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UK Scare Attractions Reports

Will

Strata Poster
^
That doesn't bode well, we've rearranged for Thursday. So I've got to drive up to ****ing Yorkshire AGAIN, then Sussex the following day!!! Tomorrow is a designated sofa day.

Onto Burton then - given recent global events, it's perhaps forgivable, but as busy as the place was, I felt like they'd cut their budget this year. Costumes and make-up seemed especially 'mend and make do' in one or two of the scares.

Firstly, I was disappointed to see no tractor ride on the offering, as that's been a staple of every previous year, though the maze that followed was always a little incoherent. The 'maize maze' Creed Farm was definitely different from how it had been previously - there were many scarecrows and the actors in the finale weren't afraid to get fairly full on - possibly too many 'plain clothes' "No, don't go that way, please don't go that way" etc. actors which seemed a bit pointless when we had little alternative!! Nevertheless, this was the surprise package of the evening :)

Outside of Danny Boyle films or annoying shooty games the brother makes me play, zombies aren't especially scary, but zombie maze was good fun - being batched with a bunch of younger girls who screamed at everything and anything kind of helped!

Clown maze was admittedly overdue a bit of a rethink, but I really missed the comic interaction with the actors that had been there in recent years, when pushing you through the good/bad/ugly doors etc. Aside from one who announced she was my friend, then ran off and left me, they were a fairly quiet bunch of clowns. I attempted to redeem the situation by announcing "Clown!" each time we encountered one. The end mirror maze section was clearly the set from Insomnia, relocated but not repainted. This saddened me.

Compared with recent years, Love Hurts felt like there was a chunk missing, so I think it's been downscaled - the remaining scenes were the same as ever, but it all felt like we were constantly being rushed towards the predictable end scene - that said, it was very busy tonight, so probably trying to keep the wait times down. Tarin STILL hasn't seen Dogma and therefore STILL doesn't get the jokes I make in the first scene every year.

Le Theatre Noir... definitely a fairly original idea, so quite interesting but quickly ran out of ideas towards the end. I also wasn't a huge fan of the sprinklers.

This has turned into a classic Will-moan-fault-finding-exercise, so I feel I now need to add that it was quite a good evening, definitely a lot better than Blackpool and I'm sure I'll be back next year - I particularly like that it's only 40 minutes away :)
 

Thekingin64

Strata Poster
So, Doncaster Fear Factory was closed yesterday due to a fallen tree or something - not wanting to sit at home, I picked Tarin up at Burton station, turned around and headed up to Blackpool for Journey To Hell.

Err... safe to say (and yes, we can be a bit snobby when it comes to scare events) we weren't unduly impressed.

The organisation prior to going in was somewhat lacking (partly our fault for being late due to illuminations traffic).
I enjoyed River Caves in the dark with effects - this was actually quite scary in parts due to having no idea what was going to happen, being in familiar surroundings under different circumstances - and feeling VERY isolated and obviously not able to escape due to boat! The scare actors did catch us off guard, but I have no love for the one who splashed us with water, as Blackpool is cold on a Monday night in October!!

There's a lot of stumbling through the usually closed areas of BPB afterwards, with a fair amount of actors who make loud noises at you. This was OK, but not great. There's a real sense of them trying to make this an 'adult' event, meaning actors will greet you with 'Hoy! Ugly! Get a ****ing move on!'

I quite liked the Tim-Burton-esque Purge with the random vicious stuffed animals (made me think of the Banana Splits slasher film) - but it didn't seem to have a lot to do with the pre-show speech. It was a bit weird, but very different.

Icon was OK blindfolded as I haven't ridden enough times to know the layout, so there were a lot of surprises, but in some ways I'd rather have been able to see on a night-ride. The less said about The Big One the better - the spine-mangling way it bottoms out from every drop at present can see it as one of the UK's worst major coasters.

Other than that - there was a hedge maze (which was a giggle, but nothing to write home about) and the standard Ghost Train.

Overall, I think this is an event with a massive amount of promise - it's a fantastic idea to do it the way it has been, yet at present, you leave with a sense of 'Eh? Was that it??' - I hope the execution can improve with experience into the future :)

Tonight is Burton.

I've just booked it for Sunday, was quite looking forward to it so hopefully it won't disappoint. Haven't done many scare mazes but have enjoyed every single one I've done.

