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Westside Cemetery haunted theme night returns


WESTMOUNT — Chainsaws, guillotines, electric chairs and all the usual props you might expect to find in a haunted theme night this time of year are all part of the Westside Cemetery.

Jeff Peach, creator of the Westside Cemetery in Westmount, displays the guillotine at the horror theme park he’s created on Midgley Drive.

What its creators think they have that others may not, though, are feelings.

“I think people are most going to be wowed by the environment that they find themselves in, the level of detail and then the depths in which our actors go to portray empathy for them and the other characters,” said Jeff Peach, creator of the cemetery.

“We try to create empathy for our characters. You’ll see a character going through trauma and you’ll feel for them.”

The setting for the nightly story is Westside, a once-thriving community where a viral outbreak has occurred within a slaughterhouse and moved through the town.

It gives visitors a look into the devastating aftermath where Peach and 20-40 actors aim to create a sense of fear and anticipation among visitors who go through a slaughterhouse, then a cabin in the woods, and finally a chapel.

“We put a lot of time into lighting, we put a lot of time into sound, props and creating the scenes,” he said.

“Without creating the atmosphere for fear it is like someone walking up to you at the bus stop and going ‘Boo.’ You have to create that atmosphere.”

For Peach, the second year of this project is a natural evolution of childhood Halloween fun that saw him nail boards together to make crucifixes in his backyard and blare heavy metal music.

The Westside Cemetery debuted to large crowds last year and Peach expects the much larger setup this year to be an even bigger and scarier attraction.

While everyone is encouraged to take their time to see and hear actors perform their scenes and to take in the haunting details of the cemetery, he understands if you feel like picking up the pace.

“If you walk through it properly you could be in there for anywhere from seven to 15 minutes. Then we have other people who as soon as they hit that gate they don’t even look up and are in and out just to say they did it.”

Wednesday is kids night where actors unveil the settings in a milder manner, while the show goes full throttle Thursday through Sunday.

Shows begin at 7 p.m. nightly at 32 Midgley Dr., Westmount.

Costs are $8 per person on Wednesday and $15 the other nights, so that Peach can attempt to recoup some of the thousands of dollars invested into it.

gmcneil@cbpost.com

 

 

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