Congrats! You’ve made it this far after reading Part One of my Halloween season roundup. Part Two has plenty more to discuss with a wide selection of scare attractions from around the UK. Some were fab, some were mediocre and others were downright awful. It goes to show that everyone has a completely different experience when visiting, from how the scare mazes are portrayed to whether the amount of actors makes a difference to increasing the intensity. I’ll let you decide if you agree with my reviews. Let’s get on with this!
Can you believe it? 2018 season is coming to an end this weekend. Halloween is over for another year and now I have to entertain myself for the closed season. It has been one hell of a season and for October, I have done a wide range of scare attractions and mazes – 51 to be exact. There have been highs and lows but it’s been a truly wonderful way to finish off the season (yes, I will be at the Alton Towers Fireworks but you know what I mean!)
There’s been many times I have driven on the way to Towers, even stayed at a Travelodge near Burton Upon Trent and never made an attempt to visit Burton Screamfest. I was eager to get myself here and experience the wonder that is in store. I’ve heard so many good reviews and I was gagging to try out their mazes. Now that I have finally experienced Burton Screamfest for the first time, I am undecided as to how I feel about it all.
Don’t get me wrong, each maze were solid with plenty of jump scares. I’m not sure whether I felt disappointed as I had high expectations of this event being fantastic or whether due to the busyness of the evening (it was a Saturday night), that it ruined the flow of the evening. Yes, I did pay a bit extra for Fastrack and to be honest, I do not regret that at all. Each maze had massive groups going through at a time which then led to a stopping/starting motion throughout. Actors were trying to give us those jump scares, and it just wasn’t happening – we could see what was going to happen.
There were plenty of places to buy food and merch – this isn’t a massive event by any means – but what they had was good. All mazes are in close proximity of each other which is good in some ways but maybe I prefer a more spread out event? Who knows. As I said above, I’m undecided as to how I truly feel about it all. That doesn’t mean to say I wouldn’t return to this event as there is plenty of potential here. Now let’s crack on with the mazes, there were a couple of favourites of the night.
Another clown maze, what a surprise. As with any of the other clown mazes I have done, this one was pretty much the same style. A few red and white flaps with a clown jumping out every few seconds. It’s become such a cliché that it has next to no effect on me – just a chuckle or two. The one thing I did like was the splitting of groups towards the beginning with two doors – one for Girls and one for Boys. I actually like mazes that have different choices as it creates a unique experience with your friends. For this, I actually enjoyed the experience.
I honestly had no clue as to what this maize would entail. Get it? Maize… Anyway, you start off on a short tractor ride with a friendly Mexican lady – make-up was on-point, huge praise for the make-up team here! – and some very jovial Mexican style music. For us it was Despacito which certainly heightens the mood and lets your guard down. Next thing you know, you’ve arrived at the start of the maze which is in a corn/maize field. Following this through, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems. There are chainsaws in this maze… quite a few chainsaws in fact. Nothing too terrifying apart from one who decided to make the walls shake. This was my favourite of the night, purely for how long and enjoyable the experience was, very unique.
Darkness. That’s all I can really say about this maze. It had some great potential jump scares within it and I liked the four doors at the very beginning – splitting groups at a time. After seeing how small the marquee was for this, I was intrigued as to how much space would be used in here or how tight the corridors were going to be. Not going to lie, this was pretty tight in places and extremely dark. Perfect for those jump scares to occur, with demon like creatures around, it was certainly freaky. As much as this did play on my fears, it was a bit lacklustre for me. I didn’t feel like the actors were going for me – yes, I know I don’t flinch too much – but I want to feel somewhat spooked.
The first port of call being a nightclub toilet, I was incredibly intrigued by how this maze was going to turn out. I was pleasantly surprised and had some great jump scares. As you wander through, you encounter many of the rejects that Professor Heart has taken in his pub, Diced Heart Pub. The theming within here is insane. Disgusting nightclub toilets, tunnels of dampness, plenty of smellpods about (I smelt Terror of the Towers in here!) and add a chainsaw in, just for good measure. The only thing that I feel should have been different is the splitting of groups at the beginning of the maze. Our group was split in half and then we were both let out at the same time. This then made for a massive group as we wandered through the maze. This led to certain jump scares being missed – thankfully I was near the front so got plenty of good scares in. It was a good solid attraction, but batching of groups could have been better executed.
