- Angry Birds Land
- Lost City
- Old Town
- Port and Basecamp
- Swarm Island
- The Dock Yard
- The Jungle
Following Thursday's Media launch, and yesterday's public opening, Fright Nights is in full swing - and it's not even October! Starring two new attraction's themed to the hugely popular The Walking Dead TV show, along with original concepts such as The Big Top and Platform 15, and returning classics Saw Alive and Containment. The event sounds strong on paper, and it certainly delivers!
The Walking Dead - Living Nightmare
The headline attraction for the 2017 season, Living Nightmare is the first maze based on the show to feature scenes from Season 7. The maze starts off with a strong pre show featuring Negan, a key character from Season 7, leaving everyone in the group on edge and wondering what will happen next.
The first part of the attraction gives the opportunity to choose what rooms you go in. Here, scenes from Seasons 1 and 3 are beautifully recreated to the highest standard, and the actors make it feel like you are truly plunged straight into the show itself! True credit must be given to the cast here, who manage to deliver experiences which keep you on edge whilst staying true to the show.
The maze then become linear and starts to show scenes from later seasons in the show. Some actors are Walkers, whilst some are those not yet infected, trying to warn you away from those trying to get you. Once again, the sets are beautifully themed and true to the show. However, it can sometimes be easy to miss the scares, as some moments play out before or after you arrive, or are designed to immersive you in the scene, rather than scare you.
The ending to the maze is currently the weakest part of the maze. During Media Night, we experienced several different versions of it, and none of them quite gave us the atmosphere to leave. We do understand