What People are Saying

HALLOWEEN 2012

“Best scare in LA! Creepy and disgusting. I was scared and turned on all at the same time!”

“Dudes! Just went through Blackout in LA. You must go through alone! Terrifying, intense, a little horny. I loved it.” – Neil Patrick Harris

“If you don’t already know what (Blackout) is, and you live in New York or Los Angeles…holy shit, you need to get your tickets as soon as possible, because it’s the trippiest, craziest haunted house imaginable. Without spoiling anything, picture yourself standing alone in the very epitome of darkness, and in an instant you are dropped in the middle of a David-Lynch-Meets-Eli-Roth movie.”

“Disturbing and beautifully executed. I don’t want to wait a whole year!”

“Blackout is a one-of-a-kind experience that will immerse all your senses. It will leave you energized and feeling alive as you overcome your fears…I felt physically and emotionally drained. Blackout is the only haunt that I would consider erotic and euphoric that at the same time will scare and disturb you.”

“It’s been almost a week since I did the Blackout walk and I’m still thinking about all shit I went through. Thank you for scarring me for life.”

“Had a blast for the second year in a row. Thanks for making another NYC trip completely memorable (and kind of really terrifying).”

“went last night…….FRIGGIN INSANE…. all i keep talking about…….cant wait to go again….bucket list status”

“3 years and 4 visits to Blackout. I have to say that you never cease to gross, ick, shock, jaw drop and floor me. I left wanting to scream AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN. Everyone go! This is even more of a mindf than last year!”

“Had my first visit with Blackout last night, and y’all have gotten so deep into my head that it’s all I dreamed about last night and the first thing I thought about this morning. A tremendously well-crafted experience of genuine, visceral horror – both on the surface and much, much deeper. You have truly outdone yourselves!”

“what was your #number?”

“Wow. Blackout has really outdone themselves. If you don’t have your tickets yet GET. THEM. NOW.”

“Blackout Haunted House is a 30-minute adventure in terror. This is a uniquely tactical experience: you will see, touch and smell things that will be imprinted in your mind for the rest of the evening. Even if you are not a horror junkie, get out of your comfort zone and force yourself to experience Blackout. You won’t regret it!”

“If you’ve been searching for the real-deal fright fest, if masked men with chainsaws chasing your girlfriend around just doesn’t cut it, step up to Blackout where you walk into a David Lynch movie and stay to see it turn into Saw.”

“Definitely a must every year from now on! Ive never felt so helpless and uncomfortable in my life. This is by far one of the funnest, disturbing and most intense things I’ve ever done! I’m still shaking! Thanks guys!”

“Oh how do I summarize my thoughts on #blackout2012 I think it can be best summed up if you found a David Lynch snuff tape.”

“You guys are sick and I fuckin love it!!! Insane and delectable!! Thank you for the violation!!”

“Wow every year you raise the intensity… Awesome job all I can say is I am speechless”

“No cobwebs, no movie characters…shit just got real. I am mentally exhausted. Blackout didn’t disappoint…as expected.”

“So @NYChauntedhouse was pretty much a sexual nightmare staged in a gitmo torture dungeon. Not for the feint of anything. But awesome.”

“3 years in a row for me – you guys somehow step it up yet again to completely go over the top and put people in the most uncomfortable and freaky situations ever. Definitely loved it!”

HALLOWEEN 2011

Michael Riedel, Theater Critic for New York Post

“‘Blackout Haunted House,’ a grisly evening of sado-masochism that, while right up my alley, is not for the faint of heart. It’s ‘extreme theater’…and for all the physical contact in ‘Blackout,’ the most unsettling part is when you’re left alone for minutes in utter darkness. As you stand there waiting for something to happen you begin to cower, sensing that, in fact, you are not alone. Someone, something, is stalking you, reveling in your fear.” (more)

New York Magazine

“For a glimpse into the twisted tension of Blackout you need look no further than the list of rules, which instruct you to walk through alone, wear a protective mask, and do exactly as the actors (who definitely get invasive at times) command. You will get grabbed and you will have to run or crawl at various points, but no worries: There’s a safety word if you think you’ll break. And many have broken. Not for those afraid of the dark or prone to mental instability.(more)

Carey Hart

“If you are into getting the shit scared out of you, go to Blackout Haunted House in NYC. It will not disappoint! Huh, @pink?”

