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Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon


Marc

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Oh my, this thing.

 

I rode it today, and I think for the first time, I really regretted it.

 

Timed tickets

I don't know what happened earlier, but they didn't seem to work. We had 2-2.30pm entry, got in the queue at 2.30, and weren't on the ride till 3pm. People with 2.30-3pm time slots weren't being let in until almost 3pm, for reasons I will never understand.

 

Operations

It seems to be 10-15 people per train (a far cry from the 58 capacity)

 

Pre show

It's nice to experience this without being smashed in with 50 other people. Audio seemed a bit clearer too. 

 

Pre show 2

Before going into the Hanging Carriage scene, there's a spiel from an actor. It's pretty bad, as it feels like it was written by someone in a minute who was told to try and tie up all the plot holes. It ham-fists an explanation for the Victorian-tube carriage transition, the need for the VR and loads of other stuff. But it's just awkward.

 

Scene 1

The usual

 

Scene 2

Audio seemed better and louder (felt particularly strong from behind the train fronts), but the new script trying to tie everything together feels awkward again. Asking people for a code to escape (given in pre show 2) just feels bad.

 

Scene 3

We seemed to be in some sort of short shutdown / delay. This would usually be manageable with the holding sequence, but it seemed to be shortened down? I swear in the holding sequence, a demon would pick up loads of the characters you can see and drag them away. Ended up waiting for a while, even getting a 'please remove your headset' message for a while, before setting off again.

 

The motion base wasn't working, so no fun gentle rocking as we fell to oblivion. The video message from Derren played on the screens afterwards, but no audio.

 

Scene 4

This is incredibly awkward now. With no Picsolve green screen photo point in the queue, it makes no sense why we're looking at photos. The new story means the actor says something about a finalising some parts of our experience to make sure we're all okay or something. There's no effort to get people to look at the ouija board. The demon scene happens (yay, at least that's there!), but it feels awkward when everyone is away from it and not invested in it. Oh, and the floorboards don't shake.

 

 

 

Obviously I had a bit of a bad run with a shutdown and broken effects. And it's nice to see they've tried something, and improved some audio. But the new story doesn't work and it feels like a dreadful attempt at trying to be clever, when really all it does is make you cringe. It's a shame as there has always been so much potential with this, and this is a step in the wrong direction in my opinion.

 

A good point to raise though: all the staff throughout the attraction were good. They were doing the best they could with the tools they have. The script and story is dodgy, but the actors do what they can with it. The ride hosts seemed friendly. Whether this is because the attraction being open is still a novelty and it's like 'new ride vibes' is hard to tell. But for now, credit where it's due, fair play to them for that.

 

Really and truthfully, I do think they should have taken the hit with this. Kept it closed forever more, blamed Covid, paid off the rest of the contract with Derren and just taken the loss. I'd rather it sit dormant for a while and be an elephant in the room, than give people the half hearted, shell of an idea, experience it's giving now.

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That's extremely disappointing that a couple of days in, it's already in this state.

 

I hope not, but I fear Black Mirror might suffer the same fate before long.

It seems that the most consistent UK attractions are the ones that don't rely on anything 'special' happening - the coasters for example: As long as the trains continue to run round the track, the experience is much the same.  as soon as effects start coming in to play though, it's unfortunately all down hill from opening day.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone happen to have a pic of the QR code to book a timeslot for this please? Can't say I'm really keen to go on it but some people in my group haven't done it before so want to 'experience' (if that's the right word) it lol.

 

Also sad news that @MattyMoo reported the demon scene is out of action again- its a cheap trick but honestly one of the better parts of the whole thing hah.

 

Thanks :)

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4 hours ago, jessica2 said:

Does anyone happen to have a pic of the QR code to book a timeslot for this please? Can't say I'm really keen to go on it but some people in my group haven't done it before so want to 'experience' (if that's the right word) it lol.

 

 

Here's the link, will only work in the morning when the park opens

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9 hours ago, Mattgwise said:

 

They were open from what I saw but sold out of timed tickets by 11.

I guess with the weather being a bit rubbish, more people may have preferred to do an indoor ride/attraction.

 

On 6/3/2021 at 4:30 PM, ThorpeAddict said:

 

Here's the link, will only work in the morning when the park opens

thank you! 

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  • 5 months later...
  • 3 months later...

image.png.4542ba589376e77f0ba110178c32ed0a.png

 

Saw this on Twitter the other day. I really hope it ties up the loose ends from last season's changes.

