Nov 2nd 2017 by aclu • 33 Questions • 1119 Points
Hi Reddit! Happy Halloween!
I'm Jon Schnitzer, director/producer of "HAUNTERS: The Art Of The Scare" a film about how boo-scare mazes for Halloween have spawned a controversial sub-culture of "full contact" extreme terror experiences, the visionaries who dedicate their lives to scaring people, and why we seek out these kind of experiences - especially in scary and unpredictable times.
No surprise this Halloween is projected to be the biggest ever and that these kind of experiences are starting to be offered year round.
I filmed inside McKamey Manor, the most controversial extreme haunt in the world, infamous for going on for 8 hours, having no safe word and even waterboarding people. I also got unprecedented access to the creative geniuses behind Blackout, Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, Knotts Scary Farm, Delusion and more traditional haunts too. HAUNTERS also features horror visionaries John Murdy (HHN) Jen Soska & Sylvia Soska (American Mary / Hellevator), Jason Blum (producer of The Purge, Happy Death Day, Insidious, Sinister), Jessica Cameron (Truth or Dare / Mania) and more.
I always loved Halloween and horror movies since I was a kid, so I wanted to highlight the haunters as the artists they are, to capture the haunt subculture at a time when more and more people are seeking extreme "scare-apy", and to spark a debate about how far is too far.
But, first and foremost, I wanted to make a movie that would entertain people, so I have been thrilled to get so many rave reviews since premiering at Fantastic Fest last month - "9 out of 10" - Film Threat, "An absolute blast" - iHorror, "Genuinely petrifying" - Bloody Disgusting, "Shockingly entertaining" - Dread Central, "An intoxicating study of our relationship with fear." - Joblo, and more!
HAUNTERS was a successfully funded Kickstarter project, that I made for under $100,000.
My passion for this project also inspired some of my favorite composers and musicians to come on-board to create a killer soundtrack - Dead Man's Bones (Ryan Gosling & Zach Shields, who's also from the band Night Things and co-writer of the films Krampus and the upcoming Godzilla) and Emptyset, and an original score by Jonathan Snipes (“Room 237” & “The Nightmare”), Alexander Burke (recorded with Fiona Apple, David Lynch and Mr. Little Jeans) and Neil Baldock (recorded with Kanye West, Radiohead and Wilco).
Check out the trailers & reviews - www.hauntersmovie.com
Ask me anything!
Proof - link to this AMA is on our Reviews & News page
EDIT @ 2:48PM PST - Wow, I didn't expect to get so many questions - it's been a lot of fun and I totally lost track of time. I need to take care of some things, be back to answer as many questions as possible.
EDIT @ 3:40PM PST - Back again, I'll be answering questions for the next hour or 2 until I have to get ready to go see John Carpenter in concert tonight.
EDIT @ 5PM PST - Signing off for today, pretty sure I got through almost all of the questions - I'll come back tomorrow and answer as many as I can tomorrow. Hope everyone has a fun time tonight, however you may be celebrating (or ignoring) Halloween!
I love Gamers Gift! What is the end goal for each of you outside of Gamers Gift? What skills do you bring from your other experiences into Gamers Gift?
I’ve been documenting
What was the scariest thing you heard or saw or experienced being undercover with them?
What has been your favorite project to photograph?
What was the worst thing you had to endure while filming Idiot Abroad?
- What's the most fucked up thing you saw a haunted house employee do?
- What's the worst emotional breakdown you saw in one of those full contact houses?
- Would you ever participate in one for fun after all of your research? Thanks for your time!
I want to do something amazing with technology, something that makes an impact on the present and future. This includes, but is not limited to, an evil death ray. I'm a really good Googler, so anytime we need something I always have a solution: 'Google it!' - Dillon
Actually, a lawyer can help you, even if you have no documentation. Most of our clients don't have documentation, or remember exact times and dates.
Charlottesville was obviously frightening, as was my time with the armed neo-Nazis in the Northwest. Some of the early meetings, before I fully gained trust, was of course nerve-racking but I found myself settling into it quicker than I thought I would.
It's tough to pick a favorite project, I tend to work on things I feel I should, that often means they're difficult and when I'm shooting I'm worried that I'm not getting it right. I'm also someone who once he has finished something, doesn't want to look back on it. I can say anything where I can make images with emotional content, that's what I am drawn to. As for favorite project, that would be the next one.
Great questions. Sorry for my delay, there are so many great questions and debates going on here. 1) Hard to say, but to me it's anything to do with food and puke. That was beyond what I could handle being around. 2) Probably Mandi when she kept repeating "I can't do it" over and over again because she had reached her breaking point and really needed to get out. 3) I've done extreme haunts, but I would never do McKamey Manor. Why? Because Russ wouldn't go through it. I'm willing to try anything knowing 2 things: 1) I can get out when I want 2) The creators know exactly what it feels like to go through it.
