A while back, I took part in The Tension Experience, an interactive "haunt" style experience that promised no two journeys would be the same. I was separated from my friend more than once and led through an entirely different part of the "maze" than she saw, and on occasion I'd be paired up with other people who weren't around when we had our little orientation, making me wonder if I could trust them or not. It was a unique and occasionally unsettling evening, and while I sadly missed out on last year's Lust Experience, I'll be sure to check out the team's new installment: Theatre Macabre, which will run throughout October here in Los Angeles.
Once again from the team of Darren Bousman, Clint Sears, and Gordon Bijelonic, Theatre Macabre takes inspiration from Paris' famed Grand Guignol and promises "hilarious, shocking and electrifying vignettes at every turn", while also warning you that the folks behind these scenarios may not have your best interests in mind. From the sounds of it, getting separated from your friends is very likely going to be a part of it again, as will the chance of being part of the show (something I avoided, for everyone's benefit - I can't act worth a shit and would probably just start laughing). The press release also warns that you are agreeing to play along with whatever they ask, "no matter how unusual, uncomfortable or potentially life altering", so it's not for the faint of heart or if you're the type of person who will threaten to sue anyone who breathes on you.
Bousman is of course most familiar to horror fans as the director of Saws II-IV, as well as Mother's Day and the vastly underrated The Barrens, but he seems to be more fulfilled by making interactive horror:
"I have always been a fan of the dark, sinister, and macabre… I've been very fortunate in my career that I have been able to make horror films. However, I feel that movies can be limited on how much they can truly engage an audience member. They are passive. Immersive theater puts the ticketed buyer as the central lead in their own narrative… They are the hero, the villain, the voyeur, and the instigator of everything. It is literally living inside your own horror film…. Your choices dictate everything. You are the star, and the director.”
“Theatre Macabre is a two hour escape from reality. The moment you enter our doors we transport you to a different place and different time. We invite you to drink, converse and unlock the secrets of The Theatre Macabre. “
Wait, I can drink this time? Sign me up!
Tickets are now on sale HERE, and while they are a bit pricy, keep in mind you're getting a unique experience somewhat tailored to you personally (you fill out some basic info beforehand), and unlike an escape room or whatever, this has a full cast of dozens of performers, so think of it as a stage show instead of a traditional haunt. And, not for nothing, but last I checked you don't get to go up on stage and help shoot Hamilton, and you probably paid twice as much to just sit in your seat for that. The official site is here, and you should probably peruse the FAQ before committing as, again, your physical and mental limitations need to be considered. If you don't like being touched, stripping to your undies (more?), suffer from claustrophobia or being blindfolded, this might not be for you. But if you can hack it, if it's anything like Tension you're in for a hell of a ride. See you there.