Interview: Co-Creator of Fringe Immersive Will Puntarich

A HAUNTED HOUSE THAT LETS GUEST'S FIGHT BACK AGAINST ACTORS?!

Sounds crazy, but it is real. 

Of all places, of course this news comes from Long Island, New York.  Home to Fringe Immersive who are known nationally and abroad for their innovative, controversial and often questionable horror themed events.  They were unsuccessfully sued by a man who believed after attending their Dead of Night event "Initiation" that he lost his soul to Satan.  They have collaborated with shock haunted Russ McKamey and have created experiences that question government, science, religion and beyond. 

They're a nomadic group of movie nerds and artists who have a love/hate relationship with haunted houses who travel to different venues and put on shows that guests are likely never to forget.  Their newest event is ULTRA VIOLENCE and it will happen at NYZ Apocalypse in Deer Park, New York. We chatted with Co-Creator of Fringe Immersive, Will Puntarich, who gave us some insight into ULTRA VIOLENCE which debuts on Oct. 30:

Shannon McGrew:  Tell us a bit about this new event ULTRA VIOLENCE.

Will Puntarich:  ULTRA VIOLENCE is probably the first ever LARPing interactive experience set inside a maze, similar to a haunted house you could say, and it play out a lot like a video game, which is great because keeping with the venue, NYZ Apocalypse is known for having that feeling when you tour their zombie survival experience. 

SM: What are some of the details of this event and where did the idea come from?

WP: The idea for ULTRA VIOLENCE came from an NYZ employee who suggested we do a "purge night" event after Fringe had their second ESCAPE THE DARK event.  We changed it a lot so as not to be a Purge themed event other than allowing guests to take out some aggression on our actors and vice versa.  You and a friend are put into a prison jumpsuit, treated like a prisoner and then dumped into the show after being told the low down.  Prison gangs have taken over, kidnapped the warden and you must save him and fight against the gangs to do it.

SM: This is the first that we've ever heard of an event like this, haunted houses don't usually allow actors to be touched back by customers, how safe is it? 

WP: We're not a haunted house.  NYZ is not a haunted house.  We simply occupy the space we're given and create something new there.  Our goal is to create crazy shit.  You're so safe here and less safe in a traditional haunted house that it would blow your mind.  We have control over everything here and the first night we did ULTRA VIOLENCE there was some worry, but if guests are thoroughly informed about what is going to happen and your actors are trained enough and if you do your job right, you'll have worked out issues before the show opens.

SM: Why do you choose to go outside of the box so often with the shows Fringe does? 

WP: We are just nerdy kids who grew up haunting and loving pop culture.  We would talk about how we would have done things at haunted houses if we ran them or had creative input. When we started to, it just sparked a fire in us to go so far away from what haunts are, that we said "fuck it, fuck haunted houses" laughingly and went on our way. We have failed in places and succeeded in others, this was one of those times we knew we did right. 

SM: What can guests expect out of ULTRA VIOLENCE?

WP: Action, interaction, immersion and a great soundtrack.  We love synthwave music and John Carpenter films such as ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 among other titles like THE WARRIORS and CLOCKWORK ORANGE - they were big inspirations for us.  Guests should expect a full contact experience unlike anything before.  If you like extreme haunts, you will love this.  If you like immersive theater and pop culture, you will love ULTRA VIOLENCE.

SM: NYZ Apocalypse and Fringe Immersive have other events going on in conjunction with ULTRA VIOLENCE, correct?  

WP: Yes, all survival horror experiences with different themes, all scary and all a lot of fun too. Those are PG-13 experiences with contact option and you'll have a great time at those as well!

There you have it, Fringe Immersive continually makes waves in the industry with their creative concepts.  I wouldn't be surprised if by next year a few haunts picked up on their ideas and used them.  

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.nyzapocalypse.com and visit the Fringe Immersive Facebook page for news.