I’m a pretty open person when it comes to trying out something new and often, I don’t read the fine print before I emphatically say, “I’m in!” So when I was offered tickets to the Haus of Creep, before I even looked into what it was, I was on board to check it out. Oh, also, I love free things. It’s why I have multiple cans of random energy drinks I will never consume in my fridge.
Here’s the thing about October: I like apple picking, flannel shirts, and color-changing leaves. (Yes, I realize this is unfortunate for someone who lives in LA). What I don’t like? Haunted houses, haunted hayrides, haunted-themed parties… you get it. I’m easily frightened, strangers creep me out, and I’m very jumpy. Ever since I was a child, I’ve found seemingly innocuous things frightening. Do you remember that kid’s show Eureka’s Castle? Terrified me.
Yet there I was, late Friday night, agreeing to enter Haus of Creep for 75-minutes for an experience, which at that point, I had an inkling was going to freak me out. Before even entering the, let’s call it, an interactive art exhibit (if only it was that simple), a lanky man who slowly drawled his words — one of the cast members — offered my friend and I the “VIP experience” if we just traded him our identities. We politely declined.
Upon entering, we were encouraged to interact with the cast of characters and to remember, the art is alive. Another cast member, an effeminate man dressed in a pink beret with bright lipstick on, led us into the exhibit. He encouraged us to peak through the “glory holes” in the wall, to which I saw a woman dressed in black leather and chains applying makeup and a man’s penis front and center. The man in the beret had a Japanese fan that he flicked open as we peeked in the glory holes, causing me to physically jump. I was too afraid to keep looking, for fear that someone might come up behind me.
Early into the evening, the guests are introduced to the live art — depraved-looking men and women who all seem like they belong in a mental institution. Then, the cast pulled guests, myself included, into another room. I was told to put my back against the wall and to put on a blindfold. Logically, I knew it was all a game but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I might have a panic attack. After my eyes were covered, I was walked somewhere, as various hands touched me and people hissed into my ears. I was then told to sit down. I sat, for what felt like forever, wondering what was going to happen next and if I could call a TO and take my blindfold off. I was then told to remove it and realized I was in a room with several other people, about to witness a very disturbing puppet show.
Afterward, I was free to roam, yet I had been separated from my friend and was fearful I’d have to go at this alone. Luckily, we rendezvoused at the bar, where I happily welcomed some wine in hopes it would calm my nerves. Still a wuss (no matter how many times I repeated to myself “they’re just struggling actors”), I tried to lay low, and avoid making eye contact with any of the “live art” or other cast members.
I passed by guests having one-on-one interactions with the “art” in small, confined spaces, and others that were being led around like dogs with black S&M collars around their necks. Upon finding my friend, we joined another group of guests sitting at an eery birthday party set-up hosted by a demonic clown.
Throughout the interactive experience, a story is being told. It’s a dark, twisted one, that ends in murder. I won’t spoil it for you, in case you dare to attend. The more you engage with the cast, the more you can figure out the plot unfolding around you. I had one man tell me he was an artist (and also, initially asked me if I had any cocaine), and then whisper, uncomfortably close in my ear, what his vision for this exhibit was.
Later, the insane artist and I met again. He asked me to draw something upon his canvas. I drew my go-to, an adorable puppy, and he emphatically got up, grabbing my hand and drawing, exclaiming that I had done something pure, and genuine: real art! However, another woman who seemed to be running this f*cked up art gallery, fearfully looked at me, screaming, “Do you know what you’ve done!” “Now they own you!” At this point in the evening, with about 20 minutes left, I had finally leaned into the immersive show that I was a part of, and my overriding fear had simmered. Was I having, dare I say it, fun?
If you enjoy the feeling of being creeped out, as the name implies, this is the place for you. You can’t take photos inside and it’s probably for the best. You really need to see it, live it, and be physically touched by it to really get it. So if you’re brave enough, see what it’s all about here. And I must say, bravo to the cast. They really commit to their roles! Sure as hell creeped me out!