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Fright Nights 2017 - Spoilers!

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What with previews starting last night and press night tonight this is the perfect opportunity to create a topic containing spoilers. 

 

Saw some reports last night and its sounding promising - also from this picture from Cupcakes and Coasters looks like Platform 15 has seen some pretty significant changes!

 

 

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A quick word from me...

 

The Big Top - amazing!  I'd say around half the maze is different, and they're all largely an improvement.  The strobe / mesh section is the most disorientating version I've ever done.

 

Platform 15 - very very different to last year.  The first third has seen some changes / improvements.  The middle third is completely different and is fantastic, very good, creepy and complete.  The tunnel is a little better, but the ending needs a bit more oomphf. 

 

Saw Alive - same as ever. 

 

Living Nightmare - not the greatest.  In short, the theming is fantastic (arguably the best Thorpe have in a maze).  The maze also features a pre show which is truly fab and has some real suspense to it.  The rest of the maze is pretty weak, the ending is poor and it just needs a bit more scare.  So a very similar vibe as from the German maze, even though this is different.

 

PS - This is a bit of a multi route attraction at the start!

 

Sanctum - a bit of fun, nothing special.  Think of a huge, coherently themed version of Dead End with a good set of actors and you're pretty much there.  It's more like a scare zone than a maze.  The ending is a bit weak though.

 

Warning - parts of it will get very muddy when wet! 

 

Containment - didn't get a chance to do.

 

All in all, it's a fair line up this year.  Big Top is astounding, Platform is creepy and Saw is dependable.  The Walking Dead mazes need some tweaks but hopefully they will come.  Obviously difficult to judge from a media night, but I think things will be good.

 

 

Also, there's a new 'scare rating' guide this year...

Intense - Big Top, Living Nightmare and Containment 

Creepy - Platform 15

Gore - Saw and Sanctum

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Reviews from tonight:

Big Top: 5/5

Platform 15: 4/5

Living Nightmare: 4/5

Saw: 2/5

Sanctum: 1/5

 

Big Top: wow. Strobe was so disorientating I didn't know which way was up - got super lost. Maze was very long (took me 12 minutes on my second go), towards the end of the Night had a lot of actors who were giving it their all. By far the best maze of the night: impeccable theming and effects throughout. Chainsaw finale was fantastic as well. The only one that made us want to rush straight back and see it again. 5/5

 

Platform 15: didn't do it last year but was great! Very long, with the first section containing nothing much more than a creepy story and some cool pyrotechnics; the second section being a walk through an 'abandoned village' - beautiful theming, and some really effective scares, especially in the smoke filled areas. This may as well have been its own maze it was so good - lots of corners for actors to hide behind. The tunnel finale had a few good scares but was pointlessly long and empty. Final room was so misty we couldn't see anything which was pretty cool. More of a creepy one than a truly scary one, but it's the longest and most audacious out of the 5. 4/5

 

The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare: theming is Hollywood level at points. Pre-show and story is crazily good with the acting being of a super high standard. The maze itself, however, is quite disappointing.  Despite the scenery, and some free choice areas at the start, there weren't many actors on our go-through and the ones that were there seemed to ignore us. Some good scares and brilliant effects but for us it wasn't intense. It looks like it might be more refined in a week or two. 4/5

 

Saw: Alive: I was always of the opinion that this maze improved year upon year, but was really disappointing tonight. Actors weren't properly trying to scare us, not even the pig faces, and it was by far the shortest run through of the Night. It's looking a little more tired than before, but with a little more work it could be back to standard I think. 2/5

 

The Walking Dead: Sanctum: This was awful. Like really, seriously, awful. The theming and acting are great, but the spacious outdoor feel to the Maze (which is brightly lit), combined with the sparse actor placing means there are no scares - at all. It feels like a massive miscalculation - Not big enough to be a scare zone and not cramped enough to be a maze. Theres a little story, and its enjoyable, but my heart rate stayed at the same bpm throughout the entire experience. 1/5

 

Overall looks to be a great year! Big Top was legendary. Did Platform early tonight, and I reckon it improved as the night went on so could honestly have been worth a 5/5 from me. Living Nightmare, if it gets its act together, could also be a strong 4 to a light 5. Saw could move up to a 3 or 4; and I reckon only Sanctum is a very weak attraction. Theming and acting is high accross all mazes, and on park soundtrack is great! Lots of mist and special lighting covering the park. Light power kept cutting so at one point we rode Saw in pitch blackness which was fun.

