NYC Halloween Haunted House 2010

115 W. 27th St, Ground Floor

New York, NY 10001



***My experience of

NYC Halloween Haunted House

as best as I can remember it due to the terror and disorientation that was experienced.***


I took a deep breath in hopes of slowing my pounding heart beat. My eyes closed in the dark waiting area and I silently repeated the promise I made to myself on the subway ride here:

 “I am a bad ass little blonde chick that went to the scariest haunted house in Manhattan all by herself. I will not get scared and I will make it through this haunted house no matter what.”

Suddenly the white plastic drape was shoved aside and a man barked orders at me and the girl behind me. “You and you.” We followed the man as he led us into a dark room with a partly visible strobe light. “Don’t move.” he warned. He approached and while shining a small flashlight in our eyes gave us each a surgical mask to put on. Without moving the tiny blinding light he asked us where we had heard about this, if we had epilepsy, and if we understood the rules. We answered and then both were shoved into a small holding room.

The holding room was a small square space closed off with curtains. The strobe light blared and the space filled with fog. Each minute became more disorienting until my brain started to play tricks on me. The fog swirled in the dim light creating patterns and designs like a hallucinogen. Suddenly the curtain moved and the girl next to me was gone. I waited several more minutes and then the man came for me. He led me to an entry way. He flashed the small light inside, illuminating twine like ropes running horizontally across the wall. The ropes were all I had to lead myself through the dark. “Are you ready?,” he asked. As the affirmative response left my lips I was being shoved toward the ropes. I grabbed on tightly and made my way inch by inch into the pitch black tunnel.

One hand over the other my hands followed the ropes. I reached forward and my next handful of rope was a handful of warm fingers. With remarkable speed there was a body behind me holding me still while the fingers ahead of me became strong arms that wrapped around me and with great force moved me into a larger space. The strong arms sat me down in a chair and told me not to move. I sat in darkness listening to white noise for what felt like 5 min. Every once in a while I felt a hand lightly brush past my cheek or shoulder. Then I realized something was lifting the pant leg of my jeans. Panic froze me to the chair and what felt like a mouth lightly licked and bit my ankle.

The strong arms returned and led me to a place on the floor. I was instructed to kneel and crawl. I tried to follow the path but it became invisible as I weaved back and forth smashing into the sides and people within the claustrophobic tunnel. Something grabbed my ankle and someone poked me in the eye as I crashed off the path. I reminded myself to follow the directions and watch where I was going. There were rules for a reason.

When the tunnel ended there was some light and I was directed to go down a flight of stairs into a dank basement. Waiting at the bottom of the stairs was a slight young woman in a floral dress somewhere between crazed and dead. She walked delicately around me and turned me to face a broken mirror. She brushed my long blonde hair from my face and placed a piece of masking tape on each of my earlobes. She smiled with contentment and then reached her hand under her dress and pulled out a bloody finger that she used to paint bright red cheeks onto my surgical mask. Then she pushed me toward the nearby door.

I wandered into the dimly lit room and found what appeared to be a girl from a mental institution wearing a hospital gown and sound blocking ear muffs. She led me to a chair and then tried to wipe off some of the recently applied blood rouge. Next she turned the chair around and placed the sound blocking ear muffs on my head and then removed my left shoe and sock.

(After this point I can’t be exactly sure of the order of events but I will do my best to guess the order of how things happened.) 

I arrived in the next room deaf from the sound blocking ear muffs that were still on my head. I was pushed into a corner and told to kneel on the cold cement floor. My arms were bound tightly behind my back and a cloth bag was placed over my head. My captor rubbed his hands and face against the outside of the cloth bag and around my very sensitive neck. It was at this moment that I seriously considered calling out the safety word to have it all stop. Instead I repeated my promise.

“I am a bad ass little blonde chick that went to the scariest haunted house in Manhattan all by herself. I will not get scared and I will make it through this haunted house no matter what.”

I centered myself and endured the moment, wondering how I would respond to this treatment if my captor really intended to harm me. I waited, listening to the labored breathing trapped against my face by the surgical mask when my captor ordered me to scream.

When I was released I found myself walking down a long hallway covered in used condoms. I had no choice but to place my bare foot onto the cold, moist slippery prophylactic paved path.

At the end of the path I met a crazed man who grabbed me and pinned my arms behind my back. He lifted my sweatshirt to reveal my stomach and then held a manual staple gun up to my exposed flesh. The terror brought by the brandished weapon dissipated as the gun discharged and delivered no pain or staples. Escaping the man’s crazed grasp I rushed to next room where I stopped dead in my tracks.

The room was littered with missing left shoes. In the corner of the room was a makeshift bed and climbing off of the bed was an athletic black man who was completely naked. Frozen in shock I had to force myself to follow the man’s instructions which went against my every instinct. As I laid down on the stained mattress I realized I was lying down next to a pasty white corpse-like naked woman. The naked man ran around the room and came back with my left shoe and wiped a clear substance on it. He kneeled next to the bed and the naked dead woman came to life with a guttural noise. She rolled on top of me for a few seconds before rolling back to her original position. Horrified and confused I stumbled to my feet as the naked man thrust my shoe at me and yelled, “Take your shoe and get out!”

I left the room and found myself being ordered into a bathroom to wash my hands. The door slammed behind me as I searched for soap. With no soap to be found I coated my hands in the faucet’s cold water until the bathroom door was thrown back open. I felt a hand on my back and the pressure shot me forward as a voice yelled for me to get out of his house.

I ran into the lobby and the nightmare was over. Surrounded by survivors, new victims, and those hoping for cancellation tickets, I removed my surgical mask and found my coat and tried to make sense of what I had just experienced.

On the walk to meet my fiance at a nearby restaurant, I felt a surge of adrenaline. I had triumphed over the most terrifying haunted house in Manhattan. I thought about my promise and smiled.



I attended 5 of NYC’s  Haunted Houses this season and this was the only one that was truly terrifying. I left feeling like I had just survived an abduction. I felt a little dirty and some of the things I encountered seemed to cross a line, but crossing that line is how the Vortex Theater’s Halloween Haunted House achieves the skin crawling result that so many other haunted houses fail to inspire. NYC Halloween Haunted House is certainly not for everyone, but those looking for a concentrated Halloween adrenaline rush will find this more than fits the bill.

Keep an eye on their website for information about their ‘invitation only’ Midsummer Nightmare in June 2011 and for next October’s 

NYC Halloween Haunted House


Read My Reviews of Other Blackout Haunted House Events:


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