Walpurgis Night at the UK’s Scare Kingdom Scream Park
Mikey and guest hosts Jenna and Ryan discuss this year’s Walpurgis Night scene at Scare Kingdom.
This blog is based on Episode 141 of our Scare Track podcast. My name is Mikey, and this blog summarizes our on-location review of Scare Kingdom Scream Park’s Walpurgis night event that we covered on that podcast.
So, Halloween is still a few months away, but we have Walpurgis night while we’re waiting, and we’ve discovered the best way to celebrate this is at Scare Kingdom Scream Park. There were three returning attractions with three, brand-new overlays. There was Manormortis with “The Evil from Oz,” Body Snatchers with “Spring-Heeled Jack,” and the infamous Psychomanteum with “Goremet Cafe.” I and my two guest hosts, Jenna and Ryan, will be going into detail about the experiences that night. Jenna was with us for the Scare Kingdom Christmas podcast, and Ryan was a guest host on a previous Scare Kingdom podcast when we attended “Valenterror.”
Scare Kingdom is little bit different from attractions where you can go into one maze, have a discussion about it, and then go into another one. This is classed as a multipart event where you queue up at the beginning, do all the attractions, and come out at the end.
So, first off, when we completed our Walpurgis night experience at Scare Kingdom Scream Park, we were all smelly and dirty from Psychomanteum, but more about that later.
As I mentioned, Manormortis was rethemed to The Evil of Oz. Because this is an out-season attraction, it’s a lot more theatrical. What was different about this, compared to Valenterror, for example, was it wasn’t a go-through with a light event. I asked Ryan if he could actually see the inside of Manormortis and tell us how it was themed.
“The sets for Body Snatchers were incredible,” he replied. “For an independent haunt, it’s amazing what they can put together and do. I was absolutely gobsmacked.”
“The detail was brilliant, wasn’t it?” said Jenna.
This is something Scare Kingdom does really well. Their set design, lighting, sound, everything is on point. The sound system’s high quality and the lighting is beautiful in every room.
“Scare Kingdom did a really good job of keeping it varied, keeping it interesting, keeping it fresh,” said Ryan.
Manormortis: The Evil from Oz
Every time we go, even though it’s the same maze, it’s a completely new story, a new feel, a new soundtrack. I do need to mention that the Evil from Oz wasn’t terrifying. It was more theatrical.
“And it was fun!” enthused Jenna. “I loved the Tin Man, he was brilliant. He’s a great actor, and I remember him from Christmas, one of my faves, definitely.”
“I was talking to Jason, and he said the makeup took four hours,” said Ryan. “You can see it. The makeup is really detailed, really well done. Talking about the Tin Man, he was completely silver. It was fab.”
There were a few jump scares in there. I think the biggest jump we got was from Toto, the dog. That happened multiple times.
“Toto was the through line of the maze, if that makes sense. He was the thread that went through the attraction,” said Ryan.
Body Snatchers—Spring Heeled Jack
The next attraction we did was Body Snatchers, with Spring-Heeled Jack, which is sort of a tale of two hearts.
“Very much so,” Ryan agreed.
“There’s heavy theater at the beginning,” added Jenna. “A lot of dialogue, a lot of interaction, a lot of storytelling.”
“It starts off very similar to the way Evil from Oz starts off—very theatrical, very actor-led—and then you get halfway through and then they split you into groups of two, which meant Mikey was sent on alone,” said Ryan. “I was clinging to Jenna’s leg. That second section caught me so off guard with the scares.”
“It was very, very similar to the Christmas Evil,” commented Jenna.
I agreed that it was the same kind of idea but executed so much better. This was really, really good because of the way it was batched and acted. I want to say they were using different lights for those last two or three rooms.
“The lighting is never something you’d pick up on in a scare maze, but we all picked up on it this time. It was a noticeable effect that made an impact on the way you went through the rooms,” said Jenna.
“What made the scare so impactful is you couldn’t see those actors until they were in your face. That’s what got me,” said Ryan. “Another thing that stood out for me was the scripting for these attractions. It was fab. They have some of the most thought-out stories and concepts of any scare attraction I’ve done. It’s hard to deliver a story to the public, especially when they’re easily distracted. At no point was I distracted from what the actor was saying to me in any of these attractions.”
“You’re wholly engaged,” Jenna agreed.
The actors just entice you into the story, I offered.
“That’s the hardest part of the maze, because, if they’re not good, you’re going to tap out. I was smiling, but also a little bit nervous,” said Ryan.
“They put you on edge a little bit, don’t they?” asked Jenna. “They bring you into the story, but then you’re just a little bit unsettled.”
Both of these were really quality attractions. We came out screaming from Body Snatchers, because the finale was great. They’re very different attractions from each other, which is good, because you get a different feeling. Obviously, you get a higher-impact scare when it’s a pitch-black maze with just a glow stick.
