Sunday, October 07, 2012

Blackout Haunted House 2012 (Review)

courtesy of Blackout Haunted House

Well a lot has happened since I posted my 2011 review of Blackout Haunted House. Blackout made the front page of Reddit and my review in turn did as well. My walk through from 2010 and 2011 was massively dissected by Redditors, message boards and readers all across the world and is now the single most viewed posts in my entire blog.

I've been posting about Blackout since 2010. I've been to two October haunts  and two Spring off season events. (2010 and 2011). I'm pretty sure some people have been to more than I have (Blackout started off as NYC Halloween Haunted House in 2009). But the fact that creators Josh Randall and Kris Thorgeirsson knew instantly who I was and that I am part of the infamous Survivor Club (brave men and women who've endured their Spring haunts) makes it seem I'm an unofficial member of the Blackout team. Suffice it to say, before noobs and first timers went through, Josh  ask the disclaimer questions. "What is the SAFETY word?" and "Do you have epilepsy?"  For me, he totally bypassed it as I already knew the drill.

via The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page
But I hold to some principles and I'm still the jaded viewer and so being a veteran gives me a unique perspective on their event. Going in, I wanted them to push the envelope so to speak and integrate a few of the interactive horror elements I've asked for in my previous reviews. What we get in 2012 is completely different from past versions. My walkthroughs which you are all reading obsessively....just throw them out the window because none of that stuff happens. Blackout has made it a point to reboot itself every year which is why the event for even myself causes me to get pterodactls in my stomach. I have no idea what's going to happen and that's why it remains addictive.

As I've said before, Blackout Haunted House is the haunted house other haunted houses are afraid of. It is a journey out the the realm of the normal, where the bizarre, the surreal, the terror all come to life right before your eyes. It is full of visual eye candy vignettes that take you out of comfort zone and place you into situations that test your endurance mentally and physically.  I tweeted out after I had gone through: Oh how do I summarize my thoughts on #blackout2012 @NYChauntedhouse I think it can be best summed up if you found a David Lynch snuff tape. It's kinda the best metaphor right after I went through.

David Lynch snuff tapes and feargasms

I know what you're saying. They aren't going to harm me, they're all actors. But let me ask you this. You signed a waiver and even through everything around you is "make believe", like in The Matrix says "You're mind makes it real". And that's when I saw 3 safeties get called at night before I went in. I'll say as a hardcore veteran, I wasn't actually scared or frightened but I did have my moments of pure WTF. A first timer might be unaccustomed to it all and SAFETY 5 minutes in. But Blackout tests you in ways you've never have been subjected to in this loose concept of a "haunted house".

via The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page
So what did 2012 offer? In a nutshell, it's a curveball of weird Lynchian visuals with a signature gut wrenching moment, in the dark torture, interrogation gone awry and naked WTF moments that will give you multiple feargasms. You'll start off signing a waiver which in the dark, is hard to read which gives you the complete rules and possible situations you will encounter. Everything in the rules WILL HAPPEN. Once that's complete you are given a number you'll need to paste on your clothing. I was number 17 and then comes the hardest endurance challenge you'll have to suffer through other than going to the DMV. Waiting to be called. The waiting area is dimly lit, full of fog and has a few chairs as people wait to be called. There is a rope that divides the room and a lone door that begins your journey. As I wait I try to implant red herrings to my fellow haunted house partner in crime this year "L" (check out her review here) As I watched her go through for the first time ever I see the door open, she's grabbed and then whisked away into the darkness.

My experience was clearly one of sheer joy and adrenaline. I won't give a walkthrough or spoilers until after both NYC and LA versions are over but it was full of unexpected challenges that even I had to get through for the first time. The event will roughly be 20-30 minutes but when you're in there you really do lose all sense of time. You will be physically challenged, minimally abused, ridiculed and made to do things that make sense and don't make sense. Some rooms will be in complete darkness others are not. You will interact with the actors and sometimes the actors will interact with you. In essence, you're completely not in control of when it's over and what you can do.

Blackout is.

What you do while you're in these visually stimulating rooms containing both male and female nudity is to watch, but don't touch and perform the actions called for. Following orders is key because you just have to let go. I did as I was told when given every command. Because remember, YOU PAID FOR THIS. Why challenge the way it was designed?

via The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page
Blackout will stimulate 4 of the 5 senses during your experience. There are very uncomfortable moments of touching something icky, horrifying sounds echoing throughout the experience, smells of grime and filth and the sights of the bizarre. This is what makes Blackout unique in they make you experience each of these senses in a warped bizarro horror world. Some rooms have a soundtrack to them that play magnificently on what you're seeing.

