As one of our favourite UK scream parks, Screamfest (located just off the A38 in Burton-upon-Trent Staffordshire) offers a complete Halloween scare destination! With 5 main scare attractions, a fully covered courtyard with street entertainers and hot gourmet food of multiple varieties, we were excited to be invited to this year’s preview event on Thursday 13th October! On top of the fantastic hospitality (as per every year) we always look forward to experiencing the 5 main scares at Screamfest being ‘Freakout’, ‘Night Bringer’, ‘Children of the Corn’, ‘Soul Seekers & the new for 2016 ‘Love Hurts’. Here is our run down of each of them…
Having been really impressed with Freak Out at last year’s event we had high hopes as we entered through the impressive facade. The layout and structure was pretty similar if not identical to last year (but that wasn’t a bad thing). As we made our way through the really disorientating maze of doors and curtains we were approached by a number of actors who were on top of their game. The overall lighting / colour scheme paired with the numerous crazed clowns found within ‘ ‘Freakout’ started to make us feel somewhat delirious. As we came to the finale we caught up with the group in front of us which slightly spoiled the last fright which was a shame. Overall, Freak Out was equally as good as last year. If it’s your first time to Screamfest we think you’ll love this attraction, especially with the recent ‘Killer Clown’ epidemic!
3.5 Scares / 5
Children of the Corn
Children of the Corn offers a great mix of light hearted fun along with some fairly intense frights. The attraction begins with a short journey on the back of the school bus (tractor trailer) where you are shipped into the enormous corn field maze. Once you enter the corn field the real fun begins! As per previous years, we were impressed with the variety of scenes. The ‘spider web’ scene is one that always comes to mind! The other great attraction of ‘Children of the Corn’ is the sheer length of the scare. It really feels like you’re out in the field for a good length of time which is something a lot of other UK scare parks seem let themselves down on. The attention to detail in certain scenes is also staggering! Although Children of the Corn lacks narrative to piece each scene together and doesn’t quite offer the scare intensity as other attractions at Screamfest, you still can’t help but admire and enjoy it!
3 Scares / 5
As we were waiting to enter the brilliant façade to the ‘demonlogy research facility’ we were addressed by a very assured actor who explained the back story to the attraction. Without giving too much away, Night Bringer embraces the thought of making contact with the afterlife – more specifically, a witch that used to inhabit a village near to the Screamfest site. The way the backstory and theme is portrayed throughout the attraction really exceeds most scare mazes we’ve visited in recent years. The opening scene is damn right awesome and very unique! In parts, the production is comparable with much higher budget projects such as Alton Towers Scarefest. Furthermore, throughout Night Bringer, each guest must use the guide rope to lead them through the maze which helps to add tension through the darker sections. Generally, we loved Night Bringer and think it adds a unique dimension to Screamfest. PS, if you’ve been through it, don’t give the game away with the opening scene!
4 Scares / 5
One of the larger mazes at Screamfest, Soul Seekers invites guests to the abandoned Helton Grand (a former hotel open in the early 1930’s). The theming and production of Soul Seekers is superb. From the authentic main hall scene to the multitude of corridors and rooms, Soul Seekers has had a lot of quality TLC from the production team. The scares throughout were plentiful and enough to keep us satisfied, however, having visited in previous years there hasn’t been much in terms of change to the layout and/or storyline. None the less, it’s a solid scare maze which is perfect to frighten even the biggest and baddest guests!
3.5 scares / 5
New for 2016, this was the attraction we were most looking forward too. Created by scare genius Andrew Porter, Love Hurts follows the story of Professor Heart who has purchased a local pub next to an abandoned sewage works. His goal is to find you a date so set up Love Hurts dating evening at the Diced Heart pub. Built around the skeleton of last year’s ‘Nocturnal’ maze, Love Hurts features a high quality façade and opening section which really immerses guests into the Nightclub / Sewage work theme. With most of our reviews we don’t like to give too much away; however, we were so so so impressed by the level of detail put into the theming and build throughout. Our senses were overloaded with smells and unsightly happenings as we trawled our way through the hellish underbelly of the Sewage works. The actors were intense and genuinely frightening as they fed off the fear of our group. The tunnel / pipe section had stunning detail and even featured dripping / spraying water (something not often found in scare mazes). Generally, Love Hurts was the highlight of the night and we were glad we left it until last! We were awestruck with the pure quality of the production and story line! Well done Screamfest!
4.5 Scares / 5
Having visited all 5 attractions, we were content with a great night of screams and laughs! Screamfest 2016 had well and truly marked another opening night with huge success! Screamfest offers something for everyone and is certainly a Halloween destination we’d highly recommend both now and in the coming years. There’s a great balance of attractions and an increasing amount of street entertainment, food options and refreshments available. Keenly priced, it also offers a great value night out!
For tickets & more info, please visit: http://www.screamfest.co.uk/