BY CHARLI BATTERSBY | Spooky Season in New York is off to an early start this year. An interactive haunted house has been running just off Times Square since a week before Fall officially began. The premise of Terror Vision is that the audience members are visiting HorrorWood Studios. They are guests of a film producer who has a liking for “Snuff” films. He is looking for his next star… It could be anyone… Even YOU! (Muah ha ha ha!)
This is the sort of haunted house where live actors will pop out to menace the attendees. There are a few animatronics, but these are mostly giant monsters; the human-sized spooks are all played by real people (or very energetic zombies).
Attendees can opt for a standard ticket, but there is also an Ultimate Terror pass, and a Chicken Pass. Anyone wearing an Ultimate Terror pass will be targeted for extra interaction with the monsters. Our reporter opted for the Ultimate Terror pass (a purple glowstick necklace) which did, indeed, draw extra attention from the monsters. During our visit, we did not encounter any special VIP areas just for the Ultimate Terror patrons, but the monsters were extra menacing, and prone to up-close staring contests. Sometimes an aggressive ghoul would stalk us as we went from room to room, singling us out for an extra “pop-out” moment.
Our photographer got the Chicken Pass, and was rendered magically invisible to monsters. Chickens who push their luck and directly interact with performers might find that the magic isn’t 100 percent foolproof. Or is that ghoulproof?!
There are several thematic areas to the experience. First is a creepy catacomb that leads to a dungeon out of a swords & sorcery film (complete with a giant snake that could devour Conan The Barbarian alive). There is also a standard haunted house full of Victorian era ghosts, and cannibalistic humans.
The experience is based the idea that this is backstage tour of a movie studio, and that the various thematic locations are haunted movie sets. But there isn’t much to tie it together. There is a brief scene involving a movie director at the start of the tour, then a final room that references the “Studio tour” theme a second time.
In between is 20 minutes of scares that have little dialog. The audience is on their feet the whole time, quickly moving through a winding labyrinth of rooms. There isn’t a distinct finale to each thematic area, or scenes with scripted dialog to indicate that the “Studio Tour” is moving to new motif.
Fear is, of course, subjective. During our visit, we followed a large group of tween girls, who were terrified throughout the event. Even calloused horror enthusiasts will get some scares.
“Terror Vision” happens at 300 W. 43rd Street. For info and tickets ($39-55), click here to visit the event’s website. Note: VIP Immediate Entry tickets grant front of the line, often immediate entry into the attraction. This is an upgrade option, please note GA admission for a specific date/ time is still required.
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