A Very Vicious Valentines Weekend

Looking for an anti-valentines day activity, or the perfect romantic getaway for a horror loving couple? In no particular order here are a few haunts that will be open for the holiday. Keep an eye out for Cupid, sounds like his arrows may be a tad fatal this year…

scarehouse valentine

The Basement at Scarehouse will open for one night only to break some hearts in the way that only an extreme haunt can. Only 1-2 customers may enter at a time, the actors will touch you, you will be restrained, and exposed to tight spaces and complete darkness. Tickets will likely sell out so buy these in advance!

2014_Valentine's_Flyer_kyms krypt

Kym’s Krypt is upping the ante for their Valentines dayshow, strongly recommending poncho’s for their customers, and offering no touch from actors, touch, or extra touch experiences. This highly interactive offering for anyone, couples, singles or other, is also supplemented with available hearse rides and a custom hex for your Ex.


Brighton Asylum in Passaic NJ put on a great Christmas show named Santa’s Slay.  Their Valentines show promises to be extra intense with the optional physical contact from the actors. This will likely be the most extreme valentines haunt in the area.


Details are sparse, however Blood Manor in NYC will be open for their own Valentines show. Blood Manor’s style is high action with beautiful sets and plenty of blood to go around. Don’t be surprised if you or your valentine leave with a little more blood than you went in the door with.


Castle Blood in Monessen PA is a very theatrical show with high production values as seen on TV’s Midnight Monster Hop. As a special treat, on Saturday the 15th everyone that buys tickets in advance as well as the first 50 who buy tickets on site will be invited to join a byob masquerade ball and spaghetti dinner. After the castle closes the cast will join and award costume prizes for the night.

Project BlackBurn 2014

Project BlackBurn, from Blackout to Burning Man and back again.

It’s funny how a chain of events can play out. I never imagined a trip to see America’s most extreme haunted attraction in New York City would result in my spending a week in the desert of Nevada. In August of 2014 I will be traveling with fellow Blackout survivors to attend Burning Man, the mecca for extreme self reliance, crazy art, mutant vehicles, and an experiment in building a temporary community which for one week becomes the most populated city in the state of Nevada.

What does  this have to do with a haunt blog? For one it all started at Blackout, the drive to find more and more extreme haunts bringing together like minded people. Burning Man, being an extreme experience in itself in addition to being located in one of the most harsh climates possible,  naturally compliments this.

The logistical challenges, costs, risks, and unknowns are immense and frankly frightening, however much like Blackout, the more real the fear you survive, the more rewarding the life experience that comes with it. While I’m not looking at this adventure as one to fear, it is certainly a formidable task and challenge which makes it all the more worthwhile.

The biggest questions everyone asks. “What is Burning Man”, is one I hope to have the answer for in a few months time.

Blackout Chicago 2013 Off Season Tickets

Think fast! Tickets are on sale for Chicago on 12/13/13, only a few remain!

Blackout Elements NYC: 2013

Blackout… A bit of an urban legend. Not the first haunt of the season, not the last, but most certainly my favorite. Full disclaimer before I even start the review, Blackout is an extreme haunt, no one under 18 is admitted, and you go through alone. Blackout is not for everyone, in a recent interview at ScareLA the creator of Blackout mentioned that 1 in 7 of his customers call the safe word to be escorted out of the attraction, even after signing the event waiver, being warned, and paying approximately $70 for their ticket. I will attempt to explain the experience without any spoilers due to their December run of the show in Chicago.

So, calling Blackout a haunted house is a lot like calling open heart surgery a routine doctors visit. Yes it is a ticketed attraction with actors, a dark scary maze like building, and an abundance of scary moments, but that is where the similarities end. From the moment you arrive you know you’re in for something different, as there is no line, no billboard, not even a sign out front, just a small bumper sticker on the front door of a nondescript commercial building on the South West side of New York City. Blackout is appointment only, sold out late October – November. As best I can tell, as I had a 8PM reservation on the Saturday before Halloween and was tagged as customer #12, it seems they only take a few dozen customers a night.
Blackout NYC Entrance

