Dark Master of Escape Web Site
Steve Santini was born in Toronto, Canada in 1963. At the age of 12 Steve did a school book report on the late, great Harry Houdini. This school project ignited in Steve an intense interest in the master escapologist and in escape artistry in general. So powerful was this growing fascination, that Steve set out at a very young age on a quest to become a performing professional escapologist. In a very short time, Steve was making headlines in Toronto newspapers for some of his own spectacular escape feats. At 13 Steve had escaped from handcuffs after a body search at a local Police station and at 14 he released himself from an antique jail cell on display ay the Metropolitan Toronto Police Headquarters (at this present time, Steve Santini holds the title of having defeated more jail cells than any other Canadian escape artist).
In an effort to better his escapology skills, Steve apprenticed himself to a metro locksmithing firm and for 7 years honed his skills in the trade to finally become a journeyman master locksmith. Over the last two decades, Steve Santini has performed at thousands of venues across Canada and has become Canada's leading escape artist. Not content to merely get out of his own props put on by his own assistants, Steve instead accepted and defeated numerous escape challenges during his career. In his mid twenties, Steve took on and succeeded in his toughest challenge when he escaped from a custom made set of challenge handcuffs containing a "pick proof" Abloy lock mechanism.
It was during this time period that Steve began to invent unique tools to open numerous handcuffs and also designs to better the security of existing restraints. This experimentation led Steve Santini and a friend named David Clark to form a restraint manufacturing company titled "Securitech" which was a division of Steve's parent firm, "Mindworks". In the mid 1990's, Securitech produced a limited number of Steve's original handcuff designs as well as devices and design modifications to protect the lock mechanisms of existing handcuffs and leg irons. These design modifications stemmed from a deep concern Steve had over the weak security offered by numerous "universal key" handcuff models. In 1996, one of Steve's original designs, a security box for hinged handcuffs (the first in the world) was acquired by the Hiatt Thompson Handcuff Corporation.Currently, they produce and sell a version of this Santini invention.
Today, Steve Santini continues to collect, invent, and publish works on handcuffs and escapology. In 2001 Steve Santini released his first major book on handcuffs and restraints titled "Devices of Human Restraint".
For the summer tourist season of 2004 Steve opened a truly unique museum in Owen Sound, Ontario. The Excaporium - the world's first escapology museum. That summer lucky visitors could view over 200 handcuffs, manacles, and other assorted restraints on display within the museum. Some that even belonged to Houdini!
Today Steve is conentrating on his role as performer. Beginning is 1996, Steve Santini began work on a new show and image that was destined to take escapology in a new and modern direction.
Tossing aside all of the formal trappings of traditionaly performed escapes, Santini instead chose to craft a show that presented escapes in a way young and modern audiences could get excited about and interested in. The end results of his efforts is a new show and image the likes of which had never been seen before in the realms of escapology.
In early 2004, Steve Santin launched his new escape concept aptly titled: "Escapes From Hell". The new show relies heavilly on a rather dark theme and the restraints used are all original Santini designs patterned after ancient Medieval instruments of torture and execution and also feature such modern appliances as high speed power tools.
Given the sinister nature of the props he makes use of, it goes without saying that nearly all of the escapes in Santini's new show are serious, painful, and often VERY dangerous. Driving the show is a background rythmn of hard rock and heavy metal classics by such bands as Rammstein, ACDC, Iron Maiden, Rob Zombie, and Black Sabbath featuring Ozzy Osbourne, among others.
Not only is the show unique in both concept and props but so is Santini's image. Disgarding the traditional evening wear of a bygone era and the slick costumes of the Vegas style magic performer, Santini crafted a look and character that seems more a "Hardcore rocker biker" type of individual now known as "The Dark Master of Escape".
Although many have called the new look "Goth", it really is more influenced by Santini's love of heavy music combined with a lifelong interest in the "dark side" of human history and justice. Santini himself refers to the new look and direction as 'hardcore escapology".
And "hardcore" it certainly is!
If the ever increasing pile of bookings is any indication, Steve Santini has created a new and original face for performing escapology that modern audiences happily embrace.
In a generation raised on "Reality T.V." and shows like "Fear Factor", "The Dark Master of Escape" and his "Escapes From Hell" have carved out a market in an ever growing population with a seemingly insatiable appetite for the unusual, the extreme, and the dangerous.
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