I feel a touch on my shoulder, Freddy is creeping behind me. I recoil in fear. As I jump back a clown is behind me laughing – not the kind of laughter where you join in but an evil toned grimace that makes the blood crawl. He rode off on his motorbike, his laughter echoing behind him. Welcome to the HORROR MOVIE CAMPOUT.

Clown breaks from swinging to scare.

Clown breaks from swinging to scare.

Why Horror? –

A Welcomed Escape:

In this day and age there are so many things to scare us. The fact that eating too much sugar might kill us, that big companies hold all our details and may take over who we are, that Donald Trump might become President… An opportunity to move into a world of real horror for the weekend was welcomed, maybe a bit too eagerly. On Saturday 29 October 2016 the stage was set. Wirrina Cove, an hour south of Adelaide was decorated with the kind of things nightmares are made of.

Hanging Bodies over Laser Tag.

Hanging Bodies over Laser Tag.

The History:

The beginning stems back to the late 1700´s with gothic horror literature which inspired what has today developed into that worthy of a festival – horror movies! In 1896 Georges Méliès created what is considered as the first horror film, The Haunted Castle. From then to now there has been a real shift in nature of horror movies. From Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the psychology of horror to The Curse of Frankenstein, the monsters – from The Exorcist, satan and supernatural horror to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the serial killers. Popularity hit a real height with Slasher films such as Halloween, the Nightmare on Elm St and Friday the 13th in the 80’s, which grew into modern day torture porn with the Saw and Hostel sagas. In preparation for the afterlife zombie apocalypse movies such as Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later add another dimension of fear. There is a long history of horror movies and and a diversity that brings people together for a scream of a time.

Freddys Coming.

Freddys Coming.

So Why?

Why do we do this to ourselves, create this fear and expose ourselves to the gruesome nature of horror movies? Is it the rush of adrenaline that is triggered by the life fearing moment, an attraction to those scenes that create humor in the extremity of the blood splatter, or something darker – are we searching for an insight into that which is influenced by the dark and unspeakable side of society?

“If movies are the dreams of mass culture… then horror movies are the nightmares”

Stephen King, Danse Macabre

Setting the Scene of the Festival- 

death-chamber

“Death Chamber” Scare Maze:

It took quite a while to enter as we waited outside with a few other unsure people. We walked into the nothingness ahead. The odd red flashing light to save us from what we feared may be creeping the the dark corners. A tap on my shoulder revealed a masked creature hidden among the smoky darkness  – “Quick, he´s following us! go, go go!” Something grabbed at my foot as I was running past. Heart beating and relieved when I finally made it back to the light of day – this was short lived when I realised where I was. I spotted Mike Myers in the distance heading towards us, knife at the ready.

Mike Myers Slowly Approaches with Death Stare.

Mike Myers Slowly Approaches with Death Stare.

The DJ and the Crowd:

The highlight of the afternoon was the music and the show that came with it. The DJ was dressed as something out of the Rocky Horror Picture Show with a short black dress, a pearl necklace, and fishnet stockings with suspenders. He set the scene for a fun night as he climbed walls, danced provocatively, and interacted with the crowd without having to use a word. As Time Warp played it becomes irresistible to hit the dance floor. The zombies, bloody brides, and masked murderers all pulled out their deadly moves.

DJ sets the mood for a fun night of terror and entertainment.

DJ sets the mood for a fun night of terror and entertainment.

The Dance Floor.

The Dance Floor.

The Bands:

There was a great selection of alternative, hard and pop rock bands that keep the crowd going. What better genre for a horror festival – Rock. Burning Bridges was made up of nurses and doctors from the afterlife, Nuseum were splattered with blood set the vibe for a good afternoon, and the final act Destrends took us into an evening of horror with some post-punk/art-rock. The DJ turned into the main act – he ripped off his dress to preform in a corset and black underwear. A masked clown and a doctor consumed with blood accompanied him on the stage.

Burning Bridges begins the bands!

Burning Bridges begins the bands!

Nuseum - Hard Rock Act.

