Japan’s drive-in haunted house aims to scare away the most horrifying enemy, the coronavirus - GulfToday

Japan’s drive-in haunted house aims to scare away the most horrifying enemy, the coronavirus


This combination image of six pictures shows drive-in haunted house actors.

A car horn beeps and the horror begins: a bloody murder and rampaging zombies.


But this drive-in haunted house in Japan protects against the most terrifying enemy of all -- coronavirus.


Inside a car, guests can scream as loudly as they like, with no mask required, as hideous creatures daubed in blood swarm towards them.


In fact, the new format might even be scarier than a traditional haunted house, producer Kenta Iwana, 25, told the media.


Iwana came up with the drive-in solution after struggling with a string of cancellations as the coronavirus outbreak took hold.


Actor Kenta Iwana (R), 25, putting on zombie makeup before a demonstration of a drive-in haunted house.


The squad is usually hired to set up haunted house experiences at amusement parks and similar venues.


A normal experience might involve a windowless facility with actors playing ghosts quietly following visitors and whispering directly into their ears to scare them -- all impossible in the age of coronavirus.


 'Wanting to scare'


Iwana and his team Kowagarasetai -- meaning "A squad wanting to scare" -- initially tried to create coronavirus-compatible performances by wearing masks painted with fake blood and playing recorded screams rather than unleashing real ones.


ghost3 Drive-in haunted house actress Haruna Suzuki (front L), 20, puts on zombie makeup before a demonstration.


But most of their events were cancelled anyway.


Iwana, who quit university to become a ghost house producer, wondered if a drive-in format might work instead.


Ghost stories and haunted houses are popular forms of entertainment in Japan and are associated particularly with the summer, though the reasons for the link are unclear.


Iwana says he was told the tradition began when up-and-coming kabuki actors began performing ghost stories in the hot summer months, when star actors took time off.


ghost4 Actress Haruna Suzuki, 20, cleans up fake blood from the window of a car.


 Behind windscreens


Kota Hanegawa, 28, plays a blood-soaked killer in the squad, though he admits he is not a big fan of scary things.




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He says the new format -- with the actors outside accompanied by a soundtrack and narration playing inside the car -- has a few positives, particularly in terms of audience feedback.


Japan's coronavirus state of emergency has already been lifted, and some amusement parks are slowly beginning to reopen, with restrictions on guests.


But the squad is moving ahead with its drive-in concept for now, and tickets for its first dates next month at a Tokyo garage have already sold out.


Imaide hopes guests will feel comfortable letting loose and getting the full, horrifying experience.


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