Sunday, October 28, 2012

Times Scare 2012 (Review)

courtesy of The Jaded Viewer Facebook page

As I work near Times Square, when Times Scare opened up it kinda jumped on my radar. Last year, they seemed to be rushing to get everything ready for Halloween. There were a few hiccups but the haunted house was surprisingly solid (check out my review last year). When you're open all year round, I can imagine it would be a little hard to get the same enthusiasm and excitement in say February. I'm sure tourists drop in from time to time to get their scares on but when October rolls around, it's time you step up your A game.

Times Scare is your glitzy and neon pretty themed destination in the heart of NYC for your pre Halloween party. Aside from a restaurant called The Crypt Cafe, they have 3 bars and lounges, all spacious and darkly themed. The Kill Room, The Lounge and the The Parlor of the Paranormal are aptly named and will get you liquored up before you attend a Magic show starring Dan Sperry or head over to the haunted house.

courtesy of The Jaded Viewer Facebook page
But for me, it's the haunted house that drives it all. Last year had a Halloween theme complete with Michael Myers stalking you from room to room which was uber cool. This year, they've changed it up a bit and you get a different scope. Times Scare brings back a few of the sets and rooms that gave me the heebee jeebees and their overall theme of a prison/mental institution is solidly spooky.

Grouped in with 7 others, a crazed doctor briefs us on the rules and regulations and off you go. The rooms are like Jigsaw's hidden warehouse, filled with staticky TVs and operating room tables. The actors lurk in the darkness ready to jump scare you at the most vulnerable time. Tailing behind in my group, I was able to see in high detail the props and well decorated rooms.

A well done room included a tattered nursery, complete with a crib and toys and a pajama wearing girl with long hair standing motionless invoking her inner Samara from The Ring. It's creepy and effective and though didn't scare me, scared the bejesus out of some kids I was with from out of town. The actors most effective tool however is to bang the shit out of the props. Hearing metal gates shake or pounding the metal walls seems to jump scare me more often than a hidden actor appearing out of the darkness.

Later a tour through a morgue had us maneuvering around some supposed dead patients. Guts and innards and a bloody bloodbath were worthy of a big studio budget. In another room was a tall "creature" that totally caught me off guard. This was entirely new and kinda oddly different. The end was a bit lacking, remnants of the Halloween movie theme from last year had me a bit jaded but still my group was quite pleased by the surprise at the end.

My only drawbacks is that the actors would rush you from room to room like they had some place to be. When I attended (which was a few days before Halloween), I was pretty sure no other group was behind us. If somebody has decided to go a bit early with less crowds, a nice slow walk through will always prove more effective than seeing a 3 second glimpse of a room. I mean all this work and set decoration deserves some attention and I'm in a room for only 5 seconds? Seems kind of wasteful.

courtesy of The Jaded Viewer Facebook page
My other gripe are the actors only targeted the people who to enter a room first. As we all know haunted houses work better when the front and back of a pack are targeted for the scares. As one who was a bit on the tail end, I don't think I got my fair shares of scares. As the Jaded Viewer, I take my nitpicking a little further in that some actors broke character and were beginning to "reset" a room before I was even out of it. C'mon, you got to continue to mess with me with funny quips or taunt me right up until I exit. I love when they do that and get a one liner in before I go. Also, a few of my compatriots were surprised by lack of a blockbuster ending.

With easy access and lots of foot traffic, Times Scare will gather the masses looking for a quick scare on Halloween. I've been told lines tend to get really long on weekends and especially on Halloween so be sure to get there early to take full advantage of the bars, show or haunted house. On a related note, right next door is a musical called Silence: The Musical a supposed comedy take on Silence of the Lambs. I haven't seen it yet but I hope to in the future.

Times Scare is the original year round Halloween destination and with a year under its belt, it seems they are ready for their biggest day of the year. If you want to get in the mood with horror themed events, drinks and a haunted house that assembles the best horror movies scenes, it's the place to go.

The Vitals...
  • Times Scare New York is located at 669 8th Avenue (on the corner of 42nd and 8th)
  • Tickets cost $27 and combos are available with dinner and/or a magic show
  • Check out the official site
  • Check out the Facebook page
  • Follow Times Scare on their Twitter page
  • Check out the video below!


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