Attraction Review - THORPE PARK FRIGHT NIGHTS


What would Halloween be without a trip to THORPE PARK Resort for FRIGHT NIGHTS? I didn't actually get a chance to visit the event as a guest last year so I was super excited to get back in the game! And this year the park have gotten their mitts on, oh just the world's biggest horror IP The bloody Walking Dead! I'm a massive The Walking Dead fan so that combined with one of my all time favourite scare events you can understand how excited I was to get my FRIGHT NIGHTS on.



















Y'all know full well that the rides in the dark at the park are one of the highlights of the event, and what was fab about our visit was that pretty much all of the coasters were walk-on. Weirdly, the highlight coaster of the night was Nemesis Inferno - running like shit off a shovel and there's really nothing better than slamming onto the break-run with that cold October air stinging your face. Literally my happy place.

But of course, FRIGHT NIGHTS is all about the mazes and this year's line-up is arguably one of the best the park has seen in years. 5 attractions, all killer no filler. Or so it seemed on paper anyway - it was up to us to try them out and make the judgements for ourselves.

First up, an old favourite - SAW Alive! Every year this attraction knocks it out of the park and you can see why. It's a solid IP, the premise of the SAW franchise is disgusting in itself. Add to that a bunch of gross pig masks, intense as hell smell canisters and disorienting and detailed set design and you're always pretty much guaranteed a good time in here. But this year it feels next level - the fog is extra thick, the smells are extra putrid and the actors...probably the most intense team we've seen in there in years. Excellent stuff.


By now it was dark enough for us to take on the outdoor mazes, so we headed over to Old Town for some Platform 15 action. Admittedly, I didn't actually get a chance to do the attraction last year so I can't make a proper comparison, but my god I absolutely loved this attraction! The atmosphere created by the combination of the old Canada Creek railroad setting with the storyline perfectly executed by the actors makes Platform 15 super creepy. It's more immersive theatre than classic horror maze, but the sections that ARE classic horror maze (HELLO creepy house in the woods, where did you come from?!) compliment the more theatrical sections perfectly to create one creepy son of a bitch.


And seriously, the theming on Platform this year has really stepped up its game - the creepy-house-in-the-woods looks like something out of Universal Studios and the continuation of last year's storyline is such a fab Easter Egg for die hard FRIGHT NIGHTS enthusiasts.

This was the most popular maze of the night on our visit and it's easy to see why. For hardcore The Walking Dead fans this attraction is pretty much wall-to-wall fan service. Secret rooms? Check! Easter eggs from the show? Check! Creepy as fuck Walkers trying to eat your flesh at every corner? Check! MOTHERFUCKING NEGAN? Check! Yh, I absolutely loved this maze - the opening scene with Negan and Lucille is so much fun to actually live through and then just wandering through all of the famous scenes from the show is like a dream for any fan of the show.

It looks absolutely fantastic - it really does. My only downside would be that it's not really that scary? Because I was so distracted by gawping at the fantastic sets I kind of forgot that the Walkers were supposed to be scaring me. And inherently the scariest thing in the show are the survivors themselves, so it makes sense thematically that they kind of blend into the background a la the show itself. Loved the ode to The Asylum too and my god, that school bus scene was absolutely vile to walk through.


Honestly, I was a little wary of this one. Realistically how scary can a bunch of shipping containers be? Well, turns out - very! Sanctum is a great ode to Terminus without being held down by the details. It's gory, it's intense, it's disgusting and actually it's pretty intense and harrowing. Wandering through a bunch of blood soaked sheets is both vile and disorientating. It's more the harrowing onslaught of disturbing visuals that really gives this attraction its edge. Watching a victim having her insides eaten by ravenous Walkers and then turning the corner to watching another poor soul about to have their throat slit over a pig trough is definitely one way to heighten the senses!

Plus the main entrance as you approach combined with the loud announcement of "SANCTUARY FOR ALL...COMMUNITY FOR ALL" is really imposing and sets up the perfect scene for the horrors that lie within. But make sure you do it after dark, obvs.

We saved our suspected best til last, and we weren't wrong. Although the location of The Big Top can never live up to when it was on the beach in '15, but my god this maze just goes from strength to strength. Everything from the sinister bunting and carnival paraphernalia as you join the queue to the DISGUSTING pseudo-Mr.Blobby voice-over making announcements just works perfectly together to create a sinister sense of unease. It really does get your palms sweaty as you make your way through the giant clown's mouth entrance.




And then shit goes down. From strobe-lit carnival disorientation at the start, to multiple choice rooms with bondage teddy-bears (yep that's a thing) , to Walking-Dead pisstakes, to getting chased out of a clown with a chainsaw - the madness all builds to that perfect, if a little clich├ęd, crescendo. Overlay that with the outstanding IMAscore track and it's clear to see why The Big Top is often called the best maze at FRIGHT NIGHTS!







So yes, an extremely solid line-up this year! I know I'm biased and it seems  like I'm just saying this because I have to, but Thorpe really have outdone themselves with the event this year. The spooky fog and lighting on park accompanied with The Walking Dead IMAscore soundtrack creates one of the best FRIGHT NIGHTS atmospheres I've enjoyed probably since 2009. What a way to kick off the spooky season!

Talk later xoxo,

CONVERSATION

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