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Blackheart Collective delivers a chilling and absolutely unforgettable virtual experience — “A Haunted House” you won’t want to leave.

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I still find myself returning to the haunted house.

I hear it in a song on a Spotify playlist, feel it in a good conversation at a house party; sometimes it even creeps into my head right as I’m falling asleep. It’s a place I visited a few weekends ago that never had a physical space to begin with — a ghost in and of itself, one I couldn’t exorcise even if I wanted to. A part of me never left and is still wandering the incorporeal halls, never to return.

“A Haunted House” is a 21+ remote immersive horror roleplaying experience brought to life (or afterlife) by Blackheart Collective. The team behind the show (directors Joshua Simon and Melody Magyor-Phillips, writers Joshua Simon, Melody Magyor-Phillips, and Allison Darcy, all of whom performed in addition to performer Kris Smith) has infused true horror, love, and comedy into the experience.

Detailed artwork by Katelyn Rose, animation by Kris Smith, as well as original music by Eli Magyor-Phillips draws in participants to the world even further.

It is unlike any other immersive horror you’ve ever done — unless you’ve had the pleasure of participating in past Blackheart experiences.

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Part choose your own adventure, part escape room, part guided tour through a haunted house entirely imagined via text on discord, the show takes place over the course of a weekend (and trust me, you’ll want the whole weekend to devote to this; I emerged from my house only for an hour or two a day tops, and was constantly checking my phone while away from my laptop).

Players (audience is too passive a word for what we were) navigate through the house and interact with the inhabitants and other key performers within the story, and their actions heavily impact how the story unfolds.

For a fear junkie always looking for the next high, “A Haunted House” delivers and then some.

As the pandemic raged on, I descended deeper and deeper into the murky depths of remote immersive horror experiences, each time seeking something darker and more demanding than the last.

Like echoes whispered in back alleys, the name Blackheart Collective surfaced in chat rooms and recommendations from those more experienced than myself.

I had never before done something quite like this and was apprehensive going into it. What if I didn’t get it, or was bad at roleplay? I wasn’t a huge fan of DND and worried this would be more of the same. What I could never be prepared for was the freedom of escaping through text roleplay into a world so detailed and thought out that it took on a life that loomed larger than the shadows cast by my laptop’s glow.

The inspirations for the house are based on a whole host of real-life tragedies as well as the smart and sinister creativity of the show’s creators.

The trigger warnings for this show are not a gimmick, but neither are the friends you’ll make if you visit. The connections I made and the relationships formed in that house will last. Playing at trauma bonded us almost as deeply as actually going through the real thing.

Make no mistake, this house wants to eat you alive (and oh, it will). And for my part, I have never been happier to be eaten.

You can visit the house at Harper’s Grove 1/6/22 to 1/9/22. For more information on how to participate in this and future shows, you can find Blackheart Collective on Facebook or Instagram.


WRITTEN BY ARIEL DYER

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