We were kindly invited to Shepton Mallet Prison to experience their Halloween 2021 event, Shepton Mallet is 4 hours from us, so Hotel was booked sharpish, and we hot footed it to the other end of the country!
Shepton Mallet Prison is, akin to its sister site Shrewsbury Prison (where we have played Prison Break a few times!) an old decomissioned prison (a prison has sat on the site since 1625) but the prison as it is now was decomissioned fairly recently, in 2013. History lesson aside, Shepton Mallet Prison is a HUGE site, and one that lends itseld incredibly well to a scare event.
Halloween 2021 encompassed 3 vastly different experiences, and there is something to tantilise, entertain and scare everyone!
Until 31st October (Turf Wars available outside Halloween)
Locked in a Box:
“Are you ready for the most intense horror experience in the UK? It’s time to take a journey to haunted shores – a strong hold for the condemned souls of pirates.
Placed in a crate, you have only 6 wooden walls to protect you from the horrors on your journey, only the very brave will survive the challenge.
‘Locked in a box’ places you inside a uniquely designed immersive crate, large enough to lie down flat or sit up, but standing up – no chance.
Your thirty minute journey will bring horrors from the souls of the worst pirates ever to sail the seas, never knowing which way to turn as the horrors of this pirate universe surround you in every direction. You’re in for a long journey ‘locked in a box’.”
Whilst, personally (and there will be a fair amount of personal choice/feelings in this review, as scare attractions as a whole are a very personal experience!) I didn’t find Locked in a box scary, I can imagine a lot of people will. An intense experience where the sights, sounds and smells will transport you to another world and let your imagination run wild.
Locked in a box starts off strong, with a disney-esque preshow to set the tone, and give us the first section of the story. From the moment you step into the experience the theming is excellent, along with some great acting and convincing performances (albiet a little cheesy, as pirates tend to be!)
The experience is excecuted very well, with actors in full costume and make up creating the story around you, where you can only sense and see snippits of what is happening outside your crate. The story is so incredibly immersive you can’t help but get physically, mentally and in some respects emotionally involved. There is participation in this event, and without spoilers… the more you throw yourself in, and embrace the box, the better the experience will be.
“From the multi-time award winning Zombie experience creators comes ‘Zombie Town’ a LIVE undead experience.
An old film set has been transformed into a military town that has been infested with hungry, flesh eating zombies! You’ll be briefed and tasked with making your way through to safety, avoiding the undead and never getting bitten or scratched.
With only thirty minutes to navigate past the undead, you will need skills (and courage) to make it through the town, or grab the opportunity to collect a weapon to aid you on your way through ‘Zombie Town’.”
Wow, wow, wow, wow, WOW. I can’t put into words just how incredible this experience is.
You are given the option at the start of the event to upgrade to having a gun for £5… DO IT. Don’t ask questions, just pay the fiver and get the gun. This experience is the closest thing to playing any zombie video game you will EVER have, it was literally like walking into a level from The Last Of Us. The theming was immersive, 360, grimy gritty and it felt perfect. The zombies were all superb with bags of energy, whether they were nippy ones, or slower more decaying ones, each and every single zombie was perfect at their role. We felt threatend, we felt under pressure and most of all, we felt the exhiliration and blood lust one can only feel from popping a zombie with a headshot… of course downing the undead isn’t the only tasks you’re set out to do there are things to collect and exploration to be had, but that’s what makes a perfect end of the world situation hey…?
This was like nothing we had ever done before, an intense, intoxicating experience that will leave your adrenaline flowing and your senses on high alert.
“Ever tried an escape room before? Well, Turf Wars takes escape rooms to the next level.
Normal escape rooms place you in a single room, but with ‘Turf Wars’ you are placed on a ‘Grid’, an entire floor with multiple rooms and routes throughout.
You will have thirty minutes to complete the ‘Stations’ (our state-of-the-art puzzles), take control of the ‘Grid’ and win the ‘Turf War’.
But, you won’t be alone…you will be competing against the ‘Hunter’, whose job is to stop you completing the ‘Stations’ and taking control. ‘Hunters’ may be fast, slow, big, small, creepy, aggressive, loud or quiet. Whichever ‘Hunter’ you’re up against, you won’t want to come face-to-face with them!”
That is the one word I would choose to describe Turf Wars, but I can’t just write a one word review now can I!
Would I describe “Turf Wars” as an escape room… Well, no. This game has such a rare and unique qualities about it that I can honestly say it is in its own catagory. The set up is simple, a MASSIVE multi room space on one floor of the prison, and puzzle boxes containing some tricky and difficult puzzles, add into that The Hunter and his minions and you have a recipie for absolute carnage.
The introduction and set up built the tension with great drama and got us all incredibly worked up to find out who our hunter was (imagine the chase, but your choices are death from any of the chasers…) the game show feeling was a bit of fun and I was the only member of our group who was happy to see a homicidal clown standing the illuminated doorway!
We set to work trying to (and failing at) solving the puzzles. All under the ever present threat of the Hunter. The beauty of the hunters is that, as you don’t know who you’re getting they all have different skills, you have to work out how to best avoid the hunter and plan acorrdingly… our major plan of avoidance was to run… Yeah, that didn’t work out and a few of us got caught (myself included… lets just say I won no prizes for sprinting in school ok)
The puzzles themselves were on the trickier side, but there aren’t too many and you can leave and come back if you need to. They were present well, in flashy cases, which made them an attractive point for the hunter.
This experience was just, incredible, insane, high energy, fast paced and very, VERY physical. But most of all fun, it was TONNES of fun, we all came out sweating, screaming but most of all laughing. Again, an experience like no-other we’ve ever had, and just… insane.
I do have to mention the Clown who was our hunter. He was exceptional (overall the standard of acting of every single person we met was excellent) he was SO in character, meanicing yet still funny and had really good quips and “banter” (ugh I hate that word but it’s the best descriptor) He truly made the experience for us so amazing.
Thank you to the team at Shepton Mallet for inviting us down, we can’t wait to see what you do next year!