The Guardian

“This is Blackout, a sold-out attraction deemed the most terrifying of the United States’s estimated 3,000 Haunted Houses, which make up an industry thought to be worth an extraordinary $500m.”

Slant Magazine

“If you prefer rubber bats and cobwebs over genuine fear-inducers like confinement and sensory deprivation, don’t even think about buying a ticket. Blackout Haunted House intends to separate the hardcore thrill-seekers from the tourists. I would liken it to a fraternity hazing if it wasn’t for the undeniable artistry involved.” (more)

Maxim

“Blackout Haunted House has more in common with a Guantanamo simulator than a church basement haunted house… shockingly memorable… it seriously is one of the scariest haunted houses you’ll ever enter, and possibly one of the most traumatizing ways to spend your Halloween.(more)

Wall Street Journal

“My daughter told me she’d been searching the web for the city’s scariest haunted house and the general consensus is that the Blackout Haunted House resided in a league of its own . . .even if they’d allowed me to reveal what happens I wouldn’t be able to print it in a family publication such as this.”

Gizmodo

“The scariest haunted house ever…It was a legitimately freaky and uncomfortable experience, with some moments very much still etched in my brain…if you really like being scared, it’s easily the freakiest haunted house I’ve ever been through.” (more)

Jaded Viewer

“You really do feel like you’re playing a part in a sadistic horror story that you’ve accidentally stumbled upon. And you don’t even have to wait to get to the good parts. You’re thrown right into the ending. And it’s an ending you won’t forget.” (more)

Fangoria

“Blackout isn’t something you can be told about, but is rather something you have to experience for yourself…It’s terrifying and exciting, and NYC-area horror fans cannot afford to stay in the dark during this Blackout.” (more)

Flavorpill

“Here’s the thing: you may think you have absolutely no taboos, but Blackout will find them. After being immersed in rules and regulations, and signing away your very life, you’ll be thrown, literally, into absolute darkness, at which point the terror begins. Sexual violation? Abuse? Torture? Nothing is off limits for the insane carnival of Blackout, the only haunted house we know of where the only way to make it through is to allow physical contact with the actors themselves. It vacillates between off-putting and terrifying… particularly when you have to stick things in your mouth… but we’ll stop with the spoilers there, other than to admit: we tapped out apparently near the end, and plan on going back to finish the deed. This is one horrific addiction.” (more)

New York Post

“IF YOU LIKE PSYCHOTHRILLERS: Blackout is as close to mental torture as one can get without actually being held prisoner. Be ready for anything. Visitors must be 18 and sign a waiver that explains there will be ‘simulated extreme horror,’ ‘physical contact’ and ‘adult sexual content.’ Oh, and did we mention that you have to go through it alone?

“The heightened stakes have given this house a bit of a cult following. Edri Hill, a 28-year-old Harlemite, has been going for three years, and went for the second time this year. ‘I’m addicted,’ she says. ‘It’s not your typical haunted house. It’s like being in a horror movie…and an [S&M] situation.’” (more)

Time Out NY

“Don’t even think about bringing along a partner for this scary Halloween event, which requires you to go through solo with a protective mask and a flashlight. Fainthearted folk be warned: The descent into darkness promises ‘sexual and violent situations’ and ‘physical contact.’ While speaking is not allowed inside the spooky scene, screaming is more than welcome.” (more)

Publicist Alyssa Arminio

“…it is just as scary as they say it is…I would highly recommend this experience to anyone who was looking for a good scare this Halloween. While terrifying, it was also extremely well-crafted. You could tell that genuine thought and precision went into every single moment of the experience.” (more)

