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Zombie Apocalypse – Secret Location, Hackney Wick, London

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With last week’s abundance of Halloween shenanigans around town, and no doubt more so in London’s East End than any other area, it was hardly surprising to stumble on an interactive, simulated zombie affliction. Salacious yet more downplayed than other simulated experiences I have previously partaken in, this actually had my heart tempo increase tenfold, a rarity for one that giggles at most horror films and literature.

Backyard Cinema were the organisers of this immersive experience, opening up eight rooms of engagement in a “secret location” warehouse building in Hackney Wick, attracting the inquisitive, adrenalin junkies, that enjoy a hip zombie Halloween tomfoolery. I must say, I must fit this category, as there was little not to enjoy about this evening, initially being reprimanded by riot police for any disruption, being rushed in for ‘decontamination’ and then being treated, in a military-dressed warehouse, to ales from the Brooklyn Brewery and zombie-themed burritos from Mexican eatery, Benito’s Hat.

Once re-energised and fed, led into a film screening of Zombieland, starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, a tongue-in-cheek zombie flick, directed by relatively unknown director, Ruben Fleischer, a comedy which lured the audience into thinking that they could relax and sink into their seats. However, the audience are expectedly rumbled, as the credits are about to roll, the cinema screen starts flickering, the strobing lights in the venue fade to immediate black, and our senses are automatically reared into urgent mode as alarms increase our adrenalin, establishing any pre-anxious thoughts that may have been circulating, aware of this zombie apocalypse experience, which until this point had been relatively calm.

As anticipated, actors were released from their cages, glass and metal bar-based, stretching out for the audience in all of their prosthetics, latex and bloodied clothing, inevitability seeing the rest of us selfishly run for our mere safety. Obviously highlighting the effect that nights such as these can have on our adrenalin levels, this rush was more enjoyable than any horror film or tome. The interaction and seeming reality (despite all of our knowledge otherwise) has a profound effect, rendering experience cinema nights such as these ideal for a Halloween night out.

Much improved and enhanced from their efforts in Camden last year, Backyard Cinema thoroughly excelled themselves this year with bloodied props, the assistance of Brooklyn Brewery and Benito’s Hat with catering, which all worked for a successfully enjoyable evening. One I spoke to at this event, who would not conventionally enjoy these things, actually walked away satisfied exclaiming that she was glad she came, admitting that it was an enjoyable head rush.

The location was ideal, parked far enough away from Bow Road and Hackney Wick to add to the atmosphere, bleak and eerily silent. A warehouse filled with the undead, in the East End of London I am sure would have been this Halloween’s ideal venue, attracting those that are allured by the capital city’s pop-up experiences. I will be intrigues as to the immersive theatre set that they produce for October 2015 and encourage you all to keep an eye (and ideally your necks).

For more on Backyard Cinema’s upcoming events do check their website




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