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Wumbamillio

British Dark Rides Project

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Hi everyone. For the past few months I have been working on a special project. You will all know and perhaps remember the original 5th Dimension and BubbleWorks rides, some of the first attractions built at Chessington when Tussauds began its theme park venture in the 80s. These bizarre rides have fascinating stories to tell, of which little is known about.
 
The original BubbleWorks and 5th Dimension, along with Terror Tomb that replaced it and The Haunted House at Alton Towers, were part of a series of theatrical dark rides built in Britain by Tussauds Group, before big steel rollercoasters took over. Upon opening they were highly innovative for bringing theatrical effects to Britain at a time when there were few true theme parks in the country, determined to make up in charm what they lacked in budget. Still to this day these dark rides are some of the most imaginative and surreal theme park attractions found in the UK, remembered fondly by many.
 
In Summer 2015, Better Luck Next Time will be an amateur docu-style film, exploring how these dark rides were created and the cultural impact they had in an honest but exciting way, as told by the individuals who designed them. Involved in the project are many inspirational people, including designer John Wardley and figures from the original studios that produced these rides. I promise you will be surprised to hear the full stories they have to tell, but you'll have to wait and see!
 
Forgive me for advertising, if you are interested then please follow this Facebook page for updates. I will have a trailer ready in November so do check back.
 

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So a lot has happened since I first announced the project. If you haven't seen the updates on our Facebook page, do take a look here.

 

Earlier this month we interviewed attraction designers Dan Longley, Graham Owens and John Wardley, with more to come. Some people submitted questions to us and I compiled this little teaser video of them giving their answers.

 

There's plenty more to come so keep a lookout for a trailer coming later this year, which will give you a bigger picture of what the film's all about. There have been a lot of exciting discoveries.

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Certainly is, only stupid me I renamed the project so this topic's a bit redundant as I can't change the title on here.

 

Here are the posters for the first 2 parts. Each episode is 30 minutes long, there are 4 of them.

 

Click here to follow the project on Facebook, I often share extras that won't be in the videos on there. And all interest is really appreciated as it's a lot of work getting this completed!

 

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Thank you! Although the bad news for you is there isn't anything on Valhalla, sorry! Although I did interview one of the people who helped work on it who had a funny story about how most of the infrastructure had to be rebuilt, after the park recycled old broken evacuation stairs from a previous ride and it was immediately condemned. Of course they did get away with using old rollercoaster track in the support frame for a good few years. It was a very ambitious project but sadly the turn of the millenium was a difficult time in the industry for those kinds of rides.

 

And I *think* we found one of the original ride models in a factory warehouse. As I've never been on Valhalla and it wasn't part of the big dark ride shift in the early 90s, it wouldn't be right to feature it so much without giving it a full feature to do it justice.

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Coaster   

Thank you! Although the bad news for you is there isn't anything on Valhalla, sorry! Although I did interview one of the people who helped work on it and I *think* we found one of the original ride models. As I've never been on Valhalla and it wasn't part of the big dark ride shift in the early 90s, it wouldn't be right to feature it so much without giving it a full feature to do it justice.

That's a shame but fair enough - did you happen to take a picture of the original ride model?

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I recorded it so it pops up in the video, but thing is I had a very limited time in the factory archive that hadn't really been looked in for years, and there were so many amazing things in there. I didn't really have time to look for the rest of Valhalla, I was busy piecing together the entire Terror Tomb model he he.

 

I added a bit to my above post about Valhalla for you by the way. I will find out more about it some time. :)

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Coaster   

I recorded it so it pops up in the video, but thing is I had a very limited time in the factory archive that hadn't really been looked in for years, and there were so many amazing things in there. I didn't really have time to look for the rest of Valhalla, I was busy piecing together the entire Terror Tomb model he he.

 

I added a bit to my above post about Valhalla for you by the way. I will find out more about it some time. :)

Thanks for the info, I do remember hearing about the ride being a nightmare to get ready to open, and as for reusing the PMBO track, I suspect that's a contributing factor towards the facade having to be completely replaced after just fifteen years.  :lol:

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Mark9   

I'm going to post twice in reply to your video, one here and one in the fifth dimension topic as I think it deserves two different replies.

 

As a video, very good. There are times when the music from the ride slightly drowns out voices but thats by the by. Lovely editing, fantastic use of imagery from the time, videos from the ride and audio from the original recording tapes. It's quite clearly a labour of love from your point of view and documents a time when ride enthusiasm was really in its infancy. You should be proud of your work and I really look forward to the second part which I'm guessing covers Terror/Forbidden Tomb and Bubbleworks.

 

Can't wait.

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Thank you Mark, after so long working on this project it's exciting to know I've done my job and it's bringing the personality of the ride back into people's minds.

Each episode is quite different, Part 2 covers BubbleWorks, 3 has more on Keith Sparks and the Alton Haunted House, and Part 4 is on Terror Tomb. It really is something I've long wanted to do but the stories and people behind these early rides just amazed me.

I never went on the 5D but of course it has taught me so much. It had slipped so far off the radar and I had to piece the ride together from the archive material, a lot of which was about to be thrown out and lost. The odds really were against the team but the work they put in is quite telling.

I'll be remastering bits as we go because I'm having to edit so quickly, thanks for flagging the audio up I'll try fix that (one good thing about Vimeo is you can make tweaks to the existing video).

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Ian-S   

That was really good, aside from the previously mentioned audio the only other thing I noticed was Wardley sitting center frame in some shots which doesn't seem to be a popular framing method with wide screen, but that is purely a preference thing and others may like it which is fair enough.

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Oh I can't tell you how frustrating that camera was. I wish it could be better but that's the best I could get everything looking, I probably spent most my time in editing doing colour correcting and realignment of shots.

 

But you can imagine being invited to John's house and not wanting to spend too much of his time setting up the camera, ha!

 

The final episode is really pretty on the cinematography, I promise!

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