Fear Scream Park is back for their biggest year yet promising #aBloodyGoodNight! Fear is located at Avon Valley Country Park in Keynsham which is just between Bristol & Bath. This event is always a highlight in our Halloween calendar and we couldn’t wait to attend the opening night on Friday 18th October 2019.
This year sees the four fantastic mazes from 2018 returning, as well the much loved Fire Show. Frank, the infamous Fear mascot has recruited some new members to his troupe of deranged clowns. Besides the great reputation the park already has, strengthened by winning ‘Best Scream Park’ for their 2018 performance, the draw for guests in 2019 is the new V I T A N O V A maze attraction.
House Of Clowns
“Step inside a twisted world of clowns and discover what happens when a child’s nightmare escapes into the real world. Forget the fun of the fair, this nightmare is real.”
House Of Clowns was new for 2018 which took you briefly through grandma’s house before finding it had been taken over by crazy clowns; this year the idea of grandma’s house is only contained to the queue line itself with a photo opportunity and the ‘cupboard’ is at the start of the maze where you step straight into the insanity. This is most certainly the most fun maze at Fear, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lack of scares. The actors were on top form, throwing themselves around and really using the spaces and timings of lighting effects to their advantage to maximise the scares, especially in the new strobe maze ending. We adore the infectious soundtrack and big variety of scenes with a whole array of lighting and other effects; strikingly similar to the past Big Top attraction at Thorpe Park, which isn’t a bad thing at all, and so glad to have something like this existing in the UK.
Scare: 8/10 – Themeing & Storyline: 9/10 – Actors: 9/10
V I T A N O V A
“In the absence of light, darkness prevails. The world is changing. You must conform. V I T A N O V A trials commence on the 18th October 2019. Happy is the country with no past.”
This maze had a fair bit of secrecy and unknown surrounding it as there was no real hint as to what form the attraction would take, or if it would follow the old fashioned style propaganda found in the marketing. To our surprise this is a futuristic facility, where you proceed through many phases of reconditioning to conform to the new world. The new world order was upon us and when venturing into each phase, we were shown members of the RER (Republic of England Rebels) fighting against the reconditioning and the side effects it would have on us if we resisted like them. Featuring some impressive mirrored scenes, splitting opportunities and a mix of creepy & full on actors, some great scares were had. The uniquely themed experience was clever in a detailed storyline which heavily showed throughout however, struggled to delivered a finished product all the way through with teething issues normally found in brand new mazes. Some blank spaces and lack of actors did make it feel weaker than what it could be and with some minor changes with additional effects and actors, the attraction could be on to a winner for the park. For a truly interesting maze, they have succeeded in delivering the most unusual concept of Halloween, but failed to deliver a fully polished product. However, creating a new maze on this scale is a big feat, and the potential could be incredible to see in future years to come!
Scare: 6/10 – Themeing & Storyline: 8/10 – Actors: 6/10
“In 1994, Omega Industries secured site Alpha-Vixen One, a complex series of subterranean tunnels hidden deep underground. Uncovered during routine maintenance, these tunnels contained the discovery of a lifetime… You are now invited to enter Alpha-Vixen One and uncover the terrifying secrets that lie within.”
X4 is now in its third year, and it has really been refined and modified to make an attraction that flows well and has intense scares throughout. The secret military feel is kept throughout, with a great intro scene to set the story, before being sent underground in the lift, which is still one of the most ridiculous physical props we have experienced in a scare maze. Whilst down in the facility, things don’t go quite to plan and the exclusive tour becomes a fight for your lives. The acting was of a high quality, using their space very well, which really ensured of a full on experience from all angles. We do miss the absence of the second lift that was towards the end in past years, but it does allow the attraction to flow better and keeps the intensity high, along with the new sections added which makes it the strongest year yet.
