It was a crisp evening as I stumbled into Fort Edmonton Park, the moon brushing the treetops as the sun faded away into the abyss. A perfect night for chaos. In other words, perfect for the first night of DARK, a twelve-night event featuring Mr. Dark’s – the main character of the event – undead terrain consisting of a ghastly graveyard, spooky food and drinks, secret bars, and three spectacular haunted houses.
It is clear that so much attention to detail and love goes into this event. The houses have been carefully decorated and thought out down to the smallest detail, like the name of the ringmaster in “Under the Big Top”: R.I.Payne or the names on the headstones in the “City of Champions” graveyard like Rexall Place.
I spoke to Renee Williams, the senior vice-president for the Fort Edmonton Management Company, who said the production crew, art team, and technical crew have been working on installing, planning, and prepping for this event started in July, and construction of the haunts have been taking place in one of the airport hangars. “It takes a massive group of people to get (DARK) off the ground,” she said, which includes the teams already mentioned, plus scare actors, a tech crew, hospitality staff, and an admissions crew. All their hard work paid off as the haunted houses are spectacular.
“3 A.M.” makes you confront the mysterious darkness and monsters that the witching hour is known for. You enter what looks like a perfectly normal house, only to discover that the things that haunt your nightmares have come to life, whether it be things with glowing red eyes that peek out from behind chairs, children in plastic masks that twitch uncontrollably and beg for your help, grotesque ghosts with malformed faces, or dolls. I give it a three out of five for fear intensity. I found myself more intrigued and amused than scared, but it was a lot of fun.
“Under the Big Top” can be summarized by one word: clowns. The air is filled with the scent of mania, and blood-curdling laughs echo off the walls. These clowns are thirsty for violence with their dead eyes, horrific smiles, and blood-covered lips. They lurch at you and beg you to offer your limbs as decorations. It is four out of five for fear intensity, as it was thrilling and the clowns were terrifying – which means those of you who are scared of clowns will have the time of your life… or un-life.
“Blood Harvest” is set outside of a barn, and drenched in red, eerie light. It felt like we were being led to a slaughter. And we were. Blood, guts, and jutting bones litter the area. You are led to a junkyard overrun by things wearing pig masks with chainsaws, who do not want to let you go. If you’re afraid of getting your head, arms, legs, or anything else cut off then this is perfect for you. I think it is the scariest out of the different haunts, so I give it a five out of five for fear intensity.
If you want to check out DARK, the event runs until Oct. 30 from 7 to 11 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night in Fort Edmonton Park. Tickets are $45.https://www.fortedmontonpark.ca/events/featured-events/dark