September 22, 2020

BY ALLANAH PINHORN

My blood thumps in my ears, a subtle sensation: whoosh, whoosh, thud. Whoosh, whoosh, thud.
I want to flee to find a locked room and turn on all the lamps. Lights flicker, making the grotesque human-like shapes lurch forward at an unnatural speed. There’s a hollow yet tight feeling in my gut.
Terror.
From my left comes a shriek and the raucous whir of a power tool. I turn and through the blood-splattered plastic curtain I see a pallid man in a wide brim hat, charging, silent except for the growl of the chainsaw. I run, screaming, out the turnstile.
Wait, turnstile?
I’m safe! I laugh and wait for my friends – my brothers and sisters in arms – to join me in the parking lot. Somehow we’ve come full circle, surviving the Kitchener Chainsaw Massacre, living to tell our tale and see another day.
Greetings, from Screampark 2012.
Held at Bingemans every September and October, Screampark is now in its seventh season and plays host to six different chilling attractions: three haunted houses, a maze, a zombie-themed paintball and one ride.
Heading into an abandoned prison is never a good idea, but at Statesville Penitentiary it can be a deadly one. When the guards fled the inmates took over and are now roaming the empty halls, creating chaos and taking prisoners of their own.
Upon entry, a deranged man in a gas mask forced me up against a wall. After sending us in in groups of four, I don’t think he expected us to come out the other end. Inside we encountered blood-smeared walls and intense, bedazzling strobe lights.
The next horror on our adventure was Redneck Rampage. In addition to the chainsaw-wielding maniac, we met an unhinged family of cannibals who live in squalor and guts. Hundreds of maggots swarmed the trailers and shed they call home and disemboweled and beheaded corpses were strung up on meat hooks at every turn.
But the creepiest scares lay in wait for us down the derelict halls of Shady Acres retirement home. More open than the other houses, Shady Acres has rooms full of props: wall scones, tables set for dinner, hospital beds. While exploring you’ll have to navigate around dirty diapers, scattered bingo cards and filthy medical equipment.
Curiously absent are the residents, although, if you stop and listen you’ll hear the scraping of walkers somewhere in the distance.
Although I didn’t have time to head into the paintball arena it is usually the biggest draw.
Run by Flag Raiders paintball, Metro City Mission: Zombie hunt equips you with all the gear you’ll need to face down hoards of the undead. After being trucked through the woods in an outfitted army vehicle you’ll be let loose outside of the safe zone, where the zombies are running rampant. Armed with 50 rounds you’ll facedown waves of walking corpses; the city belongs to the dead now, can you retake it?
Similarly, the Last Ride is a popular draw. Park-goers lay in a closed coffin which takes them from funeral parlour to grave to be “buried alive,” where a hidden camera captures the experience for those waiting in line.
Alison Rath, Bingeman’s marketing co-ordinator, calls the whole encounter “freaky,” and told me they get between 500 and 1,000 people almost every night.
Open every weekend until Oct. 31, with the exception of Zombie hunt, which is only open Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27, Screampark costs $29.95 for all three houses and blood run – a maze-like race against monster opponents, done in the dark. An individual house costs $12 for a single go-through, zombie hunt costs $15 and the Last Ride $5.
The entire experience is chilling and only recommended for those in good health and over the age of 12, but if youngsters want to go in the staff won’t stop them. In every attraction there are chicken exits along the way for those who can’t handle the horror.
With 817 chickens every year, will you make it through the fog alive?