How can a haunted house be under the radar in the heart of Times Square? It's Halloween weekend and you'd think everybody would be aware of all places to get your scare on. But in the case of Times Scare, the newest haunted house on the NYC block, it looks like it needs a spotlight of it's own and I'm here to do just that.
Because it's brand new, production crews have been working around the clock to get it ready. Originally slated to open Oct 13th, delays rescheduled opening night to 10/21 instead. What's unique about Times Scare is the fact it will be a YEAR ROUND haunted house. You read that right. I believe this is the first of it's kind in NYC and it's in a perfect place to get tourists tantalized for a quick scare. What's also kinda cool is that it's themed with John Carpenter's classic movie Halloween and as one of my favorite movies I couldn't be more thrilled to enter Haddonfield mental hospital to meet the loonies and the crazies....and of course Michael, the king of slashers.
In addition to the haunted house, Times Scare has 2 bars: The Kill Room and The Lounge. I didn't get my drink on, but drinking some liquid courage before some scares is always a good way to start off a haunted night. If that wasn't enough, Times Scare also has a live magic show called Shock Illusion starring Dan Sperry. Think Criss Angel meets Tim Burton. I didn't get to see the magic show but it sounds magically delicious. Hopefully I'll get to check it out at some point.
When I said Times Scare was incognito, I wasn't kidding. There was literally no line (though I think this weekend might change all that) and I was accompanied by 2 girls who seem a little nervous about meeting Michael. I explained to them I was a blogger who reviewed HH's and they put me defacto in charge of our 3 person group. "You go first!" exclaimed one of the girls. I'm was fine with that, it's how I roll.
Times Scare starts off up some stairs and awaiting you is a large metal door opens where loud clanging and clamoring of unseen asylum patients greets you. You start off checking in with a very dreary nurse for Haddonfield Memorial Hospital. Once you're explained the rules, you run through the halls for the mentally insane. Crazies, weirdos, nutzoids are all jumping for help and in the process, making you jump as well. You'll also get to meet the hospital staff from dazed nurses to mad doctors. As you chug along, you visit the confines of Haddonfield hospital where patients all seem a little off (or should I say they were off-ed). One nurse gave me a shot as she said "I looked ill". And I'll admit the nurses were kinda hotties even though they seemed to not be able to direct you where you should go (just point me in the right direction!) They all had that stoned look on their face and some victims screamed in pain from what seemed to be kitchen knife stab wounds....who could have done such a thing???
What grabbed my eye is the sets in each room. The rooms were very well done. Some stuff seem unfinished but it's probably due to the rush to get this all live. Faux mental hospital doors, caged bars and what seemed to look like a working operating room were very awesome. I was very impressed by some impromptu surgery and the level of gore and splatter. Times Scare is the brainchild of Jason Egan who is the man behind Fright Dome, a haunt central in Las Vegas. So it's no surprise that high tech wizardry and Hollywood worthy productions are top notch here.
As you move along, you make your way through the different rooms each detailing a part of Michael's childhood. It seems his mom has decided to feed Mike some spaghetti worms which made me kinda hungry (I hadn't had dinner yet when I went) As I trudged along I kept asking the characters "Where's Michael?" They didn't answer me but I got the feeling I was going to meet the man himself.
This is when the fun happens. I enter a dark room and I see a silhouette of "The Shape". It's eerie but I get the feeling I'm being stalked. As I now enter the hospital portion, I check what's behind me and I see the man himself. His trademark jumpsuit, the modified white William Shatner mask and a very large butcher knife. He really was stalking me!
This is where my group decides that they can scream louder than the actors. I can't stress enough that I've been so jaded by HH's that my scare-o-meter hovers around 3 or 4 these days. But these strange girls I was with were freaking out like crazy. At one point, one of the girls yelled "Let me out of here! I gotta go pee!" As we walked along they would grab on to me and push me into the next room. If you're a reader of my other reviews, I usually go through each room at a snail's pace to examine the detailed sets and interact with the characters. It's why haunted houses are my bag. I like admiring and talking within them. But I'm being shoved to go first into each room. I just became their shield.
Tight dark squeezes come into play which I liked and a hospital visit is never complete without a visit to the morgue. Body bags, wiry rooms and a whole lot of dead people on the floor (or are they not dead at all?)
As you go from room to room, The Shape seems to have the uncanny ability to get ahead of you and get in your way. It's not until you get to an ambulance where my final confrontation with Michael happens. Michael comes up to me, does that funny tilt head thing and I shout "I'm not scared of you!!! Danielle Harris beat your ass!" He is not amused and instead searches for the hysterical girls in my group.
I clearly haven't detailed every room in this review but all the rooms were fun in their own right. I did get lost towards the end as there was an exit that was clearly visible but it wasn't made clear to me that that was the way out. A few gripes were the actors didn't help in directing me to where I should go. (though I could have been doing that myself) Some of the Yelp reviews gave negative reviews as the initial run through was a bit messy. After a week of being open, they seemed to have worked out some of the kinks but a few things were a bit unfinished. I'd also say the actors did a decent job but I would have had them act out scenes from either the movie or interact with you and thus distracting you from seeing Michael as he stalked you.
That clearly was the best part. Seeing shadowy figures and seeing Michael stand behind you is phenomenal stuff for a Halloween fan like myself. I'd have kept doing that and milk the shit out of the fact Michael Myers was hot on your tail.
Times Scare is a fitting homage to Halloween that Moustapha Akkad would be proud of. It's like walking through Halloween scene snippets and embodying your own Jamie Lee Curtis. You have to role play a bit in a way where when Michael shows up and I had fun acting as a "scared victim". But if you inner your final guy/girl, you'll make it out of there with some fun memories of being in Haddonfield and surviving the night.
- Times Scare New York is located at 669 8th Avenue (on the corner of 42nd and 8th)
- Tickets cost $24.95 for a general haunt pass ($39.95 for a VIP Fast Pass)
- Check out the official site
- Check out the Facebook page
- Follow Times Scare on their Twitter page
- Check out the video below!
Did you like or dislike Times Scare NYC? Share your thoughts below in the comments!