Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blood Manor 2014 (Review)


Blood Manor really wants to provoke all sorts of reactions for all who go through its doors. And that reaction can come in many ways. Being scared shitless, getting angry after a well timed quip or hainv a feeling of dread as you enter from room to room.

It's why it's the go to blockbuster haunted house in NYC.

I've been going to Blood Manor since 2009 and the rooms have always been top notch and the actors as intimidating and sarcastic as ever. What you don't realize is the level of effects that go in as makeup and costumes transform regular actors into a split personality schizo monsters. They'll get in your face, chew your ear off (literally if they had a chance) and the sheer girth of some of these actors is as intimidating as their personalities.

All of this happening while you're trying to find the exit.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Blood Manor is the Michael Bay of haunted houses. The walk through in Blood Manor is as frenetic or as easy going as you want it to be. The actors laugh hysterically and maniacally. They say they want to be your friend but they're probably going to just fuck with you in every way possible.

The ending is as its been for the last few years, highly colorized. But still seems to make Blood Manor distinctly pre-packaged scary. This year they've added a few new touches to scare and to make everything more orderly. A time ticket cuts wait times and a "Touch Me Thursday" as limited touching by the actors. After Halloween, Blackout Nights aim to amp up the dread.

If your tween girl needs to get her haunt on, Blood Manor is her pumpkin spice latte.


The Vitals

 Check out the trailer below.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Blackout Elements Haunted House 2013 (NYC Review)


[This is just a review of Blackout Elements. A spoiler filled walkthrough will follow after the show's run ends.]

Well if you're reading this fellow jaded viewers, you have probably read all the stuff  I've ever posted about Blackout. There is no doubt that this once upon a time, urban legend of a haunted house, the one where "they touch you" and "they water board you" is now a full fledged powerhouse now running in both NYC and LA and will be unleashed in Chicago in December. The formula is being copied by mega haunted houses all over the country and even Kickstarters are being created to fund what seems to be a poor copy cat. But to experience Blackout, the original waiver signing, full frontal nudity and torturific experience is one that has to be done in NYC, where filth and grime are synonymous with the people. Who are these brave souls who dare go to the haunted house the other haunted houses are afraid of?

What's odd is the people who decide to go. Blackout participants aren't just goths or metalheads, but normals from all over the city who flock to Blackout to experience what the fuss is all about. Abercrombie and Fitch sweater alpha's wait in the lobby with motherfuckin gangsta wannabes. Old grampas walk in with college freshmen. They all come because they're curious and want to try their luck at the most extreme haunted house in America.

I went twice this year. The first during opening night and then last week. In essence, I saw the same show but with notable differences. I also saw an evolution as well as it seems night after night and possibly patron after patron never had the same experience. Because this year, with it's elemental theme which I'll get to later, people get to choose what happens top them (though they can choose, they never know what will happen). It's a simple choice between letters but leads to the fact that if two people went back to back, they'd wouldn't see the same rooms or get the same experience.

So like previous years, everything in October is entirely new from last year. This is the first time Blackout has employed an overarching theme to their haunt. Previous years were completely changed but this was the first time both NYC and LA get the same basic haunt. Located at 164 Eleventh Ave, near Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, the location brought back memories for me of their off season haunt in 2011. I was very familiar with the space but it's been turned into a deviously constructed maze that  Jigsaw's deranged uncle might have created. The lobby is ominous and has that NYC smell of decay. Even the staff  you'll meet immediately will let you know they aren't here to take any of your shit.

What takes place behind the walls is a curious mix of old school Blackout brutality, psychological warfare, sexually charged feargasms and an ending that will have most people scared stiff. But your journey through is an obstacle course through the Captain Planet approved Elements. You'll encounter water, air, earth and fire in some form or the other. Each of these will happen in the company of  archetypes such as enforcers and delicates (it's the best way to describe these variety of characters). There will be moments of lull followed by all out assaults on your senses and sometimes lack thereof. Blackout has a reputation of silently stripping you of your sight, drowning your hearing and making you touch repulsion. This year, they'll earn it again but are more clever in how they do it.

Like previous haunts, Blackout test your limits in being touched . It's not a simple tap on the shoulder but a tad more aggression in the form of being bearhugged and having your face being used as a palette. You'll also  have to trudge through various obstacles, climb and crawl and kneel and experience all sorts of levels of uncomfortableness. It's 30 or so minutes of shock and awe and all sorts of general weirdness designed to indoctrinate you into the world of Blackout. The willing should go in wanting to play their part in the show, obey all the commands and descend into the madness of it all. You've paid to be part of this interactive horror movie, be that final guy or girl so play the fuck along. Milk the haunt for all its worth. Even though it felt a bit ridiculous that's what I did and it amplified my victim-hood.

Both times I went, I had the same overall basic experience. However, the October trip was a bit more cleaner in it's execution and amped up a level. The beta test in September has been tweaked with heavily and there were parts I loved like the original ending. It played with a theme which referenced the 2013 off season haunt and I do love those Blackout easter eggs. It's hard not to compare the two experiences but as a whole, now looking back I'm glad I did it twice as seeing the changes gives me a perspective I wouldn't have otherwise.

