Voted as the ‘UK’s Number 1 Halloween Attraction’ we had high hopes for our first visit to Tulleys Shocktober Fest and we weren’t disappointed…
We set off on our 4 hour journey from the Midlands down a busy M40, M25 and M23. After a quick bite to eat and a routine hotel check in, we made our way to Tulleys, the supposed ‘most interactive and immersive Halloween entertainment in the U.K’. Upon arriving at the impressive main gates we parked up, ‘wellied’ up and collected our entry tickets.
We were instantly intrigued by the layout of the live stage, food courts and street theatre area which was different to other Scream Parks we had visited. There was a real buzz about the place with roaming actors terrorising guests both young and old and a fire pit located centrally in the food courts. With Halloween three long weeks away, it was great to see so many people actually at the park!
After some deliberation and not really knowing which attraction to head for first, we ended up walking to the Silver Scream Drive In Scare Zone.
Silver Scream Drive In Scare Zone
We were greeted by an eccentric cinema style usher (with an intentionally annoying American accent) offering popcorn for the movie. A number of other actors then approached us as we made our way in and out of the parked cars towards the huge cinema screen. One of the actors was hilariously reciting lines from films such as Scream and Scary Movie, he sounded almost identical to the voice of the killer in Scream, good work! In general, The Silver Scream Drive In wasn’t particularly scary, but still an extremely well designed and unique Scare Zone that guests could experience multiple times. We loved the attention to detail with the 10’s of cars lined up to replicate the drive in movie experience. It would have been great to see an actor or two lunge at us from the inside of the car.
Next up, we headed to The Tunnel, which was new for 2014.
After being placed into our group, we were instructed to make our way down the truly magnificent entrance ‘tunnel’. The theming and construction was superb and we were surprised to actually be descending down a slope which added to the ‘tunnel’ experience. Soon after, the maze gradually began to get darker which took the tension to an almost unbearable level. We were twisting and turning through a labyrinth of tunnels and encountering a number of frightening creatures along the way. On multiple occasions, I was in awe of the actual length of the maze. It seemed to be never ending with scene after scene of pure horror and unexpected frights. Like all of the attractions at Tulleys, the attention to detail was something to behold. With the varying floor textures, suspended bridge walkways and actual slopes, Tulleys have created a fully immersive experience that was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. Even the climax/ending (which often lets scare attractions down) was great! We left the Tunnel feeling both relived to get out and significantly impressed! The Tunnel would actually turn out to be our favourite attraction of the night!
After The Tunnel, we ventured to the Haunted Hayride.
The Horrowood Haunted Hayride
We’d heard a lot about the Tulleys infamous ‘Haunted Hayride’ and couldn’t wait to jump aboard the tractor trailer which was to be our mode of transport for the entire attraction. After a short audio introduction, the tractor pulled away as we embarked on a unique journey through the fictional ‘Horrorwood Film Studios’. From scene to scene, a number of actors jumped aboard to help keep the scares and narrative flowing. Whilst it wasn’t the most frightening attraction at Tulleys, the Horrorwood Haunted Hayride was still excellently designed and delivered. The collection of props and detailed theming ranging from an aeroplane to a fair ground ride was testament to the hard work and investment Tulleys have put into their Scream Park over the years. We were caught out on a number of occasions by the explosions of fire that we encountered throughout the attraction. Again, a rather unique feature to Tulleys Shocktober Fest! Overall, The Horrorwood Haunted Hayride was a brilliant attraction and one we’ll certainly never forget.
Following up from the Haunted Hayride was ‘Hell-Ements Inferno’.
The internal waiting area of Hell-Ements was excellently designed and set the tone for the attraction as we were presented with a dark hood and safety instructions. Before putting our hoods on, we were sent into a small room to watch an introductory video which we unfortunately didn’t get to see in full, although, the context of the maze was quite obvious. Following on from the video room, we were instructed to put on our hoods, hold the guide rope using our left hand and hold the person in front of us with our right hand. Upon doing this, we began our journey into Hell! I’m not sure if the hoods were supposed to let in as much light as they did, but it allowed me to see the silhouettes of the actors as they approached and stalked our group. This was something that I actually thought added to the experience and allowed my imagination to run wild. Whether the attraction would benefit from zero visibility, i’m not too sure. However, I found the subtle scares and ‘hisses’ from the actors to be really unsettling in such an environment. In general, Hell-Ements inferno is a unique and solid attraction which I imagine a number of guests would actually find the most terrifying of the Tulleys lineup.
