If you're a fan of The Walking Dead, you've probably wondered whether you would have lasted as long as Rick, Daryl, Maggie and our other favourites. An obstacle course, of sorts, with live zombie actors being the main obstacle to one's survival, The Walking Dead Escape is the closest way of finding out. Armed with our zombie knowledge, Daily Dead stepped up to the challenge.
The event was in its third year during Comic-Con and fans hoping to see the San Diego Padres play a ballgame would instead be faced with a horde of zombies. The experience starts before you even enter the stadium; a military officer standing on a watch-post barks instructions through a megaphone at the crowd, whilst a TV news channel reports on the epidemic as you wait for you run to start. Myself and my Daily Dead companions had been allocated a 10pm slot, and the nighttime atmosphere somehow made everything seem a bit more real. Of course, we were reminded upon entering the course that TWD Escape is purely simulation, and the 'zombies' are participants like us. Everyone laughs and makes fun of this, and yet you could still feel a sense of anticipation as the gates opened to let us in, and then closed behind us.
Although TWD Escape is technically not a race, that didn't change the fact that we were flat out running the majority of the time. Before the official start, we were boxed in with our fellow 'survivors' in a makeshift pen. Unknowingly, we found ourselves right at the back and turned around just in time to see a zombie being sneaked in. At that moment, we realised this course was not to be taken lightly. Before we knew it, we were off, running haphazardly thanks to some fog machines, zombies and strategically placed cones and tires. We found ourselves running up and down the ramps, through corridors and in the stairwells. This called for some serious manoeuvring and dodging skills to get out of tight areas. There were pit-stops to catch your breath, but the illusion is never broken, and all the military and zombie actors remain in character at all times. For this reason, all of the survivors were checking themselves for (fake) blood that indicated signs of infection.
Our readers will be glad to know that the Daily Dead team did survive, but there was a surprise in store for us at the end that we won't spoil. One might expect TWD Escape to be similar to a walk through a staged haunted house, which you find at Halloween fairs and theme parks. This is much more, and it's refreshing to see the details that have gone into designing the course to create genuine scares, instead of people simply jumping out behind a curtain to scare you. Don't worry about making it to Comic-Con in order to take part, because there are events taking place in various states throughout the year. Check out the website below to find out more details, and have a look at our photos we captured whilst running for our very lives.