I’ve never been one for creepy, suspense-filled films, which aim to terrorist the living wits out of mere mortals and rob them of their sleep.
So it remains a mystery to me why, after being terrorised by ghouls last year, I jumped at the chance to return to Chateau le Fear, which opened last weekend at the Ebrington complex in the Waterside.
Having successfully begged to be allowed to take my husband with me, I braved the Chateau armed with my video camera, promising myself that this year I’d keep my back to the wall and be brave and not scream. I did neither.
From the outset the foreboding exterior the Chateau put me and other visitors on edge. The clouds rushing past the half moon adding to the atmosphere, we were serenaded with horror music and sound effects at the entrance as we waited in trepidation to be greeted and brought into the hall, where an overly gracious ‘butler’ muttered under his breath about ‘fresh meat’ and dining richly this evening...
Like last year, the interior of the ground floor of the building has been very cleverly crafted into long, dark corridors, punctuated with concealed doorways for spectres and actors to dart backwards and forwards between visitors adding to the illusion of confusion. From their vantage points they can indulge in frightening and grabbing at hapless souls as they grope their way along, unable to turn back, unwilling to push forward around the next corner.
In places the dark spaces, frequently hung low with chains, webs, cloth strips saturated with Heaven-know-what, open out into pockets of space where visitors to Le chateau are descended upon by dark souls who want their pound of flesh.
After my ordeal, my husband tells me that at one stage during the evening I had backed myself into a corner, gripping his t-shirt tightly, and I was trying to push him ahead of me while doing a strange hybrid of a dance and running on the spot.
I had no such trouble making my way through the kitchen scene after a particularly unexpected encounter with a butcher and his kitchen hand, and the interaction with the creepy clowns was particularly effective; suffice it to say I tore through the hallway like a greyhound.
No expense has been spared with props and dramatic lighting and one of the most effective effects is the way the actors use the strobe lighting to generate atmosphere; moving slowly towards their victims they appear like snapshot nightmare postcards from a hellish gore movie.
Well worth a visit...