 

If you wanna know specifics AMA ?

 

 

 

 

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Yep agree with above - Big Top (x2) was amazing, we went in as a 3 and there was a good 5 minutes in between each of us coming out as we got lost! I literally could not get out of the strobe maze section, the dry ice was so disorientating as was the layout - people I was with literally vanished into thin air and then I was on my own! Took me a good 20 minutes before I was back to normal after Big Top (genuinely) - blew my mind, seriously impressed and intense.

 

Saw Alive - an old classic, good throughout, not much more to say.

 

Sanctum (x2) - OK in parts but not scary in the slightest, "scare zone" is more apt. Bit poor that Thorpe haven't put down some temporary flooring or woodchips in the queue area as that's going to get seriously muddy with rain. I fear people will feel a bit hard done by if the queue for this is big - which it will be!

 

Living Nightmare (x2) - excellent themeing inside, great pre-show (though this could be improved if you were perhaps sprayed with water to signify the blood!) actors were decent, loved the bus bit (some chap ended up headbutting me on the way out of the maze by mistake, he misjudged his scare #compo).

 

Platform 15 - never went on the original but this was alright - loved the new house bit, tunnel ending was pretty good and couldn't see a thing, but could've done with more actors. Felt more like a nice walk behind the scenes in parts :P

 

Containment - never managed to have a go as it kept going down

 

Manged 2 rides on Swarm and no other coasters as we were stuck on DBGTROTD for about 20 minutes which really messed up our plans. I didn't like this "ride" before in terms of the actual ride (themeing spot on though as previously said) and now despise it :P The second VR is a lot better but as always there were plenty of headsets out of use and mine was glitchy so you had to look a certain way for it to work properly. The ride went down about 20 seconds after leaving the station. New ending was OK but the whole ride just doesn't flow, doesn't make sense (even knowing the story) and just seems like a £30m white elephant to me - heck, Dezza B even draws one in chalk in the preshow ;) I really worry about what they are going to do to this long term.

 

Parkwide lighting was lush (although the lights kept going out around Colossus/Lost City....) - got some great photos. 

 

But yeah - tldr: Big Top is absolutely brilliant. Who needs an IP, Thorpe?

 

PS. Watching the so-called "celebs" is hilarious. One in Fins was continually looking around to see if people were looking at her. I was, but for the wrong reasons :P Did anyone see anyone actually famous? Think I saw some TOWIE people in front of us when we left who had enjoyed the free bar... only proper celeb of sorts I saw was Chloe Jasmine off the old X Factor and Top Model. Oh and Jart of course.

PPS. I found the secret room on SAW Alive - the actors dressing room. Whoops.

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This year's Fright Nights has really impressed me! I didn't find any of the mazes bad at all last night, although there is room for improvement!

 

Big Top - 9/10 - I didn't think that last year could get any better, but I was so wrong! The strobe maze was so disorientating, I got lost on all of my runs in it! I love all of the new rooms that they've got this year too! The actors were excellent too! Definitely the best attraction of the night!

 

Saw Alive - 8/10 - I've never seen Saw as good as it was yesterday. Yes, it is essentially the same, but a fantastic cast makes this maze one of the best!

 

Platform 15 - 7/10 -  Wow! What an improvement on last year! Ignoring the black tunnel, this maze is 1000x better! The village scene in the middle is beautiful and the definite highlight of the maze!

 

Living Nightmare - 7/10 - There is potential for a great maze here. The theming is immaculate, but the whole thing is over within about 2 and a half minutes. Definitely needs more actors in the first half too!

Sanctum - 6/10 - The weakest maze of the night by far. It's a real shame that you don't go inside the shipping containers; a couple of indoor sections would've been nice. As with LN, it's too short, but I did still enjoy it.

 

 

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Out of interest to those that have been already how would you say the two new mazes compare to what you see in this blog video someone posted in the other thread? 

 

is this similar to your run through? Were the actors similar in scare tactics/makeup? To me both mazes look terrifying in this vid as I am petrified of zombies but would be interesting to know why they weren't as intense as expected! I suppose I'll find out for myself Sunday.

 

At least I know what to prioritise now! And very glad to hear that they've reworked platform 15. Not sure what to queue for first, big top or Living Nightmare....