With your choice factoring in, going twice has its advantages in that choosing the opposite of what you had selected previously opens up rooms you had no idea existed. This level of interactivity is refreshing and different. It's a gimmick that will have you second guessing, fueling a what if scenario for days after. Going with friends may give you a glimpse into what you missed though the choice is really up to you. It's an odd sensation to try to be coherent while shit is hitting in the fan all around you.

What I did miss is what worked well in previous Blackout experiences, their namesake. You will encounter darkness in spurts, strobe lights and all sorts of icky. It's the elements that are taking center stage this year and you should be well aware that anything I've written before is mostly NOT going to happen.

I would also have liked a unifying story that would tie the haunt together in a way that would have transcended the other theme running through. If each successive scene in different rooms built up a level of crazy that led up to the final uber ending, I think the payoff was there. Horror movies are all about the buildup and I hope one day Blackout employs a centralized mythos during their haunt.

The actors give it their all and at times will tailor the experience to what you do and how you react. They may improv as they go along and add a few things that worked on others. The fact they can keep modifying the attraction is a clear indication that creators Josh Randall and Kristjan Thorgeirsson are smart enough to know fear is subjective and you have to adapt to your audience even if it means person by person.

There is only one haunted house that pushes you into another dimension of twilight zone like horror and it's Blackout. New, inventive and full of WTF moments. Elements is brilliantly awesome. It has a way of fucking with you like no other haunted house can. It has never positioned itself as a traditional haunted house. It's evolved into something without comparison even through it's being carbon copied by others. What you realize is that it teeters on the edge of extreme audience participation and that most people will wonder if the team behind this production are seriously mentally disturbed.

But shouldn't we all question if the people who pay for it are as well?


 The Vitals

Blackout Haunted House Reviews and Walkthroughs
Blackout Haunted House Invite Only, Off Season Winter/Spring Haunt Reviews and Walkthroughs
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Saturday, September 07, 2013

Bring on the Elements! Blackout Haunted House Opening Night 9/7/13


It's a bit odd to go to a haunted house (or interactive horror theater in this case) in the first week of September but the day has come. Blackout Haunted House Opening Preview night is today and guess who's first on line?

Yup, clearly jaded viewers I got too excited about this.

It's been a little weird to get into the haunted house hype but while I visited Myrtle Beach, SC a few weeks back I did go to these year round haunted houses: Ripley's Haunted Adventures and Nightmare Haunted House (not to be confused with Nightmare NYC)

Mind you visiting a haunted house in the summer is a little off as it's barely occupied and the haunt usually gives 40%. But it was a thrill to haunt up in August.

So before I write my review of this years Blackout Elements, we'll be giving first impression thoughts (without spoilers or a walkthrough) tonight and tomorrow.

If you want to follow along tonight, follow me on Twitter and on Facebook. I will probably go the Twitter route as pics and possibly Vine videos might be posted.

Who knows what will happen tonight?

Tickets are now on sale for NYC and LA. Check out the trailer below.

 
 
Blackout Haunted House NYC 2013 Off Season Haunt Testimonials

Blackout Haunted House Reviews and Walkthroughs

Blackout Haunted House Invite Only, Off Season Spring Haunt Reviews and Walkthroughs

Leave any comments/questions on The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page or on Twitter 

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blackout Haunted House Returns.....with Elements


Straight after they announced they were joining forces with Blumhouse Productions to create a live interactive experience related to The Purge, Blackout Haunted House announced their fall/Halloween event with....



Blackout Elements.





Some of the trailer looks familiar to me, but Blackout usually saves their best for Halloween so who knows what to expect.


Preview tickets are now on sale at the official site. Check out the trailer below.

 
 
Blackout Haunted House NYC 2013 Off Season Haunt Testimonials

Blackout Haunted House Reviews and Walkthroughs

Blackout Haunted House Invite Only, Off Season Spring Haunt Reviews and Walkthroughs

Leave any comments/questions on The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page or on Twitter 

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Blackout Haunted House 2013 Off Season NYC Winter Haunt (Review)

"You know what's fun? Watching a great horror movie. You know what's more fun? Being in one courtesy of Blackout Haunted House."

-tweet from The Jaded Viewer after experiencing the off season haunt.

I immediately tweeted that out after experiencing my 6th Blackout haunt. I don't know what you want to call me at this point. A Blackout hardcore enthusiast? A haunted house veteran? A deranged and certifiable lunatic?

Probably all of the above I guess.

But I'm drawn to taking my horror-fandom to the next level. I love horror movies and this here blog is a tribute to the genre. But rarely does one get a chance to experience the genre in a new way. How does one cosplay as a horror final boy/girl? Horror conventions? Fuck that.

I want the real deal. Where can you act out being a protagonist in your own horror movie? I'm not a professional actor. I was once in a zombie short film in college. But sometimes you want to play the hero. You sometimes ask yourself what you would do in the same situation you see cliched horror film characters in.

And Blackout Haunted House lets me do just that.

You may have gone to their October/Hallowen haunt in NYC or in Los Angeles. But LA, I'm sorry you received a "best hits" compilation. Stuff I did in 2010 and 2011. NYC got the cutting edge experiment which in itself was awesomely fun. But let me tell you fellow jaded viewers, the 2013 off season winter haunt in NYC was clearly the pinnacle of this production. Everything hit on all cylinders, like a well oiled machine. From the opening scene to the wild ending, all were pieces to a puzzle that don't actually make sense until days later (and with the help of some fellow Survivors). It's a clear evolutionary jump of what they have been doing. The Blackout madness has spread nationally and is now far from it's NYC underground whispers. It's blown up big time, a mushroom cloud of pure, undiluted interactive terror.

