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JoshC.

SPOILERS: Fright Nights 2020

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Corrr, no one posted updates throughout the evening? Blimey, that's a first

 

I have some mixed feelings about Fright Nights this year, but I have to say, the park have done a decent job with the (ever-changing) restrictions in place. Let me give a brief run over all the different attractions and I'll leave with some final - perhaps surprising - thoughts...

 

Quick word on actors. They did a great job with distancing. Because both they and guests are wearing masks, they can get up to 1m to you, but usually tried to stick to 2m.

 

Roots of Evil

So the new maze for the year. In all honesty, this isn't much different to Blair Witch. There's a quick pre show in the Jungle Escape building, which I imagine is there to help get more groups through whilst keeping people distanced. When you enter the woods, it seems to be the exact same layout as Blair last year, with the ever dense shrubbery and buildings too. The buildings have been rethemed to look like tree roots are taking over them.

 

I think Roots suffers from Covid restrictions though in a major way: actor numbers. Because of the dense forest area, there's not many place where the actors could interact with you without breaking social distancing. This means that in moments when you need there to be actors, it can fall a bit short. Many of the actors that are there are military personal to guide you through (because of the story), or covered in trees to blend into the environment.

 

The upside is that at points you do feel very secluded and alone. Mix that in with the household only thing, and that will get a lot of people on edge. 

 

Platform 15

Brave it backwards! The tunnel has been turned into a queue. The long pre show has been cut to a quick 'Where is the conductor?' talk. The village hasn't had much work done, so loses some of the wow factor you get from it from a visual standpoint. And, in general, the village is quite weak. The train has derailed on is on its side, with no more fire effects.

 

From the train, however, the actors did a good job. Quite a few hiding spots (including the old Love Island cabins which have been repurposed), and lively actors bashing against the metal walls. It's basic stuff, but it's the best they can with what they have, and again, it will get people. The ending features a 'fake' ending (but the type where it's obvious it's not the end), followed by a group of actors along with a train effect. I think we missed the train effect though (not the actors' or our fault).

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The Upshot on the Upcharge

Is either of these mazes worth £10? To me, no.

Do I envision a lot of enthusiasts paying the price and moaning saying it's not worth it? Yes.

Do I think the public will feel short changed by paying £10 for the mazes? Well, I don't know...

 

I've been doing scare attractions for a long time (I did my first one 17 years ago...), and I've done a lot of different ones. And I've paid money to get much more unique experiences than what's on offer in Thorpe this year. Thorpe's mazes rarely 'get' me any more. And I'm sure that's the same for plenty of people reading this: people will have done so many of Thorpe's mazes, had the opportunity to do them in small groups, etc etc. So if anyone's there expecting that because Thorpe's hand has been forced to charge for mazes they will magically become significantly different and better, you're in for a shock.


For the public though, the mazes offer a different experience. Going through in small groups will leave many on edge from the get go. The lack of actors invading your personal space creates the fear of what could happen, rather than what is happening. I can see a lot of people going through the mazes and feeling very satisfied with the experience they get, because it's different and much more personal. Will people think it's worth £10? Only time will tell...

 

In my opinion, they're the level of maze I would only pay £3-5 for. I think Thorpe perhaps should have gone for a price point in the £5-7 region to get the balance right of not making it too expensive, whilst also making sure it's not too cheap.

 

Creek Freaks: Unchained

So straight off the bat: I loved this. Nicely themed scare zone with good actors. Simple story. Good opportunity for load of different interaction points. Everything here just works. 

 

There's one issue. This is a one-way scare zone, and it's been made very much into a path. If anything, it's more like a very short outdoor maze (though, it definitely shouldn't be marketed like that). I don't know how it will cope on busier days, and I do worry there may end up having to be a standby queue if the area gets too busy. Again, that's something that time will tell with.

 

In many ways, I prefer this to the actual maze, just because you can have a bit more fun with the characters. It all comes together nicely. And obviously with chainsaws afoot, it will make things even more memorable.

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The Fearstival Arena

This was kind of an unknown thing in many ways. However, this could well be a sleeper hit of an attraction. It's basically a freak show / carnival come to town. It's not clowns, it's all the other sort of characters. And it's that nice mix of fun and scare. It takes itself seriously enough that people will get a scare out of it, but it's light hearted enough that people can laugh with it too. It's something different!

