And you know what? He’s not wrong. If you live in Crawley, you will know all about the Acid Bath Murderer - or at least you think you will?
If you don’t know about John Haigh - the infamous serial killer - or want to know more about him, you can find out about his life and his killings in the new ‘live experience’ at Hounds, in Queens Square. For anyone who knows the venue, they already have two great escape rooms, but their new one is quite different. From concept to opening, this was three years in the making with the build taking about a year and half.
The other games they are known for are about 15 minutes theatrics and one hour of game play. This new live experience has around 45 minutes of theatrics, a lot of game play as well as multimedia segments.
David told us: “There’s a lot going on and there is a lot more structure to the theatrical elements. Our other games are fictional but because this one is grounded in reality we wanted to take a different direction with it.”
And the feedback has been good so far. David said: “The general consensus with the know-it-alls in the industry are saying it’s either the next step up in the escape world or it’s like the London Dungeon or London Bridge Experience. It’s crossing the bridge between the escape world and the wider immersive theatre industry.
“There’s nothing quite like it.”
And he’s not wrong - I took my son Noah and his friend Dan along to try it out and as well as being absolutely terrified, they absolutely loved it.
From the jump scare moment of being welcomed by your ‘tour guide’ Sulphuric Sue to the final multimedia experience, you can’t help but be impressed.
The detail of the rooms are creepily atmospheric, the commitment of the actors is amazing and some of the escape room elements are mind boggling - in fact there was one where we needed quite a lot of help and guidance to solve - but we were probably overthinking it.
But as well as being terrifying and incredible fun, it’s educational. As David says: “The story itself, other than documentaries and stuff that’s covered it, there’s nothing realistic or tangible that has told the story of John Haigh, which is of course a Crawley story. We wanted to get all the facts in there and make it historical and interesting.”
And this new experience means Hounds are reviewing what’s next for them. “There are ideas, plans and concepts for changing some of the things people know here and putting in stuff that is at this level,” said David.
“If you go back over our portfolio and experiences, they are great and market-leading, but compared to something like this, they don’t even come close.
“We want to go back and look at possibly stripping back some stuff and putting in something that is a new format that is very theatrical and interesting and at this level.”
To book the Acid Bath Murderer Live Experience or for more information about Hounds Immersive Experiences – visit https://www.houndsescape.co.uk/