And here's where I disappoint you all. I'm not giving a walkthrough of this haunt. Well not yet hopefully. What makes Blackout unique is the DUH! Not knowing what will happen. And the team at Blackout has made it clear of what's to come via a post on their Facebook page.

hey NYC - thank you to all the people who came out for this week's first off-season adventure. we had an amazing time with each and every one of you and appreciate your support. of course we won't confirm anything, but it's possible other people may get the chance to experience this specific show so please keep the details to yourself and off this page. feel free to share your thoughts, feelings, reviews, etc - but please, no spoilers.

So it might be coming to a city near you. And why would I want to spoil what only  80 or so brave people have enjoyed so far. And possibly what you can enjoy in the near future. But I will tell you my thoughts on this interactive theater performance. First the rules and factoids.

You did have to go through this alone.
It was somewhere in NYC's East Village.
It lasted about 45 minutes.
You did have to sign a waiver.
There was a safety word. It was "SAFETY".
It was open to the public for the first time this year.

What happened over those 45 minutes is the most brilliant piece of storytelling, WTF-ness and pure exhilarating and thrilling  moments I've had in my life. The moment it begins, it's fuckin on. Instructions are given and it's all reflex. You're a loyal soldier of Blackout. The first 10 minutes are eerie and actually only make sense after you actually complete this game to the end. What the 2013 haunt gives is pure cinematic visuals, sets that resemble a "hot" Hollywood set and acting that pushes the boundaries of extreme theater.

The beauty of it is you, and you alone are the lone audience for this masterpiece. And you alone are the star. And you dictate the reactions of what's to come and what can be said. It's interactive theater taken beyond your wildest imaginations. You get a personalized experience all your own. Horror and theater fans alike will come away with a unique experience all to themselves. Your dialogue is etched in stone. Your memories become permanent markers of clearly something that has never been done before. It is surreal theater for the demented and the delusional. And it's fuckin fun.

Many elements of the past Blackout experience are present. But new ones are thrown in. I got a sense of a lull before the storm, becoming panic stricken moving from place to place and darkness became the dread that keeps on giving everytime I go to a Blackout haunt. What Blackout does so effectively is amplify your senses into overdrive. Sight is not just one sense they play with, they also go with sound, smell and touch. You start to realize your comfort zone is realizing you won't have one and dealing with it.

Blackout has been all about the fear and they challenge you to overcome a variety of general fears we all have. Like going through a psychologist's list of ailments, they chose a few that many probably secretly have but dare not tell anybody. You'll need to overcome these fears quickly in order to move on. Sure you can call SAFETY, but that's not in my fuckin vocabulary. It's quite a sense of accomplishment when you can be victimized mentally and physically but get through it unscathed. I will say there are some levels of abuse or what you can call pseudo torture. But more so it's clearly all in your head. The mind makes it real.

In terms of the performances, I will say they were slow burn and meticulously fantastic. To be able to spend quality time with these charaters for longer than 2 minutes (compared to the October haunts) is why the off season is worth every penny. Each character you are introduced to is unique and central to what is going on. They talk to you and you can respond when prompted. They are there to push the agenda, the story and to make you realize you are there because you want to be there.

Which brings us to the story. I've mentioned this before,  Blackout is like being a final girl/guy in your own horror movie. And in this off season haunt, you will become one and follow a linear story with the twist being you're part of it. What you will slowly realize is Blackout is part of the story too and they will make you pay wickedly for the time you spend there.

Blackout Haunted House 2013 Off Season NYC Winter haunt is without a doubt the apex of the Blackout experience. There were many moments of uncomfortableness and humiliation that many people will run away from to avoid. What do I do? I pay a ticket to experience it. I have longed to be part of theater, a wannabe actor in my mind who believed I could be the ultimate survivor.

But I'm probably just a crazed loon who should be in a mental hospital, locked up in the dark with a surgical mask on. The doctors saying all you need to say is "safety" and we'll let you out. And what do I do, I start shaking my head.

"No, I will never ever say it....never...never....ever."

****************************************************************
Blackout Haunted House NYC 2013 Off Season Haunt Testimonials
Blackout Haunted House Reviews and Walkthroughs
Blackout Haunted House Invite Only, Off Season Spring Haunt Reviews and Walkthroughs
Leave any comments/questions on The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page or on Twitter

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Blackout Haunted House Testimonials Part 4: Off Season NYC Winter Haunt (2013)


Here is Part 4 of the Blackout Survivors testimonials. In this edition, Special K (who wrote a wallkthrough of the 2012 October Haunt) gives us her thoughts about partaking for a second time into their off season haunt. Theater can make quite an impact, and Special K discusses her trials and tribulations in the testimonial below.

Oh what we do for a free t-shirt.

This is the last Survivor review. I'll be posting my own review of Blackout Haunted House's NYC Off Season Winter Haunt at the end of this week.

(I believe it's necessary you get different perspectives of the others who attended well. Collected below and in the upcoming days are reviews and testimonials of some of the brave "Survivors" who dared to go where only a few decided to tread. You'll hear from men and women who decided to attain glorious bragging rights to the horror interactive theater production that is Blackout. Some are hardcore veterans while others are semi new. But all are bizarrely addicted to the adrenaline rush of being the protagonist of their own horror movie.)

