Thursday, October 24, 2019

Blackout 10 (Haunted House Review)

My last Blackout review ever.

The original and first extreme haunted house experience: Blackout is counting down on their final shows of  their large scale Halloween haunt here in NYC. So this is probably the last time I write about it.

Blackout is like an old friend who wants to reminisce about the old glory days, nostalgia the fuck out of doing wild and crazy shit and immersing yourself in being the protagonist of your own horror movie. It's the originator of WTF, sexual depravity and waiver hesitation. There is nothing like going to a random street in NYC, seeing that door with 3 dots and saying, "Oh shit." Seeing the faces of frightened newbies and relaxed past survivors is mesmerizing. A Blackout experience is a story waiting to be told to friends and having them go "You fuckin did what?"

And so I went again. To get my Blackout on.

And this last run of The Blackout Experience is full of the crazy, the depraved, the WTF and the horror nostalgia of its last 10 years. As a veteran, I classified it as a hits parade of the best it has to offer. For the uninitiated, it can offer an alternative to the traditional HH and give you a merit badge of surviving an "extreme haunted house. It's for these reasons, anybody who is up to the challenge should experience it. 

This years version had all the classics of intense touching, crawling and suffocation. It had scenes from years past resulting in ridiculous interactions with full frontal nudity acting and play acting as a serial killer victim. There was also new scenes of insane which was refreshing. You'll laugh as your jerked around from room to room, you'll have to walk through a landmine of icky and be yelled at to follow instructions to a tee.

The ending will stimulate and then you'll get your party on.

It's always a challenge of what will work and what won't. My perspective on Blackout 10 is that I am clearly jaded and having been through the mass Halloween version and off season haunts so nothing phases me anymore. But I still get thrills and chills every time I go. In retrospect, I now began to appreciate the sheer assembly line dedication of the Blackout team, the actors and everybody who gets this up and running every night they perform.  Each scene/room has Blackout dialing up things to a 10 be it with simulated torture, then dials it back to an interactive format that makes you go WTF, then revs it up again to get all confused.

Blackout is choreographed engineered chaos and horror that will 100% leave its experience like a splinter in your brain.

When I went in 2010, I was a full on horror blogging and haunted house enthusiast. I wanted to challenge myself to to see the most fucked up horror movies and go to fucked up haunted houses.
My memories of going to my first Blackout  were full of dread and happiness when I finished.  To say

I did it was an accomplishment. I survived.

I survived...

the haunted house with a safe word....
the one where you had to sign the waiver...
the one with simulated torture....
the one with sexual imagery....
the one with immersive horror scenes....

That is the legend of horror house lore that is Blackout.

From one of my other reviews, this still holds true.

Blackout Haunted House is the haunted house other haunted houses are afraid of. 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

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

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Bane Haunted House (Haunted House Review)

There is a a new top dog in NYC for the traditional haunted house. And its name is Bane Haunted House.

In the far west side of Manhattan sits Bane Haunted House and after moving here from Jersey they are now scaring New Yorkers with a dizzying amount of jolly jump scares from some enthusiastic actors and a haunted house maze that was perfectly confusing and so much fun. In the roughly 30 minute or so walkthrough, you'll go through some nicely crafted rooms with actors who are just fuckin ninjas in their stealthiness. It all adds up to a good romp of scary for newbies and a satisfying experience for the hardcore.

So what makes Bane the top dog?

Right before you go in, the personnel gives you some playful banter and when I went, 2 people called MERCY (their safe word which enables patrons to exit after they chicken out). The ticket taker whoops it up and calls out their cowardliness.

They seemingly have a ton of actors in every crevice, window and around every corner. I stood toe to toe with a wedding dressed clothed figure trying to see if she was a mannequin or actor. You can guess which one.

Actors dedicated to their craft, who mock you with glee, who stay in character and tell you your delving into hell and who lie to you about what is going to happen next. You'll get single, double and triple actors getting you scared. When I could talk to the actors, I played along and asked my quirky questions, offered my help and they responded. Fuck, these actors gave it their all and its greatly appreciated.

The room placements are are a solid maze with some rooms with well positioned jump scaring actors and others creatively confusing on where you need to go next. It's this "everything looks the same, where is the fuckin exit?" maze that's damn well done.

You'll get hit with some creative set pieces and even a "little girl" you really don't want to play with. The little nuances of crawling and spinning were nice touches. The ending had me fist pumping as well.

Hopefully Bane is here to stay in the city. It's a top notch haunted house that clearly wants to scare the shit out of you. The actors immersively play along with you, sneak on you with well timed scares and will touch you so you soak in the creepiness. Each room builds to another more terrifying room and it concludes with a definite 360 finale that was super duper fun.

It's a great addition the NYC haunted house scene that won't disappoint. Bane.....

You're the man now the dog.

