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Saturday October 12, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday October 12, 2013 MYT 6:08:37 AM
by revathi murugappan
Date night fright: The evil Maiden of the Opera makes an appearance at 'Halloween Horror Nights 3' alongside her two evil sisters courtesy of its creator Scott D. Peterson. – SAM THAM/The Star
Thrill-seekers can navigate through three intricate haunted houses and three scare zones at Universal Studios Singapore’s Halloween extravaganza this month.
PUTTING together a spine-chilling Halloween production is no easy task but that’s what Scott D. Peterson has been doing these past three years.
As the producer of Halloween Horror Nights 3 at Universal Studios Singapore, Peterson has been setting the stage for thrills and frights amidst original storylines. Ghouls, zombies, ghosts, witches ... these are all his close buddies.
His dedication in overseeing the region’s largest and most elaborate horror production encompasses finding a different theme for the horror nights every year, holding auditions for the perfect scare casts, choosing suitable props and arranging special effects to add to the guest experience.
Having joined Resorts World Sentosa in 2010 as a talent buyer, Peterson was thrown into producing when the company restructured.
He is responsible for creating events and shows for the resort, though back then he had no idea he would be tasked with producing a Halloween extravaganza. Initially, he organised a small, private Halloween event, which led to Halloween Horror Night 1 and 2 in 2011 and 2012. The events have been getting bigger and better, and have garnered a strong following.
“For me, Halloween means getting dressed up to go to a party, or trick or treating. I didn’t understand the grand scale of it until I saw the event at Universal Studios in Florida, United States. For the first event, I was just told to do it and I had four months! Initially, I didn’t want to do it because I’m not a fan of horror movies,” says Peterson, 32.
Over time and plenty of research, he got hooked and now it has become his passion.
“On a scale of one to 10, I’d rate the event here as a nine or 10. It can be really scary. If people are petrified, we might have to evacuate them. Some cry, some faint ... there is no age limit but the nights are not meant for those below 13. It could be too intense,” he says.
The event has expanded to such a grand scale that the entertainment crew alone adds up to almost 300. Yes, Peterson admits it can be a headache managing everyone.
“Why do you think I have all these zits on my face!” he says, chuckling. “But we all have to multitask and are constantly striving to find a balance.”
Every year, Peterson has to come up with a theme and an iconic character for the show. This year’s theme is “Sisters Of Evil” and the three icons are the Daughter of the Undead, the Maiden of the Opera and the Crone of the Forest. These banished witches are reincarnated and reunited, and promise to unleash a reign of terror.
With make-up and prosthetic treatment, the icons look terrifying. Peterson says the gearing up can take up to three hours.
“Locals have learnt to do the make-up and there is a significant growth in the cosmetology industry. In future, we hope to link up with schools to show children how movie style make-up can be applied.”
To find these sisterly icons, visitors have to navigate their way through three haunted houses and three scare zones. The spine-chilling line-up of houses includes a ghostly voyage aboard Adrift in the New York zone, a bloodbath massacre trail at the Chinese Opera Academy amid Songs Of Death in the Lost World zone, and the cursed house of Possessions, where spirits of the owner’s collections take over the dilapidated home. There are also more Asian scare elements that local and regional visitors can identify with.
Scare actors and talents include locals and foreigners who were selected after an audition.
Peterson says, “Japan has adopted a fun-friendly horror atmosphere during Halloween but we’re looking to scare people! I’m one of those who can fall asleep watching a horror movie so if I freak myself out, then it’s definitely good. In these houses, with the special effects on, I can freak myself out three to four times per house so that should tell you something.”
Teenagers and those in the 25-40 age group get the most kick out of it. While the bloodcurdling creatures may charge at you, there is no physical contact.
“We invested a bit on illusion. For example, if you see someone levitating, this will allow for distraction and we can then scare visitors with some stunts within that space,” he explains.
A new website has been launched at www.halloweenhorrornights.com.sg, giving fans an exclusive peek into the event experience. This site will include interactive games uncovering the tragic tales behind the three sisters, as well as detailed descriptions of each scare zone and a survival guide to Halloween Horror Nights 3.
Besides producing this event, Peterson, who has vast experience in many genres of entertainment, also produces shows for Christmas, Chinese New Year, New Year and a host of events for the casinos.
“Every year brings a different challenge because nothing is duplicated. Continuity is important so I have to anticipate what is coming up next to keep things fresh and innovative. We’ll never get to the scale of Florida because we have no space in Singapore, but we can find space for more haunted houses.
“I’m not jaded yet. I know what needs to be done, but when I see what I put on paper come to life, that’s exciting. It’s very satisfying,” he says.
*Halloween Horror Nights 3 will take place on Oct 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 and from Oct 31-Nov 3, from 7pm to 1am. Tickets are priced at S$68 (RM178). For bookings and details on package deals, visit www.rwsentosa.com or www.halloweenhorrornights.com.sg.
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, Halloween, Resorts World Sentosa, witches, Universal Studios Singapore, Scott D. Peterson
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