On Saturday 26 October, three friends and I went to Alton Towers for the special Scarefest weekend. It happens once a year for Halloween and there are various things that happen in the theme park and hotel that make it extra spooky.
We booked for the Scare Room Experience and theme park which meant we had full access to the theme park (including the special Halloween mazes which change every year) and an overnight stay at the hotel with a terrifying experience of its own.
As well as the usual big rides like Air, Nemesis, Thirteen and Oblivion, the Scarefest includes three themed mazes and a zombie zone and all include live actors. This year’s mazes included The Sanctuary, based on a psychiatric facility complete with crazy patients and zombie-like nurses, The Carnival of Screams which would not suit someone with a severe phobia of clowns, and the Terror in the Towers maze.
You enter each maze in groups and you have stand in a line with your hands on the person in front as it becomes very difficult to see where you’re going at some points in the maze. As the leader leads the way, you encounter ghosts, monsters, psycho clowns and deranged patients. My favourite was the Terror Towers, purely for the ending where you were led around a room whilst hellraiser lookalikes climbed the fences on either side. If that wasn’t enough, there was strobe lighting so they could appear right in front of you without you even realising they were near. Another fantastic maze moment was in the Sanctuary when Richard was singled out by all the actors because one of us ‘accidentally’ gave away his name.
At night, the zombie zone was opened. You walk down an apocalyptic road and escape the zombies that chase you. For someone like me who loves zombie films, this was a dream come true.
The Scare Rooms Experience takes the whole Scarefest experience to a new level and it began from the moment we checked in. Guests who had booked for the experience checked in at a specially made check out desk where you got to meet the motel owners, married couple Michael and Linda, and sign a disclaimer allowing actors to enter your room during the night up until 2am.
Every year the Scarefest has a different theme and this year it was the grand opening of an American motel, which had been closed for several years following an ‘incident’. For dinner, the restaurant had transformed into an American diner and we received a three course meal along with entertainment from the actors, including a heated argument between Linda and Michael as the plot of the night unfolded.
We got to meet several more of the characters when we went to the camp fire outside to tell some stories and have a group sing-along. After some laughs and scary background noises, we were ordered back to our rooms where we received a phone call from the sheriff. Then the scary part began.
In short, years ago the motel closed following a disease outbreak where children turned into zombies. Two were Linda’s sons who she couldn’t part with so she hid them in a barn and disguised them with hessian sacks. Michael is not Linda’s brother but is in fact her brother who, just before he was about to reveal the secret, is killed by Linda. Linda’s real husband is the sheriff who helps in covering up the deaths of the characters, including Tobias who is a fellow guest at the motel. In the end it is revealed we were all brought there for the zombies to eat.
Throughout the night characters entered our room and scared the life out of us. At one point one of the hessian sack people hid in our bathroom. We all made the mistake of jumping into the bed and hiding under the covers, forgetting that he could then turn off all the lights by the door and torment us for the next 10 minutes but it was a brilliant night. Watch the videos below for clips from the night.
The Scare Room Experience at Alton Towers is £225 based on four people sharing a room. Find out more information and what is happening for next year’s Scarefest and Scarerooms at http://www.altontowers.com/
And one for fun…