The Southern California area is known for it’s collection of haunts: Hollywood Horror Nights, Fright Fest, Dark Harbor, Knott’s Scary Farm, Haunted Hayride, it’s hard to stand out. There is one that stands out above the rest for it’s attention to detail and immersion though. Delusion, the brainchild of Jon Braver. The event which started in 2011, continues in 2021. Housed in a mansion in the heart of Pomona, California, this event will transport you to a place you’ve never been before. Each year has a different theme, and this one is Reaper’s Remorse.
Here’s the synopsis and description of this year’s event from their website:
There are some dead that won’t let go. Clutching to this world by whatever threads they can find. Pretty red shoes. A shotgun. A loved one left behind. And although these strands of life can be as innocent as a child’s toy… everything has its price. A price only Esther Phillips can afford.
She lives alone. A solemn collector surrounded by artifacts that not only tell tales, but carry the very souls they’re tied to. An ethereal prison of those unwilling to let go.
Esther’s latest acquisition may be her greatest yet… if she would only go near. Fear, anger and regret bleed from it. Things decay, but memories can linger.
A rare invitation has been extended to you, fellow lovers of the occult. An exclusive evening to play your part in the haunting and epic story of Esther Phillips.
There are some dead that won’t let go, and there are others that must make them.
Before The Show Is Just As Immersive As During
You enter the Phillips mansion and are immediately transported to a world similar to ours, but also vastly different. Fog machines fill the hallways and after signing in with a host, you are free to peruse the downstairs section of the house, a bar, and more. If you pay for the VIP upgrade, Esther’s private collection and another private bar awaits you upstairs. The house is decorated masterfully and notes about the story of the upcoming experience are everywhere.
That’s the beauty of Delusion, is that you can choose how immersed you’d like to get. You can show up early, grab a drink and read all the various notes and clues around the house. If not, you can show up and just get on with the show once your group’s time is called. Outside, you can find restrooms, and an area with food and drinks. I tried the flatbread, which was great to have right after my show was over.
The mansion has plenty of great spots to take pictures and you can take pictures inside, but once your group is called, that phone goes away. I chose to check my phone and other possessions with the coat room to fully immerse myself in the experience.
This Is A Show/Experience/Horror Like You’ve Never Seen Before
Without spoiling the story of the interactive events of the show, this is nothing like you’ve ever experienced before. You’re greeted by Esther in the mansion, and given your orders. Then, you’re led by the Caretaker outside. From here, it’s all immersion all the time. There are frights, practical effects, actors, interactive sections, someone gets shot, an old-style television, ghosts, ghouls, dolls, and much more.
The beauty of the whole thing is that it’s really up to you. Another question that gets asked is “how scary is this?”. Their website even has an FAQ section devoted to it. The level of fright is determined by you. On the base level, it’s a thrilling experience that’ll make your heart pound. There are some sections that are more tense than others. But it’s up to you to feel like you’re actually doing this event.
There were two people in the group that I went in, that were far too cool for school, and didn’t interact. The actors are trained very well to pivot on the fly. So when they turn to someone and ask “who sent you guys?, and that person doesn’t respond, they’ll move on to someone else for answers. If they ask someone to hold something and they don’t stick out their hand, they’ll ask another person in the group. The lesson here, is if you’re paying to go to this experience, you’ll get much more out of it, if you go along with the immersion.
Interactive Theater/Maze/Escape Room/Moving Play Guides Your Night
This is an amalgamation of all the things listed above and most of all, it’s one of the best horror experiences that you can do in the Southern California area or the world for that matter. These types of experiences all feel very impersonal. You walk through a maze at Horror Nights and get scared, but there’s no personal interaction. With Delusion, you’re in a group of 10-ish people and you’re led through the story. This isn’t just a story that you’re walking through, you’re part of it. So if you’re in need of a bit more interaction with your horror, Delusion is perfect for you and your friends/family.
Delusion: Reaper’s Remorse stretches from now until November every week Thursday-Sunday. It opens at 6:30pm and the last show starts at 11:15pm. Shows are filling up throughout October, so grab your tickets when you can.
For more on horror, check out THS Fright-A-Thon 2021, or stay tuned to That Hashtag Show.