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If you’re like me, you’re gearing up for “haunt season” this October, but you don’t particularly enjoy having 20-year-olds in bad makeup jumping out at you screaming bloody murder. The modern haunted house just isn’t what it used to be, and for some, it’s become frankly… kind of boring. With this problem, and big budget haunts like Universal’s Hollywood Horror Nights and Knott’s Scary Farm doing what they do on a large scale, there’s still room for a more intimate and interactive guest-driven experience that isn’t just a conga line through a dark maze.

The new kid on the block comes in the form of “immersive entertainment”, and its close cousin, the escape room.

You’ve heard of them, escape rooms. You know… where you’re locked inside a space for a slightly uncomfortable amount of time while you and your friends solve puzzles in order to “escape”. Over the last few years, they’ve become all the rage, and the fad seemingly isn’t going anywhere. They’re open year-round, and there are currently over 100 different companies offering escape room experiences in the greater Los Angeles area, some higher quality than others.

Courtesy of THE BASEMENT: A Live Escape Room Experience

To focus in a bit on one particular escape room company that offers a more than spooky season-relevant event, The Basement: A Live Escape Room Experience not only provides an unbelievably realistic and immersive environment for you to prove your puzzle solving skills, but it also blends the concept with that of a haunted house.

Courtesy of THE BASEMENT: A Live Escape Room Experience

Yup, you heard that right, this horror-themed escape room has live actors inside the rooms, and these aren’t your average scare-actors. The management crew at The Basement takes extra special care in training, making sure that there is a level of realism and subtlety to their performance. “Our performers take their job here very seriously. Not only are they interacting with the guests, but also keeping track of the flow of the game, and when and how to provide subtle clues to avoid frustration.” said Dani Foster, who is in charge of actor training at The Basement. You and your guests will have to interact with characters throughout your game in order to not only solve the puzzles at hand, but to unpack a simple yet effectively macabre storyline featuring a cannibalistic serial killer named Edward Tandy. The Basement offers 4 different escape room experiences, all within the same storyline taking place on the killer’s property:

The Basement

The Elevator Shaft

The Study

The Courtyard

All 4 experiences use high-end Hollywood-level technology and set design to create an extremely realistic environment making use of all 5 human senses. Just keep in mind, you might get a little dirty, and you MIGHT have to climb through a tunnel or two.

Courtesy of THE BASEMENT: A Live Escape Room Experience

“When we opened back in 2014, we were one of the only escape rooms in LA. Now, with so many other companies opening up, we’ve had to make sure we continually up the ante with our new rooms. We want to stay at the top of the food chain.” said Kayden Ressel, the owner and creative director at The Basement. And indeed, they did “up the ante” with their rooms sporting hydraulic props, water effects, moving walls and ceilings (yes the ceiling actually moves up and down in one of the experiences!) and some of the best set design we’ve ever seen in any immersive event, let alone an escape room.

If you’re of the faint of heart, maybe you tend to steer clear of “extreme haunts”. These are haunted experiences like The 17th Door in Fullerton, Freakling Bros. in Las Vegas and the ever-so-disturbing and infamous McKamey Manor where they use electrocution, force-feeding, and other extreme techniques to get a rise out of you. Even as a horror-driven experience, the crew at The Basement does NOT employee any of these elements within their experiences, and enthusiasts as young as 13 years old are welcome. The actors can touch you, but it’s never in an aggressive or inappropriate manner. You will never get shocked, man-handled, or made to eat anything at The Basement. Worst case scenario, you may get a little wet or a little dirty while having the time of your life.

The Basement who is currently celebrating their 5-year anniversary, has locations in Los Angeles, CA, Las Vegas, NV and Kansas City, MO.

Courtesy of THE BASEMENT: A Live Escape Room Experience

So, this Halloween season, if you’re looking for something unique to do with your friends in LA other than your average haunted house, The Basement: A Live Escape Room Experience is something truly unbelievable that shouldn’t be missed.

The Basement is open 7-days a week; tickets can be purchased at TheBasementLA.com