‘I Can’t See’: A Heart-Pounding Sensory Assault in the Dark
As fall arrives, so do the seasonal cravings for frights and thrills that intensify throughout the month of October, heightening on Halloween before dwindling away to make room for Thanksgiving feasts and Black Friday deals. It’s only fitting that Psycho Clan utilize that window for their new immersive horror experience, I Can’t See.
Throughout the years the creative team at Psycho Clan has produced some of the most horrific and terrifying installations to grace the dark and murky streets of New York City. They are recognized as innovators for continuously evolving the way the public consumes horror with their immersive theatrical experiences. In 2000, they conceptualized and designed Nightmare: New York, a haunted house that went on to become a staple in the city for 14 years. It offered horror enthusiasts an experience with storylines and recurring characters that would change annually, as opposed to the standard corn maze in which costumed individuals jump out and scream at you. In 2016 Psycho Clan released This Is Real, a simulated abduction experience where groups of participants must escape the wrath of a psychopathic captor. This fall, the troupe challenges the conventional haunted house aesthetic yet again with their latest endeavor, I Can’t See, which is a jolting journey meant to be experienced in complete darkness.
Upon arrival, participants are met by staff who explain the rules of the experience. The rules are both simple and strictly enforced. Explicitly follow the instructions coming from the headset or else you will be thrown out. Oh, and don’t "die." Following that, participants will have the experience “downloaded” into their minds before being equipped with blindfolds and an audio headset. Once you are fully wired up, you are led into the immersive theater where you’ll begin your experience as the main character in a story – inspired by W.W. Jacobs’s ghost story “The Toll House” – that you’ll hear from the headset, forcing you to use your other senses to navigate the space. As you listen, the physical world around you is designed to coincide with the story working its way into your mind.
This experience is not for the cynical. Participants will only enjoy as much as their imagination lets them. In order for the story to induce terror, your mind must manifest the imminent horror that is looming and lurking beside you at every angle. The experience was, however, as immersive as advertised. There was action catering to every sense other than sight, of course, helping lend realism to the journey. Unfortunately for me, my character died 30 minutes into the experience. Without spoiling the story for future patrons, my only negative about the experience is that instructions were not clear at one particular juncture, resulting in my untimely demise, and from what I could gauge, the demise of others as well. Nevertheless, if the screams of the participants further ahead in their journey were any indication of what was to come, I would gladly return for another visit to experience the full extent of Psycho Clan’s prowess.
Located at 133 Greenwich Street in Manhattan’s Financial District, I Can’t See runs Tuesday through Sunday through November 3rd. Tickets can be purchased here.