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Fear at Avon Valley review (2015)

Discussion in 'Halloween Haunts & Scare Attractions' started by Serena, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. Serena

    Serena Miss CoasterForce 2016 Staff Member Social Media Team CF Award Winner 2016

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    Normally I have to travel hundreds of miles to get to scare events, so imagine my joy when I discovered Avon Valley Country Park had built one 5 miles away from my house! I used to pet sheep there when I was 6 years old! But would their Scare Park game be strong enough to tarnish those fuzzy memories with fake blood...? I hoped so.

    Fear is a fledgling Scare Park, only in its second year of operation now. It has 3 attractions and charges £12.50 in advance, which is relatively cheap in comparison to other Halloween events. I went with 4 friends, 3 of whom had never experienced a scare attraction before. I really wanted the attractions to be amazing for their sake; so they would come away with a good impression of horror mazes.

    Whoever designed the entrance sign was on fire that day!

    [​IMG]

    Seriously though, what a flaming great entrance.

    As we queued to enter, 3 roaming actors emerged. 2 girls dressed in the most basic Asda witch costumes, and a clown. They were AWFUL. I don't think I've ever cringed so hard. They kept breaking character, and didn't seem to know whether to attempt to scare or to just make general chit-chat.

    I think my friend Rich's face sums it up here...

    [​IMG]

    There was some cool spooky circus music playing as we walked in. Not particularly fitting, seen as none of the attractions are circus themed.

    I felt a wave of disappointment when I saw how small the place is; and how they had barely managed to fill it with things. There was lots of dead space in the middle, with the 3 mazes, 2 fun fair rides and a disco tent lining the parametres. There was no real focal point to the area, and not enough to distract from the 'standing a boggy field' vibe.

    I did like this tree with hanging signs though

    [​IMG]

    What a treemendous effort.

    We opted for Anarchy first.

    It has some snazzy searchlights.

    [​IMG]

    It has fire by the entrance

    [​IMG]

    We joked that it was simply going to be a Punk Rock tuition where they spray your hair green and pierce your nose. If only! That may have been slightly entertaining at least.

    Inside the labyrinth, you walk between walls that are just wooden pallets stacked on their sides. It's dark. There's some lovely strobe lighting. It beautifully illuminates the wooden pallets stacked on their sides. Young actors in crap make up go 'grrraaargh' at you from really, really obvious spots. You can see them a mile off. There are no jump scares. It's admittedly very dark, there were points where I couldn't see where I was going at all.

    Then you go outside, everyone thinks the labyrinth has finished, but it hasn't. A small puff of fire goes up nearby. Man Avec Chainsaw is failing to lurk discreetly ahead. His chainsaw doesn't work. So he ATTTEMPTS TO MAKE THE CHAINSAW SOUND WITH HIS VOICE. Yes, that actually happened. Hilarious. Hilariously BAD.

    And that was my friends first introduction to scare attractions.

    Where there was very little information or acting of a story line, I filled in the gaps in my head. I assumed that Anarchy was meant to be a kind of Hunger Games / Purge style attraction. Where everyone is against each other in a mad, lawless battle for survival. The fire representing primal urges. The actors in bad make up being desperate, disheveled survivors. The wooden pallets stacked on their sides representing some kind of wooden pallet... distopia?

    I looked it up online when I got home. This maze was supposed to be about cannibals. Err...what?! There was no allusion to cannibalism at any point in the entire attraction! They could have:

    - Hung fake bones from the walls / ceiling to walk through
    - Created a dining table scene with a fake corpse being tucked into by actors
    - Actors could have worn blood stained napkins and wielded knifes and forks

    But instead they just created one of the crappest horror attractions ever. 1/10

    We larked around doing silly poses by the fire

    [​IMG]

    Then made our way to Phobia, via the disco tent. The disco tent really kills the Halloween atmosphere. It's a wedding marque blaring out all your fave pop tunes. It's so tacky. If I were them I would have chosen the music more carefully: The Monster Mash, What's That Coming Over The Hill, Thriller and other more spooky-based classics would have gone down a treat. Or they could have used famous horror film sound tracks, like the score from Halloween.

    So, Phobia.