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I'd queue for Big Top first as the Living Dead mazes will probably have the bigger queues early on :)

 

I would say the run through vid was very similar to my experience :)

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anyone else surprised by the swearing in the video above for LN? like I don't understand why but I've never ever heard swearing in any merlin maze before, just something I noticed

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25 minutes ago, Graw said:

anyone else surprised by the swearing in the video above for LN? like I don't understand why but I've never ever heard swearing in any merlin maze before, just something I noticed

Did notice this, It’s on the restriction board that swearing is part of the attraction too.

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I think they might of had the odd use of "sh*t" in the Towers mazes?

 

Though I guess most people who visit the event are teens/adults so the swearing probably doesn't matter all that much..

Plus trust me, you'll hear worse from the chavs's queueing in front of you for the mazes..

 

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13 hours ago, Graw said:

anyone else surprised by the swearing in the video above for LN? like I don't understand why but I've never ever heard swearing in any merlin maze before, just something I noticed

Yeah I was shocked when Negan said to someone in my group "I just slid my d I c k down your throat and you thanked me for it". Looks like they're sticking to quotes from the show :lol:

 

3 hours ago, MarkC said:

There’s a corridor in The Big Top where on the right hand side is a mimic of the  walking dead canteen doors but it says Don’t Open Clowns Inside ?

 

IMG_3028.JPG

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Brief review of last night:

 

platform 7/10 - it was great, but like last year there wasn't enough actors in the tunnel and the finale has got even worse, other than That I loved the village and just overall theme of platform.

 

sanctum 6/10 - was a nice little maze, actors in the first part were awesome and very interactive, but it is way too short and has no finale.

 

big top 10/10 - even better than last year, love the new pre-show with the hilarious clown, literally have to feel your way through the strobe maze, love the multiple choice finale (door 2 is better than Door 1, but I didn't do 3 so I would like to know what that one is like)

 

saw 7/10 - it wasn't bad but there was way less actors than the previous two years, only one pig man out of 2 run throughs but it is still decent. Nothing on 2016 cast though.

 

living nightmare 8/10 - first run was so short and only got a few jumps with no finale. Second run was crazy and I was by myself the entire time, amazing pre show and so many jump scares, finale is also good if you are at the very back of the group (I left running from 6 actors on the last run of the night)

 

 

best year of fright nights to date in my opinion, no maze is 'bad' as such, some are just quite short and lack endings, roamers were great this year too! Hopefully will get to go back next weekend!

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in regards to the swearing, I'm more surprised none of the merlin mazes have generally used it before - especially considering the age recommendations. it's subtle but imo, when actors are swearing at you it definitely heightens the intensity of the maze tbh. glad TWD has implemented it. that pre show looks pretty incredible, I'm just confused as to what the **** is meant to be happening when the lights flash and Negan is just like 'go in.'. lol. also I could imagine it being really awful if the guy playing Negan was ****e, but that guy seemed pretty decent tbf

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Would agree on the Sanctum lack of finale - you get to the final scene, turn right into the temporary Herras fencing coridoor of doom - expecting something else, and that's it!

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So I attended the first 'proper' day of Fright Nights on Friday the 29th September and was there from opening until closure to get the full package, especially with a £10 charge for standard pass holders. But unfortunately, in a nutshell, if it wasn't for Big Top, I would have to state this has got to be one of the WORST Fright Nights I have been to for a few years now. Not the worst, but it certainly stoops down into the bottom 4 since 2008.

 

What I'm about to share was what I experienced myself, so I understand opinions may be different to others who were also there the same day. My rating of the event is a combination of the quality of the mazes, the management of the event and the park operations since I don't think of Fright Nights as just simply mazes and nothing else. To me, it means more than that. So I'll start with the main focus and get onto the scare attractions:

 

Big Top - 9/10

 

It's great to see this back after last year and the changes made are absolutely welcome. The intro with the fortune teller involves the use of a projector through a crystal ball onto the screen and the speech is definitely loud enough to hear it properly this time, so it's a good start. Once down the corridor, you enter the first half of the maze which has a different layout this year, but is a lot more disorientating this time with smoke so thick you can't see more than 1m in front of you! First run I was in there for a solid 6 minutes before fining the right route out as a result.

 

Once you're out of the proper maze section, this is where it's all new. You immediately go through a small mirror maze in a zig-zag pattern with flashing lights similar to earlier. Once out, there are all these confined spaces and corridors you need to pass such as the clown's room, caged inhabitants, props from last year and a section where you choose one of three rooms, all lead through different rooms similar to Cabin in the Woods beginning before rejoining near the end again for the finale of the chainsaw corridor.