Thank you so much for these great questions.
What was your expeince at McKamey Manor?
What in your opinion, is off limits in full contact haunted houses?
What has been your most negative experience whilst researching?
Laura: That's cool to know! I don't think this design is as popular in the US -- the ones I've seen use a u-shaped dip in the sink bowl, where you rest your head.
I think the invention itself is totally practical -- what I found slightly eerie was finding a patent that looks like I was the inventor, even though it was patented decades before I was born. :::cue spooky music:::
I mixed up parts of my backstory a few times and once I said the first part of my real name by accident after a long day. It created some confusion but I managed to quickly explain myself. I think in the moment I came up with a story of how I sometimes was using my middle name...!
I think I like mountain gorillas, particularly the Silverbacks. They're really amazing to be around. Second would be elephants, they're always majestic. None of them are easy to photograph. I tend to photograph the intersection between man and wildlife, I don't often have the time to focus purely on the animal.
It's really not that different. I find it just as exciting as I did when I was 11 and many of the techniques used have not changed at all.
Filming at McKamey Manor was even more intense and shocking than I thought it would be. I saw the videos Russ made and I saw how he always warned people, "you don't wanna do this", but I'm also a HUGE horror fan and I love the entire spectrum of horror, so I know when I see trailers for a horror movie or a haunt that says, "the most terrifying experience ever" - it's just a marketing gimmick to sell tickets and it's never actually horrific, it's just fun for people who like a good scare. But McKamey Manor is different. Here's how...
When you watch the McKamey Manor videos you don't know what it smells like in their. Russ uses a lot of fake bad smells which all combined together smell very bad. Russ and Carol when I was there had about 10 dogs and since the haunt was in their backyard sometimes the dogs would walk to the backyard and poo and pee. Then there was "Mothers room", that was the room I had to run out of. That's where they feed you gross stuff so that you puke. Ok, now combine all of these smells all together....yup, it's really bad.
The first room at the Manor had steel walls, so when you are pushed against a steel wall and you feel that it's real then it clicks in your head."this is real" and it's hard not to freak out and panic.
When people scream for help and that they want to get out and their screams are ignored or mocked that adds to the panic attack atmosphere. Made me think of the dinner table scene in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre when the woman is screaming for help and they laugh back at her. Only, this isn't a movie, it's a simulation that blurs the line so much it feels 100% real.
The feeling of the Manor is like a prolonged panic attack. There was one time when I stopped filming because Christina Buster, who flew all the way from Kuwait just to do McKamey Manor, went into shock. She started to not respond to questions, and looked dazed. I put my camera down and told Russ she's in shock. I quickly picked her up and took her out of the haunt and into the living room. 30 minutes later she snapped out of it and said,"Why am I not in the haunt anymore?" I told her that she went into shock and then she yelled at me,"I flew 19 hours for this put me back in!" She then told Russ to put her back in and then the put her back in for 4 more hours! When it was over she thanked Russ and his actors. And then she went back 3 more times! That really blew my mind and made me realize that this experience isn't for everyone, but it was really made for Christina.
What's off limits in my opinion? No safe word. I filmed a scare study, but couldn't include it in the film because it wasn't finished yet, but now it has. one thing they discovered is that if you have a safe word in an extreme haunt and you use it then that makes you feel empowered because you reached your limits and even encourages you to return and see if you can make it further the next time. But when there is no safe word at all, then you aren't accomplishing anything, things are just happening to you. Even with Fear Factor you have an option to stop, so when a contestant continues and wins it is an accomplishment. Think of it this way, if you run a marathon and you eventually cross the finish line that's a HUGE accomplishment and something you completed on your own. But if someone dragged you the entire time and threw you across the finish line then you didn't do it on your own. How would that make you feel? There's a moment in the film where I interview people after they finished the matter and some would never do it again and others wanted to work their after. Their reasons for both were really fascinating.
It's hard to say what my most negative experience inside the Manor was, but it's easy to say that the mist negative experience I had while making this movie was dealing with threats from people who hate McKamey Manor. When people saw my Kickstarter video and saw that the Manor was in my film I got threatening phone calls, emails, Facebook messages from people threatening to come after me to stop me. Others made videos lying about how I am, and that I wasn't making a documentary, but that I worked for Russ, and so on, and so on. In my opinion, if I'm doing a doc about what;s going on in the haunt world then I must talk about the conflict between traditional haunts and extreme haunts and there's nothing more extreme than McKamey. I had to include it and now you can see what it's really like to be inside it without having to actually go through it. People, real people are fascinating and it was fascinating to film people who sacrifice everything to bring your nightmares to life. That being said for months after I filmed at McKamey Manor I had horrific nightmares and not of anything made up and surreal, but actual memories about what really happened and that panic attack feeling. It took a long time for the nightmares to stop. I talk with people who have gone through it and when we do it must be what it's like for Troops tor reunite with people they served with.
