Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chainsaws and Screams

Back from our second shoot at Raisin Hell Ranch ... a little worse for wear this time!!  Racing around a corn maze, going through all the staging areas carrying heavy cameras and equipment isn't for the couch potatoe!!  The ground is very uneven, and besides stepping in holes and crawling through corn stalks to place lights, they have dug out sections and placed mattresses on the ground that you can't help but walk over.  A couple "claustrophobic" rooms have you pushing through a 15 foot long section with two huge balloons on either side that touch in front of you and close behind you as you shove your way through, ducking so the hanging body parts don't hit you in the head.  Yup ... these guys do it up right!!!!!
You are accosted and scared all along the route ... and we are not exempt from the fun, since some of the actors didn't know who we were or why we were there.

Shooting in the dark provides lots of challenges.  There are umpteen number of settings on your camera that can produce the same number of images ... mostly bad!!!   Setting up flashes with colored gels in order to produce creepy lighting takes time and patience.  Especially when, as with all electronic equipment, ghostys crawl in and make themselves at home in your camera so it does not sync with the flash.  They suck up your batteries and try your patience!!!!!
The screams from this staging area could be heard at the far end of the fields.  The maze is set up so movement-activated sounds let the actor know someone is near, allowing them time to set you up for a great scare!!!  The men screamed as loud as the girls!!!  We even got to be part of the fun .. while in the maze, we would stop shooting, hide our lights and let people pass.  Every so often I would reach out and touch someone ... who would freak out!!!  I laughed and laughed!!!
One of my favorites was the gas chamber ... when you walked up, the guy with the gas mask opened the door for you to walk through ... then slammed it behind you.  It is filled with so much smoke that you CANNOT see!!!   We put our lighting director inside with the flash and took several images.  When I went in to find her, even with my flashlight, I couldn't see her at all.  I finally ran into her, grabbed her by the neck and drug her out!!!
At the very end of each maze, a guy wielding a running chain saw, chases you out the gate.  A REAL chainsaw, but with no chain, so the noise is deafening.  You can imagine being in pitch black with a guy screaming at you, chasing you through the field.  He showed us the damage created when people didn't make the turn and ran into the wall (no humans were hurt or injured in this production)!!!

At 11:30 p.m. we headed out ... the lines to get in were clear out to the parking lot.  It is a great place to take young children during the day for picking out pumpkins, hay rides, tractor train rides, birthday parties and picnics.  When the sun goes down, it is the perfect place to spend a spooky, scary Halloween night!!!!  Can't wait til next year!!!!  Happy Halloween .............

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