Last night, my sister and I headed to Tulleys Farm in Crawley to watch Little Shop of Horrors at their Haunted Drive In Cinema. It was a fun and spooky way to spend an October evening so I thought I’d write about the experience here and recommend it to anyone near enough to head over to Tulleys to catch a movie before they finish up in November.
I’ve been to Tulleys Farm a couple of times before at Halloween because they usually transform the place into a Halloween haven called Shocktober Fest. They have “haunts” which are spooky scream park-style attractions, rides, live music, food stalls and a Halloween gift shop as well as a whole host of actors dressed as ghosts and ghouls to jump out at you. It really is a fun experience but obviously, due to COVID, they couldn’t go ahead with their regular Halloween plans so they’ve created a drive in cinema showing Halloween-themed movies instead. It’s a great idea and a good back-up plan to ensure they are still able to profit from spooky season.
So, on to the experience itself. I’ve never been to a drive in cinema before and it was a really cool thing to get to try out. The Tulleys team had a really well-organised system for ensuring everyone had a good time. When you buy tickets, you pay per car so even though it was only my sister and me in my car, you could really make your money stretch if you have a full car load. You can also get cheaper tickets if you park in the rear section, which we did. Despite being at the back, we had a great view. All the cars were evenly spread out and the screen is high enough so you can easily see it through your windscreen and socially distance from those around you if you want to get out of your car for any reason. You also get given a speaker for your car when you arrive so you can clearly hear the movie, even with your doors shut.
They have a system on-site that allows you to order hot food and film snacks that staff will deliver to your car for you. Although the food isn’t cheap, it’s no more expensive than you’d get at the average cinema and it is good quality. To make it spooky, they also have actors dressed as cinema ghosts hanging around, they don’t disturb you while you’re watching your movie and, as it was raining pretty heavily last night, I think they were probably mostly keeping under cover while we were there. They did serenade everyone with Sining in the Rain as we were all leaving though!
Before the film began, they ran a trailer for next year’s Shocktober Fest which featured clips from previous years accompanied by a light and pyrotechnic show at the sides of the screen which was a great way to honour what would have been their 25th year of Shocktober Fest.
Overall, I’d say it was a really fun experience and Tulleys Farm did a great job of still making the most of spooky season this year. To book tickets, head to the Tulleys Farm website and if you want some ideas of what to watch at home this Halloween, check out my list of horror movies I’ll be watching and some non-scary recommendations as well.