We will hold our hands up and say that we’ve dropped the ball with this. We should have got a review written when we first did it, but our excuse is we wanted to give it a chance to find its feet. But now that all 3 of us have experienced it, we feel now is the right time to review it.
The exterior of the Dungeon is probably my favourite out of the ones in the UK. It’s a bit more themed than the others with its wooden wall and gate house looking vibe. It has more of a dungeony feel to it from the outset than some of the others. So from the outside it looks rather exciting. Having done many others ones around the Uk, you can sort of tell what’s going to happen inside, so we went in with an expectation of how the scenes will play out.
After the initial photo bit (and a wonderfully hilarious and dark actor) you enter the judge room, aka The Bishop of Stafford. As with all judge scenes in the Dungeon attractions, it’s the same, just with a few locations changed. It’s a great way to start the experience as it’s got a good mix of dark vibes yet comedic. We get sentenced to journey The Black River (or Black Tunnel if it’s broken). The Black River is deliciously dark and sadistic. You have many people being tortured. From people being boiled alive to being sawn in half. It’s actually extremely dark and disturbing, but not in a OTT disgusting way.
After the Black River boat ride you come to another Dungeon staple, The Torturer. Like in other Dungeon attractions, this scene is always more funny than scary or disgusting. The humour from the Torturer when explains what his implements do always goes down well with the guests.
After The Torturer you visit the Welsh Harp Inn. This is where going in with a predetermined expectation gets challenged. Other pubs inside Dungeon attractions are usually a lights go out, people move or appear out of the dark with flashing lights etc, but this was different. You walk in and there are chairs. For any Dungeon aficionado this will shout Sweeney Todd and you know what to expect, and like with Sweeney Todd, it still has the horrible intensity or knowing somethings going to happen but you can quite remember when. But this time, instead of Sweeney, it’s Dick Turpin and it has some extra surprises that genuinely made me jump a little bit.
After this it’s the Plague Doctor, another Dungeon staple and like with a The Torturer, it’s more funny than disgusting. The scene is exactly the same as all the others, so we shall move swiftly on to what the website describes as The Haunting. Now, this is a very good scene and a great way for the Alton Tower’s Dungeon to come to a finale. Molly Leigh, the witch who now haunts an ‘abandoned’ cottage. This scene is clever as it does a simple trick, very well. The best way to describe it is the Ten Bells scene but bigger and better! It builds the tension with an intriguing story. Then things start to happen and then all hell breaks loose, by which we mean the ghost comes, scares the shit out of everyone, and then goes back to normal. It’s a simple trick that is always very effective.
Now, we’ve done the positives. There is a couple of ‘negatives’. The first one being the areas between the scenes. I’ve heard it was done on purpose, but they corridors are black. They are just black. I feel this ruins it slightly as it feels half finished. The second negative is i wish it had a scene that was just specifically made for Alton Towers and brought something new and different to the attraction. You could argue either The Haunting or The Black River does this, and to an extent it does, but, it just would have been nice to maybe use one of the many creepy backstories the park has on either its own history or it’s made up history with rides. I can understand why they chose to stick with the more generic Dungeon scenes, and they do do them very well, it just would have been nice to see a bit more personalisation to make it a wee bit different.
Over in the hotels, why not try a Dungeon inspired cocktail.
Overall though, the Alton Tower’s Dungeon is a fantastic addition to the park and definitely worth checking out if you have the time. It’s a good mix of frights and fun and hopefully they will keep it updated and maybe introduce a new scene next year to give it a reason to be revisited.