Britain: Horror attraction combines dark ride with haunted maze
A unique new haunted attraction opening this summer at a small United Kingdom theme park will combine a walk-through horror maze featuring live actors with a dark ride journey inside an abandoned mine shaft.
The Hobs Pit maze and ride is set to open June 2 at Pleasurewood Hills theme park in Lowestoft, England, located about 100 miles northeast of London on the North Sea coast.
The 30-year-old amusement park has been promoting the new attraction with a clever viral marketing campaign that hints at the ride’s paranormal back story.
As the story goes, artifacts found on the site of an abandoned mine where the ride is being built suggest demonic activity. A journal from 1835 indicates that a group of crazed miners trapped in Hobs Pit turned on each other with pickaxes. Those who managed to survive the slaughter eventually fell to their deaths down a shaft that led straight to hell.
The new attraction pairs two theme park staples that are rarely if ever combined. The ubiquitous haunted dark ride can be found at theme parks both big (Haunted Mansion at California’s Disneyland) and small (Ghostwood Estates at Pennsyvania’s Kennywood) while horror walk-through mazes have become standard fare at annual Halloween events.
Year-round walk-through attractions with live actors still remain fairly rare at theme parks around the world. Universal Studios Hollywood offers House of Horrors every operating day with actors portraying the Mummy, Wolfman and Frankenstein. The U.K.'s Alton Towers has used the Sanctuary scare maze outside the Halloween season as a back story preview for the 14-inversion Smiler roller coaster opening this summer.
“It is the first one not only for Pleasurewood Hills, but the first in the UK and we’ve heard stories it’s the first one in the world as well,” the park’s general manager Alexis Camelin told the BBC.
Hobs Pit will be developed by the Pleasurewood Hills staff along with help from a pair of Hollywood veterans who have worked on attractions at Disney and Universal theme parks. Special effects expert Rob Ostir (“X-Men: First Class,” “Thor,” and “Tron: Legacy”) and voice actor Corey Burton (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” “The Transformers” and “Phineas and Ferb”) will provide creative direction for the new ride. The back story and show scenes for the attraction were written by Sean Alexander, an illusionist at the amusement park.
Hobs Pit, which is expected to begin “soft opening” test runs on May 25, will replace Woody’s Fairytale Fantasy dark ride and a nearby Main Street shop.
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