We were given free tickets and fasttrack to experience this year's The Howl. Whilst we were given the free tickets, we have full editorial control of what our review of the event says.
Slasher Review(Our short review)
On Sunday 16th of October, We were invited down to The Howl at Open Mead Farm. The Howl features 6 scare mazes. Those being The Attic, Red, Toppers Twister, The Shed, Squealers Yard and the New for 2022 Howl Valley High, Also included in the ticket is The Circus of Horrors. The event also features 2 DJ stations, a semi-enclosed bar area and a selection of food and drink outlets. Alongside a fantastic street team that really knows how to banter and interact with guests. Toppers Twister came out at the bottom of the pile with Red and Howl Valley High taking the joint top spot.
Top Tips-Work from the back of the park to the front.
Things that bite-Some mazes do batch in very large groups
Value for Money-Totally
Scare Rating- 4.5/5
Do we recommend-100% YES
Stalker Review(Our Long Review)
On Sunday 16th of October, we were invited to head down south to just outside Leighton Buzzard to take on The Howl at Open Mead Farm and for Dan and Dane, this would be the first time as well. This being the first time, we were going only off the reputation of what we had heard from other reviewers. We arrived to see fire erupting from the shipping container entrance and hearing the screams from within.
Upon entrance to the park, you soon get the Halloween festival vibe we have all come to know and love. Street performers interact from the get-go, with the first being a couple from Squealers Yard, The perfect hillbilly pig/men hybrids. Equally rude and entertaining in good measure and completely unafraid to take the humour to the darkest of places. As we continued down the path we decided it was time to get our scare on and head into the first attraction of the night, The Attic. The Attic tells a story of an abandoned hotel, not the most original of narratives but I suppose the haunted hotel is a staple theme of the scream park collection. From the outside expectations were a little low but how wrong we were to judge this book by its cover. From the moment we entered this beautiful attraction we were met by energetic actors one after another using every vantage point possible to lay a good scare. We especially liked the stairway/hallway scene with an actor almost crawling backwards towards the balustrade. And just when you think you have come to the end, The Attic sends you upstairs to its namesake and up into the rafters for more well-timed scares and stunning scenes and invoking scents, before coming back down again and making our way to the exit on which we all left on a high.
Next up was Red, A dark re-telling of the childhood favourite. Again from the outside it seemed a little unassuming but before long we were back into a new world of amazing themed sets, we began to realise maybe this is the standard set by The Howl and if so we love it. From the moment we entered Red the actors started a creepy assault of stalking and chasing along through the many twists and turns of the sets. One particular scare sent our friend Abby practically flying into a corner, let's just say "the wolf found her". The deeper we entered Reds territory the quicker the scares came leading up to a final scare none of us saw coming and running for the door. Time for another scare we headed into Toppers Twister, The Howl's clown attraction. The first thing we noticed and loved was that the briefing was done in the style of a poem, it really set the scene for the maze to come. Toppers starts slow with a curtains maze but before long you will be meeting the cheery clowns within, I think this is why we rated Toppers low, The clowns seem to have been instructed to be more funny than scary and this brief was passed to all. This was sadly the downfall of TT, What we will say is we did enjoy the improv skills of this cast, highlights such as "Don't touch my blue balls" and the clowns finding out about Danes's alter ego caused an uproar of COLIN! I think the other problem we had was in comparison to The Attic and Red theming-wise so far, Toppers just didn't seem to reach the same high standard. We can't say there was a weak actor as all were doing their best but it just seemed like they had been instructed just to be funny in a maze with a scare rating of 7.
After a short break, we headed to our next maze of the night, The Shed. The Shed for Dan started rather rocky, not for the fault of the maze but his inability to find and open a door. However, once in the hunt was truly on and the "if we can say this" Inbred hillbilly inhabitants inside were truly on the warpath! Every space you could think of possible had some kind of interaction laying in wait and the number of scares they landed on our group was phenomenal, they honestly never let up. One part, in particular, was the up close and personal moment with the guy on a chain in some kind of kitchen scene we think it was. He was intimidating and aggressive in good measure and made it almost impossible for Abby to move forward which was great to watch from a distance. The only thing that we didn't really see or maybe missed due to moving so fast at this point was the noticing of a finale scene that's not saying that it wasn't there, we vaguely remember a gun of sorts but either way the group ran for the exit. Leaving on a massive high we headed to our next maze of the night, Squealers Yard. Another theme that has become well-known in the scare industry is that of "Pigmen" Mazes and Squealers Yard is The Howl's addition to this theme. From start to near finish the yard is littered with actors all waiting for fresh meat. Straight off the bat Squealers Yard starts strong with a great scene including a gruesome full-length human spitroast which makes a beautiful set piece. Alongside a fantastic actor leading the scene into the butchery ahead. Just like The Shed, Every space you could think of and some you would never guess was used to assault guests coming through. We especially liked the use of real item sets, such as horse boxes, caravans and even a transit van which all added to the experience of the maze. We were totally on edge until the very last scene, a long corridor with plastic sheets, an intermittent strobe and a shed load of smoke, we all knew what was coming as we made our way forward to the exit, but sadly on our run, the finale effect had a malfunction or so it seemed and we missed the final scare. Other than that one blip though, Squealers Yard remained a fantastic attraction that delivered top scares in some stunning sets.
Leaving Squealers Yard we stopped for some food but not before bumping into another fantastic set of street theatre actors. A hilarious and creepy duo which excelled in the banter we have come to know and love in the form of a Magician and his suffering assistant. We sadly missed their names but I'm sure they will know who they are. Now to spend a moment to gush over the food, Possibly the best Nachos and Loaded Fries we have ever had at a scream park and reasonably priced too at around £5 each. Bellies nicely satisfied it was time to head to the final maze of the night, the new for 2022 Howl Valley High. Now upon entry to this attraction, it's clear to see its new straight off with the full video intro which has been professionally produced and really sets the scene for the amazing maze ahead. We were new freshmen of the semester and ready to take on our year at the school, unfortunately, for us at least, the existing students of this murderous establishment are not so welcoming. The sets inside have had no idea spared, from the entry halls, classrooms and locker rooms down to a full prom dance floor, seriously Howl Valley High is one impressive attraction to look at. Then we have the plethora of characters, The geeks, jocks, faculty and even the prom king and queen all await you in the halls of Howl Valley High, what was nice is the use of sustained scares and not just impact like Squealers and The Shed. It is these moments when the actors could really play with the guests and work their macabre magic in creating a strong narrative whilst also delivering scares in scenes. Our only downfall of the maze was the shower room at the end, we walked and waited for an actor amongst the steam/smoke but nothing ever came, other than that Howl Valley High was an exemplary attraction and we hope it stays for years to come. Now due to Dan's back pain kicking in pretty bad by now, we decided to leave Circus of Horrors due to the seating and head back to the car.
We want to give a huge thank you to The Howl for inviting us along to experience this year's event and a mahoosive congratulations to the entire cast and crew behind The Howl. We had such an amazing night and we can't wait to come back again. If after reading this you want to give The Howl a go, you can book tickets at the link below.
Written by Dan and Dane