I think Manormortis is 11 years old, and it was a leader in the UK scare industry when it came to theming. Other attractions in the UK have caught up in certain respects. There are some mazes, attractions, haunts, whatever you want to call them that are physically beautiful. Theming is a big deal here in the UK, just like it is in the US and China, but Manormortis was one of those standout attractions, and it still holds up today. It’s stunning.
“The first thing I do when going into a maze is look up,” said Ryan. “I know how spiteful that is, because not every haunt will theme the ceiling. Well, these attractions didn’t theme it completely, but it was done in such a way that I could believe it.”
Ryan makes a good point. Some places will stop with the theming when they get to head height, and even at one of the biggest haunts in the world, Halloween Horror Nights, you look up, and all you see are lights. So, fair play to Scare Kingdom for making it look real.
Psychomanteum: Goremet Cafe
So, back to the infamous Psychomanteum. I think I’ve attended every single incarnation of Psychomanteum—or maybe I might have missed one—but Jenna’s done them all except the last one. This was obviously Ryan’s first one. The subtitle this year is “Goremet Cafe,” and, of course, anyone that listens to the podcasts or reads these blogs knows I don’t do food. So, I was like, “I can’t do it.” Then Ryan gets here, and he taps out.
“I don’t hate myself enough to force food down my throat, so I said I’d look after everyone’s stuff,” Ryan explained.
So, Ryan had a great time, because he didn’t go through. Jenna and I went through. There was only one person who used the safe word in there, and guess who that was.
“It was Mikey!” said Jenna and Ryan in unison.
I’m admitting, right here, that I’ve safe worded in Psychomanteum, in a scare attraction. I’ve only safe worded once before, and that was in an extreme attraction after I’d been in there for four hours and 23 minutes. Psychomanteum is a seven-to-10 minute, immersive, solo, psycho-sexual experience. I did feel it was slightly less sexual this time. It was more of a sick and twisted cafe. In fairness, I did see tits and dick.
“I still got a lot of sexy. I saw tits, dick, everything,” said Jenna. “It was less physical sexy, but there was still a lot of sexy in there. You missed quite a big deal, Michael.”
I missed the finale. With Psychomanteum, we do sign away that we won’t discuss too much about what goes on inside the attraction, and it’s only fair to Scare Kingdom to not give everything away. All I’m going to mention is, it lives up to the name of Goremet Cafe, because it really was a food-oriented attraction.
“And I stink now,” said Jenna. “I’m covered in crap. If you go onto Instagram, you’ll see pictures of us with stains and mess on our backs, hair, legs, chests, everywhere.”
What didn’t help is, throughout the attraction and integrated within the music was actual retching. There I was, eating or drinking something grim, and all I could hear was retching noises.
“I was unaware of the noises because I was so upset with what was happening to my face,” said Jenna.
“I’d said to Jenna, ‘I don’t trust Mikey. I need your opinion.’ Because Mikey would have probably sent me through for the LOLs,” said Ryan.
And then he saw me safe-word out.
“You know I don’t do food things. Didn’t you say it was the worst you’ve done, Jenna?” Ryan asked.
“It’s the worst I’ve done.”
Worst as in the most intense.
“I’m a big food person, but I’m not into stuff like this. It makes me feel gross,” said Jenna. “Being sick to my stomach is a big phobia of mine. The smells nearly triggered me. It took a hell of a lot to get through that. I can see why you safe-worded, and I was close to doing it myself.”
I can say this now, in this blog, because the event is over, so I won’t be spoiling it for anyone. The taste that made me safe-word was ketchup—or something that tasted like ketchup. I don’t like ketchup, I don’t like mayonnaise, I don’t like mustard. I don’t like the things that normal people do. I don’t do condiments. Give me some vinegar. That’s all I want. If they made me drink a gallon of vinegar, I could have done that easy-peasy.
Psychomanteum always takes you out of your comfort zone, but I’m not doing any more food-related things.
“You always get something in your mouth at Psychomanteum, but you can usually open your mouth just a little bit so only a small amount of whatever it is goes in and the rest kinda falls on your face. But this was different. You had a lot of stuff in your mouth,” explained Jenna.
It was almost a three-course meal down my throat.
This Year’s Scare Kingdom Halloween Events
I think it’s time to move on to another topic—Halloween. Scare Kingdom has released all its Halloween events and dates. The first attraction is “The Parlor,” and we’re excited about that. Then there’s the “Paradise Foundation,” and I’ve heard amazing things about this. Manormortis will be back with “Borley Rectory,” which is billed as “Britain’s most famous ghost story.” Body Snatchers is back with a Sweeny Todd overlay. There’s “The Hoodening,” which, I’m guessing, will to be a hooded attraction. There’s “The Blitz,” and they finish with “Trick or Treat” at Psychomanteum. They usually have about six mazes. You can go to the website, scarekingdom.com, to check out the backstory of all these attractions.
“I feel like food is coming back, which makes me sad…and scared,” said Jenna.
So, we’re now on the countdown to Halloween. I can’t wait.
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