Monday, September 30, 2013

The Purge: Fear the Night I Think We Have Some Miscommunication

The Purge: Fear the Night
Sept. 27- Nov 2 Variety Arts Theater, located at 940 S. Figueroa St
Held Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with expanded showtimes during Halloween week.
Eight arrival times per evening: 7:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m., 10:15 p.m., 10:30 p.m., 10:45 p.m. Audience members must attend their ticketed time.
Tickets: $65

(Do not use the lot right next door, Joe's 934. The parking attendant never showed up when I arrived. Just go past the next light on Figueroa and pay two bucks cheaper at the inside lot.)

(Update: I've read from Purge PR that the event will change from what I experienced in its first weekend open. It's taking from what fans commented on after they attended the event. I'm glad the Purge has listened to its fans and is making changes.)

(Update 2: The Creepy LA blog found out all the bad news from the early reviews too. It got word from the events spokesman that a major change will go down. Free-roaming is gone and now you will be directed where to go. Those who attended and voiced their concerns on Yelp were supposedly given full refunds and asked to try out the event again for free. This greatly changes what will happen on new experiences. I'll have another update or new article on the event when the new reviews come in or if I have a chance to try it out again.)

(Still, don't use that crappy parking lot nearby, Joe's 934 go past the light on Figueroa and pay a cheaper amount)

America is our country.

It's not a haunted house.

The Purge: Fear the Night is an interactive play. The interactive play is based on the horror/thriller film The Purge. In the film, sometime in America's future or an alternative America, 12 hours of legal free crime is allowed once a year including murder or whatever floats your boat named The Purge. Roaming gangs in masks go about hurting people for kicks. The Purge was created by  a new American government called The Founding Fathers. This interactive play has no ties to the films main cast or story, but is set in that world.

Many of the attendees did not understand this, nor were informed of it. In my journey through I explained the concept to a friendly couple who thought it was Blackout. Blackout is a separate haunt event and experience that will take place at the same location later in October.

The Purge story and rules are very crucial to understand what is unfolding around you and they are never explained. I know the story from seeing the film, but going into the event there is no reminder of this and I had to explain it to others, not just the Blackout couple.

"But you don't need to see the movie, which works under the premise that crime is legal once a year for 12 hours, to understand the haunted house."

LA Weekly's preview article couldn't be more wrong, it's not even technically a haunted house.

As a fellow Purger pointed out, you come up with whatever name for someone who attends the event, it felt almost like BioShock. In the concept, not in the underwater scares.

Wouldn't a Bioshock maze be great in Queen Mary's Dark Harbor, I've thought of this before.

BioShock is a videogame series taking place is a dsytopian underwater city with a 1950's aesthetic. Anyway, The Purge is more of a what-if time-line scenario showing a frightful future for America without monsters, just sick people.

Good point here. Halloween clothes are a bad idea, Fourth of July stuff makes more sense. It's very patriotic themed in their.

See, explaining this has already been way too complicated. The backstory should be explain  to you at the start of the event in some sort of thoughtful manner and it has plenty of chances too get out there and doesn't.

I haven't even gotten to my experience yet. The start of The Purge: Fear the Night is fine, I don't want to ruin it for you, but you'll be tossed into the world fast, so fast you won't learning anything, but it does immerse you into The Purge going on.

I started out in a sort of fun, playful processing center making fun of airline security and for some that was the best part. I talked to a few groups afterward and had some consensus with them of what worked and didn't, more on that later. One by one you go through security check process, no rush.

After some very fun initial chaos that has you running for your life you're transported to a bar area and the night begins. Now I'm going to have to explain this second act concept further. I will have a breakdown at the end.

In the bar area

*It's a real bar, yes you can drink, only in the bar area. It cost real money, bring cash. You can't take any drink out of the area, even water.

In the bar area the rest of the story unfolds by you following different role players. You can follow them on their different adventures during what happens during The Purge. The stories all intertwine and take place over three floors. Each character handles the night differently and has settles to score. The do settle them by murdering each other in front of you.

I saw a delightful murder in the Liberty Park area.

The floors aren't just part of a Founding Father's Party at some swanky hotel, but different places to get a full view on Purge night. They include a torture area, Liberty Park, hospital and other locales.

Liberty Park might be the most creative as your presented with an outside park and you may don a mask yourself to feel like one of the roving gang members out for Purge blood. It makes you feel less active and turns it more into a sightseeing or walking play? I've never experienced anything like it. The only thing the comes close is weird art shows.

*You don't get to keep the masks.
Murder sequences are fun little vignettes reminding you anyone can go on purge night. You can only watch what unfolds there's no other interaction from you. My delightful murder involved a dragged out squabble in the park area leaving one of the role players dead.

Some moments were up for standing ovation or at least some laughs. Mr. President! The ending brought together everyone as a group, which in itself was kind of inspiring seeing everyone in one place after seeing murders all night for one final act.

Problems are stacked up though. You have to choose which role player to stick with as they might be boring or not do anything for some time. That means while I was following one role player, somewhere another part of the story was unfolding. The audience is a ghost who can't change the fate of the play nor has an active role pass the start. Multiple attendees can cause crowding when murders or major moments occur.

The actors, props and sets are all well crafted. However, the timing, amount of space and crowds and overall concept are too much to deal with.

A missed opportunity was with a text message service you can activate during your purge. It's never told to you to activate it, I'll give you a hint, it's under your nose. This service is used once. Why even include it? It could have given more hints or had those following it discover something that other group members don't. In the end it wasn't that important.

I miss the preppy college kid, slicked-back hair character from The Purge Scare Zone at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. There's a lack of a similar character from the film. He was such a great character you loved to hate.

Suggested by groups leaving the event, why not an Insidious Haunted House instead?

Some bad marks for the murders, the team behind this can make these deaths a lot more horrible. There's a scene in a hospital where a few blood packs could have made someone's death more fun to watch. If I'm going to see brutal violence, I want mine over-the-top.

Here's the breakdown
-The Purge is a 12-hour all crime is legal event in a future or alternative USA
-After a security check and some problems you enter a Purge party
-You are in a Founding Father's party celebration for the Purge
-At the bar you meet role players and follow them
-You can follow whoever you want, whenever you want, but will be missing other role players arcs
-You can not interact with the role players except for talking to them

The Purge: Fear the Night technically isn't a Halloween haunt. Blumhouse and Vortexx Productions shot for the fifty stars on the ol' red, white and blue and missed them with too much riding on believing everyone saw the film and too much happening at once.

The general consensus outside afterwards was an expectation of a haunted house, pass the very start it was not. Most reviews on Yelp say the same thing. Good start, what did I do for two hours after?