Spoiler level: A few specific details on what happens in the attractions at Psycho Path, and lots of general description which could be perceived as spoilers.
When the first few emails about Psycho Path landed in my inbox, I examined them with a tiny hint of scepticism. A Halloween event in an enormous converted chicken barn. Live music, illusionists, and ariel performers. A food & drink offering to rival a small town food festival. Its own bespoke gin liqueur. Multiple scare mazes. Fairground rides. Photo ops. Roaming characters and games. Even a family-friendly offering during the the day.
If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
With the exception of Psycho Path.
This is Psycho Path’s second year, and having missed their 2018 event, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Within about 5 seconds of walking in, I realised that this isn’t just a scream park. It’s an entire night out. The Anarchy Arcade alone is a substantial offering, with jaw-dropping illusionists and other live performances on stage, carnival and arcade games, and plenty of seating for people to relax and socialise. A custom-built wolf head with glowing eyes and smoke effects heads up the main bar area, which is adorned with pumpkins and spooky decorations. After taking some time to soak up the atmosphere and demolish some delicious hot food, we readied ourselves for the first scare.
The entrance to this deceptively large clown maze is located in the heart of the main building, and its imposing facade really adds to the overall atmosphere (as do the screams emitting from within). Once we were inside, a series of effective impact scares got our adrenaline pumping, with scareactors weaving their way around the structure to deliver multiple scares with ease. The compartments in this segment are an ideal size for this type of scare; I really felt like I had nowhere to run! We got some great moments in here.
This segment swiftly gave way to a more open layout with creepy walkways and corridors. The scare environments and sensory elements kept switching to a point where I had absolutely no idea what to expect anymore – the surprises just kept coming! The only downside was the that scareactors who weren’t delivering ‘boo’ scares didn’t have quite as much command of their space; for example – I ambled past one or two clowns who were dishing out some creepy looks, but I only saw them because I consciously paused to look; my attention wasn’t seized with any urgency. Perhaps the scareactors could have pushed it a little further in terms of intimidation, voice and movement, etc.
Even though the latter segments were a little lighter on scares, the theming and effects blew me away. Highlights included what I now refer to as the ‘candy floss room’ (which was utterly brilliant and compelled me to go buy candy floss) and the unique ice cream van (or iScream van) which is a level of quirkiness that I am 100% here for. Overall, iScream was an outrageously fun experience, serving scares in an enticing variety of flavours.
A short van ride brought us to the entrance of the Psycho Path trail, the event’s self-titled offering. The initial theming was impressive; we approached a dark outpost with watchtowers at the entrance, which then gave way to a rough trail littered with abandoned vehicles and intimidating creatures. We enjoyed this segment, but we did feel there were a few missed opportunities for scares. For example, the van (open at the side) would have been an amazing place for a scareactor to hide.
We progressed into the woods, where the atmosphere quickly overwhelmed me. I’ve often stated that one of my favourite elements of scare entertainment is the sense of briefly existing within a real life horror film, and this trail’s aesthetic is so cinematic, it really delivered this sensation. Smoke drifted in the distance amidst backlit trees, giving it an irresistibly spooky glow. Ominous shapes loomed in the darkness. A dense canopy of tree branches blocked the night sky around us. We passed through abandoned cabins bathed in red light and adorned with satanic symbols. It was eerie, dreamlike, and gorgeously macabre.
Scare wise, I noted a common theme was the presence of a scareactor ahead, who would then walk towards us. Being seen is the key issue here, and while the scareactors were undoubtedly creepy, I was hoping to be ambushed from the side so a jump scare could land. The structures had some dark corners, but no one was lurking. As a result, the trail was a little less intense than I’d hoped, but it was still a remarkably unique experience. I won’t forget this one anytime soon.
As we entered Psycho City, we had to pass through ‘decontamination’ before proceeding. This segment is really well themed, albeit light on scareactors. That being said, a few dead zones are to be expected in an attraction of this scale (we’ve never been through one this big). Once we entered the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Psycho City itself, I was astonished. Cinematic is the key word once again here. The abandoned rooms, exposed to the elements and left to crumble, overrun by the inhabitants of Psycho Path. The decaying grandeur of the ornate features, the broken crockery mingled with dead leaves, the sense of civilisation departed. Absolutely stunning. Scareactors disappeared then reappeared sporadically, but again, I’d have liked to see more intensity in the scares. Without narrative setpieces (which wouldn’t work here), there needs to be a lively element to keep the pace up. At one point however, we went from no scareactors to three at once! Poor Zoe became a target and the inhabitants blocked her at every turn; they didn’t let up, and this was really entertaining to watch. It was great to see the scareactors making the most of this opportunity and taking their time to unsettle someone.
The finale of this segment exits into a separate bar area, which makes this feel like a scream park within a scream park! A short van ride then transports guests back to the main building.
As our evening drew to a close, we caught up with event organiser Nigel Holliday, who very kindly gave us a tour of ‘The Family Frightfest’ area. I’ve loved Halloween since I was small, and it was actually quite moving to see so much effort being put into a family-friendly Halloween activity. The Family Frightfest is a great deal more than a token family offering; the same attention to detail given to the evening event has been applied this family event. A lot of thought has been put into it, and a lot of heart too. Beautiful hand-painted signs denote the different areas and activities, which are housed inside large tipis adorned with spiders and spooky decorations. The team have created something special truly here – it’s a little bit of Halloween magic.
Psycho Path is Halloween entertainment at its very best. With such a comprehensive range of attractions on offer, there’s something for everyone; from hardcore fear fanatics, to friends who are just looking for a fun night out. For us, this event is most definitely one to watch. Oh, and did we mention there’s a ghost train too? Bye everyone – I live here now.
- This event takes place at Lintz Hall Farm in Burnopfield, NE16 6AS
- Psycho Path will be running until 31 October 2019
- Tickets for Psycho Path start at £25 and those aged 13 to 16 must be accompanied by an adult
- The Family Frightfest takes place on 19, 20, 26, 27 and 31 October 2019 between 11am and 4:30pm, and tickets are priced at £7 for children / £10 for adults (there’s also a family pass for two children and two adults, costing £29)
- For more information or to buy tickets for the event, click here