 

What made this easily the best maze was the quality of the actors inside as there were so many in the 2nd half all over the place interacting with guests it was great! And on my second run, the chainsaw corridor had two of them in there which really got me nervous with how close they were being revved to my face. You can tell the actors in this maze were having lots of fun over the evening and some played alongside the soundtrack's beats which was really good too.

 

The only issue I had with it was to do with the quality of the speakers used during the 2nd half of the maze because at the start, you get some very powerful, bassy and loud ones whilst in the maze section, but once you leave that, they all gradually get smaller and naturally start to sound worse. In the last section, the speakers were crackling as a result as they were being overdriven. Wouldn't surprise me at one point if one of them goes. Also, I was irritated by the open roof again, so some light was still leaking inside during the day and in other areas of the maze.

 

But apart from that, best maze of the event and had loads of fun inside! This just goes to show you don't need an IP to make the best attraction. Learn from it, Thorpe.

 

Living Nightmare - 6/10

 

When hearing Cabin in the Woods was leaving, it was pretty damning for me as I happened to really like it, even during it's final year. So when it was announced this would be replaced with a maze themed on the Walking Dead, I was very skeptical because as someone who has never even touched a single episode of the show, I was worried I wouldn't understand a single reference inside, but I did get the gist of what was happening though.

 

First disappointment however was the batching corridor where you wait your turn to go through the maze. When it was Cabin, it was pitch black inside with these patterns on the walls with a soft floor representing soil and leaves. Now though? It's back to standard concrete flooring and brightly lit with no audio inside like Hellgate used to years ago. Oddly however, some of those patterns were still present from Cabin? Bizarre decision to make and the build-up was non-existent this time. Bad start.

 

Now onto the first room itself and this just felt as though it was forcefully put in as it's nothing other than a photo opportunity with the character telling you what's going on and what awaits ahead (again, I have no knowledge of the franchise so forgive me for sounding so vague here). He even as some have pointed out swore a couple of times which surprised me, not that I didn't mind.

 

Now from here, you enter through what I presume is a hospital wing and the level of detail in here is brilliant. From all the rooms with the beds, equipment, roofing, lighting and theming to make it feel derelict really was done well here. There was only one actor in this entire section however, so it did feel a bit scare-less.

 

Once leaving the hospital, you go through a bricked tunnel which was very wide and high to another room with a staircase for use by the actors. There were a few strobes inside with a single actor on the stairs and that was it really. Also, why was this bit open-roofed? Besides from venting possibly the smoke inside, that cheapened the effect slightly, similar to the entirety of I'm a Celeb.

 

And lastly, there was the strobe maze section which wasn't a maze, just a walkthrough with actors against the wired fences with flashing strobes and you pass through a bus with all these dummy props of people, including the driver. Didn't have much of an effect on me as it was blatantly obvious they were all inanimate objects and none were actors. Felt like a wasted opportunity here. And once leaving the bus, a quick reminder from the guy at the start you must pass through these doors which is the end of the maze.

 

My overall impression of this in a nutshell which I though once it finished was 'Is that it?' because it was far, far too short to deliver anything scary, jumpy or build tension and some of the rooms were so wide and open it lost some of it's effect. Partly why I liked Cabin so much was because of these claustrophobic sections as you couldn't see what was ahead most of the time.

 

But theming wise, it is very well done inside (minus the open roofed areas) but simply didn't deliver on scares anywhere. If there's a comparison to be made to another attraction, think of this as the Sherlock Experience at Madame Tussauds, only loads shorter and with a few flashing strobes.

 

Platform 15 - 6/10

 

I never did this last year because whenever I visited, the queues were monstrously long for what seemed upon initial impressions a walk behind Loggers Leap. Buy thankfully, after finally trying it, it was better than what I was lead to believe it was like.

 

The start from where you leave the station down the first pathway was done well despite the beautiful steel walls to hide Loggers Leap. The amount of water mist used down this pathway was really thick and provided a good effect when walking down in the dark and looking behind to not see anything but lighting. The actor led us step-by-step down this pathway until reaching the first flaps (or Logger's lift hill) and from here, we were left as a group to find our own way through.