The Vitals

Monday, October 14, 2019

Nightmare: I Can't See (Haunted House Review)

In the shadow of 1 World Trade Center is the doorway above for Nightmare NYC's I Can't See, Tim Haskell and Psycho Clan's latest Halloween immersive theater horror experience. I've attended every variation of Nightmare since 2009 when they unleashed Vampires, Superstitions, Fairy Tales, The Experiment, Killers and This is Real.

What I've always loved about every incarnation are the themes and dedication to making sure everybody who goes are immersed into a rabbit hole the Nightmare team creates and if you fully engulf yourself and play along you'll leave with a giant grin on your face.

I Can't See left that grin again.

I Can't See is an amusement park of sensory load management that challenges you to play along using your imagination all the while the Optics team makes the story seem too real. It's a clever play a long that hits you right away. The moment you walk in, I Can't See greets you with loving Optics research team and they play their part. You're briefed and then blindfolded twice while given headphones to listen to a fun story if teens doing teen stuff.

You enter with friends but it's a solo experience through and through. Listen to the prompts, follow the instructions and have your senses challenged. Touch and feel a variety of random story cues will make you jump, taste the developing scenes, smell them as well and hear the craziness.

Your sight is useless here and I imagined quite a scenario based on hearing character voices and descriptions. The story is a bit cliched but it has its moments. The ending has a good twist if you remember what you've been told.

I Can't See depends on you buying into the fact you'll need to channel your 5 year old self and imagine the story playing out while Nightmare provides you the extrasensory overload to get your chills on. You're not going to have actors jump out to scare you or see elaborate sets. So know going in, this is a theater for your imagination and you'll enjoy it.  It's like immersive podcast that challenges you just enough to get your other senses tingling, all the while avoiding "death" which may or may not come...depending on your wits.

I definitely couldn't see but I could hear my heart

The Vitals

Monday, March 18, 2019

Triple Threat (Review)

Triple Threat 

Directed by Jesse V Johnson

At one point on this site I was going to replace the Van Damme spin kicks rating system with Tony Jaa elbows to the head. I was digging Ong Bak and all the Jaa muy thai action paloozas he was making. I figured the system should evolve.

Then The Raid: Redemption came out and Iko Uwais was bashing heads and taking on one million thugs to 1 and that would mean an update to the rating logo. I'm keeping it JVCD spin kicks for now because he's fighting MS-13.

Triple Threat has been described as The Expendables of martial action stars. The roster is insane. Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Tiger Chen, Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White and JeeJa Yanin.

Could the hype live up to the movie?

You betcha.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

A hit contract is taken out on a billionaires daughter intent on bringing down a major crime syndicate. A down and out team of mercenaries must take on a group of professional assassins and stop them before they kill their target.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

Triple Threat is the action equivalent of the Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets. A flick with serious star power that's going to racked up a mountain of action points on a massive scale. Just like seeing a Steph Curry vs James Harden match up, the movie delivers you 1 on 1 and 1 on 2 match ups of the world's biggest martial arts action stars fighting against each other.

Do you wanna see Chen vs Iko? How about Adkins vs Jaa? MJW vs Iko? Iko vs Yanin? You're going to see these and more. The dream match ups are made and they deliver. It's a ballet of choreographed punches and kicks, suped up chase scenes and the carnage of the best vs the best. You almost have to feel sorry for the redshirts and low level henchmen and security who tried to stop all of them.

There are some catch our breath parts that break up the action craziness. Chen, Jaa and Celina Jade, the daughter with the contract on her head have some light hearted moments. On the other side, MJW, Adkins and Iko play mercenary antagonists with a twist. These scenes are mostly filler as you wait for the final showdowns.

The most underrated star in the mix is Adkins. He's been in a shitload of action movies and we all know who he is but somehow he still gets over looked even in a sick ensemble like this one. He holds in own as be battles Jaa, Chen and Uwais. Adkins plays an evil mercenary to a tee and elevates the other all stars during their 1 on 1s. It's why Triple Threat reaches critical awesomeness.

As much as the flick delivers its triple threat, a part of me really wanted to see one of the 3 good guys be on the opposite end. What would a Jaa vs Uwais extended action scene look like? You get a glimpse of that in an earlier scene but the WWE definition of a triple threat match is 3 guys fighting each other. Oh what could have been.

My only other gripe is all the random gun violence that seemed uneccessary. You have the top action stars on the fuckin planet and they are shooting at each other with AR-15s. Why would you not take advantage of this?

WTF moment

JeeJa's demise

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

Triple Threat delivers all the elbows to the head, upside down spin kicks and martial arts goodness you want. Instead of Jaa or Uwais battling easily dispatched henchmen, seeing the biggest action stars of today battle each other is a sight to behold.

You'll get your Triple Threat team up and honestly they were never in trouble. They won in a clean sweep.


3 Spinkicks