Halloween Haunts Scream Park Manila – Have a Frighteningly Good Time!

 

 

Halloween Haunts Scream Park Manila – Have a Frighteningly Good Time!

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When in Manila, and up for a thrill with family or friends, head on over to Halloween Haunts Scream Park Manila.

I need to sit. And drink water. And pee.. I can’t breathe. 

Those were just some of the things that I said upon exiting the attractions of Scream Park Manila. I was sweaty, my hands were clammy and my throat was itching like mad, and yet, the horror fan girl in me couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear. I wanted to go back in, but alas, while the flesh was willing, the heart was weak. And so there I stood, at the entrance, as my friends entered the scream park for a second round. 

All Manila Was Abuzz

Last October 2013, the internet was all abuzz with news that a horror park would be opening up in Manila. A park with zombies? Where you’d be scared out of your wits? It sounded like my cup of tea, and apparently thousands of other people shared my sentiment because within just 3 days of putting up its Facebook page, Halloween Haunts Scream Park Manila already garnered 10 thousands likes. Tickets sold like hot cakes, people even pre-ordered them, and you could feel the excitement mounting over Twitter and Facebook as the October 31st opening date drew near. However, as luck would have it: TROUBLE. 

The opening date was postponed to a later date due to technical difficulties and because the park itself was not entirely finished. Understandably, people were disappointed, but I suppose they found solace in the fact that their tickets would still be honored on the new opening date. However, as time passed, people were growing restless and weary of the park as it, time and time again, pushed back its opening date from October 31 to November 7 then to November 30. In fact, it was on November 30 that a long line of customers were once again let down and left fuming when Artistic Director David Willis stepped out to personally announce that due to several technical glitches, the park would not be opening that night. *cue influx of angry tweets, blog posts, and cuss words* Read more about this here: http://www.wheninmanila.com/two-angry-mobs-and-zombies-what-really-happened-at-the-halloween-haunts-scream-park-grand-opening-epic-fail/

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I was able to chat with David Willis the other night and was lucky enough to hear his side of the story. In a nutshell, Halloween Haunts Scream Park Manila is the first horror themed park in Asia – not just the Philippines! So, like all things new, it was a daunting project. The vision was there, the ideas seemed tangible, but then reality hit and it wasn’t pretty.

Having taken a chance on hiring local contractors (Star City and Enchanted Kingdom hired foreign help for their parks), David knew that a few bumps along the road would be inevitable. He didn’t, however, expect manholes, incredibly huge speed bumps, u-turns, or detours. Production was a nightmare, too. The assembly of the vision proved too much for the contractors. Project deadlines came and went, and with each unfinished endeavor, came the need to postpone the park’s opening date, and the people at the forefront, David especially, were left to face the growing angry crowd. 

 

The Man Behind Halloween Haunts Scream Park Manila

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David Willis and one of the White Ladies 

Once upon a time, there was an 11-year-old boy named David Willis. His sister decided to take him to watch the 1987 American Horror film, Hellraiser. It was then that David’s fascination for special effects, particularly make-up, was born. It amazed him how someone could go from looking “normal” to… Well, Google Doug Bradley as “Pinhead” or Robert Englund as “Freddie Krueger”.

Throughout his teen years, David would take odd jobs, so that he’d be able to pay for special effects make-up classes that he’d faithfully attend every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He’d volunteer to do makeup here and do makeup there and fast forward a few years, he was working on the Australian set of Jim Henson’s “Fire Escape” and caught his huge break. He moved to Hollywood and worked on the sets of blockbuster hits, such as the Matrix trilogy, Star Wars, Superman Returns and House of Wax and was then commissioned by Universal Studios Singapore to be their Head of Make-up and Wigs. Talk about accomplished! 

David said that the reason he was drawn to the Philippines was because of the Filipino’s love for all things horror, so much so that when he hired someone to complete a thesis for him regarding Filipino folklore and all things that scare Filipinos, it came back 2 inches thick: A pleasant reading that he currently keeps in his apartment and that he occasionally flips through when in need of a bit of inspiration. It was the thesis and the demand for something refreshingly horrific that prompted David to open Scream Park Manila.

Finally, the Park Opens 

Having gone through enough drama (as David put it) with the contractors and workers that he initially hired, he decided to “clean house”, letting go of everyone who worked for him sans his core team team. A new team of workers were hired, the attractions were built in an effective and efficient manner and finally, the park opened it’s gates on Christmas Eve 2013. David Willis proudly said that the park that currently stands is 100% Filipino-made, however, the remaining unfinished attractions (The Asylum and The Dungeons) will be completed by foreign workers as they endeavor to beat the deadlines set out for them. 

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Lining up to get in: You may opt to purchase the VIP express ticket to avoid the long lines. 

