Located in a very plain North Hollywood strip mall lies a well kept secret: the Urban Death Tour of Terror. To begin everyone loves a good, scary queue during Halloween as it helps establish the pace and theme. In this particular case they work with the opposite, using the power of an unassuming line, to surprise you with the unnerving world that awaits once inside.
Upon entering, you are handed a small flashlight and sent inside by small groups. The maze is small and confined. The lack of wiggle room creates immediate tension as you can’t see anything except where you point your small source of light. In the darkness all that you can hear are a plethora of chilling sounds, made by living beings, which are more realistic and enjoyable than the trend of prerecorded audio being looped through a speaker (like Queen Mary or Universal, for example). These actors are excellent at their craft and successfully make you feel unnerved, as you turn every dark corner and are confronted face to face with very disturbing and fantastical beings.
The maze stops once you enter (and are locked) inside of Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater wherein you witness a play made up of various vignettes performed by a frightening cast of characters. It’s worth noting that their minimal use of bare bones methods (only light, sound, and acting) are very successful in creating a deeply distressed atmosphere. Since this play is extremely special and untraditional in its own right, I don’t want to spoil it with too many details, but after being to Urban Death every year since its initiation, I was happy to see that audience members are now extremely responsive to the actors. They scream, laugh, and clap – unlike previous years in which audience members just sat in shock. The actors seemed to reciprocate the audience’s engagement as the energy level rose with each consecutive performance.
As the the performance ends they line you up to exit through the maze. This time there is a new set of characters who are equally as entertaining as the previous cast.
After visiting hundreds of similar events, nothing compares to this one as it truly stands in a league of its own. Urban Death: Tour of Terror combines aspects of horror, taboo, art, and disgust that legitimately tap into a level of discomfort that other haunts might be too self-conscious to touch. The passion, dedication and imagination behind this show make it a truly original and horrific experience; which make it light years beyond mammoth attractions like Universal (who are completely constricted by their own financing and size). Tour of Terror is a truly creative horror experience and is a must visit haunt every Halloween season.
What did you think?
October 10, 2016