Haunt offerings in the Los Angeles area have, for a long time, been mostly confined to the typical maze format, and for many years were found only in theme parks (Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios). In the past few years, however, we’ve started to see more unconventional haunts crop up in the area, including the LA Haunted Hayride, Theatre 68, and Ghost Ship. And debuting in 2011 is one of the most unique haunt formats to date: a “Haunted Play.” Delusion can be described as part haunted house, part theater, and part interactive story. Overall, it is a very unique attraction with amazing set design, good actors, and some good scares.
Delusion is located inside a Colonial-style house built in 1910 in the West Adams district in South LA. The house itself is beautiful from the outside, if a bit in need of repair, which only adds to the haunted feeling. Parking is on the street. We attended on a Wednesday night, and there were a few open parking spots, but we can imagine parking being an issue on busier weekend nights. The front of the house is lit up with eerie green lights, and fog machines and music help set the atmosphere. A brief prologue describing the back story is provided while you wait in line for your tour to begin.
Only small groups are allowed in at a time. Immediately upon entering the house, we knew from just the foyer scene that this haunt was going to be special. The lighting, furnishings, and sounds all combined to create a great atmosphere that instantly transported us back in time to 1910.
We waited in the foyer while several demented asylum patients slowly crept in and circled around us. Suddenly, Charles appeared to help us escape. He pulled us into another room and gave us more back story. The rest of the play involves trying to escape from the house without being sucked into the vortex of insanity. The play moves from room to room, up and down stairs, and finally into the basement.
Each room involves a mini-scene that helps tell the story of the Agnews Asylum and the patients within. The sets and costumes were very detailed, and everything looked right out of a period film. In addition, the house’s predefined spaces completely added to the authenticity of the experience. One of the most striking aspects of the haunt is the use of music in each scene. The music rises and falls with the action and dialogue as though you are in an actual movie.
There are a few good scares in the play. We won’t give them away, but be prepared for scares to come from all angles. Although we didn’t get too many startles, the overall feeling of the play is certainly creepy and spooky. Delusion successfully and consistently projects the feeling of something sinister lurking just around the corner—or perhaps under the bed.
Some of the transitions from room to room flowed organically, and others seemed a bit forced (e.g., the kitchen, a stark white room with a mental patient). The pacing was also a little inconsistent, as we were often urged to “go slowly,” and then immediately told to “hurry up!” We also thought that the finale could be reworked a little to deliver a bigger punch. However, we want to point out that we attended on opening night, and we know they were still working out the kinks. These are very minor issues, because overall, we thought Delusion was excellent. We were really impressed with the story they managed to tell in the time allotted and especially with the detail of the scenes and amazing stunts.
Haunted Play Presents Delusion is a very unique haunt combining theatrics and scares. If you’re tired of being startled by people in masks with shaker cans, we highly recommend checking out this one-of-a-kind haunt offering.
Haunt Design: 5 skulls
Scare Factor: 4 skulls
Overall Rating for Delusion: 4.5 Skulls