If you go down to York Maze tonight you’re sure of a big surprise… and it won’t be cheery farmer Tom offering a tractor ride.
More likely it’ll be homicidal clown tearing after you with a chainsaw.
York Maze has undergone its annual werewolf-like transformation from kiddie-friendly summer fun attraction to Halloween horror show. This year’s Hallowscream comes with five live action haunted house attractions and a zombie themed bar.
We dared to boldly go to all of them. Here’s the chilling verdict…
A weak link in the ghostly rattling chain, this tale of a malevolent spirit and the secrets of his evil past was not, unfortunately, a screaming success.
The medium’s opening spiel was spun out, while the ouija board was more gigglesome than ghoulish (Mr Cann having to awkwardly ‘reset’ it three or four times). This – coupled with the comical sight of two portly middle-aged blokes uncomfortably joining hands – means that I have to give The Séance a…
Scream Rating: 1 out of 5
The Difference Engine
This was amazing. We were separated into two, and told to enter a deceptively small trailer from either end.
This led to a labyrinth of black and white rooms, crammed with nasty surprises from shadow lurking mask-men to spaces so smoky we couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces.
Wonderfully disorienting, with the perfect balance of heart in mouth fear but still a longing to see what’s around the next corner.
Scream rating: 5 out of 5
The Freak Show
Though this was called The Freak Show, it was only a precursor to the maze itself, inhabited by creatures ranging from mutilated teddy bears to bedraggled werewolves. The tent itself was mildly disappointing; however sprinting through the horror flick rows of corn with Johnny Zombie breathing down our necks gave a real rush.
Add in the getting lost factor and you get a blummin’ entertaining adventure, even if you end up clambering over hay bales like we did…!
Scream Rating: 4 out of 5
Simply an awfully spiffing jump-scare escapade! Another perplexing journey around a claustrophobic area full of convulsive, shrieking clowns, this made us so tense that we both openly screamed into the face of a poor little bespectacled woman, who looked peeved to say the least that we’d mistaken her for a hideous, bloodied joker.
Scream Rating: 5 out of 5
Evocative of a sinister carnival funhouse, this took us through spooky settings ranging from a menacing industrial spot to some revolting commodes to an Alice In Wonderland-style shrinking corridor.
Barnageddon encapsulated everything good about Hallowscream; both the ever-plentiful scares and the good-humoured actors (after one bloke, pictured above, tried a jump-scare we said “No, that didn’t really work!”. He laughed and conceded, “No, it didn’t!”).
Scream Rating: 4 out of 5
To sum up, then, Hallowscream is a genuinely scary, good-natured romp that ticks all the boxes for a spooky treat and then some. Wear sensible shoes (it’s muddy and you might need to run for it), check you haven’t got a heart condition and go for it…
It’s up there with the best (or should that be worst?) York experiences, and an absolute must-see for everyone a bit too old to don the skeleton pyjamas.
- York Maze Hallowscream nights are for seven nights only: Friday 18 & Saturday 19, Friday 25 & Saturday 26, Thursday 31 October, plus Friday 1 and Saturday 2 November
- Tickets are from £14.50 – £19.50 per person – more information on the York Hallowscream website
- Organisers say it is unsuitable for anyone under the age of 14 years of age, those with a nervous disposition and anyone with a weak heart. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult