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Fright Nights 2021 - 20th Anniversary


JoshC.
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Fright Nights 2021 is the 20th anniversary of Fright Nights. The park haven't been shy about acknowledging that fact either, and have a level of form in doing something on park to celebrate some events..

 

-In 2011, they mad a big deal about it being the 10th anniversary, with the first set of proper roaming actors at the event (clowns with a birthday cake), and the naming of Experiment 10.

-In 2014, they again acknowledged the 13th anniversary, with the naming of Studio 13, which also happened to be their 13th Fright Nights attraction.

-In 2016, we got Platform 15, and the roamers were dedicated to different old mazes (The Freezer, The Curse, etc)

 

And couple that with Thorpe / Merlin seemingly being keener to make a bigger deal out of anniversaries for the attractions too, it's fair to assume we could expect something bigger for FN21...

 

So feel free to discuss what you'd like to see and all that usual jazz, to keep you through the long, wintery, Covid-isolating, closed season and beyond.

 

 

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For me, I'm never a fan of bringing back old mazes. The levels of nostalgia always distort your opinions. Creative teams forever change. So I wouldn't like to see the return of Big Top, or other favourites like The Freezer or Se7en. A year without a maze is okay, but several years is a big no.

 

Assuming Covid is less of an issue so a more normal event can return, I'd like to see:

-Return Creek Freak Massacre (with Old Town kept as a scare zone to compliment it) and Containment

-Amity High vs LycanThorpe High scare zone in Stealth plaza (keep all the characters in that one location, as the lycan scare zone simply didn't work)

-Return of Fearstival Arena and Swarm Invasion (though latter not really branded as a scare zone ideally, but whatever)

-New scare zone down Saw Alive walkway

-New maze in Lost City (aka by Rush)

-New maze at the Beach (it can work if they build it properly so it doesn't flood...)

-I'm in two minds about Platform 15 and Roots of Evil. The mazes themselves have potential (and that potential has been realised in previous years), but they didn't work this year. They're needed to keep the number of mazes up, but maybe a refresh of Platform could help.

 

Personally I'm not sure the location for Fearstival is the best for when the park has bigger numbers and if Ghost Train is open. I think having that scare zone moved to Saw Alive's walkway would be great (rip out the queue line and it's a big space, enough for a small stage probably..). But maybe I'm living in fantasy land there..

 

After this year's upcharge for mazes, I think that Thorpe should stick with that model to a degree. Go for one free maze, and have the rest as upcharge (price mark around £6 I think is reasonable). People clearly are willing to pay for mazes at Thorpe, and as long as they deliver on the quality, no one would mind. There's the obvious question of can they deliver on the quality of course.. I genuinely think they can with the right budget, supplemented in part by the money made from maze tickets..

 

If we were to live in dream world, I'd love to see Jungle Escape ripped out so that space can be used for an indoor maze (with the removal of Living Nightmare, they need another permanent built attraction to take pressure off). I'd also love to see the island behind Swarm see a maze (heck, even mazes) and massive scare zone. Likely stupidly expensive to sort out, and shoots themselves in the foot for whenever they build something there, but there's no denying it would be bloody awesome if they pulled it off...

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So I'm hoping the park take some drastic direction next year. This year can excused, but I definitely think the park in 2019 had a real top heavy lineup with 1 good maze and everything else being just okay. So for mazes, even though it would take a lot of effort, I think they have to use The Jungle building at some point. Thorpe have a few locations, but a lot of them are problematic. The Jungle once emptied would be ideal for any attraction, so I feel the park should really prep that building.

With that I see Creek Freak returning in full form, I also see a scare zone or two from this year also staying.

Sadly, I see Platform also staying as what else can they do with huge space? Other than that, it is really free reign for new attractions.

 

I do hope the people behind Creek Freak are still around next year, as that maze certainly showed the difference between a team who wants to make quality and a team who makes Do Or Die.. I also do back paid mazes, though I think they should be priced reasonably and in a bundle like Alton's. Also they have to be long and good enough to justify the money

Anyway lets run the locations.

  • Bouncezilla/Big Top/Do Or Don't's location

Not the biggest space to work with, but it seems a staple in recent mazes and I see an attraction coming to this spot. Hopefully a maze with a tent with a great layout and design like Big Top.

  • The Beach

This is plausible, but as others have said. The flooding is bad, and I don't know if Thorpe could make a maze work here. It is fairly likely though IMO, so maybe they can make it work.

 

  • Sanctum's old location

Sadly this won't and shouldn't be used IMO. I remember the mud being a real issue here, it also is kind of is in a awkward position so I'm not sure having a full blown maze here would be viable ever.

