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Marhelorpe

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  1. Haha
    Marhelorpe reacted to MattyMoo in Thorpe Park 2020   
    Looking forward to Jack Silkstone's 15 minute video analysing two words
     

  2. Haha
    Marhelorpe reacted to MattyMoo in Closed Season   
    They've stopped because groundwork has started for the RMC lads.
  3. Thanks
    Marhelorpe reacted to Martin Doyle in Merlin Entertainments   
    Exactly
     
    I like to think the mood on a forum dedicated to any park would reflect the current state of the park in question. If Thorpe park was doing brilliant like it was from 2000 up until the swarm with a promising future ahead of it, then these forums would be buzzing!!
     
    The reality is that with the park being right in the doldrums and has been on a massive decline for years with poor investments, along with no clear direction in terms of where the park is going,aswell as rides just abandoned unfortunately will lead to negativity. Hardly surprising when arguably the most enjoyable thing the park has given their guests since the swarm is a damn bouncy castle.
     
    Just the nature of the beast. I refuse to believe that there is some form of witch hunt towards Merlin because when they get it right with things like Wicker Man and scarefest at Alton Towers then people will praise them with the praise they deserve and likewise when they mess up then they will get the criticism in the hope things get better.
     
    People don't complain because it's fun or in fashion. People (myself included) do so because they know that Thorpe Park can do better and in those golden years I mentioned HAS done better. 
  4. Thanks
    Marhelorpe reacted to Coaster in Merlin Entertainments   
    I disagree, isn't the idea of a fan forum to discuss all aspects of a subject (in this case Thorpe) whether good or bad?
     
    Being a fan of something doesn't mean you have to defend or be positive about everything they do, IMO.
     
    If Thorpe was in a brilliant state I'd be singing their praises, but equally it's just as important to talk about the aspects that aren't good.  And unfortunately, there are IMO quite a lot of those with Thorpe currently!
     
    I won't be a PR machine for the park and say that everything's wonderful, that's for brand advocates and marketeers not fans.
  5. Thanks
    Marhelorpe reacted to Coaster in Merlin Entertainments   
    £9.60 for a hotdog and chips is extortionate even for a theme park.
     
    That same venue used to serve full BBQ meals for less than £8 (before discount).
     
    You can't really blame people for taking their own food when the quality of park food has decreased and the prices increased massively, IMO.
  6. Haha
    Marhelorpe reacted to Martin Doyle in Merlin Entertainments   
    Thank christ there's a Tesco not too far away from the park!! Love those sandwiches!! 
  7. Haha
    Marhelorpe reacted to MattyMoo in Closed Season   
    Me either. Fond memories of sitting down with the missus each week last closed season to watch the updates, our floating DBGT train carriage in the background, wearing our Smiler onesies, drinking from our oversized Colossus cups and tucking into our back up closed-season stock of non-branded overpriced pick and mix from The Dome, our necks laden down by our MAP lanyard encrusted in numerous pop badges we stole from small children and staff members.
     
    Still haven't opened the Stealth condoms though.
  8. Like
    Marhelorpe got a reaction from CharlieN in Walibi Holland   
    I did the trip there via public transport and here’s how you get there. Once you know the station names, it’s quite straight-forward to get there directly from the airport:
     
    1. From Amsterdam train stations (central, airport etc), take a service to ‘Harderwijk’, which is about a 70 minute train journey with one or two changeovers. About €15 each way, any route can be used.
     
    2. At Harderwijk station, there is a bus station area right next to the tourist information building with about 8 different bays. Go to stop ‘G’ and take service 247 or 247a which says “Walibi” on the sign.
     
    3. The times that depart in the morning to the park from this stop are the following:
     
    9:22am, 9:52am, 10:22am and 10:52am for the first four. After that, it’s pretty much every 30 minutes all day. It’s €9 exactly for a return ticket.
     
    This bus will take you directly to the park entrance plaza and the last bus back after park closure from memory was at 20:33 for the 8pm summer days.
     
    Be aware that the bus is pretty packed, similar to the Thorpe ones and they only take card payments or a travel card similar to oysters (which is aimed more for the locals than tourists). Cash will not be accepted at all and yes, the buses do support Visa, MasterCard and Maestro contactless, including Revolut cards which was extremely handy in my case.
     
    As for the trains, I would advise you to use their smartphone app called “NS Reisplanner Xtra” on either iOS or Android to book tickets and show the QR code to the conductor onboard when asked like I did. It is in English too this app so no translation problems.
     
    I stayed at a hotel in Harderwijk for a couple of nights and from there, it’s pretty easy to get to the park, so the important bit is to make sure you reach Harderwijk bus station in all this.
     

  9. Haha
    Marhelorpe got a reaction from Ivsetti in New for 2020 - Elmer's Flying Jumbos Ride   
    You know you’re digging beyond the bottom of the barrel when a multi-billion quid company thinks (presumably) splashing a 33-year old kids ride with rainbow-coloured tartan paint is enough to call it a “first-ever”...
  10. Haha
    Marhelorpe got a reaction from Martin Doyle in New for 2020 - Elmer's Flying Jumbos Ride   
    You know you’re digging beyond the bottom of the barrel when a multi-billion quid company thinks (presumably) splashing a 33-year old kids ride with rainbow-coloured tartan paint is enough to call it a “first-ever”...
  11. Haha
    Marhelorpe reacted to MattyMoo in Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon   
    Demon costume broke and couldn't be repaired by all accounts, but it should make a splash back soon.
  12. Like
    Marhelorpe reacted to EpicSmatty in Galactica   
    Never thought this would get published, thanks for posting it! Wish it was still an option to use on the ride, thought they'd done a suburb job of it.
  13. Like
    Marhelorpe got a reaction from EpicSmatty in Galactica   
    With credit to TowersTimes who found and shared this the other day, look at what’s been found lurking in the corners of Vimeo...

  14. Like
    Marhelorpe got a reaction from Kerfuffle in Thorpe Park 2020   
    Yeah, I’m pretty certain Park Pixie said in one of her vlogs there were rumours that #RMC2020 would be happening...... 🤔
  15. Like
    Marhelorpe got a reaction from JoelAllen in Thorpe Park 2020   
    Yeah, I’m pretty certain Park Pixie said in one of her vlogs there were rumours that #RMC2020 would be happening...... 🤔
  16. Haha
    Marhelorpe reacted to Stuntman707 in Thorpe Park 2020   
    This sums up my thoughts on Thorpe’s future -
     
     
  17. Like
    Marhelorpe reacted to Glitch in Tulley's Shocktober Fest Scream Park   
    Went today, medium crowd levels, but still loads of time to get through all the attractions.
    Bought tickets at November black Friday sale for £25 each, offering excellent value, I almost think the VIP would be a bit overkill, I feel that once is enough on all 10 attractions.
    Twisted Clowns - Was excellent and a good way to start the evening loved the bungee and the varying levels / floors.
    The Chop Shop - Meh, Creek Freak wins for me.
    Wastlelands - Wins it for me a great maze overall and better than Creek Freak in my opinion, the show was also visually stunning, I wouldn't be surprised to see Glastonbury / Boomtown style festivals copy this style of stage in the near future.
    Wreckoning- Ok, pirate theme was cool, but it went on for a long time with little actors to fill the areas.
    Coven - Loved the white room, may be getting my mazes muddled up here!
    Circus of Horrors- Excellent, Thorpe need something like this back to replace the cinema.
    Creepy Cottage - Was a nice attraction.
    The Cellar - This just blurs with the other attractions can't remember too much.
    Hayride- Queue was about an hour looking at it in the muddy looking queue line, so bought fasttrack for £5, well worth it straight onto the attraction, was very good feel sorry for the actors who must be getting bruised legs from the lack of space onboard, but overall the set design was excellent.
    VIXI - Longest queue of the night at 20mins but I enjoyed the experience, yes it may be seen as weak but the isolation factor was quite cool, I am hoping that next year they retheme and rename Vulcan Peak as a troll to Thorpe.
     
