Case Study: Factory of Terror and Haunted School House & Lab
The following was written by Jess Byard, writer and producer at Red Point Digital.
The Factory of Terror (FOT) and Haunted School House and Laboratory (HSHL) have been staples in the North East Ohio haunted house circuit for decades. Back in 2018, the folks in Canton at FOT acquired the Akron HSHHL into their spooky family and wanted to create a new brand feature their collaboration.
This was a project we were excited about right off the bat. As the resident office horror hounds, our lead editor Patrick and I jumped at the chance to create a new look for two haunted houses we both had frequented in the past.
We knew we wanted to draw upon our influences so we started by searching through images of our favorite horror flicks. The graphic below was created as a reference for how we wanted the final product to ultimately look.
Working with the folks who run Factory of Terror, and now the Haunted School House and Lab was a great experience. We always strive to work hand in hand with our clients and these folks couldn’t have been more helpful. They had a clear vision for what they wanted and really took to our overall design and atmosphere.
One of the most exciting parts for myself, and Patrick too, I think, was getting to see behind the scenes of both locations. Location scouting is one of my favorite aspects of the process for this reason.
No shoot is complete without a few challenges along the way, it wouldn’t be a production if there weren’t some obstacles.
A big one was the sheer amount of space both locations covered. FOT has been named the longest haunted house in the state 3x by Guinness World Records and the HSHHL are broken up into two buildings that are multiple floors w/ no elevator access.
FOT ended up being the easiest to navigate because we had the benefit of being in one location that was one floor. Walkie Talkies are pretty vital on most sets but they were a lifesaver on this one. Having to run back and forth for gear is inevitable but you don’t want to get back to the gear and suddenly realize you’ve forgotten what you needed and have to run back to ask. Being efficient is key.
FOT was also kind enough to give us rides across the site in golf carts when needed which helped with moving gear as well. Now, sometimes, locations are just going to have their own quirks that you’re going to have to roll with.
When it came to the Haunted School House and Lab in Akron, we were split into two locations that were stair access only. Even on a small shoot with a minimal crew like ours, there is still a fair amount of heavy equipment that has to be moved and staged.
Our team was solid though and we got through the set ups pretty decently without having to make too many drastic changes to our shot list.
You can check out the finished results below! We were ultimately very happy with the final results as were both FOT and HSHHL.