With the Halloween season just over the horizon and horror events seemingly becoming more popular year on year, a lot of people may soon be experiencing this style of attraction for the first time. This got us thinking about how we got to this point ourselves.
I had a bit of a staggered introduction to the world being a huge horror movie fan but not seeing the appeal in experiencing that feeling in a real world environment. It wasn’t something I even sought out on that first occasion either. We just happened to be spending the day at Thorpe Park way back when SAW Alive was a year-round attraction. In my head, I couldn’t see how scary this thing could be. Being very familiar with the SAW franchise, it didn’t strike me as something that would translate well to a scare attraction. The SAW films aren’t scary; people watch those films for the gory traps and not much else. The premise of that series would work better in escape rooms – something that we’ve seen in games like Room 13 and Enigmista.
So we went in and, man, I really didn’t enjoy it. I remember just wanting to get out of there. What I specifically recall was that it was a touching maze and I was at the very back of the group. Naturally, the people at the front took their time, being very cautious about entering the next area and turning blind corners. All the while, I was constantly assaulted; prodded and touched on the back of the head with absolutely nowhere to go. I kept glancing backwards to see people creeping towards me and mentally willed our group to keep moving forward, mostly to no avail. It’s still an awkward use of the IP in that it doesn’t really make much sense that the majority of the scares come from the victims but, take that out of the equation, and it’s a decent enough haunt.
But yeah, as I say, I didn’t enjoy that one. Starting with a touching maze was probably a bit of a baptism of fire! As our visit wasn’t during Fright Nights, there were no other mazes to try out so I don’t think we did another one for about two years. We happened to be in Portaventura at Halloween back in 2013. They put on a decent Halloween event with a few mazes but again, I didn’t really have much of an appetite for them until I noticed that one of the haunts was based on the first three REC films. Again, my love of horror movies got me into that maze and that one was the turning point. It was a less intense experience with no touching and sets that were a bit more lit up, we came out of it wanting to try more. And so we did the other two mazes that they had on and by the end of the night we were signed up for life.
It wasn’t an instant love, I think the first time was just too much of an assault on the senses as I really didn’t know what to expect; it took going through a few more ‘gentler’ mazes to break me into it. I guess that’s the thing to take away from this if you’re dragging a newbie along to an event – try and start on the less intense side of the scale!