Exclusive Haunted Attraction Preview: Josh Randall Talks Blackout:elements
It’s been described as a cross between "Fear Factor" and Saw, a live, interactive theater experience so extreme one must not only be over 18 years of age but also sign a waiver and be granted a "safe word" in order to participate.
It’s called Blackout, and we caught up with co-creator Josh Randall to find out what’s in store for 2013.
Currently in its fifth year, the 2013 Vortex Productions' iteration has been dubbed Blackout:elements, and it runs this year from Friday, October 4th, through Sunday, November 10th, in Los Angeles, CA (with New York and Chicago engagements set to run concurrently).
Chatting with co-creator and founder Randall, he stated of what sets Blackout:elements apart from other SoCal seasonal haunts and what attendees can expect this year during the Los Angeles run, “They’ll [as in years past] experience the thirty-minute attraction completely alone, and since they must be over 18 [years old], the content is skewed towards an adult audience. Also, they will be touched by the actors.”
“Blackout:elements is a brand new show and actually resembles our off-season events more than our larger Halloween shows,” continued Randall, who created the terror-fest with Kristjan Thor (John Harper executive produces).
“This year it’s more intense than anything we've done for the public before, and of course, the content and characters are completely new,” he expounded. “Audiences should expect more interaction within the show and will need a heightened sense of awareness to make their way through the elaborately designed set piece. Other than that, I can't really say. People should just come in and find out what’s in store.”
We queried Randall on whether or not he and his crew are concerned regarding pushing the audience’s threshold to the breaking point (techniques used in previous runs have included sensory deprivation/overload, physical restriction, and waterboarding, among others).
“Trying to find the line with people's boundaries is relatively pointless,” he replied. “Everyone responds to fear in a different way, and there's no way to white-wash the event so everyone has the same experience, and that will be even more heightened this year. Kris and I just try to stay true to the concept and continually try to find ways to innovate the show. We can generally tell pretty quickly if we've crossed a line, and within Blackout that's not necessarily a bad thing. Since we have a relatively small crowd to entertain, we're allowed to push boundaries and to cross lines because that's what our audiences have come to expect.”
Randall offered of the attraction's considerable reputation and unique draw, “It seems Blackout has struck a chord with a very specific community in L.A., and we're very happy to provide them a unique experience they can't get anywhere else. For Blackout it is our goal to find fear within realistic situations; and so it's rare for us to use blood, monsters, or any of that other traditional stuff that so many other haunts use. We try to strip away the artifice of a situation, to find what's really lurking beneath the surface, and then use that to tap into some basic human survival instincts."
This writer will be rolling up his sleeves and hitting the event on Saturday, October 5th, with a review to follow here on Dread Central. (That is, if I survive...)
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