Blackout NYC Entrance

Walking in the cracked door, sure I was in the right place due to the address and sticker on the door, I still had a feeling I shouldn’t be there. The very first thing I noticed was a person standing on a small box in the corner, just staring at the wall. I would later meet this person outside the attraction and find that they were customer #11. The receptionist as the far side of the small lobby called me by name, quite a surprise as I’d never been there before and I was actually almost half an hour early for my appointment. I never showed I.D. and she only took a brief glance at my pre-printed ticket, so as best I can tell she must have had a picture of me behind the desk to know who I was…
The receptionist had me step up on a small platform to review  the waiver and indemnification paperwork everyone must sign prior to entering, and did her best to talk me out of the experience. No one can say that Blackout doesn’t warn you about what is to come, but there is still no way they can prepare you for it. Not being my first extreme haunt, the waiver was rather familiar, but oddly specific at times, further warning those signing of what was to come.
Once signed, stamped, and given a number tag to stick on my shirt, I too was told to go stand in the corner. I walked to another small box, stepped up, and put my nose to the wall, noticing three horizontal black dots strategically placed on the wall right in front of my face. Those three dots, were the same the receptionist marked on the inside of my left wrist, and would soon have a lot more significance.
Standing in the corner, time was passing, but there was no good way to tell how fast. At one point a person came up behind me rapidly and aggressively shined a bright flashlight around my head. I remained still with my arms held  behind my back in the position of at ease, a bit funny in retrospect as I was anything but at ease. I never actually saw the person, but I could hear the receptionist saying “He knows better” to them right before the person walked away. I also heard a scuffle as another person waiting in the lobby was removed, I assume to go into the haunt, but I really don’t know. Time dragged on, again nearly impossible to tell if I had been standing for seconds or minutes. Listening to a very eclectic bass heavy atmospheric track that filled the room was equally disorienting, and screams of “let me out of here” from the distance were all too real sounding, either from a very good actress or a very distressed customer. Finally my number was called and it was time to proceed into Blackout…
For now, the walk through ends here, I do not want to post any spoilers for those yet to see the show in Chicago. Once Blackout Elements ends it’s run, I will post the remainder of the walk through, and trust me it is a doozy. As for the part where I warned Blackout is not for everyone, I beg of you to trust me on that one. Everyone has a slightly different experience in Blackout, my experience lasted approximately 40 minutes while others I spoke with after the fact were in and out in 20. The choices you make will have an effect on your experience.
Unlike other haunted attractions where the actors may touch you, Blackout takes the concept to the extreme. In my experience I was thrown to the floor, dragged, hair pulled, climbed on, pinned, suffocated, gagged, bloodied (not my own blood), scratched, soaking wet, and most different of all and in stark contract to the other haunts I’ve seen, there was also comforting touch, hugging, and even sensual intimate contact. At Blackout you are not a guest watching a show, you are a part of the show.
The part of Blackout that there is no good way to warn a person about is the emotional impact the experience will have upon you. Unlike any traditional haunted attraction where you know everything is fake and nothing can hurt you, Blackout, even though there is a safeword and everyone you interact with is an actor, still feels, and is very real. The experience of comfort, suffocation, intimacy, pain, etc… and the brain chemicals released during cannot be faked. The situation you are experiencing is not real, however the experiences you have are VERY real. The entire cast and crew of Blackout deserves all of the credit in the world for never breaking character, to the point that much like sitting in a darkened movie theater, you find yourself in a state of total suspension of disbelief, and engrossed in the experience, not just as a person sitting in a theater seat or walking through a haunted attraction.
What did I take away from Blackout? Much like the survivor of a saw movie plot line, a little more appreciation for life, a strong reminder to value everyone who comes into your life, for better or worse, because you may never know when they might suddenly go away, and also a slight case of Stockholm syndrome.
I am ready for this experience.
I want to be a part of Blackout
I want Blackout to be a part of me
I am prepared to be marked
I give myself to you…
I am prepared to be marked

I am prepared to be marked

It’s never over…

Last call…

Post Halloween blues have kicked in for many of us, but there is still one last chance if you happen to  live in or around Pennsylvania. On Saturday 11/9/13 both Terror Behind the Walls in Philadelphia (now sold out) and the Scarehouse in Pittsburgh will be open for one last, lights out night of haunting. Particularly of interest is one last chance to catch the new extreme haunt at Scarehouse called “The Basement”.