 

There's a short show, as well as a mini light and fire show too. These will play on a sort of 'as and when' basis, to make sure that not too many people crowd around. Being a major pathway, there may well end up being some congestion on busier nights, but hopefully this won't be an issue in the same way Creek Freaks.

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Terror at Amity High / The Howling of LycanThorpe High

I'll bung these together. Again, there's a dance show at Amity, which is very similar to last year's (I think there's one new song). There's a slight difference in that the LycanThorpe High students crash the school and also join in the dancing. It misses the mark a little bit, in the sense that they don't really seem to compete all that much - there's a little mention of it in the audio, but not much else. 

 

Didn't get to see the show at LycanThorpe, but I imagine there's a similar set up. 

 

There's always actors roaming around each area too, and they're both alright. It's similar to last year in that they're playing stereotypical high school teens. The LycanThorpe characters don't feel very werewolf-like compared to the Amity characters, where it feels more obvious that they're vampires in my opinion.

 

I don't know if it's because it just feels very similar to last year, but it's not *as* good as last year. The lack of real competition between the two characters feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. But it's still fun, and gives a good atmosphere.

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Screamplexx

This is still the same films as the past couple of years (though I think it changes in every showing). The difference is there's a couple of actors (such as The Director) who roam around outside and do a little pre show before the films too.

 

The actors do a good enough job with what they've got. The films are terrible. Thorpe really should, ahem, cut their ties with BloodyCuts after this year.

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The Swarm: Invasion

I think some expectations should be set here. This isn't really a scare zone in my opinion. This is 'a few actors have been placed round the Swarm island to create more of an atmosphere for Swarm'. And that's fine. It's what Swarm needs over Fright Nights. 

 

You have a couple of military like personal and a few of Lez Cougan's followers, warning you of what The Swarm can do, and what "they" are hiding. One of the conspiracy theorists even has a microphone that can play over the island's audio to drawn attention to a mini show happening. It's all a bit of extra fun really.

 

It's one of those areas where you could walk through to Swarm's entrance and likely not even interact with an actor if you wanted to. And equally, you could spend a lot of time watching them and interacting with them. It's what you make of it.

 

They have changed the audio with this though, and it's a lot better. You get the actual You Me at Six song play occasionally, which is nice. The rest of the audio just sounds a bit darker and creepy, and it suits the area and theme really well. I was impressed there.

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The Crows

As I've said before, calling roaming actors an attraction is a bit of a stretch, especially when through no fault of your own, you may not see them. But these guys are good - costumes are creepy. And I'm sure they'll get a lot of people running.

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Scare Zones - Final Say

The zones aren't that bad really. Time will tell how they'll cope on a busy day with thousands of people wandering through them all the time. But there's some good concepts there, a good - and large - variety of actors, and they really do add extra atmosphere to the park.

 

 

Final Thoughts

The mazes this year aren't the best. There's no getting round that in my opinion. Under the circumstances, it was never going to be easy for Thorpe to execute their mazes though. But the park have, under strange circumstances with limited time, created an event which has a lot of atmosphere and a lot of potential. Over the past decade, I think it ranks as my 3rd or 4th favourite Fright Nights year, which I think is pretty damn good.

 

But hear me out. If this event had a couple of indoor mazes over a couple of scare zones: say Creek Freak moves back inside, and LycanThorpe replaced by a maze in a tent/marque, plus had Containment, and social distancing wasn't a thing, this could have been an even better event. Would it have happened like that if Covid wasn't a thing? We'll never know. But if things go well, then hopefully this shows Thorpe that a mixture of scare zones and mazes is a great way forward.  

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1 hour ago, JoshC. said:

 

The Upshot on the Upcharge

Is either of these mazes worth £10? To me, no.

Do I envision a lot of enthusiasts paying the price and moaning saying it's not worth it? Yes.

Do I think the public will feel short changed by paying £10 for the mazes? Well, I don't know

 

 And that right there is my issue.

