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SCREAMLAND MARGATE REVIEW 2016

 

Screamland at Dreamland Margate is back for 2016 with some exciting changes and a brand new scare attraction. We were invited for Press Night and this is the review of our experience... 

With all press nights, there are always a few things to iron out and it’s a chance for the acting team to rehearse their scare positions ready for opening.  It was a shame that the whole of Dreamland wasn’t open as I feel that when the rides are in full swing and the walkabout entertainers can roam the eerie  vintage fun fair, Screamland really comes to life after death!

Hopefully in the future Screamland could open on press night at a cheaper price for visitors as a pre-show before opening. This would allow those reviewing the event full access to everything and a true picture of audience reaction. 

On entering the park, we could see that Dreamland have been very busy… Last year we mentioned the fact that the huge ‘Hollywood’ sign that spells out ‘Dreamland’ was not utilised enough and should have been changed to spell ‘Screamland’ Thankfully this has been changed for the 2016 season and it made for a sensational backdrop to this fantastic park. It was also great to see the return of the same actor playing Punchinello, He was brilliant last year and makes a huge impact within the park, We were also introduced to his wife this year with a wonderful brand new character. They made a perfect double act, entertaining the queue lines throughout the evening. 

So what were our thoughts of the 5 scare attractions advertised? For some reason Bloody Mirror wasn’t open,  so we couldn’t review this one.  We were instead introduced to the characters from this attraction as they roamed the park throughout.  So,  onto the first scare of the night...

 

FESTINO’S FORGOTTON FUN HOUSE - KING OF CLOWNS 

I love a clown attraction, and last year Festino’s was one of my favourites of the halloween season! This year they had completely moved this attraction into what is called the hall by the sea, Dreamlands indoor concert hall. The attraction worked well throughout and we were stopped by the carnival folk inside to experience short theatrical shows.  It’s an impressive set and so much detail has gone into the design and build. Within the attraction we stopped to admire the huge blacklight clown skeleton, an impressive puppet and worth a mention. At some points throughout the maze we felt actors were a little sparse, and we would have liked to have seen some more jump scares throughout. Having said this, we still enjoyed the experience and the ending this year was much more frightening leaving you running for the exit in terror!  

FINAL CUT: THEY CAME FROM OUT OF SPACE

Last year's theme of Final Cut was based on old Hollywood horror movies, this year they had almost re-themed the whole attraction to an Alien encounter theme. This, in my opinion, worked better than last year and made us squeal and laugh in equal measures. I’m not easily scared but at one point an Alien leapt out of a picture frame and I have to admit, I nearly had to whip out the spare pants! Well done to that actor on a perfectly timed jump scare. 

The themeing throughout was very impressive and Screamland is getting a huge and deserved reputation for its attention to detail in their Halloween haunts.  It was a shame the peppers ghost scare wasn’t utilised this year. It was one of our favourite scares last season and we walked past it expecting something to happen, but sadly nothing. This is a fun haunt and provided ample scares making it thoroughly entertaining. 

 

DEAD AND BREAKFAST: MURDER HOTEL 

Last year we awarded Dead and Breakfast one of our Top Rated terror attractions 2015 awards, so we were looking forward to getting in there and experiencing it all over again. Dead and Breakfast is in the same building as Final Cut, so when you exit the previous haunt you have to wait in a small queue before Dead and Breakfast. I’m still not sure about this merger and in the future I would love to see Screamland just link the whole attraction as one. I believe it would make a huge haunt and a very long and terrifying experience. The theme was much stronger this year and the scares came from every direction, With some new impressive set pieces throughout! A special mention needs to go to the male actor stepping in to play fag ash lil, he did a great job and you wouldn’t have know she was in fact a 'he'  so a massive well done. 

The whole attraction yet again is beautifully themed and so well designed, it could rival any American haunt with its attention to detail. 

 

PARADISE FOUNDATION 

New for 2016 is the Paradise foundation. It’s a cross between a purge and hostel theme. This attraction has the potential to be world class. Yet again the theming throughout was outstanding. It’s a massive shame that most guests will be closing their eyes for most of it, as I know how much work goes into building something of this scale. Another special mention needs to go to whoever designed and made the costumes in here, these really are a highlight of this haunt. One in particular stands out; A fat grotesque creature, half penguin man and half jabba the hutt, it was terrifyingly gruesome. 

Every fabulous tool needed is there to make this attraction really come to life, but I felt the actors inside were given slightly restricting positions. Of course, it was press night and it always takes time to really settle in to a new attraction and get into the precise art of scare acting. I believe that given a little freedom in here, the cast would really find their feet and the optimum scare positions. 

I would love to have another walk through this attraction nearer the end of the season, as I know the acting team will be on top form and getting the best out of this truly incredible scenery. 

Another small negative was the fact that the film that plays before you enter the main part of the haunt mentioned a bid to buy some of the females in our group… we were 4 boys, who are slightly effeminate, but perhaps this can be looked at for the future to make sure the video can appeal to all different demographics. I’m really looking forward to the future of Paradise Foundation. I believe this haunt will be spoken about for a very long time. Congratulations Dreamland on another truly great experience. 

So, another fantastic year at Screamland! I’m still in awe at the outstanding quality of themeing and scenery throughout. And I'm sure after a weekend of scaring and settling in, the acting team will be in full swing and terrifying all guests who enter their domains. 

Screamland is definitely here to stay, and I can’t wait to see what they have planned for next season. 

Dreamland transform your dreams into exhilarating nightmares when they morph into Screamland!. Well done everyone. 

Review by Tom Swift, Terror Attractions 

 



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