About this project
We're Making A Steampunk Haunted House!
WE DID IT! WE DOUBLED OUR GOAL, AND NOW HAVE MORE PIECES COMING IN FROM MORE MAKERS THROUGH THE COUNTRY, MORE MUSIC FROM STEAMPUNK BANDS, MORE COSTUMING FOR OUR HAUNT ACTORS, AND ALL MANNER OF THINGS!
NEXT STRETCH GOAL: $3500! At $3500, we'll unveil a special Lovecraftian piece of Steampunk art - it will go in the house, and we'll take pictures and video of it for the whole world to see!
There's a lot of research and discussion below, so if you want the short version, here it is:
The world's largest Steampunk event, the world's largest dark/alternative social media site, and an incredible, family-owned, hand-built resort in the Catskills are teaming up to create a Steampunk Haunted House which will be available both to those who travel there, and internationally (through special backer-only shows and live walk-throughs!) That Steampunk Haunted House is actually already 99% completed. We want your help to push it over the top!
Here's the House as it currently stands. Isn't it beautiful?
And now, the tale...
If your mind is set aflame by the limitless imagination of Steampunk, and your heart skips a delicious beat at the thought of Halloween, then you might be wondering the same thing we're wondering:
Why is it so hard to find a great Steampunk Haunted House?
The answer is actually fairly simple. Doing a full-scale haunted attraction requires a lot of space, a lot of investment of time and money, and tends to give you only one month out of the entire year to finance rent, expenses, staff, improvements, advertising, and pretty much all of your business expenses. That means pulling in as large a crowd as possible, and to do that, you really need to hit a traditional Halloween or horror theme, or you're taking a big risk-- unless you have very special circumstances, as we do.
In our ten years of working with Steampunk, we've found that Steampunk's unbounded creativity can enthrall pretty much anyone, but that doesn't mean it's going to be the first thing that comes to peoples' minds. In fact, the ONLY Steampunk haunted house we can find is the incredible art installation that ran in New York City from 2010-2012. And that's about to change.
What Would You Need In Order To Have A Steampunk Haunted House?
We've spent two years researching this, and some of the basics are:
- Venue. You'd need to start with something that was already a pretty great place.
- Rent. The optimal situation would be on a property that you already own, so you don't need to pay rent.
- Business model. If you're going to make a great haunt, and do something really out-of-the-ordinary, then it needs to be your passion-- but if you're appealing to an audience outside the mainstream, then you'd want to have another source of income, preferably something complimentary to the Haunt.
- Steampunk resources. You'd need a passion for Steampunk--and you'd need experience in reaching a Steampunk audience and making things that audience loves.
- Haunt resources. You'd need great haunters and people who specialize in and love things that are dark/alternative, spooky, and Halloween-related
To cut to the chase, we have all of those things ready and currently in action! We have the venue, it's owned in-house, it's at an amazing resort which uses the Haunt as an additional attraction but can afford to have a special, unique space instead of a place which needs a massive crowd, and we have the Steampunk and Haunt resources already at hand!
We're there and just need your help to cover the last little bit! With that in mind:
LET US INTRODUCE YOU TO...
THE MAD SCIENTIST MASSACRE MANSION!
The Mad Scientist Massacre Mansion is a collaboration between The Steampunk World's Fair and Blackthorne Resort, with help from the world's largest social network for all things dark and wonderful, VampireFreaks!
The Steampunk World's Fair is the world's largest Steampunk event, and it already runs smash hit Halloween and Steampunk events at Blackthorne: Steampunk in the Catskills and Halloween in the Catskills.
Meanwhile, our partners at The Blackthorne Resort is a family-owned and -operated rustic Resort which the Handel family purchased 20 years ago, on what was, at the time, a gorgeous but run-down property. They have literally been rebuilding it by hand, with the sweat of their family and the help of the surrounding community, and now it is one of the most lovely attractions in the Catskills. And our partners at Vampirefreaks are not only the world's largest social media site for the Goth Dark Alternative world, but also our partners in America's biggest Goth Convention, Dark Side Of The Con.
When the Handel family bought the Blackthorne Resort site, the place now known as Massacre Mansion was one of many dilapidated buildings on the property which had seen little upkeep in years. The family was busy remodeling the best bedrooms throughout the property into the best guest rooms, and putting together their Phoenix Pub and the Grand Ballroom/dining hall--both essential to the Resort's survival. Under those circumstances, most people would have looked at the crumbling remains of a Victorian mansion, requiring years of work, and just converted it to storage space.
But not the folks of Blackthorne!
