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TULLEYS SHOCKTOBER FEST 2015 REVIEW

tulleys shocktober fest halloween

From the tender age of 7, with my curtain locks and Technics bomber jacket, I built my very first scare attraction in my bedroom and made my parents pay 50p to enter. In 2008 I visited Tulleys farm Halloween festival and on that fateful night I said to myself "I want to do that" over the next 6 years I would visit Shocktober-fest, seeing it progress and get bigger with each year. Nothing could prepare me for just how much work has gone into this particular year and I was thrilled to be able to visit and review the scream park that got me into this crazy industry.

Although they get a general feel for the class and detail of an event, The public don't always realise just how much time and effort goes into designing and building Halloween scare attractions, most of the time they close their eyes on their not so merry way through each attraction, missing the vast amount of theming and attention to detail. I don't think I've ever heard someone come out of an attraction saying "well wasn't that well themed and didn't the set builders do a good job" most of the time they come out and say "is that it" or "that wasn't very scary" and in spite of this, the crew at Tulleys put their blood sweat and tears into every beautiful detail of their epic Shocktober-fest.

This year I felt for the first time that this scream park could rival any universal horror night or big theme park attraction. This year was special! I had the best time through all 8 scare attractions, laughing, jumping, getting bacteria from other human beings in the vast amount of claustrophobia tunnels. Tulleys farm really has something for everyone and this is why it's a huge success in the UK.

Before I go into detail regarding each attraction I would like to give a few special mentions, the professionalism of the staff throughout the park is exceptional, all so helpful and friendly. Whoever trains the staff at Tulleys should be very proud. Another thing I noticed was the improvement in make up in each attraction, so many Halloween attractions don't spend enough time and effort on make up and I feel this really improves each experience. I have to give a huge mention to the roaming actors in the park, they really are the best in the business and are incredible in interacting and improvising with each group. A real asset to the park!

Tulleys has a great atmosphere and it was great to see that the team have worked so hard on the outside theming of each attraction. Lovely work hiding backstage from the public, using wood from the local saw mill, cleverly lit with smoke behind- giving a stunning mist throughout each area. It was all cleverly put together and we all felt we were visiting a permanent scream park.

terror attractions tulleys shocktoberfest

So it was time to venture into our first of eight, yes EIGHT Halloween attractions and this is my review of each;

 

CHOP SHOP

Our first experience of the night, and it really didn't disappoint, was Chop Shop. I was amazed with the exterior of this attraction. A beautiful looking corrugated garage awaited us with lovely designed signage and old fashioned cars outside. We first ventured into a small room to be given a recorded speech of the rules of the attraction, I felt this would have worked better if we were in a garage waiting room and an actor could interact with us giving each group a little talk regarding the back story of the attraction. Once inside we first made our way through the creepy garage set, with red neck girls harassing us and popping out from hidden places. The attention to detail in this set was beautiful and I looked up to see even the ceilings had been themed. We suddenly entered a strobe lit room with blood splattered white walls. What happened next was something I've never seen in a UK scare attraction. I don't want to give anything away but I thought to myself "why have I never thought of this for a horror attraction" this confusing space had us wondering weather we all needed a spare pair of pants for the evening. I do however think the strobe lighting was a little too fast and would have been even more effective if it was slowed down letting the actors in the attraction move in the dark to different positions. I would also like to see more butcher curtains throughout this attraction to create more confusion. However the actors where all very strong and working hard to make it a great experience. A real highlight of our Halloween season and a must for anyone with a fear of chainsaws! Well done Tulleys on a 'bloody great attraction" I can't wait to re-visit again in the future.

HAUNTED HOUSE

Shocktoberfest really has something for everyone and the haunted house is perfect for a family audience. This allows a taster for the brave child in all of us and is a lovely well themed haunted house. I must give a special mention to the actress playing the little freaky girl who crawled along the walls at us (making one of our party so full of adrenaline, that it nearly escaped into his skinny jeans!) I would like to see in the future a definite end to the attraction with perhaps a twist of why the haunted house is what it is. Yet again, I would like to know the story of the haunted house in the queue line and what ghosts are known to exist within. Maybe a simple film showing before we enter of a documentary of what ghosts and Gouls have been caught on tape inside and interviews with the house staff? This being said I always look forward to walking round this attraction as it really is a classic and would be missed if it went.

HELL-EMENTS

Hell-ements is one of those attractions like marmite you either love it or hate it! I find it a clever attraction and a very Genius way of making a long attraction within a small space. For those of you who haven't experienced Hell-ements it's an attraction where you have to hold onto a piece of rope with a hood over your head throughout. The first thought when entering this attraction is "do the hoods get cleaned each night?" And the answer is yes! I could clearly smell summer breeze fabric softener (phew) the storyline is very clear in this attraction with a well produced film as an introduction. Once inside you are so preoccupied with keeping your hand on the rope that you forget that a demon may pounce upon you at any time- that is exactly what happened to me. I'm not the easiest person to scare but at one point an actor with a simple tug of the rope I said "rope" and a perfectly timed little whisper in my ear had me lifting two inches into the air and making a funny little noise. Well done to that actor!

At times though you can see clearly through the hoods on your heads and see you are, in fact, in a white marquee. In my opinion this attraction should be pitch black under your sack as this will increase your other senses. It would also be a lovely touch to add some smells in the future to really add to the disorientation! Having said this, it is a unique attraction and has a lovely HOT ending that really packs a punch.