The attractions that are currently open are: The Old Town (inspired by Intramuros and Vigan), The Haunted Mansion (The Curse of the White Lady) and The Cemetery (The Night of the Living Dead). Let’s go through each of the attractions, shall we? 

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(c) Halloween Haunts Scream Park Manila

The Old Town, as mentioned, is reminiscence of an abandoned Calle Crisologo in Vigan. Except… The real Calle Crisologo doesn’t have zombies or white ladies popping up and scaring the crap out of you every once in a while. Which I find really amusing. You KNOW they’re real human beings, you KNOW they can’t hurt you, and yet you still get nervous and can’t help but scream whenever they lunge towards you.

Now, the reason why I couldn’t take so many photos is because YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE PHOTOS of the attractions, or it is highly discouraged anyway, so that you can really immerse yourself in the experience. And I must say, I agree. It’d be incredibly ridiculous of you to pay a good 500 bucks or so, just to have you clicking away while zombies chase after you.

Anyways, halfway through the Old Town, there’s a depository wherein you can leave your gadgets and bags for safekeeping and even there, you aren’t safe. As I was handing over my bag, there was a zombie right behind me making a sound reminiscent of that heard in The Grudge, which really bothered me. I had nightmares for weeks after watching that movie, so truthfully speaking, I wanted to turn around and punch the zombie to make him stop. Which brings me to an important announcement, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TOUCH THE ZOMBIES JUST AS THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TOUCH YOU. 

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(c) Halloween Haunts Scream Park Manila
The entrance to The Haunted Mansion: My favorite part of the Scream Park

The Haunted Mansion is what I’d consider the current main attraction: You enter the doors of a mansion inspired by those found along Balete Drive and have to make your way through an incredibly dark maze. It was so dark that as my friends and I were walking, a zombie popped out, frazzled us, and I ended up holding on to a COMPLETE STRANGER for “protection” for a good part of the maze. It didn’t seem to bother him though, he seemed as terrified as I was. I loved the haunted mansion because…. Wait, nah, not going to say anything else because I’d be spoiling it for you. You have to go and experience it for yourself ;) All I’ll say is that I screamed here the most. 

However, if there’s one thing that I suggest Scream Park does for the Haunted Mansion is to put up a sign that warns people of the types of lights that they might encounter. Have you seen Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” music video wherein they put up a disclaimer warning people that the lights may trigger seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy? Yeah, they should do that, too, because there are certain parts wherein they have crazy lights and I remember saying aloud, “Hala, this is kind of alanganin for people with epilepsy…” and then I screamed and ran because a white lady jumped out of the darkness and started chasing me. 

We then headed on over to The Cemetery, and walked through a path with coffins and headstones strung along. I loved how, although it was outdoors and you had better sight of the things around you, the zombies still managed to pop out like daisies and give you a good fright. Good job, zombies! Good job!

With The Cemetery being the last stop, and with my friends still on a “scare high”, they all wanted to head on back in for a second round, but alas, my old soul couldn’t take it anymore. I decided to wait for them at “The Ruins” instead, which is the bar area where you can chill and talk about your Scream Park experience over cocktails and a bottle of beer or two. 

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The Ruins is also where you’ll find the exact same zombies who were scaring you moments earlier, entertaining you. There were zombie boys dancing hip-hop, break dancing and throwing each other into the air, and there was an “artistic number” wherein a couple of “Sadako’s” were fighting over a dead guy. It was amusing, it got the crowd going and was the perfect opportunity for a photo op. 

I had a frightfully good time at Scream Park and I dare say that it was well worth the wait. David had mentioned that the reason he kept pushing the opening date back was not because the park is a scam (as several bloggers turned “conspiracy theorists” claimed) but because when materializing a dream, you want every single detail PERFECT. There was no way that he was going to settle for mediocrity, no way that he’d even let his family and friends go through if he and his team weren’t satisfied with the work, and I must say, it was a wise decision and that the park was very much worth the wait. 

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(c) Halloween Haunts Scream Park Manila

I look forward to going back and can only imagine how much more terrifying it’ll be once The Asylum and The Dungeons have been completed. So, when in Manila and in search of a good thrill, head on over to Halloween Haunts Scream Park Manila for a frighteningly good time! 

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Halloween Haunts Scream Park Manila

Diosdado Macapagal Ave. Cor Gil Puyat Ave. Pasay City
(Beside Wensha Spa and The World Trade Center) 

Open Wedsnesday to Sunday nights: 6 pm to 2 am

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Halloween-Haunts-Scream-Park-Manila/241630849322015

gorestreetprod@­gmail.com

Twitter: @ScreamParkPH

Tickets can be purchased at the Park or via Ticket World 

 

 

Halloween Haunts Scream Park Manila – Have a Frighteningly Good Time!






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