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Photo+Video TR: Behind The Scenes at Scare Kingdom!


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Recently Theme Park Review was invited to take a behind the scenes tour of Scare Kingdom Scream Park which is located in Blackburn.

 

So I hear you all asking, what is Scare Kingdom exactly? Well for those of you that don’t know Scare Kingdom is the UKs top rated Scream Park. Now in its sixth season the park is very much an established location within the scare community in the UK. The park itself features 5 attractions for the entrance fee then a further sixth attraction for an additional fee.

 

While this is the sixth year of operation at Scare Kingdom it’s the first time I have managed to get out to the attraction and check it out for myself. I didn’t really know what to expect to be honest but without question I was impressed. You really can see the care that has gone in to these attractions, they really don’t come across as temporary attractions like what you get at several theme parks every Halloween. This is more evident than anything in Manormortis, which to this day has had over £250,000, spent on it, but we will get back to that later. For now let’s start at the beginning.

 

I left Blackpool around 3pm for Scare Kingdom (Oh is that a hint for a future trip report ) for the half hour drive to the park. After a quick trip down the M6 I joined a never ending A road towards the park. The park itself seemed to appear out a nowhere as it is located at Hawkshaw Farm Park, the home of Mrs. Dowson’s Ice Cream (Yay Ice Cream!). As I entered the car park I was greeted by a good friend of mine and one of the twisted and demented minds behind one of the most disturbing attractions there is Mark Lofthouse! After exchanging pleasantries, which is something that doesn’t happen too much there we began the tour!

 

First stop was the entrance area where you purchase your tickets, have a green screen scream photo taken and wait to enter the first attraction. While waiting you are already subject to the experience of Scare Kingdom as you hear the tortured souls already trapped inside the first attraction “The Oubliette”

 

The Oubliette is the smallest maze at the park but is most certainly not for the claustrophobic! When you enter the Oubliette you will meet the Minister of Fear, the twisted mind who has taken over the park this year and of course he will do his best to fill you with fear before you are released into park and directed towards “The Clonefields”.

 

As you head towards “The Clonefields” you will meet one of the parks many “Street Theatre” before arrive at the parks cornfield to be welcomed by Abraham Cleaver and his decaying harvest! Got to be honest being stuck in a cornfield at night is not a pleasant experience and puts you very much on edge with actors darting around all over the place. I don’t want to give away too much about the attractions but check out the video for more info on this maze. I will say suitable footwear is most definitely advised when visiting the park for this attraction because the floor can be a mess, especially if the weather hasn’t been too good.

 

Following on from escaping the clutches of the cornmaze it’s on to possibly my favourite attraction “Hellcatraz”. As you arrive at the entrance to the parks penitentiary you are greeted by the Night watchman! He was by far my favourite character on park. The gentleman playing the Nightwatchmen was actually mental and managed to mix scaring people and being funny perfectly. After a short time he commits you to the penitentiary and you become the play things for the guards and inmates. As you work your way through the cell blocks, the exercise yard you are attacked from all angles, you group is split up and you even get shot at! Expect to come out of this maze not only scared but also disorientated!

 

After you have completed your sentence in “Hellcatraz” its on to the parks star attraction “Manormortis”. Since its inception last year over £250,000 has been spent on this attraction and boy does it show. The level of detail in this maze is extremely impressive from not only a theming aspect but a story one also. As you will see in the video the ability for the actors to scare you is huge, which means can come at you from any angle and you may bump into the same actor multiple times over your FOURTEEN minute journey. There is one area of this attraction that I loved and that was the conservatory. When the show lights are on it really didn’t seem like you had left the building and returned to the outside world. This was achieved with some fantastic lighting and a wonderful smell provided by actual trees not artificially created smells. There is also bonus points for this maze because there is boobs in it! Who doesn’t love a good boob credit right?

 

After enduring the labyrinth that is “Manormortis” its off to the final attraction of the main park “Human Zoo” home to the psychopathic genius of Volka Schlachten. All Volka wants to do is create humans in his own twisted visions and you are his next unlucky victims. As you enter the zoo you are forced to crawl through the remains of some of his failed projects and come across some of his unfortunate creations, all while surrounded by the foul stench of the decaying flesh of the discarded bodies. When you finally manage to escape the zoo you come out of here grateful that you are human!