Amanda C. via Yelp

“I soon learned that what is marketed as a haunted house is really more like an extreme psychological experiment… Marshmallow Test, meet the Blackout Test…You are watching a well-rehearsed performance and you are the audience – the only member of the audience (which is a brilliant idea, by the way)…Don’t know what scares you? Never feel like anything can scare you? Well pay attention in Blackout – because you will know after.” (more)

Timothy Haskell, Creator of “Nightmare: Fairy Tales, ‘New York’s Most Horrifying Haunted House’”

“If you are looking for this kind of aggressive, intense experience, there is a haunted house for you. It is not Nightmare.” (more)

FrightTour.com

“Most likely the scariest haunted house in the country, The Blackout Haunted House has victims looking for that good scare walking through their attraction by themselves! It that weren’t enough you must wear protective eye wear and carry a flashlight at all times. You will also be told to do required actions, as well as touched and encounter sexual & violent situations!”

“I was asked what three words would describe the haunted house: Stimulating, Terrifying, and Addictive. You’re paying my therapy bill.”
— Tariq, via Facebook

“I just want to say we attended blackout nyc on friday and what a complete mindfuck it was!! It was by far the most insane haunted attraction we have been to. We will definitely be back next year.”
— emtfire150, via email

“I’ve never been so terrified in my life. That was amazing. Oh my god! That’s insane. It crossed so many of the right lines. No one goes this far. It’s amazing. I have to process all of this. I’ve been to some crazy shit, but nothing like this. So good.”
— Dale, moments after

“If you went with someone else, it would ruin the whole experience. It’s like being the star of your own horror movie.”
— Julia, via Facebook

“I always laugh after coming out of a haunted house at how terribly not scary they are. This time I was laughing at myself for calling safety not even halfway through. I was left shaking at how chilling it was. Never been so scared in my life.”
— James, via Twitter

“I am speechless what an intense experience!! You have outdone yourself!! I will def be back later in the season to try it again…It is completely different.”
— Omar, via Facebook

“this. looks. terrifying.”
— Candice, via Facebook

“well you know i love you guys…this was def the BEST haunt yet since i started going 2 years ago….and if i had a million bucks, i’d be going to see you guys every night. so, can you just come home with me instead? thanks.”
— Edri, via Facebook

Holy FUCK! That was amazing! My hands are shaking still and I’m pretty sure I want to vomit. I’ve been through 2 years and a summer haunt with you and this TAKES the cake.”
— Muzam, via Facebook

OMG, tomorrow night…my heart is already POUNDING!!!
— Kelly, via Facebook

HALLOWEEN 2010

The New York Times

“The extreme theater event of the year…The goal is clearly not to give your nerves a safe tickle; it’s to titillate, unsettle and generally mess with your mind. It succeeds magnificently. But the most disturbing and truly thrilling moments come when you are alone completely, still and in the dark. It’s not merely a cheap trick. This production has a fairly consistent narrative and the way it evokes dread is more psychologically perceptive than most shows on Broadway.”

Fangoria

“Horrific, shocking and exhilarating, the Halloween Haunted House is a finely tuned tour de force in terror, and an absolute must for horror enthusiasts in the New York City area.”

Time Out NY

“If you like your scares more Paranormal Activity than A Nightmare on Elm Street, then this is the house for you…we’re going to guess that it will eff you up.”

The Whiskey Dregs

“It was horror taken to another level of art. It was virtual horror. Really. A patchwork of hyper sex, violence, and sense deprivation while guided into the vortex (if you will) of fear, which never relents upon entrance through each of the rooms. All of the things you may have heard are true…The ultimate experience in horror.”

io9

“One of THE 10 SCARIEST HAUNTED HOUSES IN AMERICA.”

NYTheatre.com

“Vortex has tapped into a sort of immersive theatre that’s horrifically appealing to a specific type of personality. It is fascinating to see how far they’ll go. If you like to feel your heart pound, your spine tingle, and your legs give out, drop on by this year’s location.”

