“SCARE KINGDOM SCREAM PARK IS A MUST SEE FOR THOSE WHO DARE.” – WWW.TERRORATTRACTIONS.CO.UK

“THE SHEER TERROR AND ADRENALINE EXPERIENCED IN THIS EVENT CANNOT BE COMPARED.” – ANGUS FIELDEN, GUEST

“WITHOUT DOUBT THIS IS LANCASHIRE’S FINEST SCARE MAZE – JUST THE RIGHT LENGTH, LEVEL OF SCARES, QUALITY OF THEMING AND NUMBER OF ACTORS.” – WWW.AIRGATES.CO.UK

“THE EXPERIENCES WERE CAREFULLY PLANNED TO DELIVER A WHOLE RANGE OF SCARES, AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY VETTED TO MAKE SURE ALL PANIC BUTTONS GOT PRESSED.” – RACHEL READ, WWW.BLOOLOOP.COM

“OUR NIGHT AT SCARE KINGDOM SHOWCASED WHAT CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS SOME OF THE BEST SCARE AND GENERAL ACTING OF ANY SCARE ATTRACTION WE HAVE VISITED.” – WWW. UKPARKNEWS.CO.UK

“SHELL-SHOCKED – THAT’S THE BEST WAY TO DESCRIBE IT. TOTAL UNUTTERABLE FEAR” – ADELE YEOMANS, GUEST

“SCARE KINGDOM IS LIKE NOTHING ELSE YOU WILL HAVE EVER BEEN TO. THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE FROM BEGINNING TO END IS TERRIFYING BUT EXHILARATING.” – WWW.SCARERATERS.COM

“WOULD WE GO BACK? DEFINITELY. WOULD WE RECOMMEND IT? DEFINITELY!” – WWW.SCAREATTRACTIONS.CO.UK

“THAT IS GENUINELY SCARY!” – JULIA BRADBURY, COUNTRYFILE, BBC TV

REVIEWS

SCARE KINGDOM SCREAM PARK HALLOWEEN 2017 REVIEW – SCAREMILL

The best scare park in the country. Impeccable theming and every type of scare you can think of, from the basic to the brutal.

It’s that time of year again when the ScareMill team make their annual pilgrimage to Scare Kingdom. As sure as light follows day, Scare Kingdom will appear in our scare season calendar (sometimes, more than once).

The location is the twee sounding Mrs Dowson’s farm. A family run dairy farm that offers exceptional quality home-made ice cream and cakes. Images are conjured up of little children playfully engaging with farm animals. But at night, it’s a different tale. Once darkness hits, the landscape of farm buildings become the vessel for the bowels of hell, which have been spewed out across the arable land.

With Scare Kingdom you can always be sure of three things. First – no expense has been spared. Second – you are in for a real treat. Third – you will get scared.

Ever since our first visit to Scare Kingdom, now many moons ago, we were impressed by the theming of the mazes and the appearance of the actors. Sights, smells and fears – as if they were real. So, what did this year have in store for us? We were told six new maze concepts and … dare we say it without a little bit of wee coming out … Snuffhouse alone.

The night started with Mallum. A single room scare concept which centres around an archaeological relic that brings forth something not to nice. It is an obvious scare, but then it is also a nice introduction to what lies ahead. You start with something like Snuffhouse, and not many people will go any further.

A little walk through the farm, and a lovely introduction to one of our favourite Scare Kingdom characters, Dougie and his “side line”,  and we were at The Sickness (One had to do a quick Kenneth Williams impression “Oh matron, stop mucking about”).

The Sickness is based around the concept of an experiment that has gone wrong. What happens to the soul after death? We don’t know, but the wards of this maze may shed light on an answer. The theming was just right to create an unforgettable level of environment and realism.  There were some good scares and some very sinister moments. The patients were hyper and hypo in equal measure and some parts of this maze really made our skin crawl. This was certainly  a maze that we could have gone through three or four times, and still had the same relentless experience.

Next, it was onto Manormortis. No one can say that the theming inside this maze is anything other than perfection; even Terror on the Farm at Farmaggedon has a long way to go before it matches this place. This year we were part of a paranormal investigation into the house where “evil has always found sanctuary”. Something has been awoken, and after our dark journey into the disquieting emptiness of the house we came face to face with her … it … that … whatever! The theming of this maze makes it, there are a lot of jump scares, insidious build ups and a bundles of apprehension along the way. Techonology, theming and well placed scares/actors create what can only be described as a truly immersive horror experience.

Onward to The House of Gaunt. This was a chilling maze. It’s clear from the outset that this is all about dolls, who appear to have created their own niche in recent years; sometime which we suspect Chucky is not too pleased about. Dolls? Dolls? Dolls? what could be scary about them? The maze is dark, the corridors are narrow, and there is the occasional glimpse of doll from the pitch black – and a severe anticipation of the unexpected. There are scares in this maze, but they are few and far between however, the atmosphere more than makes up for this though and the trepidation of what is around the next corner, keeps your nerves on end. We thoroughly enjoyed this maze, and the concept.

