Graveyard Shift
838 voters

These Terrifying Escape Rooms Will Mess With Your Head In Ways No Haunted House Can

Updated April 13, 2020 2.6k votes 838 voters 79.1k views10 items

List RulesVote up the rooms from which you'd be most desperate to escape.

They have suddenly become all the rage, but what are escape rooms, exactly? These trendy new attractions are interactive mind-and-body games set in a room or space where participants must solve a series of puzzles and complete various challenges in order to escape the room within a limited amount of time. Often the rooms are themed, creating a haunted house-style effect of full immersion and mystery, and can include elements of genres like horror, sci-fi, and thrillers. Extreme escape rooms often have actors chasing after participants in intricately designed costumes.

By adding those extra elements of games and challenges to an immersive setting, escape rooms are on track to actually surpass haunted houses in popularity. In fact, some of the best escape rooms in the United States are designed to be terrifying, although most escape rooms make it clear that they offer a different experience from a traditional haunted house, and some escape rooms are themed around a historical element or challenge rather than a scary story. Everyone wants to know how to beat an escape room, but there's no better incentive to escape a haunted cell than knowing it's about to be under siege by an institutionalized zombie. 

Although escape rooms were originally created in Japan in 2005, there are now numerous escape room companies with franchise locations all over the United States. If you need birthday party ideas, team-building exercises, or just something to do on a Friday night besides stream a movie, check out these rad escape rooms in the US and vote up the rooms from which you'd be most desperate to escape.

  • 5

    Spookyroom Terrifies With A Classic Horror Film Premise In NYC

    Spookyroom, found in New York City, opens with a premise straight out of a classic horror film. The room plays upon the fear of the paranormal to get visitors’ adrenaline pumping as they attempt to escape in time. According to the story, one room in a college dormitory has been inexplicably locked for many years and strange noises are often heard coming from the mysterious room.

    The room gives visitors 60 minutes to solve puzzles in this paranormal-themed room and shine some light on the mystery the story presents. The escape rate from this room is reportedly only 25%.

    Is this too scary?
  • 6

    A Bates Hotel-Inspired Escape Room In Pennsylvania Because Nothing Is Scarier Than Finding Your Dead Mother In The Basement

    Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is widely considered one of the scariest films of all time. In West Chester, PA, you can enter an escape room that’s modeled on the infamous Bates Motel where the chilling shower scene took place. The story, however, differs slightly from the film, as there's actually no shower here. 

    Team members navigate the Bates Manor, a Victorian manor where a hefty amount of gold is hidden somewhere in a safe. The goal is to out-maneuver Mr. Bates, who can come home at any time. 

    Is this too scary?
  • 7

    These Expertly Designed Escape Rooms From The Enigma Project Make You Feel Like Global Nuclear Meltdown Is Actually Imminent

    The Enigma Project is a Pittsburgh-based escape room that gives you two different setups: Alchemy and Meltdown. These rooms are slick, built by professional designers, making the horror all the more real. 

    In Alchemy, the theme is "Old World Science" where you rely on clues, codes, and notes from scientific masters (think da Vinci) to break free from this Renaissance-themed workshop.

    In Meltdown, you're investigating radiation leaks, and you have 45 minutes to not only save the one person in the lab who has the escape codes and also use those codes to escape the room. 

    Is this too scary?
  • 8

    John Doe In New York City Crafts A 'Rear Window'-Style Story Of Suburban Paranoia

    A New York City-based escape room called John Doe plays upon the type of suburban paranoia that made Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window a hit. The story is that you have a reclusive, mysterious neighbor and you decide to investigate his home one night when he’s out. The story eventually unfurls into a murder mystery, giving you 60 minutes to escape.

    Part of the terror of this escape room is the constant suspense your shenanigans will be interrupted by the arrival of your potentially homicidal neighbor. 

    Is this too scary?