On Friday 4th of October the PSG team split for the evening as Dom and Amber hit up Tulleys Shocktober Fest, Myself and Pagan headed north for Blackburn and of course Scare Kingdom which we had been so kindly invited too. After 3 hours of the M6, Or as I and Pagan now see it..."Bonding Time" we arrived at Mrs Dowsons Farm for my first SK Halloween event and Pagans first ever SK event. Now I have been known to waffle on with my reviews so i'll try and keep it blunt or as blunt as I can but I will warn you im on the rum tonight.
The Parlour Starting with SK's opening act, a trip into The Parlour to meet with the fantastic Madame Miss Fortune, A somewhat familiar face who seemed to recognize me as well with a few tongue in cheek jabs placed here and there. This fun opening scene had us in a seance calling on the spirits which were fun, creepy and had an absolutely hilarious ending with some fantastic sleight of hand and some UV trickery. The spirits were awoken and Madame Miss Fortune asked us to go out of the room and through the door. Our Pagan thought the door was a metaphor to be walked through quite literally, I can still hear the face-slap now. On exiting the Parlour we met two fantastic queens. Their names, Saggy and Grim.
The Paradise Foundation
For myself, the most anticipated of the nights' offerings illuminated in a foreboding blue glow a building which I previously saw on other events which i believe hosted "The Sickness". I was expecting a mashup of Xtreme Screams Stilton Hall and Alton Towers' The Sanctuary but what we had within was something much more unique. Greeted by staff in full whites and block white makeup, black lips and eyes and accented with hypnotic blue lights on their costumes it was time to find out if we were Patron or Provider? After a short preview video and our bodies bid on by unseen eyes it was time to enter into the depths. Not exactly a hospital but a true business complex. Complete with disturbing characters(The Lard)"Think Pearl from Blade" that soon turned more sinister. Taking away from the standard uses of chainsaws; Paradise Foundation took a twist of faux tasers to make sure we were headed in a dark game of cat and mouse in the cells before meeting Titus Gold himself which turned the nightmare to a dream for this one reviewer =p.
Manormortis - Borley Rectory
Now before I start this im going to say MM is such a beautiful attraction it really can not be understated. This incarnation was taking us in to face the haunting of the Nuns of Borely Rectory. Which appeared through the Manor at varied intervals. Some scenes we weren't sure whether or not to stand still or carry on so one particular seance scene we feel we may have walked through too quickly. The Manor as always is a dark and undulating maze of theatrical rooms and corridors fully working on the attractions sheer size. And the misty final room finale did catch me off guard. But it has to be said the masks in question to show the Nuns did look a little oversized which slightly took away from the experience which was unfortunate to say. But all in all an enjoyable experience nonetheless.
BLITZ This honestly gave such a simple and effective feeling to the experience ahead and to be honest its simplicity was almost nodding to the attraction ahead.Blitz in its simplest form is a maze of black unthemed corridors which normally you would shudder at the thought of an attraction being left so bare... But when told you must seek refuge from the bombs within this old church and that the refugees have changed, It all starts to turn a bit more sinister. I was honestly stood with images from the Unquiet Child from Dr Who. Now the beauty in its basic design... Your only light is one torch for the entire group handed to the one in the middle "yours truly" Now your pathway and your sight are negated by one person in the group and if they are like me take great pleasure in the torch "randomly" going out and occasionally strobing. But with your sight removed so much the pure claustrophobia of the corridors became much more apparent with gas-masked evils popping out from all spaces at all times. Such a simple and basic attraction which to be honest surprised us in all the best ways.
Bodysnatchers - Sweeny Todd
Working our way around the many elaborate scenes of Bodysnatchers it became soon quite apparent of just how long the maze is! Many times I was convinced the end was just around the corner to be cruelly challenged by more creatures within...I say, creatures, More victorian whores it would seem. The cage corridor created some great tension with a copper not letting us forward and the back of the group being advanced on by previous assailants. But the crescendo of this version of Bodysnatchers was a very very well choreographed meeting with the demon barber himself before the finale of frantic strobes to the exit and on to our second from the last offering.
Hooded attractions are a very interesting breed. They can be intense"The Hunted", They can be game-changing creative "Hoodoo Voodoo", But then they can also be a filler "Molly Crowe" and sadly this is kinda where the Hoodening fell for me at least. Maybe this was because of the shows that precede it but there was a feeling of something missing. Not "Vulcan Peak" missing but the story left you wanting more, Again I put alot of this down to Scare Kingdom being so theatrically driven with such strong experiences. I'll try to explain.Upon entering The Hoodening you are met by a fantastic greeting character, Excitable yet sinister like she had been taken out of the world of Midsommar. She played the Wickerman-esqe pagan villager exceedingly well setting up story and theme. Our time then came to be hooded and taken as one of the sacrifices. Now we can confirm here that SK does not spare the horses when it comes to hood cleanliness. The downside of this was the alcohol wash base for us at least became uncomfortably heady and very hard to breathe. We began our blinded trip into the depths of The Hoodening with the usual taps, strokes and rope moving before getting to our finale "The sacrificial chamber".Dehooded and faced with an absolutely beautiful set piece of a skeletal half human half horse easily 6-7 ft high. Stood to face this creature not really alot happened, The chamber was very very lit up and when told to go it kinda left us a little unsure if we had missed some part that had not worked. Once again it has to be stated that this set piece was visually impressive and with the right strobes and smoke could really creep people out.
Psychomanteum-Trick or Treat
As always this part of the review will be left somewhat ambiguous but in all honesty, Psychomanteum should always be experienced blind. The only info we were given was it was best to enter as a 2 instead of the usual 1 this time round to play on this versions gameshow aesthetic. As you can imagine there was the usual profanity, manhandling, nudity, edibles(Much to Pagan's disdain and lack of gag reflex) and opportunities to get wet from unsettling means. But it was possibly the most times I've laughed in the clinic so far. With two potential endings depending on what you choose within it was soon decided on exit that another run was needed, The second time however we decided it was time for PSG vs Scare Directory, Switching partners to see the other side of the show. Depending on the ending you get you might see more nudity than you anticipate but all in all its the Psychomanteum experience we here at PSG love soooo much!
Scare Kingdom can be found at Scare Kingdom Scream Park, Hawkshaw Farm Park, Longsight Road, Clayton le Dale, Blackburn, BB2 7JA. Tickets and more details can be found at Scare Kingdom's Website.
So that brings our Halloween trip to Scare Kingdom to an end. We also spent the time there with two familiar faces, Ashley and Josie, our friends from Scare Directory. As always it is a stellar attraction with fantastic scenes and mazes. Acting on point and we can not wait to see what winter holds for Manormortis-Body Snatchers and the Christmas edition of Psychomanteum!We'd like to say a huge thank you to Scare Kingdom Scream Park for inviting us up to visit and a huge thank you to all the team and actors involved with making Scare Kingdom amazing!