As actors, we all search for new ideas and methods to scare the victims that go through our haunts. I came across an old article in HauntWorld magazine (Issue 3) by Ben Armstrong titled What’s Your Line that describes various methods that an actor can use to improve his skit. Reading this article sparked an idea for a post that many actors will find interesting . Here are some ideas to get your actors to improve their scares and they can always switch ideas up as needed.
- The Sharer: Wants to give the patrons something horrible they do not want. “Wanna pet my snake?” “Here. Take this. Take IT! TAKE IT! NOW!” “I want to show you something…come with me. It’s a secret. I promise not to hurt you…” This also works great if you have nasty props that no one wants to touch. One year my brother was dressed up like a Mad Doctor trying to give the guests a shot with a huge sirenge. Most people do not like needles.
- The Dominator: Tells the patrons to do something horrible they do not want to do. “Touch me….I want to touch you…they tell me if you touch me that I can touch you!” “Get in the coffin. Uncle Bud don’t need it no more..GET IN!” “Kiss the pig. Let me hear you squeal like a pig!” “Give me your shoes. I want your shoes!” Be prepared for your customers to follow your commands. Ben explains that one year they told people to get into giant cages and commanded that they couldn’t get out until they sang songs. 99% of them sang their scared little hearts out!
- The Questioner: Asks patrons questions they do not want to answer. “What’s your name? What’s your friend’s name? Does she like dark places? Are you scared?” “What do your insides look like? Purple or red…let’s see!” You might have to tweek this one a bit because many people have their heads down just trying to get through. If you want them to answer you find a creative way to keep them in your area until they give you one.
- The Pleader: Begs the patrons not to do something. “No. Don’t go in there! Please! Don’t leave me here!” “Don’t look at me..please I’m disgusting. Don’t look at me….” “Stay here with me. I’m scared. Please stay here..they want to hurt you…” This is the play on reverse psychology. You’re kinda letting them know that you warned them and BOOM! Let’s say you have a little girl or petrified old lady in a corner with a little ambient light. She tries to tell the crowd not to look at her bashfully. Then she jumps out and turns on the anxiety! And maybe she triggers a strobe or different color light as her mood changes. One year we had a little girl actor that worked this one perfectly!
- The Threatener: “I’m going to _____you” “I’m going to find you in the dark…” Make sure when you threaten that something happens to them soon afterward. “I’m going to rip off your legs” and then have compressed air shoot up their legs! Instant spillage!
Many of us experienced actors have probably used most of these methods at one time or another. However, when I’m running around like a headless chicken at haunt time and I’m at a loss for brain function-these are just what I need for my actors. I’m planning on creating a list on index cards for my actors with these ideas and some direct quotes I want them to use. Simple for them-easy for me. Enjoy!