Steampunk Haunted House
Abrons Arts Center
466 Grand St.
New York, NY 10002

Tickets: $20-$25
Click Here to buy tickets.
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**SPOILER ALERT: This review contains details of this year’s performance***
Last night I experienced Steampunk Haunted House. I LOVE the Victorian era. I LOVE the idea of a haunted house with no gore and no blood. And I LOVE old theatres. My interests made a trip to Steampunk Haunted House an obvious addition to my Halloween festivities.
Steampunk Haunted House at Abrons Arts Center takes place within a historic theatre that was built in 1915. The space is gorgeous. An unbelievably unique and creepy setting with tunnel like hallways, winding staircases and 3 floors to wander through.

Your 25 minute journey begins in a group. Everyone is given a lantern to see their way and then led inside the dimly lit space . One by one performers offer each member of the group a rope and then lead them away to a location somewhere in the house’s 3 floors.

I found myself on the second floor of the house. After the performer leads you to a location they leave you alone and you are free to explore. I wandered from room to room watching the different performers in Victorian garb milling about all absorbed in their own dream like state. You are encouraged to follow one character and experience their journey through the house, a “choose your own adventure,” as they called it.
This is not a traditional haunted attraction by any means. I did not find the Victorian characters, the loud mechanical noises, or the incessant singing of Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer” scary at all. The whole production was more like performance art meets art installation than a haunted house.  Choosing your own path through the house was an interesting spin on traditional walk through houses, but after 10 minutes it began to feel repetitive.

 

I appreciate the experience that Steampunk Haunted House provides, but I couldn’t help but imagine how that incredible space could have been used better. All that dimly lit Victorian architecture would be the perfect setting for a truly interactive Victorian haunted house with inhabitants that burst out from hidden spaces and improvise conversations with their guests and let them in on their fear or insanity. I can only hope that next year Steampunk Haunted House will let their audience play an active role in their living nightmare.


A Connoisseur's Compendium of Haunted House Reviews, Victorian Horror, and All Things Dark and Macabre.