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When off season tickets opened up to Blackout's nearly 10,000 strong fan base this year, I was slightly worried.  I should have known better.  In hindsight it was a brilliant move; we, the fans, had to rely on each other like never before in order to reserve an appointment.  And without divulging our secrets I will say this: the morning tickets went on sale, the game had already started. And it wouldn't be over until Blackout decided it should be, and well, (spoiler): it never is...  
 
With less than I week to prepare, my anxiety kicked into overdrive.  I had struggled with Spring 2012 and was left questioning my decision to enter into that world again.  What if something similar - or worse - was in store?  I had to act fast and I had to do it on blind trust.  But this addiction has no remedy -- of course I returned.  And I'm so glad I gave them another chance -- they blew it out of the water.  
 
I've been sworn to secrecy on specifics, but I will say this: from the moment I stepped inside I knew this chapter was different. When the experience began, I was lulled into meditative bliss by the sights and sounds around me.  Going forward, this show hit all my deepest emotional triggers: embarrassment, eroticism, humor, fear, tenderness and nostalgia.  
 
There was a moment that at one time in my life would have sent me into a petrified panic.  I didn't enjoy it, but the fact that I allowed it to unfold was huge.  These people have already seen me naked, at my most vulnerable, and there's nothing worse. Sometimes you don't really know what you're capable of until you no longer have a choice.  The fact that I got past this without too much struggle was intensely liberating.  

Another moment touched so close to home it made me second guess whether this was still a show or a real life memory - and nearly made me cry.
 
The entire experience was cinematic and story driven.  One of the magical things about Blackout is their ability to transport each participant into another world.  You lose yourself in there - anything that troubles you on the outside no longer exists. Perhaps more powerful, things that should trouble you on the inside, no longer do.  It's pure survival.  An opportunity to be completely absorbed in the moment like this is healing and trans formative.   The pressure is on, it's all about you -  but these actors are so talented, you forget all of that.  
 
This is no longer a haunted house.  It has evolved into theatre in its most raw, vital form.  Prior to Blackout, I enjoyed going to shows but there was always a disconnect.  I couldn't relate characteristics of myself to an actor who was confident and comfortable in the spotlight.
 
By redefining what it means to be an audience member, Blackout has made a believer out of this horror chick turned theater fan. In here, those lines blur.  The actors are with you.  And sometimes they're even more than that. In here, you almost feel like you're one of them.  And they're one of you.
  
"I find myself in the middle of an eye, watching myself in its blank stare."
 
This year, after the adrenaline wore off (spoiler: it took days) I was left with a haunting sense of peace.  This show was brilliantly, beautifully horrific and tugged at my heartstrings with it's poignant, existential intimacy.  It meant a lot to me, Blackout. I can't wait to see where the story takes us next.

-Special K

Were you one of the lucky Survivors? Want to share your thoughts to the world. Facebook or tweet me your review (no spoilers please).

****************************************************************

Blackout Haunted House NYC 2013 Off Season Haunt Testimonials

Blackout Haunted House Reviews and Walkthroughs
Blackout Haunted House Invite Only, Off Season Spring Haunt Reviews and Walkthroughs
Leave any comments/questions on The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page or on Twitter

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Blackout Haunted House Testimonials Part 3: Off Season NYC Winter Haunt (2013)


For Part 3, I have treat for you. Survivor "Wrapped in Plastic" discusses HER thoughts about the infamous off season Winter experience. Men and Women alike attended this haunt and it left a crater sized mind fuck in our heads.

Seriously, the shit we did for this goddamn free t-shirt was insane.

Before I post my own review of Blackout Haunted House's NYC Off Season Winter Haunt, I believe it's necessary you get different perspectives of the others who attended well. Collected below and in the upcoming days are reviews and testimonials of some of the brave "Survivors" who dared to go where only a few decided to tread. You'll hear from men and women who decided to attain glorious bragging rights to the horror interactive theater production that is Blackout. Some are hardcore veterans while others are semi new. But all are bizarrely addicted to the adrenaline rush of being the protagonist of their own horror movie.

Check back at midnight over the next few weeks as you hear from the brave souls who survived.

****************************************************************

For the first time in four events, I left Blackout laughing. Granted, it was a wild-eyed, shell-shocked, half-hysterical kind of laughter, but the experience left me giddy. Over the span of 45 (sometimes too-long, sometimes too-short) minutes, I had faced up to my greatest fears, performed in acts that left me tearful and delighted, and left trembling and transcendent from the heady rush of adrenaline that Blackout produces so well.

More so than in the past, a clearly defined narrative dictates the overall structure of this show. This is the first time I've felt Blackout move definitively past the realm of walk-through haunted house and into being an act of immersive psychological theater. There's no doubt that this is a play, but a play unlike any you've ever seen before, made that much more effective by your involvement as the ostensible protagonist of the story. The caliber of performances and aesthetics of the set design are on par with any traditional staged play I've seen and certain themes echo throughout that remind you that this is still theatre, only evolved. 


