apologise, but due to the nature of this attraction only a limited number of
photographs are available.
Del Terror, Pleasure Beach Blackpool
watch a horrifying film and then within the next few days end up
in a dark, unfamiliar place? With every unexpected noise your
heartbeat gets faster as you walk turns to a jog, your jog turns
to a run until you’re in the sanctuary of a well-lit street.
imagine being locked in a dark, unfamiliar place without the
luxury of being able to run, without the ability to double-back on
yourself – and in a place where the likes of Freddy Kruger and
Jason Voorhees lurk in the very darkest of corners. Welcome to
Pasaje Del Terror.
Del Terror is anything but unique to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The
first example of the attraction in fact opened in Argentina and
other versions have since opened throughout Europe (Barcelona,
Benidorm, Madrid, Malaga) and most famously in Downtown Orlando as
Terror on Church Street which is sadly now defunct.
every one of these attractions was unique, the cornerstone of the
Terror empire was to use costumed actors to chase visitors through
a labyrinth of dark sets. Blackpool’s version of the attraction
opened in 1998 and brings scenes from the most chilling horror
films to life; Nightmare on Elm Street, The Exorcist, Friday the
expect to have to go out of your way to find Pasaje Del Terror as
they do everything in their power to let you know where it is. The
attraction is on the side of the Pleasure Beach’s Casino at the
North end of the Pleasure Beach (where Noah’s Ark and the
Laughing Clown are).
dish out leaflets declaring that the ‘now even scarier’ Pasaje
Del Terror brings you ‘beyond the limits of fear’. “In the
beginning you will feel afraid, later on you will know what horror
is, by then... it may be too late” it goes on to say. TVs loudly
show despairing groups of people cowering as the freaks inside
welcome you with ‘open arms’.
is no gently-gently approach with Pasaje Del Terror. Its
reputation precedes it, and even before handing over your money it
intimidates indecisive visitors with Death as depicted in the film
Seventh Seal, looking down on the gothic entrance complete with
cowering statues and flaking stained glass windows.
as if another convenient excuse, wristbands are not accepted as
Pasaje Del Terror is a privately run enterprise. Whilst £5
appears expensive, it’s fair to say that this is relative to the
other attractions in Blackpool – Pasaje lasts longer than the
Big One, and is arguably more scary for example.
paying, a small covered queuing area serves as an area to batch
visitors up into groups of eight-or-so. A grim-faced man dressed
in black steps from the darkness inside and coldly invites you in.
Inside, a dark corridor lit with flickering lanterns leads to a
spiral staircase. Waiting at the bottom, your solemn-faced staff
member scurries down the stairs past us before disappearing behind
the black curtain you’re waiting behind. The curtain is abruptly
pulled back as you’re asked to step further inside. People
slowly edge forward... “Don’t you know what move forward
means?” barks the host. Moving further forward, you stop as the
host stands upon a stage in the corner.
you’re expecting reassurance, well, you’d better run for the
hills. The grim-faced host briefly goes through some house rules
– never ever run. Never ever touch the actors. Never ever go
back on yourself. “Now go down the stairs” he continues,
“you’ll find a door on your right – knock three times and
they’ll come and get you”. Sounds like he’s sending lambs to
the slaughter to me.
the bottom of a straight set of stairs, true to his word a
battered door with a heavy brass doorknocker is all that stands
between you and the Pasaje.
the sound of the most timid of knocking echoes around the darkened
hallway before the door slams open and a monk-like character
invites you into a small chapel. This ugly man further explains
what Pasaje is before sliding open a gate with spine-chilling
gusto, sending it smashing back into the dark shadows.
the group nervously continues, the monk character scurries along
behind. Don’t let him distract you though – the worst is in
front and yet to come. Walking through a dark garden, a mysterious
man stands upon a freshly dug grave clasping a spade. As the group
pass, this character explodes into life, lurching at you, wielding
this shovel, smashing it on the iron railings. The group speed up
as he follows, the spade clang-clang-clanging it’s way along the
railings as he chases you.
scenes follow, following the rule of thumb that all and sundry
jump out when you least expect it. The beautiful thing is, even
when you’re prepared for the worst you’re still taken by
enter a room with three monks slumped on a pew stage left – one
lurches towards you, his piercing stare catching your eye.
