The Slasher Review
On Monday 18th of October, we visited the Alton Towers Resort for the annual Scarefest event. Scarefest hosts 4 scare mazes, live stage entertainment as well as street performers. Alongside the mazes is a wide selection of food and drinks stalls that are all on the lawns outside the Towers. Our best maze of the event was The Altonville Mine Tours with Freakshow: Toxic Junkyard being the weakest of the 4. Mostly across the mazes the actors were on point and were spread out for some great scares. One thing that Scarefest always does so well that has to be mentioned is the maze theming. So do look out for the set designs when you visit. The day was slightly marred by some considerable downtime across the rides but we do believe this might have been down to the weather conditions being wet most of the day. NEW for 2021 is Trick O Treat Town but due to time constraints, we left this out.
Tips for the event - Book the mazes for early time slots as the queues can get quite long later into the evening leaving little time for night riding.
Things that bite -The Scarefest theming, although good, does seem sadly quite limited to the front of the park only.
Value for Money - Definitely
Scare Rating - 3/5
Do we recommend- Absolutely
FOR A MORE IN-DEPTH REVIEW PLEASE READ BELOW
The Stalker Review
Alton Towers Scarefest features all the goodness of the Alton Towers rides and combines them with some of the best themed mazes in the country. Alongside the 4 mazes are live entertainment in the form of street actors such as the Alton Towers Ancestors. On the lawns throughout the day and into the evening is a stage show too. Also on the lawns is a large selection of food and drink from churros, loaded fries and a big sausage to hot chocolate, mulled wine and German beers just to name a few. As night falls you can ride the coasters at night which in many a case changes the whole experience of the ride and alters the atmosphere of the area in the park. Now onto the mazes.
We started with The Attic: Terror of the Towers which take us into a gothic nightmare tale of the governess, her charges and their sad fate. The Attic starts with a queue past various Victorian artefacts before heading into a small room to learn the story of the Attic. Sadly, like many times before, being at the back of the group left us missing the start of the story. Once upstairs the very animated actors started to shine, although some of the dialogue did seem somewhat repetitive. As we ventured further into the maze we were hit with some great jump scares coming from all angles. The demon finale is where we saw a change really for the better. Now using a sideward approach, this finale scare no longer seems limited to the front guest experience. Leaving the Attic we were all chatting about how much it surprised us, it was a great start to the Scarefest mazes.
Next up was Darkest Depths. On entering the queue line we were met by a fantastic pirate providing some on-point banter all fitting with the theme. We do love to see this kind of improv. We then moved into the tavern to learn the story of The Mutiny, again led by a fantastic actor that added so much to the build-up of the show. Darkest Depths has some beautiful sets that follow the tavern combining smells, lighting and even water effects along the way. Along the route, we came across the scene of the collapsing/capsizing ship. This scene alone was fantastic and made so by the actors with the way they use physicality to stumble, trip and fall around the decking. It was inspired and added to the chaos of the scene. The finale of the maze features something close to Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean providing some near-miss shots with some pretty long tentacles. The only thing we were saddened not to have seen or possibly missed was the Sirens and the Kraken eye but that aside it was a strong run through Darkest Depths which lead us onto...
Freakshow:Toxic Junkyard. Last year we had such good runs through this maze so we were highly excited to enter back into Barb Dwyers reclaim yard. We entered in with good batching. Toxic Junkyard has many scenes to go through that seem to get weirder and trippier the further you go in, But something seemed a miss. Last time, two rooms in and we were bombarded with actors with high energy but this time very little seemed to happen, The clowns we did see later on did try and pick up the energy but the lack of actors really started to let down the attraction. We kept holding out hope that it would get better the more we walked but then it dawned on us, It no longer felt like a maze rather a scare zone with a few roamers in-between. We did like the addition of foam but foam alone cant save a maze. Luckily we still had the infamous chainsaw run left. Getting ready to run we entered past the start line and then....nothing. There were chainsaw actors in there but nothing really seemed to happen. It was a case of step forward, rev chainsaw 5 seconds and step back. There was no energy at all. Last year we ran through the finale, this year we walked through hoping for a surprise that never came. Leaving Junkyard we all said the dreaded words, "Was that it" and "Oh Dear". Toxic that was such a stand out last year had just dropped to our weakest of the night. Just seems such a shame. Maybe the actors were told not to go all out, maybe they were short on staff, but whatever the reason it unfortunately showed. Feeling a little deflated we headed to the final maze of the night
Altonville Mine Tours :Legend of the Skinsnatchers. Now it has to be said in the past Dane and I have had yet to have a good run through the mines so our expectations were low. How wrong we were. Right on meeting "Brother" at the entrance we knew that we might be in for a treat. He was a larger than life actor who blew us away with his high energy rendition of the legend of the skin snatchers. Next up was the equally impressive "Sister", Although her part was a lot more sinister and creepy. To pardon the pun "She got under your skin". These roles were expertly cast with the perfect people to set the scene for the maze ahead. Our dismay from Junkyard had just been replaced with high anticipation for whatever lay ahead. The mines started slow with eerie shafts and near dark corridors but it was not long until we got to meet the rest of the family. Every actor/actress we met along the way through Skinsnatchers was on point. Honestly, there was not one bad or low energy member of the team and this has to be recognised. Jump scares came from all angles combined with long sustained intimidating scares, leading to the bright orange strobe glow finale where everything went right and for the first time had me running to the exit, A rare sight indeed. The combination of chaotic strobes, masses of smoke and me running straight into the gun table to see the shotgun pointed straight at me was such a shock to the system in all the best ways. We exited Skin laughing and cheering. What a great way to finish the evening's mazes.
So this brings us to the end of our review of Scarefest. Like stated before, Trick O Treat town was the new for 2021 family-orientated attraction but due to time constraints we had to miss. In order from top to bottom we found Skin Snatchers taking the top spot, Then The Attic, 3rd Darkest Depths and Toxic Junkyard being bottom. But that being said all maze runs are subjective and can vary, this is just the review of how the mazes ran for us on the night. We do also feel we need to mention this. Our team went on various nights and the consistency seems to be the same on all the nights. The only problem that any of us really encountered was staff giving different information regarding Ride Access Pass access to the mazes with some of the staff actually being quite rude when asked. Of course this was passed to guest services but we wouldn't feel right not mentioning that it was an issue especially considering this year was the first year they had introduced the RAP access to the mazes.
Alton Towers Scarefest has now finished and the resort closes on the tonight and will reopen in March but until then you can find more information on the Alton Towers website.