The rooms are almost elegant in their simplicity. Even those that you immediately recognize as places of horror are carefully arranged so as to frame you and the actors in such a way that you can't forget that You Are Here and that you are a part of this and that really, you only have yourself to blame for it. The actors move as wolves around you, the sacrificial lamb cut off from your flock, always with a reservation of energy and an underlying threat of violence liable to explode at any moment. And it will. And it does.

These images, yellowed flashbulb snaps of me and them and us together and even rooms of no one at all, are still as vivid to me as though they'd just occurred - mental Polaroids that cut through the rush of adrenaline that is at times deafening. In the past the constant movement through the scenes tended to make everything that happens to you a blur in recollection, but the stayed hand you see exercising careful control over each moment creates an experience that will lingers vivid long after the emotion settles out.

Subtlety is a key word. By comparison, Blackout's Halloween events are a 30-minute long roller-coaster ride in which you're jerked from one startling encounter to the next. This time, however, the limited number of scenes and increased length of performance this time gives ample room to settle into the moment.
 

Considering I'd spent the previous several days in an increasingly panicked build-up to the event, being left with my own thoughts is a devious way to let my imagination get the best of me. The mind fills in the blanks that are left, and when you're already familiar with the experiences that Blackout can deliver, those blanks aren't going to be filled with warm fuzzies. At one point I became so wrapped up in my own paranoid delusions that I started to physically tremble, shaking uncontrollably under the weight of my own anticipation. The scene in question involved no one but myself.

But don't let any of this reserve lull you into a sense of security - it's only the deafening, dreadful quiet that comes between cracks of thunder. This is the most confrontational Blackout that I've experienced. Certainly Spring 2012 was challenging (who's comfortable getting naked in front of strangers? me, apparently) but the psychological games that this performance plays go far deeper. As a pervasive theme that amplified in Halloween 2012, Blackout continues to toe a very fine line between sexuality and violence. They push their own boundaries to create scenarios that all at once repulse and arouse, horrify and titillate. The scenes are visceral blows, senses assaulted by a barrage of smells, sights, touches, and sounds that shake you out of your day-to-day mind and pull you deep into the experience. Your body responds without your mind being able to catch up as each sense is overwhelmed in turn.

And if you think you're unafraid of anything, give it time. Blackout will find what disturbs you, and there's nothing quite like when they find what sets off those reptile-brain reactions and you forget all rationality. You will know that they know when they've found it, and that's almost as scary as actually experiencing it. It's through this give-and-take that personally, I've realized that maybe my greatest fear (when forced to either face it or quit outright) maybe isn't my greatest fear anymore, and though I couldn't call that experience pleasant, it's a bit of a revelation to realize how much Blackout has shaped my reactions to things that frighten me. Old fears seem less scary when you've survived them, but new ones emerge to take their place when you experience them for the first time.

When I fled from the location, I ran into another Survivor who came to meet me. She asked me what thought and the first thing I shouted, laughing, was "It was beautiful." Blackout has outdone themselves. Their voice has been evolving since this all began, and this time, I feel like they've nailed it. The lingering tones of faith and fanaticism, sex and violence, beauty and filth have never been as clear as they were this time around, from the looking-glass opening until the final shocking end. They've raised the bar not only for their eager audience but for themselves as well. I'm proud beyond description to witness this evolution and to be a part of Blackout. And after being so changed by these experiences, I'm even more proud that Blackout has become a part of me.

-Wrapped in Plastic

Were you one of the lucky Survivors? Want to share your thoughts to the world. Facebook or tweet me your review (no spoilers please).

****************************************************************

Blackout Haunted House NYC 2013 Off Season Haunt Testimonials

Blackout Haunted House Reviews and Walkthroughs
Blackout Haunted House Invite Only, Off Season Spring Haunt Reviews and Walkthroughs
Leave any comments/questions on The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page or on Twitter

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Friday, February 08, 2013

Blackout Haunted House Testimonials Part 2: Off Season NYC Winter Haunt (2013)


And the testimonials continue....

More Survivors explaining why they endured for 45 minutes for that damn free t-shirt.

Before I post my own review of Blackout Haunted House's NYC Off Season Winter Haunt, I believe it's necessary you get different perspectives of the others who attended well. Collected below and in the upcoming days are reviews and testimonials of some of the brave "Survivors" who dared to go where only a few decided to tread. You'll hear from men and women who decided to attain glorious bragging rights to the horror interactive theater production that is Blackout. Some are hardcore veterans while others are semi new. But all are bizarrely addicted to the adrenaline rush of being the protagonist of their own horror movie.

Check back at midnight over the next few weeks as you hear from the brave souls who survived.

****************************************************************

"America. Our entertainment is generic. Boring. Mass produced. Safe. TV, movies, food, fashion, even mainstream PG13 horror - it all has to fit inside the boundaries of the lowest common denominators. Blackout actively seeks out your boundaries so it can explode through them and snuggle up close to all of the fears, secrets and desires you'd rather not share with anyone. Blackout is not generic. Blackout is very much not safe. Blackout Haunted House - the name is a little misleading. There are no clowns with chainsaws. There are no vampires or zombies. The "house" isn't the thing that's haunted. Once Blackout is through with you, you're the thing that's haunted."



-D-Vice


"This is the first off season that I've had the pleasure of experiencing. Having gone through Halloween 2012 twice I had a small grasp on how Blackout operated. Also armed with the reviews of the Jaded Viewer I felt I had enough working knowledge to take on an off-season show. I'll follow up that statement with this: That's not something you prepare for.... this is the kind of shit that you see someone for after surviving it.

