Thursday, January 28, 2010

Haunted Video Review Thursday

Yes, I know, it's been awhile...bad Mr. Macabre, bad bad bad (or rather lazy). But I have a goodie for you today...

Laff in the Dark Presents Behind the Scenes at Knoebels Haunted House

When you talk about the Haunted Mansion, or any other attraction that you board a car and ride through, you are essentially talking about a 'dark ride'.  Vintage dark rides are very few and far between now, even though the high tech ones (Disney's Haunted Mansion, Tower of Terror, Snow White, yadda yadda yadda...) continue to thoroughly amaze, amuse and in some cases evacuate some bowels.  This is a DVD that goes behind the scenes of one of the vintage dark rides, Knoebel Amusement Park's Haunted House.
Built in the early 1970's, this dark ride has changed very little in the past 30 some odd years and there is a wonderful crude, primitive quality that could only be described as 'old skool' (is that how the kids say it? &%$# I'm getting old!).
Basically, you are given a tour backstage of one of America's few vintage dark rides.  In these post-recession times, many family-owned amusement parks have folded including my beloved Miracle Strip Amusement Park in Panama City Beach Florida with their own haunted dark ride that is now probably a strip mall or worse, condos (shudder!).  There are interviews with the owner of Knoebels and maintanence crew members that walk you through the gags.
My favorite parts are of course the behind the scenes.  No digital this, no computerized that, no mp3s, this is pure old fashioned haunted fun sitting in the seat of a Pretzel Car.   The characters are sculpted mostly from paper mache, and the gags are triggered by simple switches activated by the cars.  Some are gags from Funni-Frite company are still in use, still scaring patrons hopefully for many more generations.

This is indeed a fun DVD.  It's not specifically Hallowe'en oriented but in a way it is being a haunted house. I got an idea or two from seeing the mechanical movements of the characters but mostly I got inspired to create from watching it.  A lot of haunting is about direction, misdirection, calling attention to, and concealing and this DVD shows how they accomplished these things in the haunted house. 

Four words...This is a treat.


The Frog Queen said...

Oh my!! On my latest trip down memory lane for abaondoned parks this turned out to be a great resource. I have been debating whether to order there DVDs. Thanks for the review...I will definately be adding some to my collection.

Thanks as always for your most helpful reivews!!!


Johnny Thunder said...

I grew up not too far from the park and went there many times growing up. Thanks for the link!