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Escape the Night is a Reality Show on YouTube Red by Joey Graceffa, who also stars as the host, an unfortunate Savant who invites a number of guests to an estate trapped in the past, with the guests having to play specific characters related to that era. The estate is home to an evil entity that challenges the guests to survive its games.

The show uses escape room puzzles for most of its challenges, and is unique in that Joey, the host, also solves the puzzles along with the guests. At the end of each episode, the guests vote for two of their own to go into "dark tasks" elimination challenges in which the loser dies.This repeats until one or more guests survive at the end of the season, along with Graceffa...maybe.


The show first premiered on June 22, 2016, and is currently in its third season. Each season premieres in late June before continuing throughout the summer, ending around mid-August. With each season, the first episode is made available for free on YouTube proper; however, the remaining episodes are restricted to Red.

Escape the Night provides examples of:

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    The series as a whole 
  • Aerith and Bob: From the Dark Army general Arlyn (S2), the Confederate general Cash (S2), SAE members Jael and Ryu (S3); to Creepy Housekeeper Sarah (S1), WW1 soldier Colin (S1), Vampire Princess Alison (S2), The-Man-With-No-Name Benjamin (S3) and Carnival Master Nicholas (S3).
  • Anachronism Stew: Zigzagged. Most non-YouTubers have names fitting to their era, only that there's a few...odd...ones that stand out for their time period.
    • Alison was a popular name in the Middle Ages and the late 20th century, not the Victorian Era. 'Alice' would be more appropriate for the era, honestly.
    • Riley was a ''masculine'' name in the 19th century, but then she was born in at least the 18th century...
  • Anyone Can Die: It's a elimination based reality competition, so yes, Almost everyone is up for grabs....
  • Ancient Evil: The settings are always home to a malevolent entity that kills its guests.
  • Back from the Dead: Happens a few times throughout Seasons 2 and 3: Joey in Season 2 Episode 10, MatPat in Season 3 Episode 7, Jael and Ryu in Season 3 Episode 10.
    • The Automation Bride in Season 2 Episode 7 may also count.
  • Black Guy Dies First: Averted, because the token "black" characters die in Episode 4 in their respective seasons - Glozell, Season 1; DeStorm, Season 2; Teala, Season 3, as opposed to the first or second episode, when the first YouTuber death occurs. Also discussed.
  • Bury Your Gays: Played with...a lot. But mostly averted because none of the YouTuber are killed off because of their sexuality, as far as we know.
    • Justified for Shane, because he's a member of the Society Against Evil, and He Knows Too Much.
    • Downplayed for the LGBT guest survivors, because their friends are dead and they likely have PTSD...but they're still alive. This category includes Eva, Tyler, Nikita.
    • Subverted for Joey. He came Back from the Dead.
  • Confession Cam: As traditional for reality/scripted TV hybrids (see; Murder In Small Town X, The Murder Game, Whodunnit) it makes sense. On the other hand, one has to wonder when the guests had the chance to sit down....
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Several YouTubers died in ways which can be classified as such.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Too many times: accepting the invitations - ALL THREE TIMES, that cursed jack-in-the-box in Season 3 Episode 1...ugh.
  • Dark Fantasy: Especially in season 2.
  • The Doll Episode: Episode 7 for Season 1, Episode 6 for Season 3.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Sometimes.
    • In Season 1 Episode 10, there was, indeed, a Betrayal at the House on the Hill.
    • Season 1 Episodes 4, 7 and 9 each feature Mannequins, Mermaid (Tails) and Wicked Hallucinations respectively.
      • In the same way, Season 2 Episode 7 features an Automaton Love Story, the following episode has the Slaughter under the Full Moon; the Clowns Here [in Everlock] indeed Kill in Episodes 1 and 2 of Season 3, while Season 3 Episode 7 mainly takes place within the grounds of a Funhouse, etc.
    • S1E02, S1E06, S2E03, S2E09, S3E07 all have titles featuring the premise and/or setting of the death challenge of the episode.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Especially in Season 2. Spread across all three seasons are: demons, vampires, werewolves, gods and goddesses, Steampunk, dimensions, clowns, mermaids, witches, other monsters, etc.
  • Fatal Flaw: All the (formerly-)deceased YouTubers have been cited to have their own, according to this work.
  • Forever War: It was first revealed in Season 1 Episode 1 that the Society Against Evil had been fighting against the Evil for centuries. Season 3 Episode 9 officially states that it's an ongoing war.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Not the language, no, but there are plenty of Japanese-based characters - Jorogumo, Kira and Haruko; Katsumi; Ryu; etc. Makes sense since the creator/host uses Gratuitous Japanese in some of his videos.
