Horror Attractions: The Black Chasm (Silver Mountain Experience)
**WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS**
Deep in the heart of Mid-Wales lies the Silver Mountain Experience. The Ponterwyd tourist attraction based around a mining area encourages children and adults alike to use their imaginations as they stumble across tales and creatures from Welsh Mythology. The Black Chasm is the main highlight of the entire experience and is deemed “not for the faint hearted”. It heavily relies on audience participation and suspension of disbelief as visitors walk through the dark mine unaware of what could be behind each corner.
I stumbled upon the well-marketed attraction through a brochure for my local area of Aberystwyth. Today, I visited with my family, my parents and two nephews (aged 13 and 16). The Black Chasm has two versions, the PG and the 12A, tour guides insist the latter is designed to give out a good scare however I will vouch that it is suitable for most ages depending on the scare threshold of the child. Being related to me, my nephews opted for the 12A version as they know, the scarier, the better!
The tour lasts a good hour so you definitely get your money’s worth and hard hats are provided prior to entering the mine. A guide who refers to himself as “the tallest dwarf” takes visitors on a journey down the mine and tells graphic stories about what will happen to “victims” if they do not abide by his rules and warnings. The guide/dwarf provided a lot of interaction and audience participation mainly for the children but also included the “parents”. When asking what my job is I replied with “horror film reviewer”, he responded with “well, this is live action”, therefore a review of this entertaining attraction was definitely in order! Talk of monstrous creatures such as Morgens and Orcs are in place to unsettle the audience. However it wasn’t all thrills and chills, the guide incorporated plenty of quick-witted humor to balance out the tension and made jokes related to modern popular culture such as how disturbing Justin Bieber is! I give a lot of credit to the guide who relies on the power of acting to convey gruesome and frightening moments without having a lot of visuals to work with but it effectively instilled images in the mind.
The main frightening aspect of the Chasm was the narrowness of the mines as well as the darkness, where you literally see nothing! The jumpy parts came across in the style of a ghost train where Halloween-type skeletons flashed from the darkness along to pre-recorded sound effects. However, while that may terrify younger attenders it was definitely what you couldn’t see that made the experience all the more chilling. I will admit, I was expecting a bit more from what was actually offered and had the assumption there would be live actors in there rather than models.
Fun for all the family, with some cheesy effects, The Black Chasm is a dark attraction worth visiting.
Hayley Alice Roberts.