Final maze of the night was Insomnia. After experiencing a mixed bag of mazes for the night, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Insomnia. Was it going to be a strong maze or a weak maze of the night? Thankfully, I was impressed with the set in here. It was great to walk into a child’s nightmare – very Nightmare on Elm Street-esque – and follow it through. It seemed quite terrifying at times however it was another case of big massive group and lots of stopping throughout the maze. Actors were trying their best to make us jump but we had spent enough time sussing out where they were going to appear. This is something that could be improved upon, especially on a busy night like tonight at Burton Screamfest.
That’s all for now!
Last year was a disappointment, just going to put that out there. I feel like I went on an off night as there were barely any actors about and the atmosphere at the park wasn’t great. So to come back this year, I was nervous as I find that everyone raves about Xtreme Scream Park and all I wanted was to experience that for myself.
Overall, it was a much better event than last year, by a long shot. However, the atmosphere on park was still missing, very similar to last year. It wasn’t buzzing compared to the likes of The Howl and Tulley’s, a lot of dead spots here and there. It was very much segregated to each of the mazes. The middle plaza area with the food vans and bar just felt empty and lifeless. It’s a shame as I really wanted it to be better, considering it was a Friday night so was expecting a lot more people to be around this area. Another bugbear of mine were the lack of photo opportunities around the park, especially near the entrance where it is very dark!
The main reason for the visit is the scare mazes, of course! Xtreme Scream Park have some very beautifully themed mazes and is what made the evening so enjoyable. Whether I will make this an annual visit is still yet to be decided. You cannot fault the detail and each maze is unique. So, let’s crack on with the maze reviews.
First maze of the night was The Village – mainly because we wanted to beat the crowds and start with the mazes at the back end of the park. The theming here in incredible. Essentially, you are walking through the village and might meet a few inhabitants along the way, including scarecrows. The actors were on fire and really chose the best spots to get guests. The one thing lacking for me were the lack of scares. It almost felt like a nice wander through a maze than a scary maze. It’s such a shame as it’s so beautifully themed and I wanted this to be one of the best mazes of the night.
Next stop was Pie Factory. For a maze that was sadly short-staffed, it did not disappoint. There were some changes within the maze that made it very disorientating, including pitch black corridors! The smell in this attraction is putrefying and creepy. Pig people following your every move and why not start a maze with a stamp on your hand – I was ‘fresh meat’. This could give a hint as to whether the actors really wanted to go for you. There were plenty of tight spaces which can be enough to scare anybody. And no factory tour is complete without a chainsaw ending. For me, one chainsaw isn’t terrifying but seeing people run out of the exit makes it all worthwhile. It’s a solid maze at Xtreme Scream Park.
OH MY GOD! This maze was creepy, intimidating and bloody terrifying. It is a long maze so expect a good 10 mins or so of scares. The best part about this maze is the lighting. Yes, it is dark in places for this maze, but the strobe effect lights mean there are plenty of moments for actors to creep up on you and scare you shitless. It’s intimidating when inmates call you ‘my bitch’, ‘sweetcheeks’ or ‘will you my baby?’, it is a mix of psychological scares and physical touches – I can’t even tell you how many times I was poked, prodded, stroked during the maze. Not only that, there were animatronics that created loud noises echoing through the attraction – a real attack on the senses. It was fantastic and is certainly one of my favourite mazes of the night.
This wasn’t as strong of a maze as it was last year. Potentially due to the amount of people being sent through at one time meant there were moments we were still, waiting for people to keep on moving. This made the experience less enjoyable and the actors couldn’t really give us the jump scares with an impact. As you wander through, you can’t deny that the theming once again is fantastic. Each room is beautifully themed and tells the story of Stilton really well. Not as strong as other mazes I have been in but a good maze to the line-up at Xtreme Scream Park.
The weakest maze of the night for me. As with any clown maze, it’s become a cliché at any scream park, to the point that I have become immune to them. Clowns don’t scare me, in fact, they make me chuckle more than anything. This maze can be disorientating but there wasn’t much going for it the whole way round. Compared with other clown mazes I have done, this was one of the weakest. Maybe it is time for this maze to go and a new one to take its place?
Now, when it comes to bag style mazes, they can either be a massive hit or a big fat flop. Hoodoo Voodoo did not disappoint at all. The actors in here were working the room non-stop and getting very up close and personal. So much so that I have couldn’t count how many times my face was stroked, leg was grabbed, arm was prodded. It was an attack on the senses, especially when you only have a rope to guide you in this fun-house. But it doesn’t stop there! Your bag mask is forcefully pulled from your face which is enough to make you jump. Then you walk through the Hoodoo Voodoo ritual areas – death is upon you! – and one of the greatest scares I have ever witnessed, a massive Voodoo doll actor. I screamed, a lot! After this experience, this has become one, if not, my all-time favourite maze.
