It’s that time of year again. With Halloween just around the corner, many people are looking to find their own thrills and chills. After all, what better way to pass a cold, dreary night than finding something to give you a bit of a spook? While horror movies or scary stories are certainly excellent ways of doing just that, the way that haunted attractions combine intimacy with fear makes the fear that much more immediate, giving one the opportunity to be all the more scared.
Dark at Fort Edmonton Park is one of the most interesting haunted experiences in the city- with the opportunity to explore buildings that are haunted both by actors in costume and actual ghosts. In addition, the old houses and vintage carnival surrounded by the thick forest of the river valley has the effect of isolating one from the outside world and suspending one’s own sense of reality. Even while walking in between attractions, it’s hard to believe that you’re not five minutes away from one of the busiest roads in Edmonton; if there’s one thing that Dark excels at, it’s making you feel very disconnected from the outside world.
There are three different experiences at Dark: Under the Big Top, Blood Harvest and 3AM. While all the attractions are very unique, the true standout this year is 3AM. Capturing the feeling of waking up during the darkest time of night, 3AM is both surreal and terrifying, leaving one with the feeling of walking through a nightmare. This difference makes for one of the most unique horror experiences available, especially in a haunted house. For a more classic horror experience, both Under the Big Top and Blood Harvest offer experiences just as beautifully constructed as 3AM. Blood Harvest has a very familiar theme to many horror fans- a creepy farm, with plenty of scarecrows, bodies and of course, blood. The resulting experience is that of Texas Chainsaw Massacre crossed with The Wicker Man, a thrilling experience that manages to capture a uniquely Albertan sense of horror. Under the Big Top is again another classic horror experience, playing off the idea of the dark carnival, with homicidal clowns, spectacularly gory failed magical acts and enough vintage flair to add to the creepy atmosphere.
While the main attractions are definitely the stars of the show, the overall experience of Dark is that of a complete haunted park, from wandering scare actors that can give you an extra fright to gravestones commemorating things such as the West Edmonton Mall dragon. This certainly adds to the fun of being scared, hyping one up for the main attractions even while waiting in line.
Unlike many other haunted attractions, the attractions of Dark aren’t only a single set, maze-like path where tension builds up in between jump scares. Dark is more atmospheric, giving one the kind of chills that don’t fade away as easily as a sudden shock. Overall, this makes for a unique experience that will definitely make the spooky season a little more chilling, and will certainly get you in the mood for Halloween.