The Basement: What it’s Like to be Held Captive in Kansas City’s First Live Escape Room of a Serial Killer
“October is here. Let the fright-fest begin,” were my thoughts as my cousin and I pulled the metal doors of The Basement and entered. The Basement is a live escape room experience that has recently joined Kansas City’s well known West Bottoms Halloween attractions this year. The key word here is live escape room, which I didn’t completely understand. Live as in a decorated room with props you’ll be moving around? Or live as in things will be jumping in my face scaring me live?
The only information that you will find on their website is about the first chapter of The Basement’s twisted story. Upon entering the game, you become a captive of a cannibalistic serial killer with an exquisite taste for human flesh named Edward Tandy. The Basement is his deceased mother’s home where he has created a sick and sinister game with his captives.You and a team must solve his disturbing puzzles in order to escape.
So, when my cousin and I rounded the corner of the short hallway to the lobby and I read the rule board plastered on the black walls, “ . . . stay calm when inside” I pretty much had to mentally prepare myself for what I was getting myself into. Mind you, I am not a thrill seeker. Riding the Patriot at Worlds of Fun is as far as I go for thrill. As for fear, I’ll sit down and watch a scary movie with you through the gaps between my fingers while covering my face, but even those kiddie haunted houses at the pumpkin patch farms are a no-no for me.
Although it did not calm my nerves at all, I had the pleasure of meeting the mastermind behind the story line and CEO of The Basement, Kayden Ressel. Fun facts about Kayden: He was born in South Africa, but grew up in Los Angeles. His love for horror video games encouraged him to run his own escape room business, and his fanatic obsession with all things horror (especially anything psychologically twisted and gory) inspired the chapters of The Basement. His top three classic horror movies are: “Devils Reject,” “Would You Rather,” and “Fire in the Sky.”
At the end of the interview, we did ask him if anything would jump out at us while in the game, but he declined to answer. Did it matter as we were closed in a small dark closet with a T.V. that came on with lifeless people, who looked like they had been tortured for days, instructing us to put the black burlap bags over our head? Well, if it did, it was too late to turn back now because the chapter had begun.
After being pushed through another door out of the tiny closet by unseen hands, we removed the burlap bags and found ourselves in a dark, unnerving, concrete bedroom locked in a cage that we had to find our way out of.
Lightening and thunder wreaked havoc outside as we saw rain strike the basement windows above us. The time was ticking and we had to find our way out of the cage before Edward Tandy decided he had had enough fun with us. Barely able to see, we finally set ourselves free from the cage and fumbled around the dark, dusty room that most certainly smelt like someone’s dead mother’s basement. Really, I felt safer behind the locked bars of the cage than in the open.
While observing everything in the bedroom, I noticed a door five feet away from the repulsive bed that was in the room. (I’m pretty sure you would go home with more than just bedbugs if you were to lay on it.) Keeping a watchful eye on the door in case anything or anyone tried to come through, I started looking for clues that would lead to our escape.
My senses were bombarded with sounds from the weather outside the basement, the T.V. playing a dvd of a deranged man warning us to escape, keeping track of the perplexing clues we’ve found, and a female’s voice in the distance begging for help. I could hear my heart beating in my ears while going through musty old books and opening up drawers of a wardrobe where it looked like someone’s bloody body had been dragged into by the looks of the blood-stained concrete floor.
At one point, I discovered the big green buzzer we had been informed to press if we needed to end the game immediately. I kid you not, there came a moment where I had lost all courage and bravery and wanted to call it quits. The hair on my arms had risen and every single fiber in my body was telling me to run. A live escape room is definitely the correct term to describe The Basement.
Our 45 minutes of captivity felt like hours. From the beginning, we were already at a disadvantage. While there are usually six to eight people working together to escape, there were only two of us. We did not escape Edward Tandy’s basement, but we will definitely be returning for another attempt.
Currently there are only two other locations for The Basement: Los Angeles and Las Vegas. And although there are no spoiler alerts from me to help you escape, I do know that The Basement will not only be here for the Halloween season, but Kayden plans to keep the escape room as a regular attraction in Kansas City. There may even be expansions into the other chapters of Edward Tany’s sinister story. So, if you’re looking for a realistic, thrilling scare experience this Halloween, Kayden has definitely transcended any escape room or Halloween thrill attraction and set the bar.
You can make reservations and find out more about The Basement at TheBasementKC.com.