You might be surprised to know this, but we at Horror Hothouse might not be as brave as you think. Situated just outside of London is a place that, at the mere mention of the name, makes us both quiver and feel sick to our stomachs. That place is Tulley’s Farm, or more specifically, Shocktober Fest at Tulley’s Farm. You may have guessed it from the name, Shocktober Fest takes places during the autumn and is the UK’s largest and best voted Halloween event (Screamie Awards). The concept is this- take a farm, install several ‘haunted’ and downright terrifying attractions, throw in a few creepy live action horror actors and call it a party!
We thought about it in 2010, but we finally made it there in 2011- and we’re really glad we did. We realised just how much of a scardy-cat we both were, but we also learned that Emma could become quite the final girl when push came to shove and that Luke might be more suited to being one of the actors than the guests.
Tulley’s has transformed itself in to the favourite, or pretty much only, bonafide Halloween attraction in the UK over the past 15 years. At first they began with a very basic version of a haunted house, The Creepy Cottage, in 1997. They converted an old 16th Century barn into a small walkthrough haunted house. As popularity spread they added The Haunted Hayride, a wagon ride that goes deep into the depths of the woods, in the dark, in the night (guess the quote), and passes 20 different scenes of terror – all with live actors! Then came the Field of Screams (it contains ghostly children in a cornfield, needless to say Emma shot that idea in the foot before Luke even suggested it), It’s Curtain Maze with it murdering clowns, The Haunted Cellar and Hell-Ements. The last of which is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Could you think of anything worse than having a woollen bag put over your head whilst maniacs and ghosts come at you from every angle? No ta.
Despite all better judgement, we made it there and as we supped our hot chocolates by the fire and tried to appear uninteresting to the two escaped mental patients that were running around giggling (shudders), we seriously began to wonder why we had come. Even amongst the burger vans, sweet stalls and other festival-like attractions, the fear had well and truly settled in. Thankfully we ‘manned-up’ and made it onto The Haunted Hayride. The queue was long, but went fairly quickly and soon we were perched on the wagon, trying to act nonchalant. As it set off into the woods, we were faced with several startling sites, including clowns jumping from the tree-tops onto a net and scrabbling around trying to reach us. As seasoned horror fans we are attuned to spotting cheap tricks, but it took us completely by surprise and had us grappling at each other and even letting out a scream or two. The young girl with her doll who boarded the wagon and watched us creepily as we continued on our not-so-merry way, however, was by far the real ‘star’ of the show.
By the time we reached The Creepy Cottage, Emma led the way, guns blazing – after an initial scare – and even, dare we say, flirted with a deceased gentlemen who eventually gave up trying to scare us when he realised all hope was lost. Though we may have only been on two of the six attractions on offer, the tamest ones at that, there is no doubt that we will be back for more Halloween fun in 2012, and we might even try the Field Of Screams. Pray for us.
So, if you’re lucky enough to be a Londoner, then come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough!