Equal but Opposite

Rate this Entry
Long ago in the dark ages, I was taught that one one can achieve similar results through opposite actions.

For example, one is equally blinded by total darkness as by brilliant light. In a haunt, this is evident by the "blackout" and "whiteout" haunts. In a blackout haunt (or section of a haunt), all light is carefully blocked. In the absolute dark, the patrons are completely blind. In a whiteout, the room is filled with fog or mist and brightly lit. The fog scatters the dazzling light, and patrons are again completely blind. Either way, you can move unseen.

Preventing patrons from seeing not only disorients them, it also allows a haunter to do much more with sound effects. People will imagine what is creating that huffing and growling noise. Or, they may hear footsteps and tremble in anticipation of a monster that never materializes. Blind areas are great places to hand the threads that feel like spiderwebs. They are also a great place to add a weird texture to a wall. If all your walls elsewhere are smooth and wallpapered, why not coat these walls with great stuff and gelatin? Just a thought.

Would you like to move unheard by the patrons? You can reduce all sound by moving silently, having carpeted surfaces, and wearing socks. Alternatively, you can create so much other noise that your movements are indistinguishable from the rest. Opposite tactics for the same effect - to move unheard.

The simplest way to hide the mechanical noise of a moving prop may be to surround it with similar sounds. Maybe it's in a boiler room or a factory or there are other noises that provide audio camouflage for the creaky, squeaky, hissing prop.

If you want an actor to seem perfectly still, like a statue or prop, you could fill the room with moving light and shadow. All the movement hides any movement from breathing or fidgeting. Much easier than complete stillness!

What about touch? Pickpockets know. You can either have a light, imperceptible touch, or you can camouflage your grab with a bump. Pickpockets love crowded jostling places because the victims won't be able to tell the touch of the thief from the rest of the bumps and brushes. While most haunts are not interested in touching the patrons - much less touching them unperceived - perhaps this could be useful. Imagine putting a decal with the haunt logo on someone's shoulder. Maybe it's just something for them to find later. Maybe it "marks" them for some gag later on.

On the other hand, perhaps you want them to think they are being touched when they are not. Ankle whips and air cannons create an illusion that something is touching them, but it's only air.

The point is that if you are having trouble creating an effect using one method, consider what the opposite method might be. Can you figure out what the opposite approach would be? Would the effect be as good? What other options does using the opposite tack create?

Maybe something to think about. Have you had an experience where you were having trouble getting an effect one way and used the opposite approach instead?

Happy Haunting!

Updated 04-04-2020 at 03:45 PM by JustJimAZ