The Slasher Review - (Our short review)
On Wednesday the 6th of October we visited Xtreme Scream Park at Melton Mowbray's Twinlakes Park. The event runs on multiple nights throughout October. Xtreme Scream hosts 6 scare mazes, 1 scare zone, 2 rides, fire and burlesque acts and roaming characters across the park. Xtreme Scream Park also has a small selection of hot food offerings and a bar next to the Zombie Paintball attraction. Hoodoo Voodoo was the best maze of the evening with Ash Hell Penitentiary, unfortunately, being the weakest. Sadly it has to be said that the acting level seemed like a rather simp[le and like a basic level of training had been implemented. The batching was also problematic with it being no more than 10 to 20 seconds apart (although it was a quietish night) leaving us meeting the guests in front of us in every maze except for Hoodoo Voodoo. The food seemed a little pricey with a portion of cheesy chips coming to £5.
Tip for the event: Head to the back of the park first. Most seem to head to Hoodoo Voodoo or Belvoir Manners first.
Things that bite: Batching times for the mazes are far too short even when there is very little queue to the attraction.
Value for money: Yes but improvements could be made.
Scare Rating: 3/5
Do we recommend: Yes
FOR A MORE IN-DEPTH REVIEW PLEASE READ BELOW
The Stalker Review-(Our long review)
Xtreme Scream Park hosts 6 scare mazes that either feature or are housed in purpose-built buildings, no marquees or tents here. As well as fire performers and burlesque from the amazing Toxic Dolls there is street entertainment from Fancy providing a range of characters to bump into around the park's dimly lit pathways. Also on offer is a small selection of food and drink, a fun but short scare zone which features a nod to the past clown attraction Curtains Chaos, Zombie Paintball and 2 rides being Excaliber (A small Star Flyer) And Jesters Revenge ( A colourful themed Teacups ride). Xtreme Scream has been known in the past for very intense and in some cases aggressive mazes which lead to some unforgettable runs however it has to be mentioned early that there seemed to be a distinct lack of actors in the mazes which lead to some quiet spaces between scenes. So intro over let's get into the mazes.
We started at Ash Hell Penitentiary and with no queue at all it seemed like we had found the best way to start our night. However, not long on entering the prison-themed attraction we met the group ahead so sadly the majority of the scares were focused on the new front of our group. Ash Hell has a reputation for being an aggressive attraction with a lot of hands-on interaction. The opening year, 2015, was especially hands-on, so it's hard not to judge on past standards. I don't know if it's down to actor training but the run seemed very lacklustre with the attraction relying on animatronics to deliver scares where actors could be and when actors were around there was a lot of repeated dialogue " I'm going to eat you" rather than anything inspired. It seemed like a here's your script and off you go attitude was given to the actors, which is a shame. Leaving Ash Hell we decided to head to the newest attraction Ashes to Earth.
Ashes to Earth is the parks new corn maze attraction. This maze we were especially excited for as Xtreme Scream has a reputation of first-year mazes being fantastic. We entered the maze with very little queue but as before, soon after entering we found ourselves meeting the group ahead. What we loved about Ashes to Earth was although the corn was short there was beautiful lighting and music within and if you listen carefully you might just recognise one of the audio tracks that was used back in 2008 as Thorpe Park Fright Nights Stealth area music. (For anyone interested it is Graveyard by Midnight Syndicate).The other thing that has to be mentioned was unlike most corn mazes Ashes To Earth features 4 or 5 indoor sections which have been lovingly themed to Xtreme Screams's known standards. There is one "effect" if you could call it that in a caravan which left the whole group laughing because there was no way of expecting it to happen. So that's the pros but sadly there are some cons that seem to be the feature of the evening. For a new maze the number of actors within were quite low, although the actors within tried hard to deliver scares. The other thing that left us longing was trying to understand the themes of some of the rooms, was it a drug trip? were we under the influence of some deity? Who knows, It just seemed in places that Ashes to Earth is weird for the sake of weird and adds little to the story. For a new attraction, although it is fun , it doesn't seem to blow you away like past new mazes have and to some extent, it feels like more of a filler.
Next up was Belvior Manners which like the mazes before had a very short queue. I counted the time we waited before being sent into the maze and it was a total of 11 seconds. I think we were about 4 scenes in before meeting the group ahead. It has to be mentioned, we did try to hold back in all the mazes but were instructed by actors to keep moving forward. Belvoir Manners features some absolutely stunning scenery and it's very hard to work out what's Belvior Manners and what is from the old Stilton Hall Hotel so the design team has to be commended on that. As we headed round the attraction, again we met a distinct lack of actors and a focus on animatronics which after the 4th one really seems to lose impact and just becomes one of those "oh look it's another animatronic ...yay" moments. The actors that feature in Belvoir Manners definitely seemed into their roles, delivering well thought out dialogue and providing some well-timed jumps. The thing that left us lacking was Belvoir Manners is such a stunning attraction but there seems to be no noticeable finale which is a shame but of all the mazes so far this is where we started to get some impact from actors which was great to see.