    Overall Tulley's seems to be a well oiled shipped, that knows its operations and how to run them smoothly, the ticketing system works well and is something which I would like Thorpe to introduce for RAP on busy nights, whilst overall with the £25 +£5 fasttrack works out to £3 per attraction which seems like excellent value and has left a smile on my face, as well as I would assume the majority of other guests even on a peak night.
     
    Would I recommend? - Yes.
     
     
     
  18. Like
    Marhelorpe got a reaction from HermanTheGerman in Thorpe Park 2020   
    A short request from me which seems vaguely realistic:
     
    Removal of that cursed siren upon park closure.
     
    Simples.
  19. Like
    Marhelorpe reacted to Martin Doyle in Scarefest   
    A very strong performance from Scarefest this past Sunday!!
     
    All five of the mazes performed absolutely brilliantly on my goes through them. They all excel in their own ways, all have some brilliant set designs and all had magnificent actors in all of them. I couldn’t call a single one of them weak. No wonder M£rlin have since told the team to help Thorpe with mazes in the form of Creek Freak Massacre. Altonville mine tour was very physical this year, Sub Species had its intensity back, Project 42 was much improved from last year, Darkest Depths had some of the best looking sets I have ever seen in a maze and The Attic was absolutely incredible and in my opinion the best incarnation of the legendary Terror of the Towers. Queue management for all of these was on top form and not one maze had a longer wait than 5 minutes from having the tickets scanned to entering the maze. Sometimes Alton Towers can still find mazes having long queues despite the paid for timed slots but this was not the case Sunday. Massive thumbs up to the mazes all around.
     
    On a more negative note, there has been a decrease in park wide decoration in comparison to recent years. However, Towers Street still looks brilliant and the little features such as the ghosts near mutiny bay and the skeleton projections in the banqueting hall window of the towers add to a very solid atmosphere. This was also helped by the children’s mascots and indeed the brilliant Alton ancestors who really added to the feel of the event.
     
    Another solid year for Scarefest and once again it absolutely blows Fright Nights out of the water in every single department. As far as the “Oh Thorpe Park you get mazes for free!!” argument goes, I personally would much rather pay for something that has quality in it than I would queue for an excessively long time to do the likes of Do or Die or Platform 15 for free.
     
    Alton Towers and every one involved with Scarefest this year can take massive pride in this year’s event!!
     
  20. Like
    Marhelorpe reacted to BritishThemeParkArch in Duel!   
    Hi all, if you're interested in the original Haunted House:
    I'm doing a Kickstarter campaign to realistically recreate lost scenes from the Haunted House (and two Chessington rides), as part of an upcoming book about attraction designer Keith Sparks and the Sparks studios. More about the book in the video on the Kickstarter page.
      After exhausting every lead, I traced most the finished Haunted House ride photos to a fire that destroyed most the Sparks archive some years ago. However hundreds of production records, flash photos, workshop pictures and videotapes did surface, meaning we now have reference for almost every detail in the original ride.   This is special because the Haunted House was changed a lot within just 2-3 weeks of opening in 1992 (not many know about this because it was changed so fast). We even found outtakes from when the ride was photographed but not the full lighting pictures.   Matching the material with technical layouts, it's now possible to recreate the missing scenes with 3D modelling and digital lighting. The renders will appear alongside any surviving real photos and be checked by the original lighting designers. If you've seen something like Virtual Towers Online you'll see how realistic this can look. So why let a fire keep a piece of British theme park history lost forever?!   By funding this Kickstarter we can record these classic attractions to complete the book on Sparks. Any further volunteers will also be extremely welcome! We need to beat the target to get the funds, otherwise no donations will go ahead and the recreation project will have to be called off.   The book should be ready summer next year but the plan is you wont have to buy the book to see the recreations.
    Thanks for reading! I can answer any questions.
  21. Like
    Marhelorpe reacted to Coco in Fright Nights 2019 - Spoilers   
    I visited yesterday and did the full day with my dad and I agree with much of what has been said so far, it's a big improvement on last year but still not really up to scratch overall.
     
    Arriving in the morning it was so quiet that we went on all the rides at least twice, some more (didn't bother with DBGT though cos just cba anymore.) After we stopped for some lunch we went to do mazes, didn't really wanna bother with Platform in daylight and we were hoping Creek Freak's queue would go down from 60 mins so went to Living Nightmare first. I've put these in the order we did them, not rating.
     
    TWD Living Nightmare: 6/10
    We did this twice, first time we had a very intimidating actor in the first scene and outside and it was a brilliant intro. The actor also picked on someone in our group who he recognised from the previous day. We've done LN a lot since it opened so it's a bit boring at this point but as usual the theming is still impressive. There weren't many zombie actors in there on our first run and the ending was incredibly flat. This improved on our second go with more zombies and better interaction at the end. I'm just a bit bored with TWD stuff at the park in general though.
     
    Creek Freak Massacre: 7.5/10
    We still wound up queuing an hour anyhow, did this twice in the end. I did really enjoy it both times and I approve of the actors being much more in your face in there but I agree it's not particularly intense. I'm so glad it's not like Chop Shop xD It probably is the best maze there this year by quite a bit but it's not one of my favourite sorta themes.
     
    Our first run got a better scene in the room with someone being sawn in half as there was an actor in there pleading for help, however, nothing happened like others have said with any interaction in that room. We weren't stopped and no one was made to kill him. We just shuffled through in a line with not much happening as he screamed for help. On our second run, there wasn't even an actor playing a victim in there, just a mannequin and an actor on the raised platform rubbing people's heads as they shuffled by. We didn't really fit in the intro room on our second run our batch was so huge >.< Got a bit of chainsaw interaction but not much. Best interaction in there for me was an actor leaping down from above and blocking me off, putting a hand on my shoulder, an axe to my throat and telling me how he was gonna chop me up xD For me, it's interactions like that which make my day! I wish they were more frequent but I don't tend to get picked on very often.
     
    If every maze at Thorpe was at the same standard as this one, Fright Nights would be great instead of just alright!
     
    TWD Do or Die: 6/10
    We did this twice, once in daylight, once in the dark (purely because last year we had one great daylight run) and funnily enough, our daylight run was better again than our dark one! I do like the containers there, it really helps break up the outdoor sections. I'm confused as to what other people have said happens in em though cos on both our runs nothing much happened in them at all >.< There were one or two actors inside the first ones who weren't really doing anything and it seemed a bit empty. There was a brilliant actor inside one of the cars who got out and scared the crap out of the girls in front of us and someone in there was pro at the neckbreathing technique of creepyness xD It felt fairly long as far as the mazes at Thorpe go which was a pleasant surprise. It's not great but it's not crap either, I can never understand why it frequently gets rated worse than Platform and Blair Witch.
     
