Nightmares…

The Purge Breakout

The Purge Breakout is at it’s core a promotional stunt to push the Purge Anarchy sequel due this summer. Make no mistake though, this is no rehash of the movie, but instead an immersive, interactive, and challenging experience based in the world of the Purge.

Each group of audience members is given an assigned start time and must arrive a little early for waivers and a debriefing prior to entering the show. The haunt itself is a mobile setup consisting of two connected tractor trailer truck box trailers, decorated on the inside so well that you quickly forget where you are and easily loose your bearings. The challenge, to solve a series of puzzles and challenges to escape in the half  hour given before the Purge commences.

Unlike most conventional haunts where you may not touch the scenery or props, in the Purge Breakout you must touch everything to search for clues and solve various puzzles. It’s important to keep your wits about you and think analytically, paying attention to details so not to miss important clues and/or become stuck without the ability to proceed through the show.

While the experience is short on scares, the tension of the time limit and pressure to solve each challenge made for an enjoyable haunt-like experience nonetheless. Set decor was top notch, as well a lighting that was all very naturally provided by contextually appropriate light fixtures within the sets.

Overall, the Breakout was  a great experience, certainly enhanced by attending with friends, but enjoyable in any group as long as cooler heads prevail to solve the puzzles as they come up. While the show does lack “replay” value due to the linear trail and necessary sequence of such an event, it is certainly an attraction to attend if possible. The concept of an ultra mobile truck trailer based setup traveling cross country is a genius one, and I hoope to see the industry take further advantage of the seemingly successful model.

image (9)

 

BloodShed @ Bizarre AC 2014

I had the fortune of finding the BloodShed in the exhibit  hall of Bizzare AC in the Tropicana in Atlantic City NJ on Friday June 13th. At first sight, the BloodShed is just that, an average size residential shed, a bit bloody and definitely worse for the wear on the outside. If it had not been for the distinctive sounds of a haunt leaking out from behind closed doors, I would have just assumed it a cheeky, albeit large and unwieldy prop for a show floor exhibitor.

Quite to the contrary, the BloodShed is a genius concept combining elements of a typical redneck haunted house, the movie hostel, and a mobile business model allowing for year round operation indoors or out anywhere with 120VAC and a 10X10 space.

The premise, for $10 guests are invited to enter the shed alone, be seated and restrained in a chair, and then locked inside with the chair restraints and barred door keeping them securely in the grasp of whatever may lurk within the 4 walls of the small but well decorated shed. The kicker, the guests friends are allowed to stand off to the side of the shed and watch their brave companion via an infrared night vision camera hidden inside the attraction.

bshed

Not to give any spoilers, but the shed held more than a few surprises, including an awesome soundtrack (major kudos to whoever picked the music, sounds very much like something from the video game fallout 3), creative lighting, and simulated exposure to potential bodily harm and primal fears.

While the idea of a highly interactive haunt that you enter alone is nothing new, the execution of the BloodShed is genius in that it’s mobility allows them to bring the haunt to new audiences, and in the ingenious use of restraint to turn a relatively small space into a  believable setting for the duration of the show.

Here’s hoping the BloodShed crew mix up the show a bit with time so as to keep fresh surprises for repeat customers. We at Nightmares  Blog certainly hope to catch them on the road again sometimes soon!

 

 

Hooded in the Basement

The Scarehouse in Etna PA (near Pittsburgh) is at it again with a one night only showing of the basement. This time the twist is not holiday related but rather sensory, or more accurately lack thereof.

While details are vague, guests can safely assume  from the title that a hood will be worn for at least part of the experience, which is a genius and bold twist because the Scarehouse is so well known for it’s elaborate and beautifully detailed sets, even when minimalist as with past basement events. One can only imagine what may be planned as an assault in the absence of sight upon on the heightened senses of touch, hearing, smell, and perhaps even taste…

To say the least, the Basement is not for everyone. To start, patrons enter alone  or with one other, must be 18 years old, and willing to sign a waiver. As the tagline reads, patrons will be touched, restrained, and scared out of their minds.

With the short but stellar history of The Basement at Scarehouse, it’s very likely this event will sell out so get your tickets now, but don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Blackout: Off Season 2014

Blackout Off Season 2014
Time to let Schroedinger’s cat out of the bag, maybe…

Through a prolonged, complicated, stressful, and sleep loss inducing online application process, I was granted the privilege of being invited to Blackout NYC’s 2014 off season invite only event.

That is basically the extent of what I can tell you…

The location, show content, and so many gritty details are all secrets with dire consequences to anyone who divulges such details.

What I can tell you is that this event may be a game changer for the haunt industry. As we’ve come to expect from Blackout, all the normal “rules” of haunting are left behind the moment you step foot into the surreal experience that is Blackout. The rules are not just bent, but totally redefined as the crew pushes your limits, physically and mentally, leaving you with memories that require days to weeks worth of mental processing.

Execution of the show was flawless, a well oiled machine of impressive efficiency. The content a challenging treat for even the most diehard extreme haunt fan.

Most striking of all, the aftermath. The rose colored glasses through which one sees the world after a Blackout experience are invaluable and irreplaceable. While the experiences in these shows are not always “fun” or “enjoyable”, they are moments that will challenge the audience and develop nerves of steel along with bulletproof resolve.

