Sometimes at Necrosis Valley, we are too clever by half. Though I really don’t know what that expression means, apparently, we are. There is an interesting “unspoken” in our history.
So, we’ve been at this since, what? 2007? Believe it or stuff it, but it took us FOUR years before we actually used a LIVE actor in our haunt (notwithstanding a human hotdog/hotdog vendor in the 2010 “Meats” haunt).
WHAT were we thinking???
Well, we were thinking we SOOOO clever. TOO clever (apparently by half, though the meaning still sails over my head).
If the Devil is in the details, where are the details if no one sees them? In the DEVIL?
In the early years, we focused on just how authentic and realistic we could be. As you know, we largely eschew store-bought props. I mean, seriously, how scary is a pumpkin that yells “Happy Halloween, Weirdo” when you walk past it? It’s rhetorical.
Early haunts featured some really cool, incredibly detailed props and decorations. There were actually human heads (fake ones…settle down), chunks of vertebrae, and fingers integrated into the carefully-crafted sausages that hung in the Meats haunt. But most people only remember the free hotdogs at the end. The “Ground Breaker” prop in the 2009 Cemetery haunt sported REAL dental prosthetics! No joke – dude had #legitteeth! Every last tombstone was hand-crafted with every crack, shadow, name, saying meticulously sculpted by Jeff, the artisan of the haunt. And the Meats haunt also included a tongue and cheek multi-language warning on the hopper of the human flesh grinder…SERIOUSLY? Don’t you get it? Why would their be a safety warning on a flesh grinder and why would it be in Spanish AND English?
But barely ANYONE noticed ANY of the details! Too clever for our own good…which apparently equals 50%.
In the 2012 Garrett Sanitarium haunt, NVH invited five high school students to play the role of “The Garrett Girls.” These half dead ladies took up posts in the Garrett playground and stole the damned show. Despite the fact that the haunt featured drop walls, a collapsing grandfather clock, a bleeding sink, and a withered corpse riding an animated wheelchair (hand built), the girls were the hit. They lurked in the bushes and wandered undetected up to guests, putting wet fear into the shorts of the unsuspecting.
Fools such as we. Actors…who’d have thunk it?
What did we learn? That the painstaking detail built into the prior haunts was wasted effort (by half, I assume). We realized no one saw HALF of the details. Details are not scary. PEOPLE are. Spiders don’t scare people. PEOPLE scare people! It was immediately clear that, while details can make a haunt pop and sizzle, scare actors can make a visitor piss and shiver. And THAT, my friends, is our new motivator.
Too clever by half.