Also have booked Pasaje as well since I've never actually done it despite numerous visit to Blackpool
 

witchfinder

Hyper Poster
Myself and some workmates went to Screamfest yesterday. First visit for all of us and we had a great time. We got there at 7:30 and despite the night being sold out, we walked straight into the Zombie Zoo and the longest we had to wait for any maze was about 25 minutes, so overall we were pretty happy and glad we didn't shell out another £10 for the fast track ticket. Having not been before I think all the mazes were good, with Love Hurts and Freakout being the best in terms of theming and scares. It has to be said they are all a bit samey in terms of the actual scares - its all just a variant on jumping out from behind something and saying "boo" - but some of the actors were entertaining when they engaged with you.

Le Theatre Noir was something a bit different but I think it was probably the weakest of the bunch. Creed Farm was a great concept but it was a bit odd that you weren't allowed to freely roam the maze to some extent, as that could have made for some more unpredictable scares. The fact that no actors jumped out from within the corn also seemed a missed opportunity. Overall though it was really enjoyable, well priced with some decent food and beer as well, and we'll almost certainly go back next year, especially if Alton don't come up with some new mazes. I even bought a proper farm-grown pumpkin at the end! :D
 

Will

Strata Poster
Only just woken up really after driving back from Thorpe Park (the one in Leeds) in something of a monsoon last night...
On an unrelated note, I also got home to a dead fish :(

Doncaster Fear Factory was fairly good, especially as we avoided the worst of the rain. To get the moans out of the way first, it was a little disorganised and the DJ was enormously incongruous!!

The experience began with a wander through what I nicknamed 'Valley of the Clowns' - after a decade in the game, I'm not that bothered by chainsaws (in fact, I rather like the smell) but a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire seems rather more threatening!

The highlight of Eden (I chose to change the theme in my mind to anti-HS2 as it resembled a camp near my friend's house) was two rather young scare actors - they massively raised my eyebrows at first, but were clearly having a whale of a time and a lot more into it than some of their adult companions. This particular scare didn't really flow for me and this wasn't helped by the fact that part of our group literally BARGED us out of the way, clearly trying to get out of the attraction in as little time as possible.

As for the other two attractions - The Chasm and Yana - these were very good. The only drawbacks were the stooping in the dark (somebody behind grabbed onto my trousers with potentially disastrous consequences!!) and the overly large group sizes (fair enough, this was expected to be a busy night, particularly with people postponed from earlier in the week). A few jumpscares in each genuinely got me, and I admit I'd have had no desire to do either alone! What really made Fear Factory (not the band) last time we visited was doing everything in a 2 (and a 'patient' declaring me his soulmate!!) Honourable mention to the 'Grandma' actor in one scene as well, that was quite funny :)

Obviously, this event worked better a few years back in what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse of terror, but this was still a decent evening out and arguably worth the drive.

GF begins today and we kick off with my favourite UK scare attraction - Tulley's Farm!!
Next week, I believe I will sleep. Lots.
 

Thekingin64

Strata Poster
On way home from Blackpool now. Will post full review tomorrow but a few thoughts now.


To put it simply, it was crap. No organisation, very few actors and predictable scares. Had high hopes for the event which were trashed before I got to icon... At minimum, it needs a huge amount more actors, especially more roaming actors between sections. The benefit of the disorganization was I could have gone for a second lap of the whole event. No one would have checked, I just didn't want to.


On the other hand, Pasaje was fab. Short but much better than Pleasure Beaches offering. Intense, well themed less predictable scares. Wanted a second run through it but needed to get back to car.
 

Thekingin64

Strata Poster
Double post but full report time! Since I had the whole day in Blackpool, half of this will be the rest of the day I had. Feel free to skip to the Journey to Hell section.

For context, the plan was to drive up in the afternoon, do Pasaje, eat, do Journey to Hell then drive home. This was modified due to the illuminations and injuring my foot a few days beforehand, meaning I had my mum in tow. New plan was to park north of Blackpool and use trams as a park and ride system, allowing us to see all illuminations without any of the associated traffic and allowed us the whole day in Blackpool.

On way up, I remembered about the existence of the Coral Island ghost train so made a quick stop there. Coral Island itself was packed, but the ghost train was walk on. Great ride, not scary at all but well themed and much more substantial than I was expecting. Definitely worth the stop.

Continued down to the Pleasure beach afterwards for Pasaje. I went in having no idea what it was like and was pleasantly surprised. I was back of the small group meaning i got picked on the most, especially in the last 2 scenes. Short, but satisfying. At the time, I thought it was a great build up for what's to come later on.

