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Fright Nights 2018 - General Discussion


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Just leaving this here...





The park map/guide from what was, in my opinion, the best year of Fright Nights.  Experiment 10 was truly Thorpe at its best, when they led the scare industry and were able to be innovative with original themes, and it was a different approach to any scare maze the UK had seen before.


Of course, who could forget the roaming clowns (and the massive cake) to celebrate 10 years of Fright Nights!


Compare that to what we have now :(

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So tonight I decided to bite the bullet and give fright nights a chance. Before I say my own thoughts, I would just like to mention a brief chat I had with a couple I met in the Do or Die line. This years fright nights was the first year they went since 2008 (the best year in the events history) and the first thing they said to me was “what happened?? I remember this used to be so good!!”


So this couple has not seen the decline of fright nights since 2008, they have seen the then and the now and that to me must be even worse than the decline that I’ve seen year on year. Without mincing my words, this years fright nights is EASILY the worst fright nights I have been too and I have been going since 2004!!. Vulcan peak is an absolute insult to the space that once occupied The Freezer/Asylum. It really is not only comfortably the worst horror maze in the events history, it is the worst horror maze I have ever had the displeasure of going through!! Honestly want to know who thought that maze was good enough to open to the public some of whom

are paying good hard earned money to attend. The other new “mazes” to me also felt cheap and last minute.com and as a whole it just all felt rushed together this year. Next year, the event needs a major overhaul as far as I’m concerned as it really has now turned into a laughing stock in relation to both other events in the country AND what the event used to be back up until the damn Lionsgate IP’s came in. The event now lacks a “go to” maze that you know would salvage the event no matter how bad everything else is thanks to the absolutely ludicrous decision to not bring The Big Top back and that has always been something fright nights has had since the start of the event (Freezer,Asylum,Studio 13, Cabin In The Woods and Big Top) so now there is absolutely nothing in my opinion that saves this event.


For those of you who are reading this who never got to see how great this event once was, I truly am sorry!! 


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I guess you could say fright nights this year is peak.. Vulcan “peak”? 


bad joke? Sorry.. ? 


actually I I was at fright nights today and they have changed Vulcan peak quite a lot since I last did it at the press preview. The maze then was quite frankly the worst attraction I’ve ever done in my life however I can now say that it’s.. ok. They’ve now made around 50% of the maze and actual maze and not a walthrough with a bag over your head. 


Also.. THERES ACTORS!!!!!!!!!!! but not many.. however there are now some good scare opportunities in there and I actually enjoyed the second half. I wouldn’t queue for more than 15 mins for it though. 

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^ In fairness, that isn't a photo of the finished product.


1) It had a lot more decoration than that once it was finished, and was filled with fog.


2) It was amongst some of the best scare mazes in the UK and was an "extra" rather than carrying the event like the current attractions are.

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Not saying Fright Nights pre-2013 was perfect in any way, as between 2006-2012 there were a few duffers and questionable decisions thrown in the mix and I remember 2010 being quite a naff year. Sure, Dead End Terror Zone and The Passing were both pretty awful, but it cannot be denied this event during the late 2000's/early 2010's was in a completely different and indeed far better mindset compared to today, and I'm not referring just to the mazes.


2009 to me was the golden year for Fright Nights, as this was when the park really took a great amount of effort at giving the park an electrifying atmosphere at night past 4pm as soon as the mazes opened. I remember every single ride had its own character and theme such as Hell freezing over for Inferno (blue lighting used in the tunnel and mist), the children's playground swing theme for Rush (miss that audio so damn much it used to play), Humpty Dumpty for Detonator (very scary theme played) etc. Every ride, and I mean every ride had brilliant theming decorations in and around the areas, and Saw had some awesome fire effects in the plaza on the shop's roof which were very loud and effective at making people jump. Certainly worked on me! Smoke machines were present everywhere at night from Inferno's loop, Samurai's platform, Saw's police car, Colossus' final inversion etc. The park lighting looked awesome at night with lots of green, blue and red filters everywhere with very little use of generic white floodlighting too. All the rides were open until 10pm, including Loggers Leap, Tidal Wave and Rumba Rapids. The park audio was also superb with Midnight Syndicate everywhere along with Charlie Clouser, and the list goes on and on...