The show starts and it's calm, almost hypnotic as I'm transported to the world of Blackout. It's a strange feeling to know that you've bought a ticket to a show....only to realize that it's about you. They take their time to set the mood, and really immerse you in this experience. Everything else around you melts away and you're left in their world....they're in control now.

Blackout as a whole is a mentally and physically challenging experience that aims to push you to your furthest limits, then wave as they go flying by. It's an incredible shock to the senses, as they toy with many aspects of our normal lives, make you take a step back and see how devoted you are to an ideology, or the significance you place in it. They force you into situations where your choices dictate your outcome, determining if you'll continue on.

After that night, I was left with more questions than an episode of 'Lost'. It left me bewildered, a little confused, a little neglected. On the ride home I used the time to reflect, not only on what I had just been through, but myself as well. The show, of course is a dramatization of real life events that could feasibly happen to anyone.....on the unluckiest day of their life. It's still rooted in “real life” though and it kept me up for a quite a while. What would I actually do in those situations? How would I react? Would I shut down, or fight back? It gave me a new found respect for the characters and stories I love so much in my favorite movies. To be given just a taste of what “the last survivor” is going through in the final scenes, or being thrown into the climax of a movie.....it brings things into perspective as I sit here tonight armchair quarterbacking the horror movie playing in the background.

As dumbfounded as I was wandering NYC after that show, I was proud. I rose to the challenge and took on Winter Blackout. I made it through- I survived."

– Scarecrow


Were you one of the lucky Survivors? Want to share your thoughts to the world. Facebook or tweet me your review (no spoilers please).


****************************************************************

Blackout Haunted House NYC 2013 Off Season Haunt Testimonials

Blackout Haunted House Reviews and Walkthroughs
Blackout Haunted House Invite Only, Off Season Spring Haunt Reviews and Walkthroughs
Leave any comments/questions on The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page or on Twitter




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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Blackout Haunted House Testimonials Part 1: Off Season NYC Winter Haunt (2013)


Oh what we do for a free t-shirt.

Before I post my own review of Blackout Haunted House's NYC Off Season Winter Haunt, I believe it's necessary you get different perspectives of the others who attended well. Collected below and in the upcoming days are reviews and testimonials of some of the brave "Survivors" who dared to go where only a few decided to tread. You'll hear from men and women who decided to attain glorious bragging rights to the horror interactive theater production that is Blackout. Some are hardcore veterans while others are semi new. But all are bizarrely addicted to the adrenaline rush of being the protagonist of their own horror movie.

Check back at midnight over the next few weeks as you hear from the brave souls who survived.

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"Being a Blackout veteran, calling "safety" is not an option. However, at last night's event, my limits were pushed beyond comprehension and I almost cracked. The ending felt like some twisted grand finale to a master plan that the creators orchestrated over the course of years and for a few brief moments I felt fooled by my trust for them and ultimately surrendered to my fate. All I could think about during those horrific final moments was that I had signed my name on the dotted line and had sealed my own fate. The last 5 minutes were a whirlwind which left me disheveled, disoriented, and jolted to the core. Then the next thing I knew, I was outside. I was safe...but I was not sound."  


-WeeJee

"Blackout 2013 Off Season = Unparalleled suspense & anticipation; Mentally & physically challenging; Artistic & shocking. In other words, brilliant! Congrats again to the creative, cast & crew of Blackout, love your obedient servant..."


-Bailey Squared


"SECRET: the other night, I cheated on Blackout...with Blackout. And dreams do come true. So, it's taken me two days and a night of voyeurism to come to terms with what went down that rainy Tuesday night...the fog has lifted, and i'm still saying to myself, "what the hell just happened?" I fell in love with Blackout during Halloween 2009, and I never thought I'd relive that deep, dark feeling of doing it for the first time again. But what differentiates this latest off-season from any other Blackout event is that it culminates in a way that can never and will never be duplicated in any circumstance. Sure, you can replicate many of the sick and twisted scenes Blackout has become known for in the comfort of your own home. But THIS...this will go down in history as The Night I Will Never Forget, and I have Blackout to thank for it."


-Queen B for Bitch


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Blackout Haunted House NYC 2013 Off Season Haunt Testimonials

Blackout Haunted House Reviews and Walkthroughs
Blackout Haunted House Invite Only, Off Season Spring Haunt Reviews and Walkthrough


Leave any comments/questions on The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page or on Twitter




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Monday, January 28, 2013

Blackout Haunted House Off Season Winter Haunt Begins This Week


If you blinked, you may have missed it. That's because Blackout Haunted House pulled a twisty twizzler and has decided to have their off season Spring haunt in the dead of a damn cold NYC winter. Here's what they sent over in an e-mail on Thursday.

we figured you couldn't wait for spring,
so the 2013 nyc off-season events will begin very soon.
unlike years past, this year's off-season will be open to anyone and everyone,
although a very limited number of tickets will be released.
this year's off-season will begin somewhere in the East Village.
the experience will take approximately 45 minutes per person and you must come alone.
you will receive the address the night before you begin.
we recommend you act fast and get your tickets as quickly as possible.
we'll send more information soon with a link to purchase tickets.
get ready because once it begins it will happen very fast.

do you want in this year? are you ready?

