The End of Screams: Will Screaming Bans Impact Horror?

The Fujiyama roller coaster, situated at Fuji-Q Highland theme park in Tokyo was at one point the tallest coaster in the world. Although it’s record has been surpassed, it’s 230 metre drop still sees riders screaming as they take the plunge. Like all amusement parks around the world, Fuji-Q has been closed for several months to prevent the spread of coronavirus. As park management explore options to reopen, they have been faced with a strange restriction on visitors who want to ride the giant coaster.

Japanese officials are concerned with the virus being spread through particles expelled from peoples mouths while screaming. It’s not just Fuji-Q who are considering the risks of screaming. Tokyo Disneyland is apparently also worried about screamers in enclosed ride spaces such as their iconic drop ride Tower of Terror. Japanese authorities that oversee attraction safety have highlighted evidence of virus spread during coughing and singing and raised concerns about screaming. The guidance is voluntary but the majority of Japanese parks are said to be enforcing the rules; even those owned by non Japanese companies such as Disney and Universal.

The obvious question is how the rules can be enforced on guests mid-ride. And of course, whether this idea will impact other industries including horror. Currently cinemas are not reopening yet here in the UK, but as the word leaves lockdown it is worth considering. And while most live horror events have cancelled or reworked for 2020 – is this an idea that might extend beyond Japan when they eventually reopen?

It might seem impossible to police or control, but park executives Daisuke Iwata and Koichiro Horiuch wanted to demonstrate how silent screaming is done. Fuji-Q recently released a video of the stern looking buisnessmen wearing masks and riding the record breaking rollercoaster in silence. Then the phrase “please scream inside your heart” is displayed to reinforce the message.

The Wall Street Journal interviewed avid Disney fan Yuuki Suzuki, who spent hours trying to secure tickets for the reopening of Tokyo Disneyland.

“You don’t see Disneyland in other countries asking people not to scream. It’s too strict,” said Mr. Suzuki, noting that reopened parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai don’t have such a rule. “If a scream comes out, it comes out.” he said.

Do you think these measures are too strict, or would you be happy to follow the rules? Would you attend a horror event like a haunt or scare attraction if screaming was banned? Let us know!

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