Given that the thought of spending any length of time in a shopping centre – in Reading, west of London no less – gives this writer the creeps, making the experience genuinely creepy is a logical next step.
You mean you get locked in a shoe shop or something?
No, thankfully it’s nothing like that. What we have here is an abandoned and decaying shopping mall in the aforementioned town which is being put to good use as the backdrop for an interactive zombie experience.
England seems to be in love with this kind of thing…I remember you told us about a similar event a few months back?
Yes, as veteran readers may remember, way back on the first day Grown-up Travel Guide went live one of the first posts was this one about 2.8 Hours Later. Unfortunately we were unable to get over to London to take part but we may be able to do so for the fun at Reading – the organisers intend to offer the fun and games until they get kicked out (the site is due for demolition).
So what exactly is this one about then?
Well it’s all very “Dawn of the Dead” – the 1978 classic zombie film featuring the original (and oft-imitated) ‘undead in the shopping mall’ set-up. The difference is that the experience day specialists at wish.co.uk are going to let you star in a real-life version.
An eerily deserted shopping centre in Reading is the setting for this gorier alternative to paintballing, and this is what happens: first of all you will undergo a short training session where they will be briefed and armed by the Police Special Zombie Bashing Unit. You’ll be told all about the undead apocalypse that has engulfed Reading town and become familiar with the Airsoft firearms you’ll be using to fight back.
Then you’ll hit the spooky shopping mall where you and your team will be taking on the zombie population – you’ll tackle a series of computer game-style missions in a full-on ‘run and gun’ gore fest. There will be blood. The action will be spiced up with scripted set-pieces and movie-grade special effects to make it sufficiently terrifying.
I’m in! How much is it going to cost me?
The price is £119 per person, which includes about three hours of zombie-slaughtering fun – depending on your survival skills. Everything you need to battle zombies is included, as are tea, coffee, water and snacks. The organisers will be taking photos throughout the experience and at the end you’ll get a few of them for free as a lovely souvenir. Any extras (like video recordings) are completely optional, and won’t effect your odds of surviving the zombie apocalypse.
As mentioned the shopping centre is due for demolition in the coming months so bookings are extremely limited.
Where and when?
The Zombie Mall is in Reading, Berkshire, just 25 minutes or so by train from London Paddington station. If driving you’ll need the postcode – RG1 1NR.
Zombie Battle Experience is available every weekend from March 2012 (for now – this may change at short notice). Sessions run from 9:00am-1:00pm or 1:00pm-5:00pm. To book a specific date, order your ticket now & you’ll receive a unique activation code. This lets you choose the date you want to take part. You can book for any number of people you like: from just one person through to a group of 15. On the day, there will be up to 15 people taking part.
Er, do you think I can handle it?
In the words of the organisers: “This experience involves live action horror and gore and as is therefore not suitable for anyone of a nervous disposition. The zombies may jump on you, murmur ‘brains’ and hold you down, but not in a manner whereby you will get hurt. There is no fighting or violence.”
The minimum age is 16 years – so in theory it should be okay even for you…