Review: I Escaped Hell in the Armory


I’m afraid of the dark. Like, “won’t walk down the hallway in my own house without flipping on a light switch first” kind of afraid. The complications this brings about when it comes to hoods and blindfolds and other kinky crap is a story for another day! I also hate clowns – which makes this time of year particularly unnerving, especially when friends continuously send daunting photos of sinister creatures wielding balloons and the occasional axe… I digress. But I secretly love the adrenaline rush of a well put together production. As soon as I learned The Armory in San Francisco would be continuing their “Hell in the Armory” event, I quickly asked my Sir if we could possibly find a weekend to travel up there and attend. The planets aligned, I bought tickets, and we planned our weekend away.

Starting times were offered every 30 minutes from 6:30pm deep into the night. We opted for the Friday at 7:30pm time, figuring we could make dinner reservations before and still have plenty of time afterwards to enjoy my favorite cocktail at The Armory Club (a moody bar across the street). Knowing this event was at the home of, I wanted to dress the part. I wore a cute black dress and a giant bow in my hair, with the cutest knee high socks. I figured if I looked like a sweet little girl, I could grab onto Daddy’s arm and no one would hurt me.

We checked in to the front desk of The Armory, got ID’d, and checked our coats, and there began our quest to enter – and then escape – Hell in the Armory…

(CAUTION: SPOILERS! if you plan on attending, skip to the last paragraph!)

We were instructed to head into a dark room, only illuminated by throbbing red lights and an eerie fog floating about. A gruff man darted in, yelled that we were next, and disappeared as quickly as he arrived. It dawned on me all at once that we were about to go into a terrifying experience. This wasn’t just any trip to The Armory; it was the very real possibility of facing every single fear I have – complete with a hold harmless waiver and a safeword. I began squirming nervously and looking over my shoulder, letting my imagination concoct the most hideous creatures hiding beyond the red glow in every dark crevice of the room. I must’ve looked insane sitting there, wringing my hands in my dress with my head darting back and forth because I had convinced myself there were a thousand eyes watching me. My heart was already beating so fast, and I felt the icy cold dread and fear running through my veins. I took deep breaths and reminded myself that this was my idea. I begged for the trip to San Francisco. I bought these tickets. I consented to this. And, it was all just for fun and entertainment, right?

The gruff man came back in. His thick black rubber gloves instantly intrigued me, the freak inside me remembered this was, after all, a professional kink haven. He gestured towards us and another couple to meet him in the hallway. He awkwardly made us all introduce ourselves. He gave us stern instructions on the official safeword, how to use it, and what it meant. Then he told us to hold hands, extended his hand to my Sir, and took off running at an insane pace dragging us all behind him yelling at us to run faster. I instantly second guessed my wedged boots and short flowy dress as we sped past stunned guests checking in and up the stairs to the next floor.

We ran into a dark foggy hallway, and abruptly stopped. The gruff man ordered all of us to face the wall, line up shoulder-to-shoulder, and keep holding hands. I continued to take deep breaths and stare at the green glow on the wall in front of me. Suddenly, everything went black. Before I knew what had happened, a thick black hood was yanked over my head rendering me completely blind. All the sounds around me became muffled as my heart started pounding so hard, I was sure it would beat out of my chest. My Sir later told me that he could feel my pulse in my hand. I was still holding the hand of the unfortunate male half of the couple that was partnered up with us; I tried so hard to not break his fingers. I felt our hands being pulled apart, and a thick rope was put in place of our grip. I felt a tug and off we went, running into darkness. I was certain I was going to trip, but fortunately (or unfortunately?) that was the least of my worries. I was so terrified I found myself laughing in between gasping for breaths. Our run came to a stop, our hoods were yanked off (I was pleased that all of us were hooded, not just me – even though I later found out I was the first victim. Guess my sweet little outfit wasn’t having the desired effect…), and we blinked at the room around us. A voice told us that we had 3 minutes. “Three minutes til what?!” screamed my brain, and then I remembered this spectacle had an Escape Room twist to it. I immediately looked around to take in my surroundings. It was some hodge-podge Christmas décor that looked straight out of a sociopath’s living room in 1970’s, complete with a record player crooning some unrecognizable tunes. There was a locked toolbox dangling from the ceiling in the middle of the room, with a note that said “READ ME.” The man from the other couple with us took to the task. There was some elaborate rhyming message, which basically said we needed to figure out the combination and unlock the box. We all began tearing apart the room; shuffling through records, moving picture frames, analyzing decorations, trying to create clues out of something or nothing all at once. After what felt like eternity, we got the box unlocked (it was rather anti-climactic though, as whoever ‘reset’ the room after the last party left the word on the combo lock – we foolishly kept trying to figure it out even though it was already ‘solved’). We opened the box to find a whistle and a witty sign that said “BLOW ME.” No sooner had I raised the whistle to my lips (jokes most definitely ensued later that night), two masked men ran into our creepy Christmas room, yanked hoods over the other couple, and pulled them out of the room. I blew the whistle anyway, hoping for some sort of mercy. Our fate was no different than theirs. I was soon blind and defenseless again, being led down a dark hallway. I had no hand to hold, though the masked man had a firm grip on the back of my neck as he maneuvered me to our next destination.

