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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 the Teen Titans series 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.