House of mirrors

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A house of mirrors in the Czech Republic
House of mirrors in Carters Steam Fair 2009

A house of mirrors or hall of mirrors is a traditional attraction at funfairs (carnivals) and amusement parks. The basic concept behind a house of mirrors is to be a maze-like puzzle.[1] In addition to the maze, participants are also given mirrors as obstacles, and glass panes to parts of the maze they cannot yet get to. Sometimes the mirrors may be distorted because of different curves, convex, or concave in the glass to give the participants unusual and confusing reflections of themselves, some humorous and others frightening.

References in fiction[edit]


The first known literary example is in Gaston Leroux's novel The Phantom of the Opera (1911), in which Erik has built one for the Shah of Persia as a trap and later uses a similar trap house to protect his lair from his enemies.

The concept has also been used in comics. In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman is seen chasing the Joker through an amusement park and into a hall of mirrors. It was used to create suspense as Joker could not clearly decipher what was real and what was just an image.


In Charlie Chaplin's 1928 movie The Circus, Charlie Chaplin is chased into a mirror maze by a thief and the police.

Woody Allen's movie Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) directly refers to the mirror scene at the climax of the film The Lady from Shanghai (1948).

In John Boorman's 1974 movie Zardoz, character "Z" (Sean Connery) battles against "The Vortex" in a mirror maze.

One of the most famous ending sequences in film history related to a house of mirrors is in Enter the Dragon starring Bruce Lee. The finale takes place in a house of mirrors, where Lee learns it is best to smash the glass obstacles to solve his problem and defeat the villain.

Francisco Scaramanga's "Fun House" in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun has a house of mirrors.

The 1984 movie Conan the Destroyer with Arnold Schwarzenegger contains a house of mirrors fight.

The 1983 Walt Disney movie Something Wicked This Way Comes (an adaptation of Ray Bradbury's novel of the same title) culminates in a house of mirrors confrontation.

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) - John Wick (Keanu Reeves) engages in a chase, gunfight, and climactic knife fight in a multi-floor modern art museum exhibit called "Reflections of the Soul" made of halls, rooms, and stairways lined with mirrors with lights and video screens reflected in them.

A house of mirrors features prominently in Jordan Peele's 2019 horror film Us.[2]


The Kraftwerk album Trans-Europe Express includes a song called "The Hall of Mirrors". Fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth also has a song called "House of Mirrors" of his Hard Hat Area album. The Insane Clown Posse album The Ringmaster has a song called "House of Mirrors", representing it as one of the attractions of the Dark Carnival.


In Season 3, Episode 7 of Stranger Things, the character "Hopper" (David Harbour) leads a Russian assassin into a mirror maze.

In an episode of the Twilight Zone, "In Praise of Pip", a bookie tries to tell his dying son how much he loves him while chasing him inside a house of mirrors.

Other notable examples include the CBS soap opera Guiding Light which, in 1980, featured a now famous sequence that depicted heroine Rita Bauer (Lenore Kasdorf) being pursued through a hall of mirrors by villain Roger Thorpe (Michael Zaslow); the show Macgyver, where Jack Dalton is brainwashed and is forced to fire on Macgyver; and Teen Titans episode "Betrayal".

In "The Carnival Job", a fourth season episode of the show Leverage, Elliot has a showdown with Molly's captors in a house of mirrors.


The origins of the house of mirrors stem from the hall of mirrors in the Palace of Versailles.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Styer, Joel. "Funhouse at Jenkinson's Beach Boardwalk". Darkride and Funhouse Enthusiasts. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  2. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily Todd (22 March 2019). "Jordan Peele's Us — and its ending — explained. Sort of". Vox. Retrieved 1 November 2019.