 

£10 for any upcharge is quite a fair bit of money and for a horror maze that has been pretty naff since its opening year especially. This even more so when you consider that the scarefest mazes cost £8. £8 is also a bit of an ask after paying admission (assuming you aint a MAP holder that is) but given the quality of the towers mazes in relation to a glorified walk in the woods, you could just about justify it.

 

For £15 as recently as 2016 you could have had an extreme brave it alone through Big Top or Cabin in the woods for the love of pete!!

 

The thing though is naturally the enthusiasts will moan about it, but my question seriously would be "what the heck did you expect??" its been at the event since 2016 now so if they seriously think that just because its now £10 that all of a sudden it turns into the second coming of Asylum or Big Top then I personally think they are being naive.

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Skimming this and a POV the most exciting thing IMO is The Swarm's FN's makeover. The rest are ok to good given current restrictions.

I feel if the actors were running the ride and not the operational rides team (assuming actors aren't running the ride) as well as the new music they're using The Swarm would be the best experience + ride in the UK and certainly top 50 themed experiences in Europe (IMO).

(experience for those who aren't attending like me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kn4S1dc3sR8&ab_channel=TheJackSilkstone)

 

It's weird the Press Night hasn't included anyone famous - almost as if Thorpe don't want this event to have too much publicity which is weird.

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Actors aren't running the ride. They could dress up the hosts in similar costumes if they wanted (in a similar to to how Ghost Train had themed uniforms, or for a better example, the likes of Wicker Man and Smiler and Towers), but it adds a layer of complication, especially since it's different departments and stuff. 

 

As I say, Swarm Island is very much an area whereby you get what you put into it. If you interact with the actors, and watch the little things they do between each other, it's a fun experience. If you just focus on getting to the queue, you would barely notice they're around (particularly on a busier day).

 

Fun fact: the alien hands that the military guys wear are in fact spare hands from the demon costume used in Ghost Train! 

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Just came back from my first Fright Nights, and in turn (and unexpectedly) my first scare maze. Come a long way from the boy that had to ask to be escorted out of I'm a Celeb one or two years ago 😂

 

I can't post any pictures but I'll do some reviews, please bear in mind, again, first Fright Nights. I'll probably enjoy these things a lot more than FN regulars will.

 

The Fearstival Arena
This was fun and creepy. Some of the costumes are terrifying, and the actors are very fun. Saw one chase a small child round a circular bench which was cute. Didn't get to see the actual show although I got to see some fire which was nice, and got some decent scares as we went through on our way to leave the park. I have nice eyeballs apparently.

 

Terror at Amity High

Wasn't very scary but very fun. Had a proper good interaction with one vampire - 'ABCDEFGH I really wanna rip your head off and suck your blood'. Oh okay.

Once again saw some very small children in the scare zone who definitely should not have been, but the actors were great, heard them talking about unicorns, then saw the kids chase the actors around. Wasn't expecting the most wholesome thing I've ever seen in a theme park to come from a Fright Nights scare zone but here we are. Once again, didn't see the show.

 

The Howling of LycanThorpe High

Out of all the attractions I'd say this was probably the weakest one for me. Saw others get some good scares but the only interaction I got was one asking me if I could dance and then asking me if I'm Amity. In a common theme at this point, did not see the show.

 

The Swarm: Invasion

As Josh said, not much of a scare zone, but quite fun. Got some scares. Had a very nice interaction with one of the conspiracy theorists where we almost had a full conversation about 'the truth', before she asked us to leave with her so we can be safe. Asked us are names, then said we'd have to leave her after she saw some military alien things. Storyline was a bit confusing, not sure why the military are now The Swarm or something, but okay.

 

Creek Freaks Unchained

Oh my God. If the scare zone was this intense, I can't imagine what the maze was like 😂. First go wasn't too intense, but in the second, oh my. Had an axe swung at us, before Lucas Buckwheat sat us down in his 'office' (a picnic bench). Gave us some backstory, asked if we had any special skills (no), then said 'Well you may not have any skills but I sure hope you can count to 5'. He then started revving his chainsaw and counting. My friend's a scare actor (actually knew this actor) and he kept telling me not to show fear if I don't want to be scared but I am not afraid to admit I clung to that canopy like it was my mother. He then chased us around the scare zone with his chainsaw. We then had another axe swung at us. Then another two chainsaws. Jesus Christ.

