Last year, I had the pleasure of checking out WELCOME HOME from The Reality X, a free-roaming escape room / immersive experience hybrid that I thought was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. The Reality X completed their season out, and then went away for a year to re-group and re-configure their focus.
And now, they are back, re-branded as INTRUDER ESCAPE, with a new owner, new show, and new scares to come our way! We talked to the folks behind the company to get a better idea of what to expect in the coming months.
HorrorBuzz: Tell us a bit about this new game and new version.
Intruder Escape: This theme is called CULT, and was inspired from the nightmarish folk horror genre. What Ari Astor did with the film, Midsommar motivated us to take a different approach and steer away from the traditional elements that drive fear. WELCOME HOME was an experiment and stepping stone to what we are presenting our guests with this fall. With that being said, we have three fundamentals we never stray away from: Free roaming, interactive quests/puzzles, and a hide and seek element whether they be frightening intruders or traditional cult members.
HorrorBuzz: What did you take away from WELCOME HOME? What did you learn?
Intruder Escape: From the skeleton of WELCOME HOME, we needed the punch. A story. A remarkable, memorable and unsettling story. We want our guests to genuinely feel the intensity of being recruited into an organization that calls themselves a family with all the answers.
HorrorBuzz: What about the presence of a cult do you think will work well for the story of this new show?
Intruder Escape: Purpose. With a story such as the one we are portraying in this version, it adds value and depth to the games that it was lacking. When you played, it was more game based, now it is a nice blend of both. We have taken the theme to a new level on traps, routes and the overall adventure. There is a twist to whom the real intruders are…
We believe the proposition of a cult-like experience is an untapped market that can bring a whole different aspect of horror that most (if not all) experiences haven’t attempted. We spent many hours studying the characteristics of cults from around the world and tried to incorporate the recruitment, initiation, traditional practices, and daily life activities into our experience as much as possible. We want guests to be truly immersed in the world we have created from the second they arrive on our property to the second they leave. Our goal is for all “new initiates” to reflect on the bizarre and traumatizing beautiful events that have occurred for days after the event.
HorrorBuzz: We loved the game mechanics of WELCOME HOME, where there was different paths for people to take in order to complete their story. How is CULT different?
Intruder Escape: In the beginning, WELCOME HOME was a single route based system meaning one person, duo or team had to select and follow one of six routes. No longer is that a thing as everyone must try to complete the same tasks to each gather point. Although you are more than welcome to have a team, each person must complete the task to get their point. From who do you get the points from? That we cannot say. A new route we have created is only achieved only by participating in one of the two evening rituals… Each route is very interactive and hands on – physically holding props, executing live experiments, and so on.
On top of the traditional routes for points, we have bonus routes that may be completed at anytime that often involve merch, promo codes and gift cards to local escape rooms, and haunts. For our traps, when a guest gets caught by a cult member they are stripped from a point and placed inside a trap. These traps are cult themed, fun and fairly easy to escape from while each trap comes with a special surprise…
HorrorBuzz: Will the twisted family from the original WELCOME HOME be making an appearance, or will it be all new characters?
Intruder Escape: Brand new, each year we want to have different “seasons” or themes.
HorrorBuzz: Compared to WELCOME HOME, how difficult is Intruder Escape?
Intruder Escape: So much easier. We realized how difficult they were and towards the end of Welcome Home we changed the difficulty dramatically. They now have easier navigation (on where to go) and no props/puzzles ever get mixed up now. It’s great, we really feel we have learned so much on difficulty and blending logic with physical interactions and activities. You sir played and won at the highest of difficulty, probably a fair 10/10 difficulty, now on the puzzle side, we believe a good 5/10 BUT you have the factors of getting caught and navigating around the property which is a lot easier, again.
Intruder Escape – CULT will take place in Santa Clarita. Tickets are $55 through September 1st, and the will raise to $60 after that. It is one hour and 45 minutes long.
You can find more information, and buy tickets, at: http://intruderescape.com