JustJimAZ

Predator Vs. Patron

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Here's a pic of a stargazer fish waiting for its next meal:

Stargazers are "ambush predators". From Wikipedia:
"Ambush predators usually remain motionless (sometimes hidden) and wait for prey to come within ambush distance before pouncing. Ambush predators are often camouflaged, and may be solitary... Ambush often relies on concealment, whether by staying out of sight or by means of camouflage."

Let me think.... what does this description remind me of?
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Hmmmmm.....
So if most scare actors are "ambush predators" - and I think they are - what OTHER kinds of predators are there? Can those strategies be adapted to haunting?

Well, "egg predation" is a thing, but outside of an Easter themed haunt, it's hard for me to see the application there.

"Pursuit Predation" is basically chasing your prey very quickly. Think cheetahs. This would seem disastrous anywhere but at the end of a haunt, but I think you could make a case. I think the chainsaw maniac fits in here, or can. It's hard to hide the chainsaw, so people know it's coming. Fire it up and once they start to move away, charge at them! Charging at them before they start to move would be great IF you were going to eat them, but not if you just want to make them run screaming out of the haunt.
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"Persistence Predation" is making the prey run until it's exhausted. It's a kind of slow speed chase over a long period of time. Men with spears hunt deer in this way. No man can run faster than a deer, so "pursuit" won't work, but by pushing for a long period of time, a man can make the deer go slower and slower until finally it can go no more. At this point, it's killed. I would think this could be applied by an actor following a group throughout the haunt. I know this would not be "throughput effective" unless you had a dozen people doing this. Nevertheless, as the group goes through the haunt, getting scared by various actors, there is always a figure following. Pushing them forward. Watching them... ask Laurie Strode how that feels! I would put your average rambling zombie in this category. They are slow and easily outrun, but they Never. Stop. Pursuing.


This might actually be accomplished by using a few actors with similar bodies and identical costumes. In the front of the haunt, the patrons could get a good look at the character - good light, a nice long time to see him, and to see him following. Establish an image in their minds. Two scenes later, they see what looks like the same guy, behind them, following, watching. Has he been back there the whole time? A couple scenes later, they see him pursuing again. I am 98% sure that by the third time, they will be sure it is the same person and that he has been following them all along. Paranoia levels escalate! How far you take it and what the payoff is - that's up to you!


Pack hunting is a predatory strategy of "social predators". Wolves, hyenas, and lions hunt in packs. Certainly if haunt actors are able to "gang up" on a patron or group, pack hunting rules apply. Go for the weak, separate one from the herd, and attack mercilessly! I had an idea for combining this behavior with Pursuit, but I never got to see it through. My idea was to have a bunch of creepy scarecrows at the end of the haunt. First one scarecrow would start to follow them, then a few more, then more - joining from different directions. Then all together, they scream and charge! I think that would be a nice buildup and payoff. Bonus points for not using a chainsaw to blow them out of the haunt!
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Trap Predation is yet another style. Spiderwebs are traps. They set up a place for the prey to get stuck, and they can more or less attack at will. It would be pretty easy to set up a trap in a haunt. A simple hallway and door could do the trick. That sure would NOT be easy to get past the fire marshal, and it would definitely be bad for throughput. As a thought experiment, though, it could be interesting. A patron turns a corner and a door slams behind. There is no way out except that door, and a monster/lunatic is standing there. Trapped like a fly in a web! The thing is, you HAVE to give people some way out, or you are going to have real trouble. There is not much a fly can do to a spider, but a mouse trapped in a corner can make the cat pay in blood. People are all BASICALLY the same size (certainly not as different as a cat and a mouse!) and are equipped with the same weapons. Trapping a patron would be best done in a place where the haunter can keep a safe distance, and where a previously unknown escape can be provided. You have to know your angles of attack AND escape!
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What other predatory styles and tactics can be applied to haunting? In what ways can the ones already mentioned be used? I'm always interested in how people are thinking about their haunts and their scares!

Happy haunting!
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