Ever since the newspapers broke the story about Asda selling mental patient costumes last week, we have been waiting for them to turn their attention to the theme parks. Well brace yourself people as the backlash is coming.
Already one major Halloween event that has an "asylum style attraction" has had a formal complaint from a mental health charity and this morning (Oct 16th) BBC Breakfast featured a mental health charity worker bemoaning that the Asylum at Thorpe Park shows "mental patients running around trying to kill people with chainsaws"
So in this age of political correctness, are we right to still use these standard characters for our Halloween entertainment?
Certainly you only have to look at the movies or TV to see that these standard style characters feature in everything from Psycho through to American Horror Story. None of these are meant to be a mockery of the mentally ill but a dramatic device to tell a story. Scare attractions are no different. We enter an attraction to be taken to a different world and experience a fright, In fact the characters are completely fictional in the extreme and are so far removed from everyday situations that they are just as "fantastical" as vampires, werewolves, killer clowns or zombies.
Seeing as this style of maze has been standard in parks across the world for years, does make us wonder why its suddenly an issue this year. As far as we are aware - the parks holding asylum mazes in the past have not had any complaints previously but of course this year there is an increased sensitivity about mental health issues
(especially as it is reported that 1 in 4 people will suffer some form of mental illness in their lifetime)
We believe that most customers are educated in their own right to understand that these attractions are far removed from everyday real life and that they aren't meant to be a true depiction of those suffering from mental illness. But what do you think? we would love to hear your comments....
Many of you will know me already. My name is Michael Bolton and I am passionate about Scare Attractions and being scared. I have been visiting and reviewing attractions since 2002. Why not come along on one of our trips and have a scream?