METRO VANCOUVER -- Ever wonder how you would handle a zombie apocalypse? Here’s your opportunity to find out.
The Zombie Combat Zone opens Friday for a 10-week run on the Panther Paintball grounds, at 19022 16th Ave. It’s an immersive zombie-fighting experience that will have combatants light up the undead with paintballs in a south Surrey forest overrun by brain eaters.
“It’s 57 acres of the creepiest forest ever,” said Jen Yarnell, general manager of the ZCZ. “It is pitch black in there.”
But don’t rush in with guns blazing; you have limited ammunition and you have to keep your cool as you’re on a delicate military mission to rescue some scientists. Soldiers guide you along the way, but it’s up to you to defend yourself and your group against wave after wave of zombies.
It seems straight out of a horror movie, and rightfully so. The mastermind behind the production is Ron McCall, a special effects wizard of the local film industry who’s worked on a number of thrillers.
“He’s been in film for 15 years, so he’s a prop master,” Yarnell said.
The idea came from discussions between McCall and others over what they would do if they were caught in a zombie apocalypse similar to ones in such films as Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead.
“He just thought, ‘I’m going to make a zombie apocalypse and see how you guys do’,” said Yarnell.
Groups of eight to 12 combatants dress up in tactical gear and are met by a soldier who reads them the riot act. While she wouldn’t reveal many details, Yarnell did say there’s a storyline to it, as opposed to simply mowing down hoards of zombies with paintballs.
“It’s basically live theatre,” she said, noting that the entire interactive show runs for about 45 minutes. “There’s a whole script to this thing.”
With McCall’s background in special effects, there will be no shortage of blood, smoke, strobe lights and even pyrotechnics to accompany the sounds of gunfire, air raids and attacks in the distance.
Because of the frightening nature of the Zombie Combat Zone, it has an age limit of 16 and up, although those 15 and under can go zombie hunting with a parent. In the two weeks leading up to Halloween, the organizers will host Zombiefest, an all-ages haunted walk through the forest.
The Zombie Combat Zone is set to run every Thursday through Sunday until Nov. 15, and organizers hope to make it a seasonal production between spring and fall next year. Panther Paintball holds regular paintball in the daytime while the ZCZ runs from dusk to 1 a.m.
There are no walk-ins for ZCZ as all groups have to be booked online. To book a time, or to find more information about ZCZ, visit zombiecombatzone.com.
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