Haunted Attraction Psychology

So the local amusement park’s Halloween Haunt has a maze called “Mr Cleaver’s Bloodshed”. I bought a “No-Boo Necklace” and sat outside the exit to watch the fun.

They had a scareactor dressed in a bloody apron with a huge plastic meat cleaver stationed outside the exit. I can understand screaming if one of them jumps out at you, but he would chase down teenage girls for a good 100 feet, and they would scream the whole time and then cower down when he caught up to them.

So what’s going on in the “victims” heads?
“This is fun, I’m going along in this roleplay”
“OMG, he’s got a ax, I’m going to get killed!!!”
Something else, or no real thinking, just reaction to adrenaline?

Is there something cultural or biological that women react to things differently than men? I once asked my sister’s friend why women always scream on roller coasters, and she said “because it’s fun”. I asked on Reddit and was told it was a stupid question because guys scream too (which is not my experience, at least not normally). But then again there’s only been two rides I’ve been on that have actually scared me.

I think it’s less socially acceptable for men to express fear.

I think “teenage girls like to scream” is a pretty fair answer.

This thread reminds me of the time I went to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. There were a couple of shows, a roller coaster, and some movie sets to look at, but mostly it was just costumed actors jumping at you all night long. It was beyond tedious. Before long, I was only pretending to be startled out of politeness to those poor bastards.

Hey, I just did the Valley Scare last Friday!

Yeah, they just do it to make it more fun for them and their friends. If you act scared the performers seem to get into it more which is fun.
I kind of roll my eyes at the kids who go through with their noses in the air trying to prove (to who knows who) that they aren’t scared of anything. What fun is that?
I’m a 45 year-old dude and I wanted to see some good performances out of these actors. So I feigned some nervousness, cringed, jumped, etc. and they were more than willing to put on a show. A lot of fun.

Sudden, loud noises, be they originating from actors dressed as ghosties or doors accidentally slamming shut, startle (and fucking annoy) me. I haven’t been to a professional haunted house in a few years, but even the local ones put me in that “nervous giggle, scream even though I knew it was coming” mode. For me I think it’s not actual fear - obviously you know you’re safe - but more of a release of tension. Same with roller coasters. I *love *them, I know I’m not going to die, but the feeling is so . . . unnatural and overwhelming, you’ve just got to get it out of your system. Also, in my group anyway, you must put your hands in the air (like you don’t care).

I was there on Friday too. I have a season pass and live in the southern suburbs so I get out there a lot.

Don’t look to this woman for an explanation. Last time I was dragged through one of those (with my ex-BF, who dragged me), I gave the Wednesday Addams Stare of Death to all of the people trying to menace me.

The teenaged girls ahead of me screamed madly, though, as did the women behind me.

I even said to the “chainsaw killer”, “Dude, stop waving the chainsaw around. There’s no blade on it.” I said very politely to the guy with pins in his head, “Sorry, haven’t seen your movie.” He almost cracked up.

With all the screaming and flashing lights, I had a migraine at the end of the damned thing.

You need to go to Knott’s Berry Farm. That number will change.

Pfft. Who’s scared of berries?

Most men aren’t able to hit that really piercing high note when they scream, so it just doesn’t sound as impressive. And if they do, people make fun of them for it.

What do they have there that would scare me, keeping in mind Kingda Ka didn’t phase me in the slightest. The two that scared me were Nitro and Windseeker where it was more a feeling of being exposed as opposed to height or speed.

As someone who used to work in a haunted attraction, I might have a little insight into this. Obviously, people go to these things and want to be scared. They suspend disbelief and generally* don’t look for the zippers in the costumes, etc.

The thing is, this suspension works. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the screaming and fear. In addition to that, even though you know the chainsaw-wielding were-clown is just someone’s dad, it is an intensely uncomfortable experience to be faced by someone in a mask, especially someone who won’t break character, and won’t stop chasing you. In almost any other situation, a person trying to scare you would get you to jump and be startled, and then the trick is over. I worked in a haunted house for four years, and it still made me uncomfortable when my co-actors would stand next to me fully masked.

Extreme aside: I once went to a haunted house with a big group of people. One girl in her late teens was terrified. Some zombie guy chased her out to the car after we’d gone through, and eventually had mercy for her and took off his mask and asked if she was ok. She chatted with him for a minute after which he put the mask back on (with her watching) and she proceeded to resume freaking out, so much so that she made herself vomit.

I realize that not everyone is into the whole haunted house thing, but if you’re concerned to please haunted house actors, please don’t do this. Even if it is funny, it can be exhausting to stay in character for 6-7 hours a night, and things like this can really take them out of the zone and make them feel like they’re doing a crappy job. It’d be like shouting to a magician on stage that you can see the string.

I don’t remember the names of the rides, but there was one that accelerated so fast and went straight up that it scared the shit out of me every time I rode it. I knew it was coming and it still shocked me, every time. There was another one that went straight up and was slightly unnerving, and some other one I didn’t even go on. My kid chickened out, too. Some kind of “free fall” type thing.

We got lucky and was there on a day with about 100 other people. Rode the rides as often and as fast as we could get from the exit to the entrance. On some rides, they would just let you stay in your seat and ride as many times as you wanted.

If you ever get down to So. Cal., check it out.

The goddamn Xcelerator! Pants-shittingly awesome ride! The 15th time was just a scary as the first. I was impressed.

For attention.

N/m. Too drunk to keep on posting. Sorry

Sometimes they have attractions in a haunted house that will scare even the best of you.

For example, in one called “The Edge of Hell” You look thru this glass and their are some big snakes inside (like at the zoo). Then all of a sudden this air hose drops down hissing all around you! You about jump thru the ceiling!

Other times the attractions - well you just cant help laughing. At one there was this actor with this pendulum axe going back and forth across his fake bloodied body. I just had to laugh because the though of “He’s getting paid to do this?” just cracked me up.

Then their are the times where the attraction would make Hollywood jealous. Like where you walk across the room filled with thick fog and theres these statues. Well you dont know if they are a real statue or an actor about ready to move. A very convincing and well done effect!

So far we have
“Teenage girls just like to scream”
“It’s a suspension of reality”.
I don’t think these are mutually exclusive. Somehow I’ve never really been able to get into it like I can for movies and TV, so someone yelling boo is just startling and annoying as opposed to scary and thrilling. I notice a few of the some of the scareacters were trash talking people wearing the necklaces (which I suppose is allowed); don’t know if they hate the concept or trying to stay in character.

I’ve never heard of these necklaces before - I presume you don’t wear them and walk through the attraction, are they for family waiting outside at the end?

I’d guess it’s sociological, in that men are taught to suppress their fear and women are not. Both have that initial rush of adrenaline, but women don’t feel a stigma about giving into it (and it is pretty fun). But if a scientist told me it’s that women are more easily frightened by that kind of thing, I wouldn’t be surprised. Women, being smaller, have more evolutionary incentive to give into flight instead of fight when faced with a man leaping out at them (discounting the hatchet).

ETA: Men scream on roller coasters all the time.

I see your Xcelerator and raise you this http://skyjumplasvegas.com/