The winding journey then took us to 666 Brimstone Place. There is no doubt that this maze is Hell from the previous year, but we loved Hell and we loved this. An insidious journey into the bowels of the below. The maze is dark, confusing and disturbing all in equal measure. The random devil summoning symbology which appears to be etched with blood on the walls adds to the chill factor. The scene was brilliantly set by our nasally challenged guide who warned us of the terrors ahead; and he wasn’t wrong. Plenty a scare in this maze and the “touchy feely” finale was the perfect set up for the final two experiences. We say two … but for many … there was just one left. No many entered the stench ridden lair of the four masked men.

The Black Death. We always get excited when a hood is introduced to the attraction. These mazes get a lot of criticism but we like them. We approached the red cross with caution and entered, only to be met by the Plague doctor. Stick this hood on (pitch black), grab the rope and follow it – the instructions couldn’t be simpler. We did as instructed. There is not much to say other than there was some very gross moments – being sneezed and coughed on is not pleasant, but when liquid makes contact with skin – it’s worse. This is a much needed improvement to Panic Rooms from last year, and the concept (with variations on a theme) should be something that Scare Kingdom pull out each year.

 

SCARE KINGDOM SCREAM PARK REVIEW HALLOWEEN 2017 – CONTROLLERS & CREDS

It’s no secret I am a massive Scare Kingdom fan-boy. AtmosFEAR! the team behind the event, are a wonderfully talented group of actors and creators who craft some of the best attractions seen in the UK.

Last year’s event was going to be hard to top, so I had my expectations set pretty high. Truth be told I was wondering if Scare Kingdom could actually live up to the hype I had set up to it. Needless to say, AtmosFear have done it once again. Scare Kingdom 2016 is a resounding success, managing to surpass my lofty expectations! Congratulations Scare Kingdom, you’ve done yourselves proud.

Mallum – Being the opening act is never an easy task. This year, Mallum takes centre stage as the first attraction in the Scare Kingdom line-up. It’s a single scene theatrical show, themed around the disturbance of a mysterious artefact.  Whilst the scene is short, Scare Kingdom have managed to transform the room into a sanctum of terror. I particularly appreciate the efforts that have been made to theme this attraction. Whilst the set is small, it’s effective and grasps your attention, evoking an ambience similar to that of the horror classic ‘The Wicker Man’.

Upon entering the scene, you encounter a wild spiritual medium, intent on releasing a demon from the ominous artefact. This character is the star of the show. Whilst you’re only in her prescience for a mere minute she’s brimming with personality and charm. The drama, which plays out in the room, is brief but effective. The entire group huddled together as the demon revealed itself and chased us out into the cold October night.

It may be short, but Mallum works perfectly as an opening act for Scare Kingdom. It packs a surprising punch, preparing you for the terror to come.

The Sickness – Once again, Scare Kingdom has struck gold! The Sickness is a real jaw dropper. Not just because it’s stunning, but also due to the fact an infectious virus is spreading through its wards. Seriously… you might want to find somebody to reattach that jaw of yours. Maybe the infamous Lockjaw could help? I hear he’s lurking within the facility alongside Dr Goodkind and Van Der Blood. Their combined medical genius is working together to unearth what awaits us beyond death.

Medical haunts have long been favourites of mine, and The Sickness is a shining example of how to execute one. As with all AtmosFEAR! attractions, it’s seeping with an uneasy ambience. The theming is intensely intricate, with heaps of gore and viscera lining every corridor. Every room serves a purpose with theming furthering the plot. Each blackboard, bloodied bed sheet and menacing medical implement tells a tale and adds greater depth to the experience as a whole.

This is one attraction, which surprised me with its levels of theatricality. Rarely do we see an attraction which balances theatrical and impact scares with such fidelity. The Sickness is truly masterful with its use of actors. Each scene adds new elements to the plot; whilst throwing multiple jump scares your way. The sets are extremely claustrophobic and often leave you uncomfortably close the crazed doctors, waiting to tear you limb from limb.

I particularly loved the characters in this attraction. Throughout your tour you encountered a rich variety of personas ranging from devilish matrons to the infected patients they were supposed to be caring for. The characters were all extremely well scripted, interspersing terror with dark humour. It’s rare that a single actor can intimidate an entire group to leave a scene running, but this occurred constantly throughout my experience in The Sickness. You’ll be well and truly gripped from the start all the way to its grisly finale.

As we progressed deeper into the facility, we were warned Dr Lockjaw wouldn’t be happy at our attempts to escape. As I approached the final corridor, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect around the corner. With the ever-increasing intensity ramping up, I was intrigued as to how the finale could pull it off. Thankfully, Lockjaw didn’t disappoint. The finale utilised a unique layout, where actors can split groups up and send them through multiple interlocking routes. You were constantly on your toes, changing directions, whilst trying to avoid the lumbering chainsaw manic pursuing you. It was simply genius. I rarely praise chainsaw finales, but this one really stood out!

