Published on October 25th, 2012 | by Greg0
Blackout This Halloween: NYC’s Most Disturbing Haunted House
Haunted houses have a pretty interesting history. They've been around since perhaps the turn of the century, though gained in prominence in the 1960s. And while more people believe in them than any other paranormal, spooky type of location, they come in many forms. This Halloween, our first one in New York City, we turned to professionals- and are checking out a couple of the best in the area to see what sort of scares are in store for thrill-seekers.
Manhattan offers some of the best theater in the world, and has plenty of old buildings and mysteries, so it stands to reason that we should have some of the best offerings in the country. In fact, our first suggestion is one that has opened in both NYC and Los Angeles- Blackout Haunted House, open now through November 4th, though sold out at the moment, but with a wait list and walk-up tickets available. Their slogan is "No one under 18 admitted, and you must walk through alone." The location couldn't be more convenient (for us at least)- in a storefront of sorts that's easy to walk past, in Chelsea at 115 West 27th Street.
Once inside, you'll sign a waiver, learn the rules and safe word (really), and be given a chance to stow your gear. We recommend wearing clothes that you don't mind getting a bit dirty, and maybe bringing some Purell. Also, this isn't really a haunted house in the strictest sense of the word- it's more of an interactive torture experience. It's disturbing, to be sure, but isn't scary in the "boo" sense of the term. There aren't spirits or ghosts, there won't be any "Haunted Mansion" type of skeletons or sight gags. Instead, you're treated to disgusting, even revolting, scenes- ones that you don't get to observe passively but are always involved in.
If torture and nudity and bodily fluids and being manhandled are appealing- at least, in a haunted house- then this is certainly one for you to check out. Disabled folks, emotionally sensitive individuals, epileptics, and pretty much anyone who doesn't want to have their hair grabbed by rough men should probably pass. Likewise, if you're offended by the idea of someone forcing you against the wall and strapping you down, skip Blackout. There is always that safe word though.
Did we like it? Well, that'd be sort of missing the point. It was reasonably effective at making you question your sanity, and there are a couple of great moments (you'll knock on a door, pair of pliers in hand, and it will be shocking). Parts of the design are impressive, and expect to spend about 30 minutes for the experience and maybe 20 minutes or so waiting. It's almost completely personal contact, with little technical whiz-bang gadgetry, and the folks in charge clearly take their roles seriously. As such, $50 or $60 isn't terrible, considering the fact you're going through one at a time in a truly personal experience- but we did hear some grumbling about whether it was worth it. Still, Blackout is clearly popular, successful, and an experience that we'll remember for quite awhile.