 

From here onwards, there were some good uses of sound effects and lighting when heading up to the dilapidated Canada Creek train which was nice to see again after all these years and the synchronisation of the audio with the fire effect coming from the funnel was well done here as it certainly made me jump the first time! There were a couple of actors too staring at our group the whole time which became unsettling at one point which was good.

 

However, from here until reaching the house, it falls apart. The next third of the walk was just empty pathways with almost no lighting, actors, smoke or audio present and it just felt too much like a walk in the woods, so points are lost here.

 

Once reaching the house's front however, this is where the best parts occur. You walk through a tiny house which was nicely detailed inside with a couple of actors and a very gory scene of innards all over the worktop and sink.

 

Upon leaving the house, there are a few zig-zag walls to pass before entering the tunnel and this was where it got good. The tunnel inside was pitch black with not a sight of a light anywhere for about 3/4 of the run. This coupled with some really effective sound effects worked well as it certainly got me nervous in case something wasn't ahead I couldn't see. A couple of actors as a result were hiding in the tunnel and out of nowhere shocked the bleedin' life out of me and the rest of the group, as it was timed with one of the sound effects perfectly.

 

Finally, when reaching the end of the tunnel, the room turns a bright red colour full of smoke and the sounds of a train from behind you before leaving to go outside again. Not the best finale for a maze it must be said.

 

Overall, Platform 15 is a nice idea and has it's good moments, but was far too long, open and empty to really deliver anything special, though I will say the use of lighting, audio and visual effects worked well throughout.

 

SAW Alive - 4/10

 

I'll keep this short:

 

It's exactly the same as last year. And the year before that, and that, and that, and that......

 

Moving on!

 

Sanctum - 2/10

 

Oh man, where do I begin here other than saying it's Dead End Terror Zone V2.0? I wonder how many remember that from 2010 as I certainly still do!

 

This was laughably bad. The first insult was they reused some perfectly good shipping containers which were once for Experiment 10 and My Bloody Valentine. Heck, the logos were still present on one of them and both were superior in almost every measure to what this atrocity is.

 

Secondly, who's genius idea was it to put an outdoor walkthrough attraction on a sandy gravel pathway... in AUTUMN?! I would've at least expected something like wooden floorboards to at least be used on this somewhere to avoid getting your shoes and jeans ruined for the rest of the day.

 

Thirdly, it felt cheap. Really cheap. Though, not as cheap as Dead End Terror Zone I'll give it that. The walls were ineffective between each section, the props used I'm certain the majority are recycled from previous attractions and the scares were non-existent from start to finish.

 

Fourth and lastly, why? I got the impression from this considering there was so little substance to it all that it was a last-minute decision for the park to boast "We have TWO NEW MAZES for 2017, not one!".

 

If there's an attraction which should not make it to next year, this should be it. If it returns, regardless of what hype might surround it, I'm not interested next time.

 

Now I know this is not a Fright Nights exclusive attraction and is open year-round, but I'm going to count it on the scare attraction list anyway since it's still relevant to the event:

 

Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon - 4/10

 

My biggest fear with this after how it performed back in early October last year during Fright Nights was the same thing was going to happen again this time despite the 'upgrades' it has received over winter where almost nothing worked properly inside.

 

Thankfully, this wasn't the case, but over half of everything still wasn't working the way it should and problems arouse all three times it was ridden.

 

The pre-show was decent enough with the audio noticeably turned up a bit finally, but they were still playing the shorter version of the show despite it being a 0 minute queue by the evening. Also, a few of the bulbs above are still broken and have not been replaced yet, something you would think should take a few minutes to do with a ladder and the correct light bulb... Also, that obtrusive industrial fan was still on all day, destroying any build-up in this room all three goes.

 

Up the stairs and thankfully on all three occasions there was only a 1-2 minute wait here before being lead into the warehouse even though the ride experienced it's normal routine and broke down twice before boarding.

 

Once inside, the train on all three goes had a fair number of the headsets broken, including one where the foam pad for the right speaker was missing. I mentioned it to a member of staff who moved me to another seat, but he left it for use and didn't bag it up. Not sure why... But the content itself for the first half worked fine, despite the headset on one go thinking I was standing up in the carriage the whole time.

 

Once in the middle live-action section, just like the condition it was in last year, the moving train was not working again! *slowly claps* I have visited a few times in the last few weeks and I reckon that hasn't worked for nearly 2 months now, so that's really bad performance for a 'groundbreaking' investment. Nevertheless, can't say I was too surprised it was broken either.

