Oct 012012

This Saturday I went to Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse.  It is a former truck stop turned paintball arena turned Zombie Apocalypse. It has actors dressed as zombies, humans, mad scientists, cultists and whatever the fuck that thing that tried to grab me was.  It has two separate apocalypse to visit and a zombie survival section where they arm you with a paintball gun and let you navigate a warehouse full of zombies.

It was a freaking blast.  My wife and I visited the apocalypses and each one was about thirty minutes long but it felt like a full blown movie.  You get a guide who never breaks character who tries to escort you to safety and interacts with the actors.  You meet characters, you watch characters die, you scream as zombies lurch at you and you learn to be terrified of every freaking dark corner.

Zwar is set in the future and opens with people betting twinkies on who will win in an arena fight between a zombie and a human.  From there you go to a zombie brothel, then to a doctor’s tent and then inside a crazy laboratory.  Zombies and other monsters roam the labs while the guide urges you to keep moving.  At the end was a monster that I never got a good look at which I guess is for the best because I really just have a vague nightmare memory of the horrible thing.

Curse of the Undead is set in the present and opens with you visiting a police station where people have been reported missing.  From there you try to escape the police station as zombies attack.  You run into the cultists who are raising the undead and a long cast of police who try to help you only to die horribly.  The main attraction is the hike through three acres of woods as zombies lurch and growl at you from the trees.

I am amazed as a writer how legitimately afraid me and my group was.  Before the event we were told repeatedly to please not attack the zombie actors and that they would never actually touch us.  We knew deep down that we were in no danger but when something moans and runs at you from the darkness, your first reaction is to scream and run.

I think a big part of that fear should be credited to the guides.  They never broke character and they did their best to be scared shitless and it was infectious.  The guides would ask your names and try to get you to do important things like go in the next room alone and flip a switch.  they keep you engaged and no one in my group ever relaxed.  They made everything tense so that when you saw a long empty hallway, you just didn’t trust it as safe. 

My all time favorite part was in the woods.  We were at a corner and we saw a zombie.  We were waiting for our guide to shoot it when we heard a chainsaw and saw someone else coming from the side.  The ENTIRE group screamed and tried to run down the trail and one of the guides had to hold us back as we almost pushed her over.    After half an hour of zombies and cultists, the thing that really made us piss our pants and lose our minds was the sound of a chainsaw cranking up.  There is a psych paper in there somewhere.

If you live in or near Atlanta, I can not recommend Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse enough.  It was fun and the story for each parts was actually good.  Bring really comfortable hiking shoes because you will need them for both events.  Also, the apocalypse will not be air conditioned so be prepared to sweat.  They sold food and water on site for reasonable prices so take the chance to hydrate between events.      

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