Braved the weather and wandered onto the South Pier afterwards. Only ride open was the Waltzers which were very average. Long cycle, but no staff giving extra spins to the cars. Good views from the pier though:

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After wasting some time in the pier arcades, it was near the time the illuminations were switched on for the evening. Since we had unlimited tram travel for the day and over 2 hours till my timeslot for Journey to Hell, we made our way down to Starr Gate to see the lights switched on then took the tram up and down through the lights, including a walk through the northern section of the lights from Bispham to Cabin:

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Once back at the Pleasure Beach, I left Mum and my bag at the nearby Spoons and headed into the Pleasure Beach for Journey to Hell. No photos as had phone switched off.

I had booked the 19:30 slot and arrived at the recommended time of 19:10. Was first told to wait in a nearby arcade while they finish with the 19:00 slot at the entry gates. With no communication from staff, everyone in the arcade wandered over to the gates at 19:20 and were let in. Bags were checked but tickets weren't. I bet I could have snuck my mum in as no-one would have checked. Once in, there was still no communication from staff. Another guest even had to ask a roaming actor where we had to go... Even at the entrance, actors were sparse.

Wandered into the old Mouse area for a brief safety briefing and joined the crowds at River Caves. Switching all the lights off makes for a more interesting ride but it really needed more actors throughout the ride. I understand if there's safety regulations with actors stood in water all day but there was many dry spots around the track that weren't utilised, some whole rooms with no actors. Didn't help that my boat caught up to the boat in front half way through so the actors did their scare on that boat and didn't bother with mine... it also wasn't made clear were to go on exiting the ride. Most guests tried to exit normally, rather than going down the backstage path, leading to the ride ops directing them...

The backstage walk was fun, if only to see the backstage areas, not as a scare attraction. The actors present were very good, there just wasnt enough.

The show style thing afterwards was pointless. We were in and out of the show building within a minute, with nothing of note happening inside. It was at this point the event fell apart as we walked to Icon. No actors, no directions, just supposed to have the knowledge of heading to Icon via the Speedy Pass entrance.

Joined the queue for Icon and grabbed a blindfold. Operations were terrible, it was stacking on 2 trains with a good few minutes between dispatches. Was torn between using the blindfold or enjoying a night ride on Icon, opted to use the blindfold only to protect face from the rain. Ride itself was fun as always, still one of the better UK coasters.

Afterwards, was just a walk to Big One. No actors, no staff, nothing.... Icons exit path could have been perfect to place a few actors in. 2 actors were just stood outside Big One chatting and ignoring guests.... As @Will mentioned, Big One is running terribly at the moment. Every dip was rough to the point, I couldn't enjoy the ride. Doesn't help my good face mask blew off on the turnaround... Only saving grace for that ride at the moment is the illuminations view from the lift.

Using the Icon Blindfold as a temporary face mask, I continued into the Puzzle Maze. Being a fast walker, I'd left the group behind so went in alone. This was to my benefit as it meant the sparse effects and actors could be more effective in their scares. Probably the best bit of whole event.

The walk to Ghost Train afterwards was also disappointing. This walk had actors but wide, open paths meant I could see everything coming so no scares worked on me. Also stepped into a massive puddle in this section so my already wet feet were now soaked...

Ghost Train was the standard ghost train. Could have easily had a few extra actors in there to add to it for Halloween.

And that was it! We were gestured out but again, nothing was organised. The exit path passed the preshow area, with people entering as I exited. I could have gone round again, i just didn't want to. I just walked out, met up with mum and got tram back to car.

The main disappointment is the event is a great concept and I can see the ambition, it just not pulled off well at all. No attempt at any storyline and sparse actors. It would work best if it was run alongside standard Late Night opening, not a separate event. Keep all the roaming actors and have the mazes (and dark river caves) optional for all guests. Either that, or at least 50 more actors across all paths used, especcially on the show to puzzle maze section. I will clarify, the actors that were there were fab and did put the effort in, they just needed many, many more.

For the £6 premium for visiting on Halloween itself, you'd think they'd put extra effort in....
 
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Furiustobaco

Mega Poster
So this one is fresh out of the oven, i just got home from Scarecon:Aftershock. They have an amazing after party going on, but due to other stuff i had to leave early. God though what an amazing night, it is such a fun event. It is truly intimate, with everyone coming because they love scare attractions, and it was very easy to mingle with other people and meet new people and socialize throughout the night. The mazes were walk on at points and easy to lap, i had some killer run throughs. Anyway these reviews reflect my experiences tonight, so it may not be true to those who visited during a normal night.

