To promote the highest-grossing horror movie of all time opened in theaters, a haunted house sprung up on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. And then suddenly, vanished. Two years later, a carnival rolls into the very same spot. It’s as if something decided to return… for revenge.
Everyone’s favorite red-headed terror, Pennywise the Dancing Clown is back for seconds. Let the carnival barker be your host in the funhouse of horror as he guides you to almost certain death. Navigate through mirrors, sewers, and the unknown.
But first, let’s play carnival games to win a red ticket for a chance to spin the wheel for a prize! Best be quick as you only have less than ten minutes to score.
Time’s up! The carnival barker beckons everyone to enter the giant clown mouth for the fun is about to begin inside.
The swinging clowns were a fitting nod to the original 1990’s “IT” TV mini-series. Georgie gets lost in the hall of mirrors with you. A blue room filled with clown faces disorients from minions blending in with the wall. Granny invites you to some cookies and is right out to greet you. The barker has a woman from our 20-person group to wind up a crank to reveal jack-in-the-boxes popping up in the darkened room. The remaining Losers Club members meet at a Chinese restaurant with crawling bugs and roaming rats on the tabletop. A severed limb rests beside the self-cracking fortune cookies. Should you dare read the message? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves as we bump by little poor Georgie in the sewers. He leads us to an inflating red balloon where we must “float” between two balloons in an airbag hallway. Meet under the bleachers were the seats shake violently and flashing lights. The exit sign only leaves the letter “I” and “T” lit up. Pennywise bursts inside for a snack. And here you escape into the gift shop.
The overall experience is very well done. The pacing progresses nicely and showcases significant scenes and locations that would be expected from the new sequel coming to theaters September 9. There’s a lot more emphasis on having live characters in the maze compared to the first incarnation with the Neibolt House. Rather than Georgie being your guide, a barker from the carnival acts as your host and keeps the rest of the group pressing forward inside. There were minimal efforts at having an escape room feel to certain rooms. Everyone had to read the clues from the open fortune cookie to complete a message. Having people step through a classic airbag hallway but themed to the red balloons was very memorable. The shaking bleachers with flashing lights occurred for quite a while. Not really sure if there was anything else that was supposed to happen other than people may not notice the small detail of the “EXIT” sign only lighting up as “IT”.
We were hoping for maybe some sort of effect at the end where it was revealed the carnival barker was Pennywise the Dancing Clown all along. Perhaps using a pepper’s ghost effect. The barker could have waved to guests as he transitions into Pennywise. A final jump scare and finish by walking through a dark hallway blinded with a bright spinning white “dead-light” shining down at you.
Free online reservations for the IT experience were sold out within the hour it opened. But a standby queue is still available daily 2pm-11pm until September 8.