Saturday 2 November 2013

Pineapple of the Damned

Last night was the first Pineapple of the Damned event for Halloween hosted by SlaughterFX. It was hosted at the Big Pineapple, a tourist attraction at Nambour on the Sunshine Coast. Overall the night was better than I expect, and showed great potential. I hope  that it proved popular enough to continue in coming years.

Firstly the setting. There is no question that the Big Pineapple has seen better days. In it's heyday it was one of Australia's most famous "Big" things  (alongside the Big Banana). But since the highway moved and the Pineapple changed hands a few times, it has fallen into disrepair.

While that is a sad thing for locals, this made it a great setting for a haunt. There was a lot about this event that had potential. Not all of it was realized, but for something that is just starting out, you could really appreciate the effort that was put was in.

The event centred around the Damned Train ride that took guests out into the spooky pineapple plantation. It used the existing Big Pineapple train and took guests past serial killers, zombies, werewolves, Randy werewolves, dinosaurs, robots, Jason and chainsaw maniacs. There was a lot going on here, and there wasn't any sense of story, but there was certainly a deal of effort put into a number of the set pieces. Special mentionnof the non-randy werewolves that looked really cool. The whole trip was narrated (a little painfully) by Driver Dan, who was having a great deal of trouble getting the train going at various points of the tour. It was lame, and it was silly, but everyone on board was up for it. Most of all it was fun.

In addition to the train ride,  there was a haunted walk through, which was better than I expected. It wasn't a fright nights maze, but it was better than a run of the mill spook house. There was plenty of pop culture scares, zombies, Freddy, Silent Hill nurses. Lots of flashing lights and props to move through. One moment of hilarity when one of the scare actors, used the catch phrase 'Get out of my section'. Section? How odd! Takes you out of the moment when something like that happens.

In general the actors across the night were good. They were committed, but broke character a little to easily at times. You could tell they were doing it for the fun. I don't think many were getting paid, which makes them more impressive in my book.

The organization wasn't very good at all. Guests were kind of on the honour system, you could have easily walked in and done both the train and the walk through without paying. The ticket lady, although lovely, didn't know where things were. Things weren't well signed or organized. That was okay for the crowd that was there, as everyone was in the right spirit, but they need more organizers outside the attractions next year.

There also could have been more atmosphere outside the attractions. Some music and lighting would have made a huge difference. The "bar" was very awkward, but it might have got a bit busier later in the night. They should have  done something with the Pineapple itself, it's only a few shadows away from being a jack-o-lantern.

Was it worth 38 bucks? No it wasn't. Was it as intense as fright nights? No it wasn't. Was it better than I expected? You bet it was. Does it have potential as a new event? Absolutely! I think this year was an underground hit. With a bit more planning and structure, a little story to the haunts, this could be a great Halloween tradition for the Big Pineapple.

For me it was an A for effort with a C+ for execution. However, this is the first event, execution is only going to improve. Definitely worth a look if it comes back in future years.