    Platform 15: 3/10
    We only did this once, the queue line said 10 minutes, the app said 15, our wait time was 40 minutes... we weren't happy about that because we never would have queued anything over 30 had we known, based on how consistently rubbish Platform has been for us over recent years.
     
    Our group was far too big to hear the first actor's dialogue once we were pushed to the back. The vibrating fence effect triggered after everyone had already passed it. We nearly missed the train's fire shot being so far at the back of the group. The train itself looked pretty awesome but it's a shame there was only 1 actor down that whole stretch. All the way up to the house we didn't really get any scares at all, there were very few actors and they just focused on two people who were screaming at everything so for the majority of the maze we just trailed behind laughing at them.
     
    The house bit was okay, had a few actors in but again we missed any scares because of the people in front of us.
     
    The actor before entering the tunnel was pretty good. He made a comment as we were joining shoulders about me drawing the short straw being at the back and patted my shoulder saying not to worry he's sure I'll be fine. I was hoping that being at the back something might actually happen since we'd essentially been ignored for the duration of the maze. The actors in the tunnel did do a good job of attempting to scare everyone in the group and I was followed by one for a long time who kept touching my hair and making creepy noises.
     
    Now, the final scene really confused me because it just wasn't really anything xD I don't know if nothing happened in general, or if we just missed it being at the back!
     
    So when my dad and I entered the end room, it was lit up, there was a guy behind a window rubbing his head looking confused and two people were stumbling about like zombies. We just sorta walked out and said to each other... wtf was that supposed to be? o.O 
     
    It sounds like the ending must be really hit or miss and I would've liked to have seen the proper version. I still wouldn't want to queue more than 10 minutes for Platform because like every other time we've run it in the past, it's just kind of awful
     
    Blair Witch: 1/10
    I don't know what happens on other people's runs for this to ever get rated more than 1/10. It was just really rubbish like it usually is for us >.< We were stumbling round in the dark in the mud getting bits of tree in our faces with nothing happening for a good while until we encountered an actor (after leaving the intro scene.) Nothing really happened until we got to the house at the end. As usual there was bugger all atmosphere in there and we ran into the back of the group in front of us (this has happened every single time we've done this maze!) 
     
    The only reason I gave it 1 point at all is because of an actor in the house at the end. My dad and I hung back from the group we had run into. He entered the house first and got pounced on by two actors, I went in right after him, I saw the two actors who went for my dad turn round to make creepy noises at me but I didn't see a 3rd hidden actor who jumped at me from the side as I fully entered the room, he was the only actor of the night to genuinely make me jump and he also mafe a spider motion all the way up the back of my neck to the top of my head with his fingers xD This was a great way to end what was a really crappy maze and that 1 point goes to that actor. If not for that I would have given it nothing. 
     
    I'm inclined never to bother with this maze ever again, it's just not worth the queue time. We experienced two delays in the time we queued for it and were given no clue as to what on earth the problem was or why it was taking so long to solve.
     
    The best run we ever had in this maze was last year when it was dark and pouring with rain at the end of the night because it actually gave the darn thing some atmosphere >.<
     
    Overall park atmosphere: 3/10
    Hearing the speakers turned up loud during the early hours of the day gave me hope for later on but the audio just seemed to vanish at night. I miss the old atmospheric music that would be playing as you walked around and stuff Lighting sucked again like last year. The funny thing was, while we queued for Creek Freak in daylight I pointed out to my dad that there were colour filters over one of the queue floodlights. When we queued again at night though the queue was in darkness. The lights flickered on and off a few times like they were being tested but they then just remained off xD
     
    So yeah, audio, lighting and general theming were all pretty crap again and why on earth are there no roaming actors? >.<
     
    I can't comment on the Amity High vampire folk cos we didn't spend much time in the area. Didn't seem like shows would be every 20 mins with how quiet it was and we didn't have time to wait around. Nor can I comment on Containment because my dad refuses to do it after our second go one year was incredibly bad.
  22. Thanks
    Marhelorpe got a reaction from ItzAdam in Fright Nights 2019 - Spoilers   
    OK, so I have tried all the horror mazes (just the mazes alone) from this weekend and seen what the first weekend of Fright Nights 2019 had to offer as a regular guest, not as a celeb VIP vlogger who gets offered social media trinkets alongside an upgraded/unrealistic experience of the mazes by the Merlin bobs. 
     
    As a whole, I gotta start saying there is no doubt that compared to last year, there is an overall improvement in the event in terms of how it was delivered, but be under no illusion that the improvements are very, very minimal. I still walked around the park at night getting very similar vibes to the disaster of 2018, from the over-use of too many bright white floodlights, to the inconsistent audio management, lack of proper park-wide theming and still some questionable mazes. It's better than last year, but still riddled with faults and here's what I observed and think of each area of the event.
     
    I stress this is my experience of the night and acknowledge runs through each maze are different for every guest:
     
    --------------------

    Park & Ride Theming:
    I would say the level of theming is pretty much the same as 2018 park-wide, though there were some odd exceptions in place which I liked.
     
    For example, Colossus's station looked fantastic, especially at night where the ceiling lights had all their bulbs changed to a glowing red and the spotlights underneath the train a vidid green, which meant not a single white light was present anywhere inside. To top that, there were plenty of hanging skulls, cobwebs, hand-painted signs everywhere too and there was a really effective smoke machine pumping smoke everywhere in the station underneath the centre of the train. I thought this set a really, really nice atmosphere at night and reminded me of when Colossus' station used to look during Fright Nights pre-2010 and I loved it.
     
    But then, if you look at any other ride or coaster in the park? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not a single other ride was decorated for the event which confused me, as it seemed as though the park went all-in with Colossus but then couldn't be bothered with the rest of their rides after that point and so gave up. It's a real shame because the difference that made to Colossus was substantial and really added to the atmosphere inside. Hopefully the park will do more changes like this as I thought it was really nice and effective.
     
    As for park theming, it's almost non-existent. There's the usual Walking Dead props near the entrance bridge, Swarm's pathway and Old Town, but nothing which stood out. There were also white body bags splattered in blood hanging up in the trees and supports around Saw and Depth Charge, though the illusion was ruined when 20mph gusts of wind were blowing them around everywhere. Also, the Dome at night was filled with smoke and a spotlight moving around the ceiling too. Not quite sure what the purpose of this was, but hey, I liked it.
     
    Overall, whilst there still wasn't that much, I do hope the park in the future will start theming their coasters and rides like Colossus because that was a great move.
     
    Audio Mangement:
    It's pretty much identical to last year - inconsistent, inconsistent, inconsistent.
     
    All the coasters were playing themed audio to Fright Nights in their stations such as Nick Hutson's audio on Colossus, Stealth and Inferno, to Charlie Clouser playing on Stealth's loading, or the FN WWTP playlist again after 3pm (ugh), but amongst all that, once again, the majority of rides were playing their usual themes with Detonator being by far the worst example with it's obnoxious "chirp" noise playing across the park every few minutes, depending on whether the staff member remembers to stop it before it plays as the carriage drops. That eliminated any potential dark or spooky atmosphere across the park, and this mix of FN audio mixed with regular audio sounded really sloppy.