Props to the roaming actors btw, some of the improv made me crease hard and honestly it was so fun to see. The buckwheats dominate their area, sometimes even chasing people with chainsaws right after they've just ran a mile away from the exit of the main maze.. Bloody brilliant. The Swarm invasion cast happened to make me put tinfoil on my head, and make me laugh several times. I think the conspiriacy theorists was a cool idea!

To the mazes:

Trailers:
I liked this maze, but for me it didn't bring the intensity that CF or even Platform had at points. Its a beautiful maze with some great scares that is very fun, but i wouldn't say i was really that scared or on edge. Overall the maze is brilliant though, the theming is outstanding. The variety of scenes and characters are rock solid, and the easter eggs are equally brilliant. I do believe it lacks a certain something though, a real punch? For what it does though, it is a good addition, despite not being very scary imo. Both of my two run throughs generally left me with the same opinion, don't get me wrong its a well crafted attraction!


Platform:
This maze has always suffered with managing to balance its massive length with its actors, it is a huge maze. I had three run throughs, one was a very good, one was okay, and the final run through was just SOOOO good. Me and my friend were harassed throughout that final run through, including even being instructed to enter a little hut, and them banging the walls of the hut down. In the finale i was instructed by an actor to run to the end of tunnel, to which he followed me and then began to chase me through the finale tunnel. To be met by two more actors who joined him in harassing me until i ran out the exit.


That final run through was totally sweet, it was intense, it was just me and my friend (so we had the maze to ourselves), and overall will be my lasting memory of this attraction. For that chaotic run through, i did slightly prefer to it Trailers controversially. I think it was a good maze, despite it being problematic in its size.

Creek Freak:
5 run throughs this, i was called 'curly fries' by the buckwheats due to my permed hair. Honestly before going in i was told things saying this maze wasn't as good as 2019, i disagree. It is just as great. I found this maze intense, it had a lot of actors, a lot of them at once at points. It felt consistent with its scares, with actors knowing how to grab as many scares as possible. Every run through was bliss to me, this is my second favourite of the year behind Wastelands. Some of these run throughs i was going through solo, and you bet i was a sweating pig during those run throughs where i was at the complete mercy of the entire cast.
The cast were brilliant as well by the way, the scares were well done, and the accents all sounded great as well.

Overall still the maze i loved from 2019.

Overall a good night :)) thank you scaretour, and everyone from our lovely little industry.
 

Will

Strata Poster
Trailers:
I liked this maze, but for me it didn't bring the intensity that CF or even Platform had at points. Its a beautiful maze with some great scares that is very fun, but i wouldn't say i was really that scared or on edge. Overall the maze is brilliant though, the theming is outstanding. The variety of scenes and characters are rock solid, and the easter eggs are equally brilliant. I do believe it lacks a certain something though, a real punch? For what it does though, it is a good addition, despite not being very scary imo. Both of my two run throughs generally left me with the same opinion, don't get me wrong its a well crafted attraction!
Trailers was the only Thorpe maze I experienced this year (because I don't really like giving Thorpe money) but I think this is a fair review.
Certainly, I walked out and remarked 'Maybe I'm getting old, but I'm sure these used to be scary...' - with the detailed scenes and the number of actors it has definite potential, but which goes unfulfilled. It wasn't until @Slamming Coastercore explained it to me that I even understood the premise - and from that I'd like to have seen more recognisable characters/horror tropes.

Some of the make-up was a little confusing as well - more than one character looked more alluring than frightening...
 

Coasterfreck

Mega Poster
Platform:
This maze has always suffered with managing to balance its massive length with its actors, it is a huge maze. I had three run throughs, one was a very good, one was okay, and the final run through was just SOOOO good. Me and my friend were harassed throughout that final run through, including even being instructed to enter a little hut, and them banging the walls of the hut down. In the finale i was instructed by an actor to run to the end of tunnel, to which he followed me and then began to chase me through the finale tunnel. To be met by two more actors who joined him in harassing me until i ran out the exit.
I’m glad you enjoyed those runs with me, I got so targeted by the actors in the rest of my runs it was a very awesome final night of Platform 15.
 

