Alterface Interactive Dark Rides

Demon’s Crypt, Heide Park Resort, Germany


Merlin Entertainments Tasked Alterface to Produce the Scary Dämonen Gruft Dark Ride at Heide Park Resort

Dämonen Gruft (Demon’s Crypt) compact (450 m2) dark ride produced by Alterface offers adventurous guests at Heide Park Resort, northern Germany’s largest theme park, an immersive plunge into a dangerous netherworld. The attraction is sited within “ancient catacombs discovered during excavations” last year amid whispers of dark secrets and rumors of people going missing. An anonymous video of a shadowy figure warned against attempting the “Katakomben Tour” and spoke of the Demon’s Crypt. Ominous warnings beg the question: is the Demon’s Crypt a new exciting experience not to be missed or a terrible trap?

Merlin Entertainments called upon Alterface to oversee the production of the show and ensure every detail—from lighting and sound to media and special effects—was flawlessly synchronized,” said Stéphane Battaille, CEO of Alterface. “Collaborating closely with Merlin on art direction, we brought their vision to life by recruiting the perfect team to realize the frightening promise of Demon’s Crypt.” Alterface worked with a mix of newcomers and highly experienced partners from around the globe for the project.


Design: Merlin Entertainments
Art Direction Support: Alterface and Oddities
Media Studio: 400Coups
Ride Vendor: Preston & Barbieri
Audio: Pachinko Media
Thema: TEE
Footprint: 380 m² (4844 ft²)
Throughput: 380 pph
Duration: 3,30 min

Number of Vehicles: 8
Vehicle Capacity: 4 players per vehicle
Video Mapping: Yes
Hall of fame: Yes
Special Effects: Scent and temperature effects + Theatrical and SPFX lighting + smoke effects +  water spritz + CO2 sprays

Two Belgian firms were recruited, Oddities, who provided critical support in art direction and played a vital role in bringing the concept to life, and 400 Coups who were charged with media production. Andy Garfield at Pachinko Media in the USA managed audio production, and JP Show Systems from the UK provided show control and technical design.  Preston & Barbieri from Italy were contracted by Merlin Entertainments to provide the ride system and TAA Group in Spain to provide theming.

The story of the crypt, special effects, media, and—most important, terror—are packed into Demon’s Crypt’s footprint. Eight cars, each carrying four adventurers through the seven scene, 3:30 minute ride, provide a maximum capacity of 480 passengers per hour. “Special effects include scent, temperature, theatrical and SFX lighting, smoke, water spritz and CO2 sprays,” said Alterface’s Etienne Sainton, producer for the attraction. “Given the tight time frame, we knew we had to find highly qualified partners to realize the many conceptual and technical aspects of the project.”

Perhaps most impressive is Scene 5, “Feast for the Souls,” which brings together most of the effects into a single frightening presentation. “A Pepper’s Ghost scrim, video, scents, water jets, immersive sound, and lighting perfectly envelop the video content and theming,” said Katleen Abraham, Production Designer at Oddities. “It’s an immersive scene that finally reveals the demonic creature that will chase the riders until the end.”

Alterface has extensive experience working in partnership with other qualified vendors to conceive, design and create guest experiences, but is also capable of realizing immersive turn-key projects. “Whether done in-house or in combination with other firms, our efforts are always driven by the client and the story,” said Battaille. “Demon’s Crypt shows how great teamwork can result in an amazing attraction. I can’t wait to see how people respond to this crazy, scary ride!”