    It's a real shame because some of the audio playing in areas works well and when this is overshadowed by the regular stuff, it kills the atmosphere. Really hope the park can finally get to grips with this system because audio for Fright Nights has been a mess for years now. So overall, it's still a mess with inconsistencies present everywhere left, right and centre still. Still hoping Midnight Syndicate will make a return to the park eventually just like in the good ol' days of this event, but realise it's likely not gonna happen because of licensing costs, or something (apparently).
     
    Lighting and Atmosphere:
    There have been some improvements to the lighting used across the park in places where gone are those disgusting rainbow-changing LED light rigs from 2018 and the randomly placed lights from X on the entrance bridge, so the lighting was overall less jarring, but again, there are so many areas of the park vividly lit in blinding white lights that it feels more like walking on a driving range than an actual theme park. Where are the colour filters? Really hope at one point someone at the park can eliminate all if not most of these white lights, especially the one at Platform 15's entrance where it's too friggin' bright to read the sign at night still, similar to Dead Creek Woods last year with the same lighting problem.
     
    Mazes
    Walking Dead: Do or Die:
    It still baffles me as to why this maze still actually exists given how poor it was last year in my view, because this was by far the weakest maze at the event. It's had a slight re-work on the route whereby you go through more of those shipping containers, and the route winds back and forth more, but it's still the same thing in almost every area.
     
    Some differences noted are the outside walls are both black and white this time with some blood-spattered cloth for decoration, the audio in the maze was consistently louder with rock music playing throughout, and the ending had a new scene with shrines and names written on the flooring and walls (will refer to this scene again in a bit).
     
    The actors themselves? 6 in total were what I encountered from start to end, not the 10+ all the vloggers were capturing in their YouTube videos, so be aware of this false presentation they are giving that there are loads inside. Apart from that, it was very similar to last year - dull, boring, plenty of black walls again and lacking any scares. Weakest maze of the night.
     
    3/10
     
    Walking Dead: Living Nightmare:
    Nothing much to say on this as it's the same as ever. The only real change has been in two areas. The first is when waiting in the tunnel, there is a pre-recorded voice of Negan telling the guests the safety announcements which was a nice touch and the other was the ending, where you walk through some foliage with a few actors hiding behind them jumping out at you. I've not watched the show to know who these characters are, but I've heard they are the 'Whisperers'. Either way, the ending was pretty decent, despite everything else being the same.
     
    4/10
     
    Platform 15:
    I gotta say, despite some reviewers saying this year was so much better than before because of the new ending, I thought this was the weakest run-through I have ever had on Platform 15. The first reason is because when confronted with the Canada Creek Railway train, the fire which shoots from the chimney usually fires up similar to a flame gun for a couple of seconds and looks really effective.
     
    However, the effect only emitted a single, pathetic small puff of fire into the air and that was it, thus not startling guests as much as it used to. There was only one actor in this area too which irritated me, as there's usually at least 3 typically (again, do not think VIP press night videos are accurate to the real thing a guest will experience, as they showed loads in this bit online!)
     
    Anyway, as we approached and walked through the house, one thing stood out to me - where's the audio? The house was dead silent with the speakers turned off, and the unsettling creepy audio used in there in previous years was now gone, along with the incredibly potent smell pods, which really took away the unsettling atmosphere inside. There was only one actor in here also.
     
    Finally, the tunnel at the end. Pretty much identical right until the end, although there was a very serious problem with the light leakage this year, as there were more tears in the roof of the fabric than I have ever seen before, and this was a real tension-killer as the group could see ages ahead any actors hiding. But before long, we approached the exit and new ending, which appeared to look like an old station office I think? We were told a mini backstory and as we walked through, an actor jumped out from the wall with the timing of the sound effects and strobe light starting before walking outside and that was it.
     
    I would say the ending is definitely an improvement on last year's embarrassing version, but the rest of the maze before it fell short in many areas sadly, so the overall package I would say is less compared to 2018, even if it has a new story and better ending.
     
    4/10
     
    Blair Witch:
    I have never been the biggest fan of this maze every time it's been at the park, but holy heck, this year I really thought it was brilliant! The new route it takes through the woods was really effective and nicely routed and is far, far longer compared to 2018 with more confined spaces through the foliage. But the best part for me by far was the use of lighting or lack thereof, because there were only half a dozen of very dim lights in the whole attraction, all of which were coloured blue. In-between these areas, it was pitch black in so many areas when walking through that I had to shield my eyes many times in the fear something was going to grab me out of nowhere, whether it was an actor or more foliage. Seriously, it was very well done at making the guest feel unsettled and on edge whilst walking through.
     
    As for the ending, the same tunnel you had to crawl through was there, followed by the shed at the end, which had been narrowed down with wall either side with hand prints all over them with writing, followed my a much dimmer strobe light hidden with actors in the smoke. This was so much better than last year's embarrassing excuse of a overly-bright techno-rave RGB LED light used.
     
    Overall, it's the same kind of experience as last year, but a lot, lot longer with more confined spaces, a far improved route, much better use of lighting and SFX and an improved finale. Definitely the best outdoor maze experience I have had at any Fright Nights yet.
     
    7/10
     
    Creak Freak Masacre:
    And now, the newest maze everyone is bound to be speaking about this year and after trying it, it is clear this is going to be the standout attraction of 2019 and I thought it was the strongest maze by far at the event, really liked it!
     
    The maze itself is quite noisy inside with rock music playing again similar to Do or Die and once you step foot inside the first room where the pre-show, you know this is going to be such a level-up from all the other mazes at Fright Nights. There was smoke bellowing everywhere inside immediately, you are separated down different routes after being introduced by an actor. In my instance, I had the tunnel which was quite confined and had a slight elevation at the start before lowering back down again, similar to the tunnel Experiment 10 used to have.
     
    Once you leave the tunnel, the route mostly consisted of going up and down where Loggers Leap's old cattlepen queueline used to go, all lit up in red with lots of themed walls and actors hiding behind corners and walls, all with pretty good makeup I thought. Before long, you encounter a few rooms, the first from memory being a scene where someone with a giant electric blade is slicing another person in half who is screaming for help. Quite a nice effect I thought, especially with the interaction of the actors and use of lighting effects. Soon after, you encounter a room with bodies hanging from the ceiling and there was a podium in the middle, presumably for the actors to stand. The yellow lighting in here was nicely with an actor with the first chainsaw and was the first moment where my heart really began to race as I couldn't see them through the hanging body bags.
     
    After this point, there were a couple more corners before you approach a strobe maze section which had very loud rock music in there again, only this time, an actor pointed me a route through either 'Goodwood' or 'Badwood'. I got Badwood and what I was faced with was what I can only describe as a miniature version of The Asylum's chickenwire fencing strobe maze, rammed with shed loads of smoke. To add to this, there are in fact dead ends in places, just like what The Freezer used to have in it's first couple of years I believe, so this made it quite unnerving for me knowing I had to find my way out through some incredibly disorientating strobes with the familiar sound of a revving chainsaw teasing me in the corners of the room!
     
    And as predicted, whilst still in the strobe maze lost, a guy with another chainsaw appeared out of nowhere and honestly made me leap from my skin because I was so disorientated by the strobe lights that I couldn't see him properly. This was undoubtedly the biggest scare in the entire maze for me and I haven't been on edge that much in a maze since first doing the Chop Shop at Tulleys Farm. Very, very well done!
     
    After you finally make yourself out the strobe section, there is one final scene where another actor with a chainsaw jumps out and chases you from the exit through the flaps and the maze is over.
     
    Overall, this is a really, really nice maze and I don't know if this is true or not, but I've heard the team who designed this were the same ones who work on ScareFest at Alton Towers. But regardless, commendments to the team who created this maze as it was really refreshing to see once again another original idea executed very well, similar to Big Top, Experiment 10 and The Asylum. In terms of ranking, I still prefer Big Top and Asylum to Creak Freak Masacre, but I would put it above Experiment 10, but it isn't their most extreme maze yet to me as the park claim.
     
    So yeah, job well done!
     
    8/10
     
    --------------------
     
    As an event, I will give credit to the teams who pulled off a great new maze and I really hope this one actually lasts a few years and doesn't suffer the same fate as the Big Top. But overall, Fright Nights 2019 as a package still is not there at the moment as being a great event. It's an OK event still in my books. To me, to be a great year, the park needs far more than just a single great maze to save its skin. Besides the Terror at Amity High lot, there were no other roaming actors this night and things such as park-wide theming, atmosphere, lighting and audio matter hugely in my view as there's more to a Halloween event than just horror mazes. If the park can finally get to grips in these areas in addition to giving us more mazes like CFM (indoor ones), they are back in business.
     
    For now though, 2019 is better than 2018, but still not great just yet. We are seeing small improvements in places to bring it back to the golden years of 2007-2009 once more, which fills me with some hope at last. Let's just hope the park can continue on this trajectory.
     
    One last thing I want to add quickly to those thinking of going - if you have been watching videos on YouTube from all these vloggers lately with POVs through all the mazes and them saying how "sick" this year Is when they were at the VIP press night, I warn you now, as a regular guest, a lot of what they experienced that night you will not experience yourself as I had. Whether it's getting shoved into a cubicle on Do or Die or having 10+ actors in every maze. I can't stress enough to be very wary of what you see from that night online and not to be mislead thinking x, y and z will happen in the mazes. These people are clearly in Merlin's good graces (especially when the park put a picture of Sickstone inside Do or Die on one of the shrines in the final scene as a really poor version of an Easter egg...... yes, really) so please treat what you see with some caution.

    Fright Nights 2019 - 5/10
  23. Like
    Marhelorpe got a reaction from SteveJ in Fright Nights 2019 - Spoilers   
    OK, so I have tried all the horror mazes (just the mazes alone) from this weekend and seen what the first weekend of Fright Nights 2019 had to offer as a regular guest, not as a celeb VIP vlogger who gets offered social media trinkets alongside an upgraded/unrealistic experience of the mazes by the Merlin bobs. 
     
    As a whole, I gotta start saying there is no doubt that compared to last year, there is an overall improvement in the event in terms of how it was delivered, but be under no illusion that the improvements are very, very minimal. I still walked around the park at night getting very similar vibes to the disaster of 2018, from the over-use of too many bright white floodlights, to the inconsistent audio management, lack of proper park-wide theming and still some questionable mazes. It's better than last year, but still riddled with faults and here's what I observed and think of each area of the event.
     
    I stress this is my experience of the night and acknowledge runs through each maze are different for every guest:
     
    --------------------

    Park & Ride Theming:
    I would say the level of theming is pretty much the same as 2018 park-wide, though there were some odd exceptions in place which I liked.
     
    For example, Colossus's station looked fantastic, especially at night where the ceiling lights had all their bulbs changed to a glowing red and the spotlights underneath the train a vidid green, which meant not a single white light was present anywhere inside. To top that, there were plenty of hanging skulls, cobwebs, hand-painted signs everywhere too and there was a really effective smoke machine pumping smoke everywhere in the station underneath the centre of the train. I thought this set a really, really nice atmosphere at night and reminded me of when Colossus' station used to look during Fright Nights pre-2010 and I loved it.
     
    But then, if you look at any other ride or coaster in the park? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not a single other ride was decorated for the event which confused me, as it seemed as though the park went all-in with Colossus but then couldn't be bothered with the rest of their rides after that point and so gave up. It's a real shame because the difference that made to Colossus was substantial and really added to the atmosphere inside. Hopefully the park will do more changes like this as I thought it was really nice and effective.
     
    As for park theming, it's almost non-existent. There's the usual Walking Dead props near the entrance bridge, Swarm's pathway and Old Town, but nothing which stood out. There were also white body bags splattered in blood hanging up in the trees and supports around Saw and Depth Charge, though the illusion was ruined when 20mph gusts of wind were blowing them around everywhere. Also, the Dome at night was filled with smoke and a spotlight moving around the ceiling too. Not quite sure what the purpose of this was, but hey, I liked it.
     
    Overall, whilst there still wasn't that much, I do hope the park in the future will start theming their coasters and rides like Colossus because that was a great move.
     
    Audio Mangement:
    It's pretty much identical to last year - inconsistent, inconsistent, inconsistent.
     
    All the coasters were playing themed audio to Fright Nights in their stations such as Nick Hutson's audio on Colossus, Stealth and Inferno, to Charlie Clouser playing on Stealth's loading, or the FN WWTP playlist again after 3pm (ugh), but amongst all that, once again, the majority of rides were playing their usual themes with Detonator being by far the worst example with it's obnoxious "chirp" noise playing across the park every few minutes, depending on whether the staff member remembers to stop it before it plays as the carriage drops. That eliminated any potential dark or spooky atmosphere across the park, and this mix of FN audio mixed with regular audio sounded really sloppy.

    It's a real shame because some of the audio playing in areas works well and when this is overshadowed by the regular stuff, it kills the atmosphere. Really hope the park can finally get to grips with this system because audio for Fright Nights has been a mess for years now. So overall, it's still a mess with inconsistencies present everywhere left, right and centre still. Still hoping Midnight Syndicate will make a return to the park eventually just like in the good ol' days of this event, but realise it's likely not gonna happen because of licensing costs, or something (apparently).
     
    Lighting and Atmosphere:
    There have been some improvements to the lighting used across the park in places where gone are those disgusting rainbow-changing LED light rigs from 2018 and the randomly placed lights from X on the entrance bridge, so the lighting was overall less jarring, but again, there are so many areas of the park vividly lit in blinding white lights that it feels more like walking on a driving range than an actual theme park. Where are the colour filters? Really hope at one point someone at the park can eliminate all if not most of these white lights, especially the one at Platform 15's entrance where it's too friggin' bright to read the sign at night still, similar to Dead Creek Woods last year with the same lighting problem.
     
    Mazes
    Walking Dead: Do or Die:
    It still baffles me as to why this maze still actually exists given how poor it was last year in my view, because this was by far the weakest maze at the event. It's had a slight re-work on the route whereby you go through more of those shipping containers, and the route winds back and forth more, but it's still the same thing in almost every area.
     