 

So with that said, I feel the park is really running out of options at the moment. I do think a maze in Big Top 2016/2017's plot is incredibly likely. But after that.. You have the beach? The park really needs to splash some cash on The Showcase building or maybe even Saw Alive's boat and redo that (that is incredibly unlikely though). Maybe they could even bring back Saw Alive, I don't like bringing mazes back either. But I feel Saw Alive was always a solid maze and the maze was built for permanent use. It feels a little like a waste. With that highly themed queue just sitting there dormant. I'm sure it wouldn't even cost that much to bring it back, so it would be a cost effective way of bringing a indoor maze back to the lineup. Saw movies are still being made, so maybe it would be worth to give that one another a few years.

 

So yeah my predictions

Platform 15

Creek Freak Massacre

Containment

New Maze next to Zodiac and Rush

Saw Alive/re-use of the building (this is a pipe dream lol)

New Maze on the beach/Roots of evil (plz the first one)

Maybe a scare zone if we're lucky

 

 

 

 

 

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Never ever going to happen I know and I am aware I have said this before, but for the 20th anniversary I would love to see the return of ONE classic maze....which translates roughly into the Freezer!! I am pretty sure the minority who actually did Freezer will welcome its return and I am also sure the kiddies that have NOT done it will also not give a hoot its an old maze if they had not heard of it to begin with.

 

Assuming mazes return, it would also be good to see the return of the shows and scarezones around the park so it feels like a proper halloween event parkwide as opposed to just a theme park with scare mazes. It works for Walibi Holland so I am certain it could work for Thorpe. Yes I am perfectly aware Walibi pumps a good budget into their event whereas Thorpe are given Varneys pocket change. I can still dream though!!

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Big year, big potential.... so a big post aswell 😁

 

I've thought this since the 2020 lineup was announced. The best that could come out of FN2020 is that they continue and carry the same concepts of all the new scarezones etc through into 2021. I never got to actually go this year :( but the event seemed better than I originally thought it would be when they announced it. If Thorpe can start getting their mazes right again and have a combination of 5 great mazes and some good scarezones that would be what fright nights has always missed imo. It would create one of the best scare events out there potentially. The only issues I can see with that is how much all that would actually cost with actors, and if they have the resources to spread across both top mazes an scarezones. If I had to choose, I'd take 5 great horror mazes over the scarezones, but maybe they could, time will tell on that. Another point to make is I hope they continue their current direction and leave IPs out again. I CAN'T handle anymore Walking Dead, Living ****emare, standard attractions. Now as for the mazes...

 

The Freezer:

On 11/8/2020 at 5:22 PM, Martin Doyle said:

Never ever going to happen I know and I am aware I have said this before, but for the 20th anniversary I would love to see the return of ONE classic maze....which translates roughly into the Freezer!!

Whether anyone likes mazes being brought back or not, it's no secret Thorpe seem to have completely lost the ability to actually create good mazes in recent years. They've only actually had 1 or 2 good ones. Now I never did the Freezer but I did do The Asylum, and it was the most intense horror experience I've ever done (over HHN) by a long way. It makes perfect sense to bring back the maze that started it all for it's 20th anniversary year and would create a HUGE craze around it. The kids nowadays won't have done anything like it before. Noor do I really trust Thorpe to make a maze near it's level to make the 20th anniversary what it should be (please don't take that as a challenge and just bring the Freezer back ;) ), nothings come even close since the closure of The Asylum in 2013. Oh and not to forget that amazing queue line soundtrack.

If the Freezer isn't brought back, then a massive ultra intense maze using the same entrance corridors, and exit chainsaw run out needs to take it's place. Jungle Escape has no future imo. This is so unlikely but if this lot actually want to have a good event, this is an excellent option that is also a VALID option. They could do this if they wanted to!

 

As for other mazes, I've always despised Platform and I really hope 2020 was it's last year. Blair witch I've never liked either since it's first year and I'm pretty sure Roots of Evil was very similar. So I'd like to see them both go and be replaced with some more intense indoor mazes, which I think work much much better than the outdoor ones Thorpe have had.

 

New maze 1: 

I agree with what JoshC said about a maze on the beach within a Marquee. Something like The Curse would work really really well, and if they wanted to the could even do a FN2011 and put 2 mazes either side. I don't recall reading about any flooding issues with mazes prior to 2015 Big Top so I'm sure this could work very well. 

