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Legacy

Scareactor Safety, Abuse, and the Future of Horror Nights

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In light of a difficult year for scareactors and an unprecedented amount of publicity regarding (what was) the secret crucible of scareactor abuse, it's time to discuss.

While horror stories are welcome, I advise against revealing too much if you are still an active scareactor. The big question is how does Universal fix it (if it can be fixed)?

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I don't think it'll be fixed. Mostly due to money loss and shockingly peoples attitudes towards the problem is the problem.

There's a lot of "if you don't like it don't do it; being sexually harassed, consistently harassed, hit, punched, kicked, so forth is part of the job" Honestly these people who have that approach are a huge chunk of the problem in my eyes. Yes there's risk to the job as any haunt. But it's kind of silly to compare UniOrl to any old haunt. How many people do they let into the gate? I don't know but whatever the number is it seems too much sometimes. Just reading actors just say "if you can't take it don't do it" bothers me on the sidelines. The environment should be as safe as possible to keep up with the times of more and more people having less manners and respect towards others. Changing something to make it even slightly more safer should be a good thing. Refusing to accept that things are looking grime and saying "it's always like this, deal with it" Does nothing for anyone. It reduces morale and honestly hypothetically if I was a scare actor and I had been harassed or something and told a fellow actor and all they had to say was "Don't like it? Leave." I would probably quit because of the actors attitude about the issue rather than the issue itself. I wouldn't want to work with someone with such an outlook about a problem I had just experienced.

Any type of harassment violent, sexual or not is all bad. As such the mentality to just deal with it or leave should go out the door. Be more sympathetic towards your fellow actors if you are an actor reading this with that very mindset. Help them, console them if they are having a hard time and no one can do anything about it. GIVE THEM A REASON TO STAY. Offer to scare with them or whatever you think will help them out. Don't be a jerk about it because you've been an actor longer or whatever. 1 year or 5 years it's really irrelevant in the end. People want to do the best they can and be as safe as they can. If they are new, be the bigger person and step up to help. If they aren't new but are experiencing problems they haven't faced before just remind them what they have been doing all these years and to not give up. 

My very personal thoughts about that. (I'm experienced in customer service but I also am very stickler on workplace morale and how we treat our fellow co-workers. Respecting and helping co-workers is a big thing with me.)

As for what Universal can do. Not much. They get too much money on alcohol sales. The only reasonable thing to do is to train the actors more  and possibly put more warning signs up about the rules in more prominent locations to where you'll have to be oblivious or blind to miss at that point.. I don't know what kind of training they get and if it includes how to spot a drunk, angry, or up to no good facial expression. I'm around a lot of people at work dealing with customer service, people have distinct facial expressions and body language you can train to pick up on to kind of gauge if there'll be a problem with them or not.

18+ is a no go as well. I've seen less than a year old babies at the event which is mind boggling because of the noise levels and the smokers but that's not my parenting call. 18+ would just open doors for people who normally keep their composure due to there still being kids around to kind of let loose more because there is no kids. I fear for an "oh this is an adult only even I'm an adult and can do what I want" mindset. Plus even though there are scared kids at the event I'm sure; there's also still might be kids/teens who actually like horror and halloween or who are on vacation and their parents aren't going to leave them alone in a hotel room for the night (I sure wouldn't). No point to ruin it for them and their families. 

There isn't an immediate fix though. But gee it's the last week! I was really looking forward to having some fun on Sunday night so hopefully things will still be rolling as normal. 

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I'm one of those "It's part of the job" apologist myself. I admit that.

But a haunt event PURPOSELY dehumanizes its actors and aggressively makes their guests uncomfortable. That's the whole point. Unless it's a victim, no scareactor should be seen as a person. They're monsters. No guest should be comfortable. 

A lot of the abuse, I think, comes from heightened fight-or-flight responses from people who are actually so terrified of being scared, they act out aggressively in an attempt to prevent it. THAT feeling, the feeling that they have somehow beaten the monster, is actually why the do what they do. You see in the desperate look of "Did you see what I just did" on their faces when they look at their buddies for approval. But scareactors have to understand and expect that. Sadly, many don't.

So what do you do? While devising team-ups can be done (somewhat) in the streets, doing so in houses is much more difficult. While you can have multiple scareactors in every room, the actual flow of scare requires blind corners and some isolation. Altering that significantly, blocking off the scares or distancing them for actor safety would severely impacted how scary the event actually is. 

Scaring is a crucible. It sucks, and hurts, and can be a mentally and physically exhausting experience that you question doing everyday. But many do it because they're enthralled with getting the perfect scare. BEING the monster is why you scare. Eventually, though, everyone will want to be human again. And some scareactors never wanted to be monsters at all, they only think the do.

