From post-apocalyptic sewer mazes, abandoned mine shafts to isolated barns coming face to face with horrifying sights and the deadliest of characters - hoping to survive the night of Halloween by testing the nerves to their limits is the choice of a growing number of thrill-seekers.
Lancashire has become the setting for a number of fright night experiences designed to frighten everyone witless. Journey to Hell is the long-awaited blood curdling offering from Blackpool Pleasure Beach and was billed as a 'first' for the amusement park.
At three and a half hours wandering the depths of the theme park after dark under the 'care' of a series of bloodthirsty maniacs and ghostly residents - there was a lot of hype and potential for this unique Halloween event, journeying through a series of tunnels and mazes with a rather unexpected ride experience.
The concept of drawing the audience into the 'story' from the off was certainly a clever one and different to its counterparts in that what began as a large group became quite disorientated from the very beginning.
Natural reactions played an important part of the story, filtering through the crowd, no one quite sure what would be coming next.
The difficulty was in keeping this intensity through the entire run, whilst incorporating a journey across the whole park, which was another effective element.
After all there is something rather sinister and spine tingling moving in unknown company around a theme park after hours. Sound effects added to architecture of terror as well as a series of smell pods situated in the various passages and mazes, people were lured into.
Not knowing where you were or where you were going with assisted 'guides' certainly added to the drama and suspense and the characterisation and ad-lib moments were both frightening and in a strange sense funny.
However, as expected at times it wasn't always seamless and there were inevitable glitches as the sequence of events played out.
The narrative was left a little lost between settings as various groups caught up between their ventures in the individual tunnels. The movement of the different groups of visitors of course will have played a part in the rhythm and flow of the experience.
The costumes, effects and precision to detail from the stage works team, especially in the previously unseen places of the park are not disappointing.
Lights and dressings in places are incredibly authentic in drawing you in to a horror scene and work well with the existing features to create that eerie ambience and evoking that sense of dread in what may or may not lie ahead. There are simple textures and hangings at points which added to those uneasy sensations, keeping people on edge.
The three-prong approach in designing a labyrinth of horrors, spectacle, and story certainly has legs in that the visitors don’t see things coming but this year's event was experimental for all involved.
It was daring to put on a enhanced scare experience and as audiences become increasingly more hungry for interactive experiences those behind the scenes have their work cut out in taking their haunting skills to the next level. Journey to Hell is just the beginning but the Pleasure Beach team are certainly on the right track.
Journey to Hell Freak Nights run until Thursday October 31.
For information https://halloween.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/