As an avid horror enthusiast, I was elated when given the opportunity to experience Delusion: Lies Within, the interactive horror theatre experience at the Fitzgerald Mansion in Los Angeles. This play immerses the audience into a mysterious storyline and setting that digs deep into the human psyche in order to create an intimate and psychologically disturbing experience.
Upon arrival, the audience receives wristbands that denote which group they are placed in. The beautiful thing about this is that group size is very limited (10 people max per showing), which allows each person to feel as though they are truly in a horror film. Such an intimate number of people to experience the play at once sets Delusion apart from all other horror events in which people are merely herded through mazes like cattle. This approach allows people to receive individual attention and remarkable psychological thrills because each actor and monster in the play is always right on cue, and the audience does not miss a thing.
As mentioned above, Delusion is an interactive play. Unlike other horror events, there are talented and devoted actors that guide the audience through the living nightmare that is Delusion. These actors have mastered the appropriate accents and mannerism for the storyline down to a tee, making this a believable experience for the audience. While some actors are horrifying monsters throughout the manor, others take on the role of narrators. These actors do a phenomenal job at narrating the premise of the story, so that the experience feels authentic for the audience.
The premise of the story is based on Elena Fitzgerald- a reclusive novelist whose daughter went missing many years prior to the beginning of the play. Once her daughter had vanished, Elena’s mind led her to believe that if she finished writing her novel, then her daughter would be returned to her. The haunting characters that Elena had created in her novels have come to life within her house, and they continue to hold her captive within until she completes the novel. All of this is brilliantly tied together with the audience by having the audience play the part of Elena’s obsessed fans that break into her manor in order to discover what had happened to their beloved author.
The setting perfectly coincides with the storyline of the play since it is a real Victorian style manor. Upon embarking on this adventure, an actor leads the audience through a large metal gate and prompts them to find a way to break into the manor. For the majority of the play, actors switch off in guiding “the fans” through the house while remaining in character and maintaining the flow of the story. In order to progress from room to room, the audience must figure out what needs to be done and complete the tasks. Each room is very different from the others in this manor, yet the way they are presented builds upon the storyline throughout the entire experience. This is not just a typical pop-out-and-startle-the-audience kind of haunted attraction; instead, the group must work together, which makes the experience so unique and deliciously terrifying.
There are so many positive things to say about Delusion. To name a few, the duration of the play is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes in length, making it worthwhile for patrons. Also, the attention to detail, both in the setting and costumes, is remarkable. There is not a hint of any budget or time cutbacks, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of the entire experience for an instant. Furthermore, upon entering the manor, the audience is asked to turn off all cellphones. Although one would hope that people would have enough common sense and respect to do this on their own, they probably wouldn’t have done so. Since the play is a piece set back in the 1940’s, it only makes sense that cellphones wouldn’t have existed! This allows everyone to get lost in the world of fantasy without having any annoying distractions. Finally, and I cannot stress this enough, Delusion was the most unique and psychologically disturbing experience I have ever had (and I say that in the best way possible).
From the mysterious atmosphere, to the hidden passages and incredible storyline, Delusion is a one-of-a-kind experience that any horror enthusiast would return to again and again.
You can find ticket and event information at the Delusion Lies Within official website.
*Image from CreepyLA