Thanks for such a well considered and detailed answer. It makes me wonder why someone would put themselves through something like that unless there is a huge underestimation of how traumatic and realistic it actually is.
What are your opinions of people who work there? I feel like you need a particular set of skills I dont possess or be quite sadistic. At the first sign of panic and real fear I would be pointing people to the nearest exits.
On a side note, do you remember what they fed you!?
Paul F: We're always working to upgrade our IT tools, including TESS, which is part of our Trademarks Next Generation project. You can tune in to today's TPAC livestream for updates from CIO John Owens, starting at 10:50 am ET.
Thanks for your questions. When I interviewed people I asked them why they wanted to do the Manor and they usually would say they wanted to learn something about themselves. So many people want to either prove that they're stronger than they think they are, or see what their limits are. Same reason why people jump out of a plane. In society unless you join the Military there are few ways to have a "rites of passage" to test yourself and prove how brave you really are.
To be clear: I filmed it, but refused to have it done to me. I filmed Russ while he filmed people so I could show exactly what it's like inside. I also never joined a frat in college cause I would never want to be hazed or to haze anyone else. I also was bullied as a kid so I knew the Manor would not be for me.
You get to meet the actors and learn about who works there in my film. When I first started filming the people who worked there were really nice kids. Yup, kids, High School kids. These kids were really nice, but they were encouraged to go crazy on people going through the Manor and kids being kids they go too far. It's not their fault because they're kids and they were trying to do what Russ wanted and they would get carried away with the duct tape etc... Eventually he had to replace the kids with adults, but he didn't replace the kids with haunt actors. A great haunt actor has compassion. Legendary haunt actor Shar Mayer is in my film and she talks about the connection between the monster and the human. How the "victim" is scared and excited and the monster is 3 times as scared and excited. When she scares you, it feels dangerous, but you can also feel that the person behind the mask is an entertainer and that's why in mazes with monsters like Shar we scream and we laugh because we know it's all for a thrill and for fun. Who were the adults that replaced the teens in the Manor? Well, Russ had a selection process that was questionable just like it was with the teens.
What did they feed people? Usually tofu, or meat, but mixed with food coloring and sprayed with gross scents to make you gag. They also at one point had coagulated snake eggs, but when the food part in "Mothers Room" would happen I would last a few minutes and then have to run out. It was too much for me.
On Valentine's Day does the USPTO hold a Reddit_AMA on sexy tech: vibrators, contraceptives, toys, edible panties, etc.?
Nice. I brought my grandpa in to my college to use the vr set up in our library to show him Google Earth and walk around Rome. He liked it but got a headache after like ten minutes.
At times you empathise with individuals on a human level. I spent a lot of time talking about their issues. But overall I was always aware of their ideas and what they wanted to achieve and that they liked me because of the colour of my skin. So at the end of the day it’s difficult to empathise with them.
My goal was to pay my bills through photography so I did all kinds of pictures. I found out about photojournalism after the first year and that changed a lot for me. I started working on anti-apartheid issues in South Africa and it became important to me to defend the good guys
I interviewed them and they're great kids! Awesome people. The questionable part of the selection process of the adults is that most of them are not scare actors and some have backgrounds that make it clear they shouldn't have physical contact with people.
I'm pretty sure that sexual assault should be off-limits.
And you do have a risk that the participant will say "fuck this, I'm done here" - and they will leave very, very violently under their own terms.
Laura: A favorite (trademarked!) candy of mine is Butterfinger®.
I'll in be in Central California next week, Bay Area the week after, and SoCal in December for visits. Every person in the world facing hardship deserves the escape VR provides. -Dillon
This is Amanda Farahany. Reporting is usually very difficult for people, because at first, they believe they can make it stop themselves. Then, they fear for their job and being retaliated against for complaining. Finally, many people don't trust HR to handle the complaint appropriately, and fear that they will not be believed without something more than their word that it happened.
The Griphook make-up in Harry Potter was the most challenging. It was very heavy and restrictive but I think it looked incredible. I have so much respect for Nick Dudman and his team of artists.
That is off limits and you're right.
Do you feel people not directly involved in the #metoo movement are just reposting it just to be part of something? How do you verify legitimacy of harassment cases?
Really respect your work. Did any alt-righter ever mention (1) the spread of disinformation or (2) the usage of ironic humour, for instance through memes, to propagate their ideology? If so, what did they say about it (e.g. were the vulnerabilities of new media seen as opportunities)?
Lep 3. I think it would be fun to do a Leprechaun / Pirates hybrid movie.
