I am a huge fan of the “undead.” Halloween is my favorite holiday and there is rarely a “haunt” that can spook the pee out of me! I was told about The Zombie Apocalypse on Moreland Avenue, by a friend and wanted to check it out as soon as possible. I couldn’t wait to join the hoards of patrons lined up outside the building and wait in anticipation for this brand new Atlanta Seasonal Attraction. Things did not turn out as I expected.

The set up for The Zombie Apocalypse (from their website):

A group is lead through the apocalypse by Sergeant John McKinsey. Known as Mack and with the swagger of Clint Eastwood he is a post military zombie fighter dedicated to try to help the human race survive the zombie invasion. Mack will lead our group through this wasteland of destruction and gore keeping the zombies at bay with his M16 and 357 Magnum plus the help from friends they find along the way. Will they make it through the chaos and constant zombie attacks from all sides? If they move quickly and stick close to Mack they stand a chance, but most likely not everyone will get out alive. With plenty of gunfire, explosions, car crashes, gore, and of course many zombie attacks inside and out, this is what the end of the world would look like.

You are supposedly frantically running (there is even a warning on their site in case you are not “physically fit”) as you are being chased by the undead through 35 acres of an abandoned truck stop with 90,000 square feet interior space, featuring a 2 story motel, ransacked restaurants, businesses, tight offices, long hallways, courtyards, and truck garages.

Sounds GREAT, right?

Saturday night, the 2nd night of their Grand Opening weekend, failed short to produce screams from me or anyone else in my group. According to some of the employees, there was a prior issue with the Fire Marshall and they did not anticipate being open this night (which I did not read on their website or Facebook page). Evidently, after informing their zombie staff that they could indeed come to work, the majority of the zombies were obviously not able to make it.

It was about an hour drive for us and $30 to participate in BOTH attractions, plus a $3 parking fee. Pulling up into the parking lot, we were already disappointed. There were maybe 5 other cars, no line and no zombies anywhere. There was no forewarning that this might not be the same experience as expressed on the website. The 35 so-called acres of mayhem that may have taken 25 minutes to “run” through, may have taken a total of 10 minutes to walk (which is what we did). There were a few zombies here and there, but scarce. The enthusiasm from our leader was great! Lots of expression and eagerness to show us a good time, but soon that fell short, too. There just wasn’t any more motivation for us to even expect this to turn out well. There were no explosions or car crashes either.

We were however, a little excited to shoot some zombies with paintball guns. This is an added $15 fee on top of The Zombie Apocalypse $20 fee. This part is an outside set-up. Two at a time, shoot 20 paintballs at zombies that are trying to come at you… to eat your brains. There were 3. Enough said.

When it was all over, we were dismayed. I actually approached the ladies at the storefront and graciously let them know of our disappointment. That is when one of them explained the “Fire Marshall” thing, which I half-heartedly listed to, because I was still out $30 and a ¼ tank of gas. I also let them know that one of the reasons I was there was to do this review for THE BACKSTAGE BEAT. It was after that, my friend and I suggested WE become zombies and hang out a little longer. This is when the fun starts!

They put the word out to find Shane, the make-up artist. It turns out it was none other than Shane Morton. You may know him as the guitarist from the band, The Luchagors. He is also an acclaimed make-up artist and was on hand to ZOMBIFY US! This was seriously cool and we did appreciate him wanting to do this. He apologized about the lack of zombies and was excited that we wanted to participate. Okay… upon entering wardrobe we chose our attire, Shane then quickly applied our make-up in anticipation of more patrons. The make-up app was fast and awesome! No prosthetics, just airbrushing. We looked great, dead.

The 6 of us were then escorted out into the courtyard, where we walk as the undead and wait to stalk our victims. This part I totally love! We unfortunately were only able to scare two small groups of live humans in about an hour and decided it was time to go.

The “spirit” of the staff and actors is to be highly commended. The concept and the artistry, I applaud as well. I would suggest a little more marketing or advertising to get the word out and maybe more people would make the drive out there. Filling this place with MANY MORE zombie actors is the key! The promo is a “real movie experience.” I want one. I would never tell anyone NOT to go, as I feel and hope this night was a “fluke.”

In the end, my friends and I spent a nice evening together, got ZOMBIFIED and now have our ZOMBIE profile pics for the entire month of October! LOL

Thank you, Shane Morton and all your people for showing us a good time in spite of everything. YOU ROCK! And GOOD LUCK!

Zombie Friends pictured: Karl Eidam, Karen Hodges, Kelly Dutton, Gene Dutton, April Weldon and Leisa Foretich

Have YOU visited The ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE? What’s YOUR opinion?

Karl E., Marietta – I thought what made the night was being with good friends and getting to participate in the event. The actual event I felt was overpriced and was not scary at all. I understand they were short staffed but with a facility like that it could have been so much better.

Karen H., Marietta – I think it would have more fun and scary if it was a paintball haunted house,

combining the tour and the zombie shooting range at the end into one event. Oh, and I think they should have “plants” in the group that are grabbed along the way and don’t make it out “alive”. And stuff needs to fall in our way or out of the ceiling.