Black Market’s MURDERCO Serves Up Thrills and Gore

Black Market Escape Rooms was created by Jon Cooke to be the first “R-Rated” escape room. Black Market’s first offering, MURDERCO, definitely earns that “Restricted” title, as it contains nudity, language and gore aplenty.

The Premise

MURDERCO is a company that provides its members entertainment through murder. My fellow members and I arrived to watch one of MURDERCO’s elite “artists” – Maneater, Juggernaut, Oblivion and our personal selection, Sideshow the twisted clown – kill someone for our enjoyment. Watching from the other side of a pane of glass, we could interact with Sideshow, tell him which weapons to use and cheer him on if we so desired. This scene of extreme violence was startling, creepy and set the tone for the rest of the stressful hour.

Once the main event was complete, a static-filled voice came over the intercom, warning us that everything was not as it seemed and we were in danger. We needed to escape the house of horrors before Sideshow turned on us and our organs were harvested for profit. The music intensified, the lights flickered, and the adrenaline kicked in…

The Horror

First off, the actors in MURDERCO were impeccable. Our “artist,” Sideshow, was a menacing and creepy presence, but surprisingly fun at the same time. He effectively blurred the lines between a generic monster in a haunted house and a real-life killer stalking and playing with us. There were other actors in the experience that either helped or hindered our progress, all of whom added to our frantic attempt to escape. However, with six people in our group plus an actor, the close quarters got even smaller and were occasionally frustrating to move through. The actors were allowed to touch us, and did so to guide us, but it wasn’t too much nor was it aggressive. Most importantly, the actors didn’t interfere with our problem-solving and sometimes even offered us subtle clues when we were lost.

In such a vivid, stressful environment, trying to solve intricate puzzles can be impossible. To counteract thought paralysis, though, the puzzles in MURDERCO were not super difficult, but there were a few really clever ones and hidden props that kept us guessing. A little quibble is that a few clues appeared in very dim lighting without help from a flashlight, making us have to rely on touch or really squint to see the details we needed. I think, overall, the difficulty of the puzzles was perfect for the scenario Black Market has built, and everyone in our group got a chance to shine. We all got our hands dirty…

The Takeaway

MURDERCO lives up to its “R” rating and is for guests 18 and up. I wouldn’t recommend this room for those with weak stomachs or who scare to the point of debilitation. There are also several small spaces to maneuver through, so full mobility is required. As a former Knott’s Scary Farm maze designer, Jon Cooke and his team have created a fantastic world of grotesque nightmares for guests to interact with. From truly invested actors to the gory production design, MURDERCO was like being in a horror film and is great for those looking for an experience with a more lethal bite.

Will you survive? Book your room here.

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