You know when you’re watching a horror film and the main characters are suddenly plunged into darkness in a deserted warehouse to run for their lives from zombies? You always get the same characters don’t you… you get the good guy who doesn’t really want to kill anyone, but ends up saving the day; then there’s the girl who’s a bit geeky but as the film continues, gets tougher, and sexier and saves lots of the other slightly more dappy characters. There’s the really annoying loud-mouthed guy who generally meets a horrible end, and then there’s the screamer. The screamer is possibly the most annoying character, as she generally runs around in very impractical shoes, falling over a lot, and making a noise so high pitched that only dogs can hear it.
I obviously always thought I would be the geeky, tough, yet sexy girl. The fast thinker who’s dressed in combats, a white vest top (a la Die Hard) and shoes fit for running in. Turns out that I’m actually not her… I’m the bloody screamer!
The way I managed to find this out, was not of course due to any recent zombie apocalypses in the middle of Hertfordshire, but due to my friend Elaine and I visiting the Secret Cinema screening of 28 Days Later, in Central London.
I don’t want to give too much away about the event, as it is all supposed to be top secret, but when you get a few hundred people together dressed in hospital scrubs, with the opportunity to drink vodka and be chased around in the dark by zombies, it is an absolute wonder that they get away with Health and Safety checks! Still get away with it they do, and it’s bloody brilliant.
Arriving for anti-contamination drugs (vodka) you are shouted at by lots of strapping young men dressed in army gear and red berets, and shuffled around from container to container, before finally being led into a hangar filled with hospital beds for your 72 hour induced sleep. The lights go out, you relax a bit, and the next thing you know is there’s a torch being shone in your face and someone shouting….”RUN!!!!!!”
Well all I can say is I’m damn glad I wore a sports bra.
It was dark, there were corridors, there were shopping trollies, there were stairs (lots of them, all seemingly going up), there was shouting, and there were zombies. Emotions ranged from hilarity, to exhaustion, to actual moments where panic sets in.
“Grab my hand” I shouted at Elaine at one point as we raced away from imminent attack. She did, without question, until we slowed down again and realised we just looked like a couple, and shuffled apart again as another man in a red beret yelled at us.
The chase follows scenes from the movie “28 Days Later” and the Secret Cinema guys did a really stonking job with the sets, particularly the London flat, although we weren’t offered any Creme de Menthe! All the actors that make the experience interactive, stick to their parts excellently without breaking character at all, and we were shoved around and told to “Fuck off” a lot. All in the name of fun.
We wound up in an army bootcamp after running our backsides off for half an hour, where we were then put through five minutes of real hell, and half of us begged to be sent back to death by zombie. All worth it in the end though, as we arrived at the bar for chemical cocktails such as the delish ‘Titanium’ served via a giant syringe.
With a bit of time to kill before the film starts you are free to wander around, have something to eat, get involved with more interactive scenes from the film, turn your face into that of a Rage sufferer with spectacular makeup, or dance your arse off to one of the best sound systems Ive heard in a while. I am in my 40’s after all!
Every now and again, there would be an air raid siren and we would all get shouted at to ‘Get down!’ Normally British behaviour would dictate that everyone would just stand around saying ‘oh piss off, not again’. But nearly everyone thoroughly immersed themselves in it, throwing themselves to the floor.
Eventually, we were all summoned to take our places to watch the film inside a giant warehouse space. Expecting row upon row of seating we shuffled in behind everyone else, and were totally unprepared for what was waiting for us in there…..
No, Im not actually going to tell you, as I really should leave something a secret, but suffice to say it was one of the best cinema experiences I have EVER had.
So how do I know I’m the screamer?
As zombies reached out at us from all angles during our run to freedom, did I plow my way through with the realisation that ‘they were just actors in makeup’? Er no, I screamed my head off.
As we ran for our lives from characters covered in blood, my Fitbit suddenly hit its 10,000 steps target and started vibrating on my arm. Did I ignore it and carry on running? Er no, I shouted ‘Woo Hoo’ and did a little happy dance.
During the air raid sirens when we had to sit on the floor, did I look around for impending zombie attack? Er no, I tried to incite everyone to start doing ‘Oops Upside Yer Head’.
As we wandered around the interactive areas I was the one that got a little too close to the zombie cage where I was grabbed by the face by the zombie. Did I spin round and drop kick him? Er no, I screamed my head off and then asked Elaine if it had ruined my makeup.
All I can hope for now is rescue!