The Sickness is simply phenomenal. I could go on about it all day, but I shall leave it at this; this isn’t just a highlight of Scare Kingdom, but the whole of the 2016 scare year. The entire attraction blends scares, theatricality and theming seamlessly, creating a close to perfect haunt. I really do hope we see The Sickness returning in some form in 2017.

Manormortis – Manormortis is truly haunted house perfection. Year after year it’s one of the highlights of my scare season, 2016 is no exception. Whilst the core attraction remains relatively unchanged, there’s a totally new plot, focussed on the previous owners of the house. As much as I loved Manormortis Monastery back in 2015, this new rendition is by far the best run of the haunted manor I have experienced. True to the legend, once you enter these hallowed halls, you won’t want to leave!

If you’re a fan of immersive theming, this really is the haunt for you. Manormortis is downright beautiful. One run-through simply isn’t enough to soak it all in. To truly appreciate the intricacy of each set, you need to revisit Manormortis multiple times. It’s no over exaggeration to say that this is the closest you’ll get to Disney level theming in a scare attraction. Every room you enter is bursting with genuine antiques, some even boasting their own haunted backgrounds. It’s a real treat to explore this mansion, as each room holds such a distinct personality.

It must be said, the plot this year really brings the house to life. Featuring a highly theatrical cast, you’re introduced to an exciting range of characters ranging from zany paranormal investigators to menacing butlers. Upon entering the mansion, you are greeted by Rent-a-scare, a haphazard group of amateur ghost hunters, attempting to awaken the spirits of the house. Whilst their appearance suggests otherwise, they somehow manage to summon the staff of the mansion back to life. At this point there’s a significant tonal change, and the attraction goes ahead full steam with a macabre atmosphere. From this point, your luck is out and you must escape as soon as possible, or face the ancestors of the Haxenghast family. The plot was extremely well executed, and thankfully provided plenty of theatrical scares.

Like I had encountered with The Sickness, I felt Manormortis well balanced theatrical scares with impact scares. As anyone who’s had a backstage tour of Manormortis will know, this attraction is extremely well designed, with countless scare opportunities open for actors. This year, the actors were legitimately relentless. Drop panels, fabric paintings and crawl spaces all managed to catch me off-guard. There’s a wealth of variety present within Manormortis, which is much appreciated in such a lengthy attraction. I was particularly impressed with how there were no moments of downtime; each scene presented an unnerving set of characters, often with jump scares in tow.

Once I reached the finale, I was all scared out! That certainly didn’t stop the wonderful cast from catching us once more with a scare reminiscent of Screamland’s Dead and Breakfast. It’s simple in premise, but embarrassingly manages to get quite the hilarious reaction from me… It’s a befitting finale for such a fantastic attraction.

Despite multiple runs, Manormortis still floors me with its grandeur. I am honestly blown away every time I enter through that fireplace, into its beating heart. There’s no debate, Manormortis is an essential attraction on any scare enthusiasts bucket list. This year’s rendition was a particular highpoint.

The House of Gaunt – It’s clear Scare Kingdom is treading new grounds with The House of Gaunt. For years, AtmosFEAR! have provided us with fantastically themed theatrical haunts. The House of Gaunt takes a drastically different approach, toning down the theming, but amping up the impact scares. This is one attraction that really isn’t suited for those of a nervous disposition. You’ll be left at the mercy of Mortana Gaunt’s doll collection in near total darkness.

Whilst I must stress this isn’t a theatrical attraction, the titular character of Mortana Gaunt was a real joy to be around. She’s suitably unhinged and her scripting is some of the best I have seen! It’s a real shame she’s only there for one scene, as I feel she had so much more to give throughout the rest of the attraction. That being said, once in the heart of the haunt, she’s a distant memory as a hoard of demented dolls unleash their fury upon you.

Some of the costumes/masks for these dolls are simply nightmarish. I have honestly tried to forget how many times I recoiled in fear at the sight of one of those twisted toys. Yes this really is a jump scare heavy attraction. Past the first scene all theatrics are dropped, instead replaced with plenty of scares lurking in the darkness. It works well, but I do worry how front heavy some of the scares may have been. If you are leading the front of the group, you really do need to prepare for an onslaught of actors, as they’ll likely be waiting to pounce.

The House of Gaunt is something truly different for Scare Kingdom and I must commend them for trying something new. The use of darkness within this attraction was well executed and should hopefully see further use in future AtmosFEAR! events. I just feel this concept was overused slightly. The attraction faltered a little with its distinct lack of theming. As much as the scares helped compensate for this, I missed the good old Scare Kingdom atmosphere I have grown to love. It didn’t help the theming that was present, heavily focussed on existing IP’s, taking me out of the otherwise thrilling experience.

Obviously this is a minor detractor and is all down to personal taste. Many people won’t pick up on these details and will have a highly enjoyable run with plenty of scares. Even those more suited to highly themed haunts, will find themselves screaming when yet another well hidden doll lurches out.

