THE TOMBS: RISE OF THE DAMNED PRESS NIGHT
Article by Simret Cheema-Innis aka Wickergirl
It's very rare that you get to play victim, to feel the shoe on the other foot, while monsters or serial killers lurk in passages and corners waiting to take your very last breath.
This is exactly what director Dan Brownlie had in mind when he used the popular Tombs attraction at The London Bridge Experience to promote his film The Tombs: Rise of the Damned. Part of the promotional evening included an exclusive horror walk starring characters from his up and coming movie.
There's no better place to base a film than at one of the most haunted attractions in London.
"The Tombs is unique. The attraction itself is constantly evolving and the set changes all the time. You have a two million pound set just built to terrify people" Dan explained.
Guests were welcomed by Teddy Scare, The Doll and a creepy looking clown all of which are characters from The Tombs: Rise of the Damned film. They loitered under the murky London Bridge vault, a perfect night for a horror walk as the patter of rain and the stench of ale lingered in the air accompanied by a haunting atmosphere.
Known as one of the top haunted attractions in London, it was only a few years ago when skeletons were found sealed in a vault. The old tombs were then excavated before the London Bridge Experience officially opened.
"There's a section called the bone yard where there are actual bodies from the 1600's when there was the black death and plague. You will walk over them." Phil Sherrington, the marketing and promotional manager of the tombs explained. "During the construction of the building over 300 body parts were found down there. Some were moved for ecological reasons, but others were left behind"
Film fans, supporters and press liaised in the Victorian bar. A few inconspicuous characters prowled the area and watched as excited chatter resonated through the space. Ghouls posed as bartenders, some roared with laughter and others stared blankly, just a precursor of other oddities to come.
Wrestlers from Lucha Britannia, sponsors of the film, made their presence known and a rotund fighter by the name of Necrosis posed for pictures.
It wasn't long before Dan introduced a film trailer and then announced the film had been officially green-lit, breaking news so it seemed.
A bearded ghoul took a group of 15 people through a walkway. Winding corridors and walls were bound with broken wood and hanging debris. The creepy tour guide lured the group of victims into a rickety elevator which descended on its awkward voyage underground.
Upon arriving, screeching, screaming and other ghostly sounds echoed from every corner as the tour guide bade his farewells wishing everyone good luck. From here The Tombs Rise of the Damned film experience began, as people walked through various sections of foulness, death, and disease.
Things got worse as the group followed each other, dipping and diving from the various contraptions that hung from above. It was impossible to see what they were, especially as walking into darkness was a common theme.
Characters from the film screamed and jumped, running past or creeping up from behind. Strobe lighting tricked vision and revealed other things you never quite saw before. A circus theme made for a terrifying walk-through as two clowns emerged from a jumping-jack box and scraped at screaming walkers.
The Victorian medical room and asylum were unnerving as empty medicine jars glowed and a hospital bed stationed a rotting, decapitated corpse. Experimentation was rife in those days. Then suddenly an insane patient emerged from a dark corner, sprawled out, he rocked his stomach against the floor grappling at people as they tried to run away. Another insane person tore around the room chattering to himself, unsettling and disturbing all that crossed his path.
There was a guest appearance by Jessica Ann Bonner, one of the actresses to star in the film. She ran through screaming out for help, her top and face all bloodied as she ran past. That's scream queens for you.
All came to a terrifying end as a man with a chainsaw jumped out at the crowd resulting in a mass exodus. It was the end of the walk.
Dan Brownlie pulled off a frightening horror experience. There wasn't a bloodied stone left unturned as the chills heightened and continued throughout the whole walk. It's an effective method all filmmakers can learn from, giving audiences a taster of the film before it's even made. There were even party bags given out at the end, filled with toy monsters and Halloween treats.
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