Zombie Evilution launched on the 13th of September to terrified crowds. A successful live scare attraction replacing the former AVPX Laser Skirmish, Dreamworld once again turned to Sudden Impact! Entertainment for this quality production.
Sudden Impact! Entertainment may not be a household name, but they have made attractions licensed from the biggest Hollywood studios as well as their own creations. Alien Vs. Predator Vs. You, The Mummy LIVE, Lara Croft, Prison Break, Nightmares and The Freezer are just some of the Sudden Impact productions that have been in Australia and around the world.
Sudden Impact was also responsible for maze design and direction and the training of scare actors for Movie World Fright Nights during 2010 and 2011.
Lynton V. Harris is the CEO of Sudden Impact Entertainment and responsible for Zombie Evilution at Dreamworld. He has graciously agreed to this interview regarding his latest creation.
How long ago did Dreamworld contact you in regards to working on this attraction?
Well because we , Sudden Impact! Entertainment, held the License for AVPX which we also designed and built, we knew that after four successful years, it was due for a refresh, retheme after Easter 2013. AVPX was originally signed for two years and Dreamworld was very happy and extended for the second two year term which was awesome. So, we began talking in late 2012 what the options could be.
What were/are your responsibilities in regards to the attraction?
Original concept, design, master plan, fabrication, theme, idea, story, filming, everything inside the four walls and façade. It was very exciting to have an original idea and story chosen for the changeover from AVPX, a major Hollywood studio brand. Ironically, we did our first Licensed brand, THE MUMMY from Universal Studios for my own original production, Madison SCARE Garden which was at Madison Square Garden in New York, and so it has been cool to return again to an original idea and concept.
What was your inspiration for the story of Kevil Hill?
Originally, I stated out with the idea to create a word that could hold the word ‘evil’ within it…my basic concept was to create a place where ‘evil could live’ and to also play on the palindrome of ‘EVIL & LIVE’ . I found the word Kevil, and added the word Hill to give it a town-like ‘locative implement’ and structure. From there, I was able to create the story of the town and create the reason for its being , along with the cast of characters including the town’s Founder, James Buchanan [J.B.] Kevil. Dreamworld have this story on the attraction sub-site online. We were all hot on a zombie twist, and the ‘evil dead’ is a classic descriptor of ‘zombie’ so we had a great place to start. I went down the cryonics path as it is so interesting, plausible, but unfounded…so it was a very rich and exciting key story element, and formed the basis for the ‘incident’ at Kevil Hill.
How long did construction take turning the former AVPX arena to the town of Kevil Hill?
About ten months if you include design and planning time.
Did you face any challenges changing the exist space into Kevil Hill, if so what were they?
Not really . Given that we designed and built AVPX we knew what we were dealing with in the space before, and we were really focused on the multi building town idea. What was exciting and challenging creatively and for production, was the multi-attraction in one place concept that we had pitched Dreamworld- we had never done it- it was an idea I had based on everything we had done, and trying something new and exciting based on that knowledge and experience, and new creativity for the new attraction.
What do you look for when hiring scare actors for a successful walkthrough attraction?
The key is to understand what an actor can become, and where they might be suited based on their particular talents. We hire males and females, dancers, gymnasts, singers, actors…any type of performer really, providing I feel they have the discipline and drive to make the team successful. If the team/troupe is successful, then the attraction overall will be.
What was your favorite scare in Kevil Hill?
The Kevil Hill theater, without doubt. It is a Hall of Fame scare!
What change is coming to Zombie Evilution launching on October the 18th?
Rumor has it that the the Zombies have been contained….by the CDC-Cryo-Containment Unit…stay tuned
What has been your favorite Sudden Impact creation to date?
I have three all time favorites: Madison SCARE Garden at the world famous Madison Square Garden in New York….my first show in America! Warwick Ghosts Alive! At the one historical Warwick Castle in England , and now, without doubt, KEVIL HILL- Home of the Zombie Evilution
Is there anything else in the works for Australia at present?
We did a lot of filming at Kevil Hill….we are working on some film and television initiatives here, but right now, it’s off to Malaysia, back to LA, then Mexico City