The Evil Dead franchise debuted back in 1981 and, in the decades since, has grown to become one of the most beloved franchises in horror. Fans are constantly seeking ways to show their love for the series, whether that be through collecting memorabilia inspired by the films or traveling to conventions to meet those involved with bringing the narrative to life. Beginning this summer, fans will have an all-new way to celebrate their love for the series, as Hourglass Escapes - Seattle Escape Room Games will debut the first official Evil Dead 2 escape room, which will not only immerse yourself in the world of the film, but will also present challenges to solve that reflect the events of the film.
Hourglass Escapes Creative Director and Game Designer Seth Wolfson spearheaded the passion project, blending his love of the film with his skills designing escape rooms to bring fans an experience that was not only challenging, but also authentic to the world created by Evil Dead 2 director Sam Raimi. You can learn more about the escape room here.
ComicBook.com recently caught up with Wolfson to discuss the projects biggest challenges and what is sure to make Evil Dead 2 fans most happy. You can also check out behind-the-scenes images of the video vignettes that will taunt and torment the players, which will star Yuri Lowenthal as Professor Raymond Knowby, Gretchen Douma as the Rules Reader, Andrea Hays as Henrietta, and Donal Thoms-Capello delivering his own unique version of Ash Williams. The video sequences were directed by Ben Rock.
Seth Wolfson: I think that part of it is that we're officially licensed by the studio. We're trying to embody Evil Dead films because we're allowed to, but a lot of other escape rooms are merely inspired by the movies. They're like, "Oh, this is kind of Evil Dead-ish." And then they want to mix in all these other genres. And it's fine. And some of them are really, really great. I don't want to sound like I'm putting them down. But ours is not just an homage to Evil Dead. We are trying to give an Evil Dead 2 experience and let the players actually be part of it. Like, the fans will get their taste of what they want and the non-fans or people who have never seen it will be like, "Oh, that was fun. Maybe I'm going to go check out this movie," and they're going to have a good time.
Obviously the experience will really appeal to Evil Dead 2 fans, but will those unfamiliar with it have just as much fun?
The story is the cabin has materialized within the walls of our building, and the players have joined a ghost hunting group that they found on Craigslist. And as players, when you buy your tickets or even online, on our website, you can download the player pack which gives the characters and costume ideas. So now, if you've never seen the movie or if you've seen the movie, you're coming in playing these other characters, so they're outside the world, that are now going to interact with the Evil Dead 2 world. And they're actually even given props in the lobby that those characters need to help save Ash and stop the Evil Dead spirits and ghosts and demons from destroying the world, doing their thing.
So it's both a unique and entertaining experience in its own right that also feels like an offshoot of the events of the film?
I like to think of it, it is something that's happening within Evil Dead 2 that nobody has ever seen as they watch the movie. It just kind of happened and came and went and Ash just happened to never mention an escape room in Seattle, which he really should have. Unofficially.
How long have you been developing this idea?
I started planning this on paper actually like three years ago just for fun, in my head and on paper, just for me. And then this past December we contacted the people who own the rights and manage them, and just within a few weeks the deal was done and they've just been awesome to deal with.
Now that the opening is just a few weeks away, what have been the unexpected challenges?
I think the biggest challenge is, I want to know that we did a good job and I won't know that until it's up and running. And I think the challenge is probably just getting everything done in time and done correctly, and with high quality. I mean, the film shoot that we're doing this weekend, we're cramming three days into two days with these amazing actors, and it's just getting it all together and getting the right people to be a part of it I think is the hardest part, but what is making this all happen.
Everybody involved is such a huge fan of Evil Dead 2. I would guess that they would all say that's their favorite in the franchise, like me, though we all love them, all the versions. Ben is like as obsessed with this movie as I ever could be. And then we have Donal as our Ash, and he's just a giant fan. I had to ask him to do something kind of silly, that I don't want to give away, but when I asked him something that most people would be like, "No way," he's like, "Absolutely." Because there's something in the game he's going to get to do that is just awesome. And then Yuri Lowenthal, who a lot of people know from a million cartoons and video games. He's maybe the biggest Evil Dead 2 fan. He was so cool as our Professor Knowby. So it's like everybody involved. The crew, the cast, the builders. They love the movie so much.
And conversely, what about the whole experience have you been most proud of?
I think it's my crew. I mean, honestly, everybody has put so much into it and I'm probably doing more delegation than anything with this escape room. I mean the prop builders, the make up artists. I feel like I'm doing the least in a lot of ways by just delegating to these other people who are doing an amazing job. That's the thing I'm most proud of, is the crew.