Masked and intensely sinister, the towering Dr. X asks a series of questions before guiding guests into darkness.
You are now part of an experiment with some unknown potential outcomes. But they don’t sound good.
Dr. X Horror Experience is a new offering from Horror Escapes LA that premiered in the Halloween 2022 season. It continues to run Monday nights in Downtown Los Angeles. Though it has some escape room vibes, it leans toward the immersive.
Horror Escapes LA owner Rachel Adams, who’s also president of the nonprofit Immersive Art Collective, says she wanted to develop a hybrid type of experience.
“I wanted to create something special for the Halloween season, to offer people familiar with our escape rooms a different and more interactive experience based on the same story,” she says. “The experience combines traditional walk-through haunt elements with an interactive and theatrical narrative. I’ve been involved in LA’s immersive theater scene both as a fan and a producer, and the two go hand-in-hand quite naturally. It’s a haunted house where, rather than being a passive observer, you become a character involved in the story as it unfolds.”
The story follows Dr. X, the villainous character participants are trying to escape from in Horror Escapes LA’s escape rooms. He likes to “experiment” and that theme carries through in the Dr. X Horror Experience. The 30-minute experience is an intimate visit through the labyrinth-like escape room space, made up of several rooms, with other characters — like nurse Nancy — guiding (or scaring) you through the increasingly more intense series of events.
“When I started the escape rooms back in 2016, I wanted to offer an experience themed to my sensibilities and my passion for horror,” says Adams. “The story of Dr. X is an homage to classic horror films and literature with its ‘mad scientist’ antagonist, combined with more modern zombie horror elements.”
The isolated “clinic” is an effective setting for discomfort that’s built upon by the small-yet-mighty cast that all play multiple roles.
“Our performers have all had plenty of experience in both immersive productions and traditional haunts,” says Adams. “It’s certainly a different skillset to traditional stage or screen acting — the interaction with the audience requires a certain level of adaptability and control, as well as a flair for improvisation. Most importantly, it requires a great deal of trust between the performers and audience. Through my nonprofit (Immersive Art Collective), I’ve been lucky to meet and work with so many great actors who specialize in this specific style of performance.”
The Gory Details
Monday nights through Jan. 9, 2023 — possibly longer
1041 S. Olive St., Los Angeles
$28 per person