After 14 seasons, the award-winning interactive horror theme park Farmaggedon (the slightly twisted but ever-entertaining brainchild of Mark Edwards) is back with new experiences, additional creatures of the night, extra fairground & a ramped up Carnivalesque atmosphere.
I confess that I have nothing to compare this experience to – being a middle-aged woman and a new attendee – but as a lover of horror films for over 40 years, my interest was piqued; the other hundreds of waiting participants were clearly stoked & giddy as they moved through animal pens on their way in, growing more nervous or excitable the closer they got to the entrance
The first thing you notice are the cast of grotesques: a hideously botoxed-deformed and massive boob-enhanced nurse trips around menacingly with an over-sized hypodermic; a drunken Santa drags his sack menacingly across the ground; an undead Ghostbuster & a Harley Quinn-type baseball bat-wielding teen prowl for victims – and an assortment of various zombie types & the obligatory killer clown with a mallet, harangue, harass and grope for you as you trek between attractions. (I was genuinely concerned for the poor girl dressed in a nightie with a cage on her head)
The (presumably) mostly drama students & actors are clearly having a ball, imploring you to stay & ‘be our friend’ or, alternately, to be eaten. (The participants just laughed & took selfies with the rogues’ gallery).
The main horror houses themselves are incongruously located alongside the dark & deserted daytime Shaun the Sheep/Farmer Ted family-type attractions – which only adds to the strangeness of the experience: ‘The Beast of Terror’ is a haunted house of demon souls, whereby you wind your way through a nightmarish, 3D labyrinth of corridors, crypts and caverns; ‘Contagion’ features vicious clowns and ‘The Meat Locker’ delivers evil spirt/butcher Malachi. To be honest though, the most frightening part of the whole experience was in the fairly bare bones pallet ‘Maze of Death’, when an excess of dry ice dry left me temporarily blind, lost and disoriented. (If I wasn’t such a Billy No Mates, I’d have had someone to cling to & lead me forward!)
The whole operation is so professionally & efficiently run and well-orchestrated with a fairground atmosphere, but you could easily spend the whole evening trying simpler, different things – having a slug of booze at the Zombie Arms bar, listening to one of the heavy rock bands, spending time locked up in the rusty jail , taking a whirl on the ‘Fear-Go-Round’, or singing ‘Scary-Oke’, throwing axes and paintballing zombies.
The security staff are wonderful – always on hand to help and advise – and there are lots of them, should you actually take fright and need a quick escape, and although the company states that, ‘Pregnant women, people of a nervous disposition and those with a heart condition are not advised to attend’, the scares are not overpowering. I laughed all the way through; it’s theatrical, unpretentious fun and acknowledged as one of the top 25 ‘Must See’ haunted attractions in the world. If I had to offer one suggestion though, it would maybe be to give more extensive dialogue to the actors, as their phrases become repetitive – but hats off to the chapeau-ed cheeky chappie carnival MC with a megaphone, who was quick with his snarky quips, ad libs & put-downs.
Oh, and a word of advice: take a car or get a lift from the main road; having no torch in such a secluded area & walking down a deserted, pitch-black, wooded country lane, with no pavements and the sudden appearances of oncoming traffic around hairpin bends and cars coming up behind, is far more terrifying than drama students pretending to be zombies & killer clowns.
Farmaggedon runs until the 31st October. Full details and tickets can be found at https://www.farmaggedon.co.uk/
Reviewer: Tracy Ryan
Reviewed: 8th October 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★