Deadline Room Origin?

SPOILER WARNING: This post consists of significant spoilers for Infocom’s Deadline. It also contains spoilers for an old mystery/horror film, “The Bat” (1959, starring Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead).

I just saw “The Bat” for the first time, and toward the end of the movie a room with architecture very familiar to me is discovered. A hidden closet containing little more than a wall safe is tucked between two upstairs rooms in a mansion. I’m aware that secret rooms have been a trope used countless times in mystery literature, motion pictures made for screens large and small, and other media. However, to my mind, the designs of the hidden closets in “The Bat” and Deadline are too similar to be coincidental. Both are small spaces having two entrances facing one another from opposite walls. Both have a wall safe in a third wall. Both have a panel of electrical controls for their doors - in Deadline, the panel is in the open; in “The Bat”, it’s hidden in a small niche behind a blueprint tacked to the wall.

There are more minor differences, though. The room in “The Bat” is on the third floor (of three) and has as its entrances, a pair of decorative false fireplaces, leading from apparently disused rooms of no definite purpose - one is used only for storage. The room in Deadline is on the second floor (of two) between a library and a bedroom, with one of the entrances hidden behind a section of bookshelves (naturally!)

Has anyone ever asked Marc Blank if there was any specific single inspiration for the Hidden Closet’s architecture, or if he’d seen “The Bat”? Wikipedia states that he was strongly inspired by out-of-print books written by Dennis Wheatley in the 1930s. Is anyone viewing this also a reader of those books who can point me to a description of a similar hidden room therein?

1 Like