Content Description: Existentialism, Horror, Sex References, Ableist Language, Uncensored Moderate Language, Censored Very Strong Language. Not advised for younger readers or those easily offended.
As the nights draw shorter and the winds slowly creep in, many theme parks pursue something a bit spookier to entertain their guests over October as Halloween becomes fashionable. For some parks - particularly ones aimed at younger children - an abundance of bewitching bunting and a plethora of pumpkins is enough to create a creepy atmosphere, whereas attractions with wider demographics tend to venture into the theatrical thrills of Scare Mazes.
Scare Mazes, in essence, are an evolution of theatre. Instead of sitting down as an audience and watching actors perform on a stage over several hours, a Scare Maze invites you to actually step into the world presented, almost always aiming to frighten guests as they venture through cramped corridors and come face to face with an assortment of chaotic characters. Often, actors coated in blood and sweat will jump out of the darkness and taunt the unsuspecting, and in some cases, grab and push people around to further enhance the atmosphere. This type of walkthrough has become increasingly popular over the last two decades, with multiple "Scream Parks" - those being attractions dedicated to this fearful form of theatre - popping up all over the country, and trying to frighten as many people as possible with an endless array of poltergeists, clowns, and chainsaw-wielding madmen.
Horror has always been subjective, and somewhat taboo. To some, scary movies are the work of the devil and devastatingly disturbing - whilst some people can watch the bloodiest of films without wincing once. Knowing one's boundaries, and having some sort of prior knowledge of what one can expect from a work of art, is often essential knowledge, as there's nothing worse than accidentally viewing something that could be incredibly triggering. To ensure audiences are correctly educated on what they may witness, films and video games are usually given a rating by the BBFC or PEGI, so that the public can make sure that what they are participating in aligns with their comfort zone. When it comes to theatre, there are generally fewer restrictions. In 1968, Parliament abolished all stage censorship laws, and no formal classification committee was set up afterwards, meaning producers would be trusted to regulate and warn guests prior to entering the venue.
Theatre age restrictions and content warnings vary massively from show to show. Whilst most will carry a recommended age limit, very few will make this mandatory. Generally show warnings mainly state things such as "adult humour", "strobe lighting", and occasionally "some strong language". But, this isn't a condition that playhouses must abide by. The content warning for Les Misérables only notes "gunfire, smoke and flashing light effects", despite the show also including some moderate language and the occasional sex reference.