Below is a Recollection–this is not a review, but rather a full spoiler walkthrough of the author’s experience in CreepLA: Entry in 2016. As Just Fix It Productions prepare for Awake in 2018, we wanted to take this time to reflect on the beauty that was Entry. As this event will not occur again, spoilers should not be a worry. CreepLA: Entry is an interactive experience at the intersection of performance art and a haunted house.
I arrive at an industrial warehouse with the iconic “CreepLA” logo shining on large metal doors, and am met by a man wearing a dress. His hair is disheveled and his face covered in makeup clearly applied without a mirror. He stares at me blankly, until I show him my tickets. He scans each one slowly, while CreepLA’s signature track, a children’s choir covering “Creep” by Radiohead, plays.
I then notice someone watching from a distance. This second man is immaculately dressed, with a face that seems almost plastic, mannequin-like. He stares directly at me while he takes paper out of his pocket, scribbling something onto it. He walks over to me, hands me the note, and walks away.
I know your secret.
My silent, makeup-covered host bangs on the large metal door and it opens. I step into a long hallway, where two smartly-dressed women instruct our group to stand in a row. Opposite is a large cell with drawings plastered over the wall.
The taller girl walks over to me, and runs her hand down my face. “We have a restroom for you to use. But it’s genderless. You’ll all have to go together.” I decide to use the bathroom and begin to walk in with another man, who is reminded, “Don’t be a creep…”
After the bathroom, I am directed into a lounge. Lit in scarlet hues with sensual music playing, the bar fits the mood perfectly. I see couples huddled at two tables, groups sitting on couches, and people taking pictures at a photo booth. However, when I look closer, I notice that there are more than just patrons in this bar—there are creeps meandering the bar area: an older gentleman wearing a kimono, heavy makeup, and carrying a big fan; an attractive man and woman seductively dancing around the room; a woman in a black dress pulling guests into a back room for who-knows-what… All of them have a secret, a story, just ready to share.
I grab a drink and head to the photo booth. I take my black and white photo, complete with the CreepLA logo, and text it to myself—a perfect keepsake from this experience. I then go visit the man with the fan. “How long can you hold your breath? I dare you to show me,” he requests. I show him, but he’s not impressed.
A man with a plastic face tells me they are here to celebrate the life of Erebus Burwyck, an artist from the 1970s who mysteriously disappeared. We’ve been invited to explore the darkness of not only his artwork, but also of the people that worship him. He directs me to one of his art pieces on the wall with a full description of its wonder. I start to read, but I notice a couple sitting at a table next to me who are intertwined as one.
I find myself staring, and the girl notices. She maintains eye contact with me as she runs her tongue across his cheek, legs wrapped tightly around the man. She quickly pulls away, crossing the bar to straddle me. I try to maintain composure as she rubs against me, moaning into my ear while staring at Burwyck’s art hanging above our heads. I don’t get to enjoy this long—because our group is called to enter.
The eight of us are escorted from the lounge to an outside area by a man in a black hat. He talks more about darkness, and warns us of the consuming effect it has on people.
“Erebus disappeared on the night of the Hunter’s Moon—and tonight, again, is the Hunter’s Moon.”
He continues to explain the rules: in the darkness, we will meet creeps and while we are not allowed to touch them, they can touch us. However, his speech is cut short when he begins to twitch wildly. This psychotic break continues, and he smacks himself in the head. He steps away from the group, converses with himself, calms down, and returns. One by one, we are escorted into the compound.
Two women, veils covering their heads, sit me down in the middle of the room. A few members of my group are seated adjacent to me—the rest are in chairs across from us. A large sheet of lace is placed over my head, and the room is bathed in darkness. The women inform us that they have found the exact audio recording Erebus Burwyck used during the ceremony in which he disappeared. And with us here, if they play it again, we can join the darkness and discover where he went.
The track starts and a strange music fills the room. The women move into the center of the room and remove the lace from each other—revealing their beautifully bald heads. The recording plays, and we hear Erebus’s voice. The women react to the sound—moving down the aisles as if under a trance. They touch me, and I am startled. Large Edison bulbs, suspended by a singular cable from the ceiling, swing back and forth, illuminating the scene before us through our lacy shrouds. The track intensifies as the ceremony continues and the girls wail louder and louder.
And then nothing.
The lights go out, the music stops, the ceremony is over. Our shrouds are removed and we are led into the next area.
I approach a rickety shack. A raggedy man greets me, as he instructs me to knock on the front door. I knock and am pulled in by a boy frantically pacing around a large dinner table. Our group comes in too, and I notice that one of us is already missing.
“I need help setting the table. You, put this plate here. You, place the silverware out. We don’t want to upset Dad.”
He shoves plates in our hands as we place them on the table. A noise startles me from behind, and I witness a large man climbing through an open window. This man must be Dad. The boy nervously tells him the table is set, and Dad sits at the head of the table with the boy at the other end.
He picks up the silverware on the table and begins to slam it against the table—slowly at first, and then finding a rhythm. The boy follows suit, and soon they are grunting and banging in unison. They stand and begin a delicate dance around the table. As one moves, the other shadows him. The dance ends with a door being opened, and us escaping.
But our escape only leads us deeper into the house filled with creeps. This room appears to the bedroom of a child; the walls covered in writing speaking of the darkness.
“The people in this house are dangerous.”
The voice is small and scared. I notice the small frame of a girl huddled in the corner of her bed–and she’s pointing at something behind me. I turn and look, and notice the face of a woman pressed against the window of the room. I recognize her immediately; he’s the missing member of our group. But before I can say anything, he’s pulled back into the darkness.
The door bursts open and another man enters. In a long coat and beanie, he greets us with a kiss on the hand–but when he gets to me, it’s not just a kiss—it’s a lick. He holds my moist hand and leads us into the next room. There’s a bed in the center, with a human form under it. We think it is mannequin… until we see the form start to move. The man in the beanie removes the sheet, revealing the missing member of our group underneath. Now reunited, I learn what happened.
The woman recounts the following: “When I was dragged out, the man told me a story about how he looked his father in the eyes so he was no longer allowed inside the house. But he was happy to have a friend now. ‘Do you want to play with me?’ I nodded reluctantly. ‘Let’s play hide and seek,’ he squealed in delight. ‘Close your eyes and count to thirty!’ I turned my back to him and began to recite numbers. I heard multiple people running behind me, some touching me as they passed, others whispering in my ear. I reached thirty and turned around. The boy from before jumped out wearing a mask. ‘Don’t be afraid, it’s just me! Do you want to see my sister–go look in this window.’ As I complied, the little girl inside pointed right at me, screaming. I was grabbed from behind and when I was released, he asked, ‘Do you want to play another game? How about you play dead.’ I nodded again and was led into a room with a bed. ‘Lie down. And lie perfectly still.’ He covered me with a sheet… and then I heard footsteps enter the room.”
Now that we are all reunited, we are ushered into the next room. The man in the beanie grabs me. “Give this to the girl in the next room… put out your hand.” I comply, and he fills my upturned palm with sand.
A television tuned to static fills the room with white noise. A girl in a dress rocks back and forth in corner, staring into the static. I approach her, and tell her I have something for her. Child-like and excited, she jumps up, “What is it? What is it? What is it?” I tell her to put out her hand, and pour the sand into it. She smiles at me and carefully carried it over to a pile of sand situated near the television.
She passes by me and grabs another from our group and proceeds to dance with him. She then takes him over to a couch positioned in front of the television. But instead of seat cushions, it’s filled with sand. She gets on her knees and he does the same, and they start grabbing handful of sands and filling his pockets with it, like a treasure he has earned for his dancing talent. They then stand, and she leads us through the door.
The sand from the prior room is exaggerated in here. A massive pile fills the room, creating a throne for a man with piercing white eyes and long dreadlocks. He reaches into his wealth of sand and lifts it up, letting it drain between his fingers. The shoeless girl from the previous room seems just as enamored with him as we are. She bows before him and is given her portion of this treasure. But as she takes it, the man’s eyes grow larger and red blood pours from his mouth, down his chin, dripping onto the pile of sand. This seems to amuse him; his laughter grows louder and more manic as the girl pushes us from the room.
We walk down a long hallway and enter a room barren, except for a large cage in its center. We circle the cage, timidly, unaware of what could be hiding in the darkness inside. I see movement, and a muscular man emerges from the darkness. Almost in sync, a woman springs through the hallway, and as the guests part ways, she leaps onto the cage.
He climbs up the age effortlessly to meet her–and their arms claw at each other. It’s not anger, but rather, lust. She licks at his shirtless chest, and he digs his nails into her back.
We move into a secondary room, filled with the same erotic air. Dressed as isolation chamber with padded walls, a woman in lingerie paces anxiously, while a different shirtless man lies across the floor. Trapped in their own madness, the woman jumps onto the shirtless man, straddling him, choking him–but he reverses the situation, and throws her to the ground. She stands and they embrace lovingly, but then hatred fills her eyes and she pushes him across the room, running from him. He chases her, grabbing her, trying desperately to hold onto her, and she gives in–until he rejects her.
This continues until they notice us in the room. The two approach me, circling me, poking me, pushing me. The woman pulls me by the shirt away from my group, and pushes me into a small antechamber.
The room is dark, lit by only a single bulb overhead. I walk slowly into it and notice a single chair under the light–and I sit, and I wait.
A voice erupts from the darkness. It’s loud, angry, accusatory. But I can’t understand it. Eastern European? Russian? I’m not sure. “I don’t understand,” I tell that man. But he continues to yell at me in a language I don’t understand. His frustration becomes apparent–so he leans in close and tries one last time to get me to understand.
But I don’t. He walks to the other side of the room and turns slowly.
“Tell me a secret.”
I understand this time. It’s English. He moves closer. I muster up the darkest secret I have and whisper it to him. He starts to laugh. A full-bellied laugh.
“Perfect, perfect. That is exactly what I needed,” he tells me. And he opens a back door, releasing me from my captivity.
Catching up to the group, I hear their story:
We were squeezed into a tight dressing room with a man who was examining himself in his vanity mirror. He wore a silk white robe and a wig cap over his bald scalp. He spoke to us about the meaning of beauty. But while he talked, he would peel clumps of skin from his face.
He stood and walked towards us. Stopping in front of me, he let his robe slide down from his shoulders, revealing more of his skin. He reached into his pocket, producing a small tube of lipstick.
“You missed a spot.”
That’s all I heard before he began to cover my lips in his red lipstick, with no concern for neatness.
We enter a dark labyrinth of walls, fog, and darkness. I move away from the group and find my own path. I enter a small area with a strobe light and a man moving in a mechanical fashion. I push past him and continue down the path, trying different options. I encounter different actors, each trying to scare me. A man grabs me, spins me in circles, and pushes me back into the darkness.
I find a set of curtains, and push through them. A man is waiting for me.
“I am The Darkness. I am glad you were able to find me. Would you like to dance?”
This must be where Burwyck remained, dancing eternally with his Darkness. But tonight, I decide it is not my time to embrace the path Burwyck and his followers chose on that Hunter’s Moon years ago. I stop the dance, and exit into the cool night air.
Although CreepLA: Entry has concluded, the minds behind it are currently preparing for Awake, their new Halloween experience. Keep an eye on their website and Facebook for more information on upcoming productions.
Immersed would like to thank Jenny Hoover for her immense help in reminiscing on this event.