- BC Games
Enter the zombie zone
A zombie apocalypse has come to the Langley area.
In the dark of night, zombies are wandering around 57 acres of creepy forest along 16 Avenue, wanting to eat the brains of all they encounter.
Armed only with a limited amount of ammo and a paintball gun, your mission, should you be crazy enough to accept it, is to save some trapped scientists and to stay alive.
This is Zombie Combat Zone paintball — an experience like nothing else out there.
Brookswood native and movie prop designer Ron McCall and his business partner Jen Yarnell have opened Zombie Combat Zone, offering people the experience to shoot at, and run from, real zombies.
Groups of eight to 12 people will trek around the forest, in the dark, trying to “kill” (shoot) zombies that are constantly on the attack.
“People are going to crap themselves,” said McCall, who came up with the idea after having one too many conversations with film industry friends who were boasting about what they would do in a zombie apocalypse. The topic has been a hot one in recent months across North America, especially given the real-life zombies-type people in the States who have made headlines for eating people’s faces after going on a drug-induced rampage.
“People would always be bragging about what they would do if zombies attacked. Now we have real zombies chasing people and let’s see how they really handle it?” said McCall, who has worked in the movie industry for 15 years as a prop master.
With that talent for special effects, he has put together a fun and frightening experience never seen before.
“I’ve researched this a lot and I think we are the only experience like it in the world,” said McCall. “It’s giving people the opportunity to be in a zombie movie. It is a theatrical experience.”
“There is blood, gore, smoke and other surprises along the way.
The forest at night is actually very quiet, which makes the experience that much creepier, he said.
“You can hear a twig snap, or someone breathing. We wanted it to be campsite quiet, to add to the creepiness effect,” he said.
What if people get too scared?
“I guess we can walk them out if it gets too much for someone, but mostly we will let them go for a while. We are kind of sick that way!” he said, laughing.
There is an age restriction of 16 or older. Anyone younger has to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
In a rehearsal they did recently, even the actor playing the soldier said he found the experience pretty scary.
Players go on an after-dark mission into a zombie-infested zone to locate and rescue a group of missing scientists, discover the source of the plague that has caused the dead to rise, and, if possible, stop it.
“The attacks are pretty relentless,” he said laughing.
The location is actually Panthers Paintball property at 19022 16 Avenue, just west of the Surrey-Langley border. ZCZ uses the forest at night but Panthers still operates its daytime paintball.
The zombies are hired actors, said McCall.
“We ran an ad on Craigslist. They can earn money and practice their craft at the same time,” he said. Part of their job description includes being shot at numerous times a night.
“We built the armour [for the zombies] and crossed our fingers it would work out. The night of testing we got them in their armour and they couldn’t get enough of getting shot.
“They loved it,” he said.
The zombies wear a standard paintball mask that has a zombie mask that goes over top.
“Anyone that goes to kill a zombie knows you want to shoot them in the head,” said McCall.
“So we had to make sure it was safe for the actors.”
Zombies — they’re everywhere, and have been the trending topic for months, with the B.C. government running their own emergency preparedness video on its website for how to handle a zombie attack.
There was a rumour that the Canadian government even drew up plans on how to deal with a zombie apocalypse.
Around Halloween, ZCZ is planning a Zombiefest, with nightly tours of the zombie filled forest.
Eventually, McCall wants to expand the experience to include other predators and allow people to transform into their favourite action character.
“I’d like to do cowboys versus aliens soon,” he said.
The zombie apocalypse begins every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The experience runs around 45 minutes and costs $50 per person, for bookings of a group of eight or more.
To book a session or to learn mroe, go to