Nuseum – Hard Rock Act.

Fire Dancers:

A moment between music and movies created a chance for fire to emerge from the darkness. A spectacular performance as a green mutant in high boots started the show with provocative moves. There was an interchange between her and her fire partner, whose long dreads made his set that much more impressive. He moved with the poi and fire sticks like I have never seen before with a fluent extension from his body. A perfect interlude.

Tammy the Fire Breather.

Tammy the Fire Breather.

Destrends Prepare the Crowd for the Grand Finale.

Destrends Prepare the Crowd for the Grand Finale.

The Finale: The Movies – 

And the Votes are In:

What do 500 horror film fans pick as their favourites from a list of 25 horror movies? Is it Supernatural, Zombie, Slasher, or Classic Horror that gets these fear junkies going? The movies were only announced as the music ended, adding some (needed?) suspense to the evening.

The Outdoor Cinema Setup.

The Outdoor Cinema Setup.

The Short Films:

Totally gruesome, intense and thrilling short compilations began to fill the screen. The perfect way to grab everyones attention. Monsters teared people apart, zombies attacked, needles were driven into eyes and blood surfaced from very possible part of those suffering on screen. These compilations were followed by Meet the McDonalds , Dale the town Zombie, and Night Night Nancy – short films with a touch of horror, humor and grotesque footage to get us into the mood.

Now Showing: Horror Movie Campout.

Now Showing: Horror Movie Campout.

The Feature Films:

2 films were announced to take us into the early hours of the morning, before sending us off to our nightmares. Scare Campaign, an Australian film of Real Horror, followed a TV show where unsuspecting victims placed into nightmarish situations – it gets turned around, the actors become the victims. “Be careful who you prank”. Great movie to feel safe when surrounded by many actors dressed up as serial killers. The final film: The Hills Have Eyes, classified as a Thriller Horror. A remake from the 70’s where a family traveling with a caravan become stranded in the desert and get attacked by atom-bomb-victim-flesh-eating monsters. “The lucky ones die first.” Again, another great pick when the night ended and we were to head back to the caravan to sleep.

The Ending:

A good blend of real thriller horror to finish the night with a bang, a scream and more blood. As the wind picked up and the screen began to shift, go blank and deflate. 5 minutes before the end of the last film the weather had ended the show. Any complaints were short lived as a masked figured came out of nowhere with a chainsaw roaring away. Right, time to head to bed and dream (or nightmare) up whatever ending we wanted.

The Winners of the Night –

All Things Fearful:

Everyone wandering the festival grounds. The costumes, the good vibe and the full fleshed participation made the evening one not to forget.

The Fire Crew.

The Fire Crew.

The Joker and Daddy's Lil Girl.

The Joker and Daddy’s Lil Girl.

Childhood Fears Return.

Childhood Fears Return.

Smoking Nuns.

Smoking Nuns.

Masquerade of Horror.

Masquerade of Horror.

More Clowns, arhhhh!

More Clowns, arhhhh!

The Coffin Crew.

The Coffin Crew.

A Cultural Blend of Life and Afterlife.

A Cultural Blend of Life and Afterlife.

A DJ Like No Other.

A DJ Like No Other.

A Gaucho Gets a Gory Sight.

A Gaucho Gets a Gory Sight.

A Kiwi Fears for Her Life.

A Kiwi Fears for Her Life.

Who Hides Behind Thou Mask?

Who Hides Behind Thou Mask?

The Clown to Serenade the Crowd.

The Clown to Serenade the Crowd.

In the Spirit of the Clown.

In the Spirit of the Clown.

Today of the Dead.

Today of the Dead.

The Deceiving Smile of the Zombie Fairies.

The Deceiving Smile of the Zombie Fairies.

Pumpkin Heads.

Pumpkin Heads.

Jason...

Jason…

Upcoming Horror Movie Campouts: Saturday December 3 in Point Cook Homestead in Melbourne, and Saturday 11 March in Mt Penang Gardens in Sydney. Click here to find out more.