Starring Dan Brownlie, Andy Rawlings, Nick Hutson, Rick Jones
Directed by Dan Brownlie
While it doesn’t get a huge deal of press coverage, the UK has always had a thriving live scare attraction industry. Which is why filmmaker Dan Brownlie decided to shed light on some of Britain’s successful attractions with his new documentary UK Haunters, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime and can also be purchased on DVD.
In the film, Brownlie visits some popular scare attractions around the UK, and explains to the viewer why the business of live scares has become so popular over the years. Throughout his journey, Brownlie interviews a ton of professionals within the industry, including actor Andy Rawlings, (who also goes by the nickname Cookie), a well-known scare attraction actor who we see peeling off his own face onstage, with very convincing make-up effects included. One of the other testimonials even involves a story of how working within the UK horror industry helped a man to overcome the passing of a family member and other hardships he was facing in his life, so this is a documentary which will absolutely tug at your heartstrings. On a more humorous note, there was also an interview with composer Nick Hutson, who talks about how one of his tracks was inspired by a popular TV show which takes place in the 1980s, which he refuses to mention by name. No prizes for guessing which show he’s talking about.
One of the main attractions featured in UK Haunters was Broadditch Farm Shop, which becomes a terrifying scare attraction every Halloween. We are shown the process the owners need to go through every year to turn their peaceful farm into a terrifying haunted attraction, and the level of work they undertake is painstaking. We see the sets being constructed and footage from the auditions for the actors hoping to participate in the event, and it becomes clear that those who work in the scare industry love what they do with a burning passion. With such a huge amount of love and dedication from those involved, it’s no wonder Brownlie felt he needed to make this documentary to showcase the work of those within this industry in the first place.
Since Brownlie is clearly a lifelong horror fan, you can probably imagine his excitement when he visited make-up artist Rick Jones of Horrify Me, who transformed him into a chainsaw wielding zombie. While Brownlie didn’t mind the make-up, he was not a huge fan of the sticky fake blood he was also covered in. However, his glee at being turned into a horror figure is clearly palpable, as we can see from the photoshoot images displayed throughout this scene. Just don’t ask about how long it took him to clean away the fake blood afterwards.
Sprinkled throughout the documentary are onscreen editor’s notes (without the apostrophe) offering extra details on the topics being discussed. While you’ll probably need to pause the film to read them and it may seem distracting to have text appearing onscreen, the information provided was still informative enough for you not to have been too bothered by it.
As Brownlie has a background in fiction filmmaking, it comes as no surprise that UK Haunters ended with a scripted segment involving psychos in blue teddy bear masks and a huge amount of very realistic looking fake entrails. We won’t go into details, but this was one heck of a shocking and satisfying conclusion to an informative and insightful documentary about an industry which deserves more attention from the mainstream media. Seeing as this is the only feature-length documentary focusing on the UK’s live scare attraction industry, horror fans will definitely want to catch UK Haunters to learn about this widely overlooked area of the genre.
Those wishing to learn more about the UK’s scare attraction industry absolutely need to watch UK Haunters, as it offers the most insightful and informative examination of the business you’re ever likely to find.