I actually film the exact moment someone makes that decision and it will blow your mind. I learned a lot about people making this.
My question is how does nobody react with violence? You'd think some of these participants would fight back at some point...
Liz: Any of the coffin patents, especially US 901,407, which is for a grave attachment. This patent is for an invention that provided a way to observe or watch a body after it’s been interred. It reminds me of the time I visited one of the historic cemeteries in New Orleans and learned about how some people were buried prematurely. There was definitely a need for this kind of invention.
I personally can't use any of the gear for more than a couple hours. Just kind of gives me a bit of a headache. -Amber
This is Amanda Farahany. My advice is to talk with an attorney about how to navigate through your particular company. Unfortunately, not all HR people will handle the investigations appropriately and it is important to hold them accountable. There is also an organization, 9 to 5, that helps sexual harassment victims.
It happens, but it's very rare. The people who seek this out really want to see what they can take and how far they can make it. When Christina did 6 hours she bragged about it online for months. Them went back 3 more times. Different for everyone.
If Gamer's Gift were to receive more money over time, how would those funds be used? How should we expect our money to be used, if we were to donate?
It wasn't so bad back in 2005-2007 it was a typical chase people around with fake stuff... I have always wondered if the attraction is family owned. Its just a small house in the suburbs
That's technically not a question, but it IS pretty creepy!
We're really excited about the film but it will be a bit longer unfortunately! To stay up to date follow @hopenothate @hopenothate_usa or sign up here: https://hopenothate.com/videos/
I don't generally eat lunch if I'm working
Yup over the years it got more and more extreme. I had some great interviews with the neighbors about that.
I am absolutely loving Stranger Things 2. I have resisted watching the whole series in one sitting, instead savouring one episode each evening. If they do make a season 3, I will personally travel to and camp outside The Duffer Bros. house to get a part.
Some love it, some hate it. I was surprised with how many of his neighbors thought it was cool. All of his neighbors really liked him and he would DJ block parties too. In my neighborhood if you play your music too loud the cops show up.
Russ McKamey seems to be pretty particular about the photos and videos that are put out there and doesn’t tend to do a lot of interviews, how did you go about getting permission to film and were there any restrictions on what you could or couldn’t show?
Sharon (our colleague in Human Resources):Thanks for your interest! The best way for us to understand your qualifications is by doing what you already know to do: apply via USAJOBS. But here’s something you might not already know: you can apply to more than one vacancy announcement for different engineering disciplines. It’s the best way to increase your chances of landing an interview.
For more info on jobs at the USPTO and to stay connected with us outside of Reddit, check us out on (LinkedIn) [https://www.linkedin.com/company/uspto] and at [@USPTOJobs on Twitter](http://www.twitter.com/uspto]!
And if you have any additional questions, contact us at [email protected]!
You have to approach each character differently. it starts with the way they think, then add body language and posture. They become distinct and different automatically, it wasn't a conscious effort.
You're right. At first he wouldn't let me film anything and then wanted me to have restrictions. I told him I need to be able to film everything so I can show the Manor and him as they really are. I spent a weekend interviewing him and when he heard my questions and saw how I was filming in a cinematic way (not just point and shoot) he trusted me to tell the story.
By having all access and being able to show Russ building, filming, editing, etc... it really provides a ton of insight.
Do you think that using sex appeal to accomplish things in the work place should be part of the sexual harassment conversation?
When I was a young legislative staffer, older female lobbyists often flirted with me in order to gain access to my boss. Looking back it seems harmless, but it definitely felt uncomfortable and manipulative at the time.
How much danger were you in during your undercover mission?
With shots like these, how difficult is it to deal with the emotions of seeing something like that? Does that at all impact whats going through your mind in terms of composition and other techniques you use?
Mr. Davis, what's it like being part of two of the biggest franchises (Star Wars and Harry Potter) of all time?
HOPE not hate took every precaution to keep me safe but of course there is a level of risk that can’t be avoided. In the USA I spent time with hardcore neo-Nazis who were armed to the teeth. I have no doubt that, had I been uncovered, it would have had grave consequences for my health. I was also in Charlottesville and just feet away from the fatal car crash that tragically killed Heather Heyer.
I wrote about it here: https://alternativeright.hopenothate.com/my-year-inside-the-international-alt-right
Well, on this story I went to more than thirty sites with dead rhinos, I was looking for something that would have sufficient emotional resonance. When rhinos are killed, the carcass deflates very quickly and scavengers pull it apart. As a result, I needed to find an animal that still had dignity and was capable of arousing pathos in people. I also need to make the picture quickly so that I don't interfere in the forensic investigation. So truthfully, I only allow myself to be emotional after I have taken care of all those aspects which allow me to make the picture. I do feel very angry about these killings, there are good people on the ground who do not have the support they need due to a failure of leadership both in Africa and in Asia
Russ considers himself a director and his videos do have a real effect on people. He wants to freak people out, but is very careful to not show too much. I told him I had to have all access and be able to show whatever was needed to give the experience of what it's like to go through the Manor. At first he was really scared, but the he allowed me to film. I'm so glad he did because the moments that burn into my brain are when you get to see Russ filming and editing. I always wondered about the man behind the curtain and we reveal him as he is in my film. I'm really proud of that.
