ScareCon 2017! A review…. of sorts.

And now for something COMPLETELY different! Warning! This is going to be a long “review” – more of a compilation of my thoughts and experiences throughout the day!

As you may (or may not know) Mr Brit and myself are big “Scare” fans… I’ve always been a (fairly closeted) lover of all things macabre, and a few years ago, I went to an event called Farmaggedon… this led to my new found love of scare mazes, this was in 2012 so a few years before the escape room habit formed, but the 2 seem to be intertwined.
As the legend continues, from 2013 to 2016 I worked as a zombie at Farmaggedon, scaring the crap out of punters and generally having a damn good time!

Looking this good doesn’t come naturally!

Unfortunately, I seriously damaged my ankle in early 2016, and by the time October rolled around, it still wasn’t healed so I had to leave Farmaggedon part way through the run after the ligaments in my ankle blew up again, rendering me rather lame!

So, for the last few months I’ve been reading reviews and watching the fun and games over on Facebook, seeing ScareCon gearing up for 2017… and lamenting that I couldn’t go now I didn’t have a scare attraction to call “home”
ScareCon is produced by ScareTour which are a leading review site for ALL things spooky! I’ve written a couple of reviews in the past, and the team are very professional and the reviews are always informative!

One evening a few months ago, I was randomly checking the ScarAwards and noticed that Escapologic had been nominated for their phenomenal 13utcher room. I was ecstatic!
How suprised was I a couple of days later when I got a phone call from them inviting me to attend Scarecon and the ScarAwards with Escapologic! YES YES YES was my answer!
I’d wanted to go to ScareCon for a few years, but it had always been down south in Margate/Thorpe Park, but this year it was at my 2nd home. Alton Towers…

towers

Excellent. Hotel? Booked. Tickets? Booked. Now I just had to wait…

The Event

The event was split into two halves, the “convention” in the daytime, and the ScarAwards/Dinner/Do in the evening. We were there for the duration! We arrived at around 10:30 and got straight to checking in, and then checking out the trade show!

The Trade Show:

Not as big as I imagined, but full of really interesting companies for the scare industry, and some wicked masks! It was really busy all the time, so hopefully there will be a lot of interesting things popping up at the scaremazes in October!

The Seminars:

There were seminars and talks all day long, and they didn’t disappoint. We stopped and watched 5, all of which were conducted with professionalism and all very interesting. We listened to:
Scare Design from an Actor’s Point of View – Gary Irving
Marketing and promotional Strategies – Tulleys Shocktoberfest
Extreme Scare Panel (in association with ScareTrack and Frequent Fear)
Behind The Scenes – Developing an Event Company – Immersive Events
Building the ultimate Home Haunt – Death to the Flippers

All were very informative, the most interesting was the Extreme Scare Panel, it was a great panel as it had creators, actors and victims enthusiasts. It was a study of psychology and intriguing to see and hear why these mazes are created and why people go time and time again (I have been through Psychomanteum once and that was ENOUGH thankyouverymuch)

We were sad that the Scare Mazes Vs Room Escapes talk was cancelled, but it was due to unforeseen events beyond any control.

The talks, from a scare industry point of view were fantastic! Not much for the escape room industry but this isn’t FOR the escape room industry so the talks were spot on!

Altonville Mine Tours: Uncover the Legend of the Skinsnatchers – Exclusive Access

After the talks and trade show had ended, delegates were bussed over to the theme park to enter the scare maze. This was brilliant, it was my favourite maze we walked through last year, and I was hoping it wouldn’t disappoint 8 months later…
It didn’t!
Alton Towers had put their A game on, getting in all the top notch actors. They were all on form and 100% in character.
The maze was dark, disorientating and full of life and creatures!
The story was told and brought to life throughout the maze, the guy at the start being super creepy, and still injecting humour into his opening spiel. Theming was superb, taking you from the mine, down to the Skin Snatchers home and weaving through all the tunnels and dead ends, very disorientating. It was a little dark and smokey, which was a shame as a little more light would have lead to more appreciation of the incredibly detailed sets.
It was a fantastic run through though, and I laughed, creeped and jumped my way through the maze. I hope they keep Skin Snatchers for another year at ScareFest 2017!

Dinner/Awards/Entertainment

The Main event! We made our way down to the ball room and found a table, the decoration was simple, classy and effective, with candelabras adorning each table, and a stage set up for the entertainment and awards.

The night started with the Alton Towers Ancestors getting their groove on and introducing our host for the night (the one and only Michael Bolton… no… not the singer) with a bit of magic. The ancestors were slick, and oh so talented!

Dinner was lovely, the best food we’ve had at Alton Towers and the staff were efficient polite and got every served and cleared away with no hassle whatsoever.

Onto the awards, they were interspersed with bouts of debauchery from the circus of horrors, which were gruesome, nail-biting, funny and tense! All the normal things like fire breathing, sword swallowing, walking on swords, contortions and a man hoovering his, erm… manly bits! A true smorgasbord of freak-show like material!

The awards part of the show was conducted very professionally, smoothly and with no hiccups. Unfortunately Escapologic didn’t win, but even the nomination is an accolade in itself.

Much merriment (booze) later, and we retired to bed, but not after some mario-kart fun!

In summary:

ScareCon was a fantastic event, brilliant for the scare industry and so professionally ran. It was its 10th year this year and I sincerely hope it continues to grow and flourish year on year.

 

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