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Arts and Entertainment

New Doc Explains The History Of 'Sliding,' A Haunted House Scare Tactic

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A new documentary explores how scare actors at Knott's Scary Farm invented sliding, a scare tactic where they slide across the ground to scare the bejesus out of guests.

If you've ever been to Knott's Scary Farm—or many other haunted theme parks—you might have noticed that the monsters don't just creep on you: they slide. With metal plates strapped to knees and gloved hands, they effortlessly and speedily move across the ground and right up into your face. This is an invention that began at Knott's, and was developed by scare actors at the park. Other haunts now also feature these so-called sliders. The Queen Mary, for example, now has a Halloween slider team. Sliders of Ghost Town: Origins is a new documentary from filmmaker Braedon Freeland that explores just how these scare actors came to develop their tactics.

Knott's Scary Farm was the first haunted amusement park in the country. Every autumn since 1973, they've been converting their feel-good, berry-centric amusement park into a spooky scream fest. Recent years have included winding mazes full of beasts, and others dedicated to black magic, possessed puppets and deranged dentists. As someone's whose visited a number of Halloween attractions, sliding does seem to be pretty effecting at drawing the screams out of unsuspecting guests. A monster might appear to be a relatively safe distance away, only to be snarling in your ear seconds later.

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Freeland ended up finding the very first scare actors, according to HorrorBuzz, and had them go through their process of developing how, exactly, one slides. This includes how to make sliding gear, and how to do it properly. The film also discusses how sliding has become a year-long sport.

While the documentary focuses heavily on this particular tactic, being a scare actor at Knott's is pretty intense even when you're not flinging yourself through a foggy scare zone. Potential things-that-go-bump-in-the-park have to audition and then go through a comprehensive scare school, where they learn how to creep, walk, growl and otherwise scare the civilians that dare to pass through the park.

Sliders of Ghost Town: Origins will be available for purchase in spring, but there will also be a few screenings you can catch, including one on February 21 at 7 p.m. at the Krikorian Theater in Buena Park. Tickets are available here. Keep up to date by liking the documentary's Facebook page.

For more, check out this video of a scare actor practicing his techniques:

Related: Go Behind The Scenes At SoCal's Craziest Amateur And Pro Haunted Houses