I was warned of all this of course, the caution as you enter the attraction reads: "Farmaggedon is an extreme experience. We recommend you do not enter if you are of a nervous or weak disposition." I certainly had this disposition. Yet a mixture of peer-pressure and pride led me to Farmaggedon this Halloween.
The annual event runs throughout October and always boasts a sold-out attraction that causes hordes of horror fans and phobes alike to flock to Ormskirk. Personally I don’t understand the appeal of blood and guts, but along I went in the name of research.
Once inside you are greeted, or chased, by an array of clowns, masked murderers and chainsaw-wielding torturers. Although the actors are strictly banned from touching you, they roam around the entrance hall hissing, screaming and shouting in your face. A particularly eerie masked executioner took great pleasure in creeping up behind his unsuspecting victims to screech in their ear, much to their distress. Cries of “Get away from me!” rang out every few seconds.
The atmosphere was highly charged, veering between terror and excitement. The crowd was soon channelled into a dark and cobwebbed chamber and separated into smaller groups to pass through the three stages of Farmaggedon. The first is called Terror on the Farm, the second Insanity and the third is Psychosis. A sign overhead reads: “Run at your peril”. Visitors who are quick to heed this warning can escape much of the harassment from the actors. Most took pleasure in terrifying the already terrified.
Nevertheless, the effect as you enter is instant. Visitors are screaming, pulling and pushing each other further into the tunnels and scrambling to get out of harm’s way. A masked man approaches us, revving his chainsaw louder and louder. The hysteria heightens. Those at the back of the group are pushing forwards, away from the chainsaw. Those at the front are struggling backwards, refusing to move any further into the labyrinth of tunnels as they can hear the screams up ahead. Those stuck in the middle of the group were herded around without experiencing much of the terror. After the chainsaw incident I made sure I had human buffers on all sides…
Soon enough everyone had passed through into Insanity. Designed like a butcher’s torture chamber, there are plastic sheets, bodies strung from the ceiling and blood smeared everywhere. Although the strobe lighting is disorientating, the focus was fixed on navigating the countless obstacles and uneven flooring, rather than escaping the slaughterers hiding in the shadows. I was thankful for this partial blindness; if I couldn’t see them, they couldn’t get me.
It was the final Psychosis section that seemed to be the most unnerving for everybody else as their childhood fears of clowns were realised. Finally, a section I could handle. Compared to the screaming my friend was doing, who shall remain nameless so as not to ruin his tough-guy reputation, I was even starting to feel cocky. So much so, that when we finally stumbled out into the exit field and another serial killer circled the group, I happily pointed out that his chainsaw still had the orange safety case on, much to the actor’s annoyance. I’m sure that if you dropped me back there alone, he’d probably whip the blade out and I’d definitely cry.