Spooky World 2021
Looking back we’ve had mixed experiences at Spooky World, but it’s always consistently improved, so we were looking forward to seeing what the team had in store for 2021. Spooky World is held at Apple Jacks Adventure Farm near to Warrington and while nothing has changed in the line-up of mazes it was interesting to see what changes were in place after the restrictions due to COVID in 2020.
First up for us was ‘Haunted House’. After an initial slow start things soon ramped up and one scene in particular with ‘Sharon’, the shop owner will last with us for a long, long time, for all the right reasons. As with all the mazes mentioned the theming is relatively basic, but what it lacks in set design it more than makes up for in the interactions and scares provided in this maze.
Field of Screams
Next up was the outdoor ‘Field of Screams’ which is a fun walk through a traditional corn maze. It can get a bit muddy underfoot, so remember to wear suitable footwear. The interactions we had were great, but it felt like we could have done with a few more actors in a few areas. That said the lulls in between these scenes did create a false sense of security leading to some more impactful scares.
Our favourite maze of the evening. ‘Carnevil’ delighted us with a superb variety of scares throughout. The actors in this maze were on point and did a stellar job getting us from a number of different places, and as you’d hope for in a clown maze with great humour. The traditional flappy section was a highlight, but the whole maze was superb.
Slaughterhouse is back with the slightly shorter version from 2020 and is all the better for it. Again, the actors were great and not afraid to get up close and personal with us. The only minor criticism was that some elements that we experienced in 2020 sadly didn’t happen this year and with such a long maze it felt like there were a couple of dead spots. That said, it is still a very fun maze, and we hope in the future it can become as adult and filthy as in previous years.
Haunted Hayride and Tunnel of Terror
This has always been our least favourite part of an evening at Spooky World and sadly that remains the case. We love a good hayride and feel that we need more of them around the UK. That said we need less like this one. Certain scenes work well, but only from one side of the trailer and unfortunately the apparent need to soak people in cold water in October in order to offer something ‘different’, still remains.
Admittedly it wasn’t as bad as previous iterations, but still had mostly unnecessary water effects. Tunnel of Terror regrettably again was anything but. We walked through a tunnel and a banger went off. Thankfully this didn’t hit us in the face like on previous events, but again another unnecessary effect that just doesn’t work.
It feels like such a shame as the rest of the event is brilliant, we just wish the ‘different’ elements to this part of the attraction were removed and immediately it would be all the better for it. In all honesty we’d probably rate the whole event higher if you just did the traditional mazes and missed this element of the event.
Batching, similar to most events we’ve attended this spooky season, was superb. Even with our relatively small group of seven, we were always split into two groups of 3 and 4 which allowed the actors to reset properly and give each group all of their attention. The roaming actors were great, from the amazing Evil Twins, Flippy and Floppy, to a few actors seemingly let loose from their mazes. One clown from Carnevil even managed to scare me in areas of the event I really wasn’t expecting, to great effect.
Actors again were superb throughout. With batching and actors on top form, you’ll always have a great time. We are suckers for intricate and immersive sets and design, but Spooky World proves that you can still have as good, if not better time, as long as the actors and batching are working well without the massive budget. That said we’d love to see what the creative team at Spooky World are able to achieve with a bigger budget, as what they’ve done with what they currently have is brilliant, with more tweaks and enhancements it’s likely to be truly amazing.
One thing we hadn’t experienced previously is what happens at the end of the evening, as sadly with limited food and no bar it’s tricky to get guests to hang around. As a happy happenstance we are really glad we did. At the end of the evening before closing, the inhabitants of all the mazes are let free to herd any remaining guests to the exit. As we were part of the few remaining guests, the attention we got from the actors set free from their mazes was absolutely stellar. It was intense, impactful and humorous throughout. Hats off to the troupe for this superb end to the evening.
Easy recommendation from us if you’re anywhere in the North West. Spooky World is running on most dates through to early November.
Spooky World 2020
After a slightly mixed experience last year we were keen to see what Spooky World had put together for 2020.
As with many attractions a few things had changed due to COVID. On top of the usual measures we had timed entry as well as a linear route around the site. This actually worked in the parks favour reducing the time spent in queues and made navigating the massive site a breeze.
While theming is fairly minimal across the site the team have managed to work hard and create some fun and in one part particularly innovative scares.
On arrival we met the Evil Twins, a clown duo who really work hard. We had sadly missed them last year so pleased we bumped into them a number of times. They are just mad, starting the evening with a dance to the time warp, tormenting guests throughout the park as well as adding entertainment to queue lines and down time between mazes.
First maze of the night was Evil Carnevil, a great start to the event. This maze is long and the actors were relentless. Following us on numerous occasions creating some fun jump scares along the way. We could clearly tell after just this first maze that the calibre of actors this year was a marked improvement on last. Enjoyable throughout and something that’s worth mentioning here and across all mazes, we didn’t bump into any other groups which enabled the actors to focus on hitting the well timed scares.
This maze continued to deliver good scares. We really liked the introductory scene, fitting in well with the narrative and adding an interesting take that we haven’t seen often. This maze is definitely more eerie and the actors played up to this well. Again a long attraction with a good number of scares throughout.