  • Group Hug: Happens to the winning group in group challenges (the losing one goes up for elimination), then in the Season 3 finale too!
  • History Repeats
    • In Episode 9 of both Seasons 1 and 2, Joey fails to save the YouTuber he was partnered with, resulting in their death.
    • In Season 1 Episode 6, Matt had the choice between committing suicide or killing Sierra in the exorcism death challenge. In Season 3 Episode 9, Nikita had to make the same choice in another death challenge, between herself and Manny. Both times, both chose to save themselves, although the former did not do it on purpose.
    • In Season 1 Episode 4, Glozell antagonizes Joey. In Season 3 Episodes 5 and 6, Colleen does the same, even though she showed remorse in the end. Guess who Joey decides to betray both times?
    • In Season 1 Episode 4 and Season 2 Episode 6, Joey is voted into betrayal challenges.
    • In Episode 8 of all three seasons so far, the one dying ( Tim, Alison and Ro) accepted their death prior to it occurring.
    • Episode 9 of both Seasons 2 and 3 involve a demonic creature: the Devourer for the former, the demon dog for the latter.
    • In Episode 10 of both Seasons 2 and 3, the final three face off against the Mooks, while trying to complete their mission. If one of them gets captured, they have five minutes to save him/her.
  • A House Divided: Happens every season.
    • Zigzagged in Season 3, because there is no house in this Season, but there IS the lounge that the YouTubers found in Episode 2 where they do most of their voting...
  • Kill the Cutie: Too f**king many times. Megatruple (times one million) in the case of Ro in Season 3.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Arthur's brother in Season 1, Riley in Season 2.
  • A meta example - all of that is available on YouTube Premium.
  • One Steve Limit: Defied. As of Season 3, there have been three characters named Caroline…and two YouTubers called Matt. Even before then, two YouTubers named Andrea? This is getting out of hand…
  • Previously On: Many episodes begin with a recap describing the previous episode, then leading to a scripted scene introducing the Monster of the Week the guests face in the current episode. Joey narrates in Season 1, Laura Bailey narrates in Season 2, and Matthew Mercer narrates for Season 3.
  • Riddle Me This: Several challenges, elimination or not, take the form of riddles, most notably three of them in the beginning of Season 1 Episode 8.
  • Rule of Three
    • All Seasons
    • Season 1
      • Antidote separated into 3 parts in Episode 1.
      • 3 items needed to perform the seance in Episode 3.
      • 3 steps in the Perverse Games in Episode 4.
      • 3 riddles to solve in the beginning of Episode 8.
      • 3 keys to free Vincent in Episode 9.
      • 3 evil staff members in Episode 10.
    • Season 2
      • 3 YouTubers captured by Jorogumo and her minions in Episode 3.
      • 3 Leviathan Seals to wreck in Episode 10.
      • 3 Lieutenants killed while destroying the Leviathan Seals, also in Episode 10.
    • Season 3
      • 3 YouTubers initially captured by the clowns in Episode 1.
      • 3 rooms in the Funhouse in Episode 7.
      • 3 stages in the challenge of that episode.
      • 3 witches in Episode 8.
      • 3 curses to undo in Episode 8.
      • 3 Society Against Evil members sent to defeat the Carnival Master initially in 1978.
      • 3 Life Stones to recover in Episode 10.
      • 3 people are revived using the Lazarus Harp.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spiritual Successor: To Whodunnit, as it's also a Closed Circle-style murder mystery hosted by a grey-haired man (albeit considerably younger). However, Escape the Night is less focused on solving murders and more on solving Room Escape Game puzzles.
  • Tear Jerker: (see YMMV page)
  • Title Drop: By Joey in the Season 2 trailer.
    Joey: Everyone runs, but who will Escape the Night?
    • Downplayed in Season 3 Episode 7 by Manny.
    Manny (on Confession Cam): I wish I could just be there with 'em to … escape this freakin' night.
    • Finale Title Drop: The Season 3 soundtrack ending with "'Cause no one truly escapes the night".
      • Further exaggerated when the title is repeated in the same song at least nine times.
  • Voted Off the Island: Everyone votes on who competes in the elimination challenge in each episode, or in some cases (Season 1, Episode 3; and Season 3, Episode 6), who needs to die. They write names down on a strip of paper in season one, while picking specially made Tarot Cards for each contestant in seasons 2 and 3.
  • You Monster!: People call each other "sick" a lot on this show, especially in Season 1, which can be this trope or You're Insane! depending on the context.

