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zombieman

HHN 28: Background and Behind the scenes info you probably didn't know

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Member itsabee has some most excellent tidbits to share.  This looks like a great place to collect them!

 

If anyone else has behind the scenes or backstory to share, please do.  Perhaps you are a scareactor and were given character backstory for motivation?

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Hi! My name is Abby, and my boyfriend Jake was a member of the reserve cast this year. His roommate Ben was hard cast in The Harvest, Ben’s brother Nathan was in Vamp ‘85,  and Jake’s friend Sara was the green outfit Trisha White. Beyond that, he knows a handful of other people on some level, mostly from being in Ash vs. Evil Dead with them last year. Because of both Jake and the people he knows, I have a little information that one might not think about on the surface!!

 

So I’m copy/pasting this from a couple different areas, but here’s a summary of things that I’ve talked about from an insider’s perspective:

 

-In Seeds of Extinction, you’ve probably seen the Blooms - there are three of them, and they are vine-covered creatures with colorful flower-esque detailing on the top of their heads. The stage direction is intended to be that they hold their leafy arm up in front of their face, which essentially looks like a dab, and then rapidly uncover it to reveal the toothy, spiny mouth of the creature, hence the “blooming.” It’s very hard to see in the dark and rapidness of the scare and not all scareactors do it.

 

-Carnival Gravyard and Scary Tales share a breakroom, so it’s not uncommon to see the falling clown from Carnival interacting with the Scary Tales characters during cast changes since he stays in character (will post a photo of the clown swooshing the witch’s cape sometime)! Poltergeist and Stranger Things also share a room, so he got to see the kids (all women) just hanging out.

 

-The giant skull demon head that lights up and slightly moves in Poltergeist is a full-body harness that is very rigorous to get into. Jake didn’t actually get to see it in action, as he was one of the skull demons later in the house, but he did get to see the harness during one of his returns to set.

 

-The human characters of Twisted Tradition represent tropes of the horror genre - white dress is supposed to be the “virgin,” for example. The flashlights they hold have the ability to flicker, and that light flickering is the cue for a small mini-show in which the pumpkin-human hybrids in the area surround and “possess” the human victim(s). Jake wasn’t officially taught the lore, as he is reserve, but his stage direction and fellow actors told him that the procedure is based on the story, as the rotting pumpkins need human hosts to inhabit so they don’t rot away.

 

-This isn’t lore or behind the scenes, but The Harvest deals with some of, if not THE, worst guest behavior in the park. Since everyone goes through that zone to get to Stranger Things, whereas Killer Klowns is a little out of the way, guests that don’t even care for the zones or the actors still show up and act just any way they please. Hitting, provoking, yelling at, heckling, and purposefully getting in the way of actors has been so, so prevalent all season. Ben is a staff-carrying creature (if you have seen the one that performs very large leaps and bounds toward guests that seem inhuman over on the Stranger Things side, that’s him!!), and too often do guests step in front of him or his staff, or attempt to touch/take it from him. They’re just rude. It sucks.

 

-Towards the end of the season, the show directors disclosed to the reserves that it would be very rare for them to ever be cast on a street. This was a big year for actors dropping out halfway through, so those boo holes, especially the key roles, in the houses had to be filled in order to keep the whole thing afloat. Jake’s last night there was an exception, though, as he was given the role of one of the Chomps (half-human, half-pumpkin with the half mask head, pointed nose, and underbite pumpkin seed teeth) in Twisted Tradition. A girl who had been hard cast in The Harvest was permanently relocated to the primary, featured girl in Sorority Sacrifice as of October 21st because that role had to be filled.

 

-Oh! And obviously almost all Sams are women! An older, very short lady that was in Jake’s house last year, maybe in her late 40s, is a reserve who is frequently cast as Sam. Maskless Sam’s headpiece is very painful, and the sheets Sams on either side of the vomit/sheet ghost scene in ToT is very difficult as there is very limited visibility. The Sams in that room are not choosing victims to scare, because they can’t see them at all. It’s completely random.

 

-Even with the women thing, though, the vampire boy in ToT is played by a male, at least in one cast! He just happens to be super short!

 

If you have any specific questions about any houses or zones, hit me up in this thread! I know a lot of things I can still talk about, and I personally know scareactors in almost every zone now!!

Edited by itsabee
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I got asked if I could talk about the zones!!!

 

-General knowledge, but the klowns adore the theme song and WILL dance with you if they see you getting into it! It’s incredibly cute!

 

-All of the klowns, as well as the chainsaw hordes and the cameraman in Vamp, are called fitness-trained roles; you have to go through a specific set of physical tests to verify that you can lift or operate possibly heavy equipment or costumes. This means that not every reserve can take on one of these roles, and I’ve seen a Trisha without a cameraman before.

 

-The flying witch in Scary Tales is actually the first female stunt role ever at HHN!! Also, the harness leaves pretty painful bruises, unsurprisingly.

 

-The motorcyclist in Vamp is a role that can only be done by motorcycle professionals with a public history of performance. His crew, a group of maybe three of four (including Nathan, who is in my profile picture), are known as the motorcycle escorts, and their job is primarily to keep guests from messing with the driver.