The Jaded Viewer

“So what’s the best haunted house in NYC? Well that’s a tough one to answer. All of them have their perks and little things that make them standout. But I have to say Vortex Theater’s NYC Halloween Haunted House left me with the creepiest feeling I’ve ever had. The visual mental scars are now embedded in my mind.”

offoffonline

“Participants are left alone and unguarded, at the whim of the haunted house and its cadre of creepy performers. Make no mistake: the cards are stacked in favor of the house. The cast members do an admirable job of balancing their dual roles as wardens and shepherds. They give participants the chills, but also clear instructions about what to do next. Managing the whole event and its steady stream of participants is an enormous challenge, but the Haunted House is up for it, efficiently moving participants from a group holding cell through their individual journeys around the house. What are you afraid of? The dark? Weird noises? Rape and murder? The NYC Halloween Haunted House has something for you…”

The Examiner

“The scariest haunted house in Manhattan. Expect to crawl, scream, get stapled, painted, and well – almost raped. They will freak you out as it is mind horrifying and scary as hell.”

The Raven and the Black Cat

“I attended 5 of NYC’s Haunted Houses this season and this was the only one that was truly terrifying. I left feeling like I had just survived an abduction. I felt a little dirty and some of the things I encountered seemed to cross a line, but crossing that line is how the Vortex Theater’s Halloween Haunted House achieves the skin crawling result that so many other haunted houses fail to inspire.”

HALLOWEEN 2009

2009/2010 New York Innovative Theatre Award Nomination for “Outstanding Performance Art Piece”

Fangoria

“The Vortex Theater, located at 164 Eleventh Avenue, and known for its stage performances which have included AGAMEMNON, H.M.S. PINAFORE, and KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN to name a few, has most recently put together its latest event, titled with basic elegance, Haunted House, just in time for Halloween…but thankfully this arguably bland title gives no indication of the intricate and at times startling work that went into what I can only term a true horror experience.”

Haunted Attraction

“This Haunt is completely different from anything I have ever seen. I appreciated the uniqueness of the event and it certainly made me think about the psychology of scaring people. It gave me a different perspective on what a Haunted House is. Haunted House in New York City is without a doubt, the most different haunted house I have ever visited.”

The New York Times

“…this group demonstrates that it knows the power of just making you sit in a chair in the pitch dark. This time, though, there’s an added touch, a cross between the treatments you might get from a dominatrix and an executioner. It’s an unnerving solitary confinement.”

Time Out NY

“Not having a group around to nervously laugh off the faux horror is a pretty effective scare tactic. Better bring a change of pants.”

Dapper Scout

“We can assure you that between the fog, strobe lights, and absolute depth of darkness in certain areas, you’ll be disoriented in a way you’ve never experienced before. You will have to crawl. You will be touched. And you will see things you’d rather wish you hadn’t. All of these components add up to the most tantalizingly terrifying 15 minutes we’ve ever had to experience.”

NYTheatre.com

“And so begins the whole fear-confidence ping-pong game your brain plays, which will continue as you proceed into the dark maze with nothing but a very dim flashlight and a white line to guide you. As you go through the haunted house, you will be escorted, you will be seated, you will be touched, you will be blindfolded, you will stammer, you will crawl, and, ultimately, when the Haunted House finally gets the best of you, if you are like me, you will run. And I did run. The last stretch, my heart pounded, and my palms were sweating, and I was laughing at myself for actually being so scared. Of a play. Of a 15-minute, interactive play on 11th Avenue.”

The Examiner

“Prepare to scream: ‘Haunted House’ delivers a blood chilling nightmare. With a mask, a flashlight and maybe a brief prayer, thrill seekers at Vortex Theater’s Haunted House are guaranteed to experience ‘graphic sexual and extremely violent situations,’ by foot or on their knees. But everyone walks through alone.”

Kashmir Hill

“The creepiest Haunted House ever. It was a hybrid of Guantanamo and The Ring, a place and a movie that f***ing terrify me. I must admit that I enjoyed it, as creepy as the experience was. I love thrills and chills. But the detainee-esque experience and having strangers put their hands all over my body was seriously disturbing, and not something I will forget for many Halloweens to come.”