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Attraction Profile
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target a different audience. Farmageddon tends to
Scare
appeal to thrill seekers, and Spooky World caters to a
very young audience. We want to appeal to the whole
family with Scare Kingdom.
Kingdom
We put a lot of humour and laughter into our
attractions, they are not just about making you
scream. We take you on an emotional and
psychological journey from laughing one minute to
being very scared the next and then laughing again.
Fear on the farm
At the end, you’ll hear people say, “Thank goodness
it’s over …but I enjoyed it!”
We’ve never had a problem recruiting actors. It’s
only for a couple of weeks a year, it’s a laugh and the
people are paid a decent amount of money for what
they do. There were 38 performers this year and many
of them have worked in other attractions including
Pasaje del Terror, the York Dungeon and Ghosts Alive
at Warwick Castle. We find that once people have
done a bit of scare acting they want to do it again.
Once the scripts have been developed we allow room
for them to ad lib and put a bit of themselves into it.
This industry is very cost effective if you are clever
about it. If you have the right skills you can set up a
scare attraction relatively cheaply. We’ve never
needed a loan for example, and we’ve always broken
even or made money from the very beginning.
I
have worked in the scare entertainment industry,
theatre and television since the 1990s, and was Halloween Hysteria
once a scare actor myself at various theme parks. I think two things instigated the birth of the scare
My partner in AtmosFEAR! Scare Attraction is Paul attractions industry in the UK. One is television,
Howse. About 10 years ago we realised that although because there are a lot of ghost shows on TV, but the
the industry in America is huge and makes a lot of main thing that led to the success of Halloween was
money, no one was doing it in the UK, so decided to Wal-Mart buying [supermarket chain] ASDA. Wal-Mart
Things will never be the introduce the concept to British audiences. basically exported Halloween to the UK and it’s now
same again at Hawkshaw We started small, doing one-off attractions for normal to celebrate Halloween not just for one night
Farm. For eight nights only, various companies. Once we’d created a reputation but for all of October. It’s enjoyed by a wide
the petting centre and ice people began approaching us to do more, and we demographic and it’s worth a lot of money, second
cream parlour near realised this was something we really wanted to get only to Christmas.
Blackburn, England, was into. Paul is a technical manager of theatre and my People have approached us about developing a
transformed into a fright background is in performance, so together we have year-round attraction but it’s not something we want
fest for fearless families. the skills to make it work. to do at the moment because I think it would become
Scare Kingdom scream We approached several farms and chose this one stale very quickly. The idea is to build Scare Kingdom
park is the latest concept primarily because of its location: it’s on a busy road as a seasonal attraction, adding new features each
from AtmosFEAR! Scare with 20,000 cars passing every day, and it’s just year. Other attractions do the same things from year
Attractions. Here creator minutes from the M6 motorway. Luckily the Dowson to year; maybe they change a scene or the actors are
Jason Karl explains how family, who own the farm, wanted to diversify into new, but that’s it.
he has capitalised on the “agutainment” and have been very supportive. One of the things we launched last year so as not
British public’s growing In 2008 we did Hex in the Harvest, a 6-acre to be so seasonal was street theatre, hiring out have
appetite for Halloween cornfield attraction. The problem with that of course is spooky characters for parties and promotions. At the
…and left them screaming the weather, but it worked and it proved that there is a moment we are supplying some scary pirates for a
for more market for that kind of attraction. This year we added promotion with the West Cornwall Pasty Company.
Blood Bath, a more intense walk-though attraction,
and a daytime attraction for the kids called Hubble
Bubble. We sold out every night!
We take pre-bookings via the internet with timed
entry, which helps us anticipate demand and manage
throughput. Inevitably a few people do turn up on the
night without booking, and we had a few issues with
ABOVE: Mother Strange and queuing on Bonfire Night (November 5), but we sorted
her decaying farm house
it out and everything else ran according to plan.
RIGHT: The Pumpkin Man
TOP RIGHT: Mother and
“child” as featured in Dead
Family Thrills
Alive MIDDLE RIGHT: Actors Although we are quite near two other scare
inside Blood Bath
attractions, Spooky World and Farmageddon, we
46 DECEMBER 2009/JANUARY 2010
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