During a visit to NYC at the end of sweltering July, during a couple of the nights there we took a visit or two to Times Scare (aptly named and based in Times Square), which is both home to a brilliant year round haunted house/scare maze and two shows, only one of which we managed to see.
For the time of year I visited, I was pleasantly surprised at how intense the experience was, considering there was a few good months until Halloween season - it was indeed relatively quiet, and our group managed to go through alone both times. However, we had no idea how much of a terrifying rush of calamity and confusion we were in for!
Left wondering what was around every corner, I found myself screaming even at props straight from the get go. Overall tension built was truly brilliant; I thought the whole attraction was extremely well structured. The actors were as enthusiastic as you would expect them to be, say, on Halloween night itself, and seemed to be having a ball scaring us witless!
Since the whole experience was so frantic I barely remember many of the sets, as it was very dark, and most of the time I was distracted by extremely lively characters in this deranged ‘psychiatric hospital’ our group had been left to navigate through. Patients, bloodied and left to run free, were violently bashing babies against worktops, reaching through holes in walls (and from the tops of walls above!) at our heads, one identified as the ‘doctor’ even chasing us through several rooms with the old familiar chainsaw (which for me never gets any less panic inducing, especially being at the back) and later bursting through a makeshift ambulance.
Rare was a moment we were left without a psychotic individual following behind and breathing down the neck of one our group members! There was a fantastic sense of continuity of fear; the only thing perhaps that would be better utilised was the strobe room as there wasn’t, on one occasion, anyone present in that room. Upon being so impressed, that aside, I insisted on making a return trip a few nights later with family I was visiting. Needless to say, despite the slight difference in actors, they came out in hysterics - and loved it just as much as I did.
I didn’t really rate the Original Synner’s show much as it mainly contained more ‘gross’ acts than magic tricks (it was sold on the door as a magic show of some description). Certainly not intended for the squeamish, the show involved one of the main performers John Shaw inserting hooks into his eyes with a weight attached and swinging from left to right, and also making popcorn kernels come out of his tear ducts. However, there are several different shows debuting at Times Square I didn’t get chance to review, for example the Silence of the Lambs musical, which we sadly did not arrive in time to see, and also illusionist shows that were happening later in the year.
Overall, though I couldn’t say whether the other shows on offer were worth seeing, the year round haunted house certainly is, therefore any scare enthusiasts that visit New York any time soon should definitely pay Times Scare a visit!
Overall rating: 8.5/10
Reviewed by Abigail Lewis