SURREY — With an eye more on making scary films, Gigi Saul Guerrero had never sought work at an attraction like Fright Nights at the PNE. Then, in 2010, she saw an ad looking for actors and decided to give it a shot.
"On that first day on the job, it was so thrilling to take some anger out on innocent people walking into the place," Guerrero, a White Rock resident, told the Now with a laugh.
"It was so much fun that it almost felt glorifying when you put a good scare into someone."
Ever since, Guerrero has been involved in Fright Nights, only now she trains the more than 100 actors involved in the yearly attraction, which opens Friday, Oct. 11. This year, she and her LuchaGore Productions team also filmed the Fright Nights television commercial.
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Closer to home, actors who like to give people a scare have been hired at a number of local haunts, including Potters House of Horrors and Haunted Forest Scream Train in Surrey, and Zombie Combat Zone at Semiahmoo Park in White Rock.
At Zombie Combat Zone, 18 people are hired nightly to act like zombies and get blasted with coloured paintballs during their five-hour shifts.
"They take a total of around 40,000 rounds a night, so they (the actors) really get the crap kicked out of them," said Ron McCall, who operates Zombie Combat Zone.
"Those actors really earn their money," he added.
The temporary attraction opened Oct. 3 at Semiahmoo Park, a new venue for the enterprise following a 10-week run at a Surrey site last year.
At Potters, up to 40 actors are hired each year for the company's House of Horrors on 72nd Avenue, said chief event planner Chris Pershick.
"Many are seasoned veterans in the acting field, some are theatre/drama students and some are just regular folk, young and old, who love to scare the snot out of people," Pershick told the Now.
The scare-actor job is more work than people think, he added. Some play "slow, silent stalkers and creepers," while others are more into ghoulish theatrics and maniacal thrills, like wielding a "blood"-soaked axe.
"But when you really get somebody good and out bursts that legitimate scream of terror, it's very satisfying. In the end, I think our actors and employees really get a kick out of the scare business - almost as much as our patrons do."
At Bear Creek Park Train, the Haunted Forest Scream Train employs 15 actors, some in multiple roles, including the iconic Chainsaw Charlie.
"Many of the actors come back every year, because they enjoy it so much, even in the wind and rain - which they might also like, too," said operator Linda Penn.
In addition to paid employees, volunteers from local schools help at the train station each October by taking tickets, loading trains and giving out pumpkins - especially during the daytime Pumpkin Express rides, designed for younger kids.
Potters House of Horrors is open from Oct. 11 to 31, nightly from 6 to 10 p.m., 12530 72nd Ave., Surrey. Tickets range from $10 to $35, pottershouseofhorrors.com.
Bear Creek Park Train's Haunted Forest Scream Train (6:30 to 10 p.m. nightly) and Pumpkin Express (10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily) runs until Oct. 31, tickets $8.50/$9, bctrains.com.
Zombie Combat Zone opens at 7 p.m. nightly at Semiahmoo Park, 15782 Marine Dr., White Rock. Admission rates are from $55 per person, zombiecombatzone.com.
Fright Nights at PNE operates from Oct. 11 to Nov. 2, starting at 7 p.m. nightly, tickets $25 to $35, www.frightnights.ca.
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