Despite the terrible weather, it was time to visit Frightmare at Over Farm near Gloucester. It was a packed night with possibly the biggest queues I’ve yet seen, waiting for the ticket booths to open at 7.30pm. Thankfully it was covered so there was some respite from the rain. The food court is open half an hour earlier so if you fancy something to eat and drink there are a few different options on offer, from traditional burgers, gyros, pizza and crepes.
After opening the queues were efficiently dealt with as everyone dispersed from the central big top hub to the various mazes. There are five mazes on offer, plus a haunted hayride, that also ends in a maze and a vintage fun fair. On top of all that there are a few different stage acts that fill the main stage in rotation, and finally the usual roaming scare actors.
This is an impressively large venue and thankfully mostly under cover, however it does get muddy so definitely one to bring your wellies. Due to the weather I didn’t brave a go on one of the fairground rides, but it looked stunning. Your ticket entitles you to one free go on one of the rides.
The stage acts were an entertaining distraction when they came on to the various stages and I did notice the roaming actors around the large venue terrorising people. I particularly like Gran’s souped up mobility scooter. Due to the size and perhaps how busy the night was, the roaming scare actors did feel a bit thin on the ground.
It was very busy when I visited and this led to my only criticism overall and that was due to the rather large groups that were batched. The spacing was fine with sufficient time between groups, but all were at least 15 people large most a few more than that. With such a large line, all of the jump scares were very front loaded so most of my experience was of the creepy variety as the actors worked they’re way along the line. If the group sizes could be halved, then it would be a brilliant experience and allow the actors to up the variety of scares.
Carvinal: The Killing Booth
First up for me was Carvinal, which was an interesting mix of 3 or 4 fun theatrical set pieces involving audience participation followed by a traditional flappy red and white curtains clown maze. I really enjoyed the fun set pieces despite getting picked out to perform a pole dance by the ring master and bearded lady.
I did this one twice as I enjoyed it most the first time. Unfortunately, my second run wasn’t as strong with fewer actors noticeable than the first. It’s a devil worship themed maze based on a séance to summon the devil. It opens with a nice theatrical piece and the set had some nice features.
Caged: The Battle
Caged tells the tale of a super soldier program gone wrong. Again there was some decent theming on the set design and a good number of actors throughout the run. They provided some good in your face creepy scares, barred your way a lot and provided a few good jump scares.
Haunted Hayride: Harvest
Despite joining the fast-track when it had stopped raining, the heavens opened again when I was on the hayride and I got very wet, even with the cover over the trailer. There was a strong story about an ill-fated film being made about someone who could control scarecrows. This had some fun theatrical elements through the journey and the scare actors came onboard the trailer when stopped. The poor lad sat next to me was terrorised time and time again. Unexpectedly this also had a fun scarecrow scare maze in a farm building near the end.
It’s 2069 and a new race has emerged from deep underground all but wiping out the human race. Offering had some good creepy scares for me with some nice theming and textured walls to give the impression of entering a cave. This was the strongest themed maze for me
Last of the mazes for me was Wonderland which is a twisted neon 3D maze based on Alice in Wonderland. Again there were some solid creepy scares and the sets, costumes and make-up were good. Hats of to the Mad Hatter and White Rabbit in the nice Tea Party scene.
Frightmare offers a lot for your money it’s a nice, large event with a good atmosphere throughout, which carried on despite the terrible weather. As mentioned previously the large group sizes were the only aspect that marred my evening. That said there is still a lot that Frightmare has to offer With this well put together event.
Frightmare runs on selected dates through to 2nd November.