Relentless Beats

A Trip Inside the Escape: Psycho Circus Asylum

Escape: Psycho Circus took place at the NOS Event Center last weekend. As expected from an Insomniac event, the music was amazing, the vibes were perfect, and the production was top of the line, especially when it came to their twisted and demented 30-room haunted house, the Asylum. It promised to have an even more polished and fully immersive theater experience than the year prior when it was first introduced and it did not disappoint.

The illusion was never broken from start to finish. From the front, it appears to be an abandoned, eerie prison. Guards stand watch in front of the rusty building, where searchlights scan the crowd and barbed wire lines the top of the implied fencing. Projector screens played an intro video on a continuous loop, explaining what spooky activities were about to take place. Performers came out occasionally to produce a few scares and give those waiting in line a sneak peek. It all helps build the anticipation for what is to come.

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My group was called into the asylum and the tone changed almost immediately. It was like stepping into another world–a much darker, creepier, world. Screams could be heard throughout the huge maze and I could feel my heart start to race. We handed our waivers (yes, waivers!) to the nurses once inside and proceeded to the next room in a single file line, where we were told to sit and face the wall. We were strapped into a straitjacket and had a black mask with only eye holes placed over our face, which to be honest, may have been the creepiest aspect of the whole experience. Impairment of the sense is its own type of terror.

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Next, keeping in line with the Asylum theme, my group was taken into a dimly lit padded room, where a demented clown sat in the corner, waiting to make eye contact with any daring soul before charging us, getting just inches from our faces. The lights flickered and then went out almost entirely; from there, we made our way through the maze which included horrific mysteries around every corner. I don’t want to give away too many details because this is something that’s best experienced in person, but the effort put into each room was nothing less than amazing.

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The Escape: Psycho Circus Asylum was such a unique festival feature for this year’s attendees. I’ve been raving about the Asylum to all of my friends and I’m sure many other guests have been doing the same, ensuring it’ll be back for years to come. Insomniac’s dedication to fully immersive experiences does not go unnoticed and sets them apart as a company and against competing festivals.

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