A sneak peek inside SF’s new Terror Vault, which opens Oct. 10

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The coveted Gold Rush haul is long gone from the brick-walled, paint-peeling, stone-cold basement of San Francisco’s Old Mint building. But something else has moved in.

A dark and stormy figure looms from the shadows — San Francisco drag queen Peaches Christ, dressed to kill with a raven-black wig tall enough to rival the Millennium Tower, but clearly built on a more solid foundation. We’re in a room full of medical mechanisms and rusty prison-cell doors, ancient and decaying, with a foreboding darkness pushing through the corroded bars.

Someone’s pounding on a rear wall. What the devil did I just bump into, a body bag? OK, I’m officially creeped out, even with the house lights on, and I really want my mama.

This is Terror Vault, a new and delightfully haunted experience to spook the city this Halloween season, opening Wednesday and running through Nov. 3. We got a preview earlier this week, and while there are plenty of scares, spooks and startles, this is not your run-of-the-shopping-mall haunted-house maze with ghouls around every corner.

No, this is a show. A 45-minute show to be exact, that gives you your 60 bucks worth. It’s immersive theater, performance art gone to the dark side, with local actors of evil, who had to pass scream tryouts to get the job.

A baby statue in need of Visine greets visitors to the Old Mint. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

Be advised, what happens at the Terror Vault doesn’t stay at the Terror Vault. It follows you home to your nightmares, mostly because it gets you directly involved in the action – if you want to — with escape-room-style puzzles or by playing parts in scary scenes. And there’s booze to boot, cocktails like Bat Boy Guano or Zombie Puss at the pre-show bar, hence this is an over-21 experience.

But despite the adult atmosphere, the scares are not super gross-out gory. The Vault embraces the eerie. It’s more about morbid mood and macabre machinations than burned-up bodies and extruded entrails. And a separate section for kids — a Dead Zone zombie-tag game — opens Oct. 12.

“This whole thing is really art and theater,” says a gleeful Peaches, also known as Joshua Grannell, a big presence in town and in person, and the evil brainchild behind the Vault. Peaches, artistic

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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