With spooky season well and truly beginning we thought we would have a chat with the team at Scare Directory. We sent the lovely Ashley over some questions to get to know him and Scare Directory some more, and he well and truly answered!
First of all, tell us a bit more about yourself?
Hi there, by day I’m a data analyst holding down a fairly standard 9 to 5 but in my free time I love to do anything that gets adrenaline pumping around my body be that anything from scare attractions to jumping off cliffs into water.
How did Scare Directory come to be and what you hope the future has in store for you?
Scare Directory started as an idea around Halloween 2018. I was travelling on the London Underground and saw a poster for Tulleys Shocktoberfest. It was at that point where something suddenly clicked I thought to myself why am I missing out on all these scare attractions around the UK (at this point none of my friends had shown any interest in the scene)so I went home and started researching. I knew the UK had quite a few attractions but researching uncovered many more.
Looking at what was around the UK I started pulling together a list of all the attractions and where they were but thought there must be a better way to bring this information together. I then thought ‘what about a database?’ so I started researching ways I could publish a database online that people could use to find scares, this grew to the realization that what I was after probably wasn’t really a database but a fully fledged directory kind of like Trip Advisor or Yelp but for the scare industry. I started exploring some technical solutions to this and ideas started to form, so I started building over the Christmas break and by the 1st January the website came into existence.
A lot has happened since January 2018 we have gained a reasonable Instagram following, website hits are increasing every week and I’m feeling quite positive for the upcoming Halloween season and I believe people will start using it to find new scares and hopefully as the season progresses people will start to add their own reviews and star ratings similar to Trip Advisor or Yelp.
It’s worth noting that Scare Directory isn’t just me. I now have two additional bloggers to help provide additional content and ideas for the website which will hopefully enable us to implement a number of ambitious plans in the new year. That’s the short-term covered but what about longer term? The scare industry, while growing is still quite small and I feel that there are so many opportunities to bring scare attractions to the forefront of people’s minds and grow the industry way beyond where it is today. I hope that Scare Directory along with other scare industry websites can help make that happen. Let’s get small attractions as much coverage as the big guys and let the UK know just how great this industry is and how fun scare attractions can be.
What is your all time favourite scare attraction and scream park and why?
In the UK I think it has to be Scream Factory it’s a really fun immersive attraction. All the actors really go all out and I quite like how they do so much with so little. It’s the indie horror of the scare industry. It’s worth noting that I’ve visited a number of attractions in the US and one that really stood out apart from the incredible theming at Universal Horror Nights is the Fright Dome at Circus Circus Las Vegas it was pitch black in places and full of roaming actors, you didn’t know where they would come from next.
What got you into Scare Attractions?
Pasaje del Terror, I’d seen the attraction on previous visits and been intrigued. When I was about 16 I was at the Pleasure Beach and decided to give it a go. It was from there I started seeking my next scare building up to more and more intense attractions.
What is your pet hate in a Scare Attraction? (Be it from a guest or actor perspective)?
I have a few pet hates in an attraction. The biggest is being in a group of people that chat and mess about throughout. The second is hands on shoulders, it’s just awkward and reduces the impact of scares. The third is when scares are designed just for the front of the group. This really reduces the scares for the people at the back. Last but not least are chainsaws. I feel because they are so loud they ruin the element of surprise. You hear the group before getting scared and the impact of the chainsaw is lost on you (must give Ghoulies credit for swapping out a bladed chainsaw for a prop though)
If you were forced to choose between HVRTING and Scream Camp, which one would you choose and why?
Ooh that is tough they are both great events with a totally different experience. I think I’d say Scream Camp primarily down to the length of it and the fact that scares fill the whole night. But HVRTING is an hour of high intensity fun!!!
If you could revive one last scare attraction to replace a Scare attraction that you remove, which one and why? (Can’t choose Vulcan Peak)
Experiment 10 at Thorpe Park that was my first experience of a group being split up and was executed really well. You came out of being split up completely disoriented and lost and even though what followed was primarily a strobe maze I felt this just added to the disorientation even further. A great approach and one that could easily be done again. Overall it was quite simple with little theming but it packed a punch.
Where do you think the future of Scare attractions is headed?
I think they will start to use a bit more tech. I really hope this doesn’t reduce the number of actors as actors will always make an attraction. I also think there will be a further move to more intense and extreme attractions pushing boundaries of how far people can be pushed.
If you could attend any Halloween event around the world, which one and why?
I think it’s Knotts Scary Farm. It’s a classic US scream park plus an excellent theme park.
Snog, Marry, Avoid the Parks, Scares and Glitter team (Amber, Dan, Dom and Pagan). 2 snogs, 1 marry and one avoid and must answer!
Snog Amber, Snog Dan, Marry Pagan, Avoid Dom (sorry Dom it’s only because I haven’t met you yet)
We’d like to say a massive thank you to Ashley for taking the time to answer our questions. We adore the pride logo and from the LGBT+ community we’d also like to thank you for supporting the community! Make sure you check Scare Directory our at the website, which is linked and also on their social media accounts, Scare Directory on Facebook, On twitter and on Instagram!