The Purge: Fear the Night got a jump on the Halloween 2013 competition, with preview performances on September 26 and 27; unfortunately, initial reaction from customers was overwhelmingly negative. Blumhouse Productions has since delayed press night from October 3 to October 10, offered refunds to those disappointed by the opening weekend, and promised to revamp the show.
Judging from the reviews at Yelp.com, The Purge: Fear the Night got off to a good start, with a maze on the ground floor of the Variety Arts Building in downtown Los Angeles, but then the experience fell apart as visitors were left on their own to follow characters through several floors of the building. The free-form approach left customers wandering around, waiting for something to happen or feeling as if they missed the point of scenes because they arrived in the middle - not a very satisfying for someone who had just paid $65 for a unique, interactive Halloween horror show. (Update: Tickets prices have since been lowered to $39-45 when purchased in advance.)
Why Blumhouse Productions decided to rebrand their Halloween haunt - which made its debut in 2012 as the Blumhouse of Horrors - is a bit of a mystery.The Blumhouse of Horrors got off to a shaky start on preview night, but then greatly improved, establishing itself as probably the best new haunt of Halloween 2012. Retaining last year's strengths instead of starting over from scratch might have gotten this year's attraction off to a stronger start.
Hopefully, history will repeat itself, and The Purge: Fear the Night, like the Blumhouse of Horrors, will get improve as the Halloween season goes on.
The Purge: Fear the Night continues at the Variety Arts Theatre (940 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017) on October 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26, 29-31, and November 1-2. Get more info at their website.
UPDATE: Hollywood Gothique received this response from Robert Hemedes via Facebook:
I went there on opening night and it was a disaster. The beginning was similar to Black Out but also reminded me of the final scenes of the movie Zero Dark Thirty. After that it was downhill. They take you to a lobby where there are 3 floors for you to explore on an semi open ended story. The problem is they don't tell you to explore - you just have to figure it out on your own or you get impatient and start asking to leave and that's when they tell you to explore. They are trying to copy the place in NYC where you run around the building trying to catch the actors performing scenes, but in this case it was such a total failure. The ending climactic scene also had much left to desire.