Spoiler level: No specific details of what happens in each attraction at Scare Kingdom Scream Park, but lots of general description which could be perceived as spoilers.
Now in its ninth year of fear, Scare Kingdom Scream Park has thrown open gates once more, inviting guests to experience seven terrifying attractions in sequence (assuming they make it to the end). Combining live scareactors with special effects and jaw-dropping sets, plus roaming characters and a fully licensed bar, the UK’s top rated scream park never fails to deliver on Halloween fun. So breathe in the cold night air and brace yourself for an evening of terror; the season of screams is upon us, and Scare Kingdom awaits you with fervent anticipation. And if you literally can’t imagine anything worse, then simply read on to experience vicariously…
As we entered the waiting area, listening to the usual shrieks and screams seeping out from behind the black curtain, I became aware of a new sound; something I’d never heard from that room before, and couldn’t quite place.
We promptly lined up and were treated to a Scare Kingdom style welcome, where we soon discovered the source of the unusual noise. Unlike last year where the first character’s theming didn’t fully translate, an effective backdrop and word of an escaped clown was enough to get things going in this scene.
A great element of sLAUGHTER was the way in which the opening character kicked off a sort of ‘scareactor relay’: an introduction to the next character we’d meet, and so on. This was a great way of linking different areas of the park together.
The Sickness 2: High Hopes Hospital
My favourite attraction from last year is back! A newly built facade really added to the excitement as we approached. We were warned of the unspeakable experiments being carried out in High Hopes Hospital, and the terrifying sights we would encounter. The script really delivered here in terms of amping-up the sense of dread.
Our adrenaline was pumping as we navigated the foul wards, and I felt completely immersed in the environment; a seamless combination of nasty sights, sounds and smells portrayed the appalling conditions of the hospital. Positioning was everything this year, as most impact scares seemed to target the front of our group. The bed scene passed us by a little bit, but the scares came thick and fast as we entered the ‘isolation chamber’. The finale utilised a classic, albeit somewhat formulaic scare tactic. But they’re classics for a reason – the formula works.
Resplendent in gothic detail and alive with technical wizardry, the custom-built Manormortis is the dark jewel in Scare Kingdom’s crown. This year, it featured an eccentric collector of ghosts, with each room serving as a space to exhibit his supernatural treasures.
As expected with more of a narrative-driven experience, the actors stole the show. The girl on the stairs gave a chilling performance; costume, lighting, soundtrack and movement all came together to create a perfect moment which was both scary and beautiful in equal measure.
Speaking of scareactors, the actor in the furnace room deserves a special mention. He made a great effort to keep the scene moving amidst heckling and constant interruptions from an inconsiderate group.
Following the larger sets and wordy script of Manormortis Ghostkeeper was Prey, the opposite in many ways. Prey was a series of jump scares in rapid succession, in a darkened environment. This created a nice contrast.
This attraction made efficient use of tight spaces to create a sense of unease, and the vampires lurking within were well positioned. Scares came from the sides, which created more opportunities to scare the middle and back of the group.
Short but effective, Prey was a fun sideshow which kept the energy up between the larger attractions.
In this attraction, the opening scene alone was enough of an indication that we were in for something special. We walked onto a stunning set, themed to cinematic standards, clearly created with great care and attention to detail. Our opening actor was so engaging and convincing, he elevated the scene even further. I was beyond sold before we even began.
Themed around ‘Brimstone & Black’s Funeral Parlour’, Body Snatchers was a chilling journey through classic horror aesthetics. Its gorgeously gothic intro soon gave way to an unpredictable medley of shocks, as we encountered more than just corpses once we ventured into the cellar. The actors revelled in our terror and the momentum didn’t drop for a second.
At one point, part of our group was held back, so attention could be focused a little more precisely with some great target scares. Overall, this attraction delivered the best scares of the night, by far. An amazing experience which will be hard to top this season.
A hooded maze creates opportunities for outlandish theming, as long as the theme can be executed via the remaining senses. And what could be more outlandish than some 8-legged beasties?
This attraction utilised some great physical effects on our hands and arms as we blindly followed the rope to safety. I didn’t notice any effects from above; I thought there might be something dangling to brush our heads and the tops of our shoulders, to give the illusion of a web.
Black Widow was delightfully spooky, but as with last year’s hooded maze, it serves as the finale to the scream park (Psychomanteum is an add-on) yet doesn’t really deliver a thrilling climax. That being said, its oddball nature made it a fun addition to the lineup.
You really think I’m doing that again?
- 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 Sunday 5th November 2017
- Tickets are available via the Scare Kingdom website
- Psychomanteum Resurrection is 18+ only and carries an additional charge
- For more information, check out my review from last year