Blumhouse of Horrors presents The Purge Fear the Night

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features

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Published on October 11, 2013 at 1:00 am with 11 Comments

Last Year Jason Blum, producer of such horror films as Insidious, Paranormal Activity, and The Purge, burst onto the haunt scene in Los Angeles with the fully immersive haunted house attraction called the Blumhouse of Horrors.  Situated inside the 6 story Variety Arts building, Blumhouse brought effective scares, enveloping thematics and a touch of class to the LA Haunt scene. The theatrical-like maze told the sinister story of a magician’s trick gone awry and the supernatural and sometimes gory consequences.

This premium haunt experience raised the bar for scares and storytelling in a way that is rarely seen elsewhere. Blumhouse set high expectations for the inevitable follow-up. What would Jason Blum do to top the spectacular work he had done for Blumhouse of Horrors last year?

The 2013 Haunt season brings an entirely new adventure from Blumhouse Productions, The Purge: Fear the Night. This maze was designed as a self guided walk-through themed to Blum’s The Purge film.  In that movie, we see a dystopian United States in which the government rules without question.  Once a year the elected officials lock themselves in the government headquarters while, on the outside, any and all sort of crime is legal for a 12 hour period – including murder.  Violence and chaos reign as civilization turns on itself and crime is not only permitted, but encouraged.

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The premise for The Purge: Fear the night was a good one. But after the first few previews it became apparent that the free-form haunt idea was a little too ahead of the curve for some and many guests didn’t know how to properly tour the facility to get the whole story and see all the wonderful effects.  We attended that first preview and while we were blown away by the sets, immersiveness and creative story, the action was too spread out and other guests we encountered seemed to have no clue where to find the action happening in the building or what to do. Clearly, we’ve all been trained to get in a single file line and follow a set path.  While the performances were amazing and the production values were over-the-top, it was all lost on an audience that was expecting something far more straightforward.

To their credit, Jason Blum and his crew are not in the business of delivering a shoddy product.  They wanted to create something remarkable and enjoyed by audiences.  After paying very close attention to the comments that audience members made after the first performances, Blumhouse shut the show down, rewrote 80% of the script, built brand new set pieces, and rehearsed endlessly to create a more effective piece of horror theatre. After just one week, they reopened a tighter more linear version of The Purge.

MiceChat and EVERYONE who purchased a ticket to the preview performances were invited back to experience the reworked version of The Purge: Fear the night.  Producer Dayton Miller introduced himself to us outside the venue and explained that we were actually the very first people to see this updated production.  He thanked us for coming out to give it another try and hoped that we would share our thoughts with him.  Dayton, a super nice guy, was visibly nervous.  It was apparent that there was a lot riding on this overhaul.

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We entered the lobby and were given our Government clearance badges.  All of the attendants and  government sanctioned ushers had a disturbing placidity to them as they queued up the guests for a “Security Check”.  One by one we were then sent through security, ALONE.  We won’t spoil the surprises here, but the checkpoint then lands you immediately into the middle of a government rally.

Guided to take seats in the expansive auditorium, politicians spout rhetoric and platitudes of peace and equality as the purge storms outside. A creepy, saccharine sweet glow seemed to ooze from everyone guiding the group through this disquieting calm before the storm.

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The theatre area is actually a holding spot for guests until your tour guide is ready for you.

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Soon, a guide takes us backstage to meet to meet some important government VIPs . . . and then something goes terribly wrong.  Rebels from outside the safe zone break in, take you hostage and incorporate you into their plans for a government takeover.

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This is a loud, aggressive, in-your-face, high tension horror trek from this point on.  It is also at this key point that the production separates from its previous script and becomes far more structured and guided.  Before you were allowed to wander through the building.  Now you are guided through to each specific scene as the storyline unfolds. It’s a welcome change which forces you to become part of the story instead of a hapless witness.

Coerced into the rebel band of mercenaries, you are under constant attack as you uncover the dark secrets of a sinister government. Pushed, pulled, prodded, and in some cases kidnapped and even intentionally separated from your group, visitors are now an active party of the scenes.  Being ordered to perform certain actions or complete certain tasks throughout the show. We will not get into the specifics of what guests are subjected to, but let’s just say that it is a lot of fun.

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The original version of this year’s event was a failed experiment, but it led to an admirable new version like a phoenix out of the fire. They improved what worked and fixed what didn’t. They really did the impossible in less than one short week.