The next room was just as dark. I felt like I could see glowing figures moving around in front of me, but that may have just been my paranoia setting in. I had no clue where my Sir was, if he was even in the same room as me. Aside from the dark, and clowns, being alone is one of my worst fears. I didn’t have time to ponder his whereabouts much, as I was roughly pushed up against a wall. My hands were splayed over my head, and my feet were kicked apart. My head was pushed down until my forehead touched the wall, with such authority that I didn’t dare lift it to look around. And then I was frisked. Roughly. I won’t lie and say I didn’t enjoy it. I also wont lie and say that my dress was not up around my waist because my arms were stretched so high above my head. My wrists were then crossed, trapped in the hands of my captor and I was yanked into what felt like the middle of the room. I felt a body next to me, and I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized it was Sir (he was frisked too!). We were pressed tightly against each other, side-by-side, and wrapped from hip to armpit (our arms were still raised – remember what I said about my dress??) in what I can only describe as black saran wrap. Out of that room we went, with the now familiar hand of my handler firmly gripping the back of my neck once again.

It was a short walk this time. Rough pressure on my shoulders brought me to my knees, taking my pseudo-Siamese-twin with me. I was relieved to feel a cushion under my knees as I sank to the ground. We kneeled there in silence for what felt like an eternity. The sense of vulnerability was crushing. All at once, the room lit up with blinding bulbs and strobes. Once my eyes adjusted, I realized we were not alone. I could feel breath on my neck. I tried to look around, but my head was held tightly in this unidentified person’s grasp facing forward. A silhouette was appearing in the midst of the brightest lights. As they began to dim, we could see the back of a man standing up. The music that had been deafening this entire time was abruptly cut, and all we could hear were his ragged breaths. I soon recognized them as breaths of pleasure not of distress, and I realized we were being forced to watch a man masturbate. The breathy person behind me let out a diabolical laugh as she held our heads facing the grim sight. The silhouetted man was nearing completion. We witnessed what appeared to be a desperately long awaited orgasm, and he slowly pulled his hand to the side. Thick strings of his pleasure caught the light, as we caught sight of the mess that had been made in his hand. He slowly turned around, laughing (I fully expected him to be a clown, by the way), revealing his face – entrapped in some leather harness-type contraption. His laughs turned to a creepy rendition of “eeny meeny miny mo…” as he waived his vulgar hand back and forth between Sir and I. I was, alas, the unfortunate winner of his little game. My prize was a caress of his indecency across my cheek and down my neck. Sir, who chuckled because he thought he was out of the woods, was rewarded with a squirt of some liquid down his back. Our sticky selves were hauled up, hooded again, and ushered to another room.

