A zombie enters a shopping mall.
That may sound like the start of a creepy joke, but for fans of the horror of an encounter with the walking dead is a very serious proposition.
In a disused shopping centre, sweating, sometimes screaming, the rollers run over the closing of the escalators to escape from the zombies (or, at least, the actors convincingly pretending to be them).
Racing past the empty newsstands, and a wilderness of jewelry, the people try desperately not to draw the attention of the re-animated corpses giving chase.Total immersion
It feels like something out of a low budget horror film, and in a way it is, says Lee Fields, director of Zed Events, the steps of survival zombie days in Reading, west of London.
“What we have created is a total immersion of the film-like experience, so that instead of playing a computer game, or sitting in the cinema watching a movie of zombies, you come here,” he says.
“All hell breaks loose and participate as if they were happening for real. It is driven by the actors, is driven through a line of the story that you interact with.”
Punters pay £119 for two to three hours of the grid of alternative reality, and although it seems expensive it attracted visitors from all over the world.
“We’ve had Americans, Canadians, Japanese, people have flown around the world,” says Mr. Campos.
“We also have stag and hen parties, team building, and we had proposed; in the middle of a zombie attack, someone asked,” if we survive this will you marry me?’.”Adrenaline rush
Then, why do people voluntarily spend an afternoon to be scared out their minds?
Daniel Benson, fan of horror and the editor of the web page of Horror Talk.com he managed to escape from the clutches of the Reading of walking dead to give his assessment.
“I think that the rush of adrenaline, ranging from fear,” he says.
“You think that you’re not going to be afraid; I didn’t think it would be, but there were times that I felt my heart pounding through my chest, and I felt the fear even though I knew I was not at risk of any harm.”
Mr. Benson says that the events of terror in general are tremendously successful.
“The number of zombie experiences are increasing, but so is the fright of the industry in general – is large in the united states, and we’re starting to get more around here.”
The U.S., however, is still the place to go for the extreme scares, and they don’t come more terrifying than the haunted house McKamey Manor.
Originally built by the owner Russ McKamey in San Diego, California, there are now two sites, Alabama and Tennessee.Extreme attraction
Mr McKamey, who delights in the incongruity of being a part time wedding singer, takes pride in the functioning of what he calls “the world’s most extreme attraction haunted”.
He says they have a waiting list of around 30,000 inhabitants, what makes it so scary?
“Each experience is different,” says the Lord McKamey. “We adapt the particular are chasing the fears and phobias.
“We talk with family members, friends and coworkers, and by doing that we are able to delve into the person’s psyche. You are going to experience things such as being buried alive, being within a water-based coffin with live eels.”
It’s a horrible experience that despite not being of $2,000 (£1,500) reward for completing the seven-to 10-hour test, which no one has.
“It is not as easy as it seems, and there is a reason that in 16 years has not approached. The reason why you will always fail is that my mind is stronger than your mind”.Test bed
Mind games in the form of psychological violence scares are a specialty of Hammer Films. The studio is best known for his films of Dracula, and president Simon Oakes, explains some of the secrets of a subtle form of fright.
“Once there is a sense of danger that getting people scared,” he says.
“In Psycho there is only one really scary scene in the beginning of the film. We often use what we call jump scares – in some cases, they are nothing, just a touch comes when you least expect it. Sometimes it can be the atmosphere that makes the film frightening.”
The atmosphere was crucial to Hammer’s recent immersive theatrical experience, the Heartless, a vampire-inspired fright of the afternoon, situated in the spookily fact-most of Hoxton Hall in east London.
Mr Oakes says that this type of event brings new audiences and acts as a test bed for future film projects.
“It’s a great creative laboratory of ideas, of 10 scripts can only do two or three, so that is a cost-effective way of testing sequences of commands.”
Hammer currently has a movie in production, The Lodge, and is a good time to be in business according to Georg Szalai, international business editor at The Hollywood Reporter.
“There has been a change of feel in the horror genre,” he says. “There are now a lot of high-concept cinema, with films like Exit, for example, the fight against social problems, and there are also a lot of critical praise.
“You don’t usually see that with horror, which has often been mocked and looked down.”The increase in profit
And the fans are voting with their feet; in 2017, the adaptation of Stephen King made $697m (£521m).
“If we adjust for inflation, the Exorcist would have done more, but in absolute dollar terms, it was the greatest horror film in history,” says the Lord Szalai.
It is also potentially profitable genre, he adds.
“The terror is a low-cost bet, you usually do not have stars, being paid tens of millions of pounds, and there is often a place for you to not have to go to distant destinations.
“You generally don’t need great special effects and blowing up buildings, so that generally keeps the cost relatively low.”
Mr Szalai points out that relatively humble budgets, you’ll be able to harvest creative dividends,
“As a very poor investment, if an error occurs you will not lose money, so it’s a great area of experimentation and innovation in these days.”
That all bodes well for fans of fear.