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Blackout Haunted House 2011 (Review) (NYC Haunted House 2011)

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**Hello fellow Redditors, it seems you are all curious of this haunted house that other haunted houses are afraid of. I'll be posting my review of 2012 edition in the next few weeks. In the meantime, be sure to ask your burning questions in this AMA which  The Raven and Black Cat has created. TRBC and myself have been to at least 4 Blackout haunts including the infamous invite only Spring event. We're part of the Survivors Club and we know what we're talking about. Also, head over to the Jaded Viewer Facebook page and check me out on Twitter. Also check out TRBC on Twitter as well.**

Check out my review of Blackout Haunted House 2012!

There was once a boxer from Brooklyn who started making waves in the sport. At first, people would hear whispers and first hand accounts of a kid with a serious punch who was knocking the shit out of his opponents. Nobody knew if this kid actually existed but then he got some exposure and the knockouts kept coming. He soon became the world heavyweight champion.

He didn't come out to any fancy ring music. He didn't wear a robe but instead wore plain black trunks and plain black socks and sneakers. You knew what you were going to see when he stepped into the ring. You were going to see the most intimidating man on the fuckin planet and a scared shitless opponent. When the fight started, there were hits you didn't see coming, punches that came out of nowhere and a knockout that brought you to your feet. This poor opponent didn't stand a chance and was left beatened, downtrodden and utterly stunned by what had happened.

That's the best way to metaphorically describe Blackout Haunted House, bar none the best haunted house in NYC. It's like stepping into the ring with an in his prime Iron Mike Tyson and though you know you're gonna get the crap kicked out of you, you'll live to tell about it. What's more awesome than that?

Having attended last year (see review here and walkthrough here) and the Spring edition (see review here) I am truly proud to be part of "The Survivors Club", a group of 20 or so strong men and women who have become hardened veterans of Vortex Theater's Haunted House. These select few who went through the May "invite only" have experienced the most extreme trauma they've ever paid for. I think some have not spoken about it since that day (well except for me). But even as a survivor, I was still a little nervous of what was to come. I had a gut feeling Josh Randall and Kris Thor, the minds behind this fringe experiment in terror, would up the ante and go over and I mean way over the edge of their previous installments. And they totally freakin do.

Blackout is their best version yet. It's like being a star in a living, breathing torture porn horror movie. You're the final girl (or guy). You meet the characters of Blackout, interact with them and even push the story to its final conclusion. But make no mistake, it's not going to be an easy journey.





But as all final girls/guys do, you're going to survive. It's the most gratifying feeling you will ever get. Being a survivor of Blackout Haunted House is a graduation from your most dreaded fears be it sexual depravity, germ warfare, Abu Gharab torture, claustrophobia and the eerie quiet of pitch black darkness. Blackout has conjured up a class in each of these and the only way you actually FAIL is by screaming the word: SAFETY. And as far as I know, they've gotten a ton of failing students.

I however got an A+ and never uttered the word. But the experience was still as frightening as ever. It seems, unknown to me, Josh had personalized my walkthrough. Characters were uttering MY NAME as they leveled me with trauma. That really hit hard for me and made it 10 times more intimidating. As much as it was a treat for me, it's not standard treatment so don't expect you'll be hearing your name in the darkness.

I'm not going to give a walkthrough and spoilers until after Halloween. So if you came here to read a step by step guide, move along this isn't the review you're looking for. But I will tell you that Blackout is 100 times better than it was last year and more terrifying than the Spring version. You will have to go through it alone and you are equipped with a protective mask and a flashlight and all the rules will come into play. You will be touched, pushed and shoved like a protester at Occupy Wall Street (but without the baton beatings and pepper spray attacks). It's this level of physicality that separates itself from all other haunted houses. Expect it...it's gonna happen and it's gonna freak you out.

Blackout is NYC Halloween Haunted House on Grade A steroids. The performances by the actors are stellar and frightening. The crew is more volatile and unyielding. The sets and rooms and backdrops are beautifully crafted and convey a filth and deterioration of utter despair and hopelessness. As you go from room to room, you slowly fall apart. I started very aware and was mentally preparing myself for what was to come. Rooms with high tech jeepers creepers bring the creepy. As you move on to total darkness, your eyes shut down and your other senses get heightened. I even began to get some sort of Spider Sense. As I sat in a room, possibly all alone? shining a pathetic flashlight on any thing I sensed was getting too close...my spider sense started tingling.

