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The Haunted House

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2009-Saw/Hells Bench

What a room!!! During Oct. of 2008, my nephew Tucker asked me about designing, building, and staffing a room with him for the 2009 haunt season at the House of Shadows in Sparta WI. As Tucker will be a senior in high school, his senior project would be to work in a haunted house as well as writing a paper on the history of the building we use for our haunt, which was once the infirmary building for the Wisconsin State Child Center which closed its doors for good in 1976. Upon agreeing to partner with him on this project, I would act as a mentor to him and guide the design and construction phase for our haunt room along till we open for the haunt season in October.

Later in October we had both been able to see the movie "Saw 5", which we are both huge fans of all the movies. Eventually we sat down to discuss our thoughts and ideas for a room design. We were very immused to the fact that we both wanted some type of saw blade in the room and perhaps a "Saw" type of feel to the room. However, I wanted to make absolutly clear that we WILL NOT try and recreate any particular scene of the movie; we do our own thing, our own scare, our own design, but with the "Saw" insperation.

So now we got the saw, our next task was to incorperate another scare idea I've been wanting to do for some time....Hells Bench. How it all would work is like this; As a group gets called from the waiting area to come to the enterance of the haunted house, they get the rules for our haunt. As they start their decent through the back outside enterence into the basement, a prerecorded set of rules for the next room begins to play (I used the 900S Audio Repeater found on the Automation Control page of HauntYourHouse.NET). In that slow, dark, distorted tone of voice, similar to "Jigsaw", the voice starts by saying "I want to play a game". The voice continues to tell them why they have been chosen and that they need to follow the rules and sit on the bench as quikly as they can, imediatley after the door opens to the next room.

The guests at this point enter into a dimmly lit room resembling an old white tiled bathroom. The flourecent light bulbs are nearly burt out, yet just enough of a glow to notice a four foot saw blade sitting horizontally, about three feet off the floor, and a dead guy laying next to it. The bench they are instructed to sit on is twelve feet long and only a few feet from the large saw blade. The room is covered in blood. Blood splattered all over the floor and walls, and all over the bench as well. Written in "blood", directly above the bench where the guests need to be seated, is the words "Sit Here" .

After the guests take a seat (up to eight patrons per group), the saw blade begins to rotate very loudly, getting their attention rather quickly and usually getting some good reaction. Next the saw begins to move forward towards them. Just then the lights go out. And in the complete darkness the entire twelve foot bench, patrons and all, begins to tilt backwards, freaking the hell out of the group. Frantically questioning what's happening...Wheres that saw blade at?...Now with the bench angled backwards, and the patrons stuck and cradeled right where we want them, the lights come back on with at times up to five characters right over the top of them, unleashing the wrath of "Hells Bench". Now the lights go back out. And after the bench returns to its upright position, the lights come back on only to find our character that was once laying dead on the floor next to the saw, is now right up in the patrons faces for one last scare and to push the group along to the next game.

On Saturday Oct. 17 we had some guests from the Green Bay area. They run a website called MadeYaScream.com. They made the 3 1/2 hour drive to check out our haunted house, do an interview with some of the staff of the haunt, and write a review to post on their site. One of the guys made the comment to me over email that he had never seen a haunt room like mine....EVER...except for maybe at Disney Land.

A big thank you goes out to Tucker H, Kristine, Chase, Trever, Matt, Eric, Zack, the "Hoagies", and my buddy Don with bench fabrication!! Building a haunt room like this, with this type of scare tactic, and no matter how much detail goes into it, is still just another room until you get great actors with dedication and determination to bring one hell of a scare to our patrons, and make for an extremely entertaining room at the House of Shadows 2009 haunted house. -Kelly / HYH.net

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