After reading and being told how good Screamland was last year, I made sure it was on my list this year, but I was utterly devastated by what i experienced when i visited. Everything, from lack of signage to a complete lack of atmosphere, it all came together to create something terrible. The lack of signage didn’t help when a lot of the mazes all looked the same from the outside, with the exception of Final Cut and Dead and Breakfast. I feel the atmosphere lacked because there was hardly any street theatre, and the ones that were there looked miserable, and despite there being a stage there were no acts on it. The evening wasn’t helped by staff not knowing what our wristbands and tickets actually meant. Its as if they had never heard of fastrack before. It was a terrible and miserable start.
When we pulled into the car park and made out way to the entrance. It was just around the corner from where we parked, but there was no theming. There was a projection on the outside of the entrance as well as a few other guests who had made the effort to dress up. If it wasn’t for them you probably wouldn’t know that there was any kind of Halloween event on. We got our tickets and wristbands and made our way to the first maze of the night.
First up was The Final cut which is based on an old, derelict cinema. I left this maze feeling like i went in. It lacked any scares, mainly because it lacked any actors. The actors we did come into contact with did nothing more than stand there. There was no attempt to interact with us. This year also missed the iconic ticket booth scene. Instead, an actor stood outside of it and gave a creepy speech. The food stall scene could have been a bit more powerful. We were given two glow sticks and were told that the aliens would try and take these from us for no apparent reason, but as we went round the maze, not a single actor tried. I’m still none the wiser why we had them. I got told by a friend who had visited before that this was nothing like the previous year and that they, for some reason, mashed together the original theme with an alien theme. The finale was also lifeless. All we got was an empty walkway and a battery powered chainsaw. Not even a chase happened. I mean, seriously! It saddens me as it was a beautiful attraction, but it just lacked anything.
So Dead & Breakfast couldn’t even shine a light on our mood. We were batched in a group of about 20, which is way too big and this caused problems later on when we all could not get in the lift scene. But, they did force us, which made us feel awesome. We even told then not everyone was going to fit, but they didn’t listen. Going through the attraction you hardly meet anyone ans when you did they lacked any energy which meant no scares. We also walked through completely empty scenes. I mean WTF? My friend even tried to interact with an actor but they just ignored them. There was also no real finale to this attraction. It was just someone attempting to scare us with the quietest chainsaw ever! Again, we left this maze utterly disappointed. Congratulations Screamland. 2 for 2 of the shit scale.
Next up was Brotherhood. It was a hooded attraction where you try to join a secret society. I had no idea what sort of secret society i was trying to join as I didn’t feel there was an explanation. We first had to put on this white hood that covered everything by your eyes for hygiene purposes (New reason to me). They looked like giant condoms. We were then given another hood. We then met character who halfheartedly told us we didn’t belong there and that we weren’t welcome. We then entered another room and were greeted by a series of bizarre and unnecessary noises such as a wolf howling and random words. They were being as loud as possible to try and scare is but it was just silly and did not with the theme at all. To put it simply, this maze was, wear a hood, follow the rope, end. At the end we took our hoods off and were told that our sins had failed us. It lacked in so many ways that I was actually bored going through this maze. I left this maze questioning why i bothered to do it. At this point we were feeling fed up and bored but we thought we paid for the mazes, so lets carry them on. It actually felt like a chore.
Up next was Punchinello’s Revenge, I had no hopes for this being good, given what we had already experienced. We met Punch right at the beginning who was quite amusing and a wee bit creepy. But he was the only decent character in this maze. We were told to find the baby and avoid the crocodile, which at the time was weird. The actors were actually visible in this maze but they didn’t real add to the story. They were just there and it made for a confusing maze. We then met the crocodile it was just terribly wow. It looked like a sack of potatoes and doing this weird noise that sounded like it was having sex. As for the baby, we never saw one. We came out of this one and actually had a debate about continuing as we were so fed up. But we carried on.
Festino’s Festival of Freaks was next and it actually had a semi decent intro as well as an extremely awkward moment when the host asked us if we were having a good evening (Hahahahaha). By this moment we had experienced four of the worst attractions we’ve experienced all season. In this maze it just felt like we were going in circles. When we saw an actor they didn’t really do anything. It had a mish mash theme and it was just as bad as the others. This one however had the best themeing. We left and headed to the last attraction praying for it to end.
We finally made it to the last haunt at Screamland. The Legend of Crank Jack. First thing with this is they don’t warn you that you will actually be crawling the whole maze. They should have mentioned it. It had a very impressive introduction, which wasn’t that hard given the crap we had already endured. This maze also had some decent themeing with some great use, especially when the secret door opened, but given we had to crawl almost the entire length of the haunt with the odd clown appearing through a hatch, i felt disappointed yet again. We had no scares and we kept catching the group ahead of us which lead to a back log. The finale in the maze lacked anything and did not go with the theme. I really hated this one. No scares, just crawling in a box. We left this maze so angry and disappointed at what we had experienced that we didn’t even bother with The Prop Shop as we just didn’t want to waste out time any longer.
And with that it was over. Thank god! Usually i try to give constructive feedback on events but the only thing i can say is don’t bother doing this, ever! Its shocking. It was very much a case of Dreamland biting of more than they could chew. They went for quantity of quality. I don’t really have anything positive to say, which is surprising. I hope and pray they sort themselves out next year, but so far i won’t be coming back.