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L.A.’s most surreal haunted house is a literal nightmare this year

Juliet Bennett Rylah

One of Los Angeles’ most surreal and unsettling Halloween attractions returns to Downtown L.A. this fall with a 75-minute tour through your worst nightmares. And then, you can go eat oysters.

Since its debut in 2015, Creep LA, the flagship show from immersive attraction company Just Fix It Productions, has been a favorite haunt among seasoned Halloween enthusiasts, often selling out. While employing some of the trappings of the walk-through mazes found at Knott’s Scary Farm and Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, Creep doesn’t just funnel people in a conga line through a smattering of jump scares. Instead, Creep is a much slower, more psychological encounter, luring guests from vignette to vignette as a horrifying narrative slowly unfolds. Oh, and sometimes the monsters touch you just a little.

This year’s show, Awake, is a literal nightmare, taking place in a dreamworld made incarnate. It’s also a much longer show, at 75 minutes, than previous runs. Groups of 25 at a time will be led through a series of surreal rooms, each one its own multi-sensory horror. We’re also told there may be some “intimate encounters,” which may allude to the one-on-one scenes Creep shows typically contain in which lucky guests are secreted away from their group by performers.

Creep’s first year was all about what it meant to be a non-supernatural “creep.” At one point, a little girl beckoned select guests to break away from their group so she could tell them about her best, best, best friend—whom she’d murdered. Their second show, “Entry,” surrounded a cult dedicated to an artist who’d mysteriously vanished in the 1970s. It opened in a dimly lit lounge where devotees communed in worship, alternatively sobbing, shrieking and asking guests to ballroom dance. Last year, Creep partnered with Amazon Prime to bring the monsters of Lore—based on Aaron Mahnke’s folklore podcast of the same name—to life. Participants hid from bunnymen and changelings in the woods and learned a little too first-hand for comfort about the transorbital lobotomy (I ended up shut in a closet passing notes under the door with a ghost who told me about how they’d died). When Creep isn’t in session, JFI Productions runs the Willows, an immersive play in which you are a dinner guest of a very strange family and must determine—via party games and subterfuge—what really happened to a recently deceased relative.

Photograph: Courtesy JFI Productions

“Creep was created four years ago to put a modern twist on the haunted house experience, but what it’s evolved into is a horror experience unlike anything else,” JFI Productions founder Justin Fix said via a release. “We seek those moments of suspense, fear, and surprise—when guests question what they’ve gotten themselves into.”

JFI is also partnering this year with Mousetrappe, a Burbank media studio that creates cinematic experiences for clients including theme parks and museums.

Awake takes place in a 60,000-square-foot space within ROW DTLA, right across the street from the newly opened Rappahannock Oyster Bar, where special menu items are available only to Awake ticket holders. So any time you feel scared, just think of how you can later drown your terror in mignonette.

Creep LA: Awake runs on select dates October 5 through November 4 at ROW DTLA (777 S Alameda St). Tickets are $89 per person and go on sale Tuesday, September 4 at 10am.

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