Escape Rooms Are Becoming a Breakout Form of Entertainment

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A clock counts down as players struggle to figure out clues scattered behind paintings, in pieces of clothing and in drawers in the Basement Escape Room. (Credit: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times)

With black hoods over their heads, five people trapped in a chain-link enclosure listen to an ominous monologue.

“Hello, my delicious friends,” the voice purrs. “I’ve lived here for five years, and I’ve spent much of that time collecting delicate morsels like yourselves to help me with my little experiments.”

Edward Tandy, the homicidal cannibal who has caged this group in his basement, lays out the rules of his game: They have 45 minutes to solve the puzzles inside and escape. Once time runs out, gas will be pumped in, putting the captives to sleep.

“Then the feast will begin,” he whispers. “I’ll be counting the seconds.”

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