There are moments of pure physical distress that will have you gasping for air while feeling all mortified by what's happening to you physically. It's probably where most SAFETIES occur I can imagine. There is also a claustrophobia moment that had me going WTF. I don't have that phobia so I was clearly getting itchy to have me some alone time with the Blackout crew. There are a few more twists and turns that are completely new and innovative this year and when I encountered them for the first time, I had a big grin on my face. I was like, Holy Shit! this is completely different.

The actors all give solid performances (from the one's that I saw and some from I only heard from). Being an actor in Blackout must be physically and mentally exhausting and to do this for hours straight is a testament to these men and women. I've wondered how difficult it is to be an actress at Blackout. What's their preparation like? They have no idea what type of person they'll be performing to one on one. I mean it's just you and her. I would love to interview one of these stellar actresses one day. Even your torturers must have fascinating stories to tell. The crew does a good job in moving you from "room" to "room" and it's paced in a way where you get a sense of lull for few minutes, torturous action over a few frenetic minutes then a breather. It ends with a very suspenseful moment that would make even Eli Roth proud.

Will the real survivors please stand up?

I will say that even through you're playing victim in this interactive horror movie you are partly a prop being moved along from place to place. I would have liked to partly push some of the action along that made my scene with the actors be more personal. However I will say my name was being tossed around so clearly they knew who I was and made me the star of my little "short" which was cool.  If I was allowed to go about and perform some limited easy task where it triggered a unique "cut scene" that would have been cool. These were elements from last year had that and I hoped for more this year. As I mentioned before, I seemed to be boxed in for a period of time that had me scratching my head. Who knows what I missed as I heard other people be tortured?

via The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page
Josh and Kris have said each Survivor passage is different for each person. No two people may actually experience the same journey but they will experience all the main meat and potatoes of the event. Does the order switch up? You'd have to probably go through twice but what sicko would want to do that? (The Jaded Viewer raises his hand)

Blackout Haunted House is the baddest haunted house in the country. You walk through it alone and will  feel what you've only watched in these torture-core horror movies. You can read my reviews and walkthroughs all you like, ask me questions on the experience but there is no exhilarating rush like going to a Blackout event. It's spawned a group of 20 strong members of hardcore fanboys and fangirls called the Survivors Club, became legendary over night due to Reddit and now will probably start scaring some brave celebrities and LA trendsetters this year. What use to be a haunted house only talked about in whispers, on a few message boards and in cult blogs like this one is no longer an underground secret.

Blackout Haunted House is now a phenomenon, a viral challenge for Halloween goers looking for a hardcore thrill. It's opened up a debate of can be done to you if you sign up for it. It's making believers out of everybody as survivors begin to emerge telling noobs of their tale about this haunted house in NYC. The one with all the touching and nudity.

But it hasn't lost it's edge. Blackout continues to remove you out of your normal world, scars you with  imagery you will have dreams and nightmares about for days to come and if you survive it, welcomes you in becoming part of the scariest and challenging horror events you will ever go through. Because of Blackout, I will never see a haunted house the same way again.

You won't either.

The Vitals
  • The official site
  • Like Blackout Haunted House on Facebook
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Blackout Haunted House (NYC) is now open and runs until November 4th. It is located at:
    115 West 27th Street (between 6th & 7th) New York, NY 10001
  • Blackout Haunted House (LA) will run from October 20th-November 4th. It's located at:207 S. Broadway, 2nd Floor
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
  • Tickets are $45 and will get more expensive closer to Halloween. They usually get sold out quickly. You can purchase tickets on the official site.
  • For more photos of Blackout Haunted House, check out the jaded viewer Facebook page.
  • Special Thanks to the Blackout team for making me welcome and for an awesome time!
Check out the trailer.

Check out all my walkthroughs and reviews of Blackout Haunted House including the invite only off season Spring haunt!

Halloween/October Haunt Reviews and Walkthroughs
Invite Only, Off Season Spring Haunt Reviews and Walkthroughs
If you have any questions or comments let me know. I was thinking of doing a Reddit AMA after their run ends  in addition to my standard walk through.If you think that's a good idea, let me know.

You can go also leave any comments/questions on The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page or on Twitter.

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  1. You summed up this year's Blackout so well! As the newbie you mention, I admit I was totally freaked out and beyond nervous while waiting to go in. I'm so glad I did! I feel like I am a survivor-- this is like a horror version if bungee jumping and tests how comfortable you are with yourself. Count me in for next year :)

  2. This haunted house is sooooo scary, I've managed to get in and wanted to get out as soon as I was in haha.. But it was a great scary experience