‘Delusion’ Returns With ’70s Cult Twist

The interactive theater horror experience "Delusion: Valley of Hallows" will allow participants to be deprogrammers to a 1970s cult. / Photo by Jessica Peralta

Jon Braver’s highly anticipated interactive theater-horror experience, Delusion returns to Los Angeles this fall with a sequel exploring 1970s American cults. 

The new experience, Delusion: Valley of Hollows, is a follow-up to the 2021 experience Reaper’s Remorse, and visitors – also known as ‘Delusionals’  –  will become deprogrammers tasked to rescue people from a cult’s destructive influence. Though a sequel, visitors need not have attended last year’s immersive experience to enjoy this year’s event.

Returning to the historic Phillips estate in Pomona, the site of last year’s Delusion, this year’s guests will uncover the truth behind the Hollows, a cult founded following the disappearance of Esther Phillips over 20 years ago with a supernatural twist. Devotees from around the world have come to her estate, compelled by rumors of an otherworldly gift, if they are willing to die for it. 

“You live in our stories, then you tell your own,” creator Braver said in a statement. “There is something for everyone here. Nothing brings people together more than visceral, live experiences. We need this now more than ever.”

We chatted with Braver — director of Immersive Entertainment for Thirteenth Floor, which is producing the experience —  for his insights about the show:

HalloweenEveryNight: What inspired Valley of Hollows?

Jon Braver: Valley of Hollows has been an interesting journey. I usually listen to movie scores while writing. Yet, one day early this year I wanted to change it up a bit. I randomly selected ’70s psych rock. Over the next couple days, the music infected me so much that I threw away the 30 pages I wrote and started over. What came from that was a very different story. A standalone sequel in an era we’ve never explored. The Delusion supernatural twist mixed with ’70s psych rock makes quite the unique show.

HEN: It’s described as a standalone sequel. Can you elaborate on what this means exactly?

JB: Think Rogue One (Star Wars). Hardcore fans get rewarded with a deeper understanding while at the same time luring in newbies with that very same, compelling story/experience. Not an easy feat but dammit we tried hard! In short, what happened in 2021’s Reaper’s Remorse was the catalyst that began this mysterious cult called The Hollows. Now, we are 20 years later (1974) and The Hollows has taken on its own wonderfully mysterious ambiguity. The story can exist on its own but there’s an origin story, and [those] who came last year can tell it, making storytellers of us all.

HEN: Why are live experiences like this so necessary in a time like this?

JB: I think if we all gave our own answers to this question we’d find ourselves converged. It’s DNA level stuff here. Human nature demands humans. The last few years have really thrown off the balance. Live experiences (or any shared experience really) can help recenter toward a stronger social connection. For Delusion, there’s something about our live supernatural adventures that help form stronger bonds. Maybe it’s going through (wonderful) shared trauma together. You know what they say about appreciating life when you’re closer to death! But you’ll be fine. Just fine. 😉

HEN: How deep into cult history did you delve to write this story?

JB: I have drunk the Kool-Aid and have now ascended to the realm of The Hollows. Please, join us.

HEN: Anything else you’d like to add?

JB: There really is nothing in the world like Delusion. The extent to which we go to basically pull off a participatory, live movie that you’re living inside of is really incomparable. A boast? Absolutely! My team deserves it! We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished. You’ll see and feel some of the most amazing talent in immersive theater. You’ll feel the passion that went into this unique experience. And lastly, if you fully engage, this adventure will be a great part of your life story.

Tickets begin at $89.99, with VIP tickets at $124.99. For more information, visit EnterDelusion.com