    Season One 

  • Affably Evil: Marvin, the groundskeeper, to an extent.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Inverted in episode 8, when the remaining girls keep commenting on Collin's physique with little regard for anything else (such as the gun he is pointing at them), to the irritation of everyone else.
    • Downplayed an episode earlier; when Lele strips her clothes off to enter the pool to fetch things they need, Matt makes a couple perverted remarks in her direction.
  • Anything That Moves: Tim.
  • Benevolent Boss : Zigzagged with Arthur in the finale. While he verbally abuses Sarah and Marvin in that episode, he also compliments Marvin's gardening abilities.
  • The Big Guy: Oli tends to literal heavy lifting and smashing when it's needed.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Justine was seen after she sabotaged Andrea's rescue, whether or not she actually is, the jury is still out on that one.
  • Buried Alive: What happened to Caroline. And Justine's eventual fate.
  • Elimination Statement: Not in the show itself, but an epilogue/Clip Show episode presented by Joey showcases this, along with their "graves".
  • Chekhov's Gun: The note that Oli finds at the end of Episode 2 was written by Vincent Wells from Episode 9, who left the note there to warn the guests that Arthur was working with the evil. If you look at the back of the note carefully, you'll see that it's just written on an ink blot card.
  • Circus of Fear: The setting for a good amount of Episode 5.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Lele.
  • Creepy Basement
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: Alice=Justine, Bob=Tim, Charlie=Andrea Brooks.
  • Find the Cure!: The first challenge of the show is to find the antidote to save Shane's life after he is poisoned. They don't make it in time.
    • Episode 7 has another challenge like this.
    • Again in the finale!
  • Foreshadowing: Not even fifteen seconds into the first episode, the screen briefly shows a gravestone. If one can read with only the top half of the letters, it spells Justine. This is commented on Tumblr.
  • The Gadfly: the Ringmaster who makes them believe he let Oli and Timothy get eaten by piranhas, when in actuality he never put any in the tank.
  • Human Resources: Two college students (one male, one female), electricity, and an Artifact of Doom were all that were needed for the machine in Episode Two.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Joey had to take the lease so that someone with less moral scruples than he didn't.
  • Lack of Empathy: GloZell's response to Joey falling into a Heroic BSoD after everyone bands together against his wishes to kill Justine is to claim he's faking it, verbally assault him without provocation, and ultimately vote him into another "two enter, one leaves" life-or-death competition and laugh about it. This heavily contributes to Joey deciding to kill her when he gets the opportunity.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Played with in the cases of Justine and Matt. They deserved to die, according to the rest of the group, since they aroused their suspicions. Turns out, though, it was all for naught.
  • The Mole: Early on in the episode, the team is told that one of them is in league with the evil spirit of the house and they spend several episodes wondering who it is. It's Arthur, Head Of Staff.
  • My God, What Have I Done?
  • Nature Lover: No one can grow pansies quite like Marvin.
  • Ouija Board: One shows up in Episode 2, then used again in Episode 7.
  • Sadistic Choice: From the second episode onwards, the group regularly has to choose someone to be the next to die.
  • The Scrooge: Colin. He guards his pile of German gold like a pitbull, and even killed his mates because he believed one of them had taken it.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: Type K.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 6 introduces a drastic change of plans.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: After hearing Christine's story, Justine talks in testimonial about how incredibly claustrophobic she is, and the tone in her voice is enough to make it clear how drastic it is. Naturally, they have to bury someone alive later that episode. Guess who?
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Episode 6 early on reveals that even though the guests have successfully managed to collect all four artifacts, they still have to free the five former owners of the house.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: After the You Tubers (or at least, the ones still alive) gathered all the artifacts, they perform the ritual, only to find that they had to free the former owners of the Mansion before being able to Escape the Night.