Who would have done something as impractical as put in hundreds of hours of work building a Haunted House right next to the lodge? The dreamers of Tommy Uhll, expert haunter, and the Blackthorne family - that's who! They're creators and makers and dreamers-- the very soul of Steampunk. And they did what Steampunk (and Halloween!) does best--they've always wanted to run a fun haunted house, and so they set to work and have been improving it for the past five years.
And then - disaster!
The resort suffered a disastrous fire 4 years ago, and they've spent a lot of the time since rebuilding. The Haunted House hasn't been able to be their main focus. They still love it, and they still run it, but it wasn't until the Handel family invited us folks of The Steampunk World's Fair to look into doing a Steampunk event when, during the course of the tour, they showed us the Mansion... and it hit all of us at once.
We realized that the Handel family, and Tommy and Joey and their haunters, were passionate about making unique people feel at home. So Jeff Mach Events started running events there--first our Steampunk event, then the Halloween show. And as we get ready for the second year of the Halloween event, we all realized that we have the skills and ability to make the massacre Mansion not just better than ever, but something you can find almost nowhere else: a Steampunk Haunted House!
Massacre Mansion is built on the ruins of an actual 19th century building from the property's past. This edifice has been built and rebuilt many many times and actually has seen extraordinary and unusual things, some supernatural (ask us for stories!). The present building is a loving reconstruction and rebuild of the previous structures. It's wired for modern electronics, but its roots and even some of its foundations date all the way back to the days of Steam power. The Mansion is lovely--and it doesn't stop with the building itself. The Haunt continues through outbuildings and a number of spaces, some secret, and going through the entire thing is a good half-hour. That's BEFORE the hayride.
Massacre Mansion is already beautiful, and you can already see the touches of Steampunk ambiance-- but we want to make it a truly Steampunk experience!
There's that ancient haunted-house dilemma. We want you to know a little bit of how cool it is inside, and yet we don't want to give away the surprise. So what we'll do is tell you a bit about it:
The Mansion is a combination of old-school hauntings and traditional effects, with animatronic unique bits created by Blackthorne and Tommy. Like everything else here, it's a labor of love. It's also meant to provide you with the most fun you can possibly have inside a haunted house!
The Theme Is Mad Science. The Mansion was the home of the Brothers Phear-- who performed unnatural procedures in pursuit of that most complicated of human emotions: terror. That's right, they were inventors and investigators into the science and art of fear! They conducted all manner of strange experiments... until they disappeared. But don't worry. I'm sure that they're dead and the house is deserted and nothing could possibly go wrong.
Blackthorne is already the home of some amazing Steampunk creations. It's where our Giant Robot lives:
It's where our car, Jake Von Slatt's Steampunk Roadster, lives.
And now, we're going to put the same creative force into creating an incredible Steampunk Haunted House!
Our Hunters are dedicated. They're going to go out there and chill you and make you scream and laugh, even if all they have are clothes from a thrift shop. But in our role as Jeff Mach Events, we work with some of the greatest costumers and some of the best designers in the entire imaginative world, and we think you deserve a cast that's really decked out. What's more, we think the cast--and you!--deserve all the tools they can use to get totally in character. Like this:
And it takes only a glance at the house to see that it's already beautiful and already has incredible atmosphere. It's even got genuine Victorian-era ancestry! (Well, it's built on the ruins of an older Victorian property. It really, actually is. But we don't talk about that, or about the noises in the basement...)
The Mansion is gorgeous now, but we want to make it a little more Unforgettable. For example, we really want just the right lighting for just the right effect. We really want some brass finishings. And while the inside of the house is Secret, it's like any great haunted home: elaborately furnished and full of surprises.
But we want to build on it and make it better and better. Right now, you're already entering a Victorian place of Steam Science. The team has been working on that for the last three years. But with a few more raw materials, we can expand it further, into the substantial acreage behind the house, and even finish off with a traditional Victorian hay ride! (With a diesel tractor, granted; but it wouldn't be fair to hitch up horses in that dark, haunted backyard.)
CAN YOU EXPERIENCE THE HOUSE, EVEN IF YOU LIVE FAR AWAY? WHAT KIND OF REWARDS ARE THERE?
Yes! We're going to be doing special live trips through the house for backers! It's not the same as being there-- but you'll get a real feel for what you've helped create and the effect it has on people.
Plus, we've got the advantage of being able to offer people who CAN make it to the house more than just the House itself, but things like vacations at the Resort as well!
SO! THE HAUNTED HOUSE IS BECOMING A REALITY AS WE SPEAK. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO FINISH IT UP AND MAKE IT INCREDIBLE!
My help? But how?
