Have I felt fear? I have been nervous and anxious. Blown away. Overjoyed, in awe. Sad. Empty. Utterly amazed. Confused, bewildered. I have burst out into laughter, I have felt transported into a different world. Urgency, empathy, shock, exhaustion. I have felt focused and aware and hyperconscious. I have ran, I have screamed, I have jumped. I have been frozen on the spot. But I have no idea whether I have felt fear, in its purest form. I just don’t know, simple as that.
Horror should feel unsafe. Distressing. Unexpected. I want to be challenged, exhilarated, jolted, disgusted, disturbed and violated. I want to be taken out of my comfort zone. I will always enjoy a campy Halloween walkthrough, for sure. But the things that stay with me? The things that linger through my mind and are always there, as a constant undertone of my daily going ons? The things that leave their mark, imprinted, forever with me? They are situated somewhere on this vast, continuous plane between fear, confusion, beauty and mystery. Immersive experiences with art on one end, and pure terror on the other. That is my mission statement, if you’ll excuse me for calling it that. I have a thousand reasons why I love getting scared, and I still can’t really put my finger on it. This site might just be some kind of self-reflective, cathartic thing for me to do after living through these horror experiences. But we are at the breaching point, where immersive theatre, art and horror will melt into one. It’s an ongoing thing, right now, happening in Los Angeles, and in a couple of other places. Sooner rather than later, Europe will get a taste, and I intend to be right there, jumping in without ever knowing where I’ll land.
This is not a review site, per se. I have long come to the conclusion I won’t be able to visit every single scare attraction, and that never was my intention. This site is me, visiting the shows that manage to intrigue me, manage to entice my curiosity. And afterwards, I share an insight. A sketch through blurred glasses. Don’t expect the full experience, I offer merely a hint of what it felt like. My only motivation is that maybe I can convince a few people to take a step in the unknown themselves.
As of yet, I want to specifically mention a couple of experiences that were able to give me exactly what I wanted to find. They immersed me in worlds I didn’t know existed. They knocked me off my feet. I shared them with people that are forever in my heart now.
For a rundown of all the events we have visited, check out our ever-growing list of reviews. Apart from that, we have a Facebook page – where I’ll share stories from other people, about horror experiences that really blew my mind, in terms of scope, originality, subject matter, how far they took it, …
How it all started:
I am Mathias, a 29-year-old from Belgium. I visited my first live action horror maze when I was fourteen, during Walibi Holland’s Fright Nights. Years later, in 2010, I did my second one, Death Trap, a year-round zombie maze near the London Eye. It was an experience that kept me and my friend talking for the rest of the day, how we would build our own maze if we had an unlimited budget, the perfect buildup of tension, … Finally, in 2013, I visited Alton Towers’ Scarefest, including the extreme after hours version of The Sanctuary. All alone in that madhouse, chased and grabbed by different actors – it was this experience in particular that got me hooked, and I’ve been trying to visit as many horror experiences as possible ever since.
Cracked was a new milestone. It was the first truly extreme experience I went through, and it changed everything. I will always enjoy a good haunted house – but my attention is turning ever more in the direction of immersive, personal experiences. Not situations you walk through, while stuff happens around you. No, everything is directly happening to you. You are not merely a spectator. You are part of it, and you will have to interact with the experience directly to make it out the other end. It is the ultimate form of escapism.