Alton Towers Scarefest Review: Get Corrected

Aptly this is my th13teenth blog (see what I did there?) and it’s Halloween week. Last Thursday and Friday I spent at Alton Towers Resort for their annual scarefest, there were certainly some brown trousers after that!

sanctuary

 

The thick clouds above were beginning to darken. There we were in the gardens of Alton Towers, walking towards a grand Georgian all glass conservatory. But this wasn’t no ordinary manor house, this was the sanctuary.

(eerie organ music perhaps)

We walked into the glass building and  immediately met with a stale musky smell. To our right a small shrubbery area with dead plants, all of them plastered with spider webs and dust. The windows decorated with faded white curtains all around. A piercing buzzing alarm sounded for an instant forcing me to look ahead. As I did a group walked through the large security gate, a nurse dressed in all white slammed it behind them.

I then knew in moments that would also be my fate.

50’s style health posters were plastered all around saying things such as ‘A smile a day, keeps the doctor away’.

smile a day“Welcome to the sanctuary.” The nurse said in what can only be described as a 1920’s accent. Her eyes transfixed on us.

This creepy looking nurse explained to us what would be happening. She took her time and there were many awkward moments of pause.

“Do you understand sir?” She asked me as I smelt the stale musk in the air.

I simply nodded as my eyes met hers. She smiled as the piercing alarm sounded again. A green light mounted on the gate meant it was time to enter the sanctuary.

The nurse opened the gate and we walked forward. Met by a narrow green corridor it continued for a stretch. As we walked the foulest stench could be smelt. It was as if the floor hadn’t been cleaned in years combined with rotting cheese. Maybe a hospital that hadn’t been cleaned in years.

Shuffled to a small opening we were met by what can only be described as an institutionalized doctor. After some shouting and erratic behavior he explained the procedures carried out at the sanctuary and his support for them and for someone called Dr Kelman.

“Do you know what this light means?” He asked pointing to one of the two lights, this one being green.

We presumed it meant things were good.

“But do you know what this light means?”

Obviously bad things. Then it illuminated and the doctor opened a large door. It was now time to go inside the sanctuary.

Walking through the many rooms of this ‘sanctuary’ it was clear to see this certainly wasn’t one. From every corner we were approached by ‘patients’, some snorted at you, others would shout, whilst the odd patient would get close enough to hear you breathing.

Continuing onwards we came to a narrow bright white corridor with screens at height. There was a distinct smell of apple pie as it was displayed on the screen. A wet spray then hit us as the white became brighter and brighter. Different colours flashed making it very disorienting and seeming as if you have gone mad.

Through a plastic sheet we continued and that was when we came to some wooden stairs, but they led down.

“Don’t go into the basement.” I remember numerous patients saying to me during the walk.

This is where the numerous ‘surgeries’ took place. It was safe to say they were failed surgeries to ‘correct’ a patient. The voice of this doctor Kelman sounded, asking why his patients didnt respond and to ‘get corrected, get corrected’

Tension was building and building as we came past an operated body that had obviously failed to be corrected.

‘Get corrected, get corrected’

Then we were outside in the open again. The scare maze had finished!

After my experience in the sanctuary I can happily say I was corrected!

Yes I am talking about one of the great scare mazes at Alton towers.  Last week I made the voyage to the UK’s greatest theme park. ‘Theme park’ is the only way to describe this place as the various rides and attractions are incredibly detailed and even more so during their annual Halloween scare fest. I recommend it to everyone, and they even reply on twitter. These guys build worlds, and the sanctuary felt like I was walking through a horror movie in real life.

As much as it was scary the experience was intriguing to say the least. I do love a good scare and this is as close as one will get to a horror movie. I did also experience the terror at the towers scare maze which was equally as good.

zombies

If you go down to the woods today…..

thirteeen

Not being a roller coaster fan I set myself a goal upon this visit. Ride at least one of Alton Towers worlds firsts. There is a few to choose from but mine was roller coaster 13. A rather unknown ride set in the eerie nearby woods. As you walk along the queue in remote woodland a mini van taken over by a growing tree can be seen.

thirteenBefore I knew it, I was riding the various ups and downs of th13een. But as we came to an ascent we stopped abruptly. Was this part of the ride experience? No we were stuck*. After ten minutes the ride continued and into a dark building we went. The sound of wood snapping all around us and then a sudden drop in complete darkness. Yes this is the worlds first roller coaster where the track and carriages drop together onto another track!

