In recent years I’ve been reluctant to go to haunted houses because, frankly, most of them suck. The majority of them have “no contact” policies, and they constantly remind you that you will not be touched. So you wander through a bunch of scenes inspired by horror films and every once in a while someone will jump out and try to scare you, predictably at certain corners. I’ve enjoyed the Netherworld Haunted House before for its design and artistry, but since it is so popular the trip through is usually like driving in rush hour traffic. Lots of stop and go movement, and sadly you get lots of people pulling out cell phones to text or use as a flashlight.
This year, however, I went to the Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse. It was great.
The first thing I liked about this place is that they broke the line up into groups of around eight to twelve people. We waited in lanes for our group’s turn to go. Once it was your group’s turn, you got pulled ahead and the situation was explained. The military has been fighting the undead for days and are losing. Survivors are being rounded up and escorted to a safe zone. Your group will have two escorts, one in front and one bringing up the rear. They don’t have enough guns to give you any, but they promise to protect you. You get a quick run down of safety procedures and then you are off.
The path takes you through a couple buildings and an outdoor expanse (where you have to jog/run to keep up as it is dangerous out there) and back through a couple more buildings. The design of this haunted house, with the military escorts, actually solves one my major issues with haunted houses: no contact. Yes, the zombies still don’t touch you, but here it is plausibly explained by your military escorts and other random people shooting the zombies. They still jump out at you, and they can still get a rise out of you, but then they are put down before they can actually get you.
In my opinion, the Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse is worth the price of admission ($20). Well, the haunted house part anyway… the zombie shoot where you get to shoot paint balls at zombies was kinda lame. $10 for 20 paint balls to shoot at guys wearing protective head gear, eh… lame. But go for the haunted house. Since this in their first year, if they return, I can only see it getting better.