“Heretic Horror House” is an extreme underground haunt experience. There are a number of those around but Heretic has the reputation of being the most artistic, within it’s intense, violent, masochistic, immersive simulations. Previous guests I have talked to said it was worth it because the way they felt after they “survived” was amazing. They were vulnerable, grossed-out and terrified, it was exhausting and they felt incredibly uncomfortable and beaten at times, but the adrenaline rush they got afterwards made up for it all. Everyone raved about the amazing production values- saying that the costumes, makeup, special effects and acting were all super intense and very realistic. Heretic started in 2012 but didn’t get off the ground until 2013 with an invitation only event advertised on Facebook. Facebook has long been left behind, because Heretic photos were too graphic for Facebook sensibilities, but that has not stopped them from being constantly sold out month after month, with devoted fans buying their Death Pass – so they can get special access and priority tickets. The beginnings of Heretic began with a story written about an unsolved ritualistic murder and a close friend’s death, but it has become so much more since then. The person you have probably heard of connected to Heretic is Adrian Marcato- producer, writer, make-up artist and scare actor. The person I am spotlighting is the co-creator, co-owner of Heretic, Jessica Murder. She has found an important place in the mostly male-dominated extreme haunt world. I got a chance to get to know Jessica a little and to ask her a few questions.
Los Angeles Zombie Examiner: Jessica, can you please introduce yourself to my readers?
Jessica Murder: “My name is Jessica Murder, co-founder/co-creator of Heretic Horror House. My husband, Adrian Marcato and I have had several incarnations of live horror events before we started, Heretic, with the common thread of showing a respect and appreciation to extreme horror.”
ZE: Have you worked in the haunt industry before Heretic?
JM: “I have produced several horror events and films since 2003 and am a fan of surreal horror. I have gone through most positions at several haunts from being a scare actor to make up, costuming to crew/event staff.”
ZE: What is your role at Heretic Horror House?
JM: “As one of the only female-owned extreme haunts I walk a fine line of being in the background but being very clear in my role as the final say about what will or will not take place at Heretic and contributing elements that possibly have been the most ‘gag-worthy’. I have been very strategic with my role within Heretic, due to this type of ‘extreme haunt’ being very psychologically vulnerable and physically taxing for both our guests and our staff, my most important contribution is, being the intermediary that will cut or alter a gag that will get us into a possible predicament. For those guests that have come through a show and experienced what they may consider the pinnacle of suffering, this might come as a shock that I have cut several scenes that could compromise the event (I will leave it at that, so as to not escalate the anxiety of your readers). Our past guests do not know how lucky they have been to not have endured half of what Mr. Marcato has pitched to me. That being said, we have parallel thinking as to what type of horror elements and aesthetic we want to convey.”
ZE: Tell us a little more about Heretic Horror House
JM: “Being involved in the industry in some facet for over a decade we understand every aspect that goes into creating a very heightened atmosphere. So, I feel very confident in proclaiming how unique Heretic and visionary Adrian Marcato is and what we accomplish if for nothing else (and I must emphasize this) we CREATE NEW CONTENT FOR EACH SHOW. Actual fleshed-out new story-lines each time that no other haunt does or will do because it is just not financially feasible but we do it because Adrian and I have been compelled to create horror film experiences for true fans and we must maintain an integrity of respecting and upholding the badly abused horror genre even if it kills us. Our event model is one-of-a-kind and difficult to produce. We have had specific shows in ‘real-life’ locations, have had shows take place in multiple locations and are constantly being challenged by new situations based on not having a set location (by choice) and not repeating stories or visuals. It is, however, a fulfilling endeavor overall to have people respond to our brand of horror and to work with an amazing cast and crew, that share our sincerity and endure rigorous scenes that get create the most truthful experience that our guests receive.”
Thank you Jessica, for helping raise the bar in the extreme haunt world! Heretic Horror House has new nightmares every month or so. There are many in the works right now, including an overnight event for groups called The Cabin. If you think you can survive a trip through Heretic then you can check out their website and become a member to find out about going to future shows. Heretic Horror Simulation Website