Well as ‘Scare Season’ is now fully underway, it was my turn to pack my bags and head off down to the big smoke.
After Louise having had to babysit Mark and persuade him to finally face his fears at Thorpe Park, followed by the 3 of us having a blast at York Hallowscream last week, I merrily packed my bags and headed off alone to see the preview of London Bridge Experience’s “Phobophobia – A Hillbillies Halloween”.
This is their new event for Halloween 2018, only available for 4 nights (26th, 27th, 28th & 31st October) and as the name suggests it’s an encounter with a Hillbilly family who make the Deliverence community seem rather level headed and reasonable by comparison. But more of that later…..
Having arrived early, I managed to get on the final day’s tour of their family friendly events “The London Bridge Experience and the London Tombs”. If you haven’t done this before it’s great for the kids. Although there are a couple of shocks/surprises and a recommendation that the scary nature of the tomb experience may be unsuitable for children under the age of 11, if you’re comfortable with Horrible Histories then you should be ok.
Anyway, back to the main event here…..
In some ways I want to tell you all about it but that would spoil the occasion and ruin the fun should you get chance to go. What I will say though, is that it’s cleverly scripted and very well thought through. Sometimes there is a danger of scare events being scary just for the sake of it. I mean, that’s what we want, isn’t it? But this followed a clear plot line with a beginning, middle and end, a proper scary story.
Before entering, we were told “the actors may touch you but you can’t touch them” – and yes, they did touch us and yes I was one of the ones singled out! Speaking with some of the actors afterwards I‘m informed that whilst they do have a script to follow, there is flexibility for them to improvise according to the audience and they certainly enjoyed that aspect.
I remember reading an interview with Quentin Tarantino about the famous ‘ear slicing’ scene in Reservoir Dogs when he points out that the scene actually cuts away at that point, the audience having to imagine what happened. He did this on purpose as the human mind can imagine far worse than can ever be portrayed. I was mindful of that during the tour as there were definitely moments where I imagined what might be about to happen. Whether they did or not in some way was irrelevant; they created that moment when I (someone often blasé about scary things) was genuinely concerned about what would happen next.
Many in my group were shrieking and screaming, holding onto each other for safety and everyone I spoke to afterwards loved the experience (but maybe not one woman I spoke to who lasted less than 2 minutes before quitting).
Credit also has to go to the design and technical team as although it’s pretty much the same route as the family-friendly daytime London Bridge Experience, only 2 hours later it’s transformed into a hillbilly hellhole. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable, scary night out and I’d fully recommend it to people.
So, why not journey through an experience more twisted than ever before meeting a few of our American cousins hoping to give you a special dose of southern hospitality. Don’t think you are quite out of the swamp yet? I should mention that the smells emitting from there are to die for!
Oh, I’ve deliberately not mentioned what happens right at the beginning …..
‘Phobophobia : A Hillbillies Halloween’ is on October 26th,27th,28th& 31st2018 from 6:00pm Tickets are selling fast so book early to avoid disappointment. Recommended for 16 years and over. The experience will feature strobe lighting, loud noises, confined spaces, darkness and adult content. Tickets just £31.00. book now on 0207 403 6333 ext 3. Or visit www.thelondonbridgeexperience.com
See you soon, Neal