2012 see's the return of Fright Nights to Thorpe Park this year bringing a deadly twist to previous mazes such as Experiment 10 and new layouts in many other mazes. In previous years we have seen the same mazes come up every year in the line up, however this year we have lost Se7en and have gained a previous maze site Hellgate in a new form now called "The Passing." This years overall theme of the event is the park on lockdown with the park governor roaming the park. If you are able to find the park governor and take on his challenges and survive there may be a prize in store for you! Along with the park governor going around areas and terrorising people the park have employed actors to roam some areas of the penitentiary / scaring the living day lights out of people.
New for the 2012 fright nights season. The old hellgate site comes back into use after years of being left to gather dust, as the slogan says the maze really does start with death! When you have given you ticket to the host you will be given a black band which must be warn to get into the maze. Tickets can be bought online or on park, when you first enter the maze you will be briefed by a member of staff then handed over to the actors where they will then say what you have done wrong to be killed! After being condemned you will then have a bag put over your head, the bags are see through and must not be taken off at any point in the maze if so leads to being kicked out. The next room you enter sees a video played to you showing people throwing dirt into you "grave" after the video is done you will then enter 1 of 2 tunnels in the pitch black where you will have to navigate a course which goes up and down (each tunnel is different.) After this you will navigate around a small course with actors in and a room with a tunnel with words written on it, after making it out alive you are then handed a certificate which has UV paint on it just before this point you will have the bag taken off you head. You then enter a room which then looks like the end, then the doors will open to a pitch black room with drapes in where you will have actors lurking in the distance ready to take you back into the graveyard. Overall the maze is good but has room for improvements.
Experiment 10 received mixed reviews last year when it first opened, however for the 2012 season the maze has undergone a few new touches such as a new ending and more actors though out the whole maze, To make batching faster there is now a briefing room outside which allows for more people to go through the maze when you enter the first few rooms are the same a actor will walk up and down and will pick on a few people shining a torch in there eyes asking them to look up and down. After examining the new test subjects you are then decontaminated in a smaller room than before but without a pulsing light and less smoke. Your then sent though to the lockers where you are split up from your group and put on your own! When in the lockers there are sounds streamed into the lockers different in each one, after being along for around a minute you are then told to go through a tunnel or a maze depending on if you went left or right. After going though the small maze or tunnel you will then walk down a long corridor with doctors and nurses jumping out at every point possible. We then go onto the new and improved ending, you enter a room standing on the outside where you watch a film (we're not going to explain the film) it has special effects during it, at the end of the film you are then chased out of the maze by a actor which concludes your experiment. The maze has been highly improved for 2012 and is well worth the queue.
The Asylum is once again back for the 2012 fight nights season and is back with a brand new layout! You would enter the same way as before and walk left for a little bit but instead of a huge corridor with no actors you now have a new entrance into the smokey, chain linked fence room full of actors and mental asylum refugees. Just like before you have one side of the maze full of mirrors making it harder to see were your going in the pitch black, along with the darkness you have strobe lights flashing in every corner of the room and actors everywhere. Each section has something different such as girls with dolls and a person throwing a pillow around along with people running up and down fences. The Asylum really has been improved for the 2012 season with a great layout and lots of very talented actors through out the maze.
Jigsaw is back with his accomplices to put you to the test in the ultimate horror maze, featuring scenes from the world famous Saw film franchise. During the start of the maze a actor gets the person at the front to press a button to kick start the journey through the unknown. You first get a speech from jig saw saying you have a limited amount of time to make your way though the maze and the world famous "Live or die make your choice" During the 2012 season the maze was shut except from the first few weekend of the season due to what looked to be spending cuts or not many people going on the attraction. Over the closed time the maze has been improved in many area fixing broken effects such as the smells though out the maze and the vibration effects in the electricity room. Along with the vibration effect being fixed the park have now fixed the cooling effect in the refrigerator making the room very cold for actors and members of the public when they pass. Overall the closed season for the maze has been fantastic as the park have improved the attraction, however it looks like Saw Alive may only be a halloween maze from now on.
The Curse is back and has got some new scenery on the outside as shown on the photos below, located on the beach the maze has the same layout as last year. You enter the maze to find dark corridors and dimly lit rooms along with actors behind false mirrors and gaps in the walls, unlike previous years this year found the maze being almost un-passable due to the route being very poorly lit. You would find yourself bumping into actors and walls however apart from the route all of the actors we're getting into role very well out of all of the times I've been on the attraction in the past I have never been on the curse with such a lively cast. Putting all of the bad things about the maze behind us the horror maze was very active this year with actors getting into the job at every point even when we had gone past their scene they would still be in character when we looked behind!
Park wide theming and audio:
This years park audio all had the same theme to it, as you had the park governor occasionally giving updates and announcements with phrases such as "Stop slacking" and others. At the start of the day the beat would be very slow however towards the end of the night the beat of the music would be a great deal faster than usual, along with new audio being made for the ride areas almost every single ride had new music for the event. On Colossus you would have the "governor" give you a short speech then you ride would start, overall the whole park music system was very well done this halloween event!
Park after dark:
Darkness is always the best time to ride roller coasters and this year we have the addition of The Swarm to the dark ride line up! On the first public day of Fright Nights the lighting in the swarm area was fantastic however the lights didn't have gels in them meaning the area looked very bland. Other areas in the park such as Stealth, Nemesis Inferno and Saw all had there normal lighting set up making the rides look fantastic in photos and during riding. We shall be visiting multiple times throughout the event to see if any of the rides get different lighting like the swarm which might get some gels at some point? But as a whole the park looked really good this year in the dark so a big thumbs up to the fright night team that worked on the lighting.