Blackout: Elements (Haunted House) by the Vortex Theat

Brian07663NJ
Broadway Legend
joined:6/21/06
...no one under 18 admitted and you must walk through alone

I attended the first preview night on Saturday, September 7th. I was the 13th victim to willingly wander into the darkness alone. This is my 5th (I think - no ticket stubs to look back on lol) consecutive year. Blackout has grown and they are now in 3 cities this year: New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Sorry - no spoilers from me. The fun of the experience is in just that - shock and awe.

For me unfortunately I am a bit jaded after having so many previous experiences with this theater company. My pulse no longer quickens at the thought of entering. An inherent trust has been passed from me to them because I have not only been attending the seasonal but also the off-season haunts.

If you've never attended I would typically encourage you to check this out. This year however I am still rationalizing a specific scene that this theater company has created. It is sick and I don't mean in a 'phat' way...for this scene alone. I would even question if it should be in the production at all. By no means should anyone under 18 attend and unfortunately, again, I think that should be more than an annual milestone but also an emotional maturity over 18 but that would strike out a big portion of their adult audience.

When I entered this scene I was emotionless. I hadn't built up enough of a connection with the characters involved and I acted on what I was told to do. The most I will divulge is think Milgram experiment.

This first preview night was attended by the core group of what is known as "The Survivors." We've been following Blackout since their infancy. One of our seasoned members came out in tears. He was emotionally shaken and it took several of us to calm him down.

This year Blackout: Elements is not for the emotionally faint of heart or even the mildly curious.
Up next: Apr 01 Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Apr 05 Charo at RamsHead OnStage; Apr 07 Lady Gaga at Roseland Ballroom; Apr 13 Amaluna next to Citi Field; Apr 18 Disney Junior at MSG Theatre; May 06 Aladdin; May 13 Artpop Ball Lady Gaga at MSG; Jun 07 Varekai in Bridgeport, CT Jul 12 1:30pm Side Show; Jul 12 8:30pm Fantasia w/National Symphony Orchestra; Aug 16 The Visit: Williamstown Festival
ErikJ972
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/03
Like the torture porn of haunted houses. This first year I went I thought it was terrifying. They left a little bit more to the imagination back then. Didn't enjoy myself the second time I went. I just didn't think having a faux used tampon shoved in my mouth was the least bit scary.
trentsketch
Broadway Legend
joined:6/25/09
I'm fascinated by the concept of the Blackout haunts but I know I can't do them. The only thing that gets me through the haunts I go through is going through with friends so I have someone with me who can help me get to an emergency exit if I'm totally overwhelmed. Solo haunts are a no go.

I know some people who've worked on Blackout haunts and they rave about the experience. I've heard a little about the scene I think you're talking about from some of the designers and it doesn't sit well with me, either. Extreme doesn't automatically mean better but that's the direction a lot of haunts are going in to stand out. Meanwhile, the ones ranked the best in the country add new technology but stay with a more otherworldly (dare I say safer?) style.
ErikJ972
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/03
Honestly...I felt like the last walkthrough I did was a touch on the misogynistic and homophobic side. I ended up walking out of there angry, not scared.
Brian07663NJ
Broadway Legend
joined:6/21/06
Followup... with Blackout: Elements out of previews I attended for the second time this season with coworkers. Although my previous post included grave hesitations about the content of the show this year - I am very pleased to have seen changes that directly addressed my prior concerns. Although that particular scene is still a part of the show it has slight alterations that make it much better. Looking at their website shows tickets are running out fast so if you want to experience it...don't hesitate.
Blackout Elements website
Up next: Apr 01 Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Apr 05 Charo at RamsHead OnStage; Apr 07 Lady Gaga at Roseland Ballroom; Apr 13 Amaluna next to Citi Field; Apr 18 Disney Junior at MSG Theatre; May 06 Aladdin; May 13 Artpop Ball Lady Gaga at MSG; Jun 07 Varekai in Bridgeport, CT Jul 12 1:30pm Side Show; Jul 12 8:30pm Fantasia w/National Symphony Orchestra; Aug 16 The Visit: Williamstown Festival
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
What was "the scene" that was so objectionable?
"I think Glee is way too sharp, smart, witty, clever and emotionally confronting for the masses." - Dave19 - "What's next? Snow Black and the 7 Swaggers? Shasquirta and the Beast? 101 Weavematians? Willis in Ghettoland?" - Dave19, in reference to the new ANNIE remake.
JerseyGirl2
Broadway Legend
joined:9/4/05
I want "spoilers!" I can't possibly get there. lol
Pretty pretty please don't you ever ever feel like you're less than f**ckin' perfect!
Brian07663NJ
Broadway Legend
joined:6/21/06
Blackout posted a "Halloween Gift" on their website for only 12 hours: noon to midnight on Halloween. This is actually the scene which I found disturbing and objectionable. It is also presented in the revised format. The first time, when I found it offensive, there was no bag over your head. This link is as I experienced it the second time with the plastic bag to blur the vision.

Warning - it is disturbing.

