Like a seasonal special of a magazine, welcome to my bumper edition of all thing Halloween!
So this year, it started late September (we'll be doing it in August soon don't you worry, watch you backs Mickey's not so scary thing)
As per most seasons, it began with the press night at Thorpe
This is a fab way to try out the new rubbish
Before these metal fences get full of people
The two new Walking Dead mazes; Nightmare was lovely to look at, but far too open, far too short and had no ending. Very naff. Sanctum was even worse, like stupidly short.
Saw Alive is the same, Platform was much better with an actual middle section now. And Big Top is now a very well rounded, complete maze. Roamers this year were awful, bring back the good old roaming style of 2011. Theming was alright in places, places you don't expect. Like by Flying Fish
Preview night of Tulleys!
Felt very stale this year. Is it the first time we've not had something fully new? The tag onto Hellements just makes the thing bearable, Chop Shop is still a boredom machine of repetition. Colony and Cellar are still fab though and hayride a good laugh. But I feel they're pushing to have more mazes and losing quality? There'll be NINE next year. Europa has 5. Thorpe have 5. Most events are 5/6. Mad
The following weekend was back at Thorpe for the meet. Here's a nice photo of Swarm, cloud and Stealth.
And the Amity effect
Friday 13th. Would be rude not to go to an event. This started our trip to the midlands for 4 different Halloween events, starting at The Howl!
I have no photos from inside cos I was preoccupied! However, this event is much smaller than its sister, Tulleys. 5 mazes but all very close together and this really worked in my eyes. They had a few roamers but all the actors going to and from break would like run at people on route too. The clown maze was alright, hotel de basquerville had great sets, but the scares were very front heavy so being at the back did nothing for us. House of Hounds had such a build up, not an amazing middle but the best use of a puppet I've seen. It physically pushed you over in the claustrophobia tunnel. Then there was Squealers Yard and Shed. Squealers is one of the most intense mazes with being physical I've done. We went through as a 3, and the actors were crazy. And it just kept going! Shed was kinda like Cellar in that it had inhabitants and was conga, very well themed as well with some good jumps. Overall a fab little event. I think this is only its third year?
The next morning
Hi Mr Scarecrow, do you like all the bunting?
Scarefest, not to be confused with the later to be visited Screamfest 30 minutes down the road
Obligatory Nemesis photo
And bam. Maze building.
So the 3 in here.
Terror of the Towers- It's a solid maze, I said this last year and I stick by it. It works. If this was at Thorpe you wouldn't complain, it's only cos Towers make you pay for it and it's next to much more intense mazes. There's nothing wrong with it.
Altonville- We had an awful run through. No being dragged away, hardly any grabbing, caught up with like 2 other groups. I've heard this a lot about this one though this year. Real shame. It has an ending now though
Sub Species- Pre-show is still fun, the door scene good fun even if it's cut back slightly now. Seems hit or miss, me and Phill had good runs but Jack didn't. In general this year the actors seem less aggressive but Sub is still fun as it's an actual maze, a game. 2 endings as well now so I got a nice shiny new one, yay!
Then there's this one. Eh. It looks nice, if the SW8 queue gets some of these set pieces I'll be happy. But batching in like 25 people at a time yeah. All odd. No ending really. Idk. Eh.
Oh look, a place that knows how to do a scare zone
Simple yet fun!
Have a nice Smiler photo
And off we went to Screamfest!
5 mazes. As per starting with the clown one. Decent enough, really like this entrance feature though
Little DJ in a box with lights. He seemed like a cool guy
Strategic photo to have crap next to it? Maybe. It is pretty naff. Bland walls, nothing happening. Worst new thing
There was a fire 'show'. Roaming people with fire at other events were better but hey ho.
Soul Seekers had a great start, got lost in the middle then no end. Love Hurts is brill. Such a cool concept going into the sewers, completing weird tasks by a crazy scientist to perfect matching up singles
And then the other new maze. Starts with a little tractor ride around a hill, then you arrive at the party to "enjoy" the local corn maize. But, a lunatic has also just escaped jail with his banditos. And it all goes mad. Actor runs through the corn, 4 things that feel finale worthy but it isn't over. So much fun, kept going, glad it was left till last! And that's Screamfest, some good concepts and mazes, then some awful ones.
Back at Towers the next day we decided to go family friendly with a flash mob from the awesome ancestors
And House of Monsters! They really need to advertise this more, it's so much fun and worth every single penny of the £5. Cheesy as a slab of cheddar but a great laugh and interesting little maze ending
A fun photo of Smiler
Another flash mob
And off we went to Twinlakes for Xtreme Scream Park
With roaming actors who know how to pose perfectly. Ta mate
6 mazes, 2 rides and a load of roaming actors. We were all very much looking forward to this one especially after the stuff we'd heard. Stilton Hall Hotel was insane. 2 floors, a full hotel tour, and some crazy even kinky actors
Hoodoo Voodoo. The best hooded maze I've done. Was like a funhouse with changing floors, wall texture, actors etc and had a decent post hood section with huge voodoo dolls, and an odd finale
Just a roamer, but better than the previous nights 'show'
The Village was long. But a good long. 4 different building, one being a creepy school with a cool blackboard effect. Only thing that let it down for us was the finale or kinda lack off. Something we'd noticed a lot this year in general from events
First half of Pie Factory we saw no actors, just loads of actor runs and potential. Then we caught up with a chain of people and actors. Shame as this maze had massive potential but ending up in a huge group ruined the second half
The night ended in jail. There was some really cool effects in here, and again a decent length, plus the façade is just great with the guntower going out onto the lawn of the events like arena. There wasj ust no ending! And that concludes our weekend away!
As storm *MET office being stupid so want to name everything that has a bit of wind or rain or storm storm name here* I headed down to Dreamland for the first time
It's a cute little park with some great vintage rides
The famous "Lets piss off the local flats with a loud coaster" Magic Mouse (no joke, this thing pretty much rests alongside their balconies, even waved at someone who wasn't as impressed)
And a wacky worm. Technically a bee actually. With 4 or 5 laps. Can't remember but it was too many
To kill some time we went to a shell grotto. Yup. It is what it says on the door
Enough of that nonsense, Screamland time! 6 mazes and a photo opportuning shipping container
The maze in the mirror maze is a joke its so short. But has a cool show start. Brotherhood is a new maze, hooded but different and quite a cool hooded concept. Considering the number of hooded mazes I've done this year, we didn't hate it. Carnival of Freaks, great start with Alfonso, weird ending where they trap you in a room that looks like the start. Crank Jack killed our knees, you are crawling for so long! The ending is cool though, we got so lost we ended in an actor spot and got screamed at (in character). Prop store was annoying, had some really nice old Screamland stuff but with a pulsing strobe so you can't properly see it. And then a very expected photo finale. Final cut and Dead n Breakfast is a cool concept going from one maze straight into another. The smells were authentic like popcorn, and a few cool effects but not as good as I'd been told they were in previous years
And then to end the Halloween season like a pro, 2 years running.
Howl'o'ween. Curse of lost tomb is worse, they don't do half the interactive stuff anymore. Roaming actors were a major plus this year, Tomb Blasters queue had like 5 in. Creepy Caves is great. They can't run a timed ticket system at all, we waiting nearly 80 minutes in the queue but the maze was good. Good story, cool concepts and effects. After the first scene I had no idea where we were in relation to the caves.
So overall, a fab spooky season! Hopefully next year will be just as eventful