Spoiler level: No specific details of what happens in each attraction, but lots of general description
Scare Kingdom, the unique Lancashire scream park, has returned for its sixth year. Open on selected nights between October 4th and November 8th 2014, the park houses six different attractions; ideal for a full evening of scare entertainment. But are the attractions any good? Read on and find out…
Our journey to Scare Kingdom wasn’t great (I blame the M62) so I wasn’t feeling all that enthusiastic when we arrived. That changed the second we sat down at the entrance to The Oubliette. I could hear thumping music, a booming voiceover, and lots of screaming. Smoke was seeping out from beneath the entrance curtain. It would be impossible not to get excited at this point; this got me in the mood before anything had even happened.
Part scare attraction, part dispatch zone into Scare Kingdom; The Oubliette was a sensational start to the evening. It functions as a way of ‘welcoming’ the guests and getting them acquainted with the Minister of Fear. The format of this attraction is devastatingly effective, although it wasn’t until halfway through that I realised we were being given some information amidst the chaos. I couldn’t really hear much over the screaming! I caught ‘asthmatic’ and ‘latex allergy’, so I assume this was the safety information, also available on the website.
The Oubliette set the tone perfectly; upon exit, our adrenaline was pumping and we were grinning from ear to ear. From this experience, I knew the standard was going to be high. Later in the evening I caught up with Jason Karl, Chief Creative Executive at AtmosFEAR! Scare Entertainment, who pointed out that The Oubliette also functions as sort of warm-up, from which guests can gauge whether or not they’ll be able to proceed. Some don’t make it any further.
You can’t beat a good corn maze! None of this new-fangled technological nonsense (she said disparagingly, with a blindly romanticised fondness for ‘the good old days’). Joking aside, this maze really is hugely enjoyable, largely due to its simplicity and uncomplicated format. Wandering along a path through the dense vegetation, in complete darkness, The Clonefields recalls classic horror movies where helpless victims are chased through fields and woodland.
The moon was bright during our visit and I felt that little spark of Halloween magic (a bit like Christmas magic, but more macabre). I was really tense throughout this maze; even the leaves were making me jump! The Slenderman’s faceless minions were lurking, and we knew it. At one point I saw one disappear off into the leaves, which was really scary because I had no idea when or where he might reappear….
Unfortunately I didn’t get a big scare in the maze, just scares I saw coming, or that were targeted at someone else. But it was still very good fun. I particularly liked the minions’ masks and costumes, they were really unsettling.
Probably my favourite attraction in the park, Hellcatraz looked promising even from the exterior. We were met by the prison warden- a superb actor who heightened our anticipation and made us feel really on edge. Sirens were blasting out of the building and we were hit by intense strobe lighting as we entered.
The theming of this attraction is excellent; all the separate elements work alongside each other to create a believable and frightening prison environment. The stacks of lockers, the inmates’ costumes, the bloody rags; everything is in chaos and disarray, adding to the sense that the wardens have indeed lost control, and we are at the mercy of the escaped criminals. They came at us from different directions and different levels, working with the strobe to make us feel disoriented.
Ordinarily I would knock off a point for heavy strobe use; it’s a very easy way to make an environment look good, but it’s difficult to walk around in for more than a few minutes, I get tired of it quickly. However, this attraction offers a brief interlude, which was a good change of pace before heading back into the action. With cries of ‘don’t drop the soap’ and crazed inmates charging at us relentlessly, Hellcatraz was completely insane. Loved every minute.
Manormortis- it’s the house that should never have been built, and it won’t stay dead! The storyline for Manormortis Covenstead is centred around a coven of witches… I think. The actor who greeted us explained who he was and what was happening in the house, but unfortunately the music was too loud for us to all hear him properly.
The scares in this attraction are really good fun. I completely missed some of the actors who were already in the rooms, so their scares came out of nowhere! This was down to the lighting, clever costumes/positioning, absolute precision and perfect timing.
The lighting did have its downside though- it was so dark that couldn’t see very much. It felt like I could have been anywhere, so there was no real sense of an environment to engage with. This is a shame considering the level of detail and quality of theming within Manormortis. Nevertheless, there were some good scary moments in here.
Our experience nearing an end, we made our way to the Human Zoo; a sickening concept brought to life with originality and flair. This is the attraction I was most curious about, and as it turns out, it’s a very strong addition to the line-up.
This attraction has a bold personality. It’s crude, dirty, and really quite smelly. It made me want to shower immediately afterwards. There is a little bit of humour to it, but the human experimentation theme is profoundly dark, and successfully echoes the suffering of the dreadful caged beings within. These nightmarish creations are curious about us humans, and they won’t hold back with it comes to inspecting you. An excellent level of interaction pushed this to the next level for me, and there were some great changes of pace thrown in. Plenty to catch you off guard. One particular element of this attraction made us feel extremely vulnerable; a bit of a role reversal which was really quite unpleasant! Faultless theming and execution of this dark concept made this one stand out. Well done all.
Some say that Dr Killian Goodkind’s therapy is extreme.
What would I say? I’d say I’m all better now.
Thank you, Dr Goodkind.
Get ready for deeper treatment. The doctor will see you now.
So there you have it. All of that in one night! Fortunately, Scare Kingdom has a fully licensed bar, so you can grab a drink and recover after the chaos has ended.
As an overall experience, Scare Kingdom Scream Park delivers shocks, fear, and most importantly- fun. If you’re looking for a scary evening out this Halloween season, you cannot go wrong with this event. It was terror from start to finish. Forget tacky animatronics and constant ‘boo’ scares; Scare Kingdom presents you with theatrical & psychological scare entertainment at its very best, spread over multiple attractions and filled with talented scare actors. Quite frankly they’re spoiling you. Don’t miss out on this one.
- Scare Kingdom Scream Park is located at Hawkshaw Farm Park, minutes from the M6 junction 31 on the A59 near Preston and Blackburn in Lancashire, UK. Free parking is available on site
- It is open on selected nights between October 4th and November 8th 2014 inclusive
- Tickets are available via the Scare Kingdom website and range from £14.50 – £18.00 per body per night
- A HorrorBox discount is available if you enter the discount code: hell
- Tickets, excluding discounts, can also be purchased on the door at the discretion of the park