Blackout LA Off-Season Tickets Now On Sale + 21: chapter two

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Coming off its successful run at the Sundance Film Festival, Blackout is now holding an off-season event in Los Angeles.  Tickets go on sale March 4 but act fast as they will sellout.

the “twenty one” story has officially begun.
chapters 1 and 2 now available online
click here
(‘twenty one’ is available to anyone within the continental united states)

BLACKOUT wants to thank everyone who came out to support
THE BLACKOUT EXPERIMENTS at the Sundance Film Festival
VARIETY review
THE VERGE review
BLOODY DISGUSTING review

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ALONE inc. Tickets On Sale Now

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Two Nights Only

Monday February 29th & Tuesday March 1st

When you aren’t with us we stand in the dark,
very still, radiating color, bodies ahum.

When you are with us,
your body will move and be moved.

A L O N E i n c . A C H E L A N D is the first in a series of experiences in 2016 that delve into the psychology of self v. system, personhood v. corporation and comfort v. threat. This will be an hour long experience that you must go through alone.

BOOK NOW

Heretic Horror House and Mr Lonely Bring the Pain

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Before I attended the last Heretic show called Iso Dread I was told to go onto Craigslist and look for a Mr. Lonely under missing connections.  I found the ad which featured a faded image of a person you couldn’t make out.  It was listed under T4T.  You were supposed to respond to him with your phone number and tell him that “you have the key”.  The description of Mr. Lonely was that he was someone who couldn’t leave his house because he had two broken legs.

A few weeks went by and the night before the Heretic show I received a call in the middle of the night with someone at the other end saying, “You responded to my personal ad”.  He asked me if I was alone and that “they” were watching.  I was told to slowly take off all my clothes.  The voice on the other end said that if I didn’t believe him they would come and knock on my door.  The caller then hung up and I received a second phone call about a half hour later.  This time it was what sounded like a male voice whispering.  Every time I asked him to speak up I heard a woman in the background say to me, “I can’t hear you Jennifer”.  The male voice said something to me which sounded like, “If you go you’re going to die tomorrow”.  He also said something that sounded like, “there’s a ghost in your room, if you don’t believe me look under your bed”.  Then he hung up.

I received an email a short while later which gave me the address of where I was supposed to go.  The email said “Your end is near” and “Welcome death”.  It also said that where I was supposed to show up was very far from the actual location.  I had received prior emails that had told me to write Heretic in ink on my hand so that I’d be recognized when I showed up.  It also told me not to bring anything valuable and to bring a waterproof bag to put my keys in and duck tape to tape my pocket.  An earlier email had asked me if I knew how to swim.  I was told to meet a man on the street with a broken arm and help him move boxes.

I didn’t know what to expect when it was time for me to show up.  There were many rumors about this particular show and even some friends I know who always go to these types of events said they weren’t going to do it because they felt it was going to be unsafe and too hardcore.  I learned a valuable lesson and that is not to tell people that I’m going to do something like this beforehand.  One of the emails I had received told me not to tell anyone where I was going or where I was when I showed up.  I also had to sign a waiver that said that anything could happen including death.  So basically I could be killed and Heretic would be covered.  My friends and family told me that these are very sick, dangerous  people and masochists and that I should stay away.  All of the negativity and warnings I let get to my head and did not come mentally prepared for this type of experience.  When you do a horror show like this it’s imperative that you come mentally prepared with no fear and a positive attitude.  I had psyched myself out before it had even started.