 

-Unsure if this was improv or show direction, but a couple of the vamps AND victims in Vamp ‘85 turned to attempt to dismantle Trisha’s van near the end of the season. It wasn’t uncommon to see a group, usually led by “the mixtape guy” Hunter, try to take the tires off the car so she couldn’t leave. There’s also a speaker mounted on the window of the car that plays a prerecorded track of a newscast with Trisha, which I would love to get my hands on in its entirety!!

 

-This is public knowledge if you stuck around long enough, but the Monkey Mayhem monkeys of Chucky attracted not only huge crowds, but Good Guy workers and other toys as well. The monkeys loved crowd participation, and they put on a little show for the crowd by having one jump on the other’s back and do battle with a doll (actress) on a Good Guy’s back!! It was totally possible to spend a whole set just over with the monkeys with how much they seemed to love improv and games.

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2 minutes ago, themazethinker said:

was there any ideas that were gonna be put into the zones but were scrapped?

As far as we all know, not really. It’s all just either stuff they fully intended and continued to use, or stuff that came and went before the public could really get wind of it. The Harvest’s costumes have changed many, many times from the beginning of the event, from gillie suits of hay to black screen masks to button eyes to skulls, the latter two as seen at the end of the run, but that’s all as far as I know.

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I remember with CGY they said that each character "had his or her own backstory." Do you know any of them? Seems like that house had a lot of lore that didn't see the light of day.

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23 hours ago, OhHaiInternet95 said:

I remember with CGY they said that each character "had his or her own backstory." Do you know any of them? Seems like that house had a lot of lore that didn't see the light of day.

I have NO idea. Jake wasn’t in/didn’t know anyone in CGY, and all my information goes through him. All I know about that house is kind of base level. :/ I’ll try to find someone who does know things and learn more, though!! I really want to know more about Ernest Lee and the carnie with the pistol and bowler hat.

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 I was also reserves during the first two weeks. 
 I was in Vamp 85 once, Slaughter Once and Dead exposure once then hard cast in Carnival Graveyard. 
 Next year, I will hopefully be reserves full run due to the fact of my schedule is mess up. 

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On 11/19/2018 at 1:06 PM, littlegreenghouls said:

 I was also reserves during the first two weeks. 
 I was in Vamp 85 once, Slaughter Once and Dead exposure once then hard cast in Carnival Graveyard. 
 Next year, I will hopefully be reserves full run due to the fact of my schedule is mess up. 

Who were you in Carnival Graveyard, if that’s okay? There’s so much confusion about the lore of those characters and that house, and if you had any input, that’d be awesome!!

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1 hour ago, pg1287 said:

No clue how true this is or not, but someone I know that was a scareactor told me that they, as well as teams in several other houses, were being told to tone down their scares toward the beginning of the event. This was presumably to make Stranger Things stand out more from some of the other highly rated houses (Poltergeist, Dead Exposure, etc.)  

Stand out? Huh? Wouldn't that have the opposite effect? God, I'm so sick of having to dumb everything down to the younger crowds. SMDH.

Edited by OhHaiInternet95

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1 hour ago, pg1287 said:

No clue how true this is or not, but someone I know that was a scareactor told me that they, as well as teams in several other houses, were being told to tone down their scares toward the beginning of the event. This was presumably to make Stranger Things stand out more from some of the other highly rated houses (Poltergeist, Dead Exposure, etc.)  

I'm asking some managers about this, but I think this a misunderstanding. Part of the direction process at the beginning of the first couple of weeks is teaching scareactors 1) what their scare is supposed to be and 2) maximizing guests flow. Scareactors test their limits when they first start (especially rookies), and sometimes try things that slow up the house or are just completely unsafe.

 

In Nightingales on opening night, one Nurse was laying down in her boohole, scaring from the ground. It was a quality scare, coming from an expected level. It also wasn't the built scare, and put her face at ground-level for asshole who wanted to kick her in or step on her face. As soon as the directors saw it, they told her to stand up. Technically, that was "toning down a scare" but it was right thing to do.

 

Scareactors blocking the guests' path, cornering them, scaring "back" all make a more intense experience. It also increases waits and can put scareactors in unsafe situations. Directors and managers will put the kibosh on that quick (especially on busy nights), but it's because it actually improves the overall quality of the event. I've have my scares "toned down" several times.

 

The idea that Universal would "sabotage" other houses is asinine. They have the HotY accolade (an imaginary award that actually is NOT based on any quantitative metrics), which they can use to leverage returns and Stranger Things, of all houses, didn't need any help to "improve" it's popularity. This feels like a rumor started by someone who doesn't understand the bigger picture of the event.

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4 minutes ago, zombieman said:

Do we know who won HotY?

Stranger Things. TBH, the actors deserved it from how many extra hours they had to work.

Edited by OhHaiInternet95

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My hat's off to the actors that played the face roles in Stranger Things.  Most of them had no scare roles - they were just there, lip syncing the same 5 second monologue for 45 minutes at a stretch.  With endless people getting in their face, trying to get them out of character, etc.  They were simply breathing animatronics.  I would go nuts.  At least with a scare role, you get to do something. 

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