New maze 2:

Again as previously mentioned, the space where Lycan Thorpe was this year has proven to be a good place for a horror maze. They could re-use the shipping containers for an Experiment 10 (which btw, was an incredible maze Thorpe ;) ) style maze, like they did for My Bloody Valentine in 2015, or they could go with a large marquee design like 2016-17 Big Top. However, I'm not gonna be like Jack Silkstone and start trying to influence a return of the Big Top (which wasn't that good imo), since I actually think with proper effort they could create something a lot better there.

 

I really enjoyed Creek Freak Massacre in 2019 and would quite like to see that maze return as IMO it was a breath of fresh air when they brought that in after FN2018. Good maze, enjoy it, has a place in the events future for now.

 

New maze 3:

So assuming 2 mazes aren't put on the beach that leaves 1 space left, and I'd like to see potentially the space in front of the Saw Alive boat (where the massive queue is) for a permanent horror maze. For me a lot could be done with this, and has a lot of potential, again if effort is actually put into it (which doesn't happen a lot these days).

 

Another thing, I'd like to see is more classic conga line mazes. The free flow multi-route stuff simply does NOT work, as by the end it's just a massive group up queue to get out of the maze, making scares absolutely pointless and ineffective. Mazes using that system can't handle the big crowds, just look back to Cabin in the Woods, Big Top, heck even the end of Creek Freak. The system allows for exploration, but doesn't lend to actual scares. I'd like them to move away from it.

 

Line-up predictions:

What I'd like to see:

1) The Freezer!!

2) Creek Freak Massacre

3) A new maze on the beach (Maybe 2)

4) A new maze in Lycan/Big Top/Do or Die's location

5) Maze in Saw Alive's location

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12 hours ago, LukeP_8 said:

As for other mazes, I've always despised Platform and I really hope 2020 was it's last year. Blair witch I've never liked either since it's first year and I'm pretty sure Roots of Evil was very similar. So I'd like to see them both go and be replaced with some more intense indoor mazes, which I think work much much better than the outdoor ones Thorpe have had.

I agree to an extend, I liked Blair Witch though abit. Mostly for just being a pretty straight forward attraction that was enjoyable IMO.

Platform 15 though, yeah, the sooner it departs the better. Though I'm pretty certain Thorpe will just bring it back, as its easy to set up, and overall probably won't cost much. Even though its one of the worst attractions in the park's history..

 

So I agreed on most things, up to this.

12 hours ago, LukeP_8 said:

Another thing, I'd like to see is more classic conga line mazes. The free flow multi-route stuff simply does NOT work, as by the end it's just a massive group up queue to get out of the maze, making scares absolutely pointless and ineffective. Mazes using that system can't handle the big crowds, just look back to Cabin in the Woods, Big Top, heck even the end of Creek Freak. The system allows for exploration, but doesn't lend to actual scares. I'd like them to move away from it.

Now I disagree with this. Back in 2012, conga line mazes were the norm, but now, I would say they are the minority. Conga line mazes have certain benefits, like less congested groups. But that is something that a well designed maze with a smart cast can avoid in the free flow concept.

Sub Species at Alton Towers is a great example of this, a maze that had countless routes and multiple options up until the finale. They batched groups of up to 20 when I went, that may seem like a lot. But with the design of that maze, within the first minute or so people were sent in different directions and most run throughs saw me spent half the maze alone. The cast always know exactly when to intervene and split up small groups, and or obstruct them because they are too close with other people ahead.

Cabin In The Woods in its first year or two did manage to deal with its guests fairly well even with its awkward at times layout. Though in the later years, yes it did slip. A lot of it comes down to how the maze is batched, and the cast within it. I would say some of the best mazes in Thorpe's history have been free flow. My best moment in Creek Freak this year is when an actor pulled us into a corner and told us how she would count to 5 and then chase after us and kill us. Personal moments like this just don't happen in mazes with the old school format, neither does the sheer splitting up and anarchy which was Sub Species.

 

At events such as Tulleys now it is more of the same. Most of the conventional mazes there use a free flow like system. Wastelands is a great example. Many of the other mazes there are technically free flow too. Coven, Chop Shop, Cottage, Wreckoning, and my home Twisted all don't use conga lines (even if those mazes are linear). Overall free flow mazes can be really good with the right cast and when the batching is half decent.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

For the 20th anniversary, I'd personally love to see the return of Creek Freak Massacre and Containment. In terms of new mazes, I do wanna see the return of a classic. What they could do firstly with returning classics, is give them something uniquely new about it. So if they brought back Freakshow 3D and The Freezer, they could make them into Freakshow 4D and put that in the Screamplexx Cinema, as one of the film offerings. As for The Freezer, I reckon an extended new storyline to give something different to the maze. Like The Freezer: Blood Blizzard (example on the spot). I also think Platform 15 will return, The Walking Dead: Do Or Die area can become Experiment 20 (rebirth of Experiment 10) and also, The Curse: Nightmares Awakening could take place on the marquee on the beach.