When I arrived at the location I was actually met by a friend.  He told me to give him my glasses and I was concerned because I told him I had heard the actual location was very far away and I didn’t know if he would be there to give my glasses back at the end.  He told me not to worry and led me to the back of an unassuming house.  We went through one door that had a long hallway where it was hard to see because there was a light at the end and what appeared to be fog.  I thought we were just stopping here to turn in my waiver.  I was told to walk to the end of the hallway and halfway down I was violently grabbed by a huge man dressed in black who seemed to have bandages covering his face.  He took me to the side of a dark room and pushed me under what appeared to be a plastic tarp.  He started choking me and covering my mouth and nose at the same time so that I couldn’t breathe.  Then someone came to the side of us and shot me with what seemed and felt like a staple gun.  I didn’t know how extreme this was going to get and the negative comments from the people I had talked to before hand were running through my head.  After a few moments of being in pain and thinking I had staples all over my side I said the safety word “Nebraska”.  Everyone immediately broke kayfabe (that’s a wrestling term for staying in character) and Adrian appeared out of nowhere.  They checked on me and made sure I wasn’t hurt too bad or bleeding too much.  Even the person doing the choking asked me if I was okay.

After a moment Adrian asked me if I was okay to continue and I told him I was.  It was amazing how quick everyone was able to get back into character.  My hands were then bound and I was blindfolded.  I was then lifted up and was led around into what seemed to be another room.  I don’t know why I did it but I said the safety word again.  My biggest fear was that they were going to put something gross into my mouth.  That’s the one thing I can’t handle with these types of haunts.  I was afraid at the moment, but I felt vulnerable and didn’t know what to expect next.  I was brought into a lit side room where Adrian asked me once again if I wanted to continue, but the CEO of Heretic said no.  I was very disappointed.  They said it was only going to get much, much worse.  The rest of the experience had you being stuffed into smaller and smaller boxes until you experienced extreme claustrophobia and I assume came face-to=face with Mr. Lonely.

I think I would have had no problem completing this if I hadn’t been psyched out before hand and if I wasn’t worried about having something put into my mouth.  Like I said in my last Heretic review I didn’t know what to expect going in including possible death.   But, I saw from this experience how professional and caring the actors are as is Adrian.  One of the tormentors even offered me his last cigarette outside.  I don’t want to break kayfabe for Heretic, but these are some of the nicest people I’ve met inside or outside the extreme horror industry.  I don’t believe they’re sick like outsiders say, but rather brilliant and creative, many of them even having IMDB credits.  If they are sick it’s in a good way.

 

 

Interview With Lights Out (A New Extreme Haunt Coming to Los Angeles in 2016)

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Not much is known about Lights Out.  In fact, they’re not even starting their Kickstarter campaign until next February.  What we do know is that it will be an extreme haunt where you’ll encounter unsettling situations and be asked to complete tasks. We recently sat down with founder Edward De Leon to conduct an exclusive interview.
1. Can you tell us a little about Lights Out?
LightsOUT is a Los Angeles based haunt which will take guests into an extra sensory universe, leaving the real world in the light and immersing guests into total darkness. With each second ticking away will you be able to escape before… Times out?   Due to the nature of the event, guests will be asked to sign a waiver
2. Who are the creators behind Lights Out?
Founders and creators of LightsOUT are Edward and Jonathan
3. Do they have experience in the haunt industry?
Both have experience within the haunt community. Edward has been apart of The Haunted Diary and 17th door as a scare actor. Jonathan has previously been part of being a story developer for a home haunt in Corona.Throughout 7 years, what once began as a simple walk through haunted house, turned into a full on neighborhood event as well as winning awards through FearNet and recognition from the Travel Channel. Both also enjoy visiting the many haunts SoCal has to offer
4. What was the inspiration for the haunt?
Inspiration came from an idea of doing a one room haunt. Through story development, LightsOUT was created
5. Was the haunt inspired by any horror movies?  If so which ones?
Not particularly but inspiration can come from anywhere. Often we see effects done in movies and it gives us ideas to bring those effects to life within our haunt
6. Is Lights Out already funded are can we expect a Kickstarter or other social funding?
We are currently creating LightsOUT completely from scratch. We are expecting to begin Kickstarting in Early February
7. Is there already a location secured?
Location is still being decided on but rest assured it will be in Los Angeles. The city itself will be apart of the story
8.  What type of haunt would this be classified as?  Extreme, interactive, etc.
LightsOUT will be extreme, interactive, and theatrical. With these combined, we will be creating a whole new genre of haunt experience
9. Without giving away any spoilers, what types of things can we expect to find at the haunt?
With many high tech effects, we believe of taking the traditional concept of a haunt and creating it into the first of its kind. Also, no two experiences will be alike
10.  Is this going to be a one year thing or do you have long term plans?
10. We have many ideas already in the development with each year being a different theme. No matter what, guests will not know what to expect with the lights out.

