Ghosts of Christmas - Review Sunday Mail 12/12/2010
Ghosts of Christmas, a terrifying new attraction from Tartan Experience is now open for a Christmas experience you'll never forget. The Sunday Mail visited on press night:
Santa Claws and Slay Bells: Underground festive hell is a scream a minute.
It’s the stuff of nightmares – Santa’s grotesque grotto where everything has gone wrong.
The Grinch has truly stolen the Christmas sprit and the fairy lights are out. It’s a dark and twisted world of warped minds, evil elves and slasher snowmen.
And if you’re brave enough, you can delve into its murky depths by visiting The Arches Glasgow, host to the UK’s first festive scare attraction, Ghosts of Christmas.
I admit I’m not the bravest - I watch horror movies behind a cushion, close my eyes on roller coasters and jump at the slightest thing.
So my teeth were chattering before I even entered the long corridor into an unknown world. I could hear my hear beating in the silence and I was glad I had the company of Victoria, the photographer as we huddled together nervously holding hands.
We then spent the next (30) minutes on an absolutely terrifying and fun adventure where we were screaming and laughing in equal measure.
The area underneath the Arches is huge. Tartan Experience run by Glasgow-based Helen O’Driscoll and husband Altaf Majeed, have spent months transforming it into a warren of rooms that you walk through, where each one unveils another part of a cleverly worked story.
You meet characters along the way who snare you in their lair while some lull you into a false sense of security then turn on you – making you scream and run only to be confronted by yet another spooky person.
It’s a world of ghosts, ghouls, shadowy figures, mad axeman and rattling chains. You back yourself into a wall and cling on to your friends or even strangers for comfort.
There’s the whole feeling of anticipation and the unknown. What was that noise? Did you see something move? Your imagination works overtime. The story continues to build and by the time you get to the end, it’s an exhilarating experience which you have been part of. You are in the story and desperately trying to find a way out but can't.
You begin to feel disorientated, like rats running through a maze and all your senses are assaulted.
When we finally made it through we were panting and broke into relieved fits of laughter. I was talking about it for hours afterwards. It is great entertainment and a fun thing to do with friends. The attraction, which is for ages 12plus, will run in groups of 10 at a time. Parental guidance is recommended. It’s not recommended for pregnant women or sufferers of photosensitive epilepsy.
Helen and Altaf have lived this experience for months, the sets are amazing and put together with clever attention to details. Each room is another step into a nightmare.
The pair worked with a scare consultant (yes there is such a person) and chose their actors carefully. The costumes make up and storylines are all believable. There is an elf with eyes so scary that he is more terrifying than Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
Some of the women may be slight figures but they are the scariest and sneakiest of the lost, while there’s a huge axeman who could be part of an old Frankenstein movie. Lots of other characters deserve a special mention but I can’t give too much away - it’ll spoil the scare!
There’s something oddly addictive about being scared. It’s why we keep going back on roller coasters and, although I can’t watch a lot of horror movies, I’d love to do this again because it’s more interactive.
But some of the actors even get scared and it’s not down to the attraction but their surroundings. The area around The Arches is renowned for ghostly happenings.
Some of the actors working in the basement have been party to spooky goings on, the odd sighting of someone not in their cast and unexplained lights switching off – which only adds to the mystery. Enter if you dare!
For further details about the show please visit the official website - www.ghostsofchristmas.com
To follow the official Ghost of Christmas on Facebook - search here