    Season Two 

  • All Webbed Up: Happens to Alex in Episode 3, as well as the corpses found in the same episode.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Jesse is an outlaw who seems more amused by the situation than scared. He unsubtly tries to milk DeStorm the Railroad Tycoon for information about his trains early on.
  • Big Eater: Most of the guests are constantly eating candy throughout Episode 5, but Alex especially. He doesn't hesitate when offered hot cocoa by the episode's antagonist and even doubles back into a room to retrieve a candy bowl.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The guests need to temporarily join either the Confederate Army or "the Dark Army" in Episode 4. For a diverse group of liberal-minded, mostly California-based YouTubers, neither is particularly appealing.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Jesse discusses this in episode one to De Storm. Funny enough, it's Jesse who dies instead of DeStorm.
  • Capture the Flag: The YouTubers play a variant of this in Episode 4.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Implied in Episodes 6 and 9. The Ice Gem was in the compass. When the YouTubers discover this, they are not happy. Some fans take this one step further, stating that Tana's death was for nothing.
  • Damsel in Distress: Liza is kidnapped in the first episode, and basically becomes this for the episode.
    • Lauren and Andrea are also captured. They're rescued in the next episode.
  • Evil Sorceress: The main antagonist for Season 2, and owner of the estate. She made a deal with an Eldritch Abomination to give her powers, and trapped the season 2 house in the Victorian era so she could live forever. She lured Joey to the house and brainwashed him into inviting the guests so she can uphold her end of the bargain by bringing the abomination into this world.
  • Fur Against Fang: Alison versus the werewolves in Episode 8. The werewolves win this round.
  • Genre Savvy: From the winners of Season One. They both were given invites to the new party. Oli tore his apart and Eva set hers on fire!
  • Harping on About Harpies: Two harpies appear in Episode 6.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Alison in Episode 8.
  • Hope Spot: It seems like Episode 5 will end with none of the guests dying, but then the Sorceress gets pissed....
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Episode 5
  • Infant Immortality: The guests save two children from their demise in Episode 5.
  • Invited as Dinner: The YouTubers are invited to a Masquerade Ball held by vampires...who just want their blood.
    Gabbie: "We are dinner."
  • Irony: In Episode 4, DeStorm lampshades how he, a black man, is the captain of the team aligned with the Confederate Army.
  • Level Ate: Episode 5, full stop.
  • Lighter and Softer: Somewhat, compared to the first season. While the elimination method for contestants still is for them to "die", the season's tone is more leaning towards comedy, with more comedy-focus YouTubers in the cast. The scenarios themselves are more outright Fantasy. The tone only leans more to the first at "Midnight" Episode 8 and beyond, where the guest's are constantly chased down by monsters and features a more tense tone compared to the prior episode's.
  • Masquerade Ball: What the guests are invited to.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Leviathan Seals.
  • Neck Snap: Torhild the Undying does this to a harpy in Episode 6.
  • Right Under Their Noses: The Ice Gem was in the compass.
  • Sequel Hook: Joey's revival at the ending of Episode 10.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Tana the Saloon Girl has no qualms showing off her body.
  • Shoot the Dog: Tana's betrayal in Episode 6.
  • Steam Punk: Episode 7.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The YouTubers destroy the 3rd (and last) Leviathan Seal by blowing it up, along with Cash and Atticus.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Subverted. Most of the fans thought that Tyler's death is implied in the trailer, but it turns out that he survives and escapes the night.
  • Vampire Episode: Episodes 1 and 2.
  • Wooden Stake: The Wooden Stake of Van Helsing is used to kill Morgan and Dorian in Episode 2.

