Following the success of The Immortal Reckoning last year, Into the Dark— the Bay Area production company spawned from the creative, twisted minds of Peaches Christ, David Flower Productions, and Non Plus Ultra — returns to San Francisco with The Summoning, a brand-new, fully immersive haunted theatrical experience.
A combination of theater, haunted mazes, and special effects, The Summoning invites thrill seekers to participate in a real live seance that rips a hole into the supernatural world. Taking place inside The San Francisco Mint, guests will come face-to-face with demonic spirits while attempting to retrieve the severed head of an unethical vampire queen! Featuring a brand-new storyline, terrifying characters, and outrageous audience interactivity, The Summoning is guaranteed to send a chill down the spine of anyone that dares to step inside.
GayCities had a chance to sit down with Peaches Christ, one of the masterminds behind The Summoning, to learn more about this terrifying adventure. She tells us about her favorite moment from the show and tips on how to prepare yourself for the evening.
How does The Summoning differ from The Immortal Reckoning last Halloween?
“We thought to ourselves let’s just do whatever the F we want! Let’s make the show as queer and fantastic and magical and wild and scary and gross and fun and intense as we want, and not really second-guess things. We didn’t know what was going to happen, and that ended up being the best decision we could have made. The audience really responded well to it. People came multiple times because they enjoyed it so much. That showed us that we needed to create a new, original show every year. So, The Summoning is a brand new show with a new storyline, a new plot a new adventure, new sets, new scenery, new characters, and so that’s what we’re racing the clock to prepare for you right now.”
Also, for the first time ever, there will be two versions of the show. In the evenings, the content for the show is adult and rated a hard R. On the weekends, they will host matinee performances that are more appropriate for a PG-13 crowd. Peaches Christ elaborates, “We get to present two different scenarios of the same scene, one that’s really adult and quite shocking, and one that’s for teenagers, less sexual, but still quite gross in a teenage way.”
How does your show compare to other immersive experiences in San Francisco?
“When we started in 2018, there really weren’t very many (immersive experiences) and they certainly weren’t the kind with big money behind them. We went to Stranger Things: The Experience at the Armory and really enjoyed it – but that’s not what we do. It was just naturally less intimate, but the special effects were incredible. Since we don’t have their kind of budget, in some ways, by virtue of the fact that we’re limited, I think it forces us to be more creative. We have to rely on old-school magic and the special effects we can afford and lean into storytelling and dramatic acting.”
“It’s something very different, very uniquely San Francisco.”
In addition to this “old-school magic”, audience members are invited to start and end their haunted adventure at Fang Bang, located in the vault of The San Francisco Mint.
If you would like to imbibe Halloween-themed cocktails and tasty, bloody bites at Fang Bang, you don’t even need a ticket to the show. This 80’s New Wave/goth vampire-themed pop-up bar will be open to the public during the show’s operating hours.
What should audience members do to prepare for the show?
“I always encourage people to wear the red necklace we offer at the entrance. It allows audience members to opt-in to some of the action of the show. There are a lot of extreme haunts that love to torture their guests. And that’s not what we do at all. We don’t torture people. But we do engage with people who wear the red necklaces in a very playful fun way. Sure. You might receive a little electrocution or, you know be isolated in a scene with another actor and we’re going to do our best to scare you. But it is fun!”
“Also, this is a physical show, you’ll be moving through the space. There are stairs, a lot of stairs. There are places where you have to crouch down and move through tight spaces. You’ll want all of your wits about you. You don’t want to wear high heels. You don’t want to be too drunk, you know? This is more than just a night out at the theater. This is an activity.”
What’s your favorite moment from The Summoning?
“There is a moment that is so crazy and wild and gross and bizarre that when I proposed it to David and the team, David’s immediate reaction was absolutely not. I fought and fought to keep it in the show. It’s definitely the moment that’s gonna get the biggest reaction.”
“Without giving too much away, one of my favorite moments is the world of Vivian Vane, a Victorian era cosmetics mogul. What the public doesn’t know is she’s harvesting human bodies to make her products. If you’re wearing the red necklace, which means you’ve opted in for interactivity, the actors might turn you into a guinea pig in their beauty laboratory.”
Performances of The Summoning take place Wednesday through Sunday evenings from now through Saturday, November 5. For more information on The Summoning, visit intothedarksf.com.
All photos courtesy of Peaches Christ and Into the Dark