amongst others, here are a few of our favorites...
THE NEW YORK TIMES:
‘the extreme theater event of the year.”
Going through Blackout dredges up feelings of horror, but it’s also giving empathy to go along with it. Blackout isn’t strictly a virtual reality experience, but it’s a window into what might be to come. It offers a glimpse at what we can expect as “immersive” becomes an entertainment option that’s democratized and removed from specific places or means. This is the train coming at the audience. And it’s not asking us if we’re ready. It’s shouting in our ears until we listen."
LOS ANGELES TIMES:
"Is it theater, performance art, mixed-media set design or just a dastardly escalation of Halloween thrill-seeking? All of these...as demented theatrical thrills go, they're virtuosically unsettling...Without giving anything away, Blackout is in many ways a haunted house in reverse. Much of the scariest time in there is spent alone, in the dark, while nothing happens. It's a kind of horror-jujitsu; the venue turns your mind against you. Whatever you walk in there being afraid of -- that's what's lurking in the house's imagined dark recesses."
“Often, theater companies seek out coverage in newspapers. Not this show. This show had to be tracked down. The entire Chicago run sold out in less than three hours... even though the performance lasts only 20 minutes. There are people flying into town from all over the country, just for that 20 minutes, which you must experience alone. An intense experience that sounds partly like being hazed in an especially brutal fraternity, partly like being imprisoned and interrogated, partly like some sort of sadomasochistic experience, and partly like a heady amusement or sensual rush. Some even use the word "beautiful."
THE NEW YORK TIMES:
‘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 its greatest accomplishment is that most of the shocks take place inside your head. Giving away too much would ruin the fun, but imagine a Pinter pause dragging on for minutes, but instead of watching it from the comfort of your seat, you are living it. 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.
““Blackout: Haunted House,” a grisly evening of sado-masochism that, while right up my alley, is not for the faint of heart. Indeed, 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.
WALL STREET JOURNAL:
“The Blackout Haunted House reside(s) in a league of its own. The Michelangelo and da Vinci behind the experience are Josh Randall, a theatrical producer, and Kristjan Thor, a director. I don't feel as if I jeopardized my journalistic integrity by agreeing to go off the record. Because 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. In fact, they told me I was free to write about last year's Haunted House. But that was too extreme, too. Suffice it to say it involved sexual antics, the living dead, and required audience participation.”
THE AV CLUB:
“For six years, the psychosexual, horror-art experience Blackout has earned a reputation as the most extreme haunted house in the country, with stories and Yelp reviews both scaring away and attracting horror fans."
“Extreme theater...addresses a burgeoning hunger of screen-jaded sensation seekers for "a world where we can't see the edges." That is precisely the case of Blackout Haunted House, whose creators quite literally make those edges disappear. Blackout cuts to the disturbingly powerful core of the "live theatrical event" in part by breaking most of the physical taboos of the performer-audience divide. What Blackout strives for first and foremost is eliciting a genuine and physically palpable response.
“What comes to mind when you think of a haunted house? Is it being handcuffed, water-boarded, and physically assaulted by a bunch of burly men screaming obscenities at you? Would you pay $50 for the experience? Congratulations, you are part of the elite group of thrill-seekers that have kept New York’s most infamous Halloween spectacle, Blackout Haunted House, up and running for the past five years.”