Enter the Twisted World of the Escape Asylum at Escape: Psycho Circus 2016
With this year’s sold-out Escape: Psycho Circus only days away, we’re gearing up to present a revamped and frightening experience to you Headliners. Our sixth annual Halloween haunt returns louder and scarier than ever, with four stages stacked with intense lineups across two days, as well as new and captivating interactive attractions.
This year, we’re introducing a new feature: the Escape Asylum, an immersive experience that takes Halloween haunted houses to twisted and demented frights. The Asylum is a massive, 30-room escapade filled with horrifying characters and psychotic visuals inspired by the festival’s storyline told throughout the official Escape trailers of the past five years. Headliners daring enough to enter the Asylum will be challenged to face their fears in a test to escape their worst nightmares.
Ahead of the debut of the Escape Asylum, we sat down and chatted with Bunny—Director of Imagination here at Insomniac, and the brains behind this haunted house from hell—about the disturbed details that went into its creation.
What can you tell us about the Escape Asylum?
We’ve had a traditional haunted house [at Escape] for the last five years. It’s been cool, but it isn’t on-brand for what the festival is. Escape is based off of a horror version of Alice in Wonderland; that’s where [the original] Escape From Wonderland came from, and now it’s Escape: Psycho Circus. In the story we’ve made, the Psycho Circus are criminally insane people who have escaped the Asylum. We’re building a 30-room haunted house, and everyone who goes through it is committed to the Wonderland Asylum. You’re given your mental history, and you have to fill out release forms. You’re put into a straitjacket, you’re given your medication, and a mask is put on for your protection.
That sounds really hands-on.
It’s an immersive experience, similar to Sleep No More in New York. Haunted houses are just people jumping out at you the whole time. The Escape Asylum is based on the festival’s storyline from the trailers. Basically, you enter the world of the Hatter, and you relive the storylines from the last five years. You walk through the trailers like you’re walking through a movie. It’s basically a movie set, and you can interact with the performers, and the experience is different every time you go through it. The actors aren’t doing the same thing over and over again. They have the ability to improvise; [it’s] improvisational theater in certain rooms. Depending on when you go, you’re going to get a different experience.
That sounds pretty wicked. What else?
If you make it all the way through, you get to keep the mask as a collector’s item. It says “Escape” in blood on the forehead of a matte-black, scratched-up hockey mask. If you don’t make it through the haunt, we keep the mask, and we stamp your head “Reject.” I don’t want to give away too much, but if you watch the trailers, all those scenes are in the Asylum.
I’m frightened yet intrigued.
This is not for the faint of heart. Not everybody is gonna make it through. Some people won’t even make it through putting the straitjacket on, but this is something that is special. There are 86 performers in the Asylum, which is almost as many as in the rest of the festival. It’s immersive theater.
Experience the Escape Asylum at the sold-out Escape: Psycho Circus 2016, taking place Friday, October 28, and Saturday, October 29, at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, CA. For more information, visit the official website.
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