For four years Hollywood stuntman-turned-writer/director Jon Braver and an amazing crew of actors, designers, and stunt players have offered the people of Southern California the chance to live out a horror film. “Delusion” started out as a unique alternative to the average Halloween maze – combining live interactive theater with a haunted attraction – and has quickly grown into the single best horror experience on the West Coast.
This year Braver and his crew are back with “Delusion: Lies Within” and have taken up shop in a dilapidated mansion in a residential area of downtown Los Angeles – located appropriately next door to the “Fisher & Sons” mortuary house from “Six Feet Under.”
Arriving on location at sundown, I grab a pre-show cocktail from the 1940’s themed bar and join my group (among them Lloyd from “Entourage”). A mysterious woman leads us through a crawlspace in the house and gives us a set-up: We’ve snuck into the house of renowned horror author Elena Fitzgerald, who has had an unusual widespread Sutter Kane-like influence on her readers with her book series. Years ago she vanished, and no more books have been published – so we’re among the obsessed who have broken in on a quest for answers. Unfortunately, the house is crawling with other psychotic fans and living creations from her book, and we must traverse into dangerous territory on our journey.
What separates “Delusion” from the pack is its commitment to making you a participating player in the story, which provides the most immersive experience possible. In previous years this writer has had to go grave robbing, been forced into a Texas Chain Saw-style dinner table scene, and played dead on a gurney for a mad mortician. This time I found myself locked in a room surrounded by cages of live scorpions while a madman pumped in “toxic gas” as members of my group hatched an elaborate plan to save me. If you’ve come here for a passive maze walkthrough with guys in rubber masks jumping out, you’re in the wrong place. You’re not just a bystander; you have to solve clues, interact with actors and objects, and are often whisked away from your group to other areas of the house. As a result, one could go to “Delusion” multiple times and not have the same experience twice.
To say anything more would be criminal because of the production’s labyrinthine series of set-pieces, twists, and gags. But with an amazing cast of actors and Hollywood-quality production design and costumes, every expense has been made to make this the most authentic horror experience you’ll ever have. With “Delusion: Lies Within” Braver & Co. have become the undisputed kings of the haunted attraction, and if you do you a single event for Halloween, make sure it’s this one.
For more info on this amazing show, check out the official “Delusion: Lies Within” website.