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.
Halloween Around Atlanta
Out and about Atlanta. Ange Alex, Amanda Wilson and April Bumpus of The Backstage Beat in costume provided by Eddie’s Trick Shop.
The Backstage Beat hit Johnnie McCracken’s on the Marietta Square to see Atomic Boogie. Here is a review of the night by our friend Karla Hill:
The mob of zombies, monsters, and creatures from beyond closed in on the three men with raised fists and loud exclamations. No, this wasn’t a scene from a horror movie, but the best Halloween party of Atlanta! Local band, Atomic Boogie, played to a packed house at Johnnie McCracken’s in Marietta Saturday night. The crowd that gathered enjoyed Atomic Boogie favorites like Liquor, King Catfish, and Tennessee Wiggle. With their energetic live show, John Barton, Chad Lee Vaillancourt, and Steve Duncan ensure that every Atomic Boogie show is a treat! You can find Atomic Boogie on Facebook at and on Myspace at . Atomic Boogie will return to Johnnie McCracken’s on November 19th and 20th. Please see their Myspace page for a full schedule of upcoming shows.
The Backstage Beat then hit the 99x Brouhaha followed by The Hard Rock. It was a great night of music, friends and fun!
photos by: April Bumpus
Blowing Screams Farm-Lookout Mountain, TN
On this All Hallows Eve I decided to make the nearly two-hour drive to Flintstone, Ga., which is only a bone’s throw from Lookout Mountain, TN.
During the month of October at the foothills of the Tennessee Mountains just along the state line, Blowing Springs Farm turns into a ghostly Civil War nightmare. Thus changing the name from Springs to “Screams.” The property most definitely gives you the feeling of stepping back in time. It’s almost hauntingly majestic in a rustic sort of way. I liked it. While on-site, you can dine on themed food such as “gator bites,” get your face painted, or hang out by the bonfire and enjoy some music provided by a local band. The featured attractions are the Forest of Fear, GhostRide and The Enchanted Maize.
Reportedly, the Forest of Fear is the world’s only outdoor 3-D haunt (And yes, you are given 3-D glasses), which has also been noted for paranormal activity. You are self-guided on a frightful journey through the cursed woods and swamplands to the 165 year old house that was used during the civil war as a hospital. The undead lurk in the shadows, so be sure to stay close to your crew. NOTE: There is a lot of uneven terrain, so make sure you wear tennis shoes.
GhostRide is a storytelling nighttime hayride which envelopes YOU into its own ghost story.
“The battle has raged for 150 years and you are caught in the crossfire. Take a hay ride like no other back in time to witness ghostly combat first-hand. The cannons roar and the muskets crack as you make your way through the trenches. You are there as General Maeham and his GhostRiders rise from the dead to fight once more….
Locals claim that these ghostly sounds have been getting louder and more intense as the years go by. Denial of a proper burial, they say has caused the GhostRiders to rise from their uneasy rest.”
Rock City’s Enchanted Maize is one that you can roam through by day or by night. If you choose to go at night, you are forewarned that the cornfield is cursed. It’s only up to you to be able to find or fight your way out, with or without a flashlight.
This was a fun outing. I recommend that if you go, take a group of friends. The more, the scarier! It’s also a great family place during the day, with inflatables, funnel cakes and pumpkin painting!
Scare Factor Rating = C (with MUCH potential).
Fun Factor Scale = A
Netherworld Haunted House – That’s All We Need To Say
Do you remember being in the sixth grade? Remember how uncool adults and authority figures became in your life? I think of all this as I drive to The Netherworld Haunted House off of Jimmy Carter Boulevard in Norcross, GA. Sitting in my passenger seat is my nephew John, who happens to be in the sixth grade. He fires questions at me, such as: “Is this like the school’s haunted house? How big is it? Is it going to really scare me? Are we there yet?” I look at my little buddy and tell him, “Just wait.” I know he has no clue of what he is about to happen to him; I do. Netherworld is the #1 haunted house in the United States. This place has scared the crap out of me and Atlanta for fourteen years.
Upon approaching the doors, John spies his first costumed character. His eyes light up and a smile creeps across his face. I am so happy to share his first official haunted house experience with him. There are two attractions here and we do not hesitate to get tickets to both. At the entrance a lady kindly asks us to pose for a photo and she hands me a ticket for a free photo online. FREE! This is great, other places charge. I feel my anxiety level increase and my heartbeat starts to pound when my feet cross the threshold between reality and darkness. I look at John, and say “Are you ready.” His face is a little pale and I can tell he is nervous, just like me. I grab his hand and we begin.
I am not one to give away secrets as I would not want to ruin this experience for anyone. Netherworld, I am floored by the spectacular array of animatronics, characters, obstacles, and pure fear I experienced at your haunted houses. I felt like an actress in a million dollar horror movie whose goal was to get out of the place alive. John and I must of screamed a million times as unexpected things popped out in the dark. If you dare, I recommend Netherworld to everyone. Halloween is today. How will you spend it? What! You have parties all weekend and cannot make it? Don’t you fret my pets! Netherworld is open the weekend of Nov 5 – Nov 7 for all of you who want one more chance to live Halloween before next year. Want to know what John said as soon as we were through? “Can we go again?” Oh, welcome to the world of haunts and frights kiddo! You are now coming with me every year!
On the drive home, John and I talk and talk. He is nothing but smiles and told me how scared I was in Netherworld. His hand is a little red, as I think I almost crushed it due to fright. Soon his voice gets quiet. I look over at him to make sure nothing is wrong. He is out cold. Netherworld, I thank you. You made me look “cool” in the eyes of my nephew and allowed us to spend awesome time together. People, bring your friends, bring your kids, bring your “others”, but prepare to be scared!
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