After 2 trips to Thorpe park for Fright Nights 2020 (the past 2 Fridays), thought I’d write up a review.
Starting off with some general comments, I certainly was pleased at the variety of things going on in the park. It’s nice that in most areas, there was something happening, when in the past there would be several dead areas in the park without shows, actors, zones or anything to tell you you’re at fright nights. I’m assuming this is also to help spread people out covid wise.
It is hard to rate things given how different things are compared to any other year due to the pandemic, but overall I think they’ve done a good job considering and I don’t think there was much more they could do bar some tweaks here or there. Sure there were some issues with individual attractions but overall the concepts were good, I like that there was a range of themes (not just walking dead everywhere) and honestly the actors wearing masks didn’t impact their scare ability, you didn’t really notice it. The actors really did a brilliant job.
I did notice that the first week of fright nights, there were more announcements about distancing (keeping to your marker etc) than on the previous Friday. It might have just been luck, but I did wish they made more announcements as some people did not seem to get it at all. Other than that I don’t think the park could have done much more, although some parks e.g. Disneyland in paris are much more militant when it comes to telling people off who aren’t distancing (they even describe what people are wearing on the tannoy by all accounts) I guess it’s a balance and the staff can only do so much.
Anyway, on to the individual attactions!
So this for me was the better of the two mazes. To start with, the tunnel queueing system is an awful idea and not sure why they went with it, and I think they should have been announcing the 2 meter distancing more as my second experience in the tunnel was pretty rubbish with some people trying to get closer and closer. Anyway..
I also was unlucky enough to get the ‘we are experiencing an unexpected delay’ message on a loop for around 20 minutes.
On to the actual maze, I think although they had some of the story played over the tannoy in the tunnel they should have probably explained it a bit more at the start, rather than saying something about the village holding clues to the conductors story. I got it, but my group had no clue what they were talking about.
The acting was really brilliant, great jump scares and some really freaky zombie acting. The train scene with the smoke effects was good too. The finale could do with a bit of polishing however I enjoyed that too.
Roots of Evil
Easily the weaker of the two mazes. For a start, this maze had a huge queue and had a 20 minute delay, so our slot was at 8 but we didn’t get in to the maze until 9.10. I have no idea how they were going to get through all of the groups in the queue before 10 or what went wrong, but the previous week it also was having lots of issues.
The pre-show at least made slightly more sense than platform, though still a bit weak. I think the first 2/3 scenes aren’t brilliant and the bits before you get to the woods didn’t feel scary at all and seemed a tad pointless. To sum up the second part of the maze, I would say its jump scare heavy. Not a lot of room for much else. They do really manage to hide well in the trees though! Finale was ok but again with only 2 actors felt a bit meh. Think there could have been something else here to give it a better finish.
Terror at Amity High
I really enjoyed the dance show, thought it was very effective and fun. Hope they continue these! Actors were fun and managed to get some good scares out of people.
The Howling of LycanThorpe High
As a zone this was easily one of the weakest. Location didn’t get a lot of thoroughfare either, but the first Friday I went there were hardly any actors here. I like the concept though and was better with more actors the second week. Room for improvement for sure.
The Swarm: Invasion
I liked that they finally did something with the swarm theme/area for fright nights. The army people were effective, the alien hands were unusual too. The conspiracy theorists were a stranger choice. I did have a hope that we might have been lucky enough to see an elaborate alien costume or something but I think that’s asking too much from Thorpe lol. The interactions could have been a bit better but certainly has potential.
The Fearstival Arena
So the first Friday I went, it wasn’t one way, then the second Friday it became one way which was quite a pain given it’s such a key area of the park. I understand why scare zones operate better as one way through but interesting that they changed their minds quite quickly on that. Nice little zone, I think it could have done with more clowns, and some of the costumes were creepy but I have no idea what they were meant to be lol. Had one clown on the second Friday, always good. Interaction here was decent but preferred amity high/creek freak unchained.
Creek Freaks Unchained
By far the best scare zone, more of a walk through attraction. Lots of nice theming (helped by the buildings around old town too but also the machinery etc) and the actors were great. Of course I would have preferred the indoors creek freak maze but actually you could see all the effort that went into the sets clearer and had some fun chats with actors too. Shame the exit was at the start of the platform queue lol certainly created a bit of a crowd there but other than that can’t really fault it! I must have gone through it at least 5 times as there’s no queue so its rude not to!
I loved these guys! Super creepy, masks worked really well, I hope they keep the crows in future years. They were even on the bridge as we left the first Friday. Sadly I don’t think they were out the second Friday, looked all over the place but no joy (unless we got super unlucky).
- Didn’t do the screamplex cinema but the director was hanging around outside and a few other actors interacting with people, which was good.
- I liked some of the theming e.g. pumpkins around, but sadly some people had knocked all of them off at some point in the evening and even threw and smashed them on the floor. This is why we can’t have nice things!! Poor park staff were having to pick them up.
- Saw some people not wearing masks in scare zones shouting at staff saying ‘its only recommended’, and a group old enough to know better not wearing masks shouting in an actors face to give them his axe so they could have a photo holding it, that got quite heated. Distancing was certainly a mixed bag but I think by and large the park did all they could really.
- Given the long queue for Roots, I didn't really manage any rides in the dark when I did both mazes, which is a shame. So if that's important for you I'd probably just do one maze (platform seems more reliable).