We returned to Goosebumps Alive upon discovering that there were two routes to follow. Our interest was especially piqued when we learned that our previous visit was considered the ‘comedic’ path and that we hadn’t experienced the ‘scary’ side of the show.
This side shared some portions; HorrorLand, the camping segue, the elevator scene and the finale which is experienced at the same time by all visitors on that timeslot.
There were three new stories to this track; Say Cheese and Die dealt with a phone that had a catastrophic effect on anything that it photographed. The Haunted Mask concerned a bullied girl taking on more than she anticipated when attempting revenge on her tormentor by scaring him with a mask. And Night of the Scarecrow, a story of a young couple spending time out in the country which featured some neat scarecrow effects.
This was much more to our liking than the previous route. Whilst we still wouldn’t necessarily call it scary, it did feel as though there was more of a darker edge to these three stories. But what was more noticeable was that the immersive side of the show was a lot more evident here. Admittedly, it still wasn’t as immersive as we were expecting but the scenes were a lot more fleshed out. For example, the Say Cheese and Die story shared a lot similarities with The Cuckoo Clock of Doom from the other track but their presentation couldn’t be further apart. Both stories deal with a character acquiring an item from a curiosity shop and then bad things happen (obviously). For Cuckoo Clock, we were sat in a room with a clock face painted on the floor and that was it as far as set design went. We had to imagine the locations for that story. For Say Cheese, the shop scene was in a shop set and the rest of the scene unfurled in a pub that felt somewhat like an actual pub with the choice of furniture etc.
We had a similar experience with the Scarecrow story, we were sat in the middle of the set for this one, on hay bales. A lot more thought had been given to the staging of these three stories and, looking back at our previous visit, with the exception of the Basement story, the other track very much felt like an afterthought as though they were just utilising whatever space the three stories from this route had left them.
Our main qualm remains, it wasn’t that immersive or scary. We definitely felt more involved this time around but we were still very much observers, watching a story that we weren’t really ever a part of.
Another slight issue was that the endings for each of the new shows were a bit damp. The Scarecrow tale felt as though it was building to a shock ending with the use of darkness and sound effects but just fizzled out.
Much better than our previous visit. It’s a shame that the show was broken up like this as we definitely experienced the weaker route first. We’d feel more confident in recommending a visit this time around (Snake or Spider track as opposed to Rat or Crow) but, alas, the show has now ended its run.
Rating: **** (out of 5) – Recommend
Ticket Price: £49
Address: The Vaults, Leake Street, SE1 7NN, London