I’ve always loved horror.
One of my earliest memories is of creeping downstairs while my parents were watching The Thing; hiding around the corner, sneaking peaks at the film but mostly just listening to sounds of the movie’s gore and letting my imagination do the rest.
In elementary school I would “borrow” from my father’s horror collection, and ended up reading It and other horror classics when I was waaay too young. Later, I’d spend time hanging out at The Bookman in Orange, sitting on their little portable ladder in the horror section and thumbing through novels.
On Saturday afternoons I’d watch Channel 5 matinees of sanitized versions of horror films like Halloween and the Exorcist (with significantly reduced run times due to all the editing.)
For Halloween, when most kids were wearing store-bought Star Wars and Cabbage Patch costumes, I insisted that my mother craft me my own vampire and mummy outfits.
I ran my first home haunt at age 10. It included the standard spooky house decorations like Jack-o’-lanterns and lots of cotton spider webs, as well as a faux table sitting before the front door with a bowl of candy on it and a sign that read “Take 1”. I hid underneath the table, and when I heard kids taking more than one piece of candy I would reach my zombie-gloved hand through the false bottom of the bowl and grab the perpetrators. (Don’t try that today!)
I worked “real” haunts as soon as I was old enough—Chapman University, a hayride in Ohio, and of course Knott’s Scary Farm.
So when we decided to open an escape room, of course I wanted our first theme to be horror. My co-owners wisely pointed out that if we only had one game running, we didn’t want to limit our audience by excluding players who may not be horror fans; hence the development of the family-friendly (but still spooky) Midnight on the Bayou.
For our second escape game, however, I was given free reign. For this one I would pull from every horror trope I’d encountered in my long history with the genre. I’d revisit my favorite films and novels, as well as watch and read dozens of new ones. I’d spend an inordinate amount of time on tvtropes.org. Cat-in-the-closet scares, creepy clowns, being buried alive—this game would have you covered (so to speak). Curse of the Bayou (the name itself an homage to scary movie sequels) would be a love letter to horror. But to make all this work would require sophisticated tech, which I’ll cover in Build Blog #2.