We already know about Blood Manor and Headless Horseman, which have been terrorizing New York residents for years. But compared with the NYC haunts described in today’s New York Times, they seem like a stroll through a kiddie pumpkin patch.

The article describes the new breed of haunts cropping up in New York City: a mixture of the traditional haunted house and interactive, avant garde theater.

The Times raises an interesting point: “These intense, lovingly designed productions raise the question of whether haunted houses for adults could join video games and comic books as one of those lowbrow entertainments that slowly begin to earn respect.” We hope so. We love to see haunts going in new directions, and given the rising popularity of all things Halloween, we expect that the bar for haunts will be raised in years to come.

Scare Zone is conveniently in New York this weekend–we’re tempted (but a little nervous) to check out Vortex Theater’s haunt, which comes with this slightly disturbing warning:

NYC HALLOWEEN HAUNTED HOUSE is an intense interactive experience that lasts approximately 20 minutes/person. You don’t just walk through it – you live it. And yes, you will be touched. All patrons will be required to read our rules and sign a waiver before entering.

Here’s a video from the 2010 “Midsummer Nightmare” at the Vortex haunted house.

Midsummer Nightmare: 2010, NYC Halloween Haunted House from HauntedNYC on Vimeo.