Furiustobaco

Mega Poster
I’m glad you enjoyed those runs with me, I got so targeted by the actors in the rest of my runs it was a very awesome final night of Platform 15.
Yeah those first few runs where awesome with you! Run three will stick in my mind as being pure carnage. It was nice meeting you. 10 laps on Platform is no easy feat lol.
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
So I only got a chance to do 2 Halloween events this year: Thorpe and Tulleys. Sad times, as I would have liked to have done more, but was simply so busy. I'll talk about Fright Nights in the other thread, but for now, Tulleys...

I went in the middle of half term, and needed Fastrack to stand a chance of getting everything done. Best maze of the night for me was Coven of 13 - love the start sequence, and the ending is fab too. Most everything else in the middle works really well too.
The Wastelands fire show thing is also really good. Simple yet effective.

My main problem with Tulleys is that many of their mazes go on too long, or feel too similar. Some of the elements of Island, Coven, Cellar and Creepy Cottage all blend together to the point I couldn't say with certainty which was in which in some cases. Chop Shop I've never 'got', and the chainsaw section is very meh. My run throughs of Clowns and Wastelands were average; a particular shame about the latter, as it was one of my favourites in 2019. Hayride was as classic as ever.

Tulleys shining highlight once again though was the street theatre. They just get this bang on every year.

All in all, a perfectly fine visit was had...but I still don't quite get the hype over it.
 

jxe_03

Roller Poster
Honestly all the scare events I’ve don’t this year honestly we’re top class.
Fright Nights
Overall a strong event actors were incredible this year. The set design was immaculate HHN style Set pieces and gorgeous photo opportunities. Shame guests gave actors such a hard time this year seemed worse than normal from what I’ve heard .

Tulleys Farm
my first ever visit to tulleys this year I honestly can even describe how much that event was so full on. I didn’t expect the quality of the scares I got and very odd themes for mazes which I did love.
Howloween
Well… it is a family event so had low expectations for creepy caves and honestly was the scariest attraction of the season and I m not embarrassed to admit that I did scream more in that than in creek freak at Thorpe.
 

Will

Strata Poster
This isn't technically the right thread for this, but I didn't think it warranted a new one...

This evening, I made the short trip to Northwich for Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience - as we know, I was a big fan in my younger years and couldn't resist, with it being so close.

To start with the negative - it was busier than I'd expected (there was a bit of a wait to park cars, though to be fair that was because one car park was out of use due to waterlogging) and a bit shorter. The experience took <90 minutes and cost me £30 - a 7PM slot on a Saturday evening would have been in excess of £50 - but then again, venues are trying to mitigate losses from 2020 and I hate to think how much you have to pay to put 'Harry Potter' in your event's name.

The event itself is best explained as a family friendly Halloween event - it certainly felt more suited to October than December anyway and is set in a large area of woodland near Arley Hall. It's basically a walkthrough tour of the forest, with occasional recognisable scenes and characters from the Wizarding World. There's not a lot of actors or staff participation save the beginning or end, but the whole thing is soundtracked with the obvious music and voiceclips from films. The woods themselves are illuminated in a way that's atmospheric yet somehow still tasteful (stares meaningfully at Lightopia) Also, despite the large number of people who were clearly in attendance, the area of woodland is a lot larger than it at first appears and can swallow a LOT of people; I didn't have the issue of people standing in front of EVERY picture I wanted to take (a la... Lightopia)

The highlights were being set upon by acromantula (I laughed at the people who were scared by obviously fake spiders... right up until the point that they started getting in my face!!), the opportunity to conjur your own Patronus (apparently mine is a lion. I was happy with that as presumably it makes me a Gryffindor - plus it was as close to a cat as I was going to get - and I'd have thrown a tantrum if I got a ****ing bunny rabbit) and a projection show across a lake. It was foggy this evening, so this looked really good.

I didn't really check these out because the evening had already felt expensive enough (plus a car with a dodgy exhaust drinks petrol like it's cheap scotch) but there were lots of refreshment stands etc. which I must say were a lot more nicely themed than anything I've seen at a Merlin park lately.

I'm clearly going to have to buy myself a poster that looks like the Black family parchment though, I really liked that.

My 10-year-old self would probably have liked it more than my 33-year-old self did, but I was still impressed. It's actually weird looking back and thinking that 'in my day' all I had was the books and my imagination (I still managed to pretend to play quidditch)

I'll stick some pictures up tomorrow, but now I am tired.
 
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