666 Brimstone Place – Hell was easily one of the best haunts of 2015, so it’s no surprise to see Scare Kingdom rejuvenate it with 666 Brimstone Place. Whilst the core structure of the attraction remains the same, the plot and ambience have altered significantly. What was once an imposing modern portrayal of hell is now a haunting cultists lair. Beware the order of the crimson wax…

The striking visual style of Hell remains intact, with vivid red walls inscribed with satanic sigils. Looming murky corridors stretch out beyond your line of sight, ensuring something’s always one step ahead of you. I particularly appreciated the tonal change seen within the attraction this year. It’s completely transformed the attraction into a deeper, more disturbing experience. The atmosphere is rich, and uncomfortable. You’re constantly aware that you are not alone, and that just outside your field of vision is an actor pursuing your every move.

This is without doubt one of the most scare intensive attractions at Scare Kingdom in 2016. Cultists prowl the halls, providing plenty of jump scares as they leapt out into our path. They make great use of hiding spaces and the finale is just as impactful as it was in Hell. One thing which surprised me was the use of subtle, more disturbing scares. During our opening briefing, I heard scratching and whispering through the wall behind me. Whilst it was a smaller scale scare, I found it to be one of the most impressive sections of the entire haunt, and it’s something which I will look back on fondly for some time!

Overall whilst 666 feels very similar to Hell from 2015, it features some refreshing changes with an entirely new plot and some much appreciated changes in tone. Brimstone place is a befitting replacement for Hell and keeps the scares at an all-time high! It’s yet another Scare Kingdom attraction you can’t afford to miss out on.

Black Death – The Black Death is a ballsy move on Scare Kingdom’s part. Whilst most attractions opt to tell narratives through theatrics and scenery, The Black Death opts for a more sensory experience. Your sense of sight is removed through use of a hood, and you’re sent out into the streets of Plague ridden medieval London blind.

It’s an extremely brave concept, once you’re through the impressive facade, you’re left to your own devices following a rope and hoping that wasn’t an infected street urchin you heard breathing down your neck. The narrative doesn’t so much focus on a singular plot as it does crafting a living breathing world. I say living, breathing but in actual fact it’s all about death.

As you immerse yourself into the world, a narrative soundscape is formed combining spluttering, coughing, death collectors calling out for the dead and of course screams of agony. I was pleasantly surprised by how much world building can be done without the sense of sight. Even the sense of touch was used, with rats tails hitting out legs and multiple different floor textures surprising us. Everything comes together to create an intense manic atmosphere.

Talking about the sense of touch, this has to be the most hands on hooded attraction I have done to date! Throughout the run, you can expect to halted and interacted with by actors. It’s all pretty hectic, there were certainly plenty of scares to be had!

On the whole, The Black Death was an exciting sensory experience which was scare heavy! I honestly feel Scare Kingdom have done something quite different with the hooded formula and would love to see them utilise it again in a similar attraction.

Scare Kingdom really is one of the must visit events in the UK. Each year they consistently produce new and unique attractions with a flair for theatricality and immersion. This year is certainly no different. Featuring three of my all-time favourite scare attractions it must be said Scare Kingdom 2016 really is a huge success and will go down as one of my favourite events of the year! If you haven’t made the trek up north yet, I really must advise you to do so for 2017. I hear big things are coming!

 

SCARE KINGDOM SCREAM PARK HALLOWEEN 2017 REVIEW – SCAREFLIX & THRILL

Voted UK Top Rated Scream Park for the last four years and my personal favourite from last year, the multi-award winning Scare Kingdom Scream Park is back once again for its eighth year of fear with a slew of new attractions!

MALLUM

As always, Scare Kingdom welcomes all who dare enter with a spooky scene to set the tone, and they delivered once again! With a cursed relic, an ancient evil is summoned to scare you out of your skin! Whilst a fun idea, the green light from a light on the ceiling of the room took away the creepiness a bit, but the jump was still rather effective.

THE SICKNESS

I love a good medical themed haunt, and I loved this. A very strong story to set the scene, then in we went to discover the dark and disturbing characters behind an underground experiment that saw an infection spread through a hospital like wildfire! With some extremely strong scenes including a much scarier scare used in The Sanctuary at Alton Towers, this is a very strong start to the haunts! Keep an ear out for the heart monitor as you go through, this was an incredible level of detail that is easily missed if you don’t know it’s there!

MANORMORTIS

The haunted house to end all haunted houses is back once again! Tricked out to the nines, there is so much to see and take in that you can have multiple run throughs and still see things you didn’t see the first time! This year, a diary was discovered that details an extremely sinister story of the supernatural. With scenes that involve séances and other creepy contact with the spirits hidden in the manor, scares come at you from every which way as you hear more and more about the story as you venture further inside. Watch out for the finalé, it’s sure to scare you out of your wits!

THE HOUSE OF GAUNT

From the most decorated of all the haunts at Scare Kingdom to the least (not including Black Death, which I’ll explain later…), The House of Gaunt tells the story of a creepy collection of dolls coming to life. This sparsely decorated and almost pitch black haunts uses jump scares to get you, and even though the jumpscares are repeated all the way through the haunt, it gets you every time! It’s not got much to it, but it was still enjoyable and an interesting theme to have.