    Some differences noted are the outside walls are both black and white this time with some blood-spattered cloth for decoration, the audio in the maze was consistently louder with rock music playing throughout, and the ending had a new scene with shrines and names written on the flooring and walls (will refer to this scene again in a bit).
     
    The actors themselves? 6 in total were what I encountered from start to end, not the 10+ all the vloggers were capturing in their YouTube videos, so be aware of this false presentation they are giving that there are loads inside. Apart from that, it was very similar to last year - dull, boring, plenty of black walls again and lacking any scares. Weakest maze of the night.
     
    3/10
     
    Walking Dead: Living Nightmare:
    Nothing much to say on this as it's the same as ever. The only real change has been in two areas. The first is when waiting in the tunnel, there is a pre-recorded voice of Negan telling the guests the safety announcements which was a nice touch and the other was the ending, where you walk through some foliage with a few actors hiding behind them jumping out at you. I've not watched the show to know who these characters are, but I've heard they are the 'Whisperers'. Either way, the ending was pretty decent, despite everything else being the same.
     
    4/10
     
    Platform 15:
    I gotta say, despite some reviewers saying this year was so much better than before because of the new ending, I thought this was the weakest run-through I have ever had on Platform 15. The first reason is because when confronted with the Canada Creek Railway train, the fire which shoots from the chimney usually fires up similar to a flame gun for a couple of seconds and looks really effective.
     
    However, the effect only emitted a single, pathetic small puff of fire into the air and that was it, thus not startling guests as much as it used to. There was only one actor in this area too which irritated me, as there's usually at least 3 typically (again, do not think VIP press night videos are accurate to the real thing a guest will experience, as they showed loads in this bit online!)
     
    Anyway, as we approached and walked through the house, one thing stood out to me - where's the audio? The house was dead silent with the speakers turned off, and the unsettling creepy audio used in there in previous years was now gone, along with the incredibly potent smell pods, which really took away the unsettling atmosphere inside. There was only one actor in here also.
     
    Finally, the tunnel at the end. Pretty much identical right until the end, although there was a very serious problem with the light leakage this year, as there were more tears in the roof of the fabric than I have ever seen before, and this was a real tension-killer as the group could see ages ahead any actors hiding. But before long, we approached the exit and new ending, which appeared to look like an old station office I think? We were told a mini backstory and as we walked through, an actor jumped out from the wall with the timing of the sound effects and strobe light starting before walking outside and that was it.
     
    I would say the ending is definitely an improvement on last year's embarrassing version, but the rest of the maze before it fell short in many areas sadly, so the overall package I would say is less compared to 2018, even if it has a new story and better ending.
     
    4/10
     
    Blair Witch:
    I have never been the biggest fan of this maze every time it's been at the park, but holy heck, this year I really thought it was brilliant! The new route it takes through the woods was really effective and nicely routed and is far, far longer compared to 2018 with more confined spaces through the foliage. But the best part for me by far was the use of lighting or lack thereof, because there were only half a dozen of very dim lights in the whole attraction, all of which were coloured blue. In-between these areas, it was pitch black in so many areas when walking through that I had to shield my eyes many times in the fear something was going to grab me out of nowhere, whether it was an actor or more foliage. Seriously, it was very well done at making the guest feel unsettled and on edge whilst walking through.
     
    As for the ending, the same tunnel you had to crawl through was there, followed by the shed at the end, which had been narrowed down with wall either side with hand prints all over them with writing, followed my a much dimmer strobe light hidden with actors in the smoke. This was so much better than last year's embarrassing excuse of a overly-bright techno-rave RGB LED light used.
     
    Overall, it's the same kind of experience as last year, but a lot, lot longer with more confined spaces, a far improved route, much better use of lighting and SFX and an improved finale. Definitely the best outdoor maze experience I have had at any Fright Nights yet.
     
    7/10
     
    Creak Freak Masacre:
    And now, the newest maze everyone is bound to be speaking about this year and after trying it, it is clear this is going to be the standout attraction of 2019 and I thought it was the strongest maze by far at the event, really liked it!
     
    The maze itself is quite noisy inside with rock music playing again similar to Do or Die and once you step foot inside the first room where the pre-show, you know this is going to be such a level-up from all the other mazes at Fright Nights. There was smoke bellowing everywhere inside immediately, you are separated down different routes after being introduced by an actor. In my instance, I had the tunnel which was quite confined and had a slight elevation at the start before lowering back down again, similar to the tunnel Experiment 10 used to have.
     
    Once you leave the tunnel, the route mostly consisted of going up and down where Loggers Leap's old cattlepen queueline used to go, all lit up in red with lots of themed walls and actors hiding behind corners and walls, all with pretty good makeup I thought. Before long, you encounter a few rooms, the first from memory being a scene where someone with a giant electric blade is slicing another person in half who is screaming for help. Quite a nice effect I thought, especially with the interaction of the actors and use of lighting effects. Soon after, you encounter a room with bodies hanging from the ceiling and there was a podium in the middle, presumably for the actors to stand. The yellow lighting in here was nicely with an actor with the first chainsaw and was the first moment where my heart really began to race as I couldn't see them through the hanging body bags.
     
    After this point, there were a couple more corners before you approach a strobe maze section which had very loud rock music in there again, only this time, an actor pointed me a route through either 'Goodwood' or 'Badwood'. I got Badwood and what I was faced with was what I can only describe as a miniature version of The Asylum's chickenwire fencing strobe maze, rammed with shed loads of smoke. To add to this, there are in fact dead ends in places, just like what The Freezer used to have in it's first couple of years I believe, so this made it quite unnerving for me knowing I had to find my way out through some incredibly disorientating strobes with the familiar sound of a revving chainsaw teasing me in the corners of the room!
     
    And as predicted, whilst still in the strobe maze lost, a guy with another chainsaw appeared out of nowhere and honestly made me leap from my skin because I was so disorientated by the strobe lights that I couldn't see him properly. This was undoubtedly the biggest scare in the entire maze for me and I haven't been on edge that much in a maze since first doing the Chop Shop at Tulleys Farm. Very, very well done!
     
    After you finally make yourself out the strobe section, there is one final scene where another actor with a chainsaw jumps out and chases you from the exit through the flaps and the maze is over.
     
    Overall, this is a really, really nice maze and I don't know if this is true or not, but I've heard the team who designed this were the same ones who work on ScareFest at Alton Towers. But regardless, commendments to the team who created this maze as it was really refreshing to see once again another original idea executed very well, similar to Big Top, Experiment 10 and The Asylum. In terms of ranking, I still prefer Big Top and Asylum to Creak Freak Masacre, but I would put it above Experiment 10, but it isn't their most extreme maze yet to me as the park claim.
     
    So yeah, job well done!
     
    8/10
     
    --------------------
     
    As an event, I will give credit to the teams who pulled off a great new maze and I really hope this one actually lasts a few years and doesn't suffer the same fate as the Big Top. But overall, Fright Nights 2019 as a package still is not there at the moment as being a great event. It's an OK event still in my books. To me, to be a great year, the park needs far more than just a single great maze to save its skin. Besides the Terror at Amity High lot, there were no other roaming actors this night and things such as park-wide theming, atmosphere, lighting and audio matter hugely in my view as there's more to a Halloween event than just horror mazes. If the park can finally get to grips in these areas in addition to giving us more mazes like CFM (indoor ones), they are back in business.
     
