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UK Scare Attractions Reports

Will

Strata Poster
The other topic looked to be more of a planning/list of attractions thread, so I thought I'd make this one to chat about those you've actually done!

I kicked off the season at Twinlakes last night (alone, as my usual companion seems to think planning a wedding takes priority!!!)

I've visited twice before and unlike most, have never been all that impressed and last night followed a similar pattern. A Wednesday evening in early season meant it wasn't as busy as I'd seen it before and the new maze was the only one with a notable queue. The batching issues that I've moaned about previously persist though and despite starting most mazes solo, it never took long to catch the back of a crocodile, which in two or three became a tedious stop/start conga line meaning scares hadn't had time to reset etc. by the time I reached them. I did manage to do Belvoir Manners and Hoodoo Voodoo mostly alone though, which was... interesting as I'm a little out of practice and perhaps jumpier than usual!

I made sure to tag on the back of another group for Ash Hell, as I remembered that being quite intense, but ended up with a thoroughly lacklustre runthrough. Sadly, I felt a great many actors didn't seem to be putting in much effort, even in attempting to conceal themselves in the dark - and the uncostumed staff member running around Belvoir well and truly brought me 'out of the moment'! One bloke with a chainsaw (yawn) wasn't even bothering to chase guests out of the exit. The scarecrows and 'Charn the evil one' in the Village were pretty good though :)

I also felt the mazes didn't make a great deal of sense and jumped about from random scene to random scene, mostly with no kind of consistent theme or storyline that I could identify. Nearly every one made use of the same screaming animatronics at arbitrary moments for one thing.

All that said though, it was obviously a better night than I'd have had sat in front of the TV. The highlight of the evening was perhaps meeting the 'Twinlakes cat' on the car park - the car park featured a lot of teenagers driving like ****ers (and a strong scent of marijuana) so I ended up enlisting the help of a staff member to move Mr Kitty to safety as I was concerned for his wellbeing!

One final warning - eat beforehand. Sure, my imitation KFC wasn't bad at all, but not worth 8 quid - suddenly Oktoberfest doesn't seem quite as bad!
 
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Will

Strata Poster
Also - for any curious metalheads, the music played outside and throughout Ash Hell is a band called Ministry. Just one track on repeat, which must seriously wear thin - and I've never been big on industrial metal!

Sticking on the subject of music, the soundtrack played around Alton Towers is noticeably different this year. A band on the stage were covering Bring Me To Life as I arrived (and got a line wrong, but I won't hold that against them) and a lot of heavy covers of Halloween classics are played throughout the park. If I'm honest, I think I'd possibly rather have the Towers Street Overture as it very quickly just felt like a poor imitation of EP's Halloween soundtrack. I ran into Mr. Sanbrooke, who was particularly critical (I gather he's not a rocker!!) Metal and Halloween go hand-in-hand, despite some of the bleating I've seen over the internet, but I can't disagree that what's being played really isn't great.

Meanwhile, much of the Oktoberfest stuff is still sat on the lawns, looking like it's been very hastily rebranded.

I said I wouldn't do any mazes, thinking they'd be a bit **** on opening night, but couldn't resist an £8 one-shot runthrough of the Attic. Not a lot of noticeable changes from last year (the queue line announcement about masks and social distancing remains from last year!) but the soundtrack, sets, acting and atmosphere are still fairly impressive. Not to give anything away, but the end scene still gets me every time. The lack of hands-on-shoulders-conga-line improves things as well as there's points when you feel fairly isolated, but the downside is that means actors don't have time to 'reset' for each individual guest and so some scares can be missed.

If you've not done it before, I can't recommend the Whispering Souls walk in the gardens enough - it's almost a shame that it took Covid for Merlin to realise just how much of an asset they have, that mostly gets forgotten. I was a little disappointed that this was moreorless identical to the walkthrough last Christmas, with fewer colourful lights, different soundtrack and no performers, but it's still a delight to see things like the Charles Talbot monument and Pagoda Fountain lit up. The downside is that the route isn't massively well signposted and you have to use a set entrance & exit, so can't cut through the gardens from the Towers to Forbidden Valley as I usually would. It also had an unfinished feel about it, so will hopefully be better when I'm next there.

Lots of roaming actors including the ancestors. Wickerman is looking particularly good and riding especially well in the evening, though operations were poor - too many people batched into burdenous preshow room created bottlenecks. The travelling flat rides look good in the dark and obviously a sunset ride on Thirteen was a must, as was rounding off the evening with a front row ride on Nemesis. I'll reluctantly admit that one of the trains has a definite rattle to it, but I assume that'll get some TLC over the off-season.

May only have been because the monorail was down for maintenance, but the Forbidden Valley gate was open at the end of the night, which always makes me happy as it meant I got from Nemesis to my front door in about forty minutes, when it can often take that just to get back to the car!

I took some pictures, which I'll upload if they're not **** (night photography is hard on my old camera!) - and finally, if I've got my dates right, do NOT visit tomorrow (10th) if you can avoid it!
 
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Will

Strata Poster
...so, the pictures were a bit ****, as I expected. I moaned to Shawn for a while about the annoying positioning of the floodlight next to the pagoda fountain!
If I have a free evening this month, I'll borrow my Dad's tripod and try to get some better ones.

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Furiustobaco

Mega Poster
Last night i visited Tulleys Farm Shocktoberfest, and i decided i had to do a little write up. This event has been close to my heart since 2012. Last night i probably had one of the best nights at Tulleys, i thought the event was as strong as ever. I just want to go over some highlights, as reviewing every maze one by one would take forever. Just to clarify, EVERY maze gave me a good run through, but these are the ones that left me speechless.

