We were given free tickets with fastrack entry to the mazes to experience this years Tulleys Shocktober Fest. 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 the 1st of October we headed down south just outside of Crawley to experience Tulleys Shocktober Fest which runs through October and into November. The park offers 10 scare mazes and the Circus of Horrors all included in the ticket price. Tulleys is like one big Halloween festival with rides, stages and live music and an epic street team that bring the event to life outside the mazes, along with a good selection of food and drink. The strongest maze of the night by a country mile was Wastelands Penitentiary and sadly the weakest was Hellements, the park's hooded attraction. The batching was mostly well timed throughout the attractions but we did have the 11 fasttracks which make the event a lot easier to handle.
Top Tips: Due to the size of the event if you want to try and experience everything Tulleys has to offer then we highly recommend the fasttrack.
Things that Bite: A lot of the acting style is very similar which can make the attractions feel very "samey".
Value for money: Absolutely
Scare Rating: 4/5
Do we recommend: Yes definately
Stalker Review (Our long review)
Tulleys Shocktober Fest is a massive event and when we say massive there are 10 mazes in total to combat. Alongside these mazes is the true festival atmosphere with live music, rides, a plethora of food and drink including 2 bars and to top it off, an elite street team that bring all that is outside of the mazes together into one amazing package. The street team has a vast collection of characters from the sultry naughty nurses who proclaimed Dan "master of the flaps" (which we should say now that this is in reference to vocal cords) to the gothic vampires, playful crazed clowns, a Frankenstein-esqe character with a tattered bride complete with a ghoulish green baby, and even Romeo and Juliet to add into the mix. When it comes to the street theatre there was not one weak act with each having character profile and nuances down to a tee, delivering exemplary performances alike. Tulleys also hosts a residency of the infamous Circus of Horrors which due to time constraints we had to sadly leave out, however, we are very aware of their work and the kind of nightmarish show they put on. Now it's time to get on to the mazes.
We started off with one of the most visually impressive entrances to an attraction we have ever seen. We are of course talking about Wastelands Penitentiary. Welcomed with piping music, fire and crazed inmate performers we made our way into the prison. Right from the get-go, this visually stunning attraction kicks off like a baseball bat round the head with actors waiting around every corner, each baying for blood, carnage and mayhem right up to the intense and chaotic finale in the cell block. The actors in this section work the frantic strobes with absolute perfection leaving you feeling very attacked from all angles until you escape the prison with one final scare and back out into the madness outside. We all agreed on leaving that it was one of the best mazes we had done and understood the hype of this titan of an attraction.
Next up was the new for 2022 Electrick Circus. This is Tulleys rethemed clown attraction which is always a staple of a scream park. As this was my first visit to Tulleys I can't compare it to its predecessor Twisted but I was told that the colour palette is completely different. This darker neon nightmare had us thinking that we would be going back to the days of Volt, expecting shock panels making us nervous about touching anything metal, this actually never happened which left us a little confused about the electric theme which we never really saw, however, this could have been down to the collection of clown inhabitants that made it their mission to take our attention with great delight and crazed glee. This maze also has a few tricks up its sleeve from vibrating floors, colourful strobes and even an optional claustrophobia tunnel that from the exit made you the literal "butt" of the joke.
Two mazes in and it was time to move on to The Cellar-Imprisoned. We headed into the dark of the cellar through the roots and undergrowth and before long we found ourselves within the lair of the "not so" trapped creatures beneath. I don't know what happened here but the acting within seemed quite low energy, maybe this was intentional to add to the stalking but we were just left a bit underwhelmed, The actors within did use every space they could think of (including the fire place) to try and terrorise but something just felt off, maybe it was just bad timing. We did appreciate the set design within and maybe in retrospect should have given this maze another run.
Next up was Chop Shop, a maze we had heard a lot about so expectations were high, Chop Shop started off strong with us winding our way around the garages and rusty relics with some perfectly timed scares and banter but before long we found ourselves in what makes the attraction infamous, the chaotic frenzy chainsaw maze. When we say there are a lot of chainsaws we mean it! I think every actor in the maze from this point was wielding a chainsaw, but this is sadly where we felt the fault came in. A chainsaw can be a great way to end a maze but when it becomes overdone it soon loses impact. This could simply be down to being somewhat immune to chainsaw scares and to scare newcomers this could be a terrifying attraction. This all being said the actors within were high energy and this was appreciated by all in our group.
