Take a walk into the cornfields of Altonville, but be warned: you are not alone ...
|Theme Park||Alton Towers|
|Location||Behind the Alton Towers Hotel|
Those who experienced Field of 1000 Screams will remember it as one of Alton Towers' best ever Scarefest scare mazes.
It was set away from the park itself in a field behind the hotel which meant that rather than being constructed with temporary sets, the maze could take place within a real field of corn which had been planted several months before.
Field of 1000 Screams was a triumph of tension building and storytelling: Having been briefed by a local police officer, visitors made their way along a pathway cut through the field. After a while the group would happen upon a car crash scene, a slightly crazy bloodied actor warning of strange happenings and encouraging everybody to move on quickly.
After walking deeper into the field, they came across a farmhouse and the farmer encouraged them to come inside for safety. There, a TV showing a local news report revealed more of the story, and it became clear that the area was becoming infested with zombies. By this point, most guests' hearts were racing and the tension within the group was palpable. Soon they were back outside in the corn field, shuffling forward more slowly than before, checking around each corner as if almost certain that something was about to jump out on them.
This was the master stroke of the maze: the storytelling and the spookiness of the cornfield itself built the tension higher and higher, a slow build that promised much but never cheapened the experience with even a distant zombie sighting until the spectacular crescendo finale.
The final scene changed slightly in the maze's lifetime, originally set in another farm shed and latterly on a bus, but the effect was much the same. After the group gathered inside, a mass of zombies would be unleashed, banging and clawing at the walls. At the point that they were about to break through, visitors were instructed to make a run for it ... pushing and shoving each other in their race to safety, only realising a few seconds later that they had run out through the maze exit and back to reality.
Alton Towers have always pitched Scarefest mazes towards the storytelling end of the spectrum, and Field of 1000 Screams was the pinacle of that philosophy. Many scare mazes are scary because of quick jump scares and creepy actors getting right up in your face, but Field of 1000 Screams proved that a slow build without any release of tension until the very end can be even more effective - terrifying in fact.