Nights Of Fright 2: Festival of Fear returns to Sunway Lagoon this October! With its opening night on 17 October, the park will come alive with a kaleidoscope of petrifying and spooky characters with a variety of mazes, rides and attractions for six fright-filled nights. Sunway Lagoon and New York-based The Sudden Impact! Entertainment Company have been collaborating for nearly a decade now and the man behind all this scary awesomeness is Lynton V. Harris.
Hailing from Australia, Lynton has put together the most popular scare arena in the world, Madison SCARE Garden in New York, and he is the creator of live spectaculars, horrific and interactive adventures around the world, including Madame Tussaud’s attractions in London, Amsterdam, New York and Las Vegas. He is also the man behind Sunway Lagoon’s Scream Park, which is the most successful scare attraction in Malaysia, and he’s now working on Nights Of Fright 2, in which its first instalment last year had received a very positive response.
Want to know what to expect for Nights Of Fright 2: Festival of Fear? We spoke to Lynton himself, so find out more below! 😉
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Lynton: I started this and I own The Sudden Impact! Entertainment Company. We’re based in New York but we have attractions around the world. We started the scary attractions in New York’s Madison Square Garden and I realized that people really loved that form of theatre. It’s interactive, engaging and it’s also non-lingual, so you could create that theatre around the world. You don’t have to use any language to get someone scared. So, now, we do this all around the world all year round. We’ve been in Malaysia now for about seven years.
Q: What got you started in the beginning and why did this interest you?
Lynton: Well, the original show was called Madison SCARE Garden. That was our first scary show. I did it because in the United States, Halloween is huge. There was also a famous Christmas show in Radio City Music Hall every year. So, I decided to see if I could emulate that and create a Halloween version. So, we did. And then I realized not long after that it was really a form of entertainment and you could take it around the world.
People just love the notion of getting scared in a fun way, it is really quite engaging. Even though we do other forms of theatre, this is a particular one that we’ve been very successful at around the world. I think it’s because we take a traditional theatre approach. Ultimately, the number one reaction from people is actually not getting scared. It’s laughter. Laughter is the key. So then, it’s entertainment, not horror.
Q: Were you doing something different before this?
Lynton: I’ve always been into sports and entertainment. I’m not a horror fan. It’s not my interest per se. It’s the idea of scaring people as a form of entertainment that I enjoy. It’s funny to stand in the corner and observe people’s reactions from all age groups. In particular, the experience of the whole thing.
We’re living in a society that’s become more observational and people are constantly taking photos. The thing is, for that to be important, you have to create the entertainment first. Otherwise, there is nothing to take a photo of. So, we have to create the product for someone to be engaged by. It bonds people. People come, they leave and they talk about it. You want to participate in the experience and that makes taking a photograph of that experience important to someone’s life.
Q: What’s your take on horror-themed theme park attractions?
Lynton: After the Madison SCARE Garden, we did theme parks in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and Asia. It’s really a global trend of entertainment. People enjoy it and they have fun. The great thing about horror is that everybody’s level is different. What scares you might not scare me. So, by taking an entertainment approach, you could create a wider opportunity of fun. We don’t want to create negative stereotypes of killing people or gore or whatever. It’s all good clean fun. It’s globally expansive.
We’re investing in Nights Of Fright because Sunway Lagoon has the perfect environment at night to do it. There is a great daytime product, but the daytime experience is very different. Nights Of Fright came naturally because we’ve got the Scream Park here and we’ve seen the park with the lights turned out. We tried it last year and it looked fantastic. We’re surrounded by universities and the mall, which consists of the perfect age group to consume a night time experience that’s really fun. So, this park is perfect. People look forward to it. They have a great time and they want to come back the following year.
Q: Can you tell me about how this whole process works? From the planning, to the execution and all that.
Lynton: Well, as a producer and director, you have to look at the footprint first. How much space are we going to use to create this event? With Nights Of Fright, we want to have a series of experiences. It’s what you call design metrics. My design metrics are space, use of space, number of people, how long we want them to stay and the price. All those things have to marry up. It’s a mixture of experiences such as indoor scary mazes, outdoor stuff, characters, stuff on the stage and people dressed up. All of those things are what we call touch points. They engage you in some way.
At Nights Of Fright last year, everybody was taking photographs. You want them to take a hundred photographs because there are so many cool things everywhere. I want to create environments that you as a consumer would find attractive, fun or engaging, to get involved with. Obviously, people are going to take photos of themselves, so you have to compete with that. People are so into themselves that they are taking so many photos of themselves, so you want to create something more exciting than just themselves.