By now, you've likely figured out our Dark Secret....The Steampunk Haunted House is very nearly a reality right now, this minute. We could take you through it tomorrow, and you would have an incredible spooky Steampunk time. But It's not quite finished. And for that last part, we need you. We don't need tens of thousands of dollars or hundred of hours to make it happen, and it is so close to being complete that it can be ready for this very Halloween!
We just need you to help nudge us that much closer to success!
We need to help us get the funding we need to decorate the outside with a few more dabs of Steampunk.
We want to be able to support Steampunk artists by licensing some of their music for the outdoor and indoor soundtrack.
We want to outfit our cast in spooky Steampunk glory
And we want to update the house a little more inside and make it even more Steamtacular!
And if we hit our goals and can aim for stretch goals...
...There's so much more we love to do. Tommy and the Blackthorne Resort have had plans for building an addition to the house, and they actually have plans; they just need a few more materials.
And seriously, there are SO many incredible Steampunk and spooky attractions, decorations, sounds, lights, and furnishings that we could add. We can make this not just beautifully unforgettable, but an icon in the Steampunk Universe. Just like our Steampunk Robot, just like the Roadster, just like the other genre-defining creations.
And one more thing--
We need you because WE WANT YOU TO BE A PART OF IT!
Because truly, we can't wait to meet you, either virtually/online, or in person! We can't wait to show you the house on the Internet, to give you interviews with the Haunters and with the people who go through the house, to take you with us on livestream as we bring audiences through. We can't wait to show you the pictures and we can't wait to tell you all about it!
And we can't wait to meet those who can make it out here! We can't wait to party with you and to have you meet all of us, the Steampunk World's Fair team, the Blackthorne team, the haunt folks, and all the people who are making this possible. We can't wait to all get together and all be here in one place.
Most of all, we can't wait to make Steampunk history together! Every year, hell every month, Steampunk is challenging and shattering expectations and barriers about what Steampunk can do, what our creators can do, what a world of imagination can do. We are undertaking an endeavor that has never before been endeavored in the entire annals of haunts. We are making history, and we're almost there!
Join us! Be a part of it! Let's do something never before attempted in this way and on this scale, and let's make it incredible together!
Risks and challenges
To be honest, we kind-of started without you. The Handel family and, and Tommy and Joey, the resident haunters, have been quietly Steampunking this beautiful place for years, and they started stepping it up when we began doing Steampunk in the Catskills. We'll be candid: Massacre Mansion, with a Mad Science theme, will be open this year even if this Kickstarter doesn't succeed.
But it won't be a fully Steampunk Haunted House. It probably won't open for as many weekends. It will have fewer haunters. It will have less going on. It will be fantastic, to be sure. But it won't be as great as we really want it to be; it won't be the Steampunk Haunted House we feel you deserve. And we won't be able to livestream any tours, or patronize some of the Steampunk artisans with whom we want to collaborate.
Many of the biggest risks around haunted attractions are things we've already taken care of. As we mentioned earlier, we don't need to worry about finding a space or about paying rental fees for it or about creating a Steampunk themed out of nothing; in fact, the Resort is already the home to massive Steampunk creations. We don't need to worry about attracting a massive crowd in order to stay in business. We know that with the flash and flare and brilliance of Steampunk, and with our existing successful events Steampunk in the Catskills and Halloween in the Catskills, the house will generate revenue and innovate!
And again, it really makes a big difference that we're in a position to make this Steampunk, not just because we love Steampunk, but we want to offer something to the whole Steampunk community. And we want to take our existing, successful events and our future shows and make them better--so that our existing business is both fueling, and fueled by, this House. Everybody wins!
This isn't a fleeting dream that comes to life for a month and fades; this will be at Blackthorne forever. That's how we're able to offer lifelong tickets as one of our rewards.
We want to show how incredible a Steampunk haunted house can be - and we don't want to be the only ones! We want to let the rest of the world know that it can be done, and we want to see Steampunk Haunts have the same effect as our Steampunk World's Fair - in the beginning, it was almost impossible to find Steampunk events, and now you can find them internationally. You can make many Steampunk haunts, each one unique and each one a celebration of the imagination, come to life all over the world by helping us prove how fantastic it can be!
This is our dream. And we look forward to upgrading it every year and we look forward to sharing the photos with you, and the videos, and, if you can make it out, the experience itself.
Because this may be one of the only Steampunk haunted houses anywhere - maybe the only one running in the world right now. But we sure don't intend to stay that way. We intend to inspire other people who love Steampunk and love Halloween to take their creative passions and start making unique, completely original Steampunk haunted houses of their very own! Which means that if you support this now, even if you're not near us, you may very well find your local haunts or your local area will have the limitless creativity of Steampunk coming right to you!
It all starts right here. YOU can make it happen!
Very truly yours,
Jeff Mach Events
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