By Edward Kliszus
Tonight was Psycho Clan and ETR Ventures’ Nightmare Dollhouse. Billed as “a theatrical immersive horror experience,” the tour began with words of warning from a creepy clown. He growled instructions about guest behavior, and if one couldn’t face a ghoul, one had only to ask to be escorted out to safety. The trip through the eerie anterooms of this hauntingly spooky immersive theater event was not for the faint of heart, and with trepidation, guests entered each room.
The creepy doll-themed event sent shivers down spines, horrible horripilations indeed! The event was staged in an old building in New York’s Lower East Side. One inched through the dimly lit rooms while walking or crawling through creepy spaces. Strange artifacts, surprises, and spine-tingling antics by weird characters made the heart race. I’ll not give it all away, but my favorite may have been sticking needles in a voodoo doll as the victim squirmed, or wait, perhaps I enjoyed drinking from a child’s make-believe haunted tea set as I was offered a ‘biscuit’ shaped like a giant cockroach.
Unsettling dolls were perched on shelves, glass cabinets, and tables. Players were dressed in creepy doll costumes, with all too many glassy eyes glued on patrons. With their lifeless expressions, an increasing sense of unease grew as one moved from room to room.
But do not let your guard down. Every corner presents an opportunity for a frightening surprise, and every sound or movement will likely make you jump. All you can do is brace yourself for thrills and chills. By the end of this unforgettable experience, you’ll be haunted by the creepy dolls’ memories for a long time.
Nightmare Dollhouse was great fun with charming, passionate actors, beautiful costumes, clever props, many surprises, and scary lighting. Groups of 3-6 people generally enter together, but some bold patrons go in alone. The show is about 25 minutes, and you’ll leave wanting more!
Artistic – Psycho Clan Members
Timothy Haskell, Writer and Director
Paul Smithyman, Production Designer
Zoe Stanton-Savitz, Sound Design
Yang Yu, Lighting Design
Brynne Oster-Bainnson, Costume Design
Charnelle Crick, Video
Teatro SEA at The Clemente
107 Suffolk St.
New York NY 10022
Limited engagement runs October 13 – 31.
Runtime about 25 minutes, and shows run hourly from 6 or 6:15 to 10 p.m. (I’ve heard the show can run as late as 11:30 p.m.)
For info and tickets, go to https://nightmarenyc.com.
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