Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Creature Feature: Pale Night Productions' Kip Polley

By: Sarah S.

SS: Hey Mr. Polley! First and foremost, how are you?

KP: Please, call me Kip…and I’m doing very well, thanks.

SS: It must be awesome being the president at PNP! Were you appointed that position or are you the original founder or co-founder of the company?

KP: I founded PNP so I have always been in charge here.  I do very much enjoy my job, it’s been very rewarding.

SS: What makes Pale Night Productions different from other animatronic/prop specialty companies?

KP: I would say a couple of things.  First and foremost, I started PNP with the goal of making a higher quality product that what I had seen on the market at that time.  I have an engineering degree and I set out to put it to use in the haunt industry.  The second thing that sets us apart is our product line.  Especially in the past two years we have really tried to bring new innovation to the haunt industry with our line of Video Integrated Animatronics that combine video effects with animatronic elements to create more lifelike digital characters.

SS: What inspired you to start creating creepy props? And how long have you been doing so?

KP: I have always loved Halloween and I’ve always loved creating.  Even from a young age I would build haunted houses in my garage or decorate the house for Halloween.  My real inspiration came from my Grandfather who always pushed me to pursue my love of engineering and my Father, a coal miner who doesn’t enjoy his job at all, who told me that I had to choose a career I did enjoy.  I founded PNP in 2006 and we have steadily grown every year.

SS: Based on what PNP has in the store now, what items are your current faves?  Any recommendations for buyers looking for something immensely terrifying and/or shocking?

KP: My favorite new item for 2010 is our Zombie Attack which is one of our VIA line.  The prop is a broken out window looking out onto a scene of a zombie eating a freshly killed corpse.  When triggered, he notices you and comes running at you.  Just before he comes through the window he is shot and killed by a zombie hunter.  The shot blows his head into a million pieces and showers you with real water droplets.  The effect is incredibly startling and has been very well received by our clients.

SS: I understand Pale Night has a custom shop where buyers can place an order for something they think up themselves. What is the weirdest or funniest request you’ve gotten so far?

KP: Honestly, we haven’t gotten much that was too crazy.  I have been approached by people wanting me to make direct copies of other vendor’s work, but we just don’t get involved in things like that.  I respect all the other vendors out there and many of them are close friends.  I just think you need to be creative on your own and think up your own products instead.

SS: Do employees get a discount or receive free stuff?

KP: We try to take good care of our employees.  It just depends on what they want or need…but we always work something out.

SS: Is Halloween the busiest time for you or do most orders steadily trickle in throughout the year?

KP: Actually, we attend the TransWorld Halloween and Attraction Show every year in March which is the biggest buying and selling event for the haunt industry.  Most of our business throughout the year is a result of sales at the show or leads from it.  We are very busy producing from April through September, then we shift gears and help run a haunt through October.  After that, it’s back to new product development from November to March and on and on and on.  So…our busiest sales time is around this time every year…but we never really have down time if you see what I’m saying.

SS: What sorts of projects are currently in the works at PNP?

KP: We are starting to work on filling orders from the TW show right now.  We also have some custom pieces we are finishing for our haunt here in St. Louis.  The coolest piece, in my opinion, is an actor rig that lifts an actor in a stunt harness six feet into the air and then flies them six feet forward over the heads of the guests.  It’s a really fun set-up and will be a pretty crazy effect when it’s done.

SS: Final question: Is your house in fact thee most frightfully decorated place on the block when Halloween rolls around?

KP: I try. With the haunt that I work with here I lose most of my October but my wife and I do our best.  We made the house look like an old mortuary this year complete with antique coffins on the porch and an open picture window looking into a “viewing room” where someone’s remains had been laid out.  We have bigger plans for this year including a multi-motion animatronic character to talk to and tease the trick-or-treaters that come by.  I love to do it, I’m just limited by time.

SS: Where can we find more info and amazing stuff from Pale Night Productions? (Links, stores, etc.)

KP: Well, the best place to go is our website at to see our entire product line-up.  We do sell through some Spirits stores, but it’s primarily our blood paint and things like that.  For large animations and effects the online store is the place to go.