Editorial: Asylum criticism simply too farfetched

The AsylumThe recent criticism of Thorpe Park’s Halloween scare maze The Asylum, is a jump to a farfetched conclusion.

Now in its eighth year of operation, the attraction has recently been the target of mental health campaigners, who have become aware of its existence.

The problem with the criticism, is that it itself makes a giant generalisation of mental health issues.

The actors that feature in the scare maze all feature depictions of both physical and mental ailments, and they are all playing the parts of the dangerously insane.

We are speaking about very specific depictions of highly dangerous psychopaths – a subject which has fascinated and terrified people throughout history.

Criticism that has been aimed at Thorpe Park is inadvertently based on the very stigma it is trying to end – that all suffering from mental health would act in this way.

The park has made no generalisation of those suffering from mental illness, but that is what has been assumed by a number of critics who have not visited the attraction themselves.

There are no characters that act afraid, secluded, hallucinatory or any of the other numerous symptoms of concern that can accompany mental illness.

Ultimately, it is insanely dangerous people that are depicted in The Asylum, and the same is true of the other scare mazes at the park, novels, video games and horror films for the past century.

With the latter two having infinitesimally larger influence than a season scare attraction at a Surrey theme park, the question of where criticism – if any is due – should be aimed first, raises itself.