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


  1. I'm sorry but this was lame! Why in the world would you build up all these quotes over the past few days and then promise a review just to say that you're not going to spoil anything? What was the point of reviewing this thing at all besides to build hype for the blackout people? These off season things they put on always change from one to the next so what's the difference in spoiling what will no doubt change next time anyway it just makes zero sense? Maybe the next one you can build weeks of no doubt paid for quotes to crowd source for the new Chicago location later in the year because it seems like what your supposed "reviews" do best.

    "I don't know what you want to call me at this point. A Blackout hardcore enthusiast?"

    Nope i'd say you're more a blackout hardcore HYPER!

  2. ^ Unwarranted comment. Blackout requested no spoilers, as they'll likely re-run this production somewhere. You can't fault Jaded Viewer for that.

    And everything JV writes is spot on (although, the first 10 minutes for me was very, VERY scary; it plots your own mind/thoughts against you to produce a HUGE(!!!) dread - unbelievably effective!). Having survived the off-season NYC Blackout experience (my first), I walked away completely aware of the fact that NO haunted house/walkthrough had ever given me such a wicked roller coaster of fear, shock and awe. And the ending was without rival, and actually rewards survivors with definitive bragging rights, by default (in regard to what the scenario you end up in...again, beyond brilliant!).

  3. ^ Unwarranted reaction. If a professional "reviewer" gets requested to review something then do just that REVIEW IT don't HYPE it because at this point it doesn't need the hype as it sells out in a few minutes anyway.

  4. I agree with both points here ^.
    I'm pretty pissed to say the least. For the last couple weeks, the jaded viewer has hyped up and built up this excitement of a walkthrough/review. We've read little snippets of reviews from other survivors, awaiting the true walkthrough in the end. Yes, Blackout asked for no spoilers on February 3rd...but the jaded viewer built us up to believe we would get a walkthrough that might possibly have been granted by Blackout.
    Definitely disappointing. But I at least appreciated this somewhat review we've received.

  5. People complain far too much. Be grateful for what we get - and hope for more as and when is felt appropriate.

  6. I'm mainly disappointed because, as fate would have it, this run happened to occur on the EXACT DAYS that I was on holiday in Ireland. I was so pissed that I didn't get to go (loved all the other ones I went to). I was hoping to experience it vicariously though this blog, so I'm a little peeved that all of a sudden JV decided no to give his now-famous walkthrough.

    C'est la vie, I guess. Wonder if there's anywhere else i can read about it.

  7. I've been to one of these. I wish they didn't make you pull your dick out and get naked and tell them your fantasies and stuff. It doesn't scare me, it's just annoying. I feel like they could pull off the best haunted house out there, but I won't go again due to all the humiliation stuff. I can go to a dominatrix or other S&M stuff if I want to be humiliated. It's a haunted house, just be scary.

  8. This is a great review. JV just left out the details as requested, in respect of the show and to other fans who have yet to attend. The element of suspense is why they are so loved and affecting. Why ruin it?

    If you want details, buy a ticket people. Airfare's cheap these days. I can tell you from experience that reading a walk through is nothing compared to going through it yourself.

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