2015 Golden State Haunts and Events Annual Halloween Attractions Awards

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This year was a great season for everything Halloween from independent haunted houses to theme parks and live theater.  A lot of thought went into choosing winners and we wanted to recognize those that stood out the most for us.  We want to note that doesn’t mean that the ones not listed weren’t great.  There were a lot of new attractions this year and it seemed to us that the returning haunts and theme parks really amped things up this year.  We want to note that our winner for best experience may seem a little biased, but we’re going off feedback from everyone’s experience and the location living up to its reputation.  We’d also like to note that unfortunately due to other commitments this was the first year we weren’t able to attend any home haunts so those have been omitted from consideration.  So without further ado, here are our winners for 2015.

Best Halloween or Halloween Themed Experience
(Tie)
Investigation Yost Theater and Ritz Hotel

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Valley Investigators of the Paranormal along with Golden State Haunts and Events hosted a paranormal investigation at The Yost Theater and the Ritz Hotel.  Before this investigation the only groups to ever investigation both locations were VIP and Ghost Adventures.  Joining this exclusive investigation were members of Paranormal West and PARA.  Both locations lived up to its reputation.  In the Ritz Hotel an investigator’s scarf was pulled and another investigator’s shirt was tugged.  There were unusual malfunctions in one of the rooms were a night vision camera was being used and visible orbs were seen flying through the air.  There were also EVPs captured and intelligent responses on multiple spirit boxes.  In The Yost Theater an investigator was scratched in the basement and the same investigation also had his private area messaged by an unseen force in the balcony.  There were EVPs captured throughout the theater and conversations had with the spirit box, most notably in the balcony where one specific Asian lady kept coming through.  The Hack Shack even said, “Fuck You” in the green room.

Underground Empire Wrestling Presents “Hellbound”

UEW held a special Halloween event where every match was hardcore and saw the crowning of Sean Black as new UEW Heavyweight Champion.  There was also a Pumpkin Patch Death Match where Sage Sin’s mystery opponent turned out to be none other than The Vicious Nomad Homeless Jimmy.  But, the highlight of the night was the Satanic Sanitarium Cage Match which pitted The Resistance (BC Killer, Michael Krueger and The Insaniac) against “Vandal” Andre Verdun, JD Horror and “Halfbreed” Billy Gram in a steel cage match that was filled with weapons.  There was so much bled shed in this match this one of the participants actually passed out after posing for pictures after the match.  If that wasn’t enough there was an all-night movie festival that went into the wee hours of the morning including the premier of “Ash vs. Evil Dead”.  Also shown were “Trick ‘r Treat” and Darren Bousman’s “Tales of Halloween”.

Best New Haunt
CreepLA

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This was a hard one as there were so many great new haunts that popped up this year.  The one that stuck out the most for us though was CreepLA.  This is one of those haunts where you can actually feel the energy as it’s located in a 110-yr old abandoned warehouse that’s really haunted.  That alone isn’t enough to garner a win, but it definitely adds to the atmosphere.  What we enjoyed most was that in an interview we were told that one of the inspirations for the haunt was one of our favorite movies “Session 9”.  They were able to pull of the creepy feel of the movie with a great scene featuring Bloody Mary and one featuring Slender Man.  The Slender Man scene where you hide in a box was truly frightening.  While you’re in the claustrophobic box Slender Man appears in the dimly lit room and you can see him lurching in the near distance through port holes in the box.  He comes closer and you can hear horrific scratching on top of the box and see him trying to look through the port holes looking for his prey.  This scene actually makes you feel like you’re being hunted.  There were other parts of the haunt that enabled CreepLA to pull off the theme of “creeps”.