What do you think has caused the interest in these horror experiences in recent years?
Do you think this is something that will go away anytime soon?
Paul F: Yes, yes we do get paid. Today, it is strictly in bags of candy however, but for the rest of the year, you can see the OPM salary and wage breakdowns for federal employees here: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/2017/general-schedule/
As far as I know, not really for adults. It can cause some eye/ head discomfort though for some people.
I have read that there may be some increased risks for children using VR for extended periods of time since their eyes are still in development and they need to see a certain amount of sunlight and whatnot for their eyes to develop correctly.
This is Amanda Farahany. One of the worst cases I had was where my client was raped by her supervisor at work. The two had never had any substantive interactions before the rape. But the harasser had been fired from multiple jobs for harassment, including a coerced sexual relationship in the most previous job. The company's executives who had started the company worked with this harasser at a prior job, and were actually aware that he had been fired for harassing two women there, but hired him anyway
Seeing al the fantastic places we visited and having experiences I wouldn't have had on a normal holiday.
I asked this exact question while doing research for my doc. So I looked up when horror films, haunts and Halloween made the most amount of money and I noticed some really fascinating correlations.
All the classic monster movies for Universal Studios came out during the depression and were major box office hits, Halloween made it's most amount of money during 2001, right after September 11th and was beat out by 2008, the financial meltdown, but this year Halloween is on track to make more money than ever before, $9.1 BILLION. Why? Because people use Halloween, horror and haunts as a safe way to face their worst fears and scream their heads off. I learned a lot about people and how horror is a mirror that reflects society's worst fears.
And your second question. Do I think this is something that will go away anytime soon? No. Turn on the news, there's a lot to be nervous, fearful and scared about and as long as real life is really scary, people will need horror experiences as a way to both confront their fears and escape the horrors of reality.
What surprised you most or was most different from your expectations that you had before going under cover?
Hi Brent! Do you have specific communities you have established around the world, or mainly the places you travel for assignments, of people you trust and that can help you? You must have to work under the radar a lot and I’m wondering how you manage those uncertain human factors...
Also, were you offended by the way he talks about you (little fella, etc) or did you find it part of his charm?
Wow that's a real interesting correlation and would've never thought of that myself, but it makes so much sense.
Even when I think about it a lot of my favorite horror movies came out in the 70s-80s during the cold war, and had things like the Satanic ritual abuse scare going on.
Thanks for your question. I was surprised at how many young people are in it and and how international it is. It’s extremely well connected internationally. It’s also very openly racist but I was also taken aback by how much people in the movement glorify violence.
I'm fortunate to have built good relations in a number of places, my contacts are really essential. I do prefer to work quietly and to do that I keep only a very small circle of people around me when we are shooting. I think if you treat people with respect and really make an effort to dignify and understand their jobs, you can make friendships based on mutual respect
I am not easily offended. I just took that as part of Karl's charm.
That's why George Romero was a genius! Horror is a mirror to society.
Hi, based on being so close with these guys, what do you think is the best way to counter them? Facts, feelings, ignore them, mental health?
Is he really an idiot?
I think that we used to get scared more - less stimulation, more unexplained things - but thanks to science and the internet and our phones, we live a very soft life.
No big ghost stories or unexplained natural phenomenon-we know hurricanes are coming and that sacrificing virgins won't prevent earthquakes.
But that innate need for adrenaline, that need to be scared, remains a primal desire.
Not only that, but consumers are getting more savvy and demanding intricate, full products. They want better than what they can get by themselves, and with unlimited access to EVERYTHING, that's a hard product to deliver.
Look at Disneyland and the vintage rides - they're charming in their innocence and delicacy. But modern culture supports this genre of full-on terror inducing, immersive experience.
Laura: We usually tape up print-outs of potential picks on a wall in our conference room, and then let all the staff take a look and debate what should make the cut. We have a diverse team, so doing it this way ensures there's general agreement. (You can actually see this process happening in the background of our AMA proof image).
Sometimes an option doesn't make it into the present year, but appears in the following year. It may take us awhile (sometimes years) to find the perfect thing to say about an item. Sometimes the item just doesn't resonate for everybody, and so we don't do it.
I knew right away this patent artwork was perfect, but I had a hard time figuring out the caption. And then near the end of October as time was running out, BAM!, it came to me. It's still one of my favorite #CreepyIP posts I personally wrote.
