When we took one of our first walking tours, we got chatting with two of the masterminds behind the horrorfest that is Castle Horror – Carrol and Scott.  We eagerly took up their offer to come and see them in action training volunteers up for their latest instalment of zombie madness – their ‘Zombie MAYhem’ event in Dundee. It was a fairly pleasant Sunday afternoon when we turned up to Mains Castle, with the sun shining and a slight breeze ruining the warmth (but at least it wasn’t raining).  With not a clue what to expect, we rocked up for the first round of training; partly excited, and a little apprehensive that we were going to get mauled by a bunch of zombies!

We went inside the castle and up a set of stairs, where we could hear people chatting.  Already there was an air of excitement amongst the people who had gathered beyond the bar area in an original room of the castle.  Exposed stone, wooden beams and ornate mirrors gave the room the perfect vibe to have a zombie training session in.  Dark, flocked curtains held most of the sunlight at bay as a group of about 25 volunteers gathered round the crew responsible for Zombie MAYhem.  Chandeliers shone overhead, but even they could not fully banish the eerie haze of darkness that seemed to fill the room.

You could tell the team had done this before, as the entire thing was efficient, professional and thorough.  All participants were given disclosure and secrecy forms due to the nature of the event and the element of surprise that it is famous for.  Guests were offered bottles of water prior to the start of the training, and we were even given a wee shout out by Carrol, who explained who we were and why we were there during her introduction speeches.  There were plenty of people on the team Carrol needed to introduce, as it takes a LOT of people to get something like this off the ground, so we were really happy that she took the time to thank us for coming and promote us to her volunteers!

As well as Castle Horror themselves, they had Jim (technical), Stuart (entertainment director), Chris and Stevie from Scare Scotland, Dave and Paddy from Viper Strike.  If we’ve missed anyone out, we apologise – Stewart was typing as fast as he could, and Louise just sat enthralled the whole time!  On top of the people we’ve named, there are many more people required to make the event a reality, such as zombie actors, regular actors, scare actors, soldiers, airsofters, as well as a media team to handle engagement.

We were promptly handed over to Scott to begin the briefing (who loves a bit of dressing up, and isn’t afraid to tell you), during which a video is played, which he put together himself for the training, and was pretty cool, even if he didn’t think so!  What Scott told us was top secret, so we can’t tell you what he said, or we’d end up in the old graveyard at the back of Mains Castle!  Suffice it to say that it whet our appetite to come back and get a bit more Zombie MAYhem for ourselves.  It’s going to be a real screamfest, we can assure you.

The next zombie academy training is on 7th May 2016, so if you’re up for it, you’re in for a real treat.  We’re going back on 7th May to watch the actors going through their paces, which we are really looking forward to.  Dress rehearsal is on 22nd May, with the event in Dundee going live on Saturday 28th May 2016, .  Get in touch with Castle Horror directly either to be a part of the action, or to buy tickets to what promises to be a true night of horror!

With heroes and villains month in full swing and reaching its amazing finale, there are a few bits and bobs you really don’t want to miss out on.

Saturday 25th Oct has a couple of treats for you, starting from 10am – 11am at Bonar Hall. Dr Chris Murray and Dr Daniel Cook will be indulging us with interesting facts about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Learn more on Shelley’s Frankenstein here, and be sure to make the time for the talk.

Don’t think Saturday’s fun is over and done with yet though, because from 6pm – 8pm, there’s a great exhibition organised in the Baxter Suite of the Tower Building at Dundee University, including a Q & A session, with the Scottish Centre for Comics Studies and Dr Chris Murray (he’ll be a busy boy that day).

Sunday 26th October sees on “An Almost Entirely Fictitious Walk” with Eddie and Ollie, which promises to be as enlightening as it is entertaining; delving into our factual and our fictitious Dundonian heroes and villains. Really looking forward to this one, and it’s on from 10am until 12 noon, so there’s even time for a bit of a long lie on Sunday morning!

Tuesday 28th October marks the end of a terrific month of events with a conference for senior school pupils and teachers studying and teaching The Great War, 1914 – 1928. This is being held in Dundee University by the School of Humanities. Get in touch with them if your school or educational establishment is involved in this topic and you are interested in attending.

And, as they say, “That’s All, Folks”…and what an amazing set of events it was, and still proves to be. If you haven’t attended any of the events by now, make sure you can get to at least one of the ones that are left – they promise to be a scream!!