Then BOOM! here comes the torturous depravity and by the time that's ended I'm completely disoriented and in the midst of my panic I don't hear an order to walk down some stairs and I'm stumbling into rooms I've already been in and being pointed towards the way out. But it continues and continues and you have to keep trudging along knowing in the back of your mind there is an end to this madness.

My one gripe I always had with previous installments is that there was limited interaction with the characters. But that has all changed this year. I played the part of final hero guy and I played it well. You'll have to do actions when told to and some of these will make you gag and squirm. I even hesitated at times but I knew that in order to keep going I HAD TO DO IT. These new little quirks in the experience amplified the overall experience. You really do feel like your playing a part in a sadistic horror story that you've accidentally stumbled upon. And you don't even have to wait to get to the good parts. You're thrown right into the ending.

And it's an ending you won't forget.

Blackout Haunted House is the haunted house other haunted houses are afraid of. It may lack the glitzy blockbuster sets, tech and visuals of it's competition. It may not be artistic or thematic or have a catchy premise. But it is the best haunted house in NYC. It's pure blacked out storefront oozes of intimidation. Once you walk through the doors, you enter their ring.

Prepare to be knocked out.

The Vitals
Check out the trailer!


Here is my walkthrough and spoiler review of Blackout Haunted House!

Did you survive Blackout Haunted House? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

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I'm in CT a couple times a month visiting clients, and this year I REALLY want to head down to NYC for this Haunted House, though I have the sad feeling I'll be yelling SAFETY about 3 minutes in.

Well it depends on your threshold for pain (I'm kidding...or am I?) If you do, I'll head down there with you and tell them to give you the VIP treatment.

In a previous blog (I think it was last year's) you mentioned a staple gun - did they actually staple you? Is it fair to assume that in this year's no one blades you (cuts you) or ejaculates in or on you? I don't want spoilers, but this info would help. Thanks. A-ROD

I'm really looking forward to reading your walkthrough of this after Halloween. Thank you for ensuring that those of us who KNOW we would fail out of this horror attraction still get to find out what happens.

GCS - You're probably selling yourself short. My review makes it sound like you're going into a torture chamber but it's just pure, adrenaline filled role playing. Everybody should experience Blackout at least once to conquer their fears.

Anonymous - No staple gun this year and none of the other stuff you mentioned. But insertions and water play a big part in it all.

I'm sure it's a unique experience. Still almost tempted to go, but may send a friend through instead. :) When they used a staple gun last year, did they actually staple you, or was it not loaded? Your reviews are great, keep it up!

Anonymous - It wasn't loaded. But how was I suppose to know? They mess with you psychologically and its pretty intense.

Keep checking in as I'll be posting a walkthrough next month!

I figured, and am sure that in any case it's an alarming experience! When you say penetration, I'm guessing that I shouldn't be assuming the worst. Thanks for the info!

I went to this last October 2010. It's the haunted house that interests me most, I go to several every October. My problem with it last year was not that it was overly scary or anything, but I didn't like that the "haunted house" felt more like a re-creation of being a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay or something along those lines, the way they talk to you and made me stand in the corner for several minutes at a time with a bag over my head. Those aspects weren't even particularly scary, but more annoying and boring to me than anything else. I guess I prefer more of a horror movie aesthetic than feeling like I'm being sent off to a fake Gulag. So, my question is, does this year's haunted house have the same feel? I don't have tickets for this one as of yet.

Thanks for the review - can't wait to read your spoiler (as I'm too chicken to experience this kind of stuff in person)!

I dare someone to do the following:

1) Fake a heart attack
2) Pretend you're dead
3) Scare actor that's supposed to scare you!

Dave - If your looking for a BOO! haunted house or something in the vain of old horror, Nightmare and Blood Manor provide that. I'm sure even the suburban haunted houses via a cornfield maze or whatnot can provide a decent scare. Certainly other haunted houses across America do different things to envoke the scary. But Blackout is torture horror mixed in with a role playing stimuli that will get you uncomfortable. I would suggest if you felt that way from last year, you should skip Blackout.

Bryan - I'm sure the waiver forbids you from doing any of those things...but you know one day somebody is gonna pull it and get totally banned for life.

