Into The Dark Terror Vault – Full Review

Into The Dark Terror Vault is a Haunted Attraction located in San Francisco, CA.

88 5th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
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Haunt Type(s):

Haunted HouseHaunted Laser Tag


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Paid Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Special Events, “Hi-Tech” Attraction, You may be touched, Original Characters, Indoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on September 22, 2021 by Team In-Corpse-A-Rated.

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Final Score: 8.77

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The City by The Bay, San Francisco, is once again haunted by the creative minds of Into The Dark’s Terror Vault. Located in the historical landmark, former U.S. Department of Treasury building The Old Mint, Terror Vault offers a new storyline, titled The Immortal Reckoning.

Due to COVID-19, Terror Vault could not open last year to the general public. Upon their previous two seasons, Terror Vault told a story of how the Old Mint was once a secret prison up until the opening of Alcatraz Penitentiary, and hence, the inmates were transferred. This year, Terror Vault tells of what happened to the Old Mint after its stint as a prison. As the story goes, a prominent rich family known as the Blackwells took over the Mint and used it to house their rare artifacts related to the occult. We follow the Blackwells as their artifacts open a door to another dimension where darkness and evil lurk.

Fair warning, this is not the local Jaycees haunted house that your parents took you to when you were an adolescent. This haunt is for guests 21 years and older. There is strong language, nudity, satanic imagery, as well as scenes of violence and jump scares. We can definitely say that Prim and Proper Middle America is not ready for this type of show. Terror Vault is out to shock you. Yet Terror Vault also entertains and scares its audience.

Debbie and I were really impressed with The Immortal Reckoning. There are two prices for admission, $60.00 for the ‘opt-in’, where actors may touch you or pull you aside, and $55.00 for the passive view of the show. Terror Vault is a collaborative effort between event producer and drag queen Peaches Christ, theater producer David Flower, and venue management firm Non-Plus Ultra.

Cast: 8.96

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Terror Vault has a very talented cast that provided many memorable performances. The show is very dialogue-driven, and all of the speaking actors delivered their lines with conviction. None of them appeared lost or searched for their next line.

In many scenes, the main actor of a particular room would engage our group, asking questions and mocking us in the process. The evil nuns accused us of being sinners and demanded we repent. One memorable girl arched back and screamed like she was possessed. At a bar scene, the actress commented on how we were too young to be there, and Debbie responded, ‘No, I’m old’. We wish the actress would have quipped back, but she kept to the script. As well as vocal actors, there were silent actors providing jump scares throughout the haunt. All of the dialogue contributed to the overall storyline.

There were enough actors in Terror Vault, and not once did we ever feel they were shorthanded. Plus, there were a variety of actors, so it did not seem as if we were seeing the same type of character repeated. Even the evil nuns, though they wore the same habits, each had a different personality.

Costuming: 8.88

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Terror Vault has very elaborate costumes, and each one effectively conveys what kind of character the actor is portraying. All costumes were detailed and appropriate to the scenes and theme. The most memorable makeup was with the evil nuns. From the white face paint and prosthetics, the nuns did resemble The Conjuring Movie Series Nun, complete with the black and white habit.

Even the non-scary actors wore appropriate costumes, such as the tour guide’s uniform and Mr. Blackwell’s business attire. There was a demon with a flesh-toned silicon mask, which blended in very well with the actor’s skin. Several of the silent jump scare actors wore distressed bunny rabbit masks, which looked more odd than scary.

Customer Service: 9

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Finding Terror Vault is easy, because it is located at the Old Mint building on Fifth and Mission Streets in San Francisco. There is no parking on the property, but there is a paid public parking garage across the street, and there is public transportation available with the city’s bus service MUNI and the subway service BART.

We did not find any safety hazards in Terror Vault. It’s important to note that The Immortal Reckoning has numerous stairs to traverse, so it is not handicap accessible, however, the Fang Bang bar is.

In this age of the pandemic, all guests are required to show proof of vaccination and wear a mask at all times. The staff were professional, helpful, and friendly. Before entering The Immortal Reckoning, a security guard gave us a speech about keeping our masks on and rules of conduct during the performance.

