Seven Deadly Sins at Scare Kingdom Scream Park
Written by Charlotte Stear
Official Website: http://www.scarekingdom.com
It’s not always been easy for Halloween lovers in the UK. There was a time when it was a real struggle to find a cool, exciting event to tie in with this amazing holiday but now thankfully for us horror fans, every year there are more and more events happening and we are spoilt for choice (OK, maybe not that spoilt but we’re doing pretty well).
The most popular events see many farmlands turning their barns and land into terrifying mazes for the public to make their way through. This year I went to Blackburn to visit what innocently houses Mrs Dowson’s Ice Cream Farm, but also doubles throughout the year as Scare Kingdom.
On arriving at the farm I could hear the screams of the terrified participants from across the field, which was a good sign. The first part of the night sees you have your picture taken with some hideous accessories which, if you’re in a big group, is a nice token to remember your night and at only £6 you can’t really complain. You are then herded off to a little waiting room before starting your experience. Herded is a word you’ll probably be hearing a lot of here...
This year’s theme for the Halloween season is the “Seven Deadly Sins”, seven mazes for you to navigate your way around with each one linked to a sin. Well, in theory. For the most part I had trouble linking the room to the sin, most were rather tenuous. The first attraction, The Sanctum, is more of an introduction to the evening’s festivities. You walk into a dark room and await Eschaton, the Minister of Fear, who sets the tone for the evening. The make up for this character actually blew me away and reminded me of The Gentlemen from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, incredibly creepy and not someone you want to be in close proximity to in the dark. Waiting for his arrival was incredibly intense and the anticipation was almost unbearable, it was a great start to the night.
Next up was The Hole, which ties in with Envy. Here you’re following in the footsteps of a lost explorer and the lost souls that still haunt the area want to separate you from your group and keep you down there. It’s fast paced and watching people leave the maze was pretty funny, everyone looked like they just finished an assault course. Be warned, these actors will touch you and I even took it upon myself to free my friend from the grips of a ghoul, proving that if this were in fact a horror movie, I would definitely be the hero of story which was surprising as I’d always thought I’d use my friends as a human shield...It felt like a promising start to the night, the actors looked incredible and never broke character, it was intense and at times rather claustrophobic.
After The Hole came ManorMortis Monastery, a haunted house style affair with a religious theme. The aesthetics of this house were very impressive and I found myself taking it all in, instead of being scared by the actors I was pointing out cool paintings on the wall. This maze represented Sloth, apparently. Overall it was good, but nothing too extreme.
Arcanum came next and it was the maze that never got started. Once you were in you were pretty much out. Had it been tacked onto the end of another one it could have fared better but as we left it to go out in the open everyone said, “Oh, was that it?” I don’t remember anything about it apart from sparks flying at the end, if the sins had been tenuous up until now, Arcanum’s Greed felt pointless.
Just when my excitement was waning the next maze saved it. Hell was the most fun out of all the mazes, here you come face to face with Satan himself and it is incredibly well done, keep looking up is all I’ll say!
Panic Chambers follows Hell but it probably should have come before as it’s rather confusing, and not the best way to end your experience. You have a series of challenges to get through to the exit, crawling through tight spaces (nothing too tight, I’m ridiculously claustrophobic and I was OK), finding your way through the dark, things like that. There is an actress who plays a Sci-Fi droid who greets you and gives you a spiel about how you’ve been exposed to a high amount of radioactivity and you will have to prove you are unaffected (this is gluttony by the way). She deserves a medal doing that all night, never breaking character and is the freakiest bit about the experience. This maze gets you a little dirty so be prepared, it’s rather hectic in there but that was probably due to the long queue now building up before it, the actors were almost rushing us out because it didn’t completely make sense.
Now, I did say that Panic Chambers was the end of the experience. This is isn’t completely true. There is an additional room that you have to pay extra for and full disclosure here, I did not take part in it. This room is now what Scare Kingdom is notorious for, Psychomanteum: Full Confession. It is a one on one experience that is only available to people aged 18 and over. Something that is referred to as “psychosexual” is not a place I want to be and makes me wonder what its place is in a fun, ridiculous horror night, but as I did not go through it I cannot comment. The website refers to it as, “a personal, sensory-deprived psychosexual scare entertainment experience.” There were rumours of people being sick from it, but who knows whether that’s true or just gossip from the controversy it brings.
Scare Kingdom works with you following a set path, you can’t really opt out of the attractions so those who scare easily be warned! It did feel a lot like we were herded cattle; when you finish one room you immediately joined the back end of the queue for the next one. There was a lot of waiting around which can’t be helped, but when it’s the height of the season the wait between rooms is going to be even worse and sometimes the payoff isn’t worth it. My main issue with Scare Kingdom is there’s no entertainment between the mazes, for other similar attractions I’ve been to, the atmosphere has been electric with music blaring and so many actors to take your picture with you’ll be selfie-ing for days, but at Scare Kingdom, standing out in the open with not many actors to keep you in the mood it was easy to forget why you were even there. Overhearing other people talk about what was for their dinner the next day really took me out of the experience and I felt rather bored in between mazes. There is a bar at the end with some food available but it’s a long wait from the start of your Scare experience and God help you if you need the bathroom. The park could work better if it focused on three big mazes instead of seven smaller ones, and you were able to float to whichever one you wanted.
Scare Kingdom is a good attraction for those just starting out in their Halloween haunted house experience (barring the 18+ room of course!), there’s plenty of fun scares but the logistics of the night really draws from the overall experience and unfortunately, there are better options not too far away.
Scare Kingdom's Seven Deadly Sins runs on on selected nights between October 3rd and November 7th inclusive. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to http://www.scarekingdom.com
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