    For now though, 2019 is better than 2018, but still not great just yet. We are seeing small improvements in places to bring it back to the golden years of 2007-2009 once more, which fills me with some hope at last. Let's just hope the park can continue on this trajectory.
     
    One last thing I want to add quickly to those thinking of going - if you have been watching videos on YouTube from all these vloggers lately with POVs through all the mazes and them saying how "sick" this year Is when they were at the VIP press night, I warn you now, as a regular guest, a lot of what they experienced that night you will not experience yourself as I had. Whether it's getting shoved into a cubicle on Do or Die or having 10+ actors in every maze. I can't stress enough to be very wary of what you see from that night online and not to be mislead thinking x, y and z will happen in the mazes. These people are clearly in Merlin's good graces (especially when the park put a picture of Sickstone inside Do or Die on one of the shrines in the final scene as a really poor version of an Easter egg...... yes, really) so please treat what you see with some caution.

    Fright Nights 2019 - 5/10
  24. Like
    Marhelorpe got a reaction from JoshC. in Fright Nights 2019 - Spoilers   
    OK, so I have tried all the horror mazes (just the mazes alone) from this weekend and seen what the first weekend of Fright Nights 2019 had to offer as a regular guest, not as a celeb VIP vlogger who gets offered social media trinkets alongside an upgraded/unrealistic experience of the mazes by the Merlin bobs. 
     
    As a whole, I gotta start saying there is no doubt that compared to last year, there is an overall improvement in the event in terms of how it was delivered, but be under no illusion that the improvements are very, very minimal. I still walked around the park at night getting very similar vibes to the disaster of 2018, from the over-use of too many bright white floodlights, to the inconsistent audio management, lack of proper park-wide theming and still some questionable mazes. It's better than last year, but still riddled with faults and here's what I observed and think of each area of the event.
     
    I stress this is my experience of the night and acknowledge runs through each maze are different for every guest:
     
    --------------------

    Park & Ride Theming:
    I would say the level of theming is pretty much the same as 2018 park-wide, though there were some odd exceptions in place which I liked.
     
    For example, Colossus's station looked fantastic, especially at night where the ceiling lights had all their bulbs changed to a glowing red and the spotlights underneath the train a vidid green, which meant not a single white light was present anywhere inside. To top that, there were plenty of hanging skulls, cobwebs, hand-painted signs everywhere too and there was a really effective smoke machine pumping smoke everywhere in the station underneath the centre of the train. I thought this set a really, really nice atmosphere at night and reminded me of when Colossus' station used to look during Fright Nights pre-2010 and I loved it.
     
    But then, if you look at any other ride or coaster in the park? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not a single other ride was decorated for the event which confused me, as it seemed as though the park went all-in with Colossus but then couldn't be bothered with the rest of their rides after that point and so gave up. It's a real shame because the difference that made to Colossus was substantial and really added to the atmosphere inside. Hopefully the park will do more changes like this as I thought it was really nice and effective.
     
    As for park theming, it's almost non-existent. There's the usual Walking Dead props near the entrance bridge, Swarm's pathway and Old Town, but nothing which stood out. There were also white body bags splattered in blood hanging up in the trees and supports around Saw and Depth Charge, though the illusion was ruined when 20mph gusts of wind were blowing them around everywhere. Also, the Dome at night was filled with smoke and a spotlight moving around the ceiling too. Not quite sure what the purpose of this was, but hey, I liked it.
     
    Overall, whilst there still wasn't that much, I do hope the park in the future will start theming their coasters and rides like Colossus because that was a great move.
     
    Audio Mangement:
    It's pretty much identical to last year - inconsistent, inconsistent, inconsistent.
     
    All the coasters were playing themed audio to Fright Nights in their stations such as Nick Hutson's audio on Colossus, Stealth and Inferno, to Charlie Clouser playing on Stealth's loading, or the FN WWTP playlist again after 3pm (ugh), but amongst all that, once again, the majority of rides were playing their usual themes with Detonator being by far the worst example with it's obnoxious "chirp" noise playing across the park every few minutes, depending on whether the staff member remembers to stop it before it plays as the carriage drops. That eliminated any potential dark or spooky atmosphere across the park, and this mix of FN audio mixed with regular audio sounded really sloppy.

    It's a real shame because some of the audio playing in areas works well and when this is overshadowed by the regular stuff, it kills the atmosphere. Really hope the park can finally get to grips with this system because audio for Fright Nights has been a mess for years now. So overall, it's still a mess with inconsistencies present everywhere left, right and centre still. Still hoping Midnight Syndicate will make a return to the park eventually just like in the good ol' days of this event, but realise it's likely not gonna happen because of licensing costs, or something (apparently).
     
    Lighting and Atmosphere:
    There have been some improvements to the lighting used across the park in places where gone are those disgusting rainbow-changing LED light rigs from 2018 and the randomly placed lights from X on the entrance bridge, so the lighting was overall less jarring, but again, there are so many areas of the park vividly lit in blinding white lights that it feels more like walking on a driving range than an actual theme park. Where are the colour filters? Really hope at one point someone at the park can eliminate all if not most of these white lights, especially the one at Platform 15's entrance where it's too friggin' bright to read the sign at night still, similar to Dead Creek Woods last year with the same lighting problem.
     
    Mazes
    Walking Dead: Do or Die:
    It still baffles me as to why this maze still actually exists given how poor it was last year in my view, because this was by far the weakest maze at the event. It's had a slight re-work on the route whereby you go through more of those shipping containers, and the route winds back and forth more, but it's still the same thing in almost every area.
     
    Some differences noted are the outside walls are both black and white this time with some blood-spattered cloth for decoration, the audio in the maze was consistently louder with rock music playing throughout, and the ending had a new scene with shrines and names written on the flooring and walls (will refer to this scene again in a bit).
     
    The actors themselves? 6 in total were what I encountered from start to end, not the 10+ all the vloggers were capturing in their YouTube videos, so be aware of this false presentation they are giving that there are loads inside. Apart from that, it was very similar to last year - dull, boring, plenty of black walls again and lacking any scares. Weakest maze of the night.
     
    3/10
     
    Walking Dead: Living Nightmare:
    Nothing much to say on this as it's the same as ever. The only real change has been in two areas. The first is when waiting in the tunnel, there is a pre-recorded voice of Negan telling the guests the safety announcements which was a nice touch and the other was the ending, where you walk through some foliage with a few actors hiding behind them jumping out at you. I've not watched the show to know who these characters are, but I've heard they are the 'Whisperers'. Either way, the ending was pretty decent, despite everything else being the same.
     
    4/10
     
    Platform 15:
    I gotta say, despite some reviewers saying this year was so much better than before because of the new ending, I thought this was the weakest run-through I have ever had on Platform 15. The first reason is because when confronted with the Canada Creek Railway train, the fire which shoots from the chimney usually fires up similar to a flame gun for a couple of seconds and looks really effective.
     
