Haus of Creep, or A Bit of Justin Fix Fanfic

Justin Fix is so dang good. Emerging from seemingly nowhere, the first iteration of CreepLA was an instant sensation. He has followed up each year with experiences that are challenging, thought provoking, and really, really good.

If that wasn’t enough, he created “The Willows”, the immersive dining experience which became a sensation on its own.

And if that wasn’t enough, he’s a nice, hard working guy who is open, friendly, and also gave one of the most valuable and informative interviews on the business of immersive that I’ve ever read.

I found it terribly fun, enough so that I’d like to go back and see it again, hoping to go through the other storylines that I wasn’t able to see the first time around.

So when “Haus of Creep” was announced, I wasn’t surprised as much as I was impressed. CreepLA keeps pushing in different directions, and the idea of putting on an immersive horror experience that takes on the art world and skews Instagram culture was one of those “Why didn’t I think of that” kind of ideas.

I’d be jealous of Justin and his creative mind if I wasn’t so wowed by the guy.

But before I get all fanfic on him…I want to talk about “Haus of Creep”.

This is the second year that CreepLA has done an experience in The Row DTLA. Last year’s “Creep: Awake”was outstanding.

My criticism of “Creep: Awake” is my criticism of most of immersive theater: you’re split up onto different tracts and you get different experiences than your friends. That gives me FOMO, and I never walk away from one of these things fully satisfied.

Instead, I leave wondering what other people saw and what other people experienced. I can’t help but ask myself, “Did I get the most out of the experience, or did someone else get better storylines than I did?”

Of course, in immersive theater, just like in life, you simply can’t see it all. That’s now how it’s designed. This isn’t a traditional play, where the entire audience sits in one spot and sees the entire show. Immersive theater, especially one that is done sandbox-style, means that you’ll walk out seeing different storylines than your friends did. That’s the nature of this art.

And the FOMO works both ways. During “The Willows”, I was picked to be Bunny (I don’t wish to spoil the show…but I’m hoping enough people understand what this means) and found myself with a profoundly different experience than the rest of my dinner companions.

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as being the one who gets the special prize at the end. There’s nothing less satisfying than watching someone else get the special prize at the end.

“Haus of Creep” falls into the sandbox-type of experience. You wander through a very fucked up gallery space as artists, performers, critics, docents and curators engage with you, interact with you, and guide you into various adventures.

There is a backstory, but it’s loose and didn’t feel like it really needed to be known to experience the narrative.

I found it terribly fun, enough so that I’d like to go back and see it again, hoping to go through the other storylines that I wasn’t able to see the first time around.

All credit to the Creep team. You feel like you’re in a gallery space. There is art everywhere. Even if this wasn’t a piece of immersive theater it’d still be a provocative, interesting, well thought out art gallery.

I’m realizing now that there isn’t much I can say about the plot or themes. It all happened so quickly that it overwhelmed me (in a good way) to the point where I can’t write with authority as to what the overarching theme was. And honestly, I’m hesitant to write about my own personal experience because the show is new and I don’t wish to spoil anything.

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as being the one who gets the special prize at the end. There’s nothing less satisfying than watching someone else get the special prize at the end.

I liked that the space they were in was smaller than last year’s “Awake”, which found us walking through a massive warehouse. This one was more intimate, more manageable. What “House of Creep” did well was allow the audience enough time to explore on their own, but it wouldn’t take long for the actors to find you and bring you into another experience. I felt that the balance between the two was perfect.

Ok, ok. Fine. I’ve convinced myself to buy a second ticket. To take the ride again. To see the things that I missed out on the first time.

And that’s the highest praise I can give to “Haus of Creep”: I liked it so much I want to go back.