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Some of these instances are, like Legacy said, out of fear. If it's an accident like that, and you can see the person didn't mean to harm the actor and was acting out of reflex, then it's understandable. But to SPIT into someone's face, yell sexual comments at the female actors, and overall just be a dick, is completely inexcusable, no matter the job description. And there's nothing anyone can do to stop that from happening, because these people, even sober, are just assholes, and you can't fix that problem by stripping zones or making the event dry. As an actor, it's definitely something you'd have to expect and accept would happen, but I can't justify some of the actions towards actors by saying that. 

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See one of the things I actually do not understand is why is acting out on reflex actually ok?

The entire event is people in your face, in your face, jumping out, screaming, loud noises. That is what you paid to experience. If your reaction is anything more than a jump scream and restrained moderate chicken arm flail then you really shouldn't be at the event. If you react punch one person; who's to say you don't serial react punch 15? Do they keep tabs all across the park on who punches and how many? I doubt they have that good of a communication system. To know if that one guy who punched someone at Run, also punched someone at Insidious and again in say Icons. Who knows.

It's the nature of the event. It's literally what you paid to experience, I'm just going to go out on a whim and assume if you're able throw a punch that is strong enough to do any harm to the recipient then you've lived in your body plenty long enough to know and understand how you react in these situations by this point in your life, you shouldn't be just now figuring out that oh you throw punches when "scared" at the age of 30 while attending a completely fake halloween event that isn't actually real...  

I saw a guy once shoulder bumped into another guys girlfriend in a crowded zone and kept walking purely accidental no big deal. The girls guy turned around and got all huffy and started walking after the guy until the girl pulled him back to keep walking in the other direction. I just couldn't help but imagine what the rest of the night was like for him. 

Edited by MissBA
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Anyone who is actually scared at an event like HHN probably shouldn't be attending.  I'm not talking about a startle or jump reflex but rather being actually scared.  

Of course those chain-less chainsaws and pennies in a tin can being vigorously shaken, well, they are indeed pretty terrifying.  Not so much as those amazing movie projections in Jason Vs. Freddy or those zombies in the hot tubs, but, none the less.  

Seriously?  It's fucking fake and if you're truly scared or terrified then you must have a hard time making it through life.

I think a large part of the problem lies with the company who's bottom line is dollars.  The event is flat out over sold and the alcohol is a bit excessive.  And, trust me, I enjoy a drink or two at HHN, but do we really need alcohol carts *in* every line?  

Edited by ThreeCircles
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The environment should be as safe as possible to keep up with the times of more and more people having less manners and respect towards others.

Can you quantify that in any way? If not, it's a nonsense statement.

It reduces morale and honestly hypothetically if I was a scare actor and I had been harassed or something and told a fellow actor and all they had to say was "Don't like it? Leave." I would probably quit because of the actors attitude about the issue rather than the issue itself. I wouldn't want to work with someone with such an outlook about a problem I had just experienced.

You know what you're getting into. If someone doesn't want that to happen then don't sign up.

Help them, console them if they are having a hard time and no one can do anything about it. GIVE THEM A REASON TO STAY.

It's not common considering the number of times the scareactors are passed by guests during the event. Rare.

See one of the things I actually do not understand is why is acting out on reflex actually ok?

Because it's a reflex.

Anyone who is actually scared at an event like HHN probably shouldn't be attending. 

99% of people who are scared don't react in a bad way. Bad logic.

I think a large part of the problem lies with the company who's bottom line is dollars.  The event is flat out over sold and the alcohol is a bit excessive.  And, trust me, I enjoy a drink or two at HHN, but do we really need alcohol carts *in* every line? 

Profit is a driving force behind any corporation. HHN started because they wanted to increase off-season revenue. Profits allow the event to exist. It is not oversold because it doesn't exceed park capacity. Alcohol stand availability is convenience, not everyone who drinks causes issues, not every drinks the same amount, etc. Yes, we need it in every line.

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It will get fixed the same way Hollywood "fixed" the Bill & Ted show and the Purge Auctioneer.  We see what happens there when someone's feelings get hurt.

A visitor to the Orlando event will be severely injured at some point and Corporate will not be able to keep the incident under wraps.  If the media decides to take it public and talk about drunks at the event, Universal will finally take action.  And I'm not alluding to Hollywood to suggest that Universal will cancel the event.  I'm saying that they will react in a drastic manner.  By making the event dry like Hollywood's, or enforcing a drink limit, or actually removing unruly people from the event rather than making paper threats.  We know that hundreds of complaints are lodged at GR every night and they are all sent to the circular file...

It's not a question of "if" this will happen.  It's only a question of "when".

 

 

 

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My mom got mad cause the actors in the scarezone kept getting too close to her she had to tell one actor don't to that cause they were getting right in her face. I honestly don't mind as long as they don't touch me. If they get too close I put my hand up and tell them woah way too close there buddy.

Edited by Johnnyawesomev1

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