 

The second half worked great all three times with the exception of the audio quality on two goes being either too quiet or corrupted with all this static noise present on the left speaker. Mentioned it to staff again, moved seats but still left it for use for another guest and wasn't bagged up. I began to wonder how many of the other 50+ headsets in the carriage were broken but weren't bagged up in order to increase the number of guests able to ride at the same time.

 

The ending as ever was the same and as entertaining to watch, though the floor has stopped moving again after briefly doing so back in early September.

 

Lastly, something in the shop made me laugh. Those jarred heads where the photo screens are were all off because an error occurred. It even had the error message in each jar at the bottom. Also, the fortune teller Derren was still down.

 

Overall, I would say it has performed much better compared to what it was like in October 2016, but there are still tons of errors and inconsistencies across the attraction which should not be there for a ride only 14 months old since it's opening day. Sadly, I don't think it will ever 100% work in it's lifetime, but thing like the broken tunnel effect, broken light bulbs and glitchy headsets still being used are inexcusable at this point.

 

As for the positives across the park, these are the highlights:

 

• The park lighting was better with more colours and the use of stencils for some of the areas was welcome.

 

• Park-wide audio was nice as it incorporated parts of the Walking Dead's theme with the island soundtrack. Hearing the 30 minute track back, I am certain the entire thing is 100% composed by IMAscore.

 

• Plenty of smoke machines were used across the park such as next to Tidal Wave and Inferno which was nice to see and created a good-looking atmosphere at night.

 

• The use of Fastrack was thankfully very little which helped all the queues move fast, especially for the mazes, so that price increase seems to have made an effect already.

 

However, I must report that overall, this was a very badly managed event day for several reasons. Here are a few key ones that aggravated me hugely:

 

• Little to no effort in park-wide decorations visible in the park past the entrance bridge. Sure, there are a few scattered in places like next to the Dodgems, Swarm, Stealth and Big Top but that was it. Really disappointing the park is still not taking decorations as seriously as it used to back in the late 2000's where the park and it's rides looked fantastic during the event. Heck, adding coloured lighting on the bridge's mesh above your head would be an improvement!

 

• The management of what I consider to be a key element of Fright Nights is the park's audio from every corner, as it was incredibly sloppy this day. I'll discuss it as a separate topic later.

 

• All coasters minus Saw, X and Inferno were all on one train for the entire day and night, despite me thinking this was a routine I was told was stopped earlier this year. It became incredibly frustrating with Swarm especially because not only were the staff dispatching the trains at incredibly slow speeds, but the entire station was ram packed with people everywhere from the stairs, to the loading gates and other walkways. What would easily have been just 10 minutes if both trains are running became a 25 minute queue in the end and it drove me mad nearly, especially with the awful new dispatch announcement used. Thorpe Park, if you are reading this, for goodness sake, stop this ridiculous operation of your coasters. It shouldn't matter what day of the week, time of year or circumstance it is in. If your rides can run two trains (minus Colossus), do it!

 

• Lots of the little closed rides across the park like Storm in a Teacup and Lumber Jump were closed all day, along with about 50% of all food and drink stalls too throughout the entire day and evening. Whilst it was a quiet day for the most part, I didn't appreciate having to trek all the way from Old Town after Platform 15 to Amity Cove to get a hot drink in the cold weather.

 

• Why does X still play disco music during a Halloween event? I would've expected something spooky to at least be playing inside, as nothing screams Halloween more than Darude - Sandstorm.

 

Now, I mention audio will have it's own topic because it was an utter mess throughout the day and night. Bear in mind these do not point to the broken speakers still present in the park, but more on what they were playing more than anything:

 

1) Upon entering the park at 10am, I was confused as to why the IMAscore Fright Nights audio track was playing everywhere, because every previous year is done where the regular park/ride themes are played until the event begins at 3pm, so it really confused me at first, but didn't necessarily mind it. However, what did irritate me was about 2 hours later around midday, it all changed back again to regular park audio in Lost City, Old Town, The Jungle, Stealth, Tidal Wave and the entrance and dome. Huh? I get the impression someone must have forgotten to change it back from media event last night to the regular audio and took them about 2 hours after park opening to realise this.

 

2) The levels of inconsistency I noticed on every ride with what audio should play for it's loading, dispatch and ending themes was very noticeable.