 

Now with all the main parks attractions complete it was time to take a break in the “Brouhaha Bar” and have a nice cold pint to steady the nerves or so you think because the adventure may not be over yet! Located right next to the bar is what was branded “The UK’s sickest attraction” by the Sun newspaper. “Phsychomanteum”. This was the part of the day I learnt just how mentally scared Mark may be because this attraction is on a whole different level compared to anything else this country has to offer! While I would love to tell you exactly what happens inside the attraction I cant as I am contractually obliged not to, but honestly I just really don’t want to relive the things that go on it there. The things that go on inside this attraction don’t come from the mind and I saw many people come out of the attraction looking not just scared but disturbed. There is a very valid reason that you are made to sign a waiver before you enter the attraction that says “Scare Kingdom claims no responsibility for any short- or long-term psychological distress that may result from your taking part”.

 

Honestly I cant stress enough that if you are a scare fan this is an absolute MUST VISIT for you! Even if your not I would high recommend taking a visit. Don’t go in expecting anything like Thorpe Park Fright Nights or Alton Scarefest because Scare Kingdom is in an entirely different league and is arguably the highest level of scare entertainment you will find in this country.

 

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This way to crap your pants!

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First stop the Clonefields!

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"We got this corn imported from Indiana!"

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"Arghhhhhhh the corn goblins are after me!"

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Next up I got incarcerated in Hellcetraz!

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What they have in store for you is a whole prison full of scares! Good thing its dark inside so I can hide the stains on the back of your pants!

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Scare Kingdom is KT friendly! How awesome is that?

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Here are some of the best scare actors at the park! They love jumping up on people in the night!

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After escping prison its on to the star attraction of the main park. They ever changing and upgrading Manormortis!

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BOOB CREDIT!

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The level of detail in this maze with the house lights on is amazing. When the show lights are on its stunning!

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There are many hidden treasures through out all the mazes at Scare Kingdom if you know where to look! Here is Mark proudly showing off his name hidden in the attraction. I didn't know he was a lord until this point!

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Is this horse startled or taking a humanish dump? You decide!

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I saw this picture of a queen and felt duty bound by my nation to salute!

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I was obviously wrong to do that because this demon attempted to take my soul!

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All of this part of the maze is completely hidden once the show lights are on! When you are here there are HUGE amounts of opportunities to scare peoples at any angle!

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When you have escaped the Manor its time to become a victim at the Human Zoo! The stench inside here is unbelievable and you do want to escape as quickly as possible!

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If your lucky enough to survive all of those experiences you can have a refreshing pint in the parks full licensed bar!

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You would think this is a nice place to relax but nope!

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Because the bar is home to the extremely terrifying and messed up Psychomanteum!

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Which having a pint you can see some of the patients going through their treatment on CCTV. This camera is near the start and by the time they come out of the maze you see a noticeable difference in the way people are!

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This attraction has made headlines in the news because of the treatment its patients receive! One paper even branded it "The UK's sickest attractions"!

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This is all I am allowed to show you of the inside of the attraction but I cannot stress enough if you are a scare fan you NEED to get out and experience this!

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The bar looks fantastic at night!

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And this ends my trip to Scare Kingdom! As you can see its possibly scared me for life and I'm off to go and have some counselling!

 

If you want to know more about the park check out their website at: http://www.scarekingdom.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ScareKingdom

Twitter: twitter.com/ScareKingdom

 

So what do you think? Will you be visiting Scare Kingdom? Would you be willing to enter Phycomanteum? Comment below and let me know!

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I like the bar where you can sip a pint and watch people getting scared in the maze on the TV--much more amusing than, say, watching a football game.

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I like the bar where you can sip a pint and watch people getting scared in the maze on the TV--much more amusing than, say, watching a football game.

 

Honestly some of the expressions people make in Phsycomanteum are genuinely priceless! I have never seen people exit an attraction like they did from this attraction. One girl left in such a state she was frozen with fear! Her friends kept asking her how it was and she just sat there with her make up all messed up, shaking her head.

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Just finished watching the video (I like behind-the-scenes stuff). Looks like a pretty freaky way to spend an evening.

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Just finished watching the video (I like behind-the-scenes stuff). Looks like a pretty freaky way to spend an evening.

 

It was a very interesting way to spend the evening your right. I saw many things I really wasn't expecting to see and some I probably shouldn't have ever seen. That being said there was most definitely things I should NEVER EVER have smelt because they put me right on the edge of wanting to throw up!

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Haven't been able to check out the video, but if I understand correctly you enter in one attraction and immediately go to the next one? As in, you have to do the attractions in that order?

 

Thanks for sharing the report, looks like a great Haunt event!

