Spoiler level: No specific details of what happens in each attraction, but lots of general description
It’s no secret that everything is ‘the best part’ according to me. It doesn’t matter what I’m up to, whether I’m recalling something from the past or if I’m in the moment, there are always multiple ‘best parts’. Watching films is the best part of Christmas, but then again, so are the presents. The best bit of a Sunday dinner is definitely the roast potatoes, and also the meat, the Yorkshire puds, and oh yes, everything on the plate. I can’t help but get excited over anything and everything. And that multiplies by a hundred in the month of October.
“This is the best bit – the journey to the attraction, with all the anticipation.” I’ve uttered those words many a time en route to an event. Likewise, upon arrival, the final moments before entering are definitely the best bit. Adrenaline and tensions abound as you wonder what might be behind the first door. I was pondering this as I sat in my seat, patiently waiting to enter the first act of Scare Kingdom Scream Park, when all of a sudden a girl sprang from beneath the curtain and made a beeline for a member of staff.
She was jittery and distressed, nervously running her hands through her hair, glancing around and shifting her weight from foot to foot. The staff member was speaking calmly. I made no effort to conceal the fact that I was listening in, but the waiting area was loud so I only caught snippets. “I don’t think I can” she said, shaking her head. The staff member appeared to be explaining her options to her, and she had a pained look on her face as she tried to make a decision. She then left hurriedly.
Read on to find out why….
Very similar to The Oubliette last year, the first attraction at Scare Kingdom functions as a warm-up, from which guests can gauge whether or not they’ll be able to proceed. There are always some who realise they’ve bitten off more than they can chew (such as the aforementioned girl).
Eschaton, the Minister of Fear, definitely treated us to a Scare Kingdom style welcome. A very simple combination of factors to made us feel extremely vulnerable (especially the layout of the room and the position we had to stand in). Tensions ran high in moments of total darkness and I could hardly bear to look ahead for fear of what I might see.
The team have done it again- as an opening act, I didn’t think The Oubliette could be topped, but The Sanctum is extremely effective. Maybe too effective….
An interesting attraction and shrewd move in terms of theming; The Hole actually links in with last year’s Hellcatraz. What was once a prison filled with inmates is now a creepy derelict building, and urban explorers have broken in to discover its secrets.
String-lights and webbing gave The Hole a very convincing look; a kind of overgrown, claustrophobic aesthetic which worked well. The opening scareactor delivered an energetic performance as he explained our situation. I don’t think he ever stopped moving! He was pacing and shuddering manically, it was really unnerving.
The downside to this theme is that it felt very similar to what we saw last year; more specifically, some of the scares came from the same spots as before. Nevertheless they were still very impressive, with the break-out section adding a nice change of pace (the additional characters in this segment were excellent, linking back to the narrative as outlined at the beginning, which I liked).
Manormortis – Monastery
Wow. Any gripes I had last year about lighting and not making full use of the glorious sets… well I definitely can’t say the same this year. This was nothing short of spectacular (and I could hear the actors this time!)
Manormortis itself is a thing of beauty, so of course it’s great to see everything inside, but it’s not just the rooms. This was scene after scene of brilliant acting and top notch scares, one of the best being a particularly jumpy moment where the actor used misdirection to throw us off. The music was fantastic; it tied in with theme, thus making me feel more immersed in the environment. I loved the religious imagery (going into the chapel was amazing, plus the stained glass window visual which I couldn’t take my eyes off).
Bar one setpiece that left me scratching my head, I enjoyed every minute of this. From the creepy hooded figures to the horror movie references (you had me at “cunting daughter”) this was classic Halloween haunted house fare, with lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing. One of the highlights of the evening.
This seemed to offer us a little respite, although I’m not sure if that was intentional. It almost functioned as something to keep us entertained on our journey to the next big thing. The attraction was small, but full of intrigue and bizarre characters. It had a really fun climax which had something I haven’t seen before, but the build up to it involved a lot of standing around. That being said, I really enjoyed the steampunk vibe in the first room, and the actor was really intense.
Arcanum was more of a sideshow attraction and an entertaining addition to the line-up; equally, I could have gone without it and my evening wouldn’t have been worse off.
I desperately wanted to film the exit door of this attraction, because of the sheer number of people who were running out, shrieking their heads off as though they were in the midst of hell itself. I was so excited to see what was going on.
The theming inside this attraction was relatively simple. Demonic symbols adorned the walls (to be fair, there were symbols dotted all around the park, but they seemed to be more prominent here) and rooms were bathed in shadows from which anything might emerge. A couple of solo scareactor scenes lead me to believe that Hell was perhaps a purely theatrical attraction, but I couldn’t have been more wrong as we entered the last segment.
The ending was totally unexpected and completely terrifying, with a number of things throwing me off guard. My brain barely had chance to register what I was seeing (and feeling!) before it was all over. It was a searing climax, made all the more compelling by the music, which lifted this attraction to the next level.
Panic Chambers….Or confusion chambers? This attraction had a very promising start. But honestly, the second you give anyone a task to complete, all hell breaks loose. At one point I didn’t really know what was going on, but it sort of added to the experience.
The weird thing about this one was how it linked to the ‘seven deadly sins’ theme. The other attractions hinted at the sins with great subtlety. For example, in Arcanum, the Captain was fuelled by his greed to acquire more and more additions to his collection. In no other attraction had the sin been so awkwardly shoe-horned in (what the hell is Gluttony Corp?)
This was, however, enormously improved by the actor at the beginning. She was absolutely brilliant, playing around with vocal, facial, and physical mannerisms to freak us all out. She improvised well too, and got the attraction off to a great start.
Psychomanteum – FULL CONFESSION
Someone vomited (that’s all you’re getting).
And so, after a scream-filled evening, we retreated to the bar for some welcome refreshments. As we said our goodbyes, I remarked that ‘the best bit’ is actually yet to come: getting the coffee on, and writing this review. Then I realised that I’d said it again.
So maybe I’ll just leave it at this- the best bit is the scare season in its entirety. Throughout the month of October we are spoiled with numerous attractions such as this, where people can head out into the night enjoy a spooky, scary, or completely terrifying evening in a safe and controlled environment. So if you’re looking to make the most of this special season and all the entertainment it has to offer, Scare Kingdom Scream Park is an essential addition to your list.
- 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
- It is open on selected nights between now and November 7th 2015 inclusive
- Tickets are available via the Scare Kingdom website and range from £15 – £20 per body per night
- Psychomanteum is 18+ only and carries an additional charge