Next up was the second new maze for 2022 DoomTown. Now this is one visually impressive attraction with every detail of a town you could think of. This included but was not limited to; A church, pub, market stalls, shops, a cinema, outdoor street sections and even real tarmac on the roads. When it comes to location design no expense is spared. Doom Town also features one of the most extreme "in-depth" smoke rooms we've ever seen where you literally can't see your hand in front of your face. The evils within Doom Town were a legion of the undead, each clawing for fresh flesh and new victims but due to the sheer scale of the attraction it soon began to feel samey with the actors all pretty much doing the same movements and sounds. I know you can't do too much with zombies but variety is the spice of life or in this case death and it would have been nice to see some faster more frantic zombies rather than the sedate and slow creatures that the attraction is full of which made for an underwhelming scare experience. This being said you have to experience DoomTown for the sheer volume and details of the sets rather than the scares in our opinion.
Now onto our 6th maze of the night, it was time to enter The Island. This is another long maze but unlike the others it is mostly outdoors so is best experienced at night. The story from what we could gather of The Island is that of a scientist who has created human/animal hybrids and we have been invited to their home more or less with the purpose of being food..... I think. This was a strong maze with some great actors within and some beautiful theming. It was also where we started to realise that the actors in some mazes speak a strange Latin-ish dialect which we now refer to as speaking in "Tull". The actors stalked, ran and chased us as we navigated this large attraction with one highlight in particular that we didn't see coming being the mud clearing. Our group was split up multicple times which added an extra layer to the attraction that we enjoyed. The Island was something a bit different and proved to be an interesting experience of the night.
Another past staple of scream parks that has dwindled down over the years is that of the hooded attraction and Hellements is Tulleys offering.Hellements is a relatively long hooded attraction with a lot of rope to follow in the darkness, but unfortunately, it seemed almost void of actors with very little happening other than regularly walking into the posts that hold the ropes up. What you will get however is key to its name, Elements. High blasts of wind, sprays of rain and even bursts of fire to add a little depth to this hooded maze. Leaving Hellements behind it was time for The Creepy Cottage, The original Tulleys maze. This was the ghostly creepy one, again, another trope regularly used in the scare maze arsenal. This is a beautifully themed attraction with some great sets, but while not being the longest maze it sure packed a punch for what it delivered with every actor being on point, making efforts at all times to try and land some scares, which lead to a chaotic curtain maze exit and proving although one of the oldest to be one of the stronger mazes of the night.
Next up was the Horrorwood Haunted Hayride which in the UK a hayride is a rarity. So it was interesting to see how Tulleys would take on this style of attraction. Now it's safe to say it's really not the scariest attraction in the world, but for what it lacks in scares it makes up in barrels for campness and humour. As stated in last year's review it really is best to experience this blind without knowing what you will meet along the way. Just sit back and enjoy some of the weirdest 8-10 minutes of your life as you meet an array of characters with all sorts of interaction. We left applauding and smiling and we think you will too. This leads us up to the final attraction Coven of 13. This attraction starts with a walk down into another deeply fog-filled room, not as strong as DoomTown but still very hard to see with just green illumination to guide the way. This leads us to the swamp, which has to be one of the longest airbag runs we've ever seen. Whilst this area did not have a lot of actors, the scares we did get were well timed. Coven of 13 again is quite a long attraction with a good mix of indoor and outdoor scenes which culminates in a very frantic and hot finale which saw the witches attack from every angle in the fog of the room. What we would like to mention was that Coven also is the only attraction that we know of at the park to have a full female cast which was great to see adding attention to narrative and detail.
And with that we have reached the end of another scare maze journey and what an epic quest it was. Just in time for the 10:30 pm big party on the main stage with all the roaming characters coming together for a big burst of late-night energy. Its clear to see that the variety in theme of attractions is quite vast at Tulleys Shocktoberfest however the only thing that was a little saddening was that in a lot of the attractions the acting style was a little repetitive and a little more English dialogue would have been appreciated over "Tull", But that being said we had a fantastic night at Tulleys and totally fell for the atmosphere of this southern scream park. Only one thing was left to do and that was one final run back in the Wastelands Penitentiary which was just as intense as before which left the night on a massive high. We want to give a huge thanks and a round of applause to the massive cast and of course all the crew too that bring this mammoth event together year after year. You guys are awesome!
Tulleys Shocktoberfest runs on the 7th,8th,9th,12th-16th,18th-23rd,25th-31st and the 4th and 5th of November. There are many ticket options available with the basic Scream Pass now allowing unlimited access to all 10 mazes. All the information can be found at the link below.
Reviewed by Dan and Dane