Halloween is upon us. Even if you're not planning a ghoulishly-themed party, or have little ones who'll demand to go trick-or-treating, you can't fail to notice that All Hallows' Eve has become big business. Instead of staying home and watching the inevitable spooky movie TV line-up tonight, why not go to one of the places around the country that has dedicated scare-tastic themed rides? We invited industry experts www.hauntedattractions.co.uk to take a look at the link between haunted attractions and the entertainment industry and suggest a few places you might like to go to for a good scare...
HORROR ATTRACTIONS BASED AROUND ACTUAL FILMS
Michael Bolton from HA tells us: "Scary movies are fun but have you ever wanted to know what it would be like to actually be inside one? Nowadays you can go to a theme park or Halloween event and experience the terror up close and personal." The attractions he's suggested below use branded characters and scenes to bring some classic movies screamingly to life.
Pasaje Del Terror
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
"Filled with classic monsters such as Freddy Kruger, Regan from The Exorcist and Hannibal Lecter this attraction is open all year round and provides plenty of chilling thrills before emptying victims into a much needed bar!"
Returning to London Easter 2008
Okay, not open in time for this Halloween, but we're excited by the return of the classic Alien-themed adventure. Michael Bolton tells us that the original scary attraction (which placed visitors in the middle of a war between Alien Xenomorphs and Colonial marines) closed in 1996, but is due to come screaming back to London in 2008 and promises to be scarier and more intense than ever.
The Thing: Assimilation
Universal Studios, Orlando
Fans of the Thing - get yourself over to America! This is just what you would expect from a major US film studio. Utilising characters, scenes and monsters from the classic John Carpenter film, guests are left to explore a secret facility full of the remains of Arctic Outpost 31.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Flesh Wounds
Universal Studios, Hollywood
Another Universal Studios attraction. Chainsaws are a classic staple of a good scare maze, but Universal has brought back the original maniac for a crazy tour round the twisted world of the Hewitt family home.
ATTRACTIONS THAT COULD MAKE GREAT FILMS
There are other great scary rides you can visit, and Michael Bolton is convinced some of them ought to be movies. "With detailed storylines and fun effects the following Halloween events could all easily be turned into an effective scary film," he says. "Why not check one out this Halloween and see for yourself?" These babies are all a lot closer than the US…
Broadditch Farm, Kent
Probably one of the UK's most detailed attractions, Spooky Castle is a psycho home full of twisted rooms and evil intent. Like a possessed house with a mind of its own, this attraction throws everything at its victims including werewolves, zombies and bloodsucking vampires.
AtmosFear! Ghost Encounter Live
Bygone Times, Lancashire
Telling the story of a rich mill owner's pact with a witch and the subsequent murder of all his employees to appease a blood sacrifice, AtmosFEAR! has been created by Jason Karl, TV presenter on Most Haunted and Diana: Ghost of a Princess – it promises to be a real scream.
Thorpe Park, Surrey
"One of the UK's most intense Halloween attractions, the constant sirens, smoke and strobe effects just add to the confusion as people try to escape from murderous patients and staff," says Michael Bolton, who adds: "The lunatics are definitely taking over this asylum!" This ride used to be called The Freezer.
Farmer Ted’s Farm, Ormskirk, Lancashire
We love the title of this place. "A twisted tale of terror set in a monstrous farmyard where nothing is as it seems and no human is safe," says Bolton. "An adults only event that definitely isn’t for the easily scared."
Terror of The Towers: Blood Feast Banquet
Alton Towers, Staffordshire
"A gut-churning journey through the castle of a cannibalistic squire," explains Bolton. Try to escape the staff and previous victims who are just dying to serve your flesh to their master.
MOST WANTED FUTURE ATTRACTIONS
Time to let the imagination run wild. The scope for making scary attractions based on existing characters and storylines is endless and you can be guaranteed that movie studios and attraction designers are already in talks to create the next big thing. None of the following exists yet, but industry experts at www.hauntedattractions.co.uk would love to see them:
Batman: Escape from Arkham Asylum. Guests fight to get away from twisted inmates and Batman's most nefarious villains.
Saw. With a maze style/puzzle format this attraction could lead people through Jigsaw’s twisted playrooms encountering vile contraptions and puzzles. Will you work your way out?
Stargate SG-1. With different worlds and strange alien races, a unique experience could be created as people pass through the gate into different worlds of terror!
Somebody get on the phone to Hollywood licensing types! Unfortunately the last three attractions are just fictional, but everything else will be opening soon. Why not log onto www.hauntedattractions.co.uk for detailed listings, reviews, exclusive features and competitions? And if you have any thoughts on these rides (have you tried them?) or have any ideas for what would make a good themed ride in future, leave your comments below...