In a large cornfield in Olney, Rob Zombie’s “Dragula” blasts from the speakers of an uncovered trailer as it pulls up to a dark clearing.
Within seconds, the scene is illuminated by large blue lights and neon orange paintballs fly as the undead come alive.
Paintball Apocalypse — the newest, one-of-a-kind attraction at Field of Screams at the Olney Boys and Girls Club — allows patrons to ride through three stations and shoot as many as 100 paintballs when coming under attack by zombies. The grotesque figures, actors dressed in dark, padded clothing and masks, come out of the darkness and saunter toward the trailer where patrons are allowed to shoot them with paintball guns and rounds provided by Field of Screams.
The haunt — which also consists of the Trail of Terror, a haunted house called Lusion Manor and the revamped Haydes’ Haunted Hayride — has been a staple of Halloween festivities in the Olney area for more than 20 years and sees as many as 3,000 attendees on a given night.
“It’s good, seasonal fun. They get scared, they have fun with their friends,” said OBGC chairman Dan Dionisio of Sandy Spring. “It’s a very unique experience to be scared and you don’t have the chance for that to happen too often.”
The haunt has about 200 employees working each night. Joseph Jimenez, 18, of Olney is the actor-coordinator for Paintball Apocalypse and one of about 10 zombies in the event each night. He said the zombies wear padding on their knees, legs and torsos and helmets and gloves to protect themselves. He said he was hurt once when he was shot in the back when he turned around, but says he really enjoys being shot at.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Jimenez, who said he pops out of a coffin on the course. “People love shooting other people — especially when they’re dressed up as a zombie.”
Drew Gress of Owings Mill went on Paintball Apocalypse on his first visit to Field of Screams on Friday after hearing about it on the radio. He said he would be interested in coming back to the haunt next year.
“My favorite part was the second stop because that’s when I had the most paintballs,” Gress said. “After that, I was already out and I was just pretending to shoot them. I was too excited.”
The trailer, which has two levels of 10 paintball guns attached and facing the left, is pulled by a pickup truck. Charles Hayes and Minh Nguyen of Alexandria, Va., said their favorite part was being able to shoot at the zombies from the second level.
“It was a lot of fun because your first instinct is to just go, to just start shooting at anything you see,” Nguyen said.
While the haunted trail tends to be the flagship event of the haunt, Dionisio said Field of Screams is the only haunt in the area to have a paintball attraction. He said people have traveled from as far as West Virginia to get spooked.
“It’s a great experience just to scare the living daylights out of people,” Jimenez said.