A Delusional-al Halloween haunt, Horror Rewind brings horror movies to life!
If you are going through withdrawals because Delusion: A Haunted Play is on hiatus for Halloween 2017, then the fix you need is 20th Century Fox's Horror Rewind, a new haunted house attraction in downtown Los Angeles. The interactive, immersive walk-through is essentially a shorter version of Delusion - which is no surprise, since the Delusion crew worked on it. Hollywood Gothique attended opening night on Friday the 13th.
Situated in seedy alley in a rather sketchy neighborhood, Horror Rewind generates unease with the walk from the parking lot to the location. The pavement is littered with missing person fliers; strange, colorful graffiti adorns the walls. Groups of eight enter a "gallery" to take a curated tour of a cutting-edge art exhibition. The hostess immediately announces that this is not the Getty Museum; these installations evoke the most primary of emotions, fear, by breaking down the barrier between art and audience.
What follows is four scenes inspired by Carrie, 28 Days Later, The Hills Have Eyes, and The Fly (the 1986 version). Art connoisseurs find themselves confronted by an enraged psychic girl and physically assaulted by zombies infected with the Rage Virus (yes, the monsters touch you). Characters ask for and offer help; at one point a guest must reach through jagged hole to retrieve a key from a severed arm.
Our favorite scene is based on 28 Days Later: you just can't beat the thrill of zombie hordes attacking en masse. The scene also builds to a subtly telegraphed surprise, providing a little dramatic zing in addition the swarm. Our favorite scare arrives in a subsequent scene, involving a spectacular physical stunt that arrives from a completely unexpected direction - be on the lookout in the elevator so you don't miss it.
Except for Carrie, the scenes might be hard to identify if you don't know about them going in: the deformed mutant from The Hills Have Eyes might appear to be a generic monster to art lovers too frightened to peruse carefully; the Rage zombies could as easily have been from World War Z, and we're simply assuming it was Brundlefly lurking in the rafters. No matter: whatever the source, the scares work.
One idea that doesn't quite come off is that Horror Rewind's characters are kidnap victims forced to enact these scenes. One tells us his "real" name (versus the one he has been forced to use), but Carrie really seems to be Carrie (or at least a young woman with psychic power), and the Rage Zombies are far too aggressive to be anything but willing participants. (Oh well, it wouldn't be a Hollywood Gothique review if we didn't pick a nit, right?)
An idea that does work - it is brilliant, in fact - is using a curated tour as a linking device. It's strange and surreal - and a little off-kilter - to think that these scenes are not supposed to be "real" but rather the bizarre creations of a demented artist, designed to immerse audiences in famous horror films. Whether or not that makes sense as a story point, this scenario precisely reflects the actual reality of Horror Rewind: we are quite literally walking through scenes staged specifically to immerse us in famous horror films. The only thing that could have driven the point any deeper would have been to cast Delusion's creator Jon Braver as the demented artist. (Hey, Fox - there's a free idea for you!)
If Horror Rewind were slightly longer, it would be a five-star attraction. At approximately ten minutes, this gallery of horrors is still magnificent entertainment. It may not be highbrow, but it is definitely art, and like the proverbial vaudeville act, it leaves audiences wanting more.
Fox Horror Rewind 2017 continues today and tomorrow at The Great Company in downtown L.A. (address given with ticket). Admission is free, but advance tickets are recommended, to insure entry. Register at: eventbrite.com. Fox Horror Rewind is a promotional tie-in with new DVD and Blu-ray releases of 19 horror films from the 20th Century Fox back catalog, featuring cover art by Orlando Arocena. The discs are for sale in a van in the alley outside the venue; they are also available at major retailers. Besides the films depicted in the maze, titles include Return of the Living Dead, Black Swan, Child's Play, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space.
Find more Halloween Mazes and Rides in A Halloween Haunts Master List.