A Weta Halloween and Other Doings…

Halloween 2013: Probably my best yet, despite how Kiwis don’t even celebrate it as a holiday.

There were a good 25-30 people who showed up for our Halloween party. Major, major props to Mo and Kelly (my wonderful flatmates, who I am extremely lucky to live with) for putting all this together DESPITE having to work OT at their jobs (The Hobbit 2 deadlines… it seems killer).

It was lovely getting to meet all of their friends who work for Weta Workshop or Digital. Talk about some AMAZING stories they told about fitting the actors in the films for their armor, weaponry, props, etc. It was like a LOTR dream come true! Everyone is big on horror, which is fitting, given that they all deal with prosthetics, design, sculptures, etc. I couldn’t have walked into a more realistically scary-looking house when I moved in, and it’s hilariously amazing that my first night memory of Wellington will be this party.

I was given the part of playing the victim, the first person that the guests saw once they entered the “haunted house.” My flatmates have been doing this kind of scare house for years, which is awesome. The plot of this year’s party: Guests could only enter the house by walking through the scare zones first. Thus, a team of about seven of us were strategically hidden throughout the house to help tell this story about Halloween. I basically was the one who allowed the guests to enter (two at a time), and then was the kid who gets kidnapped and eventually killed, haha. I fit the role since I always get so bloody scared of everything and have no issue screaming anyway. I spieled about how we were going to explore a house that was supposedly haunted by a psychotic orphanage mother who paired up with an even worse psychopath killer who did horrifying medical procedures on the children [half the time I’d drop that spiel and just welcome them in and asked if they worked for Weta Digital or Workshop just so I didn’t have to be in an act, oops]. I was holding the garage door opener and had to shut it after I spieled for a little bit (“Did one of you hit that?!”). Another girl was hiding behind some sheets and turned off the lights a little bit after, to which I would fumble the wall trying to turn the lights back on until the door opened and I was grabbed, screaming away. Keep in mind that this happened about 10 or more times based on the number of people we had to take through the house.

The guests were then chased into the next room, which was filled with fake dead bodies (blow-up dolls and pillows covered in bedsheets and made to look chained up with severed bloody body parts (hands, feet) lying near them. I was terrified of going into this room, and it was the only room I ended up not cleaning up by myself the day after, ha. One of the other girls on the “scare team” was hidden under a bedsheet and jumped out at guests when they came in the room, pulling a string connected to a demented doll/mannequin (that looked absolutely horrific) that fell out of the closet.

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The creepy “orphan mom” was waiting outside the room when they exitied, forcing guests up the stairs to where they would see a crazy ghoulish girl turn exorcist-like (3D projection, much like the Haunted Mansion), and then into the bathroom, where I was in the shower and was screaming for help (the psycho killer was in the bathroom next to me– he was the most convincing psychopath killer I’ve ever seen). They were chased into the next bedroom, where a pile of teddy bears and clothes was strewn on the bed, and Mo jumped out at guests with a demented Sully mask (granted, it still looked like Sully, but he was just covered in fake blood) and onesie. The trash bag decorations and sheet of fake blood, coupled with a strobe light, were supposed to throw off guests when they had to walk through the hallway; the last scare was the same guy who had to grab me each time, this time in the same monster suit as Mo (he jumped out from my bedroom every time guests came around). The “party” was finally upstairs on the third floor, where candy and drinks were… now THAT is how a Weta Halloween party is thrown. Mo and Kelly are serious masterminds. I was blown away by how much detail they put into everything, from the spiders and cobwebs to the red cellophane over lights to create the same creepy horror effect used in Halloween haunt mazes. I felt very fortunate to be a part of this, despite the fact that anything horror-related scares me to death (I’m the girl that can’t even open my eyes in a horror maze at Knott’s Scary Farm).

To view some pretty realistic, grotesque trailers that Mo and Kelly put together, please click here and here.  WARNING: These are really graphic. I could barely stomach them, but I definitely appreciate the artistry and passion they put into things!

Stairway to horror...

Post-Halloween, I’ve explored downtown Wellington for the past two days; once by bus (and in the rain) and once by walking (which turned out to be killer on my feet, since it was about five whole hours of getting lost and going in circles). We live about a good 45 min. away from downtown, so it’s a bit of a ways if it’s super windy or rainy. It’s a straightshot route into the heart of downtown, though– right along the coast. Little Victorian cottages are scattered about on the hillsides parallel to the coast; most are narrow three-story homes like the one we live in. There are cute little parks scattered about as well, which is typical of NZ, as well as a White House Restaurant in Oriental Bay (don’t ask why it’s called that… who knows if it’s because it’s like the point where all Orientals live or something. Thank GOD I don’t live there).

Courtenay Place and Cuba St. are the best areas to go out in; I believe Courtenay Place is Auckland’s equivalent to K Road, although I prefer downtown Wellington HEAPS over downtown Auckland. It’s much smaller, cozier, and downright easier to navigate (the reason I get lost is because I never had maps prior to today, which meant I obviously never found the street I was looking for). I end up going in circles since everything connects and I’ve already recognized places I’ve seen twice already because things are so close together. I believe there is a business and financial district in downtown; I only dabbled in the finance district but the business district is definitely booming with cute shops and eateries.

I visited the Te Papa Museum, which is a 5-story beauty of various art, displays, exhibitions and NZ-related models. AND it’s free! It definitely blows the Auckland Art Gallery out the water. I loved the virtual map of NZ that you can stand on (it lights up and shows key landmarks about respective areas you step on). And yes, they even had a first-perspective sheep cam, as if you’re the sheep running through grasslands. HAHA. It’s amazing how arts/cultural-driven Wellington is. I passed by several brew bars, the Old Bank Arcade shopping center which is basically a vintage (and smaller) version of Grand Central Station in NY, some beautiful overpasses, the Wellington library, etc.

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Above: Proof that Disney follows me everywhere, even 6,700+ miles away. (L) Mickey pillow pet on display in the Auckland Art Gallery; (R) North America travel flyer in the Air NZ Holidays office. Disneyland is obviously the promoting image.

Not sure what my next set of exploring will be, but I also need to set aside days to just crank out e-mails to employers…

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