Thorpe Park Resort has become the “home of fear” this Halloween as FRIGHT NIGHTS 2019 got underway last night with a special VIP and media preview. With five scare mazes, an escape room experience, and a “shocking Halloween Show”, there is no shortage of frightful experiences. SouthParks was invited to experience everything FRIGHT NIGHTS 2019 has to offer.
New for this year’s FRIGHT NIGHTS is Creek Freak Massacre. Promising to be Thorpe Park Resort’s most extreme scare attraction to date, the Island’s newest maze invites guests into the old abandoned Creek Woods Saw Mill which is home to a family of deranged, chainsaw wielding maniacs. Located within the former Loggers Leap queue and station, the Island’s newest scare maze makes good use of a compact space. Inside, the maze features detailed and well-designed sets which the actors make good use of to create some effective scares and there are theatrical elements in places with certain set pieces. With the maze being a free flow attraction, this means guests do get split from their groups, although at busier times the compact nature of the maze may mean that it soon reduces the ability to get truly separated from your group. The ending is genuinely disorientating and provides a fitting climax to the attraction. Creek Freak Massacre is one of the Resort’s best creations in recent years, and it is refreshing to see a return to an in-house creation as opposed to an IP based maze.
Now in its fourth year, Platform 15 once again takes guests along the last known route of the Sleeper Express. This year has seen a new script for the maze alongside additional theming elements and some new sound effects, all of which help to further enhance the maze experience. The maze also features a brand-new ending, and whilst the tunnel section perhaps still needs a little more development to fully build the tension, the new ending is much more effective and creates a better climax to the attraction.
Blair Witch returns for another year, building on its re-launch in 2018. Entering via the queue for Jungle Escape, Blair Witch has a new introductory scene and a new route, part of which is designed to confuse and disorient you before you continue deeper into the maze. Additional theming elements have been added throughout the route, although it was a shame that it was perhaps a little too dark to fully appreciate them. During our run the scares were not quite executed to full effect meaning that unfortunately it felt like the maze didn’t quite reach its full potential on the night.
Back for a second year The Walking Dead: Do or Die, draws guests into the world of The Walking Dead as you try to survive in a place where not all is as it seems. This year, the maze has been redesigned with a new path through the attraction which makes much more effective use of the space which the maze is located, including an additional actor led scene. Fans of the television series will also notice a couple of additional nods to Terminus, the setting for parts of seasons 4 and 5 of the show.
The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare also returns for FRIGHT NIGHTS 2019. Now in its third year, guests are brought face to face with the infamous Negan and Lucille and the Saviours as you choose your own path which takes you through iconic scenes from the popular television series. For 2019, the maze has received a new ending featuring The Whisperers, the main antagonists from season 9, and provides for a genuinely creepy ending. Elsewhere, the maze has had a small number of more subtle changes, all of which help the attraction to maintain its ability to immerse you in the world of The Walking Dead.
The vampires of Terror at Amity High make a return this year, this time with their very own show – Terror at Amity High – High School Sucks. Playing every 20 minutes on the Stealth Plaza, this new show features high energy song and dance numbers as the blood sucking teens of Amity Cove celebrate the crowning of their prom king and queen. The show provides a refreshing and upbeat change to the tone of the rest of the Island’s scare attractions and it would be great to see more of this type of entertainment at future FRIGHT NIGHTS events.
Containment has received a range of changes for its 5th year. Although the theme of the first room remains the same, it has been refreshed to include a different puzzle, whilst room two has been completely changed and is unrecognisable from previous incarnations. Although the themes of the final two rooms remain the same, enough changes have been made to the tasks to ensure that the escape room experience remains fresh for those who may have experienced it before. The difficulty of the puzzles has been pitched at just the right level so as not to be too easy, but also not so challenging that they are impossible. It is good to see that the Resort can keep the experience fresh and challenging, even with it being on the Island for 5 years.
Across the Island, various theming elements have been added to help add to the Halloween atmosphere. In future years it would be good to see this decoration extend further across the Island to help enhance the Halloween atmosphere in all areas.
Overall, this year’s FRIGHT NIGHTS offering is a definite improvement over 2018’s event. Although there are only five mazes this year, there is a noticeable focus on quality over quantity which is reflected in the high standard of the newest addition, Creek Freak Massacre, and the improvements made to the Resort’s returning attractions. The inclusion of Terror at Amity High – High School Sucks also adds an extra dimension to the offering, building on what The Big Top Showtime achieved last year. It would be good to see this type of show expanded upon for future events.
Are you planning a visit to FRIGHT NIGHTS this year? Make sure you share your thoughts and reviews over on the TowersTimes and SouthParks Forum.
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