Collectors worked EXTREMELY well. Why? The damn idea was brutal, it was adult, it was morbid. The execution of those ideas were flawless. I still hear the coughing of the dead in Catacombs. I still see the Body Collectors ripping up the humans. It was the STORY, THE IDEA, and (even if less detailed) the EXECUTION that nailed it.

Like I said a million times - this event is NOWHERE near what it used to be. It is not adult anymore, it is for teenagers. Scares are absolutely gone, atmosphere is gone, originality is basically gone, risk-taking is gone, marketing and cohesion are gone, smells are gone, scantily clad women or male scareactors talking trash are gone (eg: Hellgate Prison), scare zones are gone, even the parade (which I don't want back) is gone, scare actors actually talking to you instead of using triggers are gone, icons are gone, queue videos are gone, scare zone music that is memorable is gone [pro-tip: Midnight Syndicate / Nox Arcana are memorable soundscapes that fit. I couldn't tell you a single piece of music used this year besides Blue Moon], scareactors inviting you in or talking to you are gone, scares are completely obvious now, eerie commercials are gone (check out HHN 12/13 comercials versus today, night and day difference), website is gone, etc.

Edited by agalloch
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Hours of research? I could have figured out how I wanted everything to look in AWIL within five minutes.

I'm sorry everyone can't be as awesome as you.

And while I do agree that maybe it's not as free with the scares as it used to be (I.E you're "risktaking,) to flat out say that the event has no scares at all is bull. Maybe not for you, because apparently you're just impervious to everything. But half the stuff you're saying is opinion, as is what others (including myself.)

Opinions are great that way. Everyone is allowed to have them.

Edited by _Veritas_

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