At after 4 in the morning I've just come back from a really shitty haunted house/hayride. For the money we spent and time we waited in 40 degree weather, with some rain, it should've been a lot better.
Not that I wasn't expecting what we got. Unenthusiastic actors, bad makeup, cheap effects, overpriced coffee and hot chocolate, people's brats running all over the place... all leading up to a bumpy 10-minute ride with more bad actors and predictable tricks. Then the predictable aftermath: disappointment, a drive back to so-and-so's house, more coffee, disappointed re-caps, and a drive home.
The problem is everything's too half-assed and family-friendly to be genuine. Someone needs to set up a serious, quality, 21-and-over Halloween spook fest the likes of which don't include glow in the dark paint and disgruntled teenagers sitting in corners. There are two simple avenues:
1. The Real Fucking Thing.
Forget farm markets and fire halls. You want a real haunted house? There are some ground rules. First, 21-and-over. Period. Family friendly is an umbrella term that encompasses everything else - bad effects, bad lighting, cheap scares, stupid cliches, etc. Things that might scare a 5 year old does not a good time make.
Next, if you want quality, pick a venue where Halloween is your business. Rent a fucking building. Deck out your barn instead of making people wait out there for less than half the size in "haunted house". There are morons the country over that go over the top for the shitty, over-commercialized holiday of Christmas, why the hell not Samhain??
2. Make Being a Failure Your Business.
While at this place tonight where the scariest thing was the "alcohol free" sign, I came up with a neat idea. I was reminded of that Simpsons episode where Bart and Lisa go on a "haunted" coaster ride but everything was lame and shoddily-made. A coffin would pop open to reveal a spring. The scream effects tape could be heard rewinding. A ghost dropping down was made of toilet paper. So then I thought, why not create a venue where all the scares are purposely mediocre? "It may not scare ya, but you'll die laughin'!"
Broken Halloween props, shitty lighting, bad sets, lethargic actors, the whole deal. I could rummage through a bargain bin of shitty decor, charge one or two dollars for my (lack of) effort, and make bank on the idea every year, believe me. Plenty of shnooks spend a fortune on new and cheaply-made crap to try to make their homes and parties look interesting and fail miserably. And plenty of head-up-their-ass losers actually charge quite a bit for an experience you'll forget as soon as you walk out the door. At least if you're gonna suck, suck well.
Make it comedic. Make it epic. Like along the same lines as a comedy movie where the "funny" depends on your common sense telling you everything about the film is stupid and illogical. So bad it's good.
And yes, 6 of us are already putting this latter plan into action. 10/20/12 ^_^