 

The Crows

Loved The Crows. Didn't have too many interactions other than one following me around Colossus, but the costumes are absolutely incredible. Saw them spot Jack Sickstone, and every single one of them started walking towards him, so that was a pretty terrifying visual.

 

Parkwide Theming/Atmosphere

What theming? I loved the atmosphere but felt the park could do with a few more bits of theming and, please, Thorpe, for the love of God, buy some filters for those lights...

Colossus' station was very nice and I loved all the audio based around phobias. Detonator was particularly good, built up so much tension and it was only my second go on it so I was still terrified 😂 Stealth was also fun, felt the atmosphere was lacking a bit in the Inferno station though. Not sure how irrational the fear of fire is btw, that seems like a pretty rational fear to me. Does take you out a bit that this is the exact same voice as New New Tomb Blaster. I also did enjoy The Swarm's audio, especially hearing the You Me at Six song, and the new dispatch is nice. Speaking of dispatches, why on Earth is the Saw dispatch audio not playing all year round? It was literally perfect?

 

Roots of Evil

My first scare maze, and I feel like it was the perfect start. Didn't get any actors in the indoor bit at the start which was a shame, but the suspense in the maze was brilliant and a few of the scares got me good. Bit short to be worth £9 mind you.

 

What wasn't so good was the queueing system. I get that it's the first night of Fright Nights and there's gonna be teething issues, we queued 40 minutes which wasn't ideal when I have difficulties queueing and there's no Ride Access Pass, but the main thing was the management of it. For whatever reason, they aren't using any of the IAC queueline, or the large temporary queueline they've built in the back of house area, so the queue was basically all up the path going past Burger King and right up to the start of Creek Freaks, then stopping at the actual entrance, before you go through an empty cattlepen and then a small queue before the maze starts. What's the point in building that queue if you aren't gonna use any of it? Management and Security were out, feel for the staff who probably got some stick. Bit of a nightmare, but the maze was fun. Didn't get to go through Platform and not sure I'm up for spending £18 to do both in one day, but hopefully next time I'll make it there.

 

Overall, very good day, I loved the event and the atmosphere and if I can find the time will definitely be going back. The scare zones can fall flat sometimes if you don't get enough interaction, but they can't scare everyone. Just a little more theming, some filters on those god forsaken floodlights, and a tad better queue management for Roots of Evil and I think it'd be a very very good event. One again though, not been to previous events, so for all I know, could be the worst ever 🤷‍♂️

 

I very much enjoyed it though and I'm glad to finally get through a scare maze after watching them from afar for some time.

 

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Right given that Halloween could be ruined further because of Conor Rhona and circus clowns, MR Fish and I decided to take a little trip to Fright Nights to see what it was about. 
 

Fearstival Arena

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Entertaining, humour and a very central location which made for an entertaining watch. 
 

Creek Freeks Unchained

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Probably one of the better scare zones I have experienced recently and nicely put together. The actors got a perfect balance between everything and integrated nicely with Platform’s exit. I miss the maze but this will do.

 

Platform 15

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Some may call us donuts but we decided to chip in and spend £10 for a maze we’ve already done (yeah that’s right) and maybe we’re silly for doing so.

 

Actually I reasonably impressed with the maze this time, there were lots of actors (I counted 19) and the maze is of a reasonable length anyway. Probably not my favourite maze I’ve ever done but still enjoyed my run through to the point I almost forgot the cost. Guess I can say I’ve actually done a scare maze this year given everything that’s been going on.

 

Park was very busy when we went with social distancing being a mixed bag indeed. Staff were doing a reasonable job at trying to carry this out given a fair chunk of their clientele probably don’t understand or care about it. 
 

Park atmosphere was a mixed bag. Park feels very normal until around 3pm when the audio changes and the actors and scare attractions start to appear. There were some areas such as Old Town which had a great atmosphere but others which could’ve been better. Park lighting wasn’t great sadly because of too many white coloured flood as opposed to more fitting items.

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26 minutes ago, Coaster said:

I find it unbelievable that an event which didn't run indoor mazes due to COVID safety, lets a lot of people pack into a small claustrophobic tunnel to queue?

