By: Miranda Babbitt

 

Walk outside, take a breath. What you smell and what has seeped into your soul is sheer evil, my friends. Hamilton isn’t a place for sissies no more. Maybe London is better for you. Or Waterloo. But not Hamilton.

Walking into the enormous confines of Screemers, Canada’s #1 Haunted Scream Park, you may see a lone, eighteenth century girl slowly stagger by you, or be joyously greeted (in his own charming way) by a chainsaw wielding serial killer. This is all part of the fun, or at least what adrenaline junkies define as fun. A pleasant sign then warns you that you there are no refunds for chickens.

Strangely enough, throughout the night, this fear you feel, these sweaty palms, the quickened beat of your heart, the creeping paranoia about what or who is behind you, it becomes something of a challenge. You begin to want to challenge your nerves. As you pass by the various haunted houses in this empty factory like building, you can hear screams all around you, and the cackles of disturbed clowns, and yet you’re literally being drawn into these dark entrances.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m often not one to willingly say, “Yes, please terrify me to the point of jumping into the arms of my friends and/or strangers in front of me,” let alone journey through four or five haunted houses in one night, but something flickers inside of you each time you bolt out of the exit, declaring yourself “lucky to survive.” If you’re thinking, “Oh, pshaw, haunted houses are just full of actors anyway,” then I dare you, bold sir, to enter into what is known as The Black Hole. Let’s see how brave you feel when the only thing to guide you is a single red dot in the distance, and the walls creep closer and closer towards you until you’re inching sideways towards the exit… or what you think is the exit.

And even with the mindset that everyone around you is an actor, every clown with his mouth falling off is just another high school boy, or every maniacal creature with eyes darting through the holes in the mask is just a mother on her day off, somehow this isn’t enough to bring your heartbeat back to the casual jogging pace you would like it to be at.

For the first time in my life, I can confidently say that I was relieved to see the two prepubescent boys, with their hats delicately placed at an angle to convince us of their evident swag, book past us at a startlingly confident pace, acting as our first line of defense against the creatures lurking behind each corner.

Entering into Screemers shows you just how you’d cope in a horror movie. Will you freeze or will you run? Will you scream or will you shout? Will you laugh or will you cry? Your horror movie persona awaits you.

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