 

E.G. 1: Samurai before 3pm was using it's regular loading and dispatch themes, but it's ending theme was the Fright Nights one?

E.G. 2: Colossus' queue and plaza was playing it's newish Lost City theme, but the station was playing the Fright Nights dispatch theme and it's regular loading ambience?

E.G. 3: Stealth's queue and plaza was playing WWTP radio and the station was playing the regular sound effects, but the launch was the Fright Nights one?

E.G. 4: Detonator was playing in the queue and platform all day it's regular Angry Birds theme, even at night?

E.G. 5: Zodiac was playing it's regular music during dispatch, but Fright Nights in the queue?

 

I understand some rides play Fright Nights music even during the day which is understandable, but to see some half-regular, half-Fright Nights like Samurai for instance? That's really sloppy work and was never an issue historically for the event over the years. Sort it out Thorpe as it was bad.

 

3) Those rides which did have Fright Nights announcements like Colossus and Stealth were all using the Director's one from 2013, 2014 and 2016 which was confusing as I thought the whole Movie Studios theme and Lionsgate IP finished last year? Was it cheaper for the park to recycle old audio and not invest in newer, more relevant dispatch announcements on the Walking Dead, or even better, bringing back Midnight Syndicate music once again?

 

I know audio might not seem that much of an importance for many who visit a theme park or a Halloween event, but to me, it does. And when it is screwed up this badly like it was in my experience of the event, I notice it easily and get irritated by it all. I don't care how complex an audio system might be, the park should have been prepared properly for audio changes and it is completely inexcusable.

 

So there we are. That's my experience of the event.

 

Going back to what I said at the very start, if Big Top wasn't available this year in the superb state it was in, I wouldn't even bother with Fright Nights this year for those considering going. The Walking Dead theme was hardly prevalent at the park besides from Living Nightmare and Sanctum was a pile of rubbish. The other mazes like Platform 15 and SAW Alive were all average but nothing special. The management of the audio was clumsily managed and inconsistencies were present everywhere with it. Operations for the coasters were awful with queues reaching nearly an hour for Swarm on one train all day and night, and Derren Brown's Ghost Train is in a bad state once again.

 

I will give credit where it is due though. The park lighting was fab at night with all the colours and silhouettes used over them. The use of park-wide smoke across several areas made the park look really good at night. One of their mazes I would argue is the best ever historically for a Fright Nights event, and lastly, all of the staff were nice and friendly throughout the day and evening.

 

But sadly, this doesn't make up for the awful experience I had and as a pass holder who paid a £10 premium instead of the regular £5, I cannot say this was a value for my money and I feel incredibly sorry for the poor folk who might be shelling over £20 for entry as a pass holder later in October.

 

Now, some would argue you get all the mazes included in that price compared to Alton Towers who charge per maze, but I would put back to you if Big Top wasn't available this year, I would be more than happy to pay extra for a quality scare maze at Scarefest or Tulley's Farm than experience four mediocre ones at Thorpe Park, each with 2 hour queues.

 

It will take a fair bit of persuasion to visit this event again later in October. Unless the park are prepared properly next time, I would find it difficult to justify another £10 premium again.

 

Fright Nights 2008 - 7/10.

Fright Nights 2009 - 8/10.

Fright Nights 2010 - 4/10.

Fright Nights 2011 - 7/10.

Fright Nights 2012 - 6/10.

Fright Nights 2013 - 7/10.

Fright Nights 2014 - 8/10.

Fright Nights 2015 - 5/10.

Fright Nights 2016 - 7/10.

Fright Nights 2017 - 6/10.

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Visited Fright Nights this evening and managed to get all the mazes done, brief reviews below (in the order we did the mazes).

 

The Big Top

The Big Top is the strongest maze in the Fright Nights lineup this year IMO, with consistent scares as well as a very fun strobe maze in the first half.  I felt the maze was better last year however, as the theming was much better and there were larger rooms in the second half; especially the prop store.  In addition, we didn't encounter many actors and those we did didn't really do much.  I did really like the mirror maze section though!  Overall a solid maze, but not outstanding.  6/10

 

Saw Alive

Yawn!  Exactly the same as previous years with no changes, the actors were fairly lively but the maze has remained unchanged since 2010 and feels very tired.  4/10

 

Sanctum

Some nice pieces of theming amongst some fairly low-key set design, however the actors were fantastic and really made this attraction!  Ending was a bit naff though.  4/10

 