 

As for scare zones, Swarm Invasion and one outside Old Town near Creek Freak need to stay, along with The Crows. I'd also like to see a scare zone in the Saw plaza, named Saw: Let the Games Begin (again it is an example on the spot) and have roaming pig masked actors jumpscaring around Saw the Ride and even use the Saw Alive queuing area as a closed off actor area where a chainsaw actor comes out of that area every hour or so.

 

So overall - 

• Platform 15

• Creek Freak Massacre 

• NEW - The Freezer: Blood Blizzard 

• NEW - The Curse: Nightmares Awakening

• NEW - Experiment 20

• The Swarm: Invasion

• Creek Freak Unleashed

• The Crows

• NEW - Freakshow 4D in Screamplexx Cinema

• NEW - Saw: Let the Games Begin!

 

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  • 5 months later...

*blows dust off topic*

 

Huzzah, some updates! Well, update. Ish.

 

image.png

A 'Construction Site. Keep Out' sign has appeared at Creek Freak Massacre. A sign that work is happening in there and the park hope to re-open it this year?

 

I know the park were considering a few different ideas given the uncertainty around Covid. But with things looking a bit more promising, presumably indoor mazes will be a thing again this year.

 

 

In more rumour-y things, I saw a group of people with Hi-Vis jackets going into the compound next to Jungle Escape. Some of those people had 'UVE' jackets - Unlocked Vision Entertainments. They've worked with Thorpe a few times recently, including the Fearstival Arena and related fire show, the 2019 endings of Platform 15 and Living Nightmare, as well as Jungle Escape and I think Black Mirror too.

Could mean something, could mean nothing. Best case scenario would see some sort of work happening to the Jungle Escape building for Fright Nights. Fingers crossed.

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  • 1 month later...

And it seems we have a whiff of a teaser:

 

 

I fully expect this to relate to a new Fright Nights attraction. Far too early to have any idea what sort of story / experience we're in for, but allow me to do some shameless speculation:

 

-A maze utilising Haunted Lantern technology (like Mine Tours at Towers). Themed around a building where the power is out because of mysterious reasons blah blah and you only have a torch to help you see.

(Haunted Lantern tech is very clever as it basically means that guests carry around a torch/light source, but it only works at certain points in the experience)

 

-The cheaper route would be to have a maze which is largely pitch black. Same idea as above, but no Haunted Lantern tech.

 

-A maze incorporating electric shocks. I don't think it will happen, but there's form here. Tulleys had a maze like that for one year. Thorpe looked at having electric shocks in Scene 2 of Saw Alive (electric corridor). Sounds like a H&S nightmare, and there's reasons why it's not mainstream, but not impossible. 

 

Obviously two vague tweets is nothing to go by, but if this is indeed for a Fright Nights maze, it's great to have another permanent indoor maze space again.

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How can Platform 15 be returning for a sixth year? Does anyone actually rave about it? I'm struggling to think of a blander scare maze I've done.

Good to see Creak Freak back, hopefully indoor themed mazes will make up majority of the lineup this year.

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I'm beyond disappointed with Platform 15's return however I'm not even slightly suprised by it. It's always been a boring eventless maze however by recent standards at fright nights I assumed Thorpe wouldn't go through the expenses of actually replacing it for a maze they'd put some care into.

 

A way of Thorpe minimising their spendings is all I can make of it.

 

Creek freak is good but they really need some great new mazes if they're seriously bringing back platform 15...

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The thing about platform 15 is the fact that due to its location, the maze can be built, maintained and stored in the open with minimal disruption to the day to day workings of the park, only the station and the tunnel has to effect the normal park

For example when they built the house nobody realized it had been built till it was experianced.

 

It could do with some work but as a night maze it still has its good points, but it could do with work, its a good base line

also effects wise theres relatively little

the fire on the train that will never run again

the train jumpscare and then its just general audio and maze systems

 

its a deceptively simple maze

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Platform is a surprise - for some reason I thought last year was its last?

 

I’d love to see a Studio 13 style throwback maze in the jungle building, packed with references to some of the best mazes from the past.

 

A return of the Big Top would go down very well too I think!

 

intrigued to see if they do anything special for the 20th, but I’m not holding my breath 🙄

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1729 has hit the nail on the head about Platform. It's a maze which stands all year around, bar the tunnel which I imagine can be set up in a day. Yes, they've done little tweaks to it (and big tweaks in 2017), but once built they can pretty much just leave it as is and just doing a yearly maintenance check on it. It's certainly not the best received maze ever, even in its best, 2017 state, but it does the job. It also had an expense initial outlay, so they'll use it for what it's worth.