    [​IMG]

    This one ripped off The Sanctuary at Alton Towers. A lot. You were entering a medical testing facility where the doctor did tests and experiments on people. The first scene is a hypnotic screen that is like a very poor version of the Marmalisation chamber in The Sanctuary. Lack of originality side, Phobia was a much better attraction.

    The nurses did this excellent 'powering up' and 'powering down' robotic schtick that worked well. I think, after leaving the Marmalisation Chamber, you were experiencing all of your phobias? There was a clown room, a forest room, a really creepy Ring-esque corridor, and a Morgue scene literally EXACTLY the same as the one in The Sanctuary.

    Although the differences between each room (the brightness of the clown one, the darkness of the forest) made Phobia feel disjointed, it actually had some very well executed jump scares.

    There's a moment where you go through an air cushion and a lady shines a torch in your eyes as soon as you burst out. Just like torch-shiny guy in Nemesis Sub Terra at Alton Towers!

    The finale is brilliant. Pitch black, you absolutely cannot see where you are going. Patients suddenly light up there own screaming faces in yours with torches. Simple, but very effective. Despite most of the premise of Phobia feeling familiar, I enjoyed it and I got a few decent jump scares. It was a way more substantial attraction than the other two on offer. 7/10

    Lastly, Purgatory.

    [​IMG]

    "So like the idea, like, with this one, is, that you're like, in a prison, but the prisoners have gone mad, so now it's actually, umm, like, a mental asylum? And the prisoners are like mental patients. Umm, remember they are actors, and that it's not real, so don't touch them or nothing. Oh you will have to crawl, can you all crawl, are you all like, ok with that?"

    That was the introduction to Purgatory. The dispatching lady had manage to:

    A. Shatter the illusion we had just queued 30 minutes for in the first 30 seconds
    B. Spoil the crawling surprise
    C. Wind me up with her complete lack of professionalism

    The prison sets were quite cool. You had to get separated to go though a metal detector. Some people got "searched." This was fun. It was interactive! You kind of got a tour of the cells. The actors who were being the Prison Wardens were much better than the "metal asylum prisoners or whatever" who just did the typical make a funny noise then sulk off charade.

    We got separated into cages. Hmm I wonder what's going to happen. Oh wait, I know already because Dispatch Lady completely gave it away. We had to crawl through these things to get out. Some had dead ends. Actors grab your legs which is quite cool. Stuff started falling out of my tote bag and I got annoyed.

    Another outdoor finale. Cool music, cages, intermittent smoke effect. Then that's it. Purgatory felt like it was building up to something, and it ended before it got there. There were some good ideas, but they didn't flow together, so the tension didn't get a chance to build. 4/10

    Highlight of the evening came about in the arcades doing Dance Dance Revolution on the Difficult setting, then admiring the amazingly tatty Tat Shop.

    If they put some proper thought into their story lines and execution, Fear could grow into a cool little event. But it's not quite there yet. Maybe give it a few more years and it will be worth visiting. But for now, it doesn't compete with the likes of Tulley's. If Tulley's is the bona fide Scream Park, Fear is like the crappy local fun fair of scares.

    Here have another photo of it's best feature. The fire sign!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Lofty

    Lofty Social Media Team Staff Member Social Media Team

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    Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy it - I am gonna be a bit defensive over the guys who create this event because they're unbelievably talented, but, you have to work to the budget that you're given for any project and this could explain some of your annoyances.

    You can't do that - it's illegal to play that sort of music without the correct licenses, even with PRS.

    This is the tricky thing, with attractions with several theme points throughout, it's very hard to actually create a cohesive experience - I know this for a fact. The use of different levels of lighting does actually help the immersive experience, by making it obvious you're entering a different themed area.

    Legally, you have to warn about crawlspaces and tunnels, not to mention the logistical issues you face if you get a guest coming and saying "I CAN'T GET THROUGH THERE", which happens all of the time, by giving warnings you are alleviating those issues.
     
  3. Screaming Coasters

    Screaming Coasters Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree with Mark. The guys behind this are extremely talented and although I haven't been to this particular attraction, I experienced their Westfield maze last year and I have to say, it beat anything Merlin had ever dished up.

