The undead rose from their graves at London Bridge Tombs last night for an evening of fiction, fright and face paint.
Hundreds of people from all over the country joined the line to meet author Charlie Higson and have their copy of The Enemy signed exclusively the day before publication, as well as getting their faces made up with Hollywood style zombie gore and taking a free tour of the London Tombs.
Faced with the heat, darkness, strobe lights and smoke, many turned back, but the brave and bold continued down through abandoned store rooms and tunnels where they were surrounded by the incredible, revolting zombies of the London Tombs, who kept the living visitors screaming for their lives for two hours!
The survivors tell their tales . . .
‘I absolutely loved the tour. It was very scary… I screamed so much I was quite hysterical by the end. The best/worst moment was when a zombie (armed with a chainsaw) accosted me, my sister and some terrified children . . .’
– Rebecca Oku, Puffin Editorial
‘I think it was probably the smell of petrol and the man in the abattoir chasing me with the revving chainsaw that did it. Yeah, that was probably it… as team-building exercises go I think it's safe to say that we are a stronger team at Puffin for having gone through that experience together!’
– Daisy Mount, Puffin Editorial
‘It was really dark with strobe lights flashing everywhere, there were heads hanging from the ceiling and zombies jumping out left, right and centre. Suddenly my colleague (can't name names) started screaming like a girl – the person behind him had grabbed hold of his shoulder! Our group couldn't even make it to the end, we had to get one of the Zombies to show us the way out!’
– Kelly Johnson, Production
‘Everyone started screaming, there were flashing lights, skeletons, heads hanging from the ceiling and zombies everywhere. Panic began to set in – I was overcome with fear- I become irrational – I felt the need to run – I needed to get out – I couldn't face it – it was scary as hell and I couldn't find the exit. Finally a 10-year-old boy requested the tour to end, thank goodness – a man of reason in the making. We were both quietly lead out a side entrance – much to the amusement of my colleague!’
– Anonymous Colleague from Production (we know who you are!)
‘I’ve always been a fan of horror stories, I love scary films and I’m not even afraid of spiders – surely anyone who’s read Charlotte’s Web can’t actually be scared of spiders?
So I thought the London Tombs would be just a bit of fun, I even volunteered to go first and I uttered the words ‘What a bunch of wusses’ as my fellow Puffins started shrieking before we went in.
Well. How wrong was I? It was actually so scary I ended up with a sore throat from screaming so loudly. I knew it was all an act, but still. When you’re underground in the pitch black dark and zombies are shrieking and howling at you left, right and centre it’s pretty darn scary.
We’re all recovered now though. But only just.’
– Sarah Kettle, Puffin Marketing
‘I LOVE a good scare but nothing could prepare me for the terrifying antics of the zombies last night, from the cockney un-dead gentleman as we queued to the chainsaw wielding maniac in the slaughterhouse . . . I'll definitely be having nightmares and can't wait to read my slightly blood splattered copy!’
– Kat Harrington, Zombie fan
‘I was frightened by a ten-foot tall zombie outside the building and refused to enter on the grounds that zombies inside might be even taller and scarier. I am twenty-four years of age’
– Emily Linford, Zombie-phobic
Although only one of our young people (12 yrs old, male, worryingly interested in gruesome things) actually made it through the tombs tour… unfortunately for his mother she thought she'd better accompany him! (Oh well, nightmares usually peter out after a week or two….)
– Alex and Oscar (one grown-up, one 12-year-old)
‘I can't believe I got out of the squeeze – I thought I was going to be stuck there all night!’
– Louise Maclachlan, who isn’t scared of zombies at all
Verdict: If the zombies in The Enemy are half as scary as the ones in The London Tombs, you’ve got a real fright ahead of you. What are you waiting for? The Enemy is released today – get them before they get you!
Puffin Marketing Assistant