Most Innovative Scene in a Haunt
The 17th Door

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This actually goes to another new haunt and there’s actually THREE scenes that really stood out.  The first one is the “buried alive” room where while sitting plastic balls fill the entire room until you get the feeling like you’re actually drowning.  It is amazing how they were able to pull this trick off.  Another scene is the meat locker scene where the temperature suddenly drops into the mid 30’s.  In the room are actual pig carcasses hanging from the ceiling.  The final scene is the autopsy scene where you see a dead Paula (the protagonist of the story).  The room actually smells like death and is filled with live cockroaches (some that actually wind up smashed in an unlucky persons hand or even back).  They actually cut down on this room as the first time we went through there were literally so many of them you couldn’t walk without smashing them and there was also mild nudity.

Most Extreme Haunt (That Isn’t McKamey Manor or The Victim Experience)
Heretic Horror House Hex

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This was an easy winner.  Like we said in our review, it became so real so fast that for a moment we actually didn’t know if we were going to be involved with an occult ritual or possibly even injured or killed.  This haunt involved a bloody bed you lay in where real murders occurred.  People who went through Hex were subjected to full-nudity, being scratched, being slapped, being choked and even being puked on.  After we went through we had bruises on our face and our clothes had been torn to shreds and ruined.

Best use of a Location (Other than Dark Harbor)
Alone Index of Absorption

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Alone always puts on incredible haunt experiences.  Their locations are used to perfection and always seem to be haunted.  Index of Absorption was no different taking place at the old UCLA Film Archives in Hollywood.  This haunt played a video in the old theater, had you walking around the whole building and even had you crawl under it.  The theme was corporate and there was even a hallway with doors marked like different offices and work spaces such as “Film Lab”.  There was also a puzzle you had to solve which led you to a bookstore where you picked up a business card which had a code on it to open an extra room.

Best New Maze at a Theme Park
Paranormal Inc: Case #1 The Haunting of Hayden Hill (Knott’s Scary Farm)

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This maze was right up or alley with the theme being that you’re with a reality film crew filming at a haunted asylum.  This maze had the best opening of any maze we’ve ever seen with high-tech special effects including a ghost that flies right over your head.  This was a fun maze that made you feel like you were at a haunted and abandoned asylum and not only had scare elements, but comedic as well.  The story line was cohesive and the acting was right on point.

Best Maze Set Dressing
Crimson Peak (Universal Halloween Horror Nights)

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This was a beautiful maze that puts you right into the hit movie.  As you you go through you actually feel like you’re in the remote gothic mansion in the English hills.  It’s amazing how they were able to put every aspect of the film into a single maze.  They even had the bathtub scene.  We liked it so much that we ventured through Allerdale Hall twice.

Best Costumes in a Theme Park
Queen Mary Dark Harbor

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Dark Harbor had everything from ghosts and ghouls to voodoo priestesses and evil clowns.  Each maze had a unique theme with a central character.  The Ringmaster costume is always impressive and the character has been a big hit since its debut.  The simplicity of the Scary Mary costume (paranormal investigators know her as Jackie) was creepy and gave her a real ghostly look.  The Captain looked like what we would expect the spirit of a ship captain to look like and Graceful Gale was elegant and classy.

Best Halloween Theater
Wicked Lit

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Taking place at Mountain View Mausoleum and Cemetery, Wicked Lit is Broadway quality theater that takes place in a really cool location.  The acting, set design and special effects are all amazing.  We were especially impressed with The Fall of the House of Usher which took place in the mausoleum.  The acting was superb and what was done with the set dressing and lighting left us in awe.  The way the event was organized with three different groups seeing three different plays at the same time and all meeting at a central point where there was theater in the round was well orchestrated.