There we were going backwards in the dark. For someone who doesn’t enjoy rides too much this was just right for me. And it’s a world’s first!

*Side note : The ride did get stuck for around ten minutes, in this time we were looked after and reassured, I was asked at least twice If I was ok. After the ride we were then given fast track tickets to skip the queue of a ride of our choice, see below:

priority

Overall a great experience at Alton Towers resort and they even reply on twitter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Get your broomstick : Another Harry Potter Book???

I felt compelled to write an article about a news story I saw a few weeks back, about a rather well known author. Her 7 books were converted into the most successful film franchise to date and the writing alone created the first ever billionaire author.

Yes I am talking about JK Rowling.

Of course her success is the dream for many budding writers much like yours truly. But is she living in the shadow of her past? By that I mean why not try something new?

At this point I can see the Pottermore lot throwing rotten fruit my way saying they want more wizardry from Harry, Hermione, Ron and the wand yielding gang.

HP

JK has been quoted to say that she would never match the success of Harry Potter and she has tried to bring out other stuff seemingly to no avail (remember that book she brought out under another name). Maybe sticking to what you know is the best policy in this situation and I don’t blame her. I can’t possibly see the end to my book series yet even after the 6 I set out to write. Perhaps JK was too successful.

I know how can someone be too successful, well only she can be the judge of that. But people would just buy her stuff because it’s written by her. So readers may not necessarily like what they are reading and simply buy it on loyalty to HP.

Another Harry Potter book can only do good things for the literary world and the fans would immediately sell it out. But would it be any good?

As far as I was concerned Harry’s journey was done. Maybe leaving it more open at the end would have let better grounds for an 8th book. There has been mention of a spin off series set in the same wizardy world as Potter. What do you think? Leave me a comment.

JK is a rather reclusive type of writer and doesn’t give much away, for all we know she could have already drafted the next HP book. Warner Bros. will be rubbing their hands if she has.

Back in the game!

Yesterday I began yet another edit of my first novel, Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project. This time I have seeking representation firmly in my crosshairs. By that I mean after this edit, a brand new synopsis will be constructed and a campaign to find an agent who could possibly like my stuff and offer representation.  I know I did say self publishing would be the route but right now I’m not done with trying to find someone else to do the work for me!

I will be using the writers and artists yearbook 2015 for reference (check out my review here)

Next week I shall be reviewing a few of the scare mazes at Britain’s top theme park Alton Towers, Halloween is approaching and so is their annual scare fest!!!

alton

 

 

 Shameless Plug of something non writing related but is related to me anyway

So my good friend Matt Streuli, who is vice chairman of the drama club in which I belong. Sent an invitation to the her majesty Queen Elizabeth the 2nd to come and watch our next show in early 2015. Sadly she couldn’t make it, but least they replied right!. Check that out here.

Annabelle: one creepy looking fu**ing doll!

Seeing as the leafs are turning and the darkness of winter is approaching, that means one thing! Halloween and horror movies. We in the UK don’t treat Halloween as big as the US but that doesn’t stop us from getting their movies. So the next few weeks shall be dedicated to all things horror, including an account of my up and coming trip to to UK theme park Alton Towers and their seasonal scare fest!

hallowseve

 

The current state of Horror Films

In this age we are exposed to more gruesome and more ‘real’ style horror flicks, Notably the Saw series and of course the many ‘Blair witch’ style found footage films. But for some reason so many films of this genre fail to pack the final punch in their presentation. It gets to the last half hour and there’s nothing more to show, the creature/ghost/murderer/thing has been revealed and the ideas are wearing thin. There are no more shock moments or the shocks are so over the top they seem desperate.

A struggle is apparent in the world of telling scary stories and the cinema is the perfect setting for such things. It’s dark and theres an unavoidable screen in front of you, plus your surrounded by complete strangers. Cinemas can be eerie sometimes, playing into the hands of the genre. But the films themselves do lack in somewhat scary quality. Now I like a good scare, makes the heart beat faster, gives you a cold sweat and all that but these days that’s a rare thing.

