The Halloween event started 17 years ago and has grown considerably since then, starting with basic mazes such as The Freezer and The Asylum the park has branched out to IP’s such as Lionsgate Cabin in the Woods and AMC’s The Walking Dead to bring to life popular TV shows and films.
2018 sees the introduction of more new park-wide audio, in previous years the park has changed ride sound effects. Last year the park introduced new IMAscore music throughout some of the rides along with a new Halloween backing track for some of the park. This year the park once again works on the audio across the park with more new music produced by Nick Hutson. This year see’s new music made for rides and areas. One of the main additions being in Amity. Bringing back to life WWTP Radio the radio show features new jingles and a special appearance from the famous YouTuber Tim Tracker. Special audio around the park really does help set the mood and were a big fan of this year’s audio improvements.
Big Top Showtime: Last year saw the last year of The Big Top maze in its last form. 2018 sees a change of layout for the attraction, no longer based in a circus tent the clowns and freaks are now based inside the dome. Roaming actors dressed up as clowns can be seen roaming the park during the later hours of the day. When guests confront the actors about what happened to the big top tent the actors seem to have a set script of the words matches along with fire hand gestures.
Being based inside the dome the actors don’t have a lot of room to do much scaring and with the strong lights in the dome there’s nowhere to hide! Focusing on impact scares The Big Top Showtime is mainly a stage based attraction. At various points in the show, the actors break off running around the dome, as much as we love The Big Top Showtime it’s not the same as the maze was for the past 2 years. The Big Top was an iconic Fright Nights maze, the music and strobe section was a big hit with guests.
Do or Die: Sanctum has returned and the Saviors have got a new home! Reimagined for 2018 and renamed to The Walking Dead Do or Die the maze is 10 times better than it was before. Unlike last year the maze has you going in and out of the old Experiment 10 shipping containers. With new scenes and a lot more theming we feel like Do or Die is possibly one of the best mazes this year! Starting your journey on a school bus your greeted by an actor who warns you not to eat the contaminated meat and not to trust anyone!
The entrance for Do or Die has been swapped; you now enter via a portal near Vortex and Zodiac. In previous years, the queue lines for Fright Nights mazes have gone up and down the plaza and blocked off the maze to Saw Alive and other attractions. Being outside the maze does not have many dark sections making it harder to scare people. Actors have many ways to scare people, from jumping onto cars, slamming doors and crawling under fences nowhere is safe in Sanctum! A firm improvement on last year!
Blair Witch: Returning for 2018, urban explores have opened an old house in the Black Hills Forest. Unleashing the curse of the Blair Witch there picked off one by one until no one is left. Don’t look her in the eye! Thorpe Park has gone back to the drawing board with the Blair Witch maze and corrected some big issues in the maze, such as the length and lack of theme. In previous years the length of the maze was double however you walked through some sections with nothing happening.
With the reimaging of the maze, you now start stood around a campfire with an actor giving you a brief overview of the story. Good for those that haven’t seen the film before but it also helps reaffirm the back story to the maze. Theming throughout the maze has also been uplifted, with double the number of actors in the attraction we can’t praise this maze enough! Whereas before all we had was a bunch of twigs stuck up in a tree now full on sets have been built along with tents hanging in the trees and crawl sections. Navigating your way through shrubbery and trees through the dead of night will you make it through alive? Don’t look her in the eye. For once we can actually see a future for the Blair Witch maze!
Vulcan Peak: One of the new mazes for 2018 is Vulcan Peak another attempt at a bag over your head maze, a few years ago Thorpe Park had a maze called the passing-based in the space now taken up by Living Nightmare. We’ve done Vulcan Peak a few times now as when we first did the maze on press night it wasn’t quite ready for guests. The maze has since been thoroughly improved with added actors and new effects inside. Although the maze isn’t the strongest in the line-up we still believe the maze has a future at Thorpe Park, with some heavy rethinking over the closed season we think the maze could be a bit hit next year.
Dead Creek Woods: During the summer season Thorpe Park introduced a new experience called Zombie Hunt, guests roamed the attraction with laser guns to shot and kill zombies. This space has since been reused as a new Horror Maze called Dead Creek Woods. Taking away the guns and introducing a new storyline we’re a big fan of this maze. It’s not the scariest maze we’ve ever done but it’s one that’s great to introduce younger guests into scare mazes. Great actors, good theming and a chainsaw Dead Creek Woods is one to watch!
WD Living Nightmare: Living Nightmare returns for 2018 Fright Nights and Negan is back! Opening for April half term this year as Walking Dead Extreme and then for 2 weeks in the summer Negan has been missing from the line up in the maze. Everything remains the same inside the maze with some slight storyline changes. The only thing we’re not a fan of in the maze is that once you get off of the bus you start to queue up again waiting for an actor to talk to you. Most of the time it’s too loud to hear what they’re saying or you are too far at the back of the group. The introduction of a speaker overhead would fix this issue or if the park extended the prison yard to make use of this space the maze would almost be perfect. Still a strong maze but it has some issues that need to be fixed.
Platform 15: Returning for another season of scares, the storyline and end of Platform 15 has changed slightly. Rather than focusing fully on the storyline of the conductor the maze now features a new character “The Bride” no longer are the guests on the train ghosts stuck in a limbo effect but the wedding guests that got trapped on the other side. Due to Dead Creek Woods using some of the black tunnels the ending for the maze has been cut short slightly, because of this the park has re-engineered the ending to fit it in with the bride storyline. We feel like this adjusted storyline gives the maze a new breath of fresh air however something new is needed in its place. The long black tunnel still remains the weakest part of the attraction. If a permeant structure could be built going through the saw the ride restricted area the park could do more with it. However, due to access issues, this will probably never happen. Could this be the last year of Platform 15?
Saw Alive: Jigsaw’s Saw Alive has been in the Fright Nights line up for as long as we can remember, opening in 2012 the maze focuses on key scenes from the Saw films. A firm favorite we always enjoy going through the maze, every year the actors find new ways to keep the maze alive and this year is no different. As much as we enjoy Saw Alive hopefully in 2019, we will see some changes or an overfull done to the maze. The use of smell pods and lots of smoke and lights in the maze always make it enjoyable.
Amity High: Based in the Stealth plaza area Thorpe Park have hired in a group of roaming actors themed around a high school called Amity High in Amity. What we really liked about this group was the outfits had the words Amity High embroidered onto jackets, a nice little touch seeing as this is just a Fright Nights addition. From Jocks, Cheerleaders and Cafeteria workers the theme was very American. As much as we loved the Amity High group, they seemed a little pointless. The act felt like they were put in to help boost the numbers. The Amity High group would have worked really well as a flash mob on the Stealth plaza every hour or so rather than constantly being on display and roaming around.
Fright Nights 2018 overall looks set to be a huge success, we really like the new additions around the park and the reimagining of Sanctum. We would have never have predicated Sanctum Do or Die to be our top maze of the year. Theming around the park has been better in previous years but we think lighting around the park has never looked better. The park still has many floodlights but compared to previous years there getting there. Looking to the future of Fright Nights, we think that Thorpe Park should scrap or do something major to Saw Alive as the maze is looking very dated. Despite still drawing in a huge queue every night.