La Morgue – The Cadaver Experiment/Haunted Attraction Concept – UCF
Independent project: By Amy K. Avalos (MFA, MS, BAS, BA, AA)
Project Origination: Graduate Thesis – at UCF, for an MFA in Themed Experience
This proposed haunted attraction concept has been inspired by the Paris Morgue, which operated between 1804 to1907 and is based at the height of the Morgue’s existence in the late 1880’s.
As part of the guest experience, guests will be loaded onto old medical gurneys, then transported through the attraction as an “Un-dead” cadaver. This includes being placed in cold storage, having an autopsy “performed” on them, an attempted cremation, and then they are buried alive.
A mysterious and unknown plague has hit the local city hard, and the city is in complete chaos. Dr. Adrien Boucher, the local medical examiner is rumored to have been working on cadavers for a cure. The locals have heard that the Doc has had a recent breakthrough, but it could be at all costs. Little do the locals know that instead, the Doc has completely lost his mind and is maddeningly performing various tests and autopsies on every subject he can get his hands on – dead or alive.
Maze designs and layouts, have become excessively routine and exceptionally predictable to guests, thus setting up a preconceived expectation of the experience. Walkthrough mazes enable guests to preemptively know how or what to expect, and are likely to somewhat predict typical scares, while also providing them with the opportunity to rush though the experience.
In this concept, guests would be concentrated to a particular room or/to limited areas. They would also be restrained in various manners, impeding any “fight or flight” behaviors, and would likewise incorporate ways of “Breaking the fourth wall” with the guests in the experience. Guests will generate active dialog and have active actions to perform with scare actors making them an active agent. This ties the guest into the story, as opposed to guests taking on the traditional role as a non-active agent or passive guest (as where guests walk past scenes and scare actors with minimal to no dialog or actions to perform).
Partial Slide Deck:
Full Research/Thesis – If desired, but not essential for this review.
Every enchanted Fall season, a segment of the public flocks to a multitude of haunted Halloween attractions across the U.S., to experience fear as a form of amusement and entertainment. Psychologists continue to research the physiological and cognitive behaviors that are associated with fear and the “fight or flight” responses that are triggered when individuals are engaged in a heighten sense of danger. As paying customers, (from here on referred to as “a guest(s),”) traverses through these haunted experiences, it’s commonplace for guests to enter into typical modes of “fight or flight” behaviors very quickly. Once this response kicks in, the guests’ instinct is to scramble through each haunt scene as quickly as possible, in order to return to safety, thus rushing through and fleeing the experience.
The most standard blueprint for these types of attractions, are typically in the form of a maze-like walkthrough floor plan. This study will work to examine and explore a haunted attraction design that incorporate experiences in a singular room or in a series of singular rooms, as compared to the traditional walkthrough haunted maze layouts. This proposed design concept will also work to incorporate various ways of guest engagement, increased intensity, and deeper depths of immersion in addition to combining advancing methods of “breaking the fourth wall,” with guests.