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I take it Psychomanteum is similar to Trapped at Haunt, where they take things beyond the normal scare tactics?

 

Looks like a cool place!

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One girl left in such a state she was frozen with fear! Her friends kept asking her how it was and she just sat there with her make up all messed up, shaking her head.

 

These hands-on more extreme things are getting more popular these days. Im really in two minds about them.

 

Personally I like scare attractions to be fun. I want to be scared, nervous, jumpy and have my fight or flight triggered. I want to run out laughing with a smile on my face. Im also quite partial to the more plot heavy, slow-burner type attractions. I really don't rate the more 'extreme' stuff. Its not that I cant handle it, its just that I dont find it entertaining. I was in one where I got black-bagged and pushed hard in the chest against a wall so that breathing was difficult. And to be honest it was not scary, just uncomfortable. I imagine that it would be disturbing if it hit at a core vulnerability (eg a near-sexual assault on a young woman) but then disturbing isn't the same as scary. Being traumatised still isn't the same as scary. I don't think any entertainment attraction should be leaving anyone in the state of the girl mentioned above. It has the potential to genuinely damage.

 

I think the problem really isn't with the attraction itself, its that some of the people in a more vulnerable state of mind really don't know what they are letting themselves in for as its such a departure from standard scare attractions. Some people who really can't handle it would go through just to try and prove they could, and end up with a horrible experience that stays with them for way too long. Even with the disclaimer (which is pretty clear) really doesn't prepare a vulnerable person for whats waiting for them. And then, once they are in that state, alot of these things spit them out into public space with no time to compose themselves from the trauma, so they bury it instead and that makes it worse. This isn't the attractions fault, the people going through should be aware of their own limits.

 

I also think actors in these types of attractions should be taught how to recognise that it has gone too far for a guest, when its no longer just a show and has really got to someone in a bad way, and call a halt to that guests experience. Maybe even give them a space to recover. Even if its just a cup of tea, a biscuit and a chat with the actor in a bright non-threatening space, anything to dissipate the trauma.

 

 

Of course, having said all that, it could equally be said that its just a show, nothing bad is really happening and if someone enters an attraction which clearly states sexual content and manhandling when they are, say, recovering from sexual abuse, then its their own dumb fault. I used to do a pretty good seance show that left some folks quite disturbed, and can honestly say it never bothered me at the time. I would do it a little differently now.

 

At the end of the day though, there needs to be the more extreme stuff to keep the industry moving forward and stop stagnation. That doesn't mean all attractions should go that route eventually, but there needs to be variety and someone pushing boundaries to inspire new ideas.

 

 

Anyway, yeah, rant over. Feel free to comment/apply standard TPR abuse

 

EDIT: Oh, and the rest of Scare Kingdom looks pretty damn good. Ive been through a few Atmosfear attractions and they have always been fun. never gotten to the kingdom though. I love the idea of greyscaling a maze.

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^You make some very valid points there to be honest. Phsycomanteum is the only maze I would consider extreme at Scare Kingdom and you are pretty much forced to read the attraction rules and warning then read them on the disclaimer you sign before you sign it. The attraction does have a safe word and if used at any point your experience is stopped and you are escorted out of the maze in a calm fashion.

 

I think it does come down to the fact people really need to know their limits as you have said. If you are dumb enough to go through a maze where you are warned about sexual content and its against your religion or something then you deserve to be traumatised in some form for being so stupid!

 

With regards to that girl after about 5-10 mins she had calmed down and was back to her normal self. I think she just had no idea what to expect and was shocked by how intense the attraction was. My personal view is the maze didn't cross any boundaries that it shouldn't but thats my opinion, I can understand if others didn't think quite the same.

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^ I'm pleased to hear they are using a safeword. It sounds like they are running it responsibly. Apart from a few typically sensational tabloid reports I haven't actually seen any complaints about it. If it was really too much for most guests they wouldn't make any money off it and it wouldn't still be running.

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Do the actors touch you in all of the mazes? Or just Psychomanteum?

 

This place sounds similar to Creepyworld here in St. Louis. They have 8 houses in a row and an upcharge paintball hayride halfway through. I do like the idea of having a lot of smaller haunted houses in a row instead of one gigantic one. Scare Kingdom looks pretty cool.

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Do the actors touch you in all of the mazes? Or just Psychomanteum?

 

From what I remember its almost every maze they touch you. You are fully warned of this multiple times before you enter Scare Kingdom and especially before Phsycomanteum!

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