In the last few years the Halloween Horror experiences have really taken off here in the UK and in the North East we’re lucky enough to have a few to choose from with Scream Factory, Terror in the Trees and now Psycho Path all pretty close by. My sister and I were given the chance to preview one of the newest Halloween Horror attractions before it opened to the public, with instructions to wrap up warm and wear comfortable shoes due to uneven terrain, we prepped, and felt ready (on the outside) to take on the Psycho Path.
There’s a short video that sets up this brand new immersive walk through, it’s attached to the FaceBook event page and it’s a spectacularly shot piece that tells the story of a human testing facility housed in the North East of England where murderers and other criminals were used as test subjects for hideous mutations and experiments before one inmate managed to escape, killing the prison guards and releasing the other inmates. The video ends suddenly and it’s suggested that you arrive as this carnage is ripping through the forest.
When you arrive at Lintz Hall Farm in County Durham ready to sign in for the experience, there’s a pretty sweet barn set up with a couple of bars, the obligatory Instagram opp (in this case a Psycho Path branded and bloodied cage) and street food traders to browse while you wait for your allocated time slot, our recommendation is to forgo the bars and head straight to R-Place and grab yourself a boozy hot chocolate and a doughnut to go.
When it’s time to go, you’re called forward in groups of 15 and bundled into the back of a black van before being told “no phones”, “no talking” and being driven to a secret drop point in the forest where one member of your party is given a head torch and you set off on foot down a dark path marked out with rope.
Everything in Psycho Path is very dark and relies heavily on the power of suggestion which is actually pretty terrifying when you’re been dropped off in the middle of a forest at a secret location. In some areas of Psycho Path that’s part of the thrill because you’re not quite sure what exactly it is that you’re frightened of, other times, you’d be grateful for a little more light to appreciate the sheer amount of work that’s gone into putting together a scare-fest of this scale. Throughout the course of the Psycho Path you’ll find designated Safe Zones where you can take a breather if you need it, or step to the side knowing you won’t be grabbed or chased (there are three of these across the 1.5 mile course). Whether you need them or not depend on where your fear point lies.
There are some amazing visual spectacles throughout Psycho Path, there’s one scene where you leave the forest and open out into a field where the staging is just perfect. It’s one you can so easily miss if you don’t look around and take in the details of, it’s a section where you’re so focussed on looking forward that you don’t see the work that’s gone into putting the staging together. It’s so visually satisfying and the view of the stars from out there is just something else, so stop and look around. In terms of vision, this particular scene just smashed it and is one of the parts of this monumental production that you need to really appreciate.
Other effects used really well throughout the course of Psycho Path include sudden darkness, strobe lighting, and continuation of story telling between scenes which is done using a team of actors who are super committed to their roles, if you end up booking you’ll know exactly what I mean. The team behind Psycho Path have really thought about quick thrills and fast scares; rather than terrifying people for a long time, it’s fast paced in terms of delivery and then you move on which keeps the attraction fun and thrilling at the same time. Sidebar: I famously broke a guy’s nose at the 2002 Halloween Horror Night Blood Drive in Universal Orlando and was left completely and utterly mortified. It’s because of these overly long scares that push you too far, that and the fact that I’d just given half a pint of blood and wasn’t sure what was real any more.
There’s a hospital scene (as you would expect from the trailer) which is really graphic and probably the reason for the over 13 certificate on this attraction, it’s deliciously gory and of all the many scenes throughout Psycho path, this is the one where the actors are most likely to get a little handsy. As we left the hospital a genuine fog drew in as we legged it to the church in the woods which is one of the most amazing sights you’ll come across on this adventure with it’s huge neon cross lighting up the graveyard and a solitary nun muttering a prayer alluding to your impending doom – if you’ve caught any of the footage from The Journal and The Chronicle’s reviews they show this scene up close and personal.
The whole experience is around 45 minutes end to end, our honest advice would be to not use the video as a benchmark as it doesn’t strictly follow on and this seemed to be the general consensus of the other people we spoke to. As a stand alone experience, turning up with no prior experience or knowledge of what to expect, it’s great fun, there are some amazing fast scares and some super fun prolonged scares as well as some intense scary scenes that rely on props to build atmosphere to fantastic effect without the need for actors. It’s a completely new kind of Halloween Horror Night for the region, it’s entirely different from Scream Factory and it’s very Blair Witch in feel as you make your way around the forest. It’s definitely something we felt was adult orientated and more grown up in style with a focus on horror, rather than laughs.
I’ve tried my best to give a good analysis of what to expect from Psycho Path without spoiling it for anyone, I guess what you want to know is whether or not it’s scary. It’s wholly dependent on where your own fear zone is, it’s something I was terrified about and I definitely looked for a way out of it before we got there, but I’m so pleased I did it and I thoroughly enjoyed it, in fact Belle and I have messaged each other about it constantly since. It’s good, scary fun, I won’t lie to you, you’ll be scared, but you’ll have an absolute riot whilst you’re there. Grab your pals, your date, your sister, grab someone (you’ll need them) and immerse yourself in the biggest, newest Halloween attraction to hit the North East. Psycho Path is a chilling, visual spectacle that you’ll be talking about for days after and something tells me this is just going to get bigger and better with each year.