Terror Vault’s information is easy to find because they have an updated website, and a presence on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Atmosphere: 8.5

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From the outside of the Old Mint, the most notable aspect of the existence of a haunted house are the banners hanging between each of the pillars, each one featuring the Terror Vault branding and images of actors. Upon entry, the ground floor level was very quiet. There was an area for guests to check-in, but the rest of the floor appeared abandoned.

In previous years, the ground floor had a lounge bar, photo op room, and gift shop. This year, it was downstairs in the subfloor level where all of the action was taking place, including the aforementioned rooms. To be honest, the subfloor level provides a more secluded, more cavernous and tomb-like vibe. Moving everything downstairs was a good decision; the haunt mood works better.

The lounge bar is called Fang Bang, which has a goth club/vampire theme. Debbie and I signed up for the first show performance of the evening, so when we arrived, there were very few people. Come to find out, after we finished The Immortal Reckoning show, there were line actors dressed as gothic vampires interacting with guests. They provided that needed ingredient that was missing when we first arrived. We wished the vampires were there to greet us from the beginning. Fang Bang has a list of specialty cocktails as well as various alcoholic beverages. The lounge did have some subtle satanic imagery and a fireman’s pole, so these items did foreshadow what we would see in The Immortal Reckoning.

Special Effects: 8.81

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Terror Vault utilizes quite an array of special effects. Their use of fog and lighting is excellent, as always, but this year they added a vibrating floor, which created a sense of uneasiness under our feet. Also worth noting was the use of haunt aromas in several rooms. The use of scents, like rotting corpses and burnt flesh, provided another layer of uneasiness. Props go to the actors who were stationed in those rooms with bad smells.

The most memorable sound effect was the voice of the demon, which was a prerecorded modulated voice. The demon actor lip-synced with the recording very well. The scenes were well detailed, and no room ever felt incomplete. We admired the use of video projectors to provide scenery and moving paintings. When an actor would cast a spell, fog machines, lighting effects and sound came together brilliantly to sell the moment. The special effects successfully achieved and maintained the suspension of disbelief, and worked well in creating a scary and entertaining experience.

Theme: 9.2

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Terror Vault not only has a theme but a complete storyline. From the beginning, the actors give an expository of what is happening.

Throughout the show, the actors’ dialogue, be it to the audience or with each other, keep the story moving forward. The location is essential to the theme because the story deals with what happened to the Old Mint building once it was no longer a secret prison (which was the previous year’s theme).

Scare Factor: 8.39

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Terror Vault had multiple jump scares, but also had a creepy atmosphere. The vibrating floor created a sense of uneasiness. There were several rooms where we knew someone was going to jump scare us, we knew it was coming, yet they got us anyway. There were a few stalker scares as well, but the majority of fear came from the jump scare.

Terror Vault did have a false ending, which lowered our guard, and a final jump scare came at us before the show was officially over. A false ending was something we haven’t seen in any other haunt, so we have to give props to it.

Entertainment & Value: 8.66

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We were very satisfied with the entertainment received during our experience with Terror Vault’s The Immortal Reckoning. It was a 45-minute show, and we did get our money’s worth. Excluding the main attraction, we felt the ambiance at the Fang Bang bar was too quiet when there were no line actors. But once the line actors arrived, they gave the place much-needed energy. The ‘action’ was happening on the subfloor. However, the ground level was barren. Besides the ticket attendant/coat check and a large Terror Vault banner, the ground level was too quiet. It would have been nice to see either more d������cor or line actors, because we have to say that if there is a dead zone at Terror Vault, then it’s on the ground floor.

For such an elaborate show being in an expensive city like San Francisco, $55.00 for general admission is a good price. This is a must-see haunted attraction!

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Past Awards

2018 Awards

Best Scripted Dialogue (Given by: Team In-Corpse-A-Rated)

Most Interactive Cast (Given by: Team In-Corpse-A-Rated)

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