The opening to Raiders of the Lost Ark has to be one of the best sequences in the history of cinema. The fantastic low-tech booby traps. The John Williams score. The visceral feeling of danger with icky spider webs is completely immersive and “completely immersive” is always the goal for us.
Spoiler: No, we did not roll a 30-ton ball down the stairs. But we thought about it.
One of the first hints we had on achieving this was in finding a still-frame of the idol room which we edited the pedestal out of. This we projected on the house so that we didn’t need to build the whole room. Falling rocks were animated over the image to simulate the destruction of the temple, triggered on a Sprite video player.
The pedestal was fabricated out of wood and carved foam with foam hardener. In the center was a pneumatic-driven lift mechanism with a Chachapoyan Fertility Idol that we bought on Etsy. Turns out you can buy anything on Etsy.
As an almost last minute addition, we introduced an ankle blaster on the stairs to simulate the blow dart scene. The compressed air blast worked really good as a scare because it was combined with a stereo blowgun sound effect that panned across the stairs. As in past years, the whole show was run on VenueMagic software.
In all, we had just over 200 kids. We’ll call it a “rebuilding” year. It was definitely the best prepared we have ever been with the setup mostly done at 3pm. Having friends Suchi and Sarath over to hand out candy also made the evening the easiest and most enjoyable we have ever had.