Jaded viewer-
Thanks so much for posting your walk through experience! I cannot wait to do this. I tried going to your Facebook page but the link isn't working for me... Can you help? Also, can you give me an approximate time frame for how long the whole experience lasts?

Katherine - It lasts about 20 minutes or so...well depending if you SAFETY or not. It's definitely a helluva experience, something you won't soon forget.

My Facebook link should work. Click on the FB widget on the right nav bar.

any good female nudity this year? That was the best part about last year's, lol.

LOL dude. Yup nudity o plenty. Don't expect any lapdances.

I'm thinking about going to this because I've never been to haunted houses, and I really don't want to go to Blood manor or Nightmare because I know how terrible it's going to be, but this really seems like it's going to scare the shit out of me! But I'm also afraid I'm going to get hurt. Either way 60 dollars is a lot and if I can't make it through I'm going to regret spending the money...maybe.

I just got tickets to for Saturday, October 29. My one concern is that they will cause physical pain to you, or make you eat something that you should not be eating. Should I be worried? Thanks

"I just got tickets to for Saturday, October 29. My one concern is that they will cause physical pain to you, or make you eat something that you should not be eating. Should I be worried? Thanks"

How much did the tickets cost you?

You're not going to get hurt ac6. I mean it's relatively "safe" torture, you'll only freak out if you think you can't handle it. I would have suggested you went earlier as Halloween week is usually where the prices are a bit higher.

Dare - There is no physical pain per say. Nobody is gonna beat you down with a baseball bat but as they say, liquids play an important part. As for eating something, its not Fear Factor. But you may have to put something in your mouth, voluntarily or involuntarily.

As always you can SAFETY your way out of danger but then you wouldn't get to experience the whole thing. And if you're too scared, you can wait for my walkthrough in November.

Thank you Jaded... The ticket cost me $60.00 plus $5.00 processing fee.. I really hope it worth the price.

Anonymous - Its all subjective. But its the closest you'll get to being in a "fantasy horror movie camp" where you get to play the victim. It's worth it to at least try it once...but then you get hooked and you become a Blackout addict like the rest of us.

Alot of the reviews mention having to put something really twisted and foul in your mouth at ne point, my only concern is how sanitary is it? Same with these "liquids". Are they real? Or is it just meant to mess with your mind and psyche yourself out?

I was not scared at all. I was actually turned on by some parts like getting sniffed by the sick mental patient and being waterboarded by the guy with the sexy growly voice. It was just fun

Crystal - It's pretty disgusting what you have to put in your mouth...but remember it's all pretend! (i think....ughhh i hope)

Anonymous - Some people will actually get scared...its a controlled interactive show so its really all subjective how scared you can actually be. It really is totally fun and damn addictive.

was not scary at all. what a bummer. i even laughed at times... but i'm ticklish. tried to get into the spirit and feel scared, but just wasn't scary or unnerving at all. i actually thought i might have skipped through some of it somehow - that's how much of a letdown it was. i definitely was in there for the full time though. glad i tried it, but sadly wouldn't bother with it again. agreed that the waterboarding guy has a sexy voice.

Sorry to bring this to a dark(er) place, but I keep reading variations of "sexual content" and "Being forced to do things" in the reviews, and I was wondering if you could elaborate on that. As in, are the two tied together and is any kind of rape simulation involved, especially to you? I'm curious, but I don't want to go if it'll be triggering. I feel like they should have a specific warning, if so.

I am going after work this week, and wondering if I should bring clothes to change into before I go. I will be in "Wall Street" attire, and I dont know if my clothing will get messed up! Thanks! P.S. I am already terrified!!

Anonymous 10/24 - I'd say the sexual content is a bit toned down but there is super fleshy nudity. But you will be forced to do things and if you don't, you won't be able to move on.

Nadia - DEFINITELY bring a change of clothes! Liquids play a big part!

Is this thing they force you to put in your mouth phallic in nature at all? lol

my husband and i went last night. i dont think they change/sanitize their props. i had a prop stuck in my mouth and now have an awful stomach bug/flu. my husband had a bag put over his head with water coming through it and his eyes open and now he has pink eye. they dump water all over you so take off your jacket and scarves. its disturbing yes but not that scary.

nope not phallic but more gross.

Hmmm I hope the "prop" is a disposable one for each participant. As for all the other items, as its entirely dark, one can't tell what it actually is.

