Dread Central Explores Delusion

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We at Dread Central are certified haunted house junkies, and we’ve covered an awful lot of ’em, but there’s been a lot of buzz in the L.A. area about one attraction in particular: Delusion – a unique hybrid between a haunted maze and interactive play that promises something completely different from the norm. And they’re not kidding around.

The best way to describe Delusion is if you were to spend a night trapped inside The People Under the Stairs. Arriving at a bona fide 100-year-old Victorian mansion, we were given an introduction setting up the house’s sordid history as a mad doctor’s experimental nut-house. Our group was then led into the foyer entrance where the doors were promptly locked behind us, and the hammer dropped: Turns out the lunatics are running the asylum!

If you’re expecting a leisurely walk-through of a traditional haunted maze, think again. What makes Delusion the best of all the attractions we’ve visited is that you’re not a mere bystander. You’re a participant. Following the lead of the play’s protagonists, we found ourselves running at top speed through the house, dodging the resident maniacs and taking shelter in different rooms while often interacting with the grisly set-pieces. This gives the authentic feel of living out a horror movie or survival video game instead of being shuffled through like a gawking tourist.

Dread Central Explores Delusion

Delusion was designed by Hollywood stuntman Jon Braver, who boasts an impressive resume with titles like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, Spider-man 2, and The Dark Knight Rises. True to form, Braver fills the entire house with insane stunts that unfold directly in front of you. Actors don’t just pop out in rubber masks and scream “Boo!“; they leap, crawl, hang and jump around (yes, there’s even wirework!), and you never know from what direction something will fly at you. And while every haunted house has a strict “no touching” policy, the crazies in this place will waste no time grabbing you if you get within arm’s length. It’s a fresh spin the keeps you completely off guard after witnessing the same old scare tactics time and time again.

With strong influences from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House on Haunted Hill, The Shining, and even J-horror, Delusion is like experiencing a crazy cinematic mix-tape via live theatre. The show we saw was the very first dress rehearsal so there were a few small kinks to be worked out, but we can easily say that this was the most wild, innovative experience we’ve had in our years of visiting scare zones.

Delusion is running now through the end of October in Los Angeles. Visit the official Haunted Play website for tickets and information. If you visit one haunted attraction this year, make it this one.

Dread Central Explores Delusion

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Steve Barton

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