The night consisted of five very different mazes, queue entertainment and an optional 18+ extra of the infamous Psychomanteum experience.
Mazes and Experiences
Let’s start from the beginning. We entered the parlour with a fabulous actor introducing us to the event before sending us through to meet some of our favourite characters of the night, two filthy old ladies who showed us the way to the first maze. They were hilarious from the get go and will be mentioned later on in this review. Overall a fun and engaging introduction to the evenings events.
The Paradise Foundation
First up, Paradise Foundation. This maze was eagerly anticipated and it certainly hit the spot. On entrance we were immediately lined up in single file and the actors did an amazing job of setting the scene. Think of one actor with ominous presence just watching with another introducing us to the Paradise Foundation. The set design was impactful and cleverly done, and there was some really good use of the space taking advantage of different levels making the room feel like it was closing vertically, The maze included excellent effects and some really stimulating jump scares with some surprising elements. Unfortunately the surprising elements of the jump scares were only experienced by those at the very front and very back of the group, which was a shame. Overall Paradise Foundation was one of our favourites. A brilliant, well thought through concept with excellent execution.
Manormortis – Borley Rectory
We emerged from Paradise Foundation and Demi Monde showed us the way to Manormortis – Borley Rectory. Upon entering a character explained that there were some spooky going’s on around the building from nun Marie Lairre. The set design was creative and the actors we interacted with were fun and enthusiastic. Unfortunately, overall this run felt weaker and more sparse on actors than previous runs. There seemed to be some lengthy stretches with little or no jump scares or actor interaction at all, which was a shame. Coming straight after Paradise Foundation it had a strong act to follow and sadly didn’t deliver to the usual standard.
Next up we had Blitz! On entry we were told that we were the last evacuees of the war however many of the previous evacuees saved had gone rabid and feral so we were to take care when heading to our bunker. The group was given a single flashlight which was handed to the person in the middle of the line and we entered into the darkness. Winding through dark corridors, some getting tighter and flashes of light disorientating the group was really effective. Having to feel your way and rely on the single source of constant light for comfort and direction helped us to work as a team and when that source of light was taken away it heightened the sense of anticipation. The set was used really well and it goes to show what can be done with sounds and sense deprivation, and minimal physical theming. There were some good jump scares, a touch of claustrophobia and a panic inducing end which really topped it off.
Body Snatchers – Sweeny Todd
Then on to Body Snatchers – Sweeny Todd. The story of Sweeny Todd unfolds in front of you as you are greeted by Mrs Lovett. You are taken thorough the usual rooms of Body Snatchers with the Sweeney Todd theming incorporated well into each set. The use of the space and the theming was creative and of a high standard. Whilst not full of scares, the actor interactions were fun and enjoyable and the ending was well timed and effective.
Lastly, we had the Hoodening. We entered and were introduced to the experience. This introduction and the actor were very entertaining, unfortunately the experience itself fell flat. We were sacrifices being led to the sacrificial chamber and after being hooded we grabbed onto a rope to be led to slaughter. What we had in store for us was more a fumbling walk through with little interaction for most and no interaction for some. No jumps or scares were had and the hoods smelled very strongly of antibacterial cleaner which was just distracting although we appreciate the level of hygiene. We got to the end and were told to take off our hoods by someone we were not sure whether they were an actor and playing a part or an attendant making sure the hoods were returned. On the exit of the Hoodening there was an actor in an excellent, well designed costume however the set around them was very basic and the imaginative character seemed like an add on and out of place. The experience could be much improved with more smells and sounds, and more interactions. Sadly an anticlimax to those that came before it.
Psychomanteum – Trick or Treat?
Thankfully we had the option of going through the infamous Psychomanteum and boy are we glad we did. It’s Halloween season so it is trick or treat time with a game show element and we went through twice to find out the different outcomes for trick or treat. Psychomanteum is a perfect mix of creepy, funny, intense, in some parts and disgustingly engaging all wrapped up in one amazing experience. The only comment we had was that there is a jump scare at the end of the experience which felt like it didn’t fit with the overall theme and possibly wasn’t necessary or could have been more in keeping with the rest of the rooms however overall a fantastic end to the night.
Whilst there were a couple of weaker or less impactful experiences and interactions, overall the attraction is well designed, very creative and each maze is very different to the last which keeps you on your toes. The actors must be applauded for their enthusiasm and their engagement. In particular the grannies we came into contact with many times queuing throughout the evening and whilst getting drinks. They really made the night and made the (short) queues go quickly.
Scare Kingdom is running on select dates until 2nd November, definitely worth checking out.