Relentless Beats

A Trip Inside the Escape: Psycho Circus Asylum

Escape: Psycho Circus took place at the NOS Event Center in San Bernardino last weekend. As expected from an Insomniac event, the music was terrific, the atmosphere was perfectly crafted, and the production was top of the line. This was especially true 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 before when it was first introduced and 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 occur. Performers came out occasionally to elicit a few scares and give those waiting in line a sneak peek. It all helped build the anticipation for what is to come.


My group, nearly shaking with excitement, 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 colossal 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. From there, we were each strapped into a straitjacket and had a black mask with only eye holes placed over our face. This may have been the most horrific aspect of the whole experience. Impairment of the senses is its own type of terror, and it felt so foreign.


Next, keeping in line with the Asylum theme, my group was taken to 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 that presented horrific mysteries around every corner. I don’t want to give away too many details because this is an attraction best experienced in person, but the effort put into each room was nothing less than impressive.



The Escape: Psycho Circus Asylum was such a unique festival feature for this year’s attendees. I know I haven’t been able to stop talking about it and I’m sure other’s have been doing the same, ensuring it’ll be back for years to come. Insomniac’s dedication to a fully immersive experience does not go unnoticed and solidifies them as the industry leader.

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