by Sara Kinne
I didn’t know a whole lot about Intruder Escape going into it. I loved the sleek imagery online, and had heard some positive buzzing about it, but it was way up in Santa Clarita, and I’m a busy girl. So when my friend Shannon (from Nightmarish Conjurings; also a busy girl) hit me up about repping Creepy Kingdom, on a night that I miraculously had open, I couldn’t refuse. Especially after she promised she would 100% not abandon me. The things that scare me the most (in haunts, but also sometimes in life) are dolls, windows at night, and being alone. Lucky for me, I’d discover Intruder Escape: CULT has a healthy dose of ALL THREE.
The experience really begins before you even get there. They offer a curated playlist on Spotify and the drive up to the massive ranch house was long, dark, winding and severely lacking cell-service. We wondered out loud, “how are we going to get home with no service?” When we arrived, one of the signs for the parking/meeting location had been knocked over so that, of course, added to our adventure. We finally parked, and realized we were over 30 mins early (impressive)! So we sat in the car, in the pitch black, waiting for “The Butler” to fetch us, and freaking ourselves out. When he finally did come, he popped up to my driver side window and rapped loudly on it. I screamed bloody murder, startling Shannon in the process. It was going to be an exciting night.
“The Butler” was, in my opinion, the star of the show. He was tasked with collecting us and explaining things, while also maintaining his character and setting the mood for the evening. He led us from the parking lot to the ominous two-story ranch house, pointing out only a couple of areas that were off-limits. The house was very dimly lit, mostly by candlelight. We were ushered into the main room to sign waivers and read rule sheets. We were then instructed to sit in a circle on cushions on the floor. Looking around the room, I started to notice that it was adorned with religious paraphernalia. Crosses, bibles, framed verses, you name it. Then entered Father Ash.
Father Ash is the young, handsome leader of the “Buchanan Family,” basically the cult we had just become initiates of. As initiates, we had to complete a series of tasks to prove ourselves to him, and loyalty to the family. And of course, we wanted to do that so we could have the answers to all of life’s questions! We took a vow, got some vague instructions, then were handed a mask, map and flashlight. Then we were off to the races. As we began to play, we learned that completed tasks would earn us wristbands, which were points. Encounters with the roaming family members could cost you a wristband and valuable time. Plus, they were creepy as hell, lurking around corners in the house, or hidden in the shadows outside. Further into the night, my fear was finally overcome by my competitive spirit, as I started to see some of the clues come together. I was even a little curious to see what would happen if one of the family members got ahold of me, but there was no way going to sacrifice a point for it! I sacrificed Shannon, instead - “take her!” I didn’t even know I had that survival tactic in me (I’m sorry, Shannon)!
Intruder Escape combines great actors, detailed sets, clearly thought-out gameplay and the perfect location for a top-notch immersive experience that you won’t soon forget. It’s not often that you see an event excel in all of these areas. As we were walking back to the car, I finally had a moment to think about how very impressed I was, and how much fun we actually had! I was exhausted and starving, but the whole experience was worth it. I also loved that we got to keep our cult masks as an added bonus, too bad I can’t remember the chant anymore.
Information on Intruder Escape can be found at https://www.intruderescape.com/