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Screamfest 2023

Our Slasher Review

All Hallows Eve this year took me to Screamfest near Burton Upon Trent. An age-old favourite scare attraction. Sold as 7 attractions, (5 mazes, a mini circus and a paintball experience) with fairground attractions and a plethora of food and drink vendors. The top maze of the night was Creed Farm and the weakest was Freakout OnTour. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances and the early closing of the attractions. I only managed to review 4 of the mazes, leaving Love Hurts and Area 52 (the paintball experience)out of the mix. I have to reiterate that this was 100% for our safety and that of the actors and staff on site.


Top Tips-Top tips: In order to get the most out of the evening book, the earliest slot of 18:30. This gives you a chance to explore all attractions, including the entertainment on stage, food and refreshments

Things that Bite-The introduction to single-use plastic cups comes with a compulsory extra fee. This was for drinks served at the official Screamfest bar. Upon leaving the cup would be swapped for a new one there was no refund. I appreciate the effort to support the prevention of single-use plastic, however, the cup, a lovely souvenir will rarely be used again and will sit in my cupboard. If paper or compostable cups were used, this would have more use in the environment.

Value for Money-Cost of admission £37 allowed me to access all 6 attractions. Fairground rides came at a separate cost and a price for token system. For a peak-time price, this was affordable and I would definitely purchase it again.

Scare Rating- 4.8/5

Do we recommend-Absolutely


Our Stalker Review

Creed Farm

Walking into Creed Farm you are split into 2 sections deemed 'quality control' following nothing but a rope you are blind to what is around the corner. Clay or Abel will guide you deeming you worthy for the slaughter.

Butchers, farmers and distorted scarecrows are just a few of the well-rounded characters that shape this maze. Each section clearly shows the process of a meat farm with a terrifying twist; quality control, butchers, incinerator and canteen.


There was a mixture of decoys webbed within this maze and multiple pathways meaning that this maze can be attempted multiple times with the potential for different scares each time. There were sections of thick smoke rooms where you were unable to see the actors till the last second. The number of admittance ruined some of the scares as this didn't give actors the time to reset. This didn't bode well for the chainsaws as they couldn't scare multiple times and I found some customers walking past which was unfortunate for the actor.


In terms of acting it is clear that extensive practice and training was put into making this maze what it is. However, it was very clear within the whole maze this had been the case the whole season. It was nice to see some young blood in the mix that will grow with age and experience



Hillbilly Joe's Zombee Zoo

We shall start with some pros and cons.

Pro-Amazing cast, creative, multi-levels and aesthetically pleasing.

Con-Timing of the beginning and waiting.


The year before last this maze was my favourite due to the set design, costumes and sheer obscurity of it all. This year, it did not disappoint. I love this maze, not for the scares but the costumes, acting and set design. It is funny and there isn't a part of this maze that lacks.

Lighting within the first few rooms meant that the timing was out for when the actors were meant to scare customers as they entered. This wasn't something they could control and held it together really well.


Characters in this insane maze include; cheerleaders, chickens, Santa and hot dog. Yes, a zombie hotdog.

Each area for them is also themed with a few roaming farmers with some great comedy lines. There was a small amount of waiting towards the end probably due to the tunnels customers having to crawl through.

The set for this maze gives you so much to look at from old cars to misspelt signposts. A variation of environments such as shipping containers, huts and tunnelling. There were a few unexpected jumpscares but this did not phase me.

This maze is set out like a zoo and does its very best to portray that, right down to the gift shop



Insomnia

The storyline was odd and sometimes misleading however as soon as we realised it was nightmares the young girl was facing most of it made sense. However, the Victorian era didn't make sense apart from 'Cracker Jack the Ripper'.

Though there were questionable links in these night terrors, the little girl was always present calling out for mummy linking each scene back to the overall hanging story. For my company for the evening, a mother herself, she found this part harrowing proving that all nightmares have different effects on all.


The set design for this was cleverly created. A dentist's surgery with the vibrating floor and the illusion that the room is getting smaller, just like your dreams. The Victorian pub and back alley were a brilliant set design. However the 21st century cannibal animatronic didn't link with the Victorian era. I also struggled to see how the era itself linked to the nightmares that the girl would naturally fear.


Moving on to the bed sheet maze and the black and white bedroom finale.

This builds up lots of suspense as you watch a scene through the window and 'Cracker Jack' disappears. This maze got me howling in fear due to this amazing jumpscare at the end. This maze attempts to play with your own fears and nightmares which I think is very clever.


Freakout On Tour

This maze had had a switch up from previous years, however, this doesn't mean it was for the better. Previously a circus that sadly burnt down, wreckless teenage youths have taken over and turned it into a rave.

The storyline was told over speakers in the queue line and the brief introduction by a teen raver himself. Sadly it ended there.


This maze, unlike the other repeats, I feel has seen better days. There were very few actors in this maze and found myself stomping through ankle-high mud looking into dismal unlit wacky mirrors.

This maze needed more lighting and perhaps a few more strobes to liven it up.

The actors who were present tried their best to carry the narration. There were pauses throughout the maze where actors sorted you into doors or led you down the wrong paths. There were also 2 very strong male actors within the middle of the maze who gave brilliant scares and really knew what they were doing.


Unfortunately, after this maze, we were escorted/evacuated off-site due to a health and safety risk. We only had one maze left to do which would have been "Love Hurts". The staff were very professional and caused minimal panic. Overall it was a fantastic night all entertainment was on point and in line with the high standard set by the Screamfest team. I want to say a huge thank you to all the actors and staff on this great night that had an unfortunate ending, you are all fantastic.


Screamfest has now closed for the season but if you wish to view their website you can do so at the link below.




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