On Sunday 23rd October, we once again took a trip to Earls Barton near Northampton, to visit Dr. Frights Halloween Nights and check out all the fun and frights this event has to offer.
Now for those unaware, Dr. Frights is a fully indoor event, with all the mazes being built in sprung tents, located on a field, and features one large tent in the center that houses food, toilets, seating, and the entrance to the four mazes.
What makes Dr. Frights really unique and special is that every single year they change up the mazes, I mean they build them up every year so why not change them?
The event often is based around a particular theme, in 2021 we had ‘World Tour’ with the mazes taking on various themes from across the globe, 2019 we had ‘Horror Town’ a fictional American town where all was not what it seemed and this year we have HorrorWorld, a fictional amusement/theme park atmosphere.
On walking up to the entrance of the tent we were greeted with the classic Dr. Frights signage using traditional coloured bulbs, which also is pleasing to the eye, with the subtitle of “HorrorWorld" lit up in red and blue.
Walking under the signage we made our way into the tent with some larger changes this year of more stalls and vendors upfront and present within the main hub, such as a coffee stand, selling delicious (trust us) cannolis, a merchandise stand selling Dr. Frights shirts, keyrings, and even hot sauce, it definitely seems they have made the event feel a bit more of an occasion now, rather than guests potentially coming in, doing the mazes and leaving straight away, which is certainly possible with the space they have in the tent itself.
Around the sides of the tent was various theming fitting into the amusement park theme, a gory puppet show, a fortune teller, a fictional mask stand featuring masks from all your favourite horror franchises, and for entertainment, the boneyard quartet skeleton band, as well as plenty more, all fitting in nicely into this area that is lovingly called Main Street (we won’t tell Mr. Disney, honest!).
Throughout the area, there were various characters meeting and greeting us throughout, including some characters you may just recognise but before they distracted us too much, it was time for us to make our way through the mazes.
Monsters and Madmen
Bob Bixby, the reclusive millionaire has spent years curating and collecting live exhibits for his ‘Monsters and Madmen’ museum, now it is time for us to come face to face with creatures, murderers, and demons, all live and bloodthirsty!
Upon entering the queue to the maze we could see the facade to the museum before us, classic “sideshow” signage covers the walls advertising some of the various exhibits you might see on your journey through the museum, giving us a hint that this maze was very much akin to there Hollywood Horror mazes from events past, where you can come up close and personal with some of Hollywoods most famous villains/antagonists, “The Boogeyman” (Michael Myers), “The Dream Stalker” (Freddy Kruger), “Hockey Masked Killer” (Jason Voorhees) as well as more generic cult fiction monsters such as “The Werewolf”.
At first glance, everything seems up to code, until you see the “neon” sign above the entrance that said “Monsters and Madmen” that flickered on and off sporadically and a vacant ticket booth with a sign stating “Sorry, We’re Dead” you could definitely tell that this museum may not be in the best condition…
So in we went and what we experienced was akin to the previous maze of a similar vein, we were terrorised by the “headliners” mentioned above, as well as Ghostface from Scream, some cool looking aliens, and a few more creatures we will leave you to discover yourself.
The maze was great for scares and offered some pretty interesting set design too, a perfect start to the night!
House of Wax
Our next maze, House of Wax, had a bit more of an eerie turn, what was a simple small wax museum, with a chilling story of the owner, Madame La’trusse being accused a witch and sent to a fiery death, with rumors that her ghostly spirit still haunts the wax works and was set on reanimating them to inflict revenge on anyone who entered.
Now, if you thought the last place we visited looked a bit worse for wear, wait until you see here, moss and foliage traverse down the walls of Madame La’trusse House of Wax, with window displays exhibiting her works, although the are in a sorry state with most disfigured, and looking burnt/destroyed, much like the rest of the facade. As we walk through the entrance we duck under some hazard tape and make our way inside.
We were frightened by various wax works, some more alive than others, as well as gorgeous-looking set pieces and choreographed scares, it really was a great addition to the event this year.
Grindhouse in Wonderland
Grindhouse in Wonderland is a continuation of the ‘Grindhouse’ series of mazes, a bunch of crazed, chainsaw-wielding hillbillies who have taken over numerous places and locations over the years, we’ve seen them in Mexico, a Western Town and now, see them take over a defunct fairytale village in the middle of a Lousiana swamp, naturally!
The entrance to the maze was a fairytale castle, covered in fairy lights, and even a little cute dragon adorning the top, although a little worn down, to say the least, as vines surrounded the ramparts and walls of the castle…
We entered the castle and what was in front of us was just a fantastically fun maze, as to be expected from the other grindhouse mazes. We met several fairytale characters and scenes, all with stories you know and love, one as such as Alice in Wonderland, who would prefer to send us to the Queen of Hearts rather than be friendly with us!
The chainsaws were used to great effect during this maze and weren’t too over the top, the maze was quite light it must be said so therefore some of the more impactful scares didn’t quite hit the heights that they should have but I suppose they was working with a very light and upbeat theme!
Killer Clowns of the Caribbean
Another returning theme at Dr. Frights are the Killer clowns, a bunch of mad clowns set on fear rather than fun, once again much like Grindhouse have their fair share of taking over unusual places, we’ve seen them in Space, in Ibiza, and even in a supermarket! Now the clowns have taken over a pirate themed ride for their latest killing contest, will we live to tell the tale? (for as we all know, dead men tell no tales)
As we headed to the entrance of the maze, the face put us straight into an amusement park, with pirate flags hanging from the ceiling, height restriction boards, and even wanted posters with a little clown influence.
Throughout the maze it was clear that there was heavy influence from the ride at the Disney parks, talking parrots, skulls and overall it looked like sets ripped straight out of the world famous boat ride, we even got a behind the scenes tour and was taken through the ride maintenance bay! The clowns were not messing around either, with clowns dressed up as of course pirates and intent of killing you to add to their kill count, which intense beat pop music played all adding to the insanity of it all (B..B..B..Bonkers)
We always love the Killer Clowns mazes and although clown mazes don’t hugely scare us they are immensely fun and enjoyable and was probably our favourite maze of the night.
Once you have tested your courage you can then head to the horror bar at the back of the main hub tent, here is an area that doesn’t see all that much change, with props from various horror franchises covering the walls and a bar serving quite a lot of choice and for not a bad price in all honesty…
The key point of the horror bar though is the large projector screen above the bar which features cameras in each of the mazes, cycling through periodically allowing you to laugh and snicker at guests jumping out of there skin which you know fully well that half an hour ago, someone was sat on this exact bench, drinking a similar drink doing the exact same thing to you! It really is a fun thing to watch whilst drinking your hard earned reward.
Although HorrorWorld might be a questionable amusement park, it makes for a great scare park, with lots of varied and interesting scares throughout, it is always clear when leaving Dr. Frights that there is a genuine passion for every single maze that goes into this event and we look forward to returning next year to see what theme will come and what horrors will be in store.