Every year, Towers Street has always had a wow factor for any Scarefest event with all its decoration and this year is no exception. The Scarefest hearse takes pride of place near the bottom of Towers Street, as well as the whole street being covered in various theming, from pumpkins to scarecrows. At the very bottom stands the giant Scarefest letters as well as the child friendly Trick Or Treat Doors. Also round the park, various lighting has been used to effectively turn the park into a family friendly, yet eerie place, creating a brilliantly electric atmosphere. The SW8 logo is also being displayed on the towers ruins which I think is a lovely advertisement for the next ride.
Freak Show is the only scare zone at the park this year and has a variety of wonderful, yet creepy characters. It utilizes the pathway between Spinball Whizzer and X-Sector and has such a wonderfully magic vibe. The actors here are both hilarious and creepy and I think they have a perfect balance of scary yet approachable that is enjoyable for the wole family. The set pieces around the pathway are beautifully themed and just very nice on the eyes. It may not be overly scary but its definitely brings something different and somewhat fun to this year’s scare line up.
House Of Monsters is back for a second year in Cloud Cuckoo Land. I didn’t experience it last year, but having heard nothing but rave reviews for it I was desperate to go through this and you know what, Its absolutely wonderful. We were lucky enough to have a behind the scenes tour of this attraction (As well as two other mazes because we attended the TowersTimes Scaremazing event.) This attraction uses simple effects to create something fantastic. The acting in this is both cheeky yet child friendly. The sets are just beautiful and as far as i’m concerned every adult has to experience this, as well as children, as its just such a magical attraction. It has a simple story line but it works amazingly well. The sound track is also stunning and everything just works together to create this wonderful experience.
Terror Of The Towers: What Lies Within is back yet again. Compared to 2015 (When I last went through it) there seemed to be a couple of changes. The maze is now on one floor as opposed to two. I think this works better as it doesn’t slow the speed down and it keeps the scares coming constantly. For me, this maze always seems to start of slow, with very few scares, but then builds and builds until its bonkers finale and i just adore the way it does that. The theming in this attraction is, as always, incredible. The corridor with things that look human that don’t move (I cant remember if they were monks or armor) always creeps me out and makes me become really jumpy. I won’t say much more than that as I don’t want to ruin for those who have yet t experience it but I can see why Alton Towers keep bringing it back. I do however think its time for a new story and a bit of a revamp as its been around for a few years now.
Sub Species: The End Games returned for its 3rd year and after having such positive runs in 2015 I was extremely excited to get back into this attraction. Over the course of the weekend I did it 5 times, once being with TowersTimes. I did 2 runs on Friday, both of which felt a bit flat. I ended up going down the same route twice and there just wasn’t enough actors in this attraction. I let the runs slide and came back Saturday with TowersTimes. The run I had with them was so much better. They batched us in a smaller group (Due to the event) and it felt there was more actors in there and it just generally had its craziness back. This was my favorite run of the weekend. The second run I did on Saturday however was the worst run I’ve had in a maze ever. I met 1 actor throughout the entire maze and that was at the beginning and I was in and out within minutes. The Sunday run was very similar to the Friday runs. I used to adore this maze with all its craziness and just how bonkers it was, but I feel very let down by it this year. I hate to be negative over Sub Species as I always had a soft spot but I think some work needs to be done to bring it back to how it was, if its to stay.
The Altonville Mine Tours: Legend of the Skin Snatchers was now in its second year and I can genuinely say this maze scares the living daylights out of me. I don’t know why, it just does. I only braved it twice and both times I was freaking out and grabbing hold of people. I even got chased through the crouch tunnel to the point I ran, screamed like a little girl, and grabbed hold of my friend in front of me. It has so much theming that you need more than one run to take it all in. It smells incredible too, which is something I never thought I would say. The Haunted Lantern helmets work brilliantly and really set the tone for each section. It didn’t feel like there was many actors in this maze, but it didn’t need it. I think they got it just right.
New for this year is The Welcoming: Be Chosen. I only did this twice, once during day light and once during night time, and i’m still undecided on how I feel about this. I feel it contradicts itself a lot in my head. The hooded section works, but doesn’t work. The story makes sense, but it doesn’t. I think this confusion is going to stay with me a while. The maze is stunning. Its so well themed that you genuinely forget you’re at Alton Towers. The actors make full use of the area’s they are in. It feels very open, but very enclosed and I think that works brilliantly. A couple of scenes didn’t make much sense to me and someone had to explain what was actually happening though, which is a shame. I would say this mazes biggest weakness is its ending. Its sort of just there. I think that if this maze was to come back it would need a new ending.
Overall, Scarefest was a lovely event and one for all the family. The mazes are very mixed and I think that some need to be updated or changed just a little bit to make them work well. And night rides on all their rides and roller coasters is always something that has to be done. I love a good night ride on Oblivion I must admit.
Credit to Zach Lowe for the wonderful images