I’ll give you a clue — it was called the “Death Chamber Dunny Maze”. On Saturday, hordes of horror fans congregated in the Mount Penang Parklands near Gosford to, well, watch horror movies and camp out, as the name might suggest.
The event functioned much like a festival — if it was a festival that was unusually preoccupied with terrifying its patrons. It wasn’t unusual to hear screams ringing out across the parklands over the course of the night, or to see Freddy Krueger chasing a hapless victim past the event bar and the lines for various food trucks. While HMC hired a handful of roaming scare actors, it was sometimes hard to pick the actors from the campers who had brought their own costumes and were just doing it for fun.
The campers who drank one too many ciders would be faced with a difficult choice, however — line up for half an hour for the four toilets near the screening area, or face the death maze for a much quicker (and more terrifying) trip to the dunny:
Walking past the dunny maze in the break between the two movies, you could see campers grouping up in order to make it to the portaloos and back in time for the next screening. Each maze run was different as well, as it depended on what actors were in there at the time — and how sadistic they were feeling. They weren’t kidding about the ‘maze’ part either — after coming out at the other end I was accosted by a small group who had managed to go through the whole thing without actually finding the toilet block in the middle. Oh well — at least they didn’t split up.
The event itself has a solid concept, though the execution could do with some fine tuning. The movie screenings were of disappointing quality, and someone decided to play a DJ set during the screening of The Conjuring, a movie that relies on its quiet moments to actually be effective. Overall it still ended up being a fun night, and the themeing was one thing that they definitely got right — kitsch, maybe, but definitely effective. Still, I may be just a little bit disappointed that they missed the opportunity to play Blair Witch Project to a bunch of people camping out in the woods.
HMC has run events in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, and you can keep an eye on their Facebook page to see what events they’ll be running next.