666 BRIMSTONE PLACE

From creepy dolls to satanic cults, 666 Brimstone Place sees the return of Hell in 2015 with a new story; having said that, it still delivers an eerie vibe with some rather shocking and almost controversial imagery that we’ve only seen Scare Kingdom dare to deliver, and I loved it! Whilst the rest of the haunt seemed to lack something (maybe the strength of the last three haunts set the bar high), there were a number of scenes that were absolutely fantastic – I’m glad that the finale still remains intact, as it’s still one of the strongest endings that Scare Kingdom provides

BLACK DEATH

Scare Kingdom bring their own hooded haunt this year: themed to the black plague, this haunt is littered with coughing and spluttering sick victims of the plague. I’ve never been a fan of hooded haunts as I don’t feel that being hooded adds anything to the experience, and even though it was a full contact haunt (whilst the others aren’t), it still had a lot of room for improvement – I was constantly worried I was going to tread on one of the actors or walk into the person in front of me, and avoiding that became my main focus, rather than being scared. Maybe I’m just picky; others going through were definitely scared, but I just couldn’t get immersed in the story.

Overall, Scare Kingdom is an impressive attraction with some incredibly strong haunts and characters (shout out to Dougie and the drunk female wandering around the bar – sorry I didn’t get your name!) that really needs to be experienced at least once in your life, as everything is on point. I will definitely be back next year to see how Scare Kingdom evolves and attempts to trump another extremely strong year!

 

 

SCARE KINGDOM SCREAM PARK HALLOWEEN 2017 REVIEW – EUROPEHAUNTS

It was weird to be back. Last August we were standing in the same car park, trepidation hanging in the air before the four hour torture simulation we would go on to endure. Now, the sun was setting, a group of people was chatting excitedly, and the general atmosphere was a lot more relaxed. We had heard a lot about the intricate detailing and elaborate theatrics of Scare Kingdom’s mazes, and finally, as the first stop of our UK Halloween trip, we had a chance to see it for ourselves.

Our tour started off with Mallum. Basically a single introductory scene to welcome the visitors to the park, with an actress interacting with an audio recording, and some lighting tricks. Seems like a clever way to bump up your maze count, and a bit overzealous to call this an attraction standing on its own. But, a fun way to batch people through, and to create some distance between the groups, so hey.

Our first maze would be The Sickness. In an attempt to find out what happens to the soul after death, a number of renowned, but controversial medical experts conducted experiments that had failed disastrously. Now, a disease is spreading through the wards. Irresponsibly enough, they still take groups on tours through this facility, which should be fine, as long as everyone keeps away from the quarantained areas. No surprises where we ended up! Inching our way past curtained-up hospital beds, ducking to avoid blood splashing from a botched surgery, and running left and right in a very confusing finale, this maze really set the tone.

On to the famous Manormortis! We had heard so much about the theming of this gothic haunted house, and we weren’t let down one bit. Different leading actors took us on a beautiful journey through the estate and all its rooms, the wine cellars, the chapel, we experienced a seance, hallways hidden in the closets led us to the more secret parts of the house, we even ended up in the heating ducts. This is a pretty long maze, but it never ceases to amaze. Cleverly connected rooms and a lot of drop panels ensured that scares kept coming from all directions – the further we went, the more I distrusted every single thing with a framework around it. That renaissance-style painting of a scary old lady, wouldn’t it be a shame if she could come out and get you?..

The House of Gaunt was up next – where we were to admire an extensive collection of creepy dolls and marionettes. Scare Kingdom mazes always have a very theatrical introduction, and the puppetress who welcomed us to this house was truly amazing, setting a truly creepy vibe. Soon enough, we were squeezing ourselves through tight, dark, winding corridors, every now and then encountering puppets on display, staring at us with dead eyes. Very minimalistically themed, there is a good buildup of tension, but we fear we might have caught the actors inside during an off moment. The two we did encounter did not seem to be aware of our arrival – but even then, the sudden appearance of their doll-like features was enough to startle the front of the group. The ones in the back, well, they had a pretty quiet walkthrough. Technical malfunction, or miscommunication? In the end, although it wasn’t our favourite, the change in pace and the eerie quality of this maze were nice. If the scares would have been on point, this could have been a real winner.

Scare Kingdom picked up the pace immediately, in 666 Brimstone Place. Hidden behind this facade, a satanic society worshipping a beast only known as Crowley conduct their rituals and bacchanalia. Again, the disciple welcoming us to the house was top notch, setting the scene and creating a sense of tense unease. Inside, occult symbols are painted all over the walls, grinning satanic monks suddenly appear from dark passageways, graphic, blood-drenched rituals and offerings are on display, and a certain scene on a round, pentagram-decorated table had us slackjawed. During the impressive and hectic finale, we saw Crowley, laughing from above as we were mercilessly teased by his minions, before we finally escaped into the cool air.