They even went so far as to proactively offer full refunds to all who attended the preview weekend, also inviting them to come check out the improved version the next weekend for free.  Who else does that?  Nobody.  It was a very difficult thing to do, but also the right thing to do for their customers.

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The Purge: Fear the Night, now lives up to the standard they set last year.  An engrossing plot thrusts you into the center of the action, demanding that all visitors take part in the story as it unfolds.  This is a visceral experience that will leave your heart racing and your mind spinning.  It is a wonderful touch that the walk-through concludes with a visit to a real bar.  You may need a drink or two after surviving the Purge.

As an added benefit, The Purge Fear the Night is located just a block away from LA LIVE, which is filled with wonderful restaurants and night clubs. Make an evening of your visit to the freight-tastic haunt.

SPECIAL OFFER JUST FOR YOU

We were so impressed with The Purge that we asked if they’d be willing to offer a discount to our readers. They have two tiers of pricing: $39 per ticket for earlier visits (7:15-8 p.m. entry) and $45 for later visits (10-10:45 p.m. entry). However, MiceChat readers who use the promotion code listed below will receive an additional $5 off of the ticket price!
Simply use code MCPURGE5 when placing your order at this link: GET YOUR PURGE TICKETS HERE

 

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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11 Comments

Comments for Blumhouse of Horrors presents The Purge Fear the Night are now closed.

  1. This was a huge surprise for me and I loved it. From the moment we arrived I could tell that this was a major Hollywood production. They really use that entire building to their advantage.

    We’ve done a lot of haunts so far this year and this was as scared as I’ve been. The sets and scenes were really well done and enjoyable. Especially in retrospect. ;-)

    It was a classy touch to wrap things up in a bar. There was even a live lounge singer. Classy. I’m really looking forward to next year and highly recommend this haunt!

    • Thanks for the review Norm.

      I was part of the 10pm group on opening night (09/27) and was bewildered by the whole experience. It got to the point to where my group simply walked out after being left to wander around the building. I did leave a rather bad review on their Yelp page but never bothered to take them up on their offer to come back and experience the re-tooled production.

  2. THANK YOU for reviewing this, Micechat!

    –Tom Sinsky

  3. WOW! i love haunt season and I love interactive experiences . This looks like such a high quality event and I am amazed in the detail. IT sounds just like the movie. I will definitely be checking this out and with a micechat discount even better.

  4. Being someone who does the different haunts every year, this really intrigues me. Sometimes it takes a good review to just suck it up and try something new and different from the same old. Thanks Norm, I look forward to giving my review later this month!!

  5. Sounds awesome, Norm! And that was pretty cool of them to proactively offer refunds. Don’t see that very often.

  6. Reading this review and knowing that someone is taking the concepts of storyline, acting, set design, and choreography into a real-life, immersive entertainment like this…. that just makes me damned happy. It may be R-rated, it may be violent and scary, but when you get right down to it, from the way they are handling their problems, refunding tickets, talking to customers, revising the show (those must have been sleepless nights) and putting on not only a brave but a happy, confident game face and never, ever once blaming the customer or refusing to take the blame … well, all of those are attributes I bet you could find were common in one particular man and the company he created back in 1923. But they are rare today everywhere, and they are even more rare in the entertainment industry.

    I’m going to visit this attraction this weekend, primarily because of what Norman wrote here. It makes me believe that in an intense, hostile, violent way, I’m actually going to see some of the immersive, creating storytelling that the company we all know and love used to do. I’m intrigued to see how someone can pull this off who hasn’t been tainted by the corporate vision of what a “theme park experience” should be. This article gives me hope that maybe there actually are traditional “showmen” left in the world!

  7. I went this weekend (post re-tool), and I came away with the same feeling that I did about the movie – great concept, but not great execution.

    BIG kudos to Blumhouse for trying to fix the problems from opening weekend. They were open and honest with their customers and they handled things very professionally. Contrast this to the abysmal behavior of Ten Thrity-One Productions with Ghost Ship.

    I found the live experience of The Purge to be the same thing over and over. it became clear that the things we were ordered to do (i.e. “On your knees!”, “Hands against the wall!”) were to keep groups from bunching up, rather than to develop the story.

    In fact, the story was a disjointed mess, in my opinion.

    WARNING!!!!! The following contains massive spoilers, so skip this if you don’t want your experience to be tainted.