But the whole experience is a germaphobe's nightmare.

You mentioned in the spring haunted house that you actually had to undress and wear a hospital gown & rubber shoes... you were undressing right in front of the actors? Like naked or with underwear on? Is there anything like that this year?

No self nudity this year but you get to see some nudity yourself.

hey jaded,
do they provide lockers to put your stuff in? (phone, wallet, etc)?? not really worth it if i'm gonna get my iphone broken....also I'm a little apprehensive about the water boarding part, like can you breath?

No lockers. But they'll watch your stuff for you. It's not actually real real real waterboarding but it has a mild waterboarding effect to it.

when are you posting the walk through!

Are you posting the walkthrough soon??

My sister and I bought tickets to this event, and we are scheduled to go tomorrow. I mentioned that i was going to my therapist, and she read up on it, and advised me not to go. I have previous issues with abuse, but figured since it is "fake", i would be OK. What are your recommendations? Could going to this really trigger something?

Walk through is coming soon! It'll be posted after Blackout's run ends on 11/12.

Anon 11/2 - I suggest you don't go if you think it may bring back all those bad memories. Some people who went through it that I've talked to who've had water phobias, claustrophobia, etc have freaked out and it totally triggered intense fear.

It's fake torture but what they do is real for the 20-25 min you're experiencing it. Half the experience is tortur-ish, the other part is an interactive horror movie.

You could go and safety if it gets too intense. But you do sign a waiver and Blackout isn't responsible if you freak out.

You could have your sister go first and if she thinks it's OK, then I don't see why you couldn't make it through.

Good luck!

While I love the idea of being the lone audience member at an interactive Grand Guignol performance, I have to say that I'm not terrifically interested in the notion of getting physically sick because props are being reused. The above comment isn't the first place where I've read concerns that it's not particularly sanitary or comments about getting sick after the fact. You can pour fake blood all over my face and clothes, you can fake waterboard me, you can prod and poke me and I'm genuinely cool with that but honestly? I expect that the place be on the up and up with respect to people's physical health. I was ready to go until a friend came back from a show in the middle of the month (she loved it, btw) and got a nasty flu-like stomach bug as well (said she was fairly certain that specific things in her face/mouth was why she got sick) which honestly put me off the whole thing.

If I'm paying them to be tortured after a fashion, I'd at least ask that the props are clean for each person who comes through.

Blackout may make everyone sign a waiver but all someone has to do is make a formal complaint in the over-sanitized, overly cautious NYC of Bloomberg and this will get shut down lickety split. They're moving beyond their initial group of devoted followers and getting bigger--this year the buzz surrounding the performance has been intense--and as soon as some tough guy from Doodles, Ohio decides he didn't like what he paid for that waiver is going to be nothing more than a piece of paper and there's going to be trouble. So if the scenario in coming years is 'we're shoving a plastic speculum in your mouth for giggles' or what have you I hope they can get it together and keep it clean.

I just came out of Blackout.. Was more fun then anything. I would have enjoyed more interacting and for the people dressed in black to actually have a function more then screaming at you what way to go. Good effort on the whole and I got in late so I guess most of the guys are pretty tired by now. I cant say much more I guess but given the chance I could do a better job. I thought I was going into something really deranged and scary. The difficulty breathing was more of a hassle then anything, and I suspect people yelling safety is because they are out of breath, not because they are terrified. Better then last years by far, yet it has not reached its full potential. Still I cant wait for what they have in store for us next season. 3/5

I really did want to do this until I read that certain people got stomach bugs and pink eye from the props. Hopefully the creative team is reading these posts and will go the extra distance next year to use sanitary props to keep their patrons safe from illness. It's one thing to willingly sign up for a tortureish experience but it's bad business not to protect your customers from accidents and illness. If they can't then these aspects of the performance ought to be removed.

Where's the walkthrough? it was promised early november

Walkthrough please :)

A link to the walkthrough is after the trailer!

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WTB walkthrough lol

You scared me man! I won't try this house for sure...

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Your walkthroughs and reviews kick ass!
Totally convinced me to go this year and it was so worth it!

This looks like the most fun ever! I am such a scare buff I've probably been to all the Haunted Houses in NJ however, none of them are like this. I really like this idea and I hope you guys do this, this year.

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