On rare occasion a Halloween attraction is so good that it gets extended into the first few days of November. In the case of Delusion, The Blood Rite they just announced yet another extension that stretches well into December! Produced by Neil Patrick Harris and written and directed by Jon Braver, Delusion invites guests to go beyond the normal trappings of haunted house experiences and become part of the story.
The production doesn’t take place in a fabricated maze of plywood or even in a theater. Much like the impressive Blumhouse of Horrors, Delusion takes advantage of the winding pathways in an existing structure. The experience takes place on the lot and inside of a large, dilapidated, yet stately old home situated in a gentrified neighborhood of old mansions in the hills near Downtown Los Angeles.
We found the creepy old house and walked up the driveway to the check in desk. After being greeted by staff, we were not handed tickets. Rather, we were given wristbands that indicated our “treatment” group. Treatment group? Yes. In the confines of the storyline, we are patients being treated by the famous Doctor Frederick Lowell. Our method of treatment? Hypnosis.
While waiting for our group to be called we were invited to spend time in the waiting area at the side of the house. Here, you’ll find a food truck selling some good bites, as well as a small themed bar and lounge, Lowell’s Lament.
We had time to kill until our group was called, so we ordered a drink and decided to read the program. We suggest that visitors take the time to read the literature, as this “Haunted Play” moves at a brisk pace and leaves little time for exposition. The program reads…
1910 – Inside the decrepit mansion a family lives in a world of nightmares. Head of household, psychiatrist Dr. Frederick Lowell, has been working to realize the next stage of human evolution. His dark methods have given his prized patients super-human abilities such as telekinesis and thought control. Following the sudden death of the doctor the family falls into chaos.
1918 – Following The Great War, visitors arrive at the mansion drawn by its inexplicable magnetism. Gunfire, severed human limbs and insanity left to abandon slowly bring repressed memories to life. The visitors soon realize they are no strangers. The long lost patients and creations of Dr. Lowell must help a mysterious figure raise their great father from death.
And with that, our treatment group of ten people is summoned to a garden behind the house. Our journey begins outside in the graveyard and a tour guide gives the back-story. We are all playing the part of soldiers who have returned from World War I and are drawn back to this house, in which we grew up, by a mysterious force.
There is an evil presence in the house and we must discover the source and destroy it. Led around the grounds outside, we are released into the cemetery and given instructions on things we must do to solve the mystery.
This is full contact, multi-sensory, interactive theater that surpassed all of our expectations. Along with a dive into a freshly dug grave, members of our group were asked to search entire rooms for items, play a deadly game of musical chairs, and one audience member was even kidnapped from the rest of the group. The pace is frantic, almost incoherent at times, but the scares lend support when the plot is unclear. In fact, you might even spend the following hour after the show putting the plot together in your mind, as you will likely have been too busy running from danger to have time to figure it all out before the show ends.
Director Jon Braver’s expertise with live stunt work shines through as actors literally fly through the air in the confines of the old home. The jaw-dropping first sequence on the stairs in the living room had our group asking, “How the heck did they do that?” Even more impressive is that minutes later we were racing up the same steps, and there wasn’t a single trace of rigging or infrastructure to be found that would give away the secret of how the illusion was pulled off. We won’t give away the details here, but suffice it to say that the quality of the special effects and stunts in this experience are of a professional quality you’d expect to only find in the movies or a perhaps a Broadway show.
The actors were particularly fun and sinister. They have the difficult job of conveying a multi-layered storyline, while at the same time offering an anchor to the experience. You can tell these folks are having a great time interacting with the guests as well as their fellow actors. Frank Weitzel, as the Gravekeeper, was great fun to interact with. Another notable was Cindy Clark who portrayed Grandmother. Ms. Clark’s portrayal of the insane matriarch was enough to make our skin crawl. But the stand out performance during our visit was actor Laura Diamond, who portrayed Anna Lowell. She guided our group through the house with a compelling, yet mysterious, allure and grave sense of danger.
The experience lasts just about one half hour, depending on the group. At just 10 people per group, that means that this attraction can serve only 20 people every hour (at most). And while the ticket price may seem steep at $45 per person, it’s a bargain when you put the experience in context with the size of the staff, theatrical effects, level of interaction and overall entertainment value. This experience is unlike any other play or haunted house you have ever been to. You are not part of a long line of people being processed through a series of scary set pieces. You are guaranteed to be an active participant in a fun, fast-paced, and truly inventive experience that will stick with you long after you depart.
Some tips. Due to the low capacity, all tickets must be purchased in advance. Also, parking is a bit of an issue as this is a popular show takes place in a neighborhood full of homes. Do not be surprised if you have to park several blocks away from the venue. Finally, keep in mind that the experience is not wheelchair/handicapped accessible. You will be running up and down narrow stairwells and dark passageways and your heart will be racing as you rush from room to room in your attempt to escape the dangers chasing you. So, if you aren’t physically capable of those rigors, this is definitely NOT the event for you.
Delusion has been extended, once again, and will run on November 30th, December 1st and 2nd, and December 7th, 8th, and 9th. This is the very last extension and the show must close on the 9th. Forget Halloween, this is the sort of haunted theater experience which transcends any season. We strongly urge those of you who love a good scare to GET YOUR TICKET TO THIS UNIQUE HAUNTED EXPERIENCE NOW! Tickets are extremely limited and will sell out very quickly.
Delusion sits at the top of the pyramid of haunted experiences in a region filled with high quality options. One part show, one part haunt, and one part special effects spectacular, Delusion is the most well rounded haunt experience of the year. Simply TERRORific!
Have you visited Delusion? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.