Tuesday, December 01, 2015

The Spookers Experience

Jack, Anon. & Bronwyn At Spookers (6/11/15)

My birthday treat this year was a visit to Spookers. Spookers, for those of you who don't know, is a kind of horror-themed amusement park which has been set up in some old buildings at the back of Kingseat, once a dreaded Auckland mental hospital.

"How tasteless, how vulgar!" I hear you say. You don't know the half of it! The whole thing is in supremely bad taste, and is - perhaps as a result? - a huge amount of hokey fun.

The approaches

We'd hardly got out of the car before we were accosted by a particularly belligerent member of the walking dead, waving a cleaver, and from there things only got stranger. There was a kind of do-it-yourself enthusiasm about the staff: mad nurses, vampires, zombies, ghosts and all. They seemed determined to demonstrate their acting chops, and for all our fine talk beforehand, it wasn't long before we too were running and squealing like girls.

Closer up

The rather posed studio photo at the top of the page is optional, but I think you'll agree that it would be a shame to leave without such a memento of one's stay. And - all the gallons of fake blood, dusty hospital rooms, and chainsaws aside - there's no denying that Kingseat itself is genuinely creepy.

There were moments as we drove along the long deserted road from the motorway, penetrating further and further into the hinterland, when I began to feel as if I'd strayed into The Locals, my all-time favourite New Zealand rural paranoia film.

They're Dying to Meet You

I suppose, as a serious student of the paranormal, I should feel ashamed of going to such places. Guess what? I'm not. It was very entertaining, and there was clearly something about me that particularly riled the staff (the fact that I was thirty or so years older than virtually everyone else there might have helped). Not even the Guinness t-shirt Bronwyn persuaded me to wear could persuade them that I wasn't some kind of patronising intellectual looking for something to slag off.

Anyway, we survived (though I haven't yet heard the last of that moment in the forest when I inadvertently lost track of Bronwyn for a moment whilst fleeing from an axe-wielding fiend. "Hey, you left your lady behind," I could hear them shouting after me. Her own remarks on the subject were rather more succinct - which I think was a little rich, given the number of times she'd already thrust me in the way of ghouls or zombies to facilitate her own escape ...)

I highly recommend it - but probably with something resembling the proviso Dylan Thomas added to his praise of Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds: "Just the book to give your sister - if she's a loud, dirty, boozy girl." That shouldn't present too many challenges for most of my readers, surely?

Directions to Spookers:

Take the Southern Motorway, take the Papakura/Karaka offramp. Turn right if coming from the North or left if coming from the South onto Linwood Road.

Linwood Road leads into Kingseat Road. Travel 14kms from the motorway and Spookers is on your right.

Spookers is strictly R16 with No ID, No Entry on Friday and Saturday nights. No exceptions.

BYO torch for the Freaky Forest/CornEvil or you can purchase them here at Spookers for $15 (Spookers branded) Wear sensible footwear and you may get some 'fake' blood on you. This will come out in the wash.

The Original Version


Richard said...

As kids we were a bit frightened of this place. In my young days (mid 50s to early 60s) it was called 'The Looney Bin'. A friend of mine, who in fact wrote the odd poem (and had a poem written about him by Roger Mitchell, in fact it surprised me, I heard him read it in 1996 at the Sublimate, about Steve Boreham who was at one stage a merchant seaman and bashed up in Vulcan Lane). He used to get shock treatment. I asked him what it was like. It was terrible. He said that waking from it was such an experience as if he had woken from a sleep of 10,000 years*

*Or a huge number like that. I recall Huxley arguing that a poem that mentioned a duration of one hundred or two hundred years was more impressive in this way than say two thousand (in 'Texts and Pretexts'). I know what he means, but sometimes sheer numbers do it.

Dr Jack Ross said...

Dear Richard,

When we were at school it was Oakley (later Carrington) which was the place we all feared, and which was constantly brought up to deter any unorthodoxies in behaviour or opinions.

There's a bit in that Sam Neill documentary Cinema of Unease where he talks about cycling past the Christchurch equivalent, Sunnyside, with his collar buttoned up to stop the madness getting in.

A deep wound in the New Zealand psyche, wouldn't you say?

best, jack

Richard said...

Oakley, yes, the one I mean was near Western Springs. Perhaps it was Oakley. Indeed. I read about Robyn Hyde, now she received some great help there from a kind doctor. Steve had an interest in literature, but what had caused his wound was a mix of booze and life as a seaman. His family were either academics, musicians but also worked as seamen. He introduced me to 'Light in August', I read it, ca. 1969 and said it reminded me of a nightmare, which he said some critic had compared it to also. One of his mates across the road in Mt Roskill beat him up! His mother was kindly, asthmatic, but tormented by the death of her first child. But Steve claimed to have had a deep vision that revealed God to him. Although at the time I was moving 'into politics' (protest and left wing), I was fascinated by this. Yes, the deep wound, as well as Frame and Hyde there is poor Morrieson and many others. I remember Rosenberg the economist ascribing the high youth suicide rate to Rogernomics. But I think that darkness was there for sure. The New Zealand Wars, which Scott Hamilton is 'addressing' and displacement didn't help us. Your Gothic ghost experience is a kind of cartharsis perhaps, of the 'real world, real New Zealand'...we could get onto the polluted rivers, the myth of the green clean country (oops, where are all those native birds - killed off by Buller et al? - and can you eat a mountain? - what are these murders and acts of violence we hear about every day? - in my own street, in all our cities and towns). Is it all bad news, perhaps not, the news we hear is frequently the worst.
But madness the closing up of the coat, like Gu Cheng wearing his hat to stop his thoughts flying away into the night (as Raymond Roussell imagined his own thoughts of his huge first poem might contaminate or disturb not only Paris but the whole universe!!)...
Madness is the price we pay for our so-called higher awareness.

Lekoman said...

Very poor, unprofessional customers service and management. My girlfriend was terrified and asked in the begging that "she wanted to leave". However staff didn't give us any option to leave through emergency exit or any shortcut exit. Instead to lead us to go through all attractions. They more care about their business with other customers instead my girlfriend had terrible feeling. We complained through the e-mail, but final response was extremely unprofessional, such as: "trouble communication", "English not being your first language", "(staff) needed to take you quickly so that she could get back to her place" and "attractions requires us to have a group go through every 2 minutes" it is not a appropriate way to make excuse for your staff horrible mistake. I strongly believe this company do not have any professional training about how to deal with the customers in special and emergency situation. And also from the e-mail we received, its sound like to blame us didn't complain this situation immediately to the duty manager. In fact we made a call after we left in 30 minutes. I will be happy to put this case in court for several reasons. If someone else got similar situation please contact us.