Article and Photos by: Scott Feinblatt
Step Right This Way, and Face the Wall!
A Portal to The Purge in Downtown LA
In our article on Haunted Hollywood Sports, we
discussed a haunt which included a participatory
element to the typical haunted attraction. The
Purge: Fear the Night allows us to continue that
trend, and it is the second in what will be a triad
of articles about haunts that involve a hands-on
approach. I will do my best to avoid spoilers in
this coverage, but I can say that this interactive
experience is based on the film
The Purge and
involves an apocalyptic socio-political world.

The world of The Purge is divided into two
factions: the New Founders and the
Constitutionalists. The New Founders are a
caricature of the Conservative Right, and a
portion of the experience is a public relations tour in which the guests (as a group) are treated to a privileged
backstage meet-and-greet event. The other portion of the experience involves being escorted or, rather, briskly
herded by the revolutionary Constitutionalists through a demented war zone.

Guests are treated as characters in the show. We are VIPs on a backstage tour; we are terrorist hostages; we
are neophytes who have joined the rebellion, etc. Producer
Jason Blum, who also produced the film (as well as
Insidious and the Universal Studios haunted attraction of the same name) performed an impressive feat
rendering this extensive tour through six floors (a total of 70,000 square feet) of the historic
Variety Arts Theater,
in Downtown Los Angeles. The sets include: rooms operated by hydraulics, a seemingly outdoor park
environment, medical facilities, a slum apartment, governmental offices, urban alleyways and many more.
In addition to being shepherded through
the attraction, both the groups and
some individuals within the groups are
engaged to participate in various
activities. There is plenty of intensity in
terms of the situations, set designs and
the energy of the performers, but
varying levels of humor and periodic
sprinklings of camp insure that genuine
insecurity and fear do not eclipse the
understanding that this is a work of
entertainment theater.

Disneyland stretched to the nether
regions of taste, the result would be The
Purge: Fear the Night. Lots of swearing,
lots of gross-outs, cartoonish political
commentary and plenty of jolts make this simulation a jolly good bit of adult fun park entertainment. It never gets
lewd, but it doesn't skimp on the gore. That being said, if you want to grab a bite at
The Original Pantry Cafe,
which is only a half block north of the theater, you should probably do it before checking out the show because
The Purge includes a hospital scene that will probably kill your appetite.