“Master is sleeping” he warns. “Go through quickly and
quietly and do NOT wake him”. Screaming loudly, the group slowly
advance through the dark corridors, a fanged vampire woken from
his slumber lurching out from behind a curtain.
dark corridor follows, the glare of numerous Scream-style masks
leering at you from either side. You pass many unchallenged, but
many move to reveal they’re concealing the identity of yet
another frenzied rogue.
soon enter a library, realising there is no way out – heading
towards a darkened corner in a vain attempt to escape, our monk
jumps out snapping ‘STOP’. In a frenzied voice he goes on to
say that in the next room is a girl possessed, and “to look her
in the eyes will be the death of you” he squeals.
young lady squirms and writhes on a bed, the whole bed rocking and
bucking as she fights the forces that have possessed her. As you
parade around this fairly disturbing scene, in a fit she lunges
from her bed clawing at you as you jump out of the way, running
from her boudoir.
here, you enter an abattoir. White tiled walls are smeared in
bloodied handprints as animal carcasses hang rotting from the
ceiling. Overwhelmed by the smell, your group’s pace picks up as
you pass a caged chamber from which Freddy Kruger claws at your
eyes, shacking and rattling the cage door to breaking point. A
glance over your shoulder reveals a hysterical Kruger slithering
from this cage, chasing your group into a wooded forest.
rope bridge shakes and sways as your group clumsily swagger
across. From the dense undergrowth a masked madman jumps towards
your group holding a roaring chainsaw close enough that you feel
the breeze of the blade – escaping through a door, running
straight into the Horror Bar, a public bar that’s a popular
haunt (pun intended) with voyeurs wishing to see people
frantically escaping Pasaje.
Del Terror instantly earned a reputation of being the very best in
its genre, which it undoubtedly is. Even so, it is not immune to
criticism. People trip over themselves not to be at the front of
the group, but surprisingly it is here where you’re challenged
the least by actors. The middle is the best place to be, and the
back is no raw deal either as many characters follow you whether
you’re looking or not.
other attractions often get this balance right by having actors
block the passageways or even hang from the rafters, people in
front really do get the raw end of the deal by some considerable
of this sort are often let down by the constant interference by
staff telling you what to do and what not to do. Fortunately, this
paraphernalia is kept to a minimum, and even the non-costumed
member of staff has a frosty charisma which does anything but
reassure you. In effect, this sets the mood more than it detracts
the actors are well costumed and excellent at playing the serial
killer role as opposed to serenely flailing arms and grunting a
bit now and then. The set pieces are excellent, extremely detailed
and at times scary in their own right. Actors use the scenery to
their full advantage, using the pockets of darkness and their own
passageways to jump out at the group over and over again.
not wanting to do Pasaje have the unique opportunity to go to the
Horror Bar downstairs in the Casino and have a drink or two whilst
their family or friends go through the attraction. Have your
camera ready as then you’ll have evidence against their spurious
claims that they weren’t scared at all. The exit is beautifully
undignified because of this. Have a drink at the Horror Bar, and
watch as the Kappa-clad fraternity come bundling through the door
before realising they’re in a bar. Cue wide-boy walks in the
vain attempt that nobody noticed their despairing whimpers
of you who fall in the middle or back of the group, you’ve spent
£5 wisely. Clocking in at well over 5 minutes, Pasaje Del Terror
is worth every penny. At the front, the only thing that will be
sending shivers down your spine is the cost. The other scares are
saved for everybody else.
31 October 2004