The Blackout Experiments


Would horror fans pay to experience a realistic horrific experience that could cause significant psychological trauma? That is the central question that I asked myself when viewing Rich Fox’s new horror documentary, The Blackout Experiments.  Who would pay for this experience? And is there such a thing as going too far?

Typically, horror fans enjoy watching horror movies from the safety of their homes.  Many horror fans get more involved. They attend conventions, go on ghost hunts, or go to haunted houses.  But if there was a horror experience that was hands on and took all the control away from you; would you go?

The Blackout Experiments follows a group of people that enjoy regularly participating in a horror experience called Blackout.  The documentary explores what Blackout is and shows part of the experience as well as a slight behind the scenes look.


Blackout is billed as an immersive horror experience in both Los Angeles and New York.  Participants enter the experience alone and are forced to face their darkest fears by themselves. Typically, the Blackout experience lasts between 20 to 30 minutes where participants experience realistic horror situations that include tight spaces, complete darkness, strobe lights, fog, crawling, stairs, loud noises, nudity, violent and sexual situations, and physical contact. Participants have to sign waivers and are given a safety word in case they can’t continue.

Blackout was created by Josh Randall and Kristjan Thor.  Some have called Blackout the premier extreme haunted house. Others have called it legal torture.  The experience seems more like a cross between Harvard human experiments ran by Henry Murray and the enhanced interrogation techniques used by secret government agencies.


The Blackout Experiments is an official selection of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.  The documentary was released by Gravitas Ventures in select theaters and video on demand on July 22, 2016. I watched it on Amazon.  The film peaked my interest as I had never really heard of Blackout before and was curious to find out more.

Rich Fox showed great innovation in both horror and documentary filmmaking. While The Blackout Experiments wasn’t allowed full access to Blackout; Rich Fox makes the most of the access provided in order to bring viewers up close to the wizards behind the curtain at Blackout. The film furthers the debate between whether or not these “experiences” are extreme haunted houses or legal torture.

I would recommend The Blackout Experiments to any horror fan that enjoys both horror films and documentaries. The movie gives fans the best of both horror and documentary filmmaking while making viewers ask themselves the ultimate question. Would you go to Blackout?