PUTTING together a spine-chilling Halloween production is no easy task but that's what Scott D. Peterson has been doing these past three years.
As the producer of Halloween Horror Nights 3 at Universal Studios Singapore, Peterson has been setting the stage for thrills and frights amidst original storylines. Ghouls, zombies, ghosts, witches ... these are all his close buddies.
His dedication in overseeing the region's largest and most elaborate horror production encompasses finding a different theme for the horror nights every year, holding auditions for the perfect scare casts, choosing suitable props and arranging special effects to add to the guest experience.
Having joined Resorts World Sentosa in 2010 as a talent buyer, Peterson was thrown into producing when the company restructured.
He is responsible for creating events and shows for the resort, though back then he had no idea he would be tasked with producing a Halloween extravaganza. Initially, he organised a small, private Halloween event, which led to Halloween Horror Night 1 and 2 in 2011 and 2012. The events have been getting bigger and better, and have garnered a strong following.
"For me, Halloween means getting dressed up to go to a party, or trick or treating. I didn't understand the grand scale of it until I saw the event at Universal Studios in Florida, United States. For the first event, I was just told to do it and I had four months! Initially, I didn't want to do it because I'm not a fan of horror movies," says Peterson, 32.
Over time and plenty of research, he got hooked and now it has become his passion.
"On a scale of one to 10, I'd rate the event here as a nine or 10. It can be really scary. If people are petrified, we might have to evacuate them. Some cry, some faint ... there is no age limit but the nights are not meant for those below 13. It could be too intense," he says.
The event has expanded to such a grand scale that the entertainment crew alone adds up to almost 300. Yes, Peterson admits it can be a headache managing everyone.
"Why do you think I have all these zits on my face!" he says, chuckling. "But we all have to multitask and are constantly striving to find a balance."
Every year, Peterson has to come up with a theme and an iconic character for the show. This year's theme is "Sisters Of Evil" and the three icons are the Daughter of the Undead, the Maiden of the Opera and the Crone of the Forest. These banished witches are reincarnated and reunited, and promise to unleash a reign of terror.
With make-up and prosthetic treatment, the icons look terrifying. Peterson says the gearing up can take up to three hours.
"Locals have learnt to do the make-up and there is a significant growth in the cosmetology industry. In future, we hope to link up with schools to show children how movie style make-up can be applied."