Field of Screams
This is your classic corn maze attraction. Fairly short but with some fun scares throughout. A particular highlight for us was one of the actors fully improvising a piece based on something one of us had said. We love to see this kind of dedication to a role and love to see improvisations where they come across natural and fitting with the environment. We would have possibly liked to have seen a few more actors within this maze though the ones we did encounter created some enjoyable moments.
This maze had some really great elements throughout. There was some cheeky humour and a maze definitely aimed at the older crowd. There was one part in this attraction that stood out and that was the effective use of barrels by a couple of actors towards the end. This was an innovative scare and one that worked brilliantly. Again a fun run through with enjoyable and creepy characters throughout.
Generally we are fans of a hayride but sadly we felt this one was lacking. There were a very limited number of actors and unfortunately the times we did encounter an actor the scares fell a little flat. There is a lot of potential with this part of the experience and I hope in future years Spooky World can expand on this offering as one of only a handful of hayrides in the UK. Thankfully the finale to the hayride, was nowhere near as terrible as last year and had been suitably toned down.
Tunnel of Terror
This is listed as an attraction but in reality it is just the ending of the hayride. While an improvement on last year we felt it was still lacking and needs a bit of work to bring it to attraction status. There would be an opportunity here to potentially end on a massive finale that ends the night on a high. The Tunnel was also sadly marred by having to go through as a socially distanced conga line with everyone else on the hayride, and a more troubling element that could potentially be worse. After we’d entered the tunnel a firecracker was thrown towards us which landed a little too close causing a temporary loss of hearing and fragments of the firecracker hitting one of us on the cheek.
It is worth noting though that after the tunnel we encountered a number of actors who really created a fun ending to the night. One in particular slowly and creepily followed us from the exit of The Tunnel all the way to the exit of the park. A really nice touch. There were some great make up effects here as well, with the eyeball girl being another standout here.
Overall we had a really fun evening, from the clowns at the start to the creepy characters at the end. The mazes all had strong actors throughout and this well and truly made up for the lack of theming in places. Obviously it’s a difficult time all round, but hopefully once we got back to a more normal season, it’d be great to see some attentions given to the sets and theming, though not to the detriment of the acting team, who were superb throughout and we’d love to see them back again and stronger still next year. Hats off to the creatives behind the event who managed to create fun and innovative scares throughout.
Spooky World 2019
Steven and Ashley visited Spooky World on separate occasions so we will compile our views into this one post as our experiences were slightly different. Spooky World is based at Apple Jacks Adventure Farm close to Warrington. It’s a very large site with most of the five mazes dotted around. There’s a small food establishment and a large tent to enjoy your food and drink in. There’s limited theming dotted around the park, mostly your typical Halloween props you can get in many shops. Roaming actors were a little thin on the ground with Ashley experiencing a few fun interactions on arrival and Steven sadly, didn’t experience any.
Spooky World offers two different events on different evenings throughout the Halloween season. Scare at Night events for anyone aged 14+, and Spooky at Night a toned down version for younger kids.
This was a reasonably lengthy maze, but had quite a few dead spots and practically no theming to indicate that you were in a haunted mansion. There were some energetic actors in here who worked well with the space they had. On Ashley’s visit the actors improvised well with some fun improvisations.
This is a seriously long maze and suffers many extended dead spots as you walk through. Steven started off alone and got some decent scares, but whilst the actors were game enough, perhaps they could do with some coaching to improve their repertoire. There was a bit more set design and props, but again it was sparse and reflected the more budget nature of this event. Ashley had a similar experience though found the Sergeant character quite fun.
Field of Screams
This outdoor maze takes place in a linear route through the maize maze. This started off strong with some good actors as we both went through solo. Sadly this was marred as towards the end Steven walked past one actor who didn’t seem to notice him at what was assumed to be a set piece element and the last actor sauntered past with his pig mask up completely out of character. Ashley had some additional interactions to this with the characters giving quite personalised performances.
Some of the elements and scare actors on this were good fun and got the group screaming in terror. Unfortunately for us we found the water element was to much for the October weather. We would recommend waterproofs for this attraction and possibly the use of smoke cannons to get the same effect without the water so really didn’t enjoy this ride overall.
Tunnel of Terror
You enter Tunnel of Terror directly after ending the hayride. This was the lowlight of the evening as we didn’t experience any terror just some stuff in our face and maybe one actor popping out of a hole in the distance.
The last maze was also a highlight. This was a decent clown maze, some good actors and some decent scares and had the best design and set of all the mazes at Spooky World. On Ashley’s run the actors also added some great humorous improvisations which added to the experience.
Much like Cursed in Essex, Spooky World is clearly not going to be able to compete with events with much larger budgets. That said whenever we were with a group everyone else was clearly having an enjoyable and scary evening. Most of the mazes had very limited theming and were quite long with perhaps not enough actors in them. Personally we would have preferred shorter mazes so more of the props and actors could scare more effectively rather than having long dead zones. Also the water element near the end of the hayride isn’t perhaps the right element for an event at night in October.
Whilst there were some missteps and a few poor or out of character actors in the mazes, most of the acting team were clearly passionate and energetic and provided some good scares, perhaps a bit of coaching all round to increase their range and repertoire would allow for a much more varied experience.
Spooky World runs every night through 2ndNovember, with all of them being Scare at Night apart from 2nd November which is Spooky at Night.