Since 2015, CreepLA has made their mark on the haunt scene by exploring the grotesque, unseemly side of human nature. The titular creeps represent not larger-than-life forces, but the faces behind the masks, the origin stories behind the treachery. By the same token, Aaron Mahnke’s Lore podcast and its upcoming Amazon Video adaptation showcase true, terrifying tales from history and the backstories of various horrific legends and myths, so it makes perfect sense that the two will be joining forces for 2017’s haunt season.
“We’ve always focused on humans. Human behavior, the human condition, the truth behind every ‘creep,’ and that’s honestly what Lore is,” says CreepLA creator Justin Fix. “It’s really focusing on [the idea that] the scariest stories are true, the places they originated from. Their heritage. And what better way than through immersive entertainment or theater to really highlight the true description of what ‘lore’ is, [which is] typically the passing of stories through word of mouth.”
Just like CreepLA did wonders in the arena of exploring the human psyche and why its creeps were pushed to do terrible things, so too does Lore examine the fact behind the fiction that we’ve all come to fear. Fix’s Just Fix It Productions will incorporate elements from all six episodes of the brand new Amazon series to bring guests face-to-face with the origins of everything from werewolves to vampires to fairies.
“Trying to take five or six episodes that all had their own time in history, from the 1500s to the late 1800s, we needed to create an entire world in which all of that made sense,” says Fix. “That’s what Aaron does, is shine a light on how these stories originated and how they’ve come to be so glorified or so feared over the many centuries. If you look back on why vampires are the way they are, it’s because the plague was wiping out entire towns through illness, and for us to make sense of all of our tragedies, [people] had to say, ‘Well, this isn’t real. What is really happening is that there is a vampire coming and killing our entire families.’”
CreepLA has spent its short few years subverting tropes and betraying expectations, forsaking your typical jump-scare for a sense of dread and foreboding that permeates every single minute of a guest’s time within its confines. This year’s production of Lore, which will serve as both a follow-up to this year’s massively successful The Willows, as well an immersive “premiere” of sorts for the Amazon series, will be no different, from the time guests walk in all the way to the experience’s post-show lounge.
That overwhelming sense of dread is no accident. Fear of the unknown is unrelentingly commonplace, with death playing the role of the ultimate unknown. For Fix, it all comes back to the same concept; everything from haunted experiences in general to CreepLA’s past iterations to Lore is all about confronting and coming to terms with that uncertainty.
“Death is scary,” he says bluntly. “Honestly, I just buried my dad, and through this whole process, coping with death and coping with that fear and with that loss of life, how do you make sense of that? We have three huge scenes that really speak to that, so it was really sort of therapeutic, working through this stuff.”
If there’s anything that Justin Fix is, it’s ambitious, declaring his intention with CreepLA and with Lore to recontextualize the modern walk-through haunt, creating an immersive experience unlike any the haunt scene has witnessed until now.
“Out the gate, I’ve always said that we’ve always tried to redefine what we consider to be a haunted house,” he says. “If you want to blend and focus on the bizarre, the weird, the macabre […] I think you are going to be very pleased.”
All photos courtesy of Hatbox Photography