On Friday, at 4pm as I refreshed my e-mail, the Blackout Facebook page like a mad man with ADD, they sent over the link for tickets. There are only a few spots open so if you're in NYC, you can attend the off season haunt. Mind you, it's a bit pricey. At $135 but you do get the following:
  • One admission to the January NYC event 
  •  A Blackout t-shirt
  •  A special pre-sale ticket offer for the Halloween
Per the Blackout Facebook page, it starts somewhere in the East Village in NYC. The exact address is given at midnight the day before you go. About 90 slots were up for grabs, now only a few remain. Well you've read all my reviews and walkthroughs. Dare to go to a 45 minute extreme theater interactive performance you won't forget?

Hell I've survived 2 Spring haunts and 3 Halloween ones and I still get fuckin nervous before I go. Expect a review and possible walkthrough after the run.

Let the games begin!

Blackout Haunted House Reviews and Walkthroughs
Blackout Haunted House Invite Only, Off Season Spring Haunt Reviews and Walkthroughs
You can go also leave any comments/questions on The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page or on Twitter.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blackout Haunted House 2012 (Special K's Walkthrough)


Now that you've read my walkthrough of Blackout Haunted House, it's time you got a different perspective from Special K, a fellow female Survivor and friend who attended Blackout twice (that's her waiting to go in) She went in late October when Blackout started to mix things up and started to heavy up on the fucked up shit and started playing mind games. It's slightly similar to what happened to me but also far different in the levels of crazy. 

Go ahead and read Special K's walkthrough of Blackout HH NYC. You'll start to see what kind of fear manipulators these guys come up with when the spotlight is shining and Halloween was around the corner.  

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It's official, Blackout (quite literally) has my number.  This year marked my third event in two years with them and I found myself simultaneously horrified and charmed to feel new layers of fear. It's true that Blackout's trademark brutality delights and excites me.  But when it comes to legitimate terror, the subtle, introspective moments work more far more effectively.

The moment I enter and survey the setup, I freeze.  I can face naked actors, physical actors or repulsive elements but one of MY deepest, most personal fears IS acting.  Standing alone in a spotlight with all eyes on me and my vulnerable self awareness is NOT. OKAY. 

By the time they call my number, I have no one to look to for comfort.  Suddenly the room seems very crowded.  Where did all these people come from?  I hear the sound of a dull heartbeat and it seems to mirror my own.  I wish for whatever is behind the door to grab me, but it's making me wait, reveling in my fear.  I cannot safety before the show begins!  Oh, but this is their specialty.  Whomever designed this "stage" knew perfectly well what they were doing.
courtesy of Blackout Haunted House Facebook Page

I look sideways. I study my shoes. Only when I look up and notice a half dozen strangers waving, do I smile.  I finally relax.  Not to be outdone, the door slides open and my captor swirls me inside.  For the next thirty minutes, NYC vanishes.  This is the moment I wait for all year, where my dreams and nightmares collide.  I'm in their playground.

Captor 1 has done this before.  I follow his placid instructions and a mask is placed over my mouth and nose.  Then comes one of the highlights of the experience - the hottest frisking ever!  I figure I'm supposed to be scared.  Nah.  I am thankful there is a mask to hide my smile as I close my eyes and instinctively relax my hands from the wall.  Clearly he is not fooled as the scene takes an odd turn of intensity, before it ends all too soon.

I am taken to the next scene (more like pulled up and floated on tiptoe) where I am strapped to a table.  Tuneless, awful heavy metal music is assaulting my ears.  The track ends and the actor restarts it.  I smirk.  He places a metallic hammer on my hand and cold air flutters down the back of my neck.   The only thing I feel here is disorientation - the goggles make it hard to see and the music is distracting from the hammer about to do damage.  I guess if I didn't have such a twisted trust for the people running this, I might have been worried.   

I am waiting in a corner now, "don't fucking move."  Finally, "she's ready for you..."   I enter.  This man is naked from the neck down and stands in the corner boldly posing like Buffalo Bill a la the "would you f*ck me?" scene.  This room is brightly lit and he leaves nothing to the imagination.  I'm trying to be polite, I won't look down.  He won't start dancing until I do.  Finally he does a quick tuck and floats toward me, legs crossed, on perfect point.  With a music box in one ear, his lips right up into the other, we slow dance.  He sings in creepy, soft falsetto and stops midsong, to direct me "DANCE. SLOWER"  Sorry.  Can't imagine why I'm nervous.

His voice morphs into a deep, horrifying growl that I can hear even now. "Goodbyyyyyeeeee."  Cut scene.  And off I go.

Now I am in a room, a very dark room.  A very dark room with a naked man inside and he's… wait… where's the floor.  THIS MAN HAS LIFTED ME OFF THE FLOOR.  I'm trying so hard not to touch the actor but WE ARE TACKLING.  I'm thrown onto a bare mattress.  What kind of crack den is this?  Is that his crotch in my face?  This is rude!  And now my hand is on his bare chest and is he really?  Yeah he's really… jerking off to it.