After a short break for food and a stop to check out the fantastic Georga and Ellise from Toxic Dolls spitting fire into the night sky and doing things that I'm sure I was told not to do with fire in school. Honestly holding flames in your teeth although impressive to look at feels very much like dating with death. Toxic Dolls also features a burlesque act featuring pole dancing too. We headed to our 4th maze of the night The Village. (Due to fact that I have such a history with The Village, I thought it best that Dane reviews this maze). The Village is a huge attraction featuring 5 indoor scenes and a number of outdoor sections. With no queue outside we headed straight in, about 10 seconds later we realised that the group behind us had been sent in so our group of 4 was now a 10. Entering the first building, the house, we were met with very few actors and what actors we did see did very little for impact scares and the script seemed to only go as far as "get out!". Leaving the house we entered the garage where we started seeing the scarecrows taking over, or rather we would have if the scene had more than 3 actors. It has to be said they did manage to deliver some good jump scares. After a short walk from the garage with some obnoxious animatronics in-between, we entered the school. The music in this scene seemed especially loud which meant alot of the dialogue was lost but one actor did stand out which was the school teacher who was threatening us with detention and slamming his ruler on the tables. This actor was working well with the room and using it to his full advantage. At this point, we had met the next group ahead so a conga-line was forming just as Dan anticipated it would. After another outdoor section was the lab. Just like the rooms before there was, once again, a distinct lack of actors and the ones we saw didn't really do much. Our group, now at around 16, headed to the final scene, the church. Dan has told me a lot about this scene so I was expecting big things from the finale, however the room seemed to have maybe 2 actors in the church pews who didn't do much and the vicar stayed in the pulpit talking through a microphone the entire time. The scene switched from candlelights to a storm expecting a turn from calm to intense but then nothing happened, we just walked out the room. Next up was The Pie Factory.
The Pie Factory is one of the oldest mazes at the park and still holds its own to this day. We entered the maze with no queue but like all before it was not long till we met the group ahead. Again we tried to hold back but were ushered forward told not to stop. There seems to be some new scenes in The Pie Factory from last years incarnation which was brilliant to see. It's just a shame the evening's experience carried on with a lack of actors. That being said the actors within did work well in their scenes, one particularly gruesome actor who was cutting deep into his own arm stuck with us. It's great when you see practical effects rather than just animatronics for shock value. The Pie Factory now seems to have an even more factory vibe with a whole new production line scene which really lead well to the story. One thing we did miss was "The boar" but we can say this set piece has been moved to another attraction but we will let you find out which one yourself. The Pie Factory also features many tight spaces and even features a long squeeze section which seems to swallow you whole as the floor sinks beneath you. The finale stays the same with a run through some packing boxes before a narrow escape from a chainsaw, I do wish however there was more chase to this scene like it used to run rather than being scare and reset, but that being said it was far from a weak run through the maze.
Photo Credit @ Pagan Hollis
Now it was time for the final attraction Hoodoo Voodoo, which like many of the mazes before it was practically walk-on, handed our hoods by the hosts outside the maze and we headed in. After a short walk we were instructed to get hooded and hold on to the rope. Hoodoo Voodoo is known for how long its hooded section is which can either make or break your run if the actors are not on point but luckily for us the actors used every moment and tactic they could find to grab, stroke and tickle us whilst we tried to navigate the many elevation changes, wall textures and floor types within. Dane especially was at the mercy of a particular actor but then again when you announce that you have "found the tickle spot" you know that you have just given the enemy very helpful information. After the long hooded section, we headed into the second part of Hoodoo oodoo, a beautifully themed maze with a swamp section, UV areas, tight winding paths and even a vortex tunnel (The second of the night, the other being found in The Pie Factory). After the swamp you enter the House of Voodoo which is littered with trinkets and skulls which sends you off to a short outdoor section to meet Marie Laveau. The final scene sends you over 2 bridges back in another swamp and finally to the cauldron room for one final well-timed scare. Our run of Hoodoo Voodoo was without a doubt the highlight of the night and although again low on actors they used every opportunity to interact. Not being shady but It's safe to say the other maze teams could learn a lot from the Hoodoo Voodoo cast.
There is one other experience we wanted to leave till last because although not a maze it really left an impact. This is the scare zone Unfair Funfair. Unfair Funfair is in reality a small section set off to the side that uses some of the old set of Curtains Chaos. After being coaxed in by some fantastic clowns we were invited to play hide and seek in the curtain maze. Its so stupid but so much fun as they chase and follow you at every turn. On leaving the area I was collared and sent back in for a one on 4 round of hide and seek which left me with quite at the disadvantage. I soon found myself being spanked and told I was a naughty boy. All the actors in the small section were fantastic and for such a small addition that takes all of 2 minutes to go through its so much fun and we hope it stays for future events.
Photo Credit @ Pagan Hollis
So this brings us to the end of our trip to Xtreme Scream, Although this review does point out issues of batching and actor allocation it still has to be said we did have a fun night. Maybe it was due to being a weeknight or maybe it's the fact that past runs in the mazes have been so much more intense, we just felt some of the offerings came off a little "meh". But that being said maze runs are always subjective and we may have just been unlucky so your visit you may experience a different outcome. Thank you to all the staff and actors who put this event together.
Xtreme Scream Park is open 8th,9th,13th,15th,16th,19th,20th,22nd,23rd,26th,27th,29th.30th and 31st of October. Tickets start from £31.05 to £39.50 later on in the run. For more information and tickets go to their website. Xtreme Scream Park is located at Twinlakes Park which operates as a family theme park in the day and features onsite escape rooms too.