Theme Park Nightmare Fuel

We're all well aware that there are some rides that are designed to be pant-shittingly terrifying. It's part of the fun of theme parks for many, especially those of us who are partial to a horror maze or two! But theme parks are strange and preposterous places, and as such there are some parts of theme park magic that come off as deeply disturbing - especially when experienced as a child. The slightly dark undertones can sometimes seep into your impressionable young mind and end up haunting you forever. And on that lighthearted note, that's what we'll be talking about today! Here's five fucking terrifying pieces of theme park nightmare fuel...

I know plenty of people terrified of ET himself, so it makes sense that the forest in the queue for the ET Adventure at Universal Studios Orlando is the first on this list of horrors. Yes, it smells delicious - but that is besides the point. Aliens are creepy as shit, and adorable as I think ET is - would I want to stumble across him alone in the dark in the woods? Absolutely bloody not! It's always eerily calm and empty feeling in that forest, and so dark, you don't know what to expect around each corner - I think it's meant to be whimsical but all it does for me is send a chill down my spine...

I...really would like a sit down chat with whoever thought this terrifying bastard into existence. For those who are lucky enough not to know of this abomination, he's an old Six Flags mascot. To gaze upon him actually makes me feel sick to my stomach. I don't know if it's the liver spotted wrinkly old skin, the fact that he looks like your pervy uncle who tried to get you to have a special cuddle that one time or that he looks like he's wearing the skin of another man as a mask. Who the hell thought this creep would be a fun mascot?! WHAT DOES HE EVEN HAVE TO DO WITH RIDES OR ANYTHING?! He's the worst.

Urgh, I've just rewatched this before writing this post and it made all my hairs stand on end. I remember watching this Disneyland Paris ad and being absolutely, utterly petrified. I think I genuinely believed that the ride sent you to space - and the way space is represented in the ad as this vast, black....nothingness is deeply, deeply upsetting to me. And then there's the sinister voiceover! Watching it back just brings all those feelings of dread rushing straight back to me - I guess they thought it sounded epic but it just made me want to hide under my covers and never come out again.

Ok, before the Efteling fanboys hunt me down and kill me in my sleep, hear me out. I am a HUGE fan of what I call 'proper' fairytale - you know, the real un-Disneyfied versions with all the gore and incest. I am all for my fairytales being all levels of fucked up, but man - this tree is next level vile. Firstly it looks really pissed off, like it's about to smack you in the face with a branch for looking at him the wrong way. Then you've got that straight up uncanny valley way its face moves and talks - truly sinister and unsettling. And then finally - you know how Efteling are really fab at including all the little details and that's why they're great? Well, one of their designers thought it would be a great idea for this animatronic nightmare to terrifyingly wiggle its roots in the water, like a creepy pedo hand. Nope.

Why is old timey character stuff so bloody terrifying? What was up with design back in black and white times? It's the same across the board, take a second to Google what Disney costume characters looked like in their first incarnations or what Halloween masks used to look like. What the hell? Anyway, I feel like these classic Luna Park Big Mouth ride and park entrances fall into that family of macabre. Why does the terrifying clown man want to eat me, mummy? Yum, delicious tourists, enter my jaws willingly as I lure you in with the promise of creds and adorable vintage rides, mwahaha! I mean seriously, can't sleep, clown'll eat me, no? Kill it with fire, and we shall never speak of it again.

I'm going to ruin myself a perfectly good nights sleep if I carry on much longer with this, so I'm drawing the line there. Were you disturbed by any theme park paraphenalia as a child (or adult, for that matter!) I want to hear about it! Link me to your nightmares in the comments, and let's have a chat.

Pleasant screams y'all,



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