By Paul Barnhart, Marketing Coordinator, Scala
After spending some time with a set designer for the renowned Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA, I learned that professional haunted houses are now a billion dollar industry.
Well, obviously not if you’re familiar with the successful remakes of horror films and sequels (Saw VI – really?) Even with the lack of originality serving as a heavy Sword of Damocles to the entertainment industry, scaring people to new highs (lows?) never gets old. And here’s how digital signage could give the scaring industry a boost:
My idea for combining digital signage and haunting is based completely on the amazingly intelligent design of the Miele Inspierience Center. A quick synopsis of Miele: customers register beforehand and fill out a customer profile so the store knows their likes/dislikes in home furnishings. Customers then begin their trek through the store and carry a device on their persons. The digital network uses the device to track their location in the store and display images, scents and sounds that fit the customer profile and encourage sales.
So, as haunted houses get larger budgets, the pressure to spice up the old song and dance of terror filled screams and living skeletons eating guts will be imminent. If they follow a cue from Miele, a haunted house can have all customers go through a registration process to gather information on all their scaring preferences. Based on how the houses is set up (quadrants, floors, sections), each area could then be prepared with knowledge of the audience and then use the appropriate tools in their arsenal of horror necessary to be most successful i.e. scare you senseless.
Between each group that goes through the house, music, lighting, images and scents could all adapt within moments to best scare a bunch of high school girls or a group of middle aged horror movie buffs.
How many people are in your group?
- Less than 5
- More than 10
Do you regularly visit haunted houses?
What scares you most?
- Living dead
What sounds below do you view as scariest for a haunted house?
- Moans and screams
- Loud bangs
- Creepy music
My list of questions is short, basic and lacks the inside knowledge of putting on a professional scare, but a haunted house that uses a digital signage network and registration process for each customer’s “scare” information will reap the benefits. Not only will the network be ground breaking and garner serious press, it will allow the house to more effectively manage the flow of people coming to experience the newest scare tactics.