Louis Brown – Darkwood Manor
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Louis Brown – Darkwood Manor

Right now we are in the main room of
Darkwood Manor. This is usually the first room of the haunted house and usually where you get your story or the setup for the story is in this room. Each year at Darkwood we change the theme up. We have a general backstory for Darkwood where the Darkwood family built Darkwood Manor and it just became like this beacon or haven of paranormal activity so even though we do a different theme each year most of
the time it involves the Darkwood family. The basic preparation process is I’ll come up with a story idea for the year. I’ll start working on
that during the winter months and then in the spring we start doing
construction. Probably around the first part of the summer we start recruiting
the actors. I learned a long time ago that it’s actors that people come to see
and I can create the most wonderful sets and cool animations and props but it’s
the actors that sell the haunted house and that really makes the haunted house. I started
sculpting the masks probably about 2008 or 2007, mainly because I couldn’t
find the kind of masks I was looking for. Especially because of the fact that we change
our theme every year, we’re looking for new stuff every year. We’ve
got some really cool new giant puppets… we also built a transparent containment
tank so basically what it is is a transparent television set but you can
actually see through the screen so it creates an illusion of depth that you can
actually put the character into into the space it’s a really cool ghost effect.
I can tell you why haunted houses appeal to me more than regular art does.
If I put my paintings or sculptures in a gallery people go to galleries and their reaction is like, ‘I like this this is cool.’ People go to a haunted house and they
respond to your work very loudly. You get screams and laughter…
you know you’ve done your job it’s that they’re enjoying it and
I want that visceral response you know. The gallery stuff was
just a little bit too tame for me I wanted people to really respond
one way or the other whether they hated or loved it
or it made them cry or scream or whatever. My advice to art students or anyone really is to keep your options open. Explore things that challenge you don’t close yourself off
and think I’m gonna do this because you know you might not end up doing that. I
thought was gonna be a computer science man and now I’m running the spook house.

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