    I'm a big fan of the creators, they know what they are doing, but the budgets they worked with for a first time attraction is usually tight. I'm sure Tulleys didn't start out like it is today.
     
  4. Serena

    Serena Miss CoasterForce 2016 Staff Member Social Media Team CF Award Winner 2016

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    I clearly state in the second paragraph that Fear is in it's second year of operation.

    I'm not disputing the talent of the creators here, just the staffs execution of what they have created. I am saying, that on the opening night when I went, there was room for improvements mostly with the actors and batching staff.
    As in, their grammar and communication skills were poor. They kept breaking character, and reffering to the attraction as both real and fake in the same paragraph. There's a way of presenting an attraction, and this babbling, confused way isn't it.
    But I understand that I visited on the opening night, so they could have ironed out loads of bugs by now. My review was about capturing that initial start of the event and what's good/bad about it.

    If you read my review, you'll see I was suitably impressed with Phobia - despite it sharing some similarities with previous Merlin' mazes. Again, not insulting the creators, just highlighting something that ANY scare goon would notice - a concept that felt like it had been done before. Would you not highlight that Nemesis and Nemesis Inferno share similarities? Or would that be inadvertently slagging off John Wardley?

    I want Fear to do well. I want a brilliant scare event on my doorstep. But, as I repeatedly state, it's early days yet. That's the WHOLE point of this review - to write about what people can and can't expect from something relatively unheard of and new. I'm not out and out slagging it off, just highlighting the good bits and the inconsistent bits.

    Neither am I comparing them to Tulley's. With my conclusion I was plotting Fear on a UK Scream Park scale with Tulley's being at the top, to give people a more well-known benchmark. Of course I know they don't compete in the same league yet.

    Loftys points are great because admittedly I hadn't considered the budget restrictions and liscencing stuff. He has provided informed reasoning behind the things I complained about in my review, which makes it easier for me to appreciate the complexity involved in building these things. I don't feel like its an "you either agree with me or him" situation here? He was just giving me answers and background based on his vast amount of experience?

    I'm not really sure what you have added Erol, or if you actually read my review properly.
     
  5. Screaming Coasters

    Screaming Coasters Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I should have been clearer. Its the creators first year at Avon.

    Don't get sarcy with me Serena, I read your review properly and I just added my knowledge of the attraction as I am great friends with the creators.

    All I did was add weight to their skills as most of what you did was slate the attractions, so really, in terms of what I "added", I added a lot, thanks. I think you misunderstood me.
     
  6. nadroJ

    nadroJ Well-Known Member

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    She didn't tear it apart, she said exactly what she liked and didn't like, and justified it with good reasoning. It was very constructive, she even gave one of the attractions 7/10!

    I don't understand why you're getting so offended Erol!
     
  7. Screaming Coasters

    Screaming Coasters Well-Known Member

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    Lol I'm not offended at all, why'd you assume that?
    All I did was back up what Mark said, so why did we both not get mentioned, why was it just me? :p
     
  8. nadroJ

    nadroJ Well-Known Member

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    Because you said most of what Serena did was slate the attractions and told Serena not to get sarcy with you, whereas Mark actually dissected her post and made valid points. And you haven't even been to the attraction so you can hardly dispute her claims, it's like saying oh Thorpe Park is amazing because I went to Alton Towers once and it was awesome, and they're made by the same company. Makes no sense!

    It just comes across as very know it all and insufferable to have your argument discounted by somebody who hasn't even experienced the attraction themselves!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. Screaming Coasters

    Screaming Coasters Well-Known Member

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    Not how I meant to come across, but ok whatever, point taken, I'll turn the iron down a bit.

    If you read my post, nothing I actually said went against what Serena said, just stating how amazing the designers are. THAT was it..

    Anyway, I'm done with this :emoji_zipper_mouth: and after this, I'm done with CF.
     
  10. silenthillXD

    silenthillXD Well-Known Member

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    I visited Fear a couple of weeks back as it's also my local scream park and I must admit I had a rather different opinion. I absolutely loved it, it's definitely up there as one of the best events in the UK in my opinion.