Q: How is it going to be different this year compared to last year’s Nights Of Fright?
Lynton: Last year was the first year, so we designed it to be as fool-proof as possible. We looked at the space and see how people moved around it because at night, it’s very different. Everything from making it safe to making it enjoyable, scary, successful and everything else. The key thing this year is adding more content. It will be bigger and we’re adding new attractions, more characters both inside and outside. There are going to be more touch points.
When the audience walks in, where do they go and how do they go? You don’t know where people are going to flow, where they are going to congregate because it’s dark, how you’re going to manage them and how you’re going to draw them to different areas, given that this is an unfamiliar territory to them. We’re spreading it out. It goes around the top half of Sunway Lagoon.
Q: How many crew members do you have working with you on this project?
Lynton: There is the design team, production team and operation team. It involves probably 100-120 people, and maybe even more if you add everybody up. On the event night itself, it could be 120-150 people. We’d have the cast members, everyone behind-the-scenes, the operation. It’s a very visual experience so there’s a lot of people involved.
Q: What can visitors expect for Nights Of Fright 2?
Lynton: You can expect to have a great night. You can expect value for money, engagement, tons of characters and attractions, great activities, great entertainment and a great environment to have fun. This has been a successful model all around the world, so this is an opportunity for Malaysians to come and have fun. Hopefully, you’ll leave Nights Of Fright 2 with a smile on your face.
We also want to integrate local ghosts and traditions. For instance, this year we’re doing Escape from Pudu, which is kind of mythical and scary. It ties, because now it’s closed. We’re going to be playing with some local traditions as well as the general themes. Get dressed up, go out and have fun with your friends. This event is perfect for that. You’ll experience Sunway Lagoon with a different look and feel at night.
Q: You’ve mentioned that you’ve incorporated bits and pieces of the Malaysian horror culture into Nights Of Fright 2. What is your take on the horror scene in Malaysia?
Lynton: We’ve used some of the ghosts last year so there was pontianaks and hantu pocong, which I find really amusing. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how it’s scary, but a couple of years ago, we filmed it in the jungle here at Sunway Lagoon and it was creepy. We started investigating, looking at some images and traditions, so that’s cool. For Nights Of Fright 2, using the local ghosts and horror scene is more about honouring the host country where we are, Malaysia. It’s kind of like a mixture. It’s not all Malaysian, it’s not all Chinese and it’s not all American. It’s a little of everything. It is its own identity.
Q: What is your favourite memory from your career?
Lynton: I’ve got a few. The first show at Madison Square Garden, it’s the most famous arena in the world. That was a pretty awesome experience. The other one that I’m really proud of is, we did a show at Warwick Castle in England. We couldn’t put holes in the wall with screws because it’s a national heritage, so the sets that we created, people couldn’t tell the difference between what we built and what was old heritage. That was fantastic and really special. Our global experience and success in Malaysia is also something very memorable. I’m proud that I’m here.
Q: What scares you?
Lynton: I knew you were going to ask me that, haha! I’m really easy. I hate spiders and cockroaches. It’s funny, I’m scared of the smallest things, which is so ridiculous. What I love getting scared by is our performers. I try to go in to experience what we create as an audience. I want to experience it and I love it when someone gets me. I still love getting that feeling that the audience might get for the first time, and I also love scaring people.
Get dressed up in your spookiest outfits and be present at the Nights of Fright 2 for only RM48 per person while enjoying the unlimited rides and attractions that are available throughout the Amusement Park. Get your tickets online or at Sunway Lagoon ticketing counters by 16 September 2014 to enjoy an early bird promotion price at RM35!
Nights of Fright 2: Festival of Fear @ Sunway Lagoon is a separately ticketed event and it’s not included with regular day admission to the theme park. Daytime park guests who wish to Feel the Fear at Nights of Fright 2 on the same evening as their visit, may enjoy a special rate at only RM30.
Nights of Fright 2: Festival of Fear @ Sunway Lagoon will be happening on the 17th, 18th, 24th, 25th, 31st October and 1st November 2014 from 7.30pm till 10.30pm. On Halloween night itself (31 October 2014), the event will be extended till 11.30pm!
For more information, call 603-5639 0000 or visit this website and Facebook page.
This event is strictly for guests above 12 years old. Visitors dressed in their coolest and spookiest costumes will not be allowed to wear face masks or theatrical makeup to the event nights.