As for the mazes between 2006-2012, yes, The Passing in 2012 and Dead End Terror Zone in 2010 were both rubbish. However, to accompany them, we had Experiment 10, The Asylum, Se7en, Hellgate and The Curse - all 5 of which I truly miss and were brilliant attractions in different respects. And notice something they all have in common? Not one of them was an IP. Not one, and this leads onto my biggest gripe with the event these days.


For me, the biggest problem now ever since 2013 is the focus of this event has become more centralised on the use of commercial IP's, beginning with Lionsgate and now presently AMC's The Walking Dead and as a result, the quality of the product has been diminishing gradually year-on-year quite noticeably with basic areas overlooked. The park lighting has gotten worse, the park audio has become very inconsistent, there's scarcely any park theming and loads of smaller details are now left out. Through my eyes, the focus has shifted more on trying to sell guests on the fact they have mazes and an event themed on either horror movies or a famous TV show and frankly, 2018 has shown that idea has now run it's course. A few gems like Big Top were generated during this period which I loved, but they are all gone now sadly and instead, another IP-focused maze has replaced it which honestly sucks in comparison.

Some may say using an IP for a Halloween event helps boost the numbers through the gates and sure, in the short-term it might do that, but I disagree with the principle wholeheartedly. Alton Towers' ScareFest does not use an IP for their event or any of their mazes, nor does Chessington, nor does Tulleys Farm etc and look at how successful and praised they become with guests. Partly the reason I adore visiting Tulleys Farm ever since the first visit I made in 2017 (cheers for that trip @Martin Doyle!) was because the attractions remind me of what Thorpe used to be during the best years of Fright Nights - original, imaginative, unique, IP-less and very well-done. This is what Thorpe used to be before the whole commercialised IP approach began starting in 2013.

I'll conclude by saying if Thorpe are indeed thinking of reimagining what Fright Nights is in 2019 (frankly, I'll believe that when I see it), they need to start fresh and take inspiration from successful attractions in their past and other attractions out there such as Asylum, Big Top, Experiment 10, Se7en, Chop Shop, Coven of 13 and The Cellar to name a few, as well as look in the archives into what this event was like previously and learn from it. They need to begin building a great reputation with this event once again, as that's how many smaller attractions out there are so successful during Halloween, the best example being Tulleys Farm. Who would have thought a remote, small farm in the middle of West Sussex could deliver what many regard as the UK's best scare attraction and attract visitors all across Europe as a result? The answer - reputation.

Build a great reputation again, scrap any use of an IP, create a great experience for guests, deliver excellent mazes and focus once again on quality and originality - that's the key to "save" Fright Nights in my view.

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The feedback tonight just screams profit first, guest satisfaction second. The shocking thing is, they weren't even at capacity tonight, as quoted by Thorpe Park themselves.


I appreciate that rides can't operate under certain temperatures, but one would probably consider not selling fast tracks if the forecast is for low temperatures, no?


And that to one side - how difficult is it to have enough milk on site to make coffee?! I really do despair. I saw a tweet saying they queued 40 minutes for doughnuts, and had to queue 30 minutes to pay for car parking ?

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The park should bite the bullet for tonight and start issuing refunds, especially on fastrack tickets. It looks like a complete shambles and the vast number of angry guests vowing never to return is unbelievable. Failing to compensate the individuals is only going to make the word of mouth worse. 

Closing the coasters due to temperature is utter nonsense and a complete over the top response. 


Having heard how Merlin are as a client it's nice to see that they are consistent. Just ashame that they are consistently clueless.

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@Marc they may not of been the main issue but they were still an issue. The weather has been known for a few days, why no advanced “islander information” advice about weather delays? 


Doesn’t forgive the park for a poor showing this year, as we know the divisional director has gone and other positions are being shaken up - there’s a problem at the park much deeper than weather. 

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Merlin have taken the park and killed it.


No direction

No care

No fun


I used to love Thorpe park and I spent many days there growing up. It was a place of fun and while not perfect it was enjoyable. Reading Twitter this evening has been one of disappointment. It is disheartening to see a park I cared about so much run in such a poor way. The last 2 years the park has gone from steady decline into rapid nose dive. A new director might be able to stop the park from its nose dive but I don't see the death grip of Merlin letting up any time soon.


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