That £10 per person is clearly worth more than anyone’s life.
 

If the park can’t maintain the social distancing then the attraction shouldn’t be open. Yes everyone has a part to play in distancing but in this case it’s the park’s responsibility to enforce it.

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1 hour ago, Coaster said:

I find it unbelievable that an event which didn't run indoor mazes due to COVID safety, lets a lot of people pack into a small claustrophobic tunnel to queue?

 

In the one sense, you can argue it's not any different to any other indoor queue line, which still exist. The reasons indoor mazes didn't run was a mixture of things: not enough space to incorporate actors and guests with social distancing, lack of appropriate ventilation, etc. An indoor queue line is very different to an indoor maze. And in all honesty, I would feel perfect fine in a Covid-sense queueing in there if everyone was wearing masks and social distancing (though I know this is unlikely).

 

But yes, it's hard to disagree that it's an unusual choice all things considered. It's equally unusual that both outdoor mazes have crouch sections, which see many guests touch the sides / top for stability. Not something that's been mentioned a lot, but something that does make you wonder.

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If it helps, in that tunnel people are supposed to stand one group to where the hazard tape is on the wall and leave two of the crosses empty. We did only find that out at the end of the tunnel (where the staff were trying to get people to distance and explaining the hazard tape rule) but the staff at the start should have made it clear where the markers were. We did also have to put our masks on before entering the tunnel (I'm sure some removed them once in though). We were distanced anyway but most groups weren't. 

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22 hours ago, JoshC. said:

 

In the one sense, you can argue it's not any different to any other indoor queue line, which still exist. The reasons indoor mazes didn't run was a mixture of things: not enough space to incorporate actors and guests with social distancing, lack of appropriate ventilation, etc. An indoor queue line is very different to an indoor maze. And in all honesty, I would feel perfect fine in a Covid-sense queueing in there if everyone was wearing masks and social distancing (though I know this is unlikely).

 

But yes, it's hard to disagree that it's an unusual choice all things considered. It's equally unusual that both outdoor mazes have crouch sections, which see many guests touch the sides / top for stability. Not something that's been mentioned a lot, but something that does make you wonder.

 

I guess it is similar to indoor queue lines, but many of those are unavoidable in getting to the ride and most have more space than that tunnel, which is very narrow.  Also ironic is the fact that (to my knowledge) Walking Dead: The Ride is closed this year because of the indoor queue-line and exit not being deemed safe for COVID?  In which case, how is this different?

 

It seems strange that a scare attraction which has been redesigned supposedly with COVID safety in mind is using a very narrow tunnel for guests to queue in.  I mean, surely that's more unsafe than using the tunnel in the way that it was used last year with one group at a time going through?  Just makes no sense to me.

 

Unless the re-route has purely been designed in an attempt to justify the £10 charge?  In which case, they've essentially made the queueing system less COVID safe because they've only thought about how to justify an upcharge with minimal actual investment into the attraction.

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53 minutes ago, Coaster said:

 

I guess it is similar to indoor queue lines, but many of those are unavoidable in getting to the ride and most have more space than that tunnel, which is very narrow.  Also ironic is the fact that (to my knowledge) Walking Dead: The Ride is closed this year because of the indoor queue-line and exit not being deemed safe for COVID?  In which case, how is this different?

Walking Dead isn't closed because of its indoor pathways.

 

Whilst at first it being indoors was a bigger problem (many Merlin indoor rides didn't open straight away as they figured out a best way to deal with it), I understand that there are other reasons for it. I don't know what exactly, but it wasn't the deciding factor.

 

 

53 minutes ago, Coaster said:

 

It seems strange that a scare attraction which has been redesigned supposedly with COVID safety in mind is using a very narrow tunnel for guests to queue in.  I mean, surely that's more unsafe than using the tunnel in the way that it was used last year with one group at a time going through?  Just makes no sense to me.

There would be two troublesome things with using the tunnel as part of the maze:

1. There's no way to control group flow.

2. There's no way of having actors in there, because of social distancing.

 

With the first point, in theory at least the actors can slow groups down who are too close to catching up with the group in front (in practice that's a different matter, but yeah). With the tunnel, the only way the park can control social distancing is by letting one group in as the other leaves. Given the tunnel made a quarter of the previous length of the maze, that's not practical.