 

However, I have heard murmurs that the village section in the maze has been torn down. If true, that indicates that some more substantial work is happening. It doesn't surprise me, as I was under the impression that the creative team behind the maze at the time (who have since moved on, etc) it was built had bigger plans for the maze and intended to keep growing it, and the village was more a short term thing which was built to last several years. So maybe it's needed the work. 

Obviously, all Chinese whispers and murmurs, but take it for what you will.

 

Also, whilst I don't think there's much to go on, it has been noted that there have been removed trees around the Loggers / Platform route. It could mean nothing. But if it is happening for a future development (or something else, like the trees round that are at risk of being unsafe), then maybe the park don't want to spend money reinvigorating / changing Platform too much only for it to close down shortly thereafter.

 

 

This is the overarching problem Fright Nights has had though for a while. Ideally, they need mazes permanently set up (a la Creek Freak, and in the past, Saw, Living Nightmare/Cabin, Asylum, etc) which can survive the elements. Things like Platform 15 and Roots of Evil (curiously not listed as returning)/Blair Witch are obviously permanently set up, but struggle under the elements and need more maintenance. Even something like Experiment 10/MBV were good as they were at least straightforward to set up. The issue with mazes in tents is that you either have to have a tech crew who can build them from scratch (whilst also doing everything else, and prepping the other mazes), or get an external company to do it all (which is expensively, especially if done yearly).

 

Realistically, I feel like for this year's Fright Nights we can expect the Jungle Escape building to be transformed to a maze, maybe a Roots of Evil replacement and some scare zones.

-The Jungle Escape building is a prime location for a maze, and it will help majorly with set up to have another indoor permanent maze.

-Roots of Evil was a bit meh and the location can only do so much. 2018 was a logistical nightmare with Vulcan Peak and Blair Witch, so maybe they'll avoid 2 mazes there.

-Scare zones were good and successful last year, so they need to return.

 

I do wonder how much Covid has affected plans for this year. Despite the size of the park, I imagine they would still be hesitant to commit to big money spending for something which may not come to light / be disrupted. But equally, leave the decision too late and you then have to rush stuff / can't get the right people in. It's difficult.

 

I'm surprised the park didn't decide to delay the 20th anniversary in some sense. In the grand scheme of things, it means very little, but enthusiasts and the park's marketing team have pushed it a lot and expect an extra layer of something special. Maybe they could have said "Last year was the Fright Nights Fearstival, not Fright Nights itself. So this year is the 19th Fright Nights and so next year is the 20th edition, blah blah blah...". That way, they could look at committing to a more secure world (or at least, more adjusted world) and more secure event, where they could spend more money. But heyho, it is what it is.

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Other than that the full description doesn't really give much away yet other than there's scare zones and mazes with the mazes still continuing to be up charge, hopefully not a tenner this time round and more in line with the Towers pricing structure.

 

Description currently says... 

 

For two terrifying decades FRIGHT NIGHTS has prayed on your darkest FEARS and NIGHTMARES spewing HORRIFIC creatures from their CRUEL domain to take over THORPE PARK Resort. Be sure to brace yourself as the UK’s premier award-winning Halloween event returns this autumn for a FEARFUL celebration! 

 

Take in the chilling atmosphere before taking on some of the UK’s most thrilling rides in the dead of night, but beware – FEAR is lurking around every corner. 

 

Watch in amazement as you witness AWE-INSPIRING live-action experiences and get your HEART RACING as you venture through SPINE-CHILLING scare zones.

 

True FEAR-seekers can take on the Island’s infamously terrifying scare mazes* leaving you TREMBLING with… you guessed it- FEAR!

 

Then, launch into darkness on Stealth - the UK’s fastest coaster; experience the twisted torment of Colossus - the world’s first ten looping coaster and take on the sick and twisted games of Jigsaw on SAW - The Ride.  

 

Join the Thrillmakers to celebrate 20 YEARS OF FEAR at THORPE PARK Resort FRIGHT NIGHTS on 8th, 9th and 10th October PLUS every day from 15th – 31st October 2021.

 

*Scare mazes require an additional paid ticket.

 

Please note: All FRIGHT NIGHTS experiences and attractions are recommended for ages 13+.

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Not sure about going if Fright Nights is going to be an entire up charge event again without any new mazes. I'll wait for the full lineup. I'm certainly going all out on Tulleys 25th this year though after no event last year. They're unveiling their 10th attraction tomorrow.

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