After our narrow escape, we immediately encountered a plague doctor, who explained the Black Plague was running amok through the streets of London, and that we would be hooded during our walkthrough. What followed was a blind stumble through a 16th century, disease-ridden London – with actors coughing in your face and grabbing you from all sides. A genuinely creepy and frantic experience, and my favourite hooded maze to date. All too soon, we staggered into the Brouhaha bar, and this is where the night really took off…

So, the Scare Kingdom mazes – I gotta say, the rumours were true. Top notch acting throughout the different mazes, a very theatrical feel, absolutely stunning theming, and I very much enjoy how they pick up the aggressiveness and touchiness a bit towards the end – almost feels like they are getting people hyped up for the Snuffhouse experience. As a point of critique, the walks between mazes could do with more theming and maybe some hidden surprises here and there. As it is, the walk does take you ever so slightly out of the experience. Compared to other parks that use a freeflow hub-like structure, the Scare Kingdom event feels a little bit less whole. But importantly, their timed entry system and rigid sequence of mazes does ensure proper batching, group separation, queue time control and all that. Indeed, we never ran into another group and never missed a scare because of this, so it absolutely works, a huge plus.

In conclusion, a really cool event. The general admission mazes are wonderful, the fact that an 18+ extreme experience is on offer is something that I appreciate immensely, and the bar was absolutely buzzing, with people coming out of the mazes, people getting dragged out of Snuffhouse, a very, very contagious vibe. Absolutely recommended!

 

SCARE KINGDOM SCREAM PARK HALLOWEEN 2017 REVIEW – HORRORBOX

“Do you remember that one at Blackpool? Well this is way worse than that.”

I overheard this in the car park from a guy trying to advise his friend as to what he was letting himself in for. While this may seem glaringly obvious to seasoned scare fans, it’s pretty spot on. ‘Worse’ in this context meaning ‘much more terrifying’. Because Scare Kingdom Scream Park, now in its eighth year, delivers scares on a grand scale, featuring seven attractions which are experienced in sequence over the course of the evening.

Due to the nature of the event, my advice would always be to steer clear if you’re of a nervous disposition, lest you become overwhelmed and need to be escorted from the park. I saw it happen last year. I saw it happen this year. And it will continue to happen I’m sure. But for the rest of us, Scare Kingdom is a veritable playground of scary fun, and I couldn’t wait to explore the dark delights of this year’s lineup…

Mallum
In past years, Scare Kingdom’s opening acts have been fantastic. Simple yet effective pieces designed to get the adrenaline pumping and start the evening off at the right level.

This was very much the opposite. As dull as it was confusing, it seemed to be over before it had begun. We weren’t there long enough for the muddled set piece to make any sense.

Our group was quite small yet we moved all the way to the edge as we thought more people were coming in. Had we been instructed to remain more central, the only scare that was supposed to happen might have hit a little harder. Although I doubt that would have saved it.
The Sickness
Scaring isn’t an exact science, but for me, this attraction is as objectively terrifying as it gets (but therein lies the subjective bias- I LOVE hospital themed stuff!) The execution of this concept was everything I was hoping for and more.

The Sickness was the perfect balance of character interaction and set walkthroughs with an all-round sensory assault to boost the experience. Think heart monitors, grimy walls, smell pods, the whole nine yards. I was thoroughly immersed, although the music drowned out the actors a little.

The storyline about the experimentation was a nice detail which kept us engaged, adding to the sense of dread and tension as we progressed. And the bed scene? Well, it scared the crap out of me. A perfectly timed impact scare which genuinely made me want to run.

Manormortis
The ever impressive Manormortis is always a Scare Kingdom highlight; its clever design and extraordinary grandeur are a delight to behold. This year, the story was centred around the recently discovered diary of ‘Emily Haxenghast’, and ghostly sightings within the house.

The actors were all on top form, particularly in the library and furnace, and I loved the Ghostbusters/Holtzmann style character at the beginning. Scare Kingdom always wins on the movie nods.

The experience this year felt very theatrical, with a Dungeons-style performance in every room, but no memorable scares. In fact, no-one flinched during the climax of one particular room (perhaps to do with volume/positioning), but the end scene gave me a decent jump, despite the predictable format.

The House of Gaunt
A nifty little attraction and a pediophobic’s worst nightmare, this was a creepy, claustrophobic experience that really delivered the chills.

The haunted doll motif, which found recent fame in movies such as The Conjuring/Annabelle, worked well here, especially with the unease of not knowing (for sure) what would move and what wouldn’t.

There were a few jump scares but unfortunately they mostly seemed to target the front of our group. The visual effects were still enjoyable though. I thought my pal Automata from Horror Camp Live might make an appearance here, but sadly not!

666 Brimstone Place
I’m a little torn here between my need to review this as a standalone maze and my urge to compare it to Hell from last year, which was housed in the same building. The fact of the matter is that I’d rather have seen Hell return for a second year, rather than something under a different name which is largely the same.

There were small differences, and Hell was indeed one of my highlights from last year, so it was great to see that finale again, albeit with a different character. Also the actor at the beginning was fantastic and really took his time unsettling us.

