Alex Katz, not to be confused with the famous painter, basically did nothing in college but watch movies, write about them, and try in vain to learn computer animation. One time, he watched the long tracking shot at the end of Children of Men six times in a row. It was basically the best day of his life. He has also written three screenplays that, God willing, no one will ever be forced to read again.
You guys have possibly heard of Blackout Haunted House, which began in NYC, as the haunted house where people touch you and you might get waterboarded/have to suck on a bloody tampon. This year, Blackout expanded in Los Angeles, so I figured I HAD to check it out for myself, if only to purge years of less-than-exciting experiences at your run of the mill Halloween mazes. Suffice to say, Blackout was one of the more amazing experiences of my life, and if you're in the LA or NYC area, and there are still tickets available, you NEED to go this year, or at least next year. This is going to be a complete write up of my experience, so if you're already planning on going, there are SPOILERS all up in here.
If you're not planning on going this year, read on to check out one of the most amazing things I've ever done.
So first off, it was completely, 100% safe, except for a single moment when I was in legitimate mortal danger as a result of an accident. More on that later.
The thing was held on the second floor of a random office building in downtown that had the interior stripped bare, down to the pipes. I walked up a narrow, rapey staircase into their receiving area/ticketing place where I had to sign a waiver. Lots of black plastic curtains, grinding industrial pulsing, and screaming. Waited in line for about ten minutes, when a man shined a flashlight in my eyes and directed me into another spot. He made sure I was aware of the rules, the safety word, and made sure I wasn't epileptic or anything. When I confirmed this, he gave me a protective hospital mask, shined a light on a white line on the floor, brusquely told me to follow it, then turned off the lights and pushed me away. So I'm walking in the dark for a bit, not able to see the line, when another pair of arms grabs me and ushers me to another spot, where I waited in the dark for what felt like a really long time (couldn't have been longer than two minutes, really). As I stood there, hands brushed against the side of my face, through my hair, on my chest. At one point, someone lifted up my shirt, swabbed my arm, and pricked me with something. I was grabbed and shoved to another spot, where someone put a hood on the top half of my face, and I was subjected to more random groping. Eventually, someone grabbed me, took the hood off, and brought me to another room.
The floor was covered with plastic spoons, and there was a small Asian dude, naked save for surgical scrubs, holding a little metal bowl. He silently pointed me to sit in a chair, when I noticed in front of the chair was a TV playing a video of a bunch of people slaughtering a pig. When I sat, he took off one of my shoes and one of my socks, brushed my legs for a bit, then grabbed his metal bowl, scooping into it with a plastic spoon and jamming whatever was in there into my mouth. I didn't want to swallow it, but it tasted AWFUL. He pointed to the next room.
The next room was covered in used condoms, all over the floor. There was a woman, again naked except for scrubs and a piece of black electrical tape over her mouth. She just beckoned me to come closer and closer, not breaking eye contact with me, and getting REALLY close. Not gonna lie, it was weird and sexy. I had half a boner, which SHE knew, because she put my hands around her waist and pressed out hips into each other. Then she pushed me down to my knees and started to lift her scrubs up. Before she got anywhere with that, she pushed me all the way down and made me crawl through the used condoms to the next spot.
Then, a big dude looking like a PMC contractor grabbed me, pulled me up, and rather violently tossed me into a corner. He tied my hands and made me run in place, screaming at me to go faster and faster. Then he made me stop, got RIGHT into my ear, and told me to scream, and scream louder. After this, he tugged a plastic bag over my head, told me to get on my knees and wait. Unfortunately, between my heavy breathing because of being pumped with adrenaline and having to run, the mask wasn't letting any air in, and it was getting caught up on the plastic bag, so I was actually completely unable to breathe. I didn't want to call the safety word, because I didn't want to end my $35 experience, dammit. So I managed to tear open the bag and the mask with just my mouth and teeth, which I guess the guy noticed, because he screamed at me some more, "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?" He shouted at me to crawl, turning me all around, before tearing off the bag and shoving me into the next room.
In this one, a very cut dude was wildly fake fucking a completely motionless, naked girl on a bed, so motionless I thought she was a mannequin. He turned, saw me, and made me sit on a windowsill while he fucked the girl some more. Then, he grabbed me and tossed me onto the bed next to her. As he went to the end of the bed to grab my ankles, she suddenly screamed and jumped up, "OH GOD HELP ME, HE'S GONNA KILL ME, PLEASE HELP," so he grabbed me off the bed and sent me on to a little hallway. On the ground was a staple gun.
After a moment, a super tall, SUPER creepy looking guy moved slowly out of the curtains, madness in his eyes. He stared me down for a long while before picking up the staple gun and taunting me with it. He was about to staple me, when he grabbed my hand and shoved it on the gun's trigger, putting the business end up to his hand with a crazy look in his eye. He whispered to me, "Do it." At this point, I was so amped on adrenaline and the actual fear of death from earlier that I forgot a bit that I was in a completely controlled environment, so I got fucking angry, let out a primal scream, and stapled his hand a few times. He screamed in fake pain (the gun was clearly empty), and he stapled at me chest as he tossed me into a bathroom.
I should clarify; this was the world's filthiest bathroom. I can't tell you now what was my imagination and what was real, but everything I touched was slightly slick, and shit was caked everywhere. Then, a naked man comes in and loudly vomits into a toilet. He grabs me and tells me I've got to get the key out from the bowl, which bears a more than passing resemblance to Trainspotting's toilet. I reach in, and MAN, is the water chunky, but I grab the keys, and he picks me up and, haltingly, tells me I've got to find her, and I've got to save her. I walk through another little maze of black plastic curtains before reaching a larger open area, covered with trash and women's underwear. There's a naked woman screaming, in chains, telling me I've got to unlock her before he comes back. Fumbling with the keys, I manage to get her free, and we barrel out towards the door. Locked, of course. We run around the corner, just at what looks like the exit, when from the shadows a huge guy appears, screaming, "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU? HOW DID YOU GET INTO MY HOUSE?" The girl screams and runs away, and the guy gets RIGHT up in my face and just says, "Listen to me. You hearing me? IT'S NEVER OVER. Now GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE."
He tosses me out, and I'm back in the waiting area, my shoe and sock on the floor in front of me.
Jesus fucking Christ, it was the most intense, exhilarating experience of my life. I slept like a baby, and this morning, everything just seemed brighter and more vibrant, like I'd actually lived through a near-death experience with a series of insane people. I can't wait to go again next year.