A mere two months earlier, we had been standing in the exact same spot – a narrow alley near the New Brighton seafront, waiting for the Terror 13 door to swing open. Back then, we came to visit their Asylum show, and a madhouse it was indeed. Once we came out the other end that day, a huge grin was cemented on our faces, the onslaught of laughs and scares had completely won us over. The Terror team had now rethemed their show into the KarnEVIL of Khaos, and there was no doubt in our minds, this was a show we just had to see.
Like the previous time, an all too friendly host escorted us through the doorway and past the cash register, this time manned by a amiable old crone. And immediately, the KarnEVIL had a first surprise in store, as suddenly a glowstick necklace was slapped around my neck. Apparently, one person of each group could now participate in a more extreme, hands-on version of the experience, and they had chosen me to volunteer!
Inside, Terror 13 veterans will know the drill – a barrage of larger than life characters barge in and steal the show, and more often than not, you have no idea whether to cower in fear, or to burst out in laughter. Very soon, we got to meet Khaos the Klown himself – and dear me, that mask is scary. Before, in Asylum, it was a Leatherface type of character that was always lurking around the corner as an unpredictable, menacing presence. Now, this task is up to Khaos, and I had the hardest time to meet his gaze, he looks so incredibly evil, and he didn’t leave me alone for a second – staring straight into my soul, pointing at my face with his baseball bat. And evidently, there is no hiding in the corner, as most people in the group get at least one moment in the spotlight – from a palmistry session to participating in a game show run by clowns! You might be put on the spot, but it is incredibly good fun. As for me and my glowing necklace, I was thrown about just that bit more violently, slammed inside a toilet, dragged around by my jacket, and at one point, Khaos used me as a fingerpainting canvas – leaving me to wander the New Brighton boulevard with streaks of blood all over my face! The cool thing is how well balanced the experience was, we had two tiny kids in our group, and the actors were constantly toeing that line to make it fun and scary for everyone, but not too scary for the little ones, and succeeded remarkably well. The fact the kids didn’t freak out, while I did get manhandled and smeared with blood is really a badge of honor for how well the experience is crafted.
So, Terror 13 did it again. A great mix of fun and screams, really cool characterization, lots of humour, but also an opportunity for a more contact-heavy run. As we went through their haunt only two months prior, we sometimes knew which direction the experience was going, and some scares were slightly predictable for us. A number of ideas and props were indeed reused from the Asylum, but that is something quite unavoidable and perfectly understandable, and the vast majority of people won’t even notice this. I’m positive that anyone going through the KarnEVIL will have an amazing time, they obviously cater for a wide audience, from the tiniest thrill seeker, up to the more experienced scare hunter – and all of them will leave smiling widely, guaranteed.