This year, we finally shared the "bubble ball" patent. We taped it to the wall a few years back, but the only staff-suggested caption referenced a tv show/movie from the 1960s. We debated whether it was too obscure of a reference (I and several of the younger team members had to do some quick online searching to understand the reference), and ultimately it didn't make the cut that year.
We tried again this year and I'm really happy with the final caption that we settled on.
Yes and no. This was a HUGE year for Disneyland's Halloween Time, Knott's Scary Farm and Universal Studios sold out so many times they have to extend into November. There's a huge spectrum of sub-genres of horror from horror comedy, supernatural and monsters to slasher and torture porn and everything in-between. And now there's a live horror attraction that represents each kind of sub-genre of horror. I see it as something for everyone. But the question remains: How far is too far?
Mr Davis, if you could choose your last meal on Earth, what would it be?
Were there ever any moments of compassion or second guessing from the employees, or did they stay totally "in character" the whole time? Did you ever find yourself wanting to stop the most extreme moments of the experience as you witnessed guests going through it?
There were some actors at McKamey Manor who were very compassionate and would "check in" with people that they felt had reached a breaking point, but even when they did that it was in character. Sometimes Carol would come out and would talk to them and make them feel safe and then Russ would go back to unleashing hell on them.
Yes, I wanted to stop it and take people out, but I only did that once. I'm gonna copy and paste where I shared that story from earlier:
There was one time when I stopped filming because Christina Buster, who flew all the way from Kuwait just to do McKamey Manor, went into shock. She started to not respond to questions, and looked dazed. I put my camera down and told Russ she's in shock. I quickly picked her up and took her out of the haunt and into the living room. 30 minutes later she snapped out of it and said,"Why am I not in the haunt anymore?" I told her that she went into shock and then she yelled at me,"I flew 19 hours for this put me back in!" She then told Russ to put her back in and then the put her back in for 4 more hours! When it was over she thanked Russ and his actors. And then she went back 3 more times! That really blew my mind and made me realize that this experience isn't for everyone, but it was really made for Christina.
What's your favorite song?
Thanks for doing this, and for all of your work!
The experience is free with a donation of small dog food. How does Russ afford to keep it open?
Are the employees volunteers?
Were there any employees that you think are too unstable to be working there?
What is the quickest you saw someone want out?
And the one thing that confuses me is that there is no safe word but apparently no one has ever made it through. Do the actors just stop? How does it end? Is there even an actual ending, or does it gone on as long as it takes for someone to quit?
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. I had so much fun performing the song in the musical, Spamalot.
At the time Russ worked 2 jobs and Carol worked two jobs and all of their money went into the haunt. Everyone who works their is a volunteer and most have gone through it before...everyone except for Russ!
Some people wanted out the second it began.
How does it end? Russ doesn't stop until he believes he has captured your true terror reactions on camera. He wants to film you having a total breakdown. When Russ thinks that has happened it's over. Sometimes that's 10 minutes sometimes 6 hours. Another reason why people should have a safe word.
What is your dream roll in a movie?
having no safe word and even waterboarding people
You're going to have to explain that one.
Anyone who's seen Hitchens get waterboarded knows that isn't a joke.
People who've been waterboarded say that if they had to choose, next time they'd rather have their toes chopped off.
Define the alt-left.
Ya... I didn't believe it until I saw it. It's not pouring water slowly the way we've seen it done on the news, but it's submerging people under water while they have a cage over them and a hood over their head. Still way too much for me and I was more surprised when people who went through it then went back for it again and again. Not everyone. Most do it once and then either never go back or go on to work there.
I learned a lot about people filming this doc.
I'm currently in charge of doing the videography for a haunted maze in So. Cal. Based on your experience, what would you say is the most effective format for capturing footage and creating an enticing video? Which shots do you think work best and have the best effect?
Good question! I mixed up parts of my backstory a few times and once I said the first part of my real name by accident after a long day. It created some confusion but I managed to quickly explain myself. I think in the moment I came up with a story of how I sometimes was using my middle name...!
Charlottesville was obviously frightening, as was my time with the armed neo-Nazis in the Northwest. Some of the early meetings, before I fully gained trust, was of course nerve-racking but I found myself settling into it quicker than I thought I would.
They are a great team. I'd be happy to collaborate on further project with them.
Premiere Pro CC is my fav way to edit. What we all want in a haunt promo video is something that captures the feeling of the haunt. A mix of flow through and awesome SCARE REACTIONS!! I think we all love watching scare reactions when people scream and then laugh.
And focus on getting great music and adding sound effects. And you want to show soem of the haunt, but sometimes it's what we don't see, what we only hear that really scares us the most. Keep the mystery alive and sell it with the reactions.
