As zombie flicks go, 1978’s ‘Dawn of the Dead’ is a stone-cold classic. It had it all – furious action, buckets of gore and a deliciously cynical subtext that has film scholars chortling into their popcorn to this very day. Still, even if George Romero’s anti-capitalist undercurrents passed you by, there’s no denying that the hordes-of-undead-flesh-eaters-in-a-shopping-mall set-up remains one of the most iconic and riffed-upon in the zombie genre. And now, the experience day specialists at wish.co.uk are giving you the chance to star in a real-life re-enactment.
Set in a dilapidated shopping centre in Reading (ok, so not in London but worth the short trip. Ed), their new ‘zombie shopping mall experience’ will hopefully be the closest you ever come to doing battle with gangs of shambling cannibals, and makes an afternoon of paintball look like herbal tea and Scrabble.
Here’s how it works. After a brief on-site training session with a selection of authentic-looking Airsoft firearms, you’ll be shoved into the mall to do battle with hordes of shuffling undead (a bunch of hard-up actors with a high pain threshold, we’d imagine), with movie-grade special effects and scripted situations thrown in to make the whole thing appropriately terrifying. The asking price? £119 per person, for which you get around three hours of zombie-slaying action, depending on how well you adapt to the movie-style objectives you’re presented with.
Given that the shopping centre is due for demolition in the coming months, we’re told bookings are extremely limited. Still, when it inevitably sells out (you can blame Simon Pegg for that), there’s still the option of a similar experience set in an abandoned mansion in Cheshire. But that won’t do for us – we’ve got our hearts set on a ‘Dawn of the Dead’-style splat-fest, and have already booked our spot. Check back soon to find out how we get on. Presuming we make it back in one piece… David Clack