Creepy Doll 

anabelle

Told ya it was creepy

This past weekend I went to see a new release about a possessed doll. Now many of you will think about that small red haired thing running around with a knife. But I am talking about Anabelle, a doll that comes to be possessed and causes all kinds of hell for the viewer and owner. To me this film simply delivered in all tick boxes available for the genre. It was jumpy, dark, not too gruesome and somewhat original. Creepy is a massive understatement in terms of this doll, they certainly designed this thing well. And they used it well, there are many instances when the camera is focused on the vacant yet transfixed eyes of the doll Annabelle with the viewer expecting them to move at any moment.

We have seen on many occasions an unbalance in a film whereas the killer is way to scary for the film or the concept is just too cool for the environment. But in this film they got it all right, the balance from a small cast worked wonderfully well with scary possessive concepts that coincided with the all-important matter that this could be a true story.

 

If you like your horror good and somewhat original then go and see Annabelle. Especially if you have seen the conjuring, they are kind of related in sideways kind of way.

Having purchased a ticket and being sat in the cinema I had no choice but to be exposed to some up and coming trailers and Halloween is looking good this year, with Ghostbusters being re released and Alien/Aliens in some cinemas.The Pyramid with Jay from the inbetweeners is looking good and that’s what we want to see, some choice in our modern scare films!

 

Next week I look at the potential of another Harry Potter book, stay tuned!

The Simpsons Guy, a Review and I changed my name, sort of

Hello and welcome back to Lee’s Hall of information. I spent much time this week pondering as to what I was going to put into my blog this week. A wet, rainy and wild Monday morning hit me with a cold slap in the face with the realisation that winter was on the doorstep. But something else hit me.

When I first opened the Hall, back when the temperatures were hotter and the sky was somewhat brighter, so were my prospects of becoming self-published.  But Monday something hit me, with reference to the whole L A Hall author thing. Who the fu** is L A Hall? My name is Lee Hall and I don’t really give a flying frig who else is named the same, that’s me and that’s who I am. (I then marched upon Facebook, twitter and wordpress and changed my name accordingly to what it’s supposed to be!)

Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project is written by Lee Hall and Lee Hall only! Ah Lee Hall, nice guy (likes the sound of his own name and voice though)

Since coming back from my holiday and the start of this series I haven’t been involved in any writing. One of the key ways of surviving as a writer is to take a step back every now and then. The brain is also a muscle and many of us like to go to the gym and work on our muscles. But in order for them to grow a little rest is needed.

Soon it will be time to shortlist a group of agencies for submission. Of course a brand new synopisis will feature and I shall share that with you good people.

As I do send off my work, a week to week report will feature on the blog, tracking my progress, if any.

Please check out my resources section.

 

The Simpsons Guy

Television crossovers are a very rare and fragile thing. When I heard the news that Family Guy would cross with the Simpsons I was immediately intrigued as to how they would achieve such a thing.

the simpsons guy

 

For 24 years Matt Groening has delivered an animated television show that in my terms can only be described as undisputed. From politically loaded satire, to guest voices all the way to spoofing everything including itself. The Simpsons has achieved everything, even managing a box office smash film and then proceeding to recover and carry on.

How in the world is anything supposed to stand next to what the show has achieved? That’s what I asked myself, then an already cancelled once animation show came along. In many ways it echoed the Simpsons but Family guy is somewhat different. The themes are consistently adult and yes the spoofing and political satire is there. Throughout the late 00’s family guy began to snowball into something of a large following.

So I looked for what would make such a TV event work. To me it was what the two shows shared and what they had in differences ultimately made this wonderful viewing.

homer vs peter

Both families differ in so many ways, that when their scenes together were happening it was simply magic to me. It slotted together ever so well. I found myself enjoying what was unfolding on screen. A longer than usual running time, but this was needed because both families to me are larger than life. This was the moment when Family guy finally stood shoulder to shoulder with the Simpsons. And what I like the most about it is, the Simpsons can live with that.

I think only a certain age demographic will appreciate the Simpsons guy, but I recommend it to all that have seen either shows, just for the fact that it’s a massive writing undertaking and a great achievement by all involved. I look forward to the Simpsons Futurama crossover.