Every see the reaction photos from Nightmares Fear Factory? Those pics sell that haunt better than anything else every could.
Good luck, I know how challenging it is to film in a haunt. Happy Halloween!
Were you ever forced, or did you witness any violence towards another race?
What was it like working with Val Kilmer?
I wonder if the reason you so rarely get people fighting back is because the scenarios are so extreme that the only people who would sign up are submissives and masochists. Like, it self-selects for the most dedicatedly passive participants by its very reputation, maybe?
I'd be screaming and windmilling my fists like no tomorrow 😂
No, most of the groups I was in was mostly interested in ideology.
I think Val is a brilliant person and actor. We got along great, and still do. He is often misrepresented in the media, which is a shame.
Yes, but you wouldn't go. There are so many people who look for experiences like this. It's fascinating.
I recently went to Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride in PA and it was my first haunt experience, I enjoyed it, was sometimes scary sometimes funny mostly entertaining. Touching was allowed but it was very light. The way you describe Mckamey is like nothing else I could imagine. My question is: Are there others like it?
Mace doesn’t really smell, so I’d have to say basements. Millennial Woes smelt faintly of hay, which was disconcerting while many others smelt of sadness and loneliness.
I'd love to do more Porridge. I think he's a very interesting character with so much more to offer, after all, he is the emperor of the known universe!
There is nothing like McKamey Manor. There are more extreme haunts that touch you like Blackout, Freakling Bros, and interactive theatrical extreme like Alone, The 17th Door etc... There's a very exciting world of haunts out there to explore and now the ones in Japan are even doing amazing work!
Did you see anyone not get scared? I don't mean dudes trying to be tough but anyone who genuinely didn't really seem scared or freaked out by the whole thing.
Cucked Bigly is my drag name.
Yes! That's my wife. Nothing in a haunt scares her, but i scream my head off.
I did film 1 guy who wasn't bothered by anything at McKamey Manor. It turned out he's into S&M and he had a wonderful time.
With well over 30 years of acting under your belt, where would you like the next 10 to go Mr Davis?
he's into S&M and he had a wonderful time.
Lol. How did that make the actors feel like knowing this afterwards?
I'd love to host a TV talk show. I have a title... 'Small Talk with Warwick Davis'
Hahahah. They were very confused.
Hello. Forgive me if this comes out offensive, none is meant.
I really love your work and think you are a great actor. Sometimes I feel like you are somewhat typecasted into rolls inherently designed for little people. Is it hard or even possible to get major roles that are open and not little specific? It's an honest question becuase i would love to see you just act in a position. I feel like every time I've seen you do this its in an project of your own device. Anyway, would love to hear from you mate.
After watching the trailer im super interested in this. My big question:
Why the fuck did you not release it today?
Not going to lie im probably going to forget about this until i stumble across it again one random youtube late night binge. Looks good though great work!
I am very happy with the roles I have been getting throughout my career. They have all been interesting and I am constantly being pushed creatively and learning new skills. I have a new quiz show called 'Tenable' on ITV in the UK and I can honestly say I love hosting it even though it is more difficult than playing a character in a movie, for example.
It's out now! You can watch this right now. Go to our website and click the buy button and see a ton of ways to watch it today! And thank you so much!! Happy Halloween.
Hi Mr Davis, I have been a fan of yours since I was very young, I spent many days pretending to be Wicket playing in the forrest near my home. But without a doubt Willow holds the closest place to my heart - do you have any stories about Val Kilmer from your time on the film and do you do any magic tricks yourself? Thanks and never stop being awesome!
So from the YouTube videos and your description, it seems like McKamey Manor is more just a torture experience rather than a scary experience. If you don’t fear actors in masks, pain or eating disgusting things there isn’t really anything to be afraid of. It’s really just how much torture you want to endure. Obviously everyone has a limit to how much torture they could endure which is a different experience in my mind than being frightened. The only fear I would have would be contracting some sort of disease from some of their practices. Is this place subject to any health dept inspection or regulation? Also, they claim no one has made it thru to the end. Is this true?
Val Kilmer once broke my pair of fake Ray-Ban sunglasses on purpose. Waited for me to get annoyed, then gave me 2 pairs of real Ray-Bans.
I learnt magic for Willow but don't practice any of the tricks now.
No one makes it to the end, but one guy would've but they had to stop because their was a 10pm cut off from being in a sub division in San Diego. Nothing phased Rudy because he was into S&M. After seeing so many other people freak out, watching Rudy was like watching Superman. It was crazy.
No, there are no regulations on extreme home haunts. Mostly because the world is just discovering them. There are more regulations on lemonade stands.
I've always seen a connection between haunted houses and horror games as interactive ways to experience horror. Nowadays a lot of popular horror games really are just basically virtual haunted houses (PT, RE7, etc.)
