It’s like the plot of a bad horror movie. After sunset, the family-friendly amusement park takes a turn to the dark side. Axe murderers, evil clowns and sadistic doctors in bloody lab coats stalk the grounds as visitors’ screams of delight turn into screams of terror.
Only this is no movie – It’s Fright Nights at Vancouver’s Playland park. The freakish Halloween tradition is back for another gory instalment this Oct. 11-Nov. 2. And from the looks of it, this year’s Fright Nights will be creepier than ever, with an ensemble of haunted mansions, trained “roving scarers,” hideous sideshow acts and, of course, Playland’s scariest rides.
This year, no fewer than six specially designed “fright houses” will haunt the Playland grounds. Venture into the dank confines of Asylum, where doctors perform cruel experiments on the criminally insane, or confront your innermost nightmares inside Fear, where you’ll face being buried alive, visit a mad dentist and be hounded by packs of wild animals. And let’s not forget the scariest site of them all – The lines to get inside the haunted houses. (Never fear: This year special VIP passes are available for speedy access to your worst horrors.)
Outside, you’ll get no relief from the onslaught of terror. Costumed scarers lurk throughout the park, sneaking up on groups just when they’re least expecting it, then screaming and leering from behind mangled, bloodied faces. Meanwhile, the sideshow Monsters of Schlock disgusts and amazes with gruesome physical humour. Watch as its two stars are burned, blistered, bloodied, pierced, stapled and hammered all in the name of comedy.
Then, of course, there are the Playland rides. If you think they’re scary on a bright summer day, wait until you take a ride after dark with the lights off. Atmosfear, the Corkscrew, Hell’s Gate and nine other attractions are all included with the price of admission. You can even ride Playland’s notorious, creaky 0ld Wooden Roller Coaster in the dark. Will it finally jump the rails and plunge its passengers to their doom? There’s only one way to find out.