Review: Blood Manor haunted house delivers Halloween thrills in NYC (photos)

Think haunted houses are for kids? Then you haven’t experienced Blood Manor, a New York City attraction that combines the high production value of a Broadway show with the thrill of a go-go bar. This is Halloween– for adults!

Blood Manor delivers campy thrills for visitors ages 14 and up, for about the cost of a movie ticket and snacks ($25). Read on for the highlights of the 2011 Blood Manor show.

>> Spoiler alert: This post reveals details of the Blood Manor sets and characters. If you want to be surprised, scroll to the end of the article for show location and ticket info.

NYC Blood Manor Haunted House 2011

Downtown Traveler editor Leslie Koch mingled with cast members (in character, of course) at the Blood Manor press preview, October 2011.

Intricate sets

Blood Manor’s elaborate sets and dedicated performers set it apart from other New York City haunted houses, which are high on shock value but don’t deliver a truly immersive experience. I attended Blood Manor press preview in early October before the show officially opened to the public. Even at that early stage, the costumes, sets and characters were fully formed.

The Blood Manor cast and crew, led by co-creator Jim Faro, has transformed a generic SoHo office building into a real-life horror film.  After stepping off the elevator, visitors enter a series of dark rooms cluttered with gory serial killer memorabilia, bloody animal carcasses and cages. In a Silence of the Lambs-style torture chamber, press clippings line the walls while a woman in a ball-gag writhes on a barber’s chair.

NYC Blood Manor Haunted House 2011_Murder room

A performer channels "Silence of the Lambs" at the Blood Manor Haunted House, October 2011.

My favorite section was the string of 3D rooms that featured soldiers and go-go dancers in trippy green and orange makeup. When I put on a pair of paper 3D glasses, it looked like the blood splatter was flying towards me. The experience was like being trapped in a scene from Platoon — while on acid.

Blood Manor’s attention to detail is impressive, considering most visitors won’t even notice the finishing touches. The low lighting, ban on cameras and fear of being lunged at by crazed killers kept me from noticing the little details when I was going through the haunted house. It wasn’t until I got home and looked at my camera that I noticed the glistening slime on the pig carcasses and the severed head– with false eyelashes!– resting in a fridge.

Ghouls, demons and go-go dancers

While the sets are amazing, it’s the actors that truly set Blood Manor apart. Most appear to be in their 20s, although it’s hard to see through the layers of liquid latex and body paint.  All embrace their roles with the gusto of Shakespearean performers.

NYC Blood Manor Haunted House 2011_3D performers

Actors from the 3D section of the Blood Manor Haunted House, October 2011.

The actors are so dedicated to their characters that they refuse to reveal their real identities– even when grilled by this writer during the press preview. Their dedication has been confirmed by Blood Manor mastermind Jim Faro. “We are very clear, you never ever break character unless you feel threatened,” he told me during a revealing interview last year.

Cast members don’t hesitate to lunge at, follow and tease visitors, even while taking a fair amount of heckling from tipsy tourists. This was the second year I attended Blood Manor and the performer’s zeal only seemed to increase. It was a sharp contrast from the competing haunted house I visited a week prior, where actors seemed too timid to do more than leap and retreat to the shadows.

The bottom line

Blood Manor lives up to it’s billing as the city’s “premier” haunted house. With intricate sets and performers, it’s worth the cover fee.

>> For more images of the Blood Manor Haunted House, click on the slideshow below. All photos were taken at the 2011 press preview.


Blood Manor Haunted House
When: October 7 through November 5, 2011
Where: 163 Varick Street, Manhattan, NY
Cost: General admission tickets are $35 at the door or $25 when purchased in advance
Official website:

>> No Halloween plans? Click on our “Top 5 NYC Halloween Attractions” for ideas!

About Leslie Koch

I'm a New Yorker with a passion for travel and art. I founded after returning from a year-long backpacking trip around the world. Find me on Twitter at @leslietravel.