Scare: 7/10 – Themeing & Storyline: 7/10 – Actors: 9/10
“The time to die is now. Face your darkest fears and enter the Phobia Research Facility, where your fear of death will be pushed to the absolute limit until you can live a life without fear. Death is only the beginning.”
The Phobia maze is in its 5th year, but once again sees some big changes. The unique coffin entry into the maze introduced last year is back, which really tests your fear of death (and claustrophobia) right from the start, and helps to break up the group sizes. This year the attraction takes you into the causes of death for a variety of fictional (or are they?) people, with little shrines and backstories for each, you soon find out the terrible ways in which they died, and certainly give you a fright along the way. The acting, whilst good, felt quite repetitive due to the nature of the scenes, and the way small groups are batched pretty constantly, there’s not much time for actors to move around. Our highlights of this maze are definitely the unique entry, and the attention to detail in the storyline.
Scare: 6/10 – Themeing & Storyline: 7/10 – Actors: 7/10
“Lights, camera, ACTION! The newest season of Anarchy: Live is set to roll before the cameras, and you are the star of the show! Enter the arena as contestants in this brutal game of cat and mouse, and pray you make it out alive. The ultimate fight for survival begins now.”
Anarchy is the park’s longest running scare attraction, now in its 6th year! This time round sees some of the biggest changes yet; the cannibals have taken over and you’re playing by their rules now. Starting with a completely new introduction scene, the splitting starts straight away and you may have to fend for yourself the whole way through. In the main portion of the maze your vision is hindered by the horribly timed strobes, and the actors work together along with some effects to create lots of impactful scares. We really enjoyed the penultimate section of the maze, and if you’ve experienced it in previous years, you’ll appreciate the nice touch how the cannibals have broken out and taken over the filming studio which you used to start in. Anarchy wouldn’t be Anarchy without its fume filled ending to create the last scare running and screaming out the attraction! Due to the configuration of the maze and multiple routes available, we somehow found ourselves not getting lost at all and were out of the attraction before we knew it, which felt a bit of a let down, as this maze has been known to be quite long in previous years; though if you end up getting lost you could find yourself going around in circles for a while! We say this every year, but we really would love to see live feed cameras installed into the ‘arena’ to be shown outside or in the bar area to really live up to the ‘LIVE’ name.
Scare: 8/10 – Themeing & Storyline: 8/10 – Actors: 9/10
The park has a nice lively atmosphere with the roaming characters, a fairground, bar area and much more. The fire show that Fear are well known for is back, with 5 minute performances every hour, the high energy pyro & light spectacle is accompanied by a pumping soundtrack and interaction from the roaming characters; let’s just say Frank may or may not be trusted with a flamethrower. The roaming characters also made their way into queue lines much more frequently than previous years to keep guests entertained. For an additional fee there is the RER (Killzone) training facility including axe throwing and a shooting experience which this year is linked into the theme of V I T A N O V A; we didn’t experience this on our visit, but have done in previous years which was terrifying fun shooting at zombies!
In 2019 the park have listened to feedback and have aimed to act upon them. Last year, excessive queues were a recurring issue and a lot of people found themselves spending most of the night in queues, not able to soak up much of the atmosphere; this year they have allocated the tickets in different timed intakes to help ease the queues at the main entrance, as well the individual attractions as not everyone will arrive at once, we found this did help to ease the issue, though we still seen some queue times peak at 45 minutes. If you’re concerned about queues then we would suggest booking the first intake as the attraction queues at the beginning will be empty; there’s also a fast track ticket option to skip the attraction queues, or a VIP ticket for unlimited goes with queue jump.
We’re pleased to say fear lives up to the tagline and we certainly had #aBloodyGoodNight. We’re sure it would make a worthy contender for UK’s best scream park again with its strong varied scare offering. We’d like to thank Avon Valley Scream Park for inviting us down to check out their opening night, we can’t wait to visit again this season, and in future years where we’re sure they’ll go from strength to strength.
For more information about the scream park and to purchase tickets, you can visit the Fear website using the links below.
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