One of the nearest events to me is Cursed based at Wat Tyler Country Park near ‘Bas Vegas’ in Essex. We went along on opening night of their 2019 Halloween season. Cursed is a compact event offering 5 mazes, a few entertaining roaming actors, a food truck and some live entertainment. We saw a bit of a juggling act in our time at Cursed. The roaming actors we encountered were on top form from the creepy clowns to the deranged grannie in her mobility scooter. I should have taken her up on the offer of a Tena Man.
On arrival you enter a nice circus tent style doorway before sorting your tickets out and it’s then on to a bit of pre-theatre firstly involving a brilliant funny judge handing out sentences on us criminals, Dungeons style. After that you’re introduced to a couple of creepy clowns, Jingles and Rosie who did a great job entertaining us before we were batched in to the first maze, Safe Zone.
From the entrance and pre-show, you’re led directly to the first zombie themed maze, Safe Zone. This opens up with a nice theatrical scene before you end up outside in a semi-free roaming haystack maze. The layout is used to good effect by the very energetic actors in this zone. Once you’ve escaped you end up walking through a path populated by a variety of creepy and scary zombies before entering the main hub of the event.
Next up for us was a trip to Alf’s Tavern where some mysterious abductions have been occurring. The Tavern was a nice touch where Alf told us of the recent incidents which led to a nice impact scare before we were abducted. Abduction had some nice scares and some of the best theming of the night in my opinion. It also felt like the longest maze at Cursed, but not as long as you may find at other events
Working in a clockwise fashion we went in to The Institute next. This is a prison themed maze and like all the others starts with a nice theatrical set piece as the stern prison warden instructs us about our witnessing of the execution of a notorious serial killer. Fun scene and generated some good scares for our group. This is also a photo op scene if you want a souvenir. The rest of the maze was solid with again great energetic actors.
The Sewers stank, but they’re sewers right so that is pretty much what you’d expect them to do. After another entertaining but brief theatrical scene from the Mrs. Lovett-esque character our arrival is announced to the rest of the subterranean cannibal family. This one was creepier rather than scary, but had a couple of strong impact scares. Smell pods were used extensively to suitably nasty effect.
Last up was The Haunting which is Cursed’s version of a hooded maze, but it uses blackout goggles instead of a fabric hood. I’m not a massive fan of hooded mazes, but I quite enjoyed this one. I was touched by moist hands, had something sprayed in my face and was subject to a variety of close up creepy scares and a couple of good impact ones.
Hats off to the actors at this event. They were full of energy, clearly passionate about what they did and really made the whole evening fun for us. I’m coming off the back of Alton Towers Scarefest and clearly the Cursed team don’t have anywhere near the budget of Merlin or the other larger Halloween scare events. As such the theming, set design and layout may understandably seem a bit more basic than other bigger budget attractions as they are fundamentally a bunch of mazes set in tents in a field.
Opening night felt like quite a quiet one and as such the queues for the mazes were no more than 5 – 10 minutes. Because of this the batchers did a great job and allowed smaller groups through whilst maintaining decent throughput and at no point did we bump in to the group in front or behind. Overall I felt that Cursed, whilst not the most polished or innovative, had a lot of charm and once again the staff and actors made for a really fun evening.
Cursed runs on select evenings through to 2nd November