    I've done a full review of the event on my blog, complete with pictures:
    https://controllersandcreds.wordpress.c ... ey-review/

    Purgatory:

    I loved Purgatory and thought it was easily one of the best concepts I have seen all Halloween. It's very creative and had some great interactive elements. The atmosphere felt very oppressive and the actors were fantastic! I especially loved the ending. Whilst it was the tamest attraction at Fear, it was exceptional.

    Phobia:

    Phobia was a really strong attraction. Personally I couldn't see any similarities to The Sanctuary, and loved the use of multiple themes once inside. It made for a visually interesting attraction that constantly threw something new at you. The actors were great, and I loved their use of strobes. If there was one point for improvement, the ending could do with some work.

    Anarchy:

    Anarchy is by far the most intense attraction I have visited this Halloween. I can see why it was nominated for a SCAR Award last year. The strobes in this attraction are stunning. You can hardly see where you're going and the actors are relentless! They are determined to get multiple scares out of you and worked so hard to ensure the entire group had a good time. Also I loved its visuals. Whilst there's little theming, the attraction has been designed to look visually striking. To be honest, I feel if more theming was added it might ruin it.

    Overall, i'd definitely recommend Fear! Really enjoyable event, with three really strong attractions! Can't wait to see what's up next for them. The Unlocked Vision Entertainments team are clearly insanely talented!
     
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  11. JammyBand

    JammyBand Active Member

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    I just had a lil read through this thread, and I have to say that I absolutely LOVED Fear! I went last year, the same as the OP, and honestly I don't think I could have been more impressed. I think that the OP had a bad experience because they went so early on in the event, whereas I went the night before halloween. The vibe was incredible (far better than any other event I've been to), and I found the mazes very impressive. The only other halloween events I've been to are Fright Nights and Frightmare, and I found FEAR better than both of them from my personal experience. However I do have to agree that Anarchy was by far the weakest maze. I didn't get to go again this year so I don't know how the event has fared, but I presume it was probably pretty good!
     
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  12. silenthillXD

    silenthillXD Well-Known Member

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    I visited this year and what can I say... wow! I already loved the event, I thought it was amazing in 2015. This year they blew it out of the park, it's without doubt the best event I visited all year (tied with Screamland), and I did around 18 in total. Phobia has seen some fab updates with an improved ending, Purgatory has been rejigged a ton and is just stunning in it's new format and Anarchy has a fab new TV studio theme which kinda reminds me of Studio 13 a bit. Oh and their brave it alones are without doubt the best scare experiences I have ever had, no doubt about it. I can't recommend this event enough, it's really quite different to most other events out there. If you're not visiting Fear at Avon Valley are you're doing it wrong.
     
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  13. Ben

    Ben Well-Known Member CF Award Winner 2016

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    Tickets are on sale for this year's event, and not that I'm biased at all, it'll be fab, so ignore Serena's review and go.

    Who knows, if you pick the right night you might see a familiar face...
     
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  14. Hixee

    Hixee Moderator Staff Member Moderator CF Award Winner 2016

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    Oh cool, is Ian from CoasterForce going? ;)
     
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  15. bla8989

    bla8989 Member

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    This looks amazing, well have to check it out.
     
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  16. silenthillXD

    silenthillXD Well-Known Member

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    Oh my god loving all the activity on this page! Seriously, Fear is just amazing. They always do new and unique things and on top of that the team behind it are so lovely. Just do yourself a favour and go visit them to see what the fuss is about.
     
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  17. Ben

    Ben Well-Known Member CF Award Winner 2016

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    I have a feeling this year's will be fab...
     
  18. Serena

    Serena Miss CoasterForce 2016 Staff Member Social Media Team CF Award Winner 2016

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    I can't figure out how to quote on the new forums. But my 2 year old review does say "give it a few years and it will be worth visiting." Looking forward to seeing all these improvements.
     
  19. witchfinder

    witchfinder Well-Known Member

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    Click the reply button on the bottom right of the post... :)
     
  20. Hixee

    Hixee Moderator Staff Member Moderator CF Award Winner 2016

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    [offtopic]

    Or even just highlight the specific section of text you want to quote, and then click the reply pop-up!
    It even pastes it automatically in the reply box where you left off, so you can type and quote more smoothly.

    [/offtopic]
     
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