ScareLA gathered some of the greatest minds behind our favorite interactive, immersive experiences to talk a little bit about what they do this weekend.
First up was Jon Braver from Delusion. When asked what he wanted people to feel when they leave his shows, he said he wants them to say “What the fuck was that? I need a drink!” He loves when groups come out and immediately begin discussing what just unfolded with their friends.
“I love creating that emotional impact, and getting them to really get into the moment,” Braver said. Delusion is a show with a lot of moving parts to it, and Braver explained that, even on show nights, he can be found slinking in the shadows, giving notes and advice to his actors.
“Everyone in Delusion has to be on-game the whole time, and great at improvising. You never know what is going to happen,” he said. He shared a story about how during 2014’s “Lies Within,” a guest was strapped to a chair, and was enjoying the one-on-one experience with an actor so much that she was literally brought to orgasm.
“The actor felt pretty good about that,” Braver joked.
This year, Braver talked about “His Crimson Queen”, which is a supernatural, dreadful love story of a man looking for his wife who was said to have died in a fire.
“We’re excited for more stunts, and more flying shit happening!” Braver said.
You can buy the 5 tickets that are left for the upcoming show at www.enterdelusion.com
Up next was Devon Paulson and Lawrence Lewis of ALONE. The two, in typical ALONE fashion, did not want to reveal much about what their experience is.
“We really just want people to feel confusion when they come out, and not be certain what they just did,” said Lewis.
The pair talked about how they enjoy pushing the boundaries of where their shows begin and end, a thing they are quite good at. Every show of theirs is different, and the description and format changes completely.
“We like to change it up all the time, which usually leads to disappointment,” joked Paulson.
One of the main points they tried to get across was that they are always trying to get of the box of “what people expect” from them. They strip away everything of a typical haunt or entertainment experience, and want to make you uncomfortable in some way.
“We don’t try to scare you, we just let you exist however you are. Our job is to remove the tropes and emotions from people when they come through. We don’t dictate the emotions that they feel when they experience ALONE…that comes from the participants themselves,” said Paulson.
“You never know what the rules are in these things, and we want people to question the rules. Should they walk? Should they stand? We like taking away the clear lines, and let people figure it out on their own,” said Lewis.
When asked what is next for them, their response was classic ALONE: “We don’t know, or can’t say, what is coming next.”
For more about ALONE, visit their website at www.thealoneexperience.com
Heretic’s Adrian Marcato talked about how the idea for his show originally came from deep within his brain, and he just decided one day to do it.
“I told my wife that we were going to fuck up the house for the weekend, and put people through an underground horror film that I wrote,” he said.
Having been through Blackout and ALONE himself, he wanted to try something new, to see how far he could push people to the edge, and where it would take them. When asked about the extreme aspects of his shows, he prided himself on the fact that his staff have worked in the haunt world for years, and are safe in every aspect of what they did…even when it seems like they are not.
“I am more afraid of my wife then someone suing us, because she would kill me!” he joked. He said that what people experience in his shows is the watered down, approved version of what he came up with originally.
He wants people to feel like they are lucky to be alive when they leave a Heretic show, but be beyond fear.
Coming up next for him is more shows of The Cabin, an 8 hour long experience in the woods, and a new show that takes place in reverse over a weekend in September.
You can find out more about Heretic at www.heretichorrorhouse.com
Justin Fix of Creep LA talked about how he was always a fan of haunts, and made his friends climb through refrigerator boxes when he was in the 4th grade to simulation haunted houses. To him, Creep LA was a matter of finally doing something and crossing it off his bucket list.
“The first year played with the idea of how or what a creep was. This year, it is a particular creep the story is centered around,” he said.
He also talked about how he loves to honor the fourth wall, and then break it shortly after. He likes understanding the suspense of a moment, and then playing with where the scare comes in. Once he gets that down, he can apply the story to it.
“I love the idea and playing and discovery, so we want to put people in a space where they are removed from the day to day grind of life, and can react to things better,” he said.
This year, his team of 6 have compiled a great story and have a fantastic cast of 28 working for them in their next installment, called ENTRY.
You can find out more about Creep LA at www.creepla.com
Nicholas Sherwin Jr, of Screenshot Productions, talked about how he worked as a stage manager for Blackout for a few years, so he was able to see what went on to make a show work from the ground up. He knew it was feasible for him to create something with the limited resources he had at his disposal, and went for it.
Screenshot started secretly, just be creating an Instagram account and following people within the haunt community. Of the original 35 they sent messages to, they selected 20 to do “Fear Is What We Learned Here.” Without any advertising, the people who did “Fear” talked up the show, and spread it word of mouth. They did over 100 shows over two months.
Since then, every show they have done has been a rumination on a broad topic, such as fear, birth, death, and mediation.
Now, Sherwin and his creative team have two upcoming shows: Bardo Thodol in September and The Rope in October. They offered previews of both shows over the Midsummer Scream and ScareLA weekends, and both were impressive.
You can find out more about them at www.screenshot.productions
The final member of the panel was Robbie Luther of The 17th Door, which burst onto the scene last year with a huge media splash.
Luther spoke about how it took a lot of hard work, talent, and resources to make his haunt happen. He had people get behind his idea, and with their energy, he was able to pull it off. He said there was no deeper meaning behind his 17 door concept, he just thought of it in a logical way to get people through his haunt, and still have a good amount of time to experience things.
He talked a bit about some of the controversial aspects of his haunt, and how he couldn’t get behind the people who claimed it was insensitive, such as using actual dead animals during the show.
Coming up this year, he wants to fill in some of the gaps of what was missing last year, in terms of scare consistency, flow, and intensity.
You can learn more at www.the17thdoor.com
Overall, it was a great way to hear from some of these masterful creators about their experiences, and to gain a bit of insight behind them.