I’ve said it before and I will re-iterate, I am proud to be a survivor who is a part of Blackout just as much as Blackout is a part of me. This is my all time favorite Horror attraction, but it is NOT for everyone, truthfully not even for most. The full contact top notch acting and adult subject matters are simply a quantum leap forward from typical haunted houses and interactive theatre. Those planning to attend Blackout events need to be prepared for a show that begins before you buy your tickets, and ends weeks, months, possibly a lifetime later, because once you let Blackout into your head, Blackout is there to stay.

 

A very evil easter

Once the eggs are gathered and the questionably edible candy grass is questionably consumed, it’s time for some zombies and evil Easter bunnies eh?

image (6)

Brighton Asylum is hosting Rottentail Slaughterhouse. Apparently the asylum has either been invaded with giant evil bunnies, or the inmates found a large box of old worn mall bunny suits… Either way carnage is certain and bunny is the word of the day. This is a hands on haunt with waivers required and actor touch optional if you choose to accept a glow necklace. Take our word for it and be sure to take the necklace for the full experience! Details at http://brightonasylum.com/

image (7)

The Philly Zombie Crawl is an annual event on South Street in Philadelphia on Easter Sunday featuring hundreds of participants in zombie costume and makeup (pro makeup available on site for a nominal fee) walking the streets of Philly and roving from bar to bar for zombie themed drink specials, zombie movies, DJ’s, and the all new Zombie Emporium full of goods from local artists and vendors. Admission is just $5 at the TLA for a night of fun, more details at http://phillyzombie.com/ 

 

Back from Haitus

Returning from an unplanned Blog hiatus:

Step 1: Apologize for unexpected disappearance

Check

Step 2: Gratuitous excuse.

The Easter bunny was infected by the zombie contagion, again,,, (thanks to Underground at Smithville NJ for the great photo op!)

Also I was building this:

Check

Step 3: Generate lots of new content

In progress…

Kim’s Krypt – Hex’s on Your Ex’s 2014

Kim’s Krypt in Essex Maryland is a high energy actor driven single show attraction. While the show does not have millions of dollars of high tech scares, the huge effort put forth by actors to scare and entertain patrons is more than adequate to send patrons screaming and giggling out the door.

The Krypt has a rather unconventional location, in the basement of a former community college on a main street in small town Essex MD. Surrounded by a under construction 7/11 and two churches, you’d never expect to find a highly interactive haunt lurking just below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Unlike the convention unguided “conga line” tour, Kim took the time herself to guide our group from room to room for the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the show before handing us off to the mercy of her denizens. Each room is it’s own scene where the group will stop to interact with an actor, or actors as the case may sometimes surprisingly be. Interaction ranges from boo jumpers to creatures stalking in the dark, audience members being a part of a scene by making a choice or taking a seat in te electric chair, or even chanting along in various ceremonies and experiments.

Overall, even though I was in a larger group towards the end of the night, the Krypt managed to interact with seemingly everyone in the group to their level of comfort. In a very creative effort, at the preshow introduction and safety instruction session, Kim offered anyone who wanted to allow actors to touch and interact with them one blood smear on their face for mild, two for wild.

While this interactive haunt is in no way an extreme interaction in the vein of Blackout or Scarehouse’s Basement, it does still have a way of pulling everyone into the slightly nonlinear but still highly entertaining story line of the Krypt.

A few highlights included a visit to Kim’s own highly impressive collection of Halloween decor, as well as a cleverly executed exorcism, and two hilarious (albeit adult in subject matter) actors interacting towards the end of the attraction. The two male actors, who I won’t spoil the surprise for, are either experts at improv or have one great script which they used to end the show on a really high note.

A few things to know before you go, there is limited street parking right in front of the attraction, the show lasts about half an hour, and the queue line can be a bit long, but a DJ helped move the time. Just be sure to dress warm as it is February…

An added bonus to the Haunt, Kim also offers Hearse Rides in her classic doom mobile. Guests are invited to lay down in the back with a spooky soundtrack and effect lighting for a fun ride around town. Maybe not for everyone, but a neat thing to add to your never have I ever collection, and a fun chance to Chat with Kim about her show.

The Victim Experience – 2014 Preview

The Freakling Brothers Victim Experience haunted attraction in Las Vegas Nevada is about to break all the rules of the haunted attraction industry in a bid to be the most Extreme haunt in the world. This March from 3/15 – 3/22 The Victim Experience will be presented to a limited audience via online ticketing only. Much like other extreme haunts, all attendees must be over 18, sign a waiver and agree to physical contact. Unlike most other shows though, this experience will not be offered at Halloween, and the waiver also includes an agreement that your clothes may be damaged, and that audience members are willing to be subjected to forms of torture and criminal behavior and harassment.

No one can say that they weren’t warned, however I can only begin to imagine what the experience will include.

Nightmares Blog will be onsite opening night to attend, and we will do our best to be one of the estimated 30% of attendees who survive the show without calling a safeword. Would’t be much of a review otherwise would it?

Keep an eye here for a video event followup to be uploaded within 24 hours of the event, and much more lengthy review after the week long run of the show.

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.

bavalentine

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.

bmvalentine

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.

cbvalentine

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.