 

With the second point, there's the obvious issue of it making the ending either worse. There's also the H&S side of it in that you have a 100m long pitch black tunnel with no staff in there. What happens if someone gets hurt and needs assistance? I'd imagine setting up CCTV in there would be easier said than done too. 

 

53 minutes ago, Coaster said:

Unless the re-route has purely been designed in an attempt to justify the £10 charge?  In which case, they've essentially made the queueing system less COVID safe because they've only thought about how to justify an upcharge with minimal actual investment into the attraction.

 

Because of the safety things, I don't think they re-routed to justify the upcharge. But it certainly helps, since it's a different experience in some ways. 

 

I don't disagree with the key point: using that tunnel as a queue isn't great, from a Covid/social distancing perspective, nor a guest experience perspective. I do get why they've chosen it though, and I do think it's the lesser evil in the sense of how the alternative would play out if the maze went through normally.

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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!

 

Mazes

Platform 15

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.

 

Scare Zones/Shows

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!

 

The Crows

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).

 

General comments

-       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).

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Went yesterday, had a good time. Helped very much by the low crowds which meant lots of interaction in the scare zones too.

 

Mazes

I'll be honest: both of the mazes were pretty poor. Platform wasn't helped by the group behind us catching up way too quickly, and because they were the very scared type, actors always targeted them. It's a shame actors towards the start weren't able to slow the group down, as towards the end, other actors certainly would have thought we were part of the same group.

 

Roots of Evil is just poor frankly.

 

I hear the park are improving the issues with time slots and maze queues. Sounds like they were too ambitious to start with and are now having damage limitations. Hopefully it doesn't hit them hard during half term.

 

It's a shame that the two upcharge parts of the event are two of the weakest parts.

 

Zones

Swarm: Invasion definitely shouldn't be marketed as a scare zone. But the new music and the actors definitely add another layer to the whole area, which is very much needed during Fright Nights. I hope they keep it in future, but market it less as a zone and more as an added experience (Swarm Comes Alive if you will).

 

The Amity / LycanThorpe High dance show is fine, but I still think it misses the mark a bit compared to last year. Outside of the show, the zones are okay, but a little bland. Amity High is okay thanks to being by Stealth, but LycanThorpe is pretty dead to be honest.

 

Creek Freaks Unchained is great still. I imagine it struggles when busy, and I'd rather it not be like a very mini outdoor maze, but it works very well, and there's lots of good theming about. Still prefer it to the maze.

 

Fearstival Arena is definitely my favourite area. They were enforcing the one way system where it was busier, but when quieter they didn't mind. All in all, it's a really good area, but one where you get more out of it by stopping and interacting with the actors. You can walk through and it be 'okay'. But if you interact with the actors, or let them interact with you, you see just how rich and deep every character is, and everything comes together really well. 

 

I think the zone suffers from its location, being a major pathway, so many people won't really want to stop and interact, they'll just walk through. So that means you lose some of the impact. In an ideal world, I think the stage should have gone where LycanThorpe High was, and then turn the Saw Alive pathway into the main zone. Would have helped it have much more impact, and give it more space, especially for the shows.

 

I like how all the shows at the Fearstival arena are different. They tell a complete story, but you can still get it even when you see just one of them. And the mini fire and light show is good too. 

 

Saw the Crows a few times too, and they were decent.

 

There's still issues with Fright Nights. Some of the audio overlays are nice, but I really hate the voice-overs. It just doesn't work for me (which is an added shame when the announcements are clever in tying many rides into a phobia). Lighting around the park is pretty dreadful in most places - white floodlights kill the atmosphere! And obviously there's issues of how the park copes when it's busy. And the fact that the key component of Fright Nights, the mazes, are rubbish is a bit of a sour note.

 

But still, it was an enjoyable evening. I really hope that in the future the park keep with proper scare zones, and a show or two, to compliment a selection of mazes. I still maintain that if the quality is right, paying for mazes isn't a bad thing, but Thorpe will always have to balance that with at least one free maze to make it. 

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