Rage rooms are a rather new trend, and a handful of them have popped up across the country. My husband Trey and I made the drive to West Philadelphia to experience one for ourselves. We met Kea Tull, the owner of Philly’s only Rage Room, located in what looked like an abandoned building.
She let us in a locked side door and then led us down a dimly lit hallway with construction tools scattered about. The scene eerily reminded me of the American horror film, Saw, and I began to question my decision to come here.
I could hear my mom’s voice in my head telling me to turn around so I wouldn’t end up on the evening news, but my curiosity and the money I had already invested pushed me forward.
A wave of relief washed over me as we finally made our way through the maze of rooms and I turned the corner to see a giant wall with Rage Room Philly painted across it.
“Cool, we aren’t going to die”, I whispered to my husband. He bucked his eyes at me and mouthed, “Thank God.”
Rage Room Philadelphia is a place where people can go and release their frustrations by breaking items such as glass bottles, plates, and even various appliances.
Their website says, “While we do not claim to be Mental Health Providers in any way, we feel it’s a great way to release a variety of frustrations within a controlled environment and have fun while doing it! It’s also a nice workout!!!”
The Rage Room, located in a wood-paneled suite in a industrial building just off 55th and Baltimore, is run by Tull and her daughter.
We booked our appointment online and paid $50 for the minimum amount of time, five minutes for two people. This option included two buckets of breakable items and two songs of your choice to be played during the session.
My husband and I are both college students, and this spring semester has been rough on both of us. There were many times that I imagined launching my laptop across the room. Needless to say, I was pretty eager to break some stuff. I was planning on imagining each plate I smashed as a final test or paper.
Tull provided us with protective suits, vests, and headgear that was equipped with a mask and protective ear muffs so that we would not be injured by flying debris during our “rage.” She gave us a bottle of water to chug before we started in order to ensure we were properly hydrated since it is “quite a workout.”
There was a smorgasbord of destructive items to choose from, including bats, crowbars, and sledgehammers. I opted for the sledgehammer, which proved to be an excellent choice because I’m pretty sure the pull of gravity on the hammer did some of the work for me.
Tull brought out two buckets filled to the brim with porcelain plates, a plethora of glass items, terracotta pots, and old VHS tapes. She told us they used to have a table to put the items on, but one of the “ragers” thought the table was included in the items available to break and it was badly damaged. She apologized and gave us some extra time on the clock. She also threw in a vacuum cleaner for us to annihilate.
Tull informed us of the boundaries and which walls were ok to throw items against. As soon as she started the music and told us to go, we both started looking for our first victim.
Trey attacked the vacuum cleaner right out of the gate. He launched one big swing and managed to put a large hole right through the front of it. I stood in shock for a minute, because my husband is the calm, bookish type, so I did not expect him to take to this so quickly.
Not to be left behind, I grabbed the biggest vase in the bucket and shattered it in one hit with my hammer. I felt like a lunatic, but I didn’t care. It was nice to get out all of the aggression built up from a hectic week. Something came over both of us as we kept reaching for more items to break on the floor and to throw against the walls.
The experience was like a scene from a movie. Glass and plastic parts shot across the room like fireworks. To my surprise, one of my favorite items to destroy were the VHS tapes. They took a little be longer to break than the glass, and they made a satisfying crunch sound with each slam of the hammer.
Tull used a megaphone to cheer us on as we continued our rampage. Even when we started to get tired, she motivated us to keep going by saying “don’t give up you got this!” This helped us power through, and towards the end, we both worked to finish off the vacuum cleaner that had been left mangled by Trey’s initial onslaught.
When the session was over, tiny bits of plastic and glass littered the floor. “Wow y’ all got everything!”, Tull said as we laughed and tried to catch our breath. She handed us two more bottles of water which we guzzled down quickly.
Tull invited us to sign the “Rage Philly Wall” with one of their colorful sharpies. The wall had their logo and a large sledgehammer painted on it. The whole thing was covered in signatures from past Rage Room groups, but we managed to find a blank space inside the sledgehammer in which to make our mark. I felt it was only fitting considering it was my weapon of choice.
There was a rush of euphoria as we walked out. We both felt stress-free for the first time in weeks and our energy was high. We were planning our next visit before we could even get out of the parking lot.
The day after the session however, I felt like I had been hit with the hammer I used on those poor defenseless dishes. My body ached all over. We felt like a 90-year-old couple as our bones creaked with every move. I became aware of muscle groups that I apparently had not worked my entire life. Even part of my hand was sore from the solid grip I had on the hammer.
I think we didn’t realize how much effort we had put into demolishing everything at Rage Room Philly because we had so much fun doing it. Despite my sore muscles, I felt extremely relaxed. It was a unique, empowering experience and I can’t wait to do it again.