NIGHTSHADE CIRCUS

Tulleys have for the past several years featured in some way a clown based attraction. I always felt the entrance to this attraction was a little lost within the park and was always found through a marquee. Well not this year! The team have invested their time to build a huge facade which is very impressive and have changed the entrance to this attraction improving its position in the park. Yet again I would like to know some back story before venturing in to the circus and why the clowns that inhabit it have become insane with rage! But once inside you are first given the hard task of finding your way out of its first curtains maze. This is always a confusing task of pushing your way through, hoping not to encounter the clowns that lerk inside. Of course you can't visit the circus without the odd fright from the clowns within and the acting team were especially brilliant at popping up from their different hiding holes. In the centre of this attraction Tulleys have built a brand new ultra violet themed section. This works really well, but I do feel it lacked in actors and scares. UV can be such a clever way of scaring and if used right will have people questioning how it was done. I would have liked to have seen a few uv scare tricks within this part of the attraction. We did enjoy moving our way through the small corridors and crooked doors. The trummel is always a fun experience. After the UV section we then venture through a second curtains maze this time in black and white and are finally pushed out with a lovely ending involving a clever use of a jack in the box. We always enjoy visiting this attraction each year but I do feel it changes sometimes too many times loosing some great scares from the year before which some general public would be looking forward to showing a friend who has never visited before. This is a gem of an attraction and a lovely experience each time.

HAUNTED HAYRIDE

Tulleys have featured their world famous hay-ride for many, many years and it is such a great experience every time we visit. What's so impressive about this attraction is the sheer amount of work that has gone into building it throughout the years. I've been told that most the lighting each year gets thrown into the skip as its usually wrecked from rain damage by the end of the season. Also something that most visitors don't know is the vast amount of gas used (not just by visitors letting out their emotions) the use of great fire balls that burst into the air throughout the ride don't come cheap and Tully's never scrimp when it comes to an impressive scare, these are getting more and more extravagant as their ideas arsenal grows with each season really giving the public their money's worth. This year again the theme was Horror-wood and the whole attraction was based around an abandoned studio tour. Some great characters throughout and the actors were all brilliantly interacting with the audience sitting on the trailer. Some actors have to wait alone for long amounts of time throughout each night, often in the cold and rain. They always work their backsides off to scare each and every tractor load of guests. Each scene throughout this ride was brilliantly executed and enjoyed by all. I'm not sure if due to health and safety the falling sign can no longer operate? if that's the case, it will be hugely missed. It was lovely to see the return of the clowns this year with a brand new set, and the nuns were just as hilarious as before! If I were to criticise anything, it would be that I would like to see the car section have full working car lights, as this was one of my favourite scenes. I would also like to see the return of the huge net that over hung the tractor trailer as this was always a highlight of the hay-ride, but this may be a health and safety issue. It would also be nice to feature a director in the queue line with his giant old fashioned mega phone making the queuing audience part of his next horror b movie? Apart from that it really is a great attraction that the whole family can enjoy and is still a favourite on the park.

THE VOLT

Another new attraction for this year is The Volt, Another investment for the park. The evil genius behind this attraction needs to be hung drawn and quartered. It really is electrifying! I don't want to give too much away as it really will spoil it, but let's put it this way, I 'forgot' to mention the secret of this attraction to the group I was visiting with. I've never heard so many swear words in all my life! The Volt is a clever dark themed attraction and due to the secret, had us all so worried about putting our hands out to guide us that we forgot about the acting team who were hidden in the dark. I suppose for Tulleys once the audience know the secret of this attraction it will be difficult to bring it back next season! But I really believe with a few more ideas of ways to trick each group of brave souls who enter, it could become a yearly feature of the Tulleys attraction manifesto.

CELLAR

Another classic attraction for Shocktober-fest is the Cellar! A brilliantly themed and beautifully designed attraction. A special mention for the acting team this year! We felt attacked from every direction throughout and it was the best walk through of the Cellar I have ever encountered. Yet again, it lacks the story telling from the queue line and Moving forward I'd love to see a story line that compliments the madness within. The Cellar is a classic Tully's horror attraction and it's always highly charged with a top quality acting team who know how to get the best out of their scares. In the future I would like to see a final fright to push public through the exit kicking and screaming.

COLONY

I was told at the start of the evening to save this attraction till last. So we took the advise and made it our last scare of the night, we weren't disappointed. I couldn't believe the amount of work that has gone into this attraction. It sits on the same site as the old field of screams and last year was themed around an idea of a long dark tunnel. So I was shocked to see that this epic 25 minute attraction had yet again been re-themed to the "Colony",  How on earth they had the time to build this gargantuan Halloween attraction is beyond me. At each corner we were met with new set pieces that had been freshly created and it felt at times we were on the film set of the wicker man. The story was a little unclear at times, but who cares, this attraction really is breath-taking. The scares came thick and fast and at one point had a member of our team on the floor trembling with fear! This attraction felt like it was never going to end and neither was this huge set. At one point in a beautifully built wooden hut, I looked up and there within its ceiling was a tribal member staring at me chanting some terrifying ancient ritual.

Well done Tulleys, my jaw dropped in awe at this experience and it just further proves how passionate you are about delivering quality attractions that give the public a great experience each and every year. If nothing else, you have to visit Tulleys just to see The "Colony".

SUMMARY

Shocktoberfest really is a brilliant Halloween night out! And something the whole family can enjoy. It allows the little ones to experience some small frights and the teenagers and parents some great scares, and for granny & grandad or those not up for the mazes, there is the option of just soaking up the fab atmosphere of Live bands, Delicious food and street entertainment with a modestly priced street pass. So many rival Halloween attractions fight to be the most frightening and forget to make it entertaining and good value for money! Tulleys has the right mix of scary and fun and that's why people make sure it's in the diary each and every year! Well done on a truly unforgettable night.

Easter you get eggs, Christmas you get presents, Halloween... you get Tulleys!

Review by Tom Swift, Terror Attractions



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