Overall this was a lot of fun, with a theatrical start and a dramatic finish. Tension fell a little flat for me once I realised I knew what was coming, but I still had a good time.

Black Death
Who doesn’t love a hooded maze? Well, me usually.

The plague is a theme which I’d love to see more of in scare attractions. I’ve always found it to be very disturbing, and there’s lots of dramatic imagery to play with; sick people, plague doctors, rotting corpses, etc. That’s why I was disappointed to hear that Black Death at Scare Kingdom was going to be hooded.

But this was a great attraction! It helped immensely that the hoods were thick, this really does make a big difference. I couldn’t see a thing. The actors played up the other sensory elements very well, and the change in texture on the ground was very effective. Our group seemed to split at one point, although the sense of isolation from wearing a hood negates the need for this. The only thing it was missing was a strong smell – perhaps there was one but I couldn’t smell it through the hood!

 

SCARE KINGDOM SCREAM PARK HALLOWEEN 2017 REVIEW – TERROR ATTRACTIONS

October 7th 2016 our Terror Attractions team ventured down to Scare Kingdom Scream Park to experience the events eighth year of fright. The event promises brand new slate of fear infused attractions for families, thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies.

Our team have voted this event/attraction TOP RATED for the past four years and we were eager to see if Scare Kingdom Scream Park could highly impress us again this year…

THE SICKNESS

The Sickness was our first main attraction and may I add, our favourite! This reminded us of the old Bloodbath attraction seen at Scare Kingdom back in 2010. With a clinical theme, our group were on lockdown as an airborne virus was active inside the building. We loved the perfect combination of intense jump scares and theatricals through The Sickness. Shuffling round with our hands over our mouths, we had to find a way out through what seemed like countless patients’ rooms. We were split up from our group as we screamed our way out of the enclosed, gritty corridors reminiscent of American Horror Story Asylum. Unsightly characters had us on edge as they blocked our paths and it was difficult to judge which way to go, leading us to become panicked and confused until we raced out of the exit.

MANORMORTIS

Manormortis is again one of our favourite attractions at Scare Kingdom and always has been. Hauntingly beautiful, this huge gothic mansion is themed to perfection, allowing you to be plucked out of this world and completely immersing you into a real life ghost story.  It’s story line has depth and meaning which are carried through by the captivating characters and enchanting rooms. It is the longest attraction at Scare Kingdom as you walk through the endless rooms and corridors, the clever design of the building making some good jump scares and mesmerising scenes. We absolutely love experiencing Manormortis every year and it always exceeds our expectation.

THE HOUSE OF GAUNT

Mortana Gaunt greets us in The House of Gaunt as we arrive to view her world-famous collection of puppets.  This short attraction is very tight, enclosed and dark. Only emitting light from her creepy puppet exhibition cases. This attraction relied a lot on your own expectation of what was going to happen.  Are they alive? If so, which ones? Did that just move? You could clearly see the fake dummy’s from the real ones because of their size, but that didn’t stop us from getting scared a couple of times. Not the most terrifying of attractions but certainly still worth experiencing.

666 BRIMSTONE PLACE

Last year Hell was one of our Top Rated award winning attractions, and in its place this year is 666 Brimstone Place. It’s an eerie place of satanic worship and cult rituals with a combination of theatricals and impact scares. The soundtrack really adds to the tension throughout and along with the quick pace of the attraction it really gets the blood pumping and the heart racing.  We loved the finale last year to Hell, we were hoping for a little more intensity from the overall attraction, maybe the intensity was already there but we didn’t quite feel it like we did with Hell last year.

BLACK DEATH

Obviously we can’t go catching anything, so we need to wear hoods on our heads in this attraction, where you journey through the plague ridden streets of London. Holding nothing but a rope and the person in front of you for guidance, you make your way through the attraction as plague victims cough, splutter and get a little too close to you. We enjoyed the attraction all in all and thought that it was a great concept but that it lacked something especially at the end. We would like to see Scare Kingdom build on this next year, it has way more potential and would be even better if there was a gradual rise in energy and pace which led to a big impact scare or a finale.

Overall the event was a great night out and all of our party agreed that The Sickness was our favorite attraction we experienced. We loved the interaction from the new farm character ‘Douglas Bury’ who provided great comedy interation with the groups between each attraction.

The event caters for all and we are sure you will have a great night.

 

 

SCARE KINGDOM SCREAM PARK HALLOWEEN 2016 REVIEW – STEVE TIERNEY

I’ve just spent the last couple of days with four friends at Scare Kingdom Scream Park.

Scare Kingdom is an attraction in Blackburn, near Manchester.  It is, essentially, five “haunted house” type buildings linked one after another, enabled by fantastic props, special effects and music and populated by real actors in ghoulish costumes and make-up.  If you like macabre and spooky stuff, and you enjoy being creeped out and made to jump out of your skin then it’s right up your street.  It certainly was ours.

