In the fall of 2013, a new trend in haunted houses started truly gaining momentum. For the first time, haunts all over the country were offering experiences where guests could go through in either small groups, or more often – go solo. Some required patrons to be extremely physical, while one even made thrill junkies strip down to their underwear (the original idea was for guests to be naked).
However, it’s the haunts that intentionally take you, as an individual, on a psychological and physical journey into places that haunted houses never dreamed of going even as recent as five years ago. The most notable standout in the extreme haunt category came from The Freakling Brothers Victim Experience in Las Vegas.
Sure, haunts like Blackout have gained notoriety by doing crazy shit like having you suck on a tampon and even simulate water boarding. However, between those activities, you may watch a simulated rape scene or even talk to a character that follows a story. The Victim Experience is full-on contact that becomes more intense the deeper you dive into it. Unless, of course, you yell the safe word which means you can’t take it anymore and you are escorted out before reaching the finale. Another way to look at is that haunts like Blackout is playing flag football with your buddies. The Victim Experience is full contact tackle football – without the padding.
I recently spoke with JT Mollner, co-creator of The Victim Experience along with his Dad Duke, about what it was like designing and executing what is considered by extreme haunt junkies as the most intense haunt experience they have ever had. According to JT, The Victim Experience was only a test, a sampling even, of things yet to come.
JT didn’t exactly have a guidebook to go by when it came to creating The Victim Experience, nor did he even visit other extreme haunts for inspiration. He wanted to create a truly visceral experience where you get a taste of what it might be like to come extremely close to actual death. According to JT, out of the 100 victims that went through, only about a third got all the way through and never had to use the safe word.
While that’s not a high “survivor” rate, the fact is many of those victims decided to try and give it a go a second time to see if they could make it all the way through. The Victim Experience, for some, becomes this test to see how much psychological trauma they can withstand. Some have even written to JT after the fact saying it changed their life. That now they have gone through that, nothing scares them and they go through life with a renewed self-confidence.
If there was a downside, it was how many people didn’t get to do The Victim Experience. Once The Freakling Brothers got into October, all the tickets were sold out weeks in advance. Some people even offered him upwards of $500 if they could find a way to squeeze them in. Word of mouth got out and they just had to try it.
Well adrenaline junkies, fear not, you’re going to get your chance. Coming this spring is an even more intense and even more terrifying off-season haunt: The Victim Experience March of Death. Even if you went through in October, according to JT, that was just the tip of the iceberg. You can make advance reservations online through www.VictimExperience.com and once you do, you will be given a remote location in Las Vegas to travel to and a specific time to show up.
Fun fact: this location you drive to is not where March of Death actually occurs. Once you arrive, someone will approach the vehicle with a waiver listing off all the awful things they are about to do to you. Once your John Hancock is on the dotted line, you will be kidnapped, thrown into a van and taken to an undisclosed location where the real “fun” begins. I am being told that even the van ride over will be a test of will power to not yell the safety word: purgatory.
Beyond that, JT was pretty tight lipped not to spoil anything. What I do know is that some of the elements experienced in the lighter/fall version of The Victim Experience will make an appearance, but not all. Plus, The March of Death will last nearly two hours. You read that correctly. Two hours of full contact near-death experiences that never let up.
The other addition will be a lounge where participants can decompress after March of Death, no matter how far they make it. Cold and hot drinks as well as snacks will be provided to help the victims process what just happened to them as well as slowly acclimate themselves back into the real world.
Do you think you’ve got what it takes? Nearly half the tickets to The Victim Experience March of Death have already sold out. If you’re going to be in the Las Vegas area March 15 – 22 and you’re insane/demented enough to try this, visit www.VictimExperience.com. Considering no one even knows where the event takes place, needless to say, all tickets must be bought in advance.
Anyone who makes it all the way through will receive an exclusive March of Death t-shirt. Even more interesting, is after you go through, you’ll be given the opportunity to watch other victims try and brave through. Since I have zero interest in doing this myself (you seriously couldn’t pay me enough), if anyone reading this does give March of Death a try? I would love to hear about it for a possible future article on Theme Park University. Drop me a line if you are one of the lucky few at JoshYoung@ThemeParkUniversity.com. Good luck!