That’s all for now!
Halloween, in the death of the night, hear me scream
I’m coming, I’m coming
Halloween, is the fear that I fight, in my dream
Keep running, keep running …
Halloween season has really grown on me over the last couple of years, and it truly is the most wonderful time of year. I mean, I’ve already written a post on the top 8 reasons to love Halloween season, check it out here. After exploring some new scare events last year, it has really got me inspired to try out even more this year!
So here’s what I’m getting up to this spooky season 2018…
THORPE PARK FRIGHT NIGHTS
This one is pretty much a given. Every year, I always visit Fright Nights because it’s pretty much a chance for me to have a bloody good time with my friends. Plus the maze line-up is looking so strong this year – especially with the new mazes that were announced a few weeks ago. Okay, I will bloody miss The Big Top but oh my god, there are so many good choices of mazes for this year. I honestly cannot wait to make many trips to Fright Nights this year.
ALTON TOWERS SCAREFEST
Another staple in my calendar every year is Scarefest. Ever since my first trip in 2012, I have bloody loved the whole event. The atmosphere around the park is insane, and with is being so big, it can be pretty creepy at night. And with a new addition of Project 42 in the Nemesis Sub Terra building, oh my god, I cannot wait to see what this is all about. Us geeks definitely like to speculate about what will be included in this maze, and I sure as hell can’t wait to get stuck in – and maybe never get out? Plus Scarefest is also the chance to ride Wicker Man in the dark – yes please!
Again, another staple that is always in my calendar. Despite this being more family orientated so the scares are not what I would consider scary but they are so fun, and damn, Chessington do some pretty good theming. Creepy Caves Unearthed last year was fantastic so I can’t wait to give it a go again this year! I think having visited the Halloween event at Chessington for a few years, I still have a lot of good memories at the event including The Mystery of Hocus Pocus Hall and Vampire: Haunting in the Hollows, which is why I still make a visit each year.
TULLEY’S SHOCKTOBER FEST
Oh yes. I visited Tulley’s for the first time last year and honestly, I was questioning why I have never been here before! It is so bloody GOOD! The mazes are epic and each have their own theme. The actors are so in character the whole night that it builds up the anticipation and atmosphere. The general mood is spooky and I don’t think I found anything I didn’t like. So yes, I will be back this year and very much looking forward to seeing Circus of Horrors.
XTREME SCREAM PARK
Now… I have to say this, I did not enjoy this place when I visited last year. It wasn’t a good visit and the mazes felt very lacklustre and when you hear everyone else saying they had the best time on their trips, I had to come back this year and give it another go. And I want to be scared… so give it all you got Xtreme Scream Park! 😉
DR. FRIGHT’S HALLOWEEN NIGHTS
I’m not gonna lie, I don’t really know much about this place. Based at White Nurseries, near Gloucester, and described as having a variety of walk through horror attractions of a varying theme. In each attraction you will follow a dark and winding trail that will (hopefully) lead you to the exit. They have received many awards including UK’s Best Halloween Screampark and Best Original Concept and Design at the annual Scar Awards. I cannot wait to give this a try this Halloween Season.
I have driven past this place so many times when driving up to visit Alton Towers Scarefest and have never made time to visit! That’s going to change this year as I am very much looking forward to trying out all the scare attractions here. All the reviews and awards this place gets makes me want experience the greatness of Burton Screamfest for myself. Especially the scare maze in a corn field – sounds like an interesting experience awaits…
FEAR AT AVON VALLEY
This is yet another scare attraction that I have heard some great reviews of from within the theme park community. Based near Bristol, I haven’t really thought about venturing towards that part of the UK, however for this year, I will definitely give it a go. Once again, I don’t really know much about this place but isn’t that kinda the fun of it? The anticipation of not really knowing what to expect – she says, nervous about what awaits her at Fear at Avon Valley. 😉
With a name like The Howl, I wonder what you could associate with it… Werewolves perhaps? I am intrigued as to how a park where all of the attractions are linked with the same story thread can be executed so smoothly. Again, it’s another place where I have some fantastic reviews so I am really looking forward to giving this a go in 2018. And to be honest, with the place being created by the same people who did Tulley’s, I am sure this is going to be a real hit.
Okay, I think this list has become way too long but as you can see, I want to try out more new scream parks. I can’t wait to see what all attractions have in store for me and I’m sure I will have a lot of tales to tell you on my blog so watch this space for reviews this Autumn!
That’s all for now.