2014 Halloween Haunt Award Nominees: Best Interactive Horror Experience

As more Halloween attractions add vignettes in which characters and customers interact, the distinction becomes more nebulous between a haunted house event and an interactive experience. To some extent, all Halloween horror shows are interactive: the monster delivers the scare, and the frightened customer reacts by screaming. For the time being, however, we will stipulate that entries in this category should largely consist of action in which the audience actively participates or is asked to take initiative, instead of simply reacting helplessly to the horrors on view.

Special Note: Hollywood Gothique should, technically, abstain in this category, because we missed so many examples of the form: Sinister Pointe; Blackout; Alone; The Purge; and Trapped: and Lock and Key at Knotts Scary Farm. However, we saw a few truly good ones, which we do not want to neglect. We also saw one botched effort, the Exclusive Encounter at the Queen Mary Dark Harbor, which had a few good moments but mostly left us feeling disappointed over a good concept poorly executed. So consider what follows a list of "favorites" more than a "best of."

And the nominees ae...

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Delusion Lies Within 2014

Delusion Lies Within

Writer-director Jon Braver's horror play, set inside a real house, is a forty-minute dramatic experience that requires the audience to participate at several junctures. Your humble reporter was locked in a room and gassed; later we took the pulse of a dying woman who jumped to life, grabbing our arm. Other "volunteers" were strung up like puppets or subjected to uncomfortable sexual shenanigans. Finally, the revelation to the story's mystery requires one subject to slide face down through a dark, rocky section of the basement to where...something unpleasant awaits.

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SpecialOpsInfected-Zombies

Special Ops: Infected at Knotts Scary Farm

This is somewhat different from what we usually associate with the tag "interactive"; nevertheless, Special Ops Infected does invite audience participation, giving you a rifle and asking you to blow away the living dead as you clear Camp Snoopy. The length and duration make this a major event, and the number of zombies is overwhelming, creating a nice "Custer's Last Stand" feeling as recruits try to navigate their way to safety.

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Zombie Killhouses at Haunted Hollywood Sports

The home of the "Original Zombie Killhouse" is probably not too happy to see Knotts Scary Farm jumping on their train, but Haunted Hollywood Sports still has a thing or two they can teach the big boys. Though the number of zombies is noticeably smaller here, the setting is more appropriate, with outdoor sets suggesting an occupied war zone. Also, the cast are really into their roles, enhancing the verisimilitude of the experience with a steady stream of barked orders and deadpan one-liners.

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