Platform 15

Hugely improved on last year!  The first scene before the train is much more effective with the reduced lighting and fog, the train scene has some brilliant under-lighting and the village scene was great!  I felt the ending was dire though, where was the conductor from last year?!  The tunnel literally just ended with an actor running past us.  4/10

 

Living Nightmare

Didn't really see the hype with this, there was some very nice theming but the maze felt very tame and failed to provide scares, there weren't many places for the actors to hide and it felt very short.  The strobe maze was ineffective, bus scene was fantastic though!  4/10

 

Overall an enjoyable evening, but certainly not "the biggest year of Fright Nights" - that goes to 2011, in my opinion.  I didn't feel that the acting was particuarly good other than Sanctum, with most actors merely looking at us rather than doing anything scary.  I remember the days when the actors would climb above you, jump on the fences and they were generally much scarier than nowadays.  Regardless of how big the IP is, I'd much rather see the quality go into original mazes.

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3 hours ago, Martin.C said:
Quote

1. The only issue I had with it was to do with the quality of the speakers used during the 2nd half of the maze because at the start, you get some very powerful, bassy and loud ones whilst in the maze section, but once you leave that, they all gradually get smaller and naturally start to sound worse. In the last section, the speakers were crackling as a result as they were being overdriven.

The speaker are all the same, just vary in size, depending on the size of the room, with none being over driven by what I've heard.
 

Quote

2. However, from here until reaching the house, it falls apart. The next third of the walk was just empty pathways with almost no lighting, actors, smoke or audio present and it just felt too much like a walk in the woods, so points are lost here.|

Smoke, audio and lighting is present, thinking of the right maze? :mellow:
 

Quote

Why does X still play disco music during a Halloween event? I would've expected something spooky to at least be playing inside, as nothing screams Halloween more than Darude - Sandstorm.

X is not a fright nights attraction, so can't see why it would need all its music changed. Universal wouldnt change any of their attractions audio?
 

 

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So I'm gonna be trying them out tomorrow so I guess then I can give a true opinion of them...

 

One thing that I am finding so far this year, as I just don't care for spoilers etc. so I've seen pictures and videos and reviews; is they're all very very hit and miss. Generally it seems The Walking Dead isn't what anybody was hoping for with short mazes and low-scares (but, I guess a lot of budget may have gone into the theming? And seriously how scary can you make zombies nowadays they're such a done thing really. I mean is the TV show even scary? Moan moan, yep still huffy it's not AHS ok moving on). One thing I am hearing though is the acting aspect in Sanctum is really strong; despite the maze actually being a very simple scare zone (or walkthrough I guess).

 

I'm trying to keep open-minded for my visit and runs; but I'm not holding much hope out. From what I've read, heard, and seen of Big Top I think I'm going to have preferred last years' experience - although I'll put my cards on the table and say I preferred last years interiors; with the first year's three tent set up as for me it felt more like a Circus with the three tents. I just think it's a great shame that these Walking Dead attractions are short and seemingly quite controlled in how they're scaring; and I equally think it's a shame that they fiddled with Big Top after it had such a highly-regarded year; when attractions like SAW which should be a bit of a limelight attraction this year with Jigsaw coming out next month is left to just 'exist'.

 

Having said that; I didn't rate any last year but Big Top as the overall experiences were fairly tame; especially compared with Towers' (although I still begrudge paying for their attractions and still don't think they're worth the cost). And moreso now having done Horror in Texas (apparently its been redone since last year) at PortAventura the other week - now that to me was a clever maze. Great length, and great usage of actors... a LOT of actors, holy hell. And now I just don't think Thorpe's going to cut the grade. Too much focus has come onto 'IP mazes' over quality IMO. 2014 was my first visit. Studio 13 was my outright favourite maze. And then the Big Top has been since. IP mazes just don't cut it. AND to just finalise my rant; even an American Horror Story maze, probably, almost indefinitely, wouldn't have been fantastic.

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11 hours ago, themazethinker said:

I have a question for you all, what would everyone change in the saw and walking dead mazes this year

Living Nightmare and Sanctum both lacked a proper ending, personally speaking I think the chainsaw finale would suit Living Nightmare more than The Big Top, however a new effective ending would need to be introduced for TBT.

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Just wanted to make a quick point, I've been really impressed with the acting in mazes this year. Living Nightmare actors all played their roles brilliantly and acting quality in other mazes was great too!

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