On Sunday 17th October we visited Dr. Frights Halloween Nights located near Earls Barton, Northamptonshire.
Following a year's hiatus due to the global pandemic, we were so excited about our visit as we think Dr. Frights is one of the most unique events in the country with every year undergoing a new theme albeit with a few returning themes such as Killer Clowns and Murderous hillbillies.
This year's theme of the event was 'World Tour' with the mazes taking place in different geographical locations.
We entered the tent and were surrounded by various signage from the various countries featured in the mazes as well as aviation-related signage such as airport arrival boards and a duty-free.
And on that note, our gate had been called for our first flight, a trip to Japan to journey into the Yokai Temple
We headed into the tent for the maze which was very dimly lit, which as we would soon find out, would set the tone for the rest of the maze. As we entered the batching room we were explained that we were going into the temple which is rumored to be haunted.
For those who have never been to Dr. Frights, the batching system is one of the best we have personally seen. Each maze has a starter room with a light that changes from red to green, whilst waiting for the light to change, audio explains the premise of the maze which makes sure that guests have an understanding of the story before they head in. something we feel is very much lacking in a lot of mazes.
Anyway, onto the maze itself, we were told the maze has been trapped with several ghost hunting equipment and cameras throughout to catch any mysterious sights. The room also features a series of screens with live feeds of some of the cameras, including one in the room we were standing in (we had a little dance to make sure it was live, don’t worry).
The light changed green and we made our way into the pitch-black temple, which already gave the maze an unnerving aspect.
Around every corner, you could feel something was watching and in most cases, this was true, with geishas and Japanese army men appearing from out of the shadows. Even when you thought you were safe creatures of the temple pounced from out of the ceiling, there was some brilliant jump scares throughout this maze, great theming and effects, and was an amazing start to the night.
The infamous Grindhouse family are back, a family of cannibal hillbillies seen in many of the events previous years however, they have now escaped south of the border, into Mexico.
The facade of the maze is an American-style gas station/restaurant, with gas pumps on the outside and the restaurant known as ‘Mumma Beef’s Tacos’, very Texas Chainsaw Massacre!
We enter the restaurant and a news broadcast comes over the radio mentioning the gang's escape and to avoid them at all costs… Something tells me that it won't be that simple…
The maze is fairly open overall, however, are some areas where you have to head through a cornfield, which is where you get the more up close and personal scares, however, it’s something that I think I disliked about a previous incarnation of the Grindhouse mazes, that it feels too open and can see most of the scares from a mile off. It could have possibly needed to have been a bit darker.
I think it might be that we are now just a bit immune to chainsaw mazes, as they are used here, there, and everywhere at a lot of scare events, as we saw a lot of people terrified of them.
What must be said though is that the theming is great and really has that Mexico vibe throughout. The actors are also brilliant, and extremely interactive. We had a very funny encounter with the final actor who, as his chainsaw stopped working, exclaimed “Well… isn’t this embarrassing…”, whilst staying in character before getting it working and chasing us out of the maze.
Although not the strongest maze of the evening it still had its highlights!
Woah! We’re going to Ibiza! Woah! Back to the island!
As we queue up at security at the airport an announcement comes over the tannoy announcing our flight to Ibiza is ready to board. The classic Vengaboys song plays in the tent and absolutely everybody in the queue sings along, setting up a real party atmosphere.
Other songs that played throughout the queue and throughout the maze (which we will get onto shortly) include classic club tracks, such as Sandstorm, which we could hear outside the event whilst we queued up to get our tickets.
The facade of the maze was an airport baggage check-in even including a baggage conveyor belt and departure boards, however, those pesky clowns have graffitied all over the walls, stating the airport was under new management.
It was time to make our way to flight 666 to Ibiza, and as we entered the batching area, we were told that we were to head to the party capital and visit the clown's new club, which also doubles up as a killing area, what fun!
The maze takes you from the whole journey from the airport to arrival, passing through security, boarding the flight, and heading to the hotel, before putting on your best outfit and heading into the club.
The maze has some brilliant scares, our favourite scene was the swimming pool scene, where we “swam” through the pool featuring a high diving platform with an unfortunate soul dangling from it, but be careful, some clowns are in the pool too and may need to come up for air.
The finale in the club is great, a traditional strobe maze but with sound pumping with club classics, with a dash of maniacal clowns thrown in, this was easily one of our mazes of the night, not as scary as Yokai Temple, but so so fun!
Our final trip of the night was a visit to the U.S.A, specifically, Los Angeles and the region of Hollywood, of course, famous for its film-making prowess.
This is an iteration of a pre-existing theme to Dr. Frights, with every year featuring a version of Hollywood Horror and the fictional Devilsgate Studios, a maze that features several scenes jumping from film to film of horror past and present.
Hollywood horror is one of our favourite mazes at Dr. Frights as it’s great fun essentially being part of classic horror films, such as Nightmare of Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and newer films including ‘The Purge’.
The facade to the maze was a recreation of the ‘Overlook Hotel’ featured in ‘The Shining’ and the entrance to the maze was the infamous room 237.
We enter the room which is a pretty decent recreation of the room from the movie, and the audio explains the story of ‘The Shining’, and the light flashes green and it was time to head in.
The maze featured a lot of great scares and was a decent length. The new scenes such as ‘The Purge’ scenes were good but we were still much more scared in the sections of the more classic films, including the initial ‘The Shining’ scene which was brilliant.
Overall, we had an amazing night at Dr. Frights and it still is bolstered as one of our favorite events of the year, with amazing actors and great theming throughout so we highly recommend you make a visit.
The Horror Bar at the end of the night is also great fun and has been expanded to be slightly larger this year, and thankfully, the horror cams remain, with cameras within each of the mazes adding some fun entertainment as you enjoy your well-deserved beverage.
Dr. Frights Halloween Nights runs on select nights until 31st October with prices ranging from £17.95 to £24.95 when booking online and dependent on the day of visit.