On Thursday 26th September, we attended the VIP launch event for Fright Nights at Thorpe Park Resort.
Fright Nights is now in its 17th year of operation as the event first took place during the 2002 season. The first event featured only two mazes and a ‘Fright Zone’ between them as part of the Halloween offering. Compared to 2019, the event now has five scare mazes and one escape room style attraction as well as additional shows and entertainment such as roaming actors.
As we entered the park we were greeted by the class of Amity High who had tremendous team spirit, as well as a tiny bit of blood lust. These are no ordinary high schoolers – they’re always on the lookout for fresh young blood to join their gang. During Fright Nights, a show takes place on a stage next to Stealth called Terror at Amity High, the show takes place every 20 minutes from 3 pm and allows guests to interact and get close to the Vampires that have been roaming the park.
Sadly, we didn't have time to see the show during the preview night as it was running less frequently than what it would normally during the event but after speaking to other people attending the event, it's definitely worth a watch if you get the chance! After a short break in the designated VIP space within the Events Marquee, we headed out into the event and made our way to our first maze.
Creek Freak Massacre
Located in Old Town, The Creek Woods Saw Mill is an abandoned building home to a real-life family of deranged lumberjacks. Be careful as you make your way through the woods or you might find yourself a victim of the latest chainsaw massacre.
Creek Freak Massacre is this year's brand new scare maze located around the old Loggers Leap station. Thorpe park claim that this is the most terrifying scare maze to ever come to the event so we were excited to see what awaited inside.
As we entered the sawmill we were greeted by one of the family members who apparently had been through our Curriculum vitae and thought we were perfect for working within the sawmill itself. The family member searches the office for some name badges for us and opens up a locker which reveals a severed arm which of course, he tells us to ignore. Regardless, in this economy, a job is a job so we decided to carry on into the mill.
As we made our way through, it was clear why positions at the mill had opened up, as the deranged family members were inspecting us and telling us about all the things they were going to do to us. The maze was beautifully themed and featured various routes, for example, in the first room, depending on the choice of the actor you are either ordered to go through a crawl tunnel or down a corridor, both leading to the same situation.
Fans of The Asylum, a maze that used to be at Fright Nights will be very happy with the finale at Creek Freak Massacre, as it is very similar to a majority of that maze, except with chainsaws! Overall, Creek Freak Massacre is a great addition to Fright Nights and is personally the best scare maze we have experienced at the event. The level of theming and intensity of the scares are enough to make even the most hardcore scare maze fan tremble at the knees!
Back for this year, Platform 15 allows guests to visit the location where the infamous ‘Sleeper Express’ derailed from the track, however, rumor has it the murmurs of the victims can still be heard today…
Platform 15 has been at the event since [INSERT YEAR] and every year has seen some form of change. Whether that be additional scenes around the maze or a new finale. This year sees a new finale to the maze, that will almost certainly fool most visitors. We'd love to tell you more but I'm afraid you will enter the maze have and find out for yourself!
Apart from the new finale the rest of the maze was fairly similar, however, we still love the house scenes that they added a few years back, but are still lacking in scenes in places as it feels very empty and slows down the pace of the maze. If it was us, we would love to see an additional scene between the bridge and the house to make this maze even better.
Head to Burkittsville and set up camp as you head into the forest to investigate the rumored site of the Blair Witch, however, beware, as the witch has the ability to alter time and move and shape the forest as she sees fit.
The maze is extremely claustrophobic this year as you navigate the thick, dense forest and rather unnerving as you continuously are faced with dead ends and creatures running around the forest.
The maze has lots of areas that are designed to be impassable until the actors decide to move you on. We often were walking back and forth pushing through the forest trying to get to the exit only to realise it was exactly where we had been several times before as passageways open up and allow you to continue.
Blair Witch is extremely picturesque with lots of lighting and scenery and makes the experience enjoyable whilst you are not struggling to escape or being bombarded by the inhabitants of the forest, speaking of which, those in the forest scream and mumble to you as you walk past, explaining that they have been in the forest for weeks and will never be able to leave.
Eventually, you come to the house of the Blair Witch which on our run was filled with smoke making it impossible for you to see a way through which allows the actors inside to really make you jump as a face appears inches in front of you before rather quickly disappearing.
When we entered Blair Witch we were expecting to be sadly disappointed as it has always been a weaker maze, however, this year that has all changed. We actually found it to be one of the better ones this year and hope Thorpe Park continues to improve this maze year after year.
Walking Dead: Living Nightmare
Walking Dead: Living Nightmare is one of two Walking Dead themed mazes at the park and was added several years back as part of a revamp for the event. It is located within part of the old X Queue line and because of its permanent nature has always been a maze filled with theming and detail.
The maze features a new ending for this year which includes a forest filled with Whisperer's which were new characters introduced in Season 10 of the show, the ending is much better than some endings they have had previously.
Sadly though on our run through this maze was desperately missing actors which meant we walked around the maze rather quickly and was frankly a bit disappointing, however that may just be due to the high caliber of the rest of the mazes this year.
Walking Dead: Do or Die
Our final maze for the evening was The Walking Dead: Do or Die, which was new for last year and almost a predecessor to a previous maze, Walking Dead: Sanctum.
The maze has seen some changes for this year, with additional theming and scenes improving Do or Die and making it much better than last year. The maze really immersed you into the world of The Walking Dead and the actors made you feel like part of the story, overall a much better effort from the creative team at Thorpe Park!
Overall, the event feels much fresher compared to last year, with a clear effort to try and take the event in a new direction, such as adding additional entertainment outside of the high-quality scare mazes. We are looking forward to seeing what the event becomes and evolves over the next few years.