WASTELANDS: The current king of Shocktoberfest, it is my favourite scare attraction i have ever been through. The maze is long, well themed, is swarming with actors, has plenty of great scares, and has a epic strobe finale. I have no words to describe just how good this maze is, both run throughs left me bloody speechless. The attraction also boasts a scare zone around the maze, which is host to some roaming actors who are bloody brilliant. It really feels immersive just walking into that area. The fire show every half a hour is a MUST, it is such fun. Tons of fire, some very lively roaming actors dancing and skipping around, it is truly fun in its finest form.

Other highlights included The Cellar, which gave me one of the best run throughs i have ever had (ive done this attraction since 2014). This run through seemed bloody relentless. The ending maze last night for me was Chop Shop, now ive been doing this maze since 2015. So i don't tend to scare easy as i used to in here, but this run through was chaotic. I had 3 actors with chainsaws full pelt on me at one point. The roaming actors as per usual also mananged to make me crease up throughout the night as well.

Overall i really advise coming here for a night out, it is such a fun night. I am so honoured to have this place at my local farm.
 

Will

Strata Poster
^
It's an obscene distance for me, so I've not been in a long time - really looking forward to hitting it up this year, especially after that review and the promise of a fire show :)
 

nadroJ

CF Legend
^Shocktoberfest fire show is the best in the UK by a country mile. Wastelands is incredible too.

@Furiustobaco - in The Cellar, were both sides of the squeeze cushion inflated for you (with the snake?) It was deflated for us and it made me sad.
 

Furiustobaco

Mega Poster
^Shocktoberfest fire show is the best in the UK by a country mile. Wastelands is incredible too.

@Furiustobaco - in The Cellar, were both sides of the squeeze cushion inflated for you (with the snake?) It was deflated for us and it made me sad.
This was also true for our run through! I think they are trying not to use use them post covid or try and phase them out which i actually think is a good thing. I am glad coven still has them though, as in that maze the squeeze bags are absolutely pivotal to the maze.
 

nadroJ

CF Legend
This was also true for our run through! I think they are trying not to use use them post covid or try and phase them out which i actually think is a good thing. I am glad coven still has them though, as in that maze the squeeze bags are absolutely pivotal to the maze.

Ah, that's a real shame, I always loved that effect of like, sinking into the ground on that part...
 

Will

Strata Poster
Had such a good few hours at Scarefest today that I may be a total goon and head up there again after tea tomorrow.

As has possibly been mentioned elsewhere, the rock/metal soundtrack is gone and much as it pains me to say it, this is no bad thing.

The cheesy show on the main lawn is a laugh (even in the drizzle) and I enjoyed my first experiences of Darkest Depths and Toxic Junkyard - particularly enjoyed the recycled Sealife theming in the former, though the scares were perhaps a little sub-par, consisting mainly of teenage girls getting up in my face(?) The ending of Toxic Junkyard is a bit 'meh' as well - once you've seen one chainsaw, you've seem them all.

I had a pork roll. It was £7.50. It was not good value.

Is it just me or is Altonville Mine Tours a bit ****? I've never rated it - but the Attic continues to reign supreme as the best of the Alton mazes. I was at the front, which actually meant I kind of missed out on that final scene, but the suspense building up to it is fantastic!

I bought a tripod this morning so spent most of the evening being a total camera goon, but did manage one night ride on Nemesis. **** me sideways, it was good.
 
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nadroJ

CF Legend
^The Attic is on another level this year - absolutely vile. I had some up close and personal time with the demon which was horrific, it knew my name so just kept following me around taunting me. No idea who it was.

I've found Skin Snatchers has fallen foul to the SubSpecies effect - it's still as good as it was the first time around but I'm used to it now so know what's going to come, therefore it's less effective. I'd like to see it replaced with something new for next year.

I'll slowly be uploading my full reviews over on the blog if anybody cares, but for now my Top 5 stands thus (no particular order):

X4, Fear Avon Valley
Love Hurts, Screamfest Burton
The Attic, Alton Towers Scarefest
The Crows of Mawkin Meadow, Fright Nights
The Singularity, York Maze Hallowscream

I've still got Dr.Frights and Movie Park Germany to go as well as revisits to Howl'O'Ween and FRIGHT NIGHTS so can't see this list shifting toooo much, but let's see what the rest of the season brings!
 

Will

Strata Poster
X4, Fear Avon Valley
Love Hurts, Screamfest Burton
The Attic, Alton Towers Scarefest
The Crows of Mawkin Meadow, Fright Nights
The Singularity, York Maze Hallowscream
I'm still sad they got rid of Insomnia - definitely the best maze Burton have had and another demon thing that scared the hell out of me!

Aside from the fab metal bar queue line and opportunity to make jokes from Dogma during the opening scene, Love Hurts kind of annoys me, because it can't seem to make up its mind what it is so the story seems to constantly jump from one thing to another. I like the deadly sins type moments, but it doesn't pick ithem up and run with them - plus that seems to have little or nothing to do with a lonely heart's night in what appears to be Stoke Sugarmill!

...that said, I've been in a rock club in the early hours of Valentine's Day - and I do remember it being a fairly harrowing experience!!!
 

nadroJ

CF Legend
I'm still sad they got rid of Insomnia
Yh...go into Le Theatre Noir with low expectations and I think you'll have a good time? I went in expecting a scare maze and was understandably a bit miffed.

The updates to the corn maze thing are fantastic too.
 
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