I admit it: I've got a talent for being creepy. I'm not sure if that's exclusively from my skeevy body proportions or the brain that's always been attached to it, but it is the case. I'm not saying that's the end-all be-all of my predispositions and inclinations, but it's an ever-present component that I can tap at will.
Now that October is finally here, Halloween approaches. I can tell by the electric tingly sensation in my brainstuff. It smells reassuringly like lit candles in unseen pumpkins, their presence only signaled by winds carrying whispering dried leaves. It energizes and inspires, and perhaps can provide a focus for any of my unharnessed creativity and industriousness.
So to celebrate this month, as a personal design challenge I ask of myself: If I was in the position to design a Professional Haunt, what would I do?
As a template, I shall use as an example Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights. It's always struck me as a For-Fans-By-Fans event, and I genuinely respect it for that. The event tends to gravitate toward established popular film properties and celebrity tie-ins in order to generate maximum appeal, so I shall incorporate this approach into my own exploration.
That noted, I do have a concept in mind, and I would coach the proposal to the theoretical Suits like this:
Okay, although the property upon which this spookhouse is based is obscure, what if I told you the celebrity connected with this property has well over two and a half million Twitter Followers?
Suits would say: Intriguing. Tell us more.
How about I mention this particular celebrity has supports a consumer demographic that ranges from preteens to senior citizens?
Suits would say: Bankable. Tell us more.
I will point out that this artist's least-selling record went Gold, six of his albums went Platinum, and that he's won three Grammys.
Suits would say: Would you just tell us the name already before we smack you?
And I would hold up my hands in a proclamatory gesture in some way that conveys revelation and hopefully not douchiness and declare: "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Nature Trail To Hell in 3-D."
The First Album I Ever Bought With Mine Own Monies!
Hell yes, seriously.
Give a listen and be stunned that no one has yet produced this as a Haunt.
Now, I'm not saying "Weird Al" doesn't make an effort to project a wholesome all-ages persona, but I am also deducing that there's a darkness there.
But will the diehard clientele that make up the core audience of Halloween haunts be receptive to Al as the source of inspiration? In essence: Is there Horror Cred for "Weird" Al?
Oh My Yes. He's been in a Rob Zombie movie, remember?
He's performed onstage with Alice Cooper, who is also a collaborator for a couple of spookshow venues, including both last year's and this year's Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood.
Director Eli Roth credits in a Tumblr post that Al is one of his "biggest influences."
Let that roll around in your mind a bit and consider the implications. Eli Roth considers "Weird Al" Yankovic to be one of his biggest influences. I should just raise my eyebrow in victory right now and wait for the nod of approval.
T H E D I S C L A I M E R S
Although this theoretical conceptual design for a spookhouse is based upon the "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Nature Trail to Hell in 3-D," as though it would be developed as a property for, say, Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights, this conceptual design study is neither endorsed nor funded by "Weird Al" Yankovic, his record label and affiliate companies, Universal Studios, or Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights.
The conceptual design presented within this blog is intended to be considered as such: that is, the initial development for presentation to the client to show the possibilities of the event. Value engineering is expected to be inevitable during the development process, but reasonable attempts to be sensible about the potential constructability are considered.
Alright, that's all very well and good, but Mr. Yankovic still holds the title to this Intellectual Property. What makes me presume I can recreationally toy with his creation?
Hey, no worries. I'm A Close Personal Friend of Al. See?
Proof that I am No Longer A Weasel-Faced Hunk of Slime.
Oh, wait. Crap. It expired over a generation ago. This could get messy after all.
Updates to this limited-run blog shall occur every weekday throughout October 2012, and will describe the walkthrough of this hypothetical spookhouse attraction. May you be amused and horrified at the same time. (Is there a word for that? Let me know if there is, I could really use it.)