How do you scare people when movies like 'Saw,' 'Hostel' and 'The Human Centipede' routinely feature appendages being slashed off or faces sewed to other people's body parts? That's the problem theme parks are currently facing each Halloween. The haunted house has been a tradition for generations, however, places like Universal Studios, which host Halloween-themed events each year, are increasingly having trouble freaking out audiences who've been desensitized thanks to the torture porn genre. In the Thursday edition of the New York Times, Brooks Barnes speaks to the team behind Universal's annual Horror Nights, and discovers difficulties they face every fall.

The scarce resource is ideas: coming up with new ways to entertain a 'been-there, screamed-at-that' customer base raised on torture movies like 'Saw' and bloody video games... To keep their footing on this shifting terrain -- that is, to keep scaring people and making money from it -- Universal's fright makers have turned to an intense, year-round planning and construction regimen.

So what does this year-round planning process consist of? Well, it all starts each October -- meaning that the Universal team is currently making plans for 2012's Horror Nights -- where several ideas are thrown up on a whiteboard. By January, the ideas have been turned into 3D computer models, giving the creative team a "virtual tour" of the set. Once the story's finished, audio and lighting design commences. Construction then takes place throughout the summer, with actors cast in July.

But does planning in advance really help? According to the Times, the revenue stream from Horror Nights is steady. To find out how Universal plans on scaring customers this year, read the entire piece over on the New York Times website

[via NYT]


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categories Movies, Horror