 

Oh, and I really hope the demon costume makes its return - man in white tshirt flailing his arms around doesn't have quite the same effect I don't think 😂

 

Could this year be the year that ghost train is actually decent? Doubtful but I'll forever cling on to the hope.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think it's still a case of "when it all works, it's alright" judging by reviews/vlogs. Bring back the lights on a stick I say.


It probably feels like longer, but DBGTROTD turns 6 years old this year. There can't be much left of that IP now... can there? For the love of god, even if it had expired I can't see that a) Thorpe would want to pay out for the use of Derren's name and b) Derren would want to be associated with it any longer than he has to.

 

Similarly... Angry Birds can't have much left either, surely? Again, why would they pay to keep that IP longer than they have to? (other than meaning they need a new 4D film and rip off a few vinyls and statues here and there!)

 

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The IPs baffle me to be honest.

 

Thorpe's ones are all so embarrisingly dated now... Actually I'm sure all of them are completely dead in the water now aren't they?

Why do they keep paying for them? (I assume they're still paying for them? Who knows).

 

The latest major attraction being "themed around" a magician from years gone by is just bonkers isn't it.

Do many of the younger guests even know who he is anymore?

 

Angry Birds is the worst offender for me though.

I realise that it's is arguably "still going" to some extent, but really Angry Birds was only a big deal back in 2009.

That was 13 years ago...

That means all the teenagers at the park were 5 years old or younger when Angry Birds was "a thing". Madness.

 

I'd love to see the back of the IPs at Thorpe. Saw I think still stands up because the ride has almost become Saw, rather than the other way around, but the rest are just so outdated it's hopeless.

 

 

 

8 minutes ago, Benin said:

Some would say he didn't want to be associated with it as soon as he was no longer contractually obligated to promote it.

Was there some beef here or something? 🤔 

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1 hour ago, Inferno said:

The IPs baffle me to be honest.

 

Thorpe's ones are all so embarrisingly dated now... Actually I'm sure all of them are completely dead in the water now aren't they?

Why do they keep paying for them? (I assume they're still paying for them? Who knows).

 

The latest major attraction being "themed around" a magician from years gone by is just bonkers isn't it.

Do many of the younger guests even know who he is anymore?

 

Angry Birds is the worst offender for me though.

I realise that it's is arguably "still going" to some extent, but really Angry Birds was only a big deal back in 2009.

That was 13 years ago...

That means all the teenagers at the park were 5 years old or younger when Angry Birds was "a thing". Madness.

 

I'd love to see the back of the IPs at Thorpe. Saw I think still stands up because the ride has almost become Saw, rather than the other way around, but the rest are just so outdated it's hopeless.

 

 

 

Was there some beef here or something? 🤔 

@Inferno for your information Derren Brown is very much current!! I went to see his new Show named The Showman last year. Brown is a very talented Man. Even when deceased he will be a classic like Walt Disney.

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14 hours ago, Theme Park Fanatic said:

@Inferno for your information Derren Brown is very much current!! I went to see his new Show named The Showman last year. Brown is a very talented Man. Even when deceased he will be a classic like Walt Disney.

 

Yes, his shows are still popular, but the peak of his popularity has passed.

 

I don't think think the Disney comparison is even close though.

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Agree Derren is still very popular in terms of his theatre shows, and I myself am a fan of his. Just not "his Ghost Train" - even at the time though, I don't think Dezza was very "target audience" at Thorpe.

 

The Black Mirror IP is similarly questionable - is there even going to be a new series on Netflix? Could they not have just had that experience but tied it into the Smiler, their own - very successful - IP? Bit of cross park promotion?

 

I do wonder who makes these decisions and hopefully the reliance on short-lived IPs will be a thing of the past (#PrayForExodus) - don't get me wrong, IPs like CBeebies land work perfectly and are spot on, but with the exception of SAW, I would say every ride/area based IP at Thorpe has been questionable at best.

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On 4/7/2022 at 2:34 PM, Inferno said:

The IPs baffle me to be honest.

 

Thorpe's ones are all so embarrisingly dated now... Actually I'm sure all of them are completely dead in the water now aren't they?

Why do they keep paying for them? (I assume they're still paying for them? Who knows).

 

 

SAW is alive and well. Another film is in the pipeline. Black Mirror is also a very popular Netflix series.

 

To be honest, I see no issue with IP's at what is actually an amusement park. Thorpe isn't a theme park so it doesn't matter so much. I don't go there to feel immersed.

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Does anyone know if the demon costume EVER gets used these days..? I visit Thorpe quite a lot (at least once a month really, would be more often if I lived nearer lmao) and I have literally never seen it in action… I can’t just be getting unlucky every time can I?!