Now I'm somewhere else and there's a staircase "GO DOWN THE STAIRS." I take off down the stairs like I've stolen something. Another voice, "SLOWER!"  I knock and the door opens into a brightly lit room littered with broken records.  A girl is wearing a hospital gown and she doesn't seem alright.  She starts yanking something out of her vagina.  Not another tampon… No this is, honey, don't you want some privac-  Oh god… no!  No no no no no no… it's a condom and wait, where are you going with that?  Stay back!  Stay back!  No luck there.  She gets very close to my face, drinks the cum inside as if it's killing her, and calls it a day.

Now there is a bag over my head.  I hear the girl hawk a loogie, my shirt is pulled forward and SPAT INTO.  It feels so realistic.  I gasp and yell an obscenity as I visualize the texture and consistency of whatever's sliding down my chest.  Suddenly my freak out moment is cut short by a kiss on the lips.  It's magic.  What spit?  He stays there for well longer than a minute, nibbles my face and asks me if I like it.  I just want to stay there with him but someone takes me away and the roller coaster twists again - fear, pleasure, now back to disgust. Another woman orders me to squat and yells "It's coming!"  Yes she is giving birth, but not to a human… how do I put this politely?  It's a bucket of shit.  And it smells no less real.  She guides my hand in and swirls it around, asks me to wash her.  Now I'm dry heaving.  It seems to be everywhere.

courtesy of Blackout Haunted House

I make my way down another hall into a scene that would turn out to be my favorite of the night.  "Hello 'K', don't worry. We are going to spend a LOT of quality time together."  I am ordered to kneel with my head on a table, hands out to the side, and told not to move until he gets back.  When the actor returns, we play a game. "Jog in place,"and I do.  "Jog faster."  He grabs my shoulders and we start to spin."FASTER!"  We are spinning for what seems like an eternity, I become dizzier and dizzier.  Finally he stops me.  The room is swirling at warp speed.  I whine a little.  It's brilliant.  "Sit in this chair. I want to see how long you can hold your breath, on the count of three… one…two three" Before I am able to take that breath, his hands clamp down and do not let up even slightly. "I never said I'd let go, K" a sinister voice teases. I suck hard against his hand but no air is getting in.  I am determined not to say safety but wonder briefly if something has gone terribly wrong.  Just when I think I might pass out I am thrown into a wall, strapped in, and (all too happily, with the little air left in my lungs) I scream.  There's the adrenaline.  Pure exhilaration!  I can't breathe, I can barely stand.

I'm in a new room.  Disorienting, bright, flashing lights are coming at me.  I would later to come to think of this as the most cinematic scene all night.  A small figure is taking photos and looking at me curiously. She lets me see that its a camera, and I am directed to kneel sideways.  I look to my right, and am confronted by a full wall of photos with a blank space in the middle (mine?).  The figure giggles maniacally as my confusion turns to fear and understanding that I'm the next victim in her collection.  She says "thank you" with a tone of reverence.  I leave in confusion at her parting words.

Lest I get too comfortable, my deer in the headlights moment is revisited as an aggressively playful actor sits me down and says he is going to ask me some questions.  Already I don't like this.  I look down and fiddle with the walkie talkie in my hands until he tells me to stop.  I'm wearing headphones and it sounds like we are both far away, as if in a game show.  "Requiem for a Dream" with Tappy Tibbons in front of me, here, right now. "Did you have a happy childhood?" "Are you close with your parents?" I giggle and play along but internally squirm and wonder if anyone tells the truth and what would happen.  Whenever Blackout requires answers from me, I freeze.  My boundaries are being pushed again.  I hate this.  I'm scared.  It's so effective.

That scene is where the plot started to turn for me.  No longer am I the victim, but an aggressor with an implicit fucked up past.  This was a place much darker and more intense that I've not yet explored with Blackout.

Finally after this, after all of this, I am handed a pair of pliers. I enter a room and a naked girl covered in blood screams and curls into a fetal position at the sight of me.  I hit my peak of vulnerability as she points to her teeth and shouts "You did this!"

In Blackout's realm, the safe word is not an option, no - my coping mechanism of choice is complete emotional shutdown, and this is the final (but not the first) time tonight I've had to rely on that. I refuse to accept the reality I'm confronted with, only later realizing - I pulled her teeth out?   But I didn't!

Did the photo girl frame me?!  I sink into guilt. Unsure which way this is going, I get into a small tugging match as she tries to pry the pliers from my hands.  Before I know what's happening I am lifted off my feet once again and physically ejected - yes THROWN - from the house.

It takes me a moment to realize where I am.  I stumble, dazed, out into the lobby, finishing in top form by crashing right through the waiting room rope.

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October 2011 marked my first taste of Blackout.  I left that year in an adrenaline-fueled high.  This time, 2012, had me in a somber, shell shocked, reflective disturbia that hit a much deeper note.  When I left that night, I was not smiling.

I was shocked by my own reaction to this -  tears, contrary to my nature.  My experiences with this extreme theater group have changed me and oddly enough helped me grow as a person, but never so intensely as this past season.

It's a cathartic process being forced through absolute not-no-but-HELL-NO moments that I never would have explored or gotten past on my own.  Blackout is now hitting genuinely ingrained fears, but I'm still surviving them.  They just tricked me into it by telling me its a horror show.

 *****************************************
 Have questions for K? Leave em here and you'll probably get a response.

Blackout Haunted House Reviews and Walkthroughs

Blackout Haunted House Invite Only, Off Season Spring Haunt Reviews and Walkthroughs
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