With just a few months to go before the festivities of Christmas takes hold, the spooky season will first take its moment to shine, or at least glow in an ominous light allowing the faithful to celebrate and engage in some creepy, fear drenched fun. How best will these unconventional thrill seekers celebrate? A fancy dress party? Trick or treating (more for the youngsters amongst us)? Or will they seek out something that will really make their heart race, something to test their limits and bring them face to face with real terror? For those in the latter category the good, or should it be sadistic, folk at Tulley’s Farm in West Sussex have you covered with their yearly event; Shocktober!
With anything horror related, dropping spoilers is sacrilege so I will keep my experience as vague as possible whist still attempting to paint a vivid picture of the experience, an experience that must be had if Halloween is well and truly your holiday of choice.
Right from the outset, Tulley’s Farm sought to immerse visitors into the macabre the moment upon entering the site. Everywhere your gaze takes you, there is something ghoulish on show, from the various food stands built to look slightly unnatural, the stage with musical performances mixing up popular songs with a seasonal twist to the outer areas of the various haunts depicting their themes, there was nowhere to escape from this realm of horror.
Of course, the main draw of this festival of fear was the various haunts dotted around. Interactive experiences designed to tantalise your senses. Sadly, and despite possessing fast track passes I did not make it around all that Shocktober had to offer, but what I did experience had the desired effect the organisers planned.
For the most part, many of them, despite different aesthetics, followed a similar them. Enter, follow the path and experience the ambiguous narrative. First on the list was the Wasteland Penitentiary, a prison full of unsecured, dangerous and deranged prisoners. With the blast of a heavy metal soundtrack and areas of intense strobe lighting the atmosphere was, indeed, unnerving.
The Island added other sensory experiences including a squishy ground to simulate, what I imagine, to be quicksand, tight squeezes through areas that felt never ending (not for the claustrophobic amongst us). The Coven of 13 also incorporated some impressive immersion at one stage simulating wading through a swamp as well as making the use of various climates and limiting visibility to create an unnerving and unescapable nightmare.
My personal recommendation though, and the haunt that must not be missed under any circumstances was Hell Ements. What do we rely on and take for granted most? Our ability to see. Take this away and in the simplest of terms, what we can’t see, is the most terrifying! I will say no more, it is up to visitors to risk the loss of their vision and face true terror.
Of course, there were many other haunts to entice thrill seekers, but as previously mentioned avoiding major spoilers is vital, so I will just add that Doom Town, Electrick Circus and The Chop Shop each have their own elements to induce fear in participants so do not miss out… If you dare!
Other attractions included was axe throwing, zombie paintball, various rides as well as the world-famous Circus of Horrors. So, if the haunts were just a little too much, Tulley’s Farm had you covered. Shoctober Fest really was a fairground of fear and fun for, well, maybe not all the family, but most that seek more unconventional entertainment.
If you are brave enough to venture into the world Tulley’s Farm has created, you can buy tickets here.