A small army of volunteers has been working for months on the project, which could become an annual Halloween event for TAS if it is successful.
Volunteers have been working on special effects and prosthetic make-up, sets and other items for what could be a half mile of horror, in the hollow behind Liz Spurlock amphitheater.
Trail of the Dead is the first event of its type for The Aracoma Story Inc. which usually presents outdoor and indoor plays. The Trail of the Dead will have plenty of drama, however. Instead of the typical Halloween haunted house or trail type of event, Trail of the Dead will have theme and actors.
The storyline is about a rag tag group of survivors in Appalachia who have managed to hold out after a strange contagion has turned a large number of people into cannibalistic zombies.
The survivors known as ARM (The Appalachian Resistance Movement) will be taking refugees (the public) to safety.
"Trail of the Dead" is the brainchild of local actor and comedian Aaron Stone, who has performed in other The Aracoma Story presentations in the past. Stone recently discussed "Trail of the Dead" with members of the Kiwanis Club of Logan.
"I have been doing stand up for six years, and I have been involved in local stage productions," Stone said. "People seem very excited about this and come up to me and talk about the television commercials for Trail of the Dead. I have to tell 'em I don't have cable and haven't seen them myself," Stone quipped.
Stone said he had produced two independent plays earlier about Halloween, and then he got involved with The Aracoma Story.
"Some of my friends were sitting around a couple of years ago talking about how somebody should do a Halloween play. So of course, I wound up doing it. The first "Play of the Dead" cost about $63 to produce and it made $200 for refugees of Hurricane Katrina. The second one didn't make anything, but it was free admission. I got involved with this when I had written a different play and was going to approach The Aracoma Story about that. It was not about zombies."
Stone got inspired to come up with "Trail of the Dead" when he saw news stories about how refugees survived natural disasters, and got to thinking that a Halloween event could be built around that idea featuring zombies, which had made a comeback in recent Hollywood movies over the past few years. The refugees would form a militia, and would try to get vaccines and supplies from the government while trying to hold out against the walking dead.
"The dead are reanimated and they are taking over and nobody knows exactly why," Stone said of the storyline. "Just think how bad something like that could be, even though in real life there is no such thing as zombies. The concept itself is very apocalyptic in nature."
Stone said he got to thinking in terms of what it would be like if zombies from George A. Romero movies became a reality.
"If a thing like this happened, where would 40 percent of them be?" he asked. "Almost half of them would be buckled into wrecked automobiles who could not get out."
Stone said local science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts have been experimenting with and working on prosthetic make up effects that could be very gruesome, which is why no children under 12 will be admitted without being accompanied by an adult.
"If you have a week heart, it might not be for you," Stone said of the interactive event which will make the audience part of the story by becoming refugees who are trying to get past zombies who are roaming around or stuck in vehicles. "The main part of the trail is to show you how people would survive such a thing. The government has air-dropped a vaccine and A.R.M. and the refugees have to recover it. We want to scare you."
"Trail of the Dead" starts Oct. 15 and runs Wednesday through Saturday for three weeks starting at 7 p.m.
Stone said other communities like Weston and Moundsville have annual Halloween events and Stone said he wanted to see Logan do something fun for Halloween too.
"There are two goals, my goal and The Aracoma Story Incorporated's goals," Stone said. "Their goal was to have an annual fall event. I wanted to bring something fun back for Halloween."
Stone said that Fall in Appalachia is beautiful and he had many wonderful memories of how fun Halloween was when he was a kid.
"We used to get upwards of 70 trick or treaters at Sarah Ann when I was a kid," he explained. "Last year we had none. So I wanted to bring back something fun for Halloween. "
Tickets for the event which kicks off this week are available now. For more information check The Aracoma Story Inc. web site.