It has a slow long lead in as well so it starts about 45 second into the video...interested in everyone's thoughts. This link is only going to be active on 10/31/2013 from noon until midnight. Then Blackout said it is going to be removed from their website.
Warning - link to disturbing Blackout final scene of 2013 production.
Up next: Apr 01 Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Apr 05 Charo at RamsHead OnStage; Apr 07 Lady Gaga at Roseland Ballroom; Apr 13 Amaluna next to Citi Field; Apr 18 Disney Junior at MSG Theatre; May 06 Aladdin; May 13 Artpop Ball Lady Gaga at MSG; Jun 07 Varekai in Bridgeport, CT Jul 12 1:30pm Side Show; Jul 12 8:30pm Fantasia w/National Symphony Orchestra; Aug 16 The Visit: Williamstown Festival
ErikJ972
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/03
Brian...could you give us a little more description of what's going on in that scene? Was it being shut in the box that was offensive? It's hard to see because of the bag so I'm just curious.
ClydeBarrow
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/12
This is actually something that I'm intrigued by but would NEVER in a million years do. Regular haunted houses scare the sh!t out of me so I can't imagine how much of this I could take.
"Pardon my prior Mcfee slip. I know how to spell her name. I just don't know how to type it." -Talulah
morosco
Broadway Legend
joined:7/10/04
When you are in that room does everyone normally put a plastic bag over their head or was that just done to add extra weirdness to the video?
morosco
Broadway Legend
joined:7/10/04
And how do they get away with not complying with the ADA? From their website, "Unfortunately, the event is NOT handicap accessible."

Updated On: 10/31/13 at 05:25 PM
trentsketch
Broadway Legend
joined:6/25/09
I honestly don't know of any professional haunt that's handicap accessible in the greater NYC area. They almost all have ramps or vortex tunnels or narrow passageways or lots of traction changes (outside, then inside, then carpeting, then more outside, etc.). I don't know how they get away with it, but I know that if I ever get hired to do design work on a pro haunt, I'm pressuring the accessibility issue. Tell me how on a shoestring budget I can put together an elaborate outdoor haunt that is totally handicap accessible and professionals with many times my budget can't be bothered to not have a staircase in the middle of their haunts. I don't get it.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
I wouldn't be able to handle anything like this solo, either. I'm curious too about what exactly is going on in that scene, and how it relates to the Milgram experiment (are you forced to follow orders leading to someone's death?) Still, as unclear as I found the video out of context, I know I wouldn't be able to handle it live.

Montreal this year has what is being called an "X-Rated" Haunted house due to all the nudity (it's put on by an ex-New Yorker) http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/2013/10/30/montreals-x-rated-haunted-house-halloween-tour-definitely-not-for-kids/


Brian07663NJ
Broadway Legend
joined:6/21/06
* * * SPOILER * * *

If you plan to go in the last few days of this event...
...do not read the following.

* * * SPOILER * * *

What was lost by not physically being in the moment was the following. (Keep in mind this is only the final scene of maybe 5 minutes)

Right before this a female actress who had been escorting you through a few room was violently dragged by a big "thug" away and out of the room. He returned and put the bag over your head and then forcefully pushed you into the next room. Yes, not ADA compliant, you had to descend 3 or 4 steps and after the last step you felt dirt under foot.

This is the account the first time I went through - without the bag - second time I went through they added the bag the way you saw it on the video.

The girl was on the floor in a tight ball screaming and crying....cowering. First time - I got yelled at the pick up the gun and point it at her. Then I was told "pull the trigger! pull the trigger!" I did. I hadn't built up any emotional connection to the character. I knew it was a show. They cheered me on, congratulated me and then said "Get in the box (coffin) and they slammed the lid down...moments later they tossed her lifeless body with me, she choked, realized she was inside the box and started screaming.

Second time (which is what this video portrayed) was her screaming, the guy in the room held the gun, if you listen carefully the gun click (no bullet, no fire) and then a second trigger pull fired the gun (blood splatter)...she was tossed into the coffin. For camera angle it was easier to show her in the coffin but you were in there as well minus the bag.

My "problem" with the scenario is that I do not think anyone should every be made comfortable to participate in pointing a gun at anyone. It is NOT what you teach anyone when they first hold a gun or ever have a gun in their hand - ever! Too many young, thoughtless, immature adult are participating in this event for them to do this scene. For those who are mature they realize this is a poor plot. The revised second scene where you did not see much (but heard it) and were forced to participate in the assault could be more traumatic and apparently was for many who experienced it.

Guess I'm jaded after having gone through for so many years.

As of 9:30 am on Friday, November 1 - I checked and the video posted has been removed as planned by the creators. It was limited to only 12 hours on their website as announced.

Up next: Apr 01 Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Apr 05 Charo at RamsHead OnStage; Apr 07 Lady Gaga at Roseland Ballroom; Apr 13 Amaluna next to Citi Field; Apr 18 Disney Junior at MSG Theatre; May 06 Aladdin; May 13 Artpop Ball Lady Gaga at MSG; Jun 07 Varekai in Bridgeport, CT Jul 12 1:30pm Side Show; Jul 12 8:30pm Fantasia w/National Symphony Orchestra; Aug 16 The Visit: Williamstown Festival
Updated On: 11/1/13 at 09:37 AM
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Life is too short.
"Colbert is toast after this latest flap." -- Mr Roxy "Read 'Atlas Shrugged'." -- Gothampc
Luscious
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
How bored with life do you have to be to pay good money to be physically and emotionally abused?
"One Man's Turd is Another Man's Treasure" Blocked: suestorm, Liza's Headband
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Go to a leather bar, hire a dom. Zheesh.
"Colbert is toast after this latest flap." -- Mr Roxy "Read 'Atlas Shrugged'." -- Gothampc