    However, the effect only emitted a single, pathetic small puff of fire into the air and that was it, thus not startling guests as much as it used to. There was only one actor in this area too which irritated me, as there's usually at least 3 typically (again, do not think VIP press night videos are accurate to the real thing a guest will experience, as they showed loads in this bit online!)
     
    Anyway, as we approached and walked through the house, one thing stood out to me - where's the audio? The house was dead silent with the speakers turned off, and the unsettling creepy audio used in there in previous years was now gone, along with the incredibly potent smell pods, which really took away the unsettling atmosphere inside. There was only one actor in here also.
     
    Finally, the tunnel at the end. Pretty much identical right until the end, although there was a very serious problem with the light leakage this year, as there were more tears in the roof of the fabric than I have ever seen before, and this was a real tension-killer as the group could see ages ahead any actors hiding. But before long, we approached the exit and new ending, which appeared to look like an old station office I think? We were told a mini backstory and as we walked through, an actor jumped out from the wall with the timing of the sound effects and strobe light starting before walking outside and that was it.
     
    I would say the ending is definitely an improvement on last year's embarrassing version, but the rest of the maze before it fell short in many areas sadly, so the overall package I would say is less compared to 2018, even if it has a new story and better ending.
     
    4/10
     
    Blair Witch:
    I have never been the biggest fan of this maze every time it's been at the park, but holy heck, this year I really thought it was brilliant! The new route it takes through the woods was really effective and nicely routed and is far, far longer compared to 2018 with more confined spaces through the foliage. But the best part for me by far was the use of lighting or lack thereof, because there were only half a dozen of very dim lights in the whole attraction, all of which were coloured blue. In-between these areas, it was pitch black in so many areas when walking through that I had to shield my eyes many times in the fear something was going to grab me out of nowhere, whether it was an actor or more foliage. Seriously, it was very well done at making the guest feel unsettled and on edge whilst walking through.
     
    As for the ending, the same tunnel you had to crawl through was there, followed by the shed at the end, which had been narrowed down with wall either side with hand prints all over them with writing, followed my a much dimmer strobe light hidden with actors in the smoke. This was so much better than last year's embarrassing excuse of a overly-bright techno-rave RGB LED light used.
     
    Overall, it's the same kind of experience as last year, but a lot, lot longer with more confined spaces, a far improved route, much better use of lighting and SFX and an improved finale. Definitely the best outdoor maze experience I have had at any Fright Nights yet.
     
    7/10
     
    Creak Freak Masacre:
    And now, the newest maze everyone is bound to be speaking about this year and after trying it, it is clear this is going to be the standout attraction of 2019 and I thought it was the strongest maze by far at the event, really liked it!
     
    The maze itself is quite noisy inside with rock music playing again similar to Do or Die and once you step foot inside the first room where the pre-show, you know this is going to be such a level-up from all the other mazes at Fright Nights. There was smoke bellowing everywhere inside immediately, you are separated down different routes after being introduced by an actor. In my instance, I had the tunnel which was quite confined and had a slight elevation at the start before lowering back down again, similar to the tunnel Experiment 10 used to have.
     
    Once you leave the tunnel, the route mostly consisted of going up and down where Loggers Leap's old cattlepen queueline used to go, all lit up in red with lots of themed walls and actors hiding behind corners and walls, all with pretty good makeup I thought. Before long, you encounter a few rooms, the first from memory being a scene where someone with a giant electric blade is slicing another person in half who is screaming for help. Quite a nice effect I thought, especially with the interaction of the actors and use of lighting effects. Soon after, you encounter a room with bodies hanging from the ceiling and there was a podium in the middle, presumably for the actors to stand. The yellow lighting in here was nicely with an actor with the first chainsaw and was the first moment where my heart really began to race as I couldn't see them through the hanging body bags.
     
    After this point, there were a couple more corners before you approach a strobe maze section which had very loud rock music in there again, only this time, an actor pointed me a route through either 'Goodwood' or 'Badwood'. I got Badwood and what I was faced with was what I can only describe as a miniature version of The Asylum's chickenwire fencing strobe maze, rammed with shed loads of smoke. To add to this, there are in fact dead ends in places, just like what The Freezer used to have in it's first couple of years I believe, so this made it quite unnerving for me knowing I had to find my way out through some incredibly disorientating strobes with the familiar sound of a revving chainsaw teasing me in the corners of the room!
     
    And as predicted, whilst still in the strobe maze lost, a guy with another chainsaw appeared out of nowhere and honestly made me leap from my skin because I was so disorientated by the strobe lights that I couldn't see him properly. This was undoubtedly the biggest scare in the entire maze for me and I haven't been on edge that much in a maze since first doing the Chop Shop at Tulleys Farm. Very, very well done!
     
    After you finally make yourself out the strobe section, there is one final scene where another actor with a chainsaw jumps out and chases you from the exit through the flaps and the maze is over.
     
    Overall, this is a really, really nice maze and I don't know if this is true or not, but I've heard the team who designed this were the same ones who work on ScareFest at Alton Towers. But regardless, commendments to the team who created this maze as it was really refreshing to see once again another original idea executed very well, similar to Big Top, Experiment 10 and The Asylum. In terms of ranking, I still prefer Big Top and Asylum to Creak Freak Masacre, but I would put it above Experiment 10, but it isn't their most extreme maze yet to me as the park claim.
     
    So yeah, job well done!
     
    8/10
     
    --------------------
     
    As an event, I will give credit to the teams who pulled off a great new maze and I really hope this one actually lasts a few years and doesn't suffer the same fate as the Big Top. But overall, Fright Nights 2019 as a package still is not there at the moment as being a great event. It's an OK event still in my books. To me, to be a great year, the park needs far more than just a single great maze to save its skin. Besides the Terror at Amity High lot, there were no other roaming actors this night and things such as park-wide theming, atmosphere, lighting and audio matter hugely in my view as there's more to a Halloween event than just horror mazes. If the park can finally get to grips in these areas in addition to giving us more mazes like CFM (indoor ones), they are back in business.
     
    For now though, 2019 is better than 2018, but still not great just yet. We are seeing small improvements in places to bring it back to the golden years of 2007-2009 once more, which fills me with some hope at last. Let's just hope the park can continue on this trajectory.
     
    One last thing I want to add quickly to those thinking of going - if you have been watching videos on YouTube from all these vloggers lately with POVs through all the mazes and them saying how "sick" this year Is when they were at the VIP press night, I warn you now, as a regular guest, a lot of what they experienced that night you will not experience yourself as I had. Whether it's getting shoved into a cubicle on Do or Die or having 10+ actors in every maze. I can't stress enough to be very wary of what you see from that night online and not to be mislead thinking x, y and z will happen in the mazes. These people are clearly in Merlin's good graces (especially when the park put a picture of Sickstone inside Do or Die on one of the shrines in the final scene as a really poor version of an Easter egg...... yes, really) so please treat what you see with some caution.

    Fright Nights 2019 - 5/10
  25. Haha
    Marhelorpe reacted to MattyMoo in Fright Nights 2019 - General Discussion   
    I'm going on Thursday so if I have to queue for longer than 5 minutes for anything I will be going straight to GUEST SERVICES.
     
    Also hoping that Park Pixie will be on the ISLAND LIKE NO OTHER on Thursday.
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