CREEP and Delusion are two of Southern California’s most popular immersive and theatrical haunted attractions, often drawing sold out crowds during the Halloween season. This year, both CREEP and Delusion returned to Los Angeles with new, interactive stories of the macabre, the diabolical, and the corrupt. Both are outstanding productions, featuring well- detailed sets, exciting special effects, intriguing narratives, and exceptional actors who work tirelessly to entertain the audience—and perhaps, even scare them half to death (both events require guests to sign a waiver before entering. CREEP, in particular, makes the act of providing your signature wickedly fun).
CREEP establishes its David-Lynch-inspired nightmare right from the very beginning (even waiting in line brings its own kind of sinister terror). Audiences are invited to enter the deranged world of the infamous Erebus Burwyck, an experimental artist who, in 1974, disappeared along with his cast after they performed a transgressive art show with deeply philosophical and aberrant themes. From this point forward, CREEP guides groups of 8 through Burwyck’s bizarre and at times psychosexual vision. Not for the faint of heart, the production requires that audience members dive headlong into the action, and the results are at once surreal, frightening, and playfully perverse. The actors handle these strange scenes with talent and finesse, often plucking members from the group and subjecting them to their own individual scenes of horror and mayhem (at one point, this writer was “stolen” away from the audience and locked in a confined space, taunted for what seemed like several minutes by a masked man before being set free). Along with scenes involving total darkness, mild sensory deprivation, eerie props, and other creepy set-pieces, CREEP employs menacing music and scratchy audio recordings to heighten the tension of the experience. Credit must go to the talented team of actors (affectionately known as “creeps”) who embrace their roles to the hilt while maintaining the safety and integrity of the production. While most would classify CREEP as “extreme,” the event was in no way reckless or cruel to its guests. Despite a somewhat lackluster ending that doesn’t quite link back to the narrative established at the start, CREEP is well worth your time. In only its second year, the show has impressed once again, and its future looks morbidly bright.
Delusion is a fairly long-running interactive play in Los Angeles, housed in an enormous, Gothic structure overrun with unusual characters and Hollywood-caliber special effects. This year’s production, titled “The Crimson Queen,” tells a twisted (though arguably tame) tale of hungry vampires, family betrayal, and parental strife. Audience members are encouraged to become actively involved in the narrative, searching for clues throughout the decaying house, communicating with the characters, and helping to advance the plot both individually and collectively. Delusion takes great advantage of its broad space–including creaking staircases, darkened hallways and closets, secret passageways, and mysterious attics and basements–and every scene is marked by exquisite details and spirited performances by the actors. Most incredible about this production are the effects, which unfold mere inches from the audience. There are a few truly breathtaking moments that will thrill anyone who attends. If CREEP is a debauched and noir-styled descent into a madman’s psychosis, Delusion is its fantastical, poetic, story-driven counterpart. Delusion is also enhanced by lavish costumes and a stunning cinematic conclusion as “The Crimson Queen” asks its audience to become characters in a narrative that twists and turns as the play spans its 50 to 55-minute running time. Audiences who fully embrace their role in the journey and allow the actors to have creative control will reap the benefits of what has now become a genuine Halloween tradition in Southern California. “The Crimson Queen” doesn’t always work–the scares and script are both limited–but it remains an exciting piece of experimental theater nonetheless.
Josh Hancock is the author of two epistolary horror novels, The Girls of October (2015) and The Devil and My Daughter (2016), both published by Burning Bulb Publishing. For reviews, book trailers, and convention appearances, please visit www.foundfootagefiction.com.