Do you play horror games/video games in general? What are some of your favorites?
YES! Actually I just created & directed a VR project called FLATLINE EXPERIENCE where you go through someones actual near death experience. I had this idea for over 16 years, but wanted to wait for VR to be.... well the way it is today.
VR is so exciting because when it's done well it takes you out of your daily life, prevents you from looking at your phone and makes you be an active participant in an experience. That's the same thing I love about haunts!
One of my fav haunts this year is The 17th Door and they started their attraction with a VR experience that made me SCREAM out loud! I was freaking out because they strapped me into a metal chair and then when the VR began everything I saw touch me in the VR experience I would also feel in real life. Even some shocks here and there.
That was such a rush!!! I'm excited to do more VR especially with horror VR where people can face their worst fears in the safest way possible.
I'm a casual haunt goer! I go to universal every year and get the scary farm pass every year. I typically go with a friend or two and mostly hang out to interact with the actors. What type of things did you learn or discuss with the representatives you met from Knott's scary farm?
I LOVE Universal and Knott's. I go every year too and this is my fav year for both Scary Farm and Universal. Knott's and Universal are mostly in my film for historical context. My focus is traditional haunts vs extreme haunts, how haunts got to be so popular, when extreme haunts began and how far is too far. But I filmed over 250 hours of footage so I have a TON of bonus features. In the bonus features you get to see some of Scare School at Knott's Scary Farm. I filmed when Brooke Walters was running Scare School and it;s really cool to watch her direct the Scare Actors and teach them how to become a monster. And you get the John Murdy story. John Murdy is the creative director for Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights and when he was a kid in the 1970's he made his first haunted house a Star Wars haunted house! We show the pics and everything. There are so many emotional moments from traditional haunters in the bonus features.
This year my Fav at Knotts was Infected Special Opps (the awesome Zombie laser tag game), The Dark Ride, Pumpkin Eater, The Lights Out version of Trick or Treat and the new opening to the Shadowlands which is a really cool Japanese inspired haunt. Universal I LOVED every maze, but I especially lost my mind during Ash vs Evil Dead, Saw, AHS, The Shinning, The Blumhouse triple feature maze (The Purge, Happy Death Day and Sinister) and the Titans of Terror with Freddy, Jason and Leatherface. This was such a great year for HAUNT!
Ha I'm just remembering how I once met you when you were in Woolacombe, it always stuck out to me that you took the time to meet and greet people who wanted to speak to you even though you had a bunch of people telling you that you had to get going. So thanks for being cool!
What's you're favourite moment from the Harry Potter series?
What does "full contact" mean? Like, are visitors allowed to fight back?
It's hard to choose 1 moment from 11 years of memories. I had a wonderful experience during that time. My fondest memories are of the people involved in the making of the films.
It means they're allowed to touch you, even in a rough way and you're not allowed to touch back or fight back.
Did you see any visitors try to fight back?
I actually never saw anyone fight back at the Manor, but I did see people fight back at boo scare mazes. I was really surprised.
Why do you think Russ Mckamey moved Mckamey Manor to Tennessee/Alabama?
Not sure which role but as an actor who just happens to be short!
A lot of reasons, but #1 he was forced to tear it down due to complaints. Not complaints about what he was doing, but about the un-permitted structures.
What were Mr Merchant and Mr Gervais like to work with?
Also, how did Johnny Depp fit in? Was it via Tim Burton? Did you meet Helen on Harry Potter?
How does local law enforcement react to some of the more extreme places like McKamey Manor? Do they ever try to shut these places down? Or deal with complaints from "customers"?
Stephen is very funny and a brilliant writer/performer. Ricky is sometimes like a 6yr old child - mischievous and silly.
Ricky just asked Johnny and he said yes.
Great question. Russ almost got shot once when the cops kicked the door down and came running inside to save the people screaming for help. When they meet Russ he puts them at ease, they leave and he goes back to it. I think most other people would've been shut down by now.
Im sure youve been asked this before but what scares you that is not IRL? The dark with my own imagination are mine.
That's a tough question because I LOVE to get scared. Whenever I'm not feeling well I put on A Nightmare On Elm St and it always cheers me up. My favorite kind of scare is something supernatural that feels real. That always gets the hair on the back of my neck to stand up. The idea of Freddy killing you in your dreams is still the greatest idea in horror to me because we ll have to sleep. BTW - Have you ever seen the documentary THE NIGHTMARE by Rodney Ascher? That is the scariest movie ever and it's REAL! It's people sharing their stories about their worst sleep paralysis nightmares. the movie even convinces you that now because you're watching this movie that you're gonna have sleep paralysis too! When I saw that at SXSW it kept me up all night. I've seen it 4 times since and each time it scares me. When you watch it turn the VOLUME up really loud and get ready to be freaked out.