Amidst trying not to trip, I was trying to identify the substance drying on my cheek. Whatever it was, it was very…well…realistic. My thoughts were interrupted as we came to a stop in our room. The hand on my neck gripped tighter and voice barked “don’t f*ing move!” There we were again – in darkness, and in silence. After another round of eternity, we heard rustling and a faint voice. Once it became more audible, we heard a suffering man assuring us that “he was gone.” His raspy voice told us to take off our hoods and remove the plastic still binding us together. We stood in silence, suspecting some sort of trap. His pleas got louder, as he begged us for help and assured his that “he” was gone. Sir removed his hood, and then turned to take off mine. I shook my head violently trying to pull of out his grasp. I frantically tried to simultaneously keep my hood on and stay still, as I was bluntly told to do earlier. The voice became louder and more demanding, and eventually I succumbed to the pressure. I was already envisioning the retribution that could come from such a blatant display of disobedience. With hoods removed and plastic binds shed, we turned around. A sweaty, dirty, half naked man was tied to a stack of threadbare mattresses. He was curled in the fetal position shaking with evident fear, extending his bound wrists and begging for us to find the key. We took in our surroundings. Countless orange prescription bottles littered the floor, amongst trash bags and various discarded items. I began gingerly kicking things around, hoping to stumble across “the key” before “he” came back in and unleashed hell upon us because we moved. I tried to set aside my nauseating thoughts of what I could possibly uncover under these piles of trash. We eventually found the key taped to the wall above the man on the mattresses (again, slightly anti-climactic). I pushed the key into Sir’s hand, and backed into a corner – unsure of what would happen after this man was free. He gingerly rubbed his sore wrists, thanked us, and began pacing around the ravaged room. A sudden spark of hospitality overcame him, and he invited us to lie down on the mattresses. His invitation turned to demanding orders, and so down we went. As soon as my head hit the mattress, I was overwhelmed with a pungent aroma. I was unsure if it was coming from my new resting place, or the filthy man that we had just freed. The overwhelming sense of vulnerability crept up again, while the possibilities of being flat on my back in a dark room with a crazed man swirled through my imagination. We heard rustling behind us, as the man pulled items from a closet. We heard metal scrape the floor, and the discernable sound of him urinating into a bucket. He let out relieved breaths, and began putting the bucket away. The spark of hospitality must have ignited again, as he muttered something about how thirsty we must be. Horror overcame me as I watched him pour liquid from the bucket into Sir’s mouth. I watched him swallow (yes, I did make several jokes about this later) and gag repeatedly. I had been convinced he did actually relieve himself into that bucket, and now I was trying by best to assure myself that all of this was just for fun. I clenched my lips tight and shook my head when he brought the bucket to my lips. His kind offer became forceful and I felt the salty liquid pool in my mouth. I turned my head to the side and spit it out hastily, not caring that it drenched my hair. The man then said he was thirsty too. He procured a cup, and made us both spit into it. I watched in shock as he took a swig of it. The man seemed displeased and told us to get up. He began to pace frantically again. His muted mutterings turned to loud shouts as he told us to “find his pill.” His clutched his head in his hands and his strained voice screamed over and over. I looked around in dismay at the hundreds of pill bottles littering the floor. I bent down and began the arduous task of shaking each one, hoping to find this pill and stop this madman from shouting. I finally heard a magical rattle, and tossed the bottle at the man. He opened it and swallowed its contents greedily. He looked around in panic, as if a sudden realization had just come over him. He peeked out the door of the room, and told us we had to go. NOW.

My details will stop there, as I fear I’ve already said too much. I wish to not fully ruin it for those also looking to experience this production… Overall, I was thrilled to have experienced, and Escaped, Hell in The Armory. The hands-on immersion was a terrifying mindf*ck, and tapped into several of my fears. The actors were deep into their characters, their stories were believable, their interaction was spot on, and I liked the small group intimacy. Upon reflection, I was disappointed in the lack of nudity (I mean, it’s The Armory for crying out loud!) as reviews of previous years’ Haunts had stated there were ample amounts of. I also was hoping for a little bit ‘more’ – there could have been a continuous story line or plot; “the key” could have been drowning in a jar of some ghastly substance, not taped in plain sight; the men escorting us could have been substantially more terrifying; our actions could have dictated the rest of our encounter; the ‘Escape’ aspect of it could have been much more crucial to the story line; the could have made much better use of the vast sets that already has in place in this historical building. And – it was a rather short experience, at just 20 minutes. All that said though, I was not disappointed in the slightest. I was covered in unidentified substances, shaking my head in disbelief at all I just experienced. I enjoyed telling my friends I visited The Armory and left with ejaculate on my face and urine in my mouth. The event most definitely did not disappoint, as my imagination was able to go wild and divulge in the narrative. I enjoyed that it wasn’t your typical Haunted House with things jumping out at you screaming “BOO!” I liked that it wasn’t all about being scary or gory, and while the lack of nudity was slightly disappointing – I liked that it wasn’t all about sex as one might expect. I liked that it tapped into deep rooted fears, and ran the viewers through a slew of emotions – fear, disgust, confusion, shock. I hope the creators improve upon this year’s production, and we can’t wait to visit Hell in The Armory next year.

Vice Erotica is a photographer, writer, and babygirl from Southern California. She is a regular contributor for Kink Weekly. When she’s not photographing pretty things, she enjoys cigars, collars, and planning her next adventure. You can view more of her work here.


  1. anniebear says:

    I’m in love with this review! what a gross, hilarious experience it must have been! thanks for sharing.

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