"You can check in anytime you like... but you can never leave!"
The concept of a haunt experience of some sort themed to The Eagles' song "Hotel California" was an idea that had been floating around in my older brother and I's heads for multiple years. My brother, like me, has also been a home haunter since he was about ten- he's now in his thirties, and has collected much knowledge about the craft of making your own home into a ghoulish delight. After some planning ahead, we decided to combine our efforts and make this idea into a reality.
It was a lot of hard work, but what we built was a detailed, immersive experience that drew in more than 1,000 people. I'm still immensely proud of the work we did on this project, and count it as likely the biggest artistic learning experience I've ever had.
Final Show Reel
A short reel showcasing highlights of the overall experience of the yard haunt.
Final Show Map
Watercolor portrait which maps out the final show.
Handmade tombstones my brother and I created for the event. The "stone" ones were made from FloraCraft styrofoam.
Hotel Room Facade Flat
One of the things I very much wanted to do up to that point which I hadn't done yet was build some sort of a facade or flat. With the help of my brother, we were able to put something together and create the exterior of a hotel room flat, abandoned midway through construction. (Room number: 77, for the song's release year!)
The head was made from a plastic skull, covered in expanding foam and layers of painted saran wrap, all hit with a heat gun to achieve the appearance of it decomposing. The "Pink Champagne on ice" was made with mixing pink pigment paste and epoxy resin.
"You can stab it with your steely knives, but you just can't kill the beast!"
I knew from the beginning that we needed to take this lyric literally, and integrate a large intimidating beast as the main scare of the haunt. Using the cover of the album "One of These Nights" as inspiration, I got to work and did a digital illustration on Photoshop of what the character should look like, which you can see in the top right. The final product, (played by me,) terrified visitors to the hotel as it rampaged its way through the night of the show.
A number of different store bought items which were aged for the haunt. Methods include diluting black and white paint and spraying it, as well as spray painting on paper towels and smudging.
Made with two small Sony blue violet laser modules, fog, thin tubes to spread the fog, black material, and plastic landscape edging borders, we was able to create the illusion of a haunted, supernatural, glowing pool.
The video to the left is the loop which was projected on a loop onto a sheet inside one of the front windows of the house. It shows the beast wreaking havoc through the interior, flipping over a table, roaring, etc. It ends with a butler readjusting the table- just for the loop to play again!
Below is a short clip which showed what it was like to shoot this video loop.
Early Concept Sketches
Concept sketches from early in the development process.