    The Constitutionalists (kidnappers) come out shooting in the newscast set, and they actually kill people on the set. Yet they refuse to kill anyone else during the evening – even when it means their own death.

    We are taken hostage, and are asked to “do things” that are supposed to result in the take-down of the government they despise. This is their sole intent – yet they are asking hostages to do these actions that are key to their mission’s success? They are right there in the same room with us. Why don’t they do it themselves, if it’s so important? Heck, we – the hostages – are ultimately required to destroy the central computer that runs the system. Why? The key and keycard receptacles are a foot apart. The kidnapper could easily have done the two simultaneous actions in a moment… But they want a hostage to do it?!?

    I completely understand that the purpose of this is to provide interactivity that is missing from so many haunts, but this only works when the interaction advances the plot. And in this case, the actions we are asked to perform do not advance the plot – at all.

    Plus, why the heck are we even taken hostage in the first place? For what purpose? From the kidnapper’s perspective, we came to an event to support the New Founders. We are the enemy as much as the people in the newsroom. Why the heck not kill us, too?

    I find it ironic that my visit coincided with a recent “Big Bang Theory” episode in which we realize that the character of Indiana Jones in fact was irrelevant to any of the Raiders movies. At “The Purge”, we play the role of Indy, because the same outcome will happen whether we are there or not.

    Contrast this to the fantastic Delusion haunt, where your interaction with the cast makes perfect sense for the most part. We are not “observers” in Delusion; we are players in the story – we just don’t know it yet. Or Sinister Pointe, where your interaction is necessary simply to escape the room you are in.

    A few more gripes about The Purge – I was the person separated from my group shortly after we are taken hostage. I was taken to a room where I was asked by a woman to be on the lookout for her husband (boyfriend?). I was shown a picture and told to tell him to go to the basement. I was then ordered out of the room – and put into an empty shower stall for the next 5 minutes, then order to face a wall for another 5 minutes. Seriously, this may have sounded neat on paper, but did absolutely zero to advance the story. It seemed to be a red herring because that person in the picture was nowhere to be found. I was inserted into the next group. They were confused to see me. It all made ZERO sense. At Delusion, I was also separated from my group for a good 15 minutes. The story was advanced for myself as well as the rest of the group. It was brilliantly executed, and made sense.

    And then there were the strippers… Can somebody please tell me what they had to do with the plot? I mean, seriously. It was the biggest WTF moment of the event.

    There were some outstanding parts of the attraction, though. The auditorium was a great way to get into the show. The “backstage” and newscast room were great. The “outdoor” area was brilliant – loved seeing those actors coming out of the woodwork, slowly advancing toward us. That was a great tension-filled climax to the event.

    I love interaction in haunts, and have been all over the country attending these events. From Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse to Scare for a Cure in Austin to Alone in Tampa to Gates of Hell in Vegas. I’ve seen a bunch. At the high end, you’ve got Delusion and Sleep no More. At the low end, The Purge.

  8. I’m curious, BrianFuchs — could you not have written what you did without giving away THE ENTIRE PLOT for those who still want to visit? That was not cool at all. Every attraction has its dissenters. I know people who don’t like Pirates of the Caribbean! But to give away everything you do in order to make your point is not fair to those who want to go see it for themselves.

    • Um, I don’t know what part of “WARNING!!!!! The following contains massive spoilers, so skip this if you don’t want your experience to be tainted.” you didn’t get?
      Could I have been any clearer? What is not cool is posting spoilers without any warning.

      Honestly, the entire plot was not given away in what I wrote. Norm pretty much stated the entire plot, as did most other sites (there’s not really all that much to the plot…) What they did not give was any of the details, although those are abundant on Yelp. I mentioned the details that were not cool and did not advance the plot.

      If you are still intrigued after reading the low points I have mentioned, then you are going to love this attraction, and will still come away surprised and delighted. By the way, at that time, I urge you to come back and enlighten me as to what the strippers had to do with the plot…

      I went to Purge wanting to love it – especially after reading how much they had changed it from the opening week. In my opinion, had they done it as a traditional haunt, it would have worked better. The interaction just served no purpose, and dragged on the story.

  9. The strippers had as much to do with the plot as the Bug’s Life bugs or the Monsters Inc. monsters have to do with California at DCA, which is zero … but they’re there for fun. It seems to me most reviews I’ve read are more in line with Norm’s than yours. Everyone gets to have his or her own opinion. I just think you could have stated all of your objections without giving away all the details.