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On 4/7/2022 at 2:34 PM, Inferno said:

The IPs baffle me to be honest.

 

It was certainly one of the more...out there decisions that could have been made.

 

My biggest surprise with this is how heavily they leaned into the Derren Brown schtick. When I first heard about his involvement, I didn't expect "Derren Brown's Ghost Train". I thought we would see something more like "Ghost Train (made in association with Derren Brown)". By that, I mean I expected him to be heavily involved in the initial promotion, have him on the project in a more 'designer' sort of role, but the ride itself to barely feature him. Sort of a John Wardley type role.

 

And I guess in some ways, that's what we have. But it's a weird blend. Derren is there in the experience, but because the whole experience is so disjointed, it feels tacked on. Like they didn't know what to do.

 

On 4/7/2022 at 2:34 PM, Inferno said:

Why do they keep paying for them? (I assume they're still paying for them? Who knows).

 

They are still paying for them. But I don't think they're as expensive as some would expect. The Saw IP is pretty cheap these days, thanks in part to the length of time the contract has been around, and the good relationship Thorpe/Merlin have with Lionsgate. 

 

In general, I reckon that the overall cost of buying an IP (which is spread out over several years) won't be significantly more expensive than getting a team involved on creating and marketing a new concept (which would be a sole upfront cost). Plus the idea of using a well known name is a tasty incentive. 

 

And then as for keeping the IPs, one has to imagine it just works out cheaper to get a renewal fee than redoing an attraction.

 

On 4/7/2022 at 4:27 PM, Theme Park Fanatic said:

@Inferno for your information Derren Brown is very much current!! I went to see his new Show named The Showman last year. Brown is a very talented Man. Even when deceased he will be a classic like Walt Disney.

 

Derren Brown is a great performer; I enjoy his work.

 

But to compare him to Walt Disney is just not it. He won't leave a lasting legacy comparable to Disney. These days, he is still a known performer, who can have sell out shows on tour and create intrigue whenever he does a TV show. He'll trend for a day or two or whatever. But that's it. His popularity has peaked. 

 

It's not a bad thing, but he's just not this superstar name.

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Went on this on Tuesday as someone in our group had never done it before.  It was bad.  SO bad.  The preshow is boring now though I appreciate that if you’ve never been on it then it’s worth watching.  So standing up watching that I was looking forward to getting on the train to sit down - no chance.  We were greeted by an actor who talked a lot and then another actor came bursting in which was quite funny.  Onto the train - loads of headsets in bags!  Second section had a few actors in there who were pretty good at making us jump.  Back on the train and they’ve gone and cut some of the VR to make it shorter!  Over to the “exit” and there is no demon, but a rough looking woman just coughing everywhere.  I’m assuming they’ve given up on the actual demon at the end now?  Haven’t seen it for a long time though granted I rarely ride it these days but my last 2 rides just had a human coughing.  Also amuses me that the “gift shop” has a photo kiosk when they no longer do photos for the ride 🤷‍♀️.  
I think the actors are trying hard to make the experience better and the ones in the middle section were pretty good but the one at the beginning was just very tedious especially right after standing and watching the preshow.  I think it’s completely dead in the water and would need a miracle for it to be half decent.  I would be up for the park to flatten it and bring back the arena again - at least it was a decent scare maze site

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Ouch. 
The headsets in bags is not good - they've had all closed season to fix them, so that implies to me they just aren't bothered and don't want to throw any more money at it, so will just run it at a reduced capacity until they decide what to do next.


Is there a cohesive story with these various actors and final coughing person scene? One would assume and hope so?

 

I really don't know what they will do with this ride once the IP runs out. To have it without the VR seems like a very expensive ride on a train. I can only really imagine going down the permanent scare maze route to get a bit of extra mileage out of it? But then that costs a lot with actors.... it's clear that VR headsets just aren't up to the day-to-day constant use so can't see that being used. Maybe fit projectors/screens to the windows of the train a la Hogwarts? That's possible I suppose. It's certainly going to take some "reimagining" that's for sure. No wonder it's been so long since Thorpe has had a big investment after spunking that wad of cash up the wall on such a white elephant.

 

Who's Ghost Train is it? Well, technically speaking it's mine but I don't like to talk about it xox

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I don’t really see how screens would work on Ghost train - on Hogwarts it works well with the movement of the train, but with Ghost train most of the time the trains physically sat still and really only moves a very short distance - they maybe able to come up with something but really not sure how it would work

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