We then stumbled upon The Haunted House just around the corner from Hell-Ements Inferno.
The Haunted House
The haunted house with its excellent facade was all in all what you’d expect from a stereotypical haunted house. Aimed more towards the younger guests, the house had a number of actors strategically placed along the way to up the intensity. The one stand out actor was a demented butcher wielding a knife who funnily enough looked like ‘Dudley’ from the Harry Potter films. The construction and detail were thorough and even some of the animated props made us jump on one or two occasions. One thing we did note was the similarity to the previous year’s ‘Creepy Cottage’ layout. And yes, you’re probably thinking, ‘how do you know what last year’s layout was like if this is your first visit?’, well, the talkative young lady behind us was kind enough to point out the finest of details as we turned each and every corner. Thanks for that.
After venturing out of the Haunted House into the wonderful Halloween Store (we certainly recommend spending some time in here), we made our way to The Cellar.
After we were made aware of some light hearted safety instructions in the opening room, we began our journey through The Cellar. The anticipation and tension was built excellently before we both jumped out of our skin thanks to a rather large creature lurking in the bushes of the jungle scene. The Cellar seemed to last an eternity and similarly to The Tunnel was really intense thanks to the variations in both the type and number of scares we encountered. Each scene was well crafted, notably the ‘stairs’ scene which I fondly remember. At one point, our group was temporarily deafened by the large crash of an oil drum (I think). This was quite an unpleasant experience but one which was soon forgotten as we were terrified by an actor unexpectedly hurtling towards us through a fireplace. The Cellar, although possibly lacking in narrative, was a terrific live action horror maze, it started with some light hearted humour and gave us scares throughout. All in all, The Cellar was everything you want from an immersive horror experience and is certainly one of Tulleys feature attractions! We can’t wait to see what The Cellar brings in 2015.
After exiting The Cellar and stopping for a quick drink, we made our way back through the Silver Scream Drive in to our final attraction of the night, Twisted Shock ‘N’ Roll.
Twisted Shock ‘N’ Roll
The attraction featured a number of twisted and tight corridors filled with menacing clowns before a black and white curtain style maze ensued. The maze was pretty disorientating and along with a few sinister looking actors, seemed to do trick for our group (as two girls fled the maze prematurely). The UV vortex tunnel was used to great effect and had me firmly off balance from the start. Twisted Shock ‘N’ Roll was as fun as it was scary, but for those with Coulrophobia (a fear of clowns), this maze could actually become your worst nightmare. Great attention to detail as per and another worthy attraction on the chalkboard.
Zombie Paintball (Additional Fee)
Being a sucker for shooting games, we couldn’t resist a visit to the ‘zombie paintball range’. The experience, although only lasting 3 minutes and costing £6 per person, was pure fun if not addictive. As the lights went down and a chaotic soundtrack started playing, we began our assault on three (probably tired and sore) zombies. It was slightly difficult to see if you were actually making contact with each of the zombies with quite a dark lighting setup, however, one or two of them started backing away and flinching to confirm they’d been hit. Beware, there is a limit on the ammunition! If you use yours too quickly you’ll run out before the end. Likewise, if you don’t use them quickly enough, you’ll have some left over. We seemed to get the balance right.
To conclude, Tulleys Shocktober Fest Scream Park is very much the complete Halloween destination. It encapsulates both the fun side and scary side of Halloween within a giant complex. From the moment we entered the live stage and food court area, we were immediately immersed into an almost magical experience like no other. There was also, believe it or not, a storm not far away which provided the night sky with flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder for the entire time we were there. Talk about mise-en-scene!
Every actor, roaming or within the mazes, were completely on the ball in terms of attitude, passion and delivery. Even the live band were excellent and we wished we had more time to actually watch their whole set. The scare attractions (being the main focus of Shocktober fest) were some of the best we’ve visited and were collectively the most detailed we’ve seen.
Tulleys have crafted a unique and successful scream park which we would certainly recommended to anyone. It’s a well used cliché, but, words cannot fully describe the great atmosphere and experience Tulleys have created. Personally, I can’t wait to return and enjoy what the park has to offer in 2015.
Tulleys Shocktober Fest Scream Park Website: www.screams.co.uk