As the witching hour of Halloween beckons, our thoughts turn to scary stories of haunted houses and morbid mazes. And where better to indulge your fangs this October than Dreamland Margate’s multi-award winning Screamland. Offering spine-tingling sensations and horrors galore, it’s a night of fiendish fun for all the work team. Those of a nervous disposition may wish to look away now.
What is Screamland?
Screamland howled onto the scare season in October 2015 as an ingenious way for Dreamland Margate to extend its summer season. With a rich heritage dating back to 1898, Dreamland’s creepy, abandoned amusement park vibe provides the perfect ambience for scary Halloween shenanigans.
There are five scary mazes, each inhabited by professional actors and filled with state-of-the-art special effects designed to horrify and bewilder in equal measure. The sets take up to a year to create and mix theatrical effects, technology and live performance in a scare festival like no other.
How scary are the mazes?
From flashing lights to decaying odours, you’re on a state of high alert every step of the way. Each maze has its own particular brand of terror from intense claustrophobia in the Final Cut, to squeamish scenes of blood and gore in the Paradise Foundation.
Amidst the horror, there’s also plenty of slap dash humour as you encounter quirky characters such as Fag Ash Lil in her Better Days guest house. Picking up the key to the ominous room 13, you encounter psychopathic guests and a cleaver-wielding chef who has a lot more on his mind than room service requests.
For blood-thirsty types, head to the Paradise Foundation where Doctor Prometheus and his assistants wait in anticipation of making a better version of you. A quick dash through the operating theatre reveals his previous handiwork and the horrors that await. Writhing, caged bodies send a stab of horror in this never-ending labyrinth of horrors. Not one for the faint-hearted.
From grabbing hands to leering heads, there’s no end to the scares in store but for me the greatest horror lies in the theatrical detail. From blood-spattered books to walls lined with human masks, it’s the mazes’ minutiae that leave the most lasting impression.
Would office breaks recommend SCREAMLAND?
If you love the immersive theatre experience this one is definitely you. While at times I couldn’t wait to escape, the feeling of exhilaration you experience on release is overwhelming. There’s also a heightened sense of camaraderie with your fellow participants. Expect screaming, wailing and strangers clinging on to you at inopportune moments. If you’re looking for Halloween ideas, it’s a perfect team bonding exercise and a great leveller, as it’s guaranteed nobody will volunteer to take the lead.
Screamland runs from the 14th-29th October 2016.
To buy tickets, visit: https://www.dreamland.co.uk/screamland/
I was invited to attend the Screamland press trip by Visit Kent.