    Season Three 

  • Amusement Park of Doom: The setting of this season is a town with an evil carnival.
  • Big NO: The YouTubers when Mortimer frees the Carnival Master.
  • Black Girl Dies First: Averted and discussed by Teala behind the scenes:
    Teala: "I know everybody voted me in, 'cause the blacks always die first."
  • Brick Joke: Mat Pat wins a pink horse/unicorn plushie called Blanche in Episode 1. Blanche disappears for the majority of the Season, reappearing in Episode 9 in the tent, and Mat Pat swears to keep the promise to get Blanche out of [here]. He DOES do that.
    • Also with Mat Pat in Episode 10, about going back to Fat Man Slim's -
  • Call-Back: To the previous seasons.
    • "This is not an invitation to a ball or a dinner party." - Season 3 Invitation, Episode 1
    • Especially Season 2. " I can deal with vampires, I can deal with werewolves, and…all sorts of other things." - Joey, Episode 1, Confession Cam
    • The 'insult' "stupid idiots" comes back for another finale (first appearance: Season 1 finale).
  • Cassandra Truth: Twice.
    • In Episode 1, Calliope speaks of the Cursed God and the Evil. The mayor and everyone else dismiss her...until it is revealed that The Cuckoolander Was Right.
    • In Episode 5, Joey reveals the Back from the Dead and related stuff to plead his case. Zigzagged in this case because most of them appear to believe him... except for Colleen, which sparks some conflict in the following episode.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Ro somehow gets a dog plushie in Episode 1 called Blueberry. Blueberry is later thrown from the Ferris Wheel to distract the horde of clowns. It kind of succeeded.
  • Circus of Fear: The setting of this season is a town with an evil carnival.
  • Damsel in Distress: Rosanna and Safiya are kidnapped by the strongman and his girlfriend in the fifth episode and are locked up in the police station's jail cell, but they work together with Manny, Joey, and Mortimer to break out.
  • Darker and Edgier: This Season involves torture methods. There's even an entire episode with that as a CO-THEME.
  • Deadly Closing Credits: Episode 9 ends with the Carnival Master summoning zombies to chase the YouTubers.
  • Dramatic Irony: In "The Clowns Here Kill Part 2", after voting JC into the death challenge, Mat Pat is then chosen by JC to assist them in that challenge.
  • Drop the Hammer: The Monster Clown that Calliope beat up has a hammer.
  • Everything's Better with Plushies: Blueberry (dog), Blanche (horse)…
    • In Episode 1, JC was seen holding an elephant plushie in a shot if one pays attention.
    • Some of the townspeople have plushies too. Such as a tiger.
  • Foreshadowing: During "Funhouse", Angry Face Willie threatens to kill the group with a fish hook. This is what he uses to kill Safiya.
  • Great Offscreen War: In Episode 9, the Carnival Master tells the remaining YouTubers that they were called into "a war that's not yours". This implies that the Society Against Evil is at war with evil. More about this war, however, remains unknown.
  • Iron Maiden: The death method of Episode 6. Ouch.
  • Magically Binding Contract: Joey signs a one of these with blood, Binding his life to Everlock.
  • Monster Clown: Theme of Episodes 1 and 2.
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: Matpat and Rosanna share one, right before she dies.
    • Also Nikita to Manny in Episode 9, right before she kills him.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Implied. Nikita/Manny and Matpat/Rosanna. Both pairs are extremely protective of each other and visible distraught at the possibility of losing the other in a challenge. The latter pair has even said they're Like Brother and Sister.
    • Subverted in both cases, because as of Episode 9, both Manny and Ro are dead.
  • Ray of Hope Ending: Liza sends a message to Joey stating he can help bring everyone back to life.
  • Sequel Hook: The deceased YouTubers, using the Carnival Master's crystal, ask Joey to save them. This implies that Season 4 will be an All-Stars season.
  • That Liar Lies: How Colleen calls out Joey in Episode 6. It didn't end well for her.
    Colleen: Liar. You're a liar.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Team 'Badass Bitch'. Also the defining word for Manny and Nikita.
  • Title Drop: The headline of the newspaper found on the Ferris Wheel in Episode 1. "The Clowns Here Kill."
  • Tragic Monster: With the exception of the killer clowns, the twin dolls, the witches, and Lucy and her demon dog, each of the Carnival Master’s "guardians" have had a tragic backstory.
    • The Snake Woman was The Mistress of a married man until his wife found out and she and her friend beat her up.
    • The Man with No Name was hunted like a wild animal simply for having a disfigured face.
    • The Strong Man was a wimpy police officer for the town of Everlock and not taken seriously being regularly beaten in arm wrestling matches.
    • Willie the Funhouse man was an insurance salesman who was down on his luck and abused by his wife.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Given that the trailer footage contained scenes of Matpat that hadn't been shown by the time he was eliminated in Episode 5, it was pretty clear that his elimination wouldn't stick.
    • Colleen's elimination was all but shown in the trailers.
  • Wham Episode: In Episode 6, the YouTubers are given the Harp of Lazarus and are allowed to bring one of their deceased fellow YouTubers (of that season) back to life. They chose MatPat.
  • Wham Line: In a flashback, by a SAE Member (Jael) in the In-Between Church to Joey - "The Carnival Master has a crystal that can bring those you've lost in the past back to life."


Example of: