There's a place in New York that makes you sign a waiver and devise a safety word before its actors scare the bejesus out of you. Blocks away, there's a haunted house where serial killers will manhandle you if you allow an 'X' to be drawn on your forehead.
We're big boys and girls at The Huffington Post, and we don't scare easily. Many of the new-wave haunted houses in New York don't just feature zombies popping out at you -- actors try to damage you psychologically, and even throttle you. But can they really break the barrier between performance art and real, animal fear?
To find out, we recorded ourselves touring some of New York's most notoriously scary spots: Blood Manor, Nightmare Killers 2, and Blackout.
Nightmare Killers 2
When workers at this Halloween hot spot asked HuffPost Live Producer Ricky Camilleri and Weird News Editor Andy Campbell whether they wanted an 'X' on their foreheads -- signaling that actors are allowed to molest, grab and throttle them -- they agreed. Nightmare Killers 2 was more than just a walk through a creepy haunted house, though.
Its actors, who were modeled after famous American serial killers, educated guests by portraying exactly what the serial killers were known for. Charles Manson went on wild rants as guests were "initiated" into the family by breaking into a house and moving stuff around. H. H. Holmes, dressed as a doctor in the late 1800s, drove stakes into a woman's leg. Meanwhile, Camilleri was captured and thrown into a basement room for a little surprise. It was all caught on film, and the video's featured above.
Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Torture Chamber
As a creepy side dish, Campbell and Camilleri hit the more family-oriented torture chamber at Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Times Square location. It features real, age-old torture devices, including the iron maiden, stocks, and even an electric chair. Plus, it made for hilarious video. Check it out above.
HuffPost Live Producers Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani and Caitlyn Becker attached GoPro cameras to themselves and screamed their way through Blood Manor, which bills itself as New York City's scariest haunted adventure. They went relatively untouched by its actors, but the combination of real, working chainsaws, bloody hospital beds and pop-out-at-you scares had them literally heaving at the end of their tour.
Blood Manor definitely takes the cake in terms of scream factor. Watch the video above to see what we mean.
For Blackout, Camilleri wasn't allowed to record video. He also had to sign a waiver freeing the company of any liability should he get hurt or pee his pants. If he was ever too scared or couldn't handle his torment, he need only say, "Safety," and he'd be kicked out. But that didn't stop him.
Blackout -- which runs in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York -- is known for being more than creepy ghosts and goblins. It often involves scary, real-life situations. Camilleri, for instance, was forced to decide whether to shoot and "kill" a naked, bloodied and beaten woman, before he sustained an assault himself. He gives all the details in the video above.
CORRECTION: In the HuffPost Live clip about Blackout, we erroneously stated that the haunted house costs $100. It costs $65.
Which haunted New York activity seems the scariest to you?