‘People will scream:’ House Of The Dead creeps into city centre to horrify Manchester

Many worst nightmares are caused by being trapped in darkness filled with actors in terrifying prosthetics, but House Of The Dead promises to have some petrifying surprises in-store for you!

Manchester’s newest Halloween attraction has nestled itself in the corner of the Great Northern building, opposite the AMC cinema, looking threatening as ever to unsuspecting film-goers.

It’s been described as a ‘first in the haunted attraction industry’, so if you have a fear of the dark and being split up from your friends, you may need to take a deep breath before delving inside.

Former artistic director of Farmaggedon, Richard Cottier, who also worked at Paramount Studios in London with business partner Sally Duguid, has introduced the attraction up north.

He said: “No-one has done Manchester in a big way before, no-one has brought a scare attraction to Manchester.

“It’s about what scares people. How to scare people is quite simple: People are scared of losing their mind, body and soul.

“As long as you set things around one of those three you’re going to upset someone somewhere.”

Crowds of excitable, nervous people – young and old – gathered outside the entrance of the house-of-horror themed maze, decorated to look like creepy shop windows.

One of the more alarming yet hilarious moments was when one of the clearly petrified men was given the choice to ‘crawl or die’ – almost as if he was being offered ‘cake or death’. ‘Very well, give him cake!’

Obviously the poor guy chose to crawl, but little did he know this involved crawling through a black chute to… well, goodness knows where!

Even the former artistic director deemed this as his scariest moment and biggest fear throughout the house.

Being separated from people you were with and travelling through dark, eerie corridors by yourself was absolutely horrifying.

Mr Cottier said: “What we do which is slightly unique is the whole splitting people up and bringing people back together will be unnerving for anyone.”

“And they always say in every horror movie, don’t split up. People will scream.”

Terror is not the only aim of the directors behind this mad-house though, as comedy and entertainment is high up on the agenda.

One of the men had to sing Winnie The Pooh whilst holding a fake poo (yes), in what was a highly amusing state of affairs.

Mr Cottier said: “We’re hoping people will be scared but entertained, if people are laughing with friends, quoting characters and have a few tears aswell then that’s a rounded package.

“We’re slightly smarter than that, because making somebody cry or grossing somebody out is really easy.

“Making someone laugh one minute and then crawl around the next, then be really worried and concerned for their safety is the thing you’re controlling.”

Think twice before braving the top floor if you have a clown phobia however, as a freaky circus is set up complete with a gang of creepy performers.

For much of the second half of the forty minute journey, visitors are manipulated and split up as they desperately stumble through graveyards and chambers to their escape.

All of the classic Halloween conventions are used with a selection of crazed characters including baby-dolls and possessed scarecrows to terrify guests.

However, a treat is awaiting at the end of the maze once guests have made their escape back to the land of the living.

The maze combines humour with the scare-factor so that visitors are scared and suitably entertained simultaneously without being traumatised and at risk of cardiac arrest.

All ingredients required to make the ideal Halloween-themed night out are used to create this spooky yet funny attraction with no expense spared on production values.

Mr Cottier said: “We want adults to start feeling like children again, the idea of play and monsters under the bed, that’s what we want to get back to.

“We don’t have any predators anymore, but what Halloween gives, is actually things under the bed are real, there is something out to get you.”

Happy mazing!

Book your place if you dare, as it’ll vanish on November 1!

Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore, with thanks.

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