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!
I must say, 2018 seems to have flown by considering it feels like only yesterday it was the 2017 Halloween season. I am not complaining by any means as it is my absolute favourite time of year! This year was going to be a good one when Thorpe Park started announcing their new mazes and scare zones for 2018. I couldn’t wait to get started when I visited for the Press Night on Thursday 4th October.
Well… you did not disappoint Thorpe. You really made this into a truly terrifying experience and I cannot wait to experience this maze even further. The fact that before you even begin, you have to walk past a small section of the maze where the ‘inhabitants’ are all waiting for you – yes, they can see you. As you venture forward, you are greeted to a standard school bus – bright yellow but oh so awesome. Do you actually walk inside the bus? Yes. Is there interaction in the bus? Yes. It’s one of the most unique start to a maze I have ever endured. I loved wandering through the maze and experiencing the somewhat ‘crazy’ inhabitants of ‘Sanctum’. There are twists and turns throughout the maze with a very scary surprise within the middle of the maze – no spoilers here chaps, just enter into the depths of Do or Die, and try not to get killed. Tip: Do this in the dark!
Okay. First impressions? Nice outdoor theming. Good intro into the attraction, you are explorers travelling to the mysterious Vulcan Peak but with a slight twist, you must be ‘blindfolded’ on your journey. In layman terms, it’s a scare maze where you wear a hooded bag over your head, with only the guidance of a rope to make your way through it. These sorts of mazes – that I have done (3 prior to this one) – can be very hit and miss in terms of scares. Unfortunately, this was the weakest one of them all. There wasn’t anything going for it apart from one slight touch of my hand. I would like to try this again and hopefully I will get a better runthrough but I was pretty disappointed considering this was a new maze for 2018.
Located within the Zombie Hunt area, I was very excited to explore these woods… As the story goes, the once pleasant surroundings of Dead Creek Woods have taken an apocalyptic turn and the main water source has been infected with a deadly virus. Keep an eye out as zombie residents roam around the area. I very much enjoyed this maze, and when you end up having a small group of 2 people, the ‘residents’ really get a chance to pounce at you from all angles. I would say this is the perfect starting point for anyone new to scare attractions – there might be a small surprise near the middle but I promise you it is worth it. Great addition Thorpe!
Right. For anyone thinking that this is going to be the same as previous Blair Witch mazes, you will be very much mistaken! This has really turned into a fab maze, and I really mean it. It’s tight, it’s spooky and it’s fab. The actors have great opportunity to give some up close scares and perfect hiding spots. I was very impressed by this maze and is certainly up there as one of the best of the Fright Nights mazes I have done. Give it a go, you won’t regret it. Remember, never spend the night, never look in her eyes and never turn away from the corner.
First off, I want to say how sad I was when it was first announced that The Big Top scare maze was not returning for 2018. When it came about that it was coming back as a scare zone, I was very nervous about how this would be executed. In all honesty, the roaming actors were on fire! The interaction when asking what happened to their big top tent is fantastic – burnt down, destroyed, ‘MATCHES!’ – I bloody loved it. Having a chance to see the scare zone show within the Dome on press night was great too. It created a massive build-up with the iconic IMAScore soundtrack – yaaaaaaas! – before the ‘freaks’ were unleashed to us all. Well done Thorpe, you’ve done a good job!
Vampires. YES, YES, BLOODY HELL YES! If you don’t know, I love any TV shows or films that contain vampires (more Buffy the Vampire Slayer/The Vampire Diaries than the Twilight Saga). I love the fact that Thorpe have decided to branch out into Vampires for this year. Meeting the cast of Amity High was a pleasure – might have flirted a bit with Jackson, the prom King and found a new boyfriend with one of the ‘T-Bird’-esque guys. The interaction with them is incredible, I will be returning to find out more about their back story into how they became Vampires – who knows, maybe I could join their clan? 😉
Overall, I am thoroughly impressed with Fright Nights and the new scare attractions they have for this year. There is plenty to choose from – SAW Alive, Platform 15 and The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare return too! – so you will be spoilt for choice. I actually cannot pick one favourite for this year, they were good – apart from Vulcan Peak, that definitely needs some more work in terms of scares!
That’s all for now!