There is something special about experiencing someone's first haunt. When done for the right reasons, the passion and devotion can be seen throughout the creation of their experience, and it's really a sight to behold. This is one of the reasons I loved my experience during Force of Nature's Halloween Haunt, FALLEN SAINTS. Though they were in the throes of some growing pains, they were still able to put together an immersive experience that was both enjoyable and intriguing. At the end of the event I found myself leaving with a smile on my face and a deep appreciation for all that went into this production. Plus, anything that has traces of Jack the Ripper is a-okay by me!
The story of FALLEN SAINTS takes place in Victorian London, which is home to some of the most horrific murders and violent crimes in history. We enter into this world through a mortuary that specializes in violent deaths. This is where we meet the owner, an older gentleman, hunched over and feeble, who explains to us his line of work. We learn that as the deaths grow more unusual, the spirits grow more restless, wreaking havoc across the city. Eventually, we meet medium Evelyn "Evie" Skrain, who attempts to rid the mortuary of the tortured souls, one way or another.
If you've never done an immersive experience, meaning more than just your run-of-the-mill haunted maze, than FALLEN SAINTS would be the perfect introduction to that. There isn't anything that would be considered too extreme; however, you do have the chance to become an active participant. As I mentioned above, you enter into a space resembling that of a mortuary where you meet the "owner" who informs you of the dark history of some of the deceased. You also get to meet his young assistant, a blind child who beautifully plays the violin. This child wandered throughout the space and was a chilling reminder of what life must have been like during that time period. After conversing with the owner, we are then met by a female assistant with steampunk goggles and a missing tooth who was incredibly energetic about the live bodies in front of her. She shows us some her favorite specimens and cackles at us as we are then led outdoors to a dark path. Here is where we run into a "woman of the night", a priest, and an angelic statue who quotes lines of foreboding. I can only imagine that this was suppose to symbolize a dark alley in London and a place that we should never be alone. This eventually leads us indoors where we come face-to-face with Evie. She informs us that she will be doing a seance to help rid the evil spirits and she needs our help. We sit around in a semi-circle, with a salt line to protect us, and the two of us who were handed special items prior to entering are asked to come up on the stage; for those items are what she needs to find out who's haunting this place. At this point, the darkness that could also be seen at the peripherals rears it's ugly head with devastating consequences.
Was this the best experience I had all season? No, but it's one of the most passionate ones I saw. The story, which heavily relies on the murders committed by the infamous Jack the Ripper, was cohesive from beginning to end. I really appreciated the design that went into the mortuary, and I even noticed some details that helped in adding more depth to the story. I felt that the design was lacking the most in the outdoor area and seance room, but I still enjoyed the attempt that was made to make us feel transported back to Victorian London. The strongest aspect of the experience was definitely the acting as the actors really took their characters and molded them into their own persona which they carried throughout the performance. I was really impressed with the steampunk assistant/doctor, played by Gloria Glavan, the medium, played by Michelle Danyn, and one of the restless spirits, played by Adam Shows. Though everyone was terrific, those that I mentioned really stood out to me in terms of embodying who their characters were.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at FALLEN SAINTS. I appreciated all the hardwork that went into it and I loved seeing the actors perform and have fun with their characters. Though the show needed some tightening up to make it a bit more seamless, I have full confidence that next year, if they decide to create another Halloween experience, they will have gotten past all the bumps from the first year. I look forward to seeing the what Force of Nature Productions has in the coming years, as I truly believe they have a sincere passion for all that they do.
For more information on FALLEN SAINTS and Force of Nature Productions, visit their website at www.fonproductions.com and follow them on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @FONPRODS.