Sunday, October 7, 2007
Haunted Attraction Review: Bayville Screampark
Total Rating: 2.5/5 - Average
Location: Bayville Screampark
8 Bayville Ave.
Bayville, NY 11709
Pricing: Above Average (13.50 for one, 33.50 for all 4)
Recommended Age Group: 13+ (Nighttime)
Bloodworth Manor - Haunted House
The Curse of the Zombie Pirates - Haunted Walk / Converted Mini-golf Course
Uncle Needle's Funhouse of Fear in 3-D: 3-D Haunted House
The Temple of Terror: Haunted Labyrinth
PHOTOS: Unavailable (Photography Prohibited)
This is our first "official" review, and it is an interesting one. We are LI residents, and are very familiar with most of Long Island's haunted attractions; however, neither one of us had ever been to Bayville Screampark before. To say the location is very good is to give it too much credit; on the other hand, to say it is mediocre would not do it justice.
Screampark is an adventure park modified for the season. It has an appropriate selection of daytime activities, but our interest in it rested solely on what happened come nightfall. Due to the nature of the park, as well as its location (amidst a set of storefronts in the middle of an upscale suburban neighborhood) make for poor fare when it comes to setting the mood for fear. In addition, the park only really transforms the contained attractions and its ticket booth, doing little for the areas between attractions; the result of this is a somewhat disjointed feeling in between scares, as you journey from an often well-crafted amusement to an unadorned walkway, and it does little to help the illusion of terror.
That said, the attractions themselves are pretty well put-together. The two houses are rather good, and even lacking any music whatsoever, they manage by visual and sound effect alone to put together a little scare. The gore is sparsely spread, but when you get it, it comes in buckets. The most memorable moment of the locale comes in a room littered with body parts of both man and pig, while ear-shattering porcine whines pollute the air around you, and a knife-wielding butcher bathed in blood comes running out from a side door. In all, the houses outdid the other attractions, and some of the tactics used are an acquired taste. We personally enjoyed the overwhelming calm of the Temple of Terror, put together with repetitive ornaments that enhance the labyrinthine disorientation, and no actors whatsoever for the first two-thirds of the attraction, followed by a comparable mob of monsters near the end. The funniest moment of the night goes to a point in the labyrinth where we ran into another group of hopelessly lost wanderers, and we all managed to scare the hell out of each other.
Unfortunately, the labyrinth is not the only place you get lost, and that's a bad thing. The Execution score above suffers from the houses' mislabeled and confounding walkways, which will just as easily lead you accidentally to a behind-the-scenes portion of the house as they will to the next room. This results in a lot of backtracking, and really dulled the effect of the rest of the attraction. The other issue was with line design. It is understandable that big lines form in vastly populated areas like LI, and this is no fault of the house; however, the design of the houses allowed for too many people to be crammed into the lobbies, shoving impatiently as they snake around the same tiny, cramped room, listening to the master of the house give his prerecorded welcome/warning about twenty times before mercifully being allowed to walk.
In the end, Screampark does what it can with what it has; it gives a decent scare or two using spots that are not really meant for that purpose. The actors are pretty good and the balance of actors to mechanical scares is only slightly off. The problems are mostly in the park's inability to hold its own theme and atmosphere, its somewhat disorganized design, and slightly inflated ticket pricing. I would recommend this one only as a last resort, when you're on LI with nothing to do and a few twenties burning your pocket; otherwise, steer clear and look for something with a little more bite.