Best Haunted Theme Park
Dark Harbor Queen Mary

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Everyone we talked to who attended Dark Harbor thought the same thing, that it was amazing.  There was only one new maze, Lullaby, but all the returning mazes were pretty much completely redone.  Lullaby actually startled us at some points and the character of Scary Mary (who was played by different actors) really enjoyed playing the part and had fun with us playing hide-and-seek and saying things such as, “are you my new friend”?  Soulmate had more gore and was scarier than last year featuring an all new ending.  Circus had a new feel as it felt more like a funhouse and there was one really neat scene where you crawl through plastic balls (like at Chuck E Cheese) with a clown waiting at the end.  The other two mazes, Deadrise and Voodoo also were redone and seemed to be more intense than previous years.  There was also nonstop entertainment, an all new Anubis Paintball and a bar with a stage where you could see side show acts and even The Ringmaster.

Demons Lurk Behind the 17th Door

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The 17th Door is a brand new haunt in Tustin, California just south of Disneyland created by first time haunters Robbie and Heather Luther.  They had the idea for a haunt for over a decade but finally decided to make it happen one night while on a date at a sushi restaurant.  Word spread about The 17th Door through social media and haunt websites.

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Robbie has his hands in many things including construction, which came in useful as he oversaw the design of the 17th Door while wife Heather has a business background and handles that aspect of the haunt.  Many of the sets were built at a warehouse in Santa Ana where Robbie has spent up to 120 hours a week working on it since April.  Originally he wanted a much more extreme, controversial attraction but had concerns about it being accepted in the community.

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The 17th Door is extreme, but not as hardcore as some haunt such as McKamey Manor or Blackout.  Still, you need to sign a waiver and the monsters can touch you.  If you can’t handle it then you can scream “Mercy” to get out.  It’s good to know that each door you progress through becomes more scary than the last.

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The premise is that you’re following the story of Paula who is transitioning from high school to pre-med at Gluttire University.  The haunt explores Paula’s demons such as eating disorders, bullying, drunk driving and suicide.  Sometimes you’ll experience things through the mind of Paula while other times she’ll be in the room with you.

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The haunt starts in the classroom where a strict looking teacher explains the rules and has you hand in a waiver.  There are 17 rooms, each lasting about a minute.  To go through the whole haunt takes about thirty minutes.  When the light above each door is red you stop, when it’s green you enter the next room.  In between the rooms are transitions, some of them having a 20-second video delay where you can see what happened to you and others in the room before.  The transitions also help with crowd control and are effective for some up-close and personal scares with the monsters.  Throughout the maze you’ll encounter demonic pigs which represent Paula’s inner demons.

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We saw things in the 17th Door that we’ve never seen anywhere before.  It has to rank up there with one of if not the most innovative haunts we’ve ever been through.  The sets are movie set quality and rival anything from Universal Halloween Horror Nights.  There’s around fifty actors throughout the 15,000 square feet and each of them has a part to play.  There not just there to scare you, but to progress the story.

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The 17th Door is interactive and you might get wet from a toilet shooting water, a game of Russian Roulette or one of the pig demons actually licking you.  There is one part where each person goes through a dark passage which has a shocking ending.  If you’re lucky (or unlucky) you might actually have to eat something or come in contact with roaches.

One of the scenes that really impressed us was the meat locker room which was actually thirty degrees and had pig carcasses hanging from the ceiling.  There’s also a tightly constricted room called “Buried Alive” which is a brand new concept we’ve never seen anywhere else that actually had us feel like we were drowning.  The hospital morgue scene contains mild nudity, a rank smell and a room full or roaches.

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There were other rooms that we really liked such as the drunk driving scene and the scene where you actually enter Paula’s head after she experiences a drug overdose.  This might be the most controversial scene for religious zealots as you see something not so Christ like hanging from a cross.  But the most screams we heard came from a scene called “Solitary Confinement” which is much longer than any of the other scenes.  We’ll let you try to figure out what happens in this scene.

Overall, we were very impress with The 17th Door and definitely suggest you add it to your Halloween itinerary.  In our opinion, this first year haunt should already be considered a destination attraction.  When we were there for media night the line was snaking out the door as soon as they opened at 7pm.  We think The 17th Door will be successful for years to come and can’t wait to see what they do next year.  We’re actually going back on October 11th with Theme Park Adventure.