Scare Kingdom is set on a very large working farm.  The owner, who also runs the farm, appears to have found a very unusual and effective way to supplement their income.  Long may they continue.  Arriving at Scare Kingdom you join the queue of excited and nervous people and wait your turn to be put with a group of about ten and fed into the cavalcade of fright and terror.

The first attraction is called Mallum.  Mallum is not one of the five “mazes” (the colloquial term used by people who visit the growing phenomenon of scare attractions around the country) but is rather a single room experience to set the scene.  Frankly, it’s pretty cheesy.  Some music, some story, an actor, a jump scare.  And not a particularly good one.  But by this time you’ve been queuing and waiting to go in and you’re in the mood and its certainly fun, as a warm-up taster act.

At this point you exit the building and are walking through the dark farm, your way only occasionally and creepily lit so you need to tread carefully.  Following the path you encounter one of the roving actors who are scattered between some of the mazes, to add to the fun.  These guys will stop you and engage you in creepy conversation, partly to add to the atmosphere and partly (I suspect) to break the groups of people up so that they don’t all arrive at the next maze at the same time and cause too much of a queue.  It’s effective and enjoyably diverting.  The actors seem to be really enjoying themselves and you quickly get caught up in it all.

Then you reach the first real maze.  The Sickness.

There is a brief queue as you wait outside a large warehouse-type farm building.  You can hear scary music, sound and the occasional screams from within.  Once in a while, people burst from a side door – one of the groups ahead of you – chased, terrified and screaming from the exit.  Then it’s your turn.  Trying to avoid too many spoilers in this review, but this was an excellent maze.  The props, actors and effects were exceptionally good and there were several jump scares and at least two truly unnerving situations.  The story was fun and held together well.  It took five or ten minutes to get through.  Having claimed we would not, we burst from the exit door to the amusement and trepidation of the waiting queue just like those before us.  Brilliant!

A short walk and we reached Manormortis, which is a static feature.  The other features change each year, but Manormortis is there every year, I am told, and added to and improved all the time.  Again, it was a large farm-type warehouse inside, but once through the door you would certainly believe you were in a haunted house.

Manormortis really was quite exceptional.  Crawl spaces and secret doors and all manner of twisted goings-on.  This one was more actor-driven and you were taken from area to area by ghoulish narrators to played their parts to a tee.  The final scene was very well done and unexpected.

Then, on to the one which was my personal favourite, The House of Gaunt.

Met in the entrance hall by an excellent actress who sets the scene with a macabre poem, you quickly understand that this one is about puppets.  I’ve always found spooky puppets creepy so I was looking forward to this – and it did not let me down.  We had been taking it in turns to “be at the front” because that’s where the worst of the jump scares get you.  This was my turn.  One of the things I like in these type of attractions is having a good look at the props and scenery, which are often awesome.  Normally, the plot has you rushing through the mazes and you don’t get anywhere near as much time as you’d like to do so.  But The House of Gaunt let you set your own pace to some degree and I was at the front.  Add to this the fact that its often pitch black, with very narrow winding corridors and hanging curtains which block your way, often followed by a switchback, and I got a really good look at some of the monstrous decor.  I really, really loved this one.  It was creepy as all hell!

The next attraction was 666 Brimstone Place.   But to get to it you had to walk across a section of the farm where a back-and-forth corridor had been created using steel fencing.  As we threaded our way along it we saw a scary clown waiting blocking our way.  Another of the roving actors, this one was also an obstacle, coupled with the fact that he had a chainsaw.  It was an interesting predicament and one that required some, um, running.

Whilst it was not my favourite, Brimstone Place had a few really really outstanding moments. In fact, in my opinion the best “scene” in the whole attraction is in this maze.  The actors were very effective too, with the Nun actress managing to make me leap out of my skin about six times!  The music was very loud in here and if I had one criticism it’s there here, and in one or two other mazes, the music is too loud to hear some of the actor’s dialogue.  It’s not the end of the world, but I think it’s something they could work on.

We encountered one more roving actor and then on to the last, and the weakest (in my opinion) of the attractions.  This one is called Black Death.

The story and ideas are great.  But the surprise in this one is that as you queue to enter they tell you that you must pass through “sensory deprived” meaning that you put a hood over your head.  You then put your left hand on a guide rope at your side and your right hand on the shoulder of the person in front and shuffle on blindly through the maze.  So the scares are delivered by the music and sounds, by the actors, and by other sensations such as the change in the ground underfoot.  Trouble is, it didn’t really work.  Well not for me, anyway.  The lack of vision made it less scare for some reason, I was spending most of my time noticing how hot it was inside the hood and trying to work out which way I was going by following the rope.  The scares became very secondary and I just didn’t get anywhere near as invested in this one as I did all the others.  Don’t get me wrong, it was still perfectly good fun.  Just, by comparison with the rest of the attraction, this one didn’t really do it for me.

You emerge from Black Death into a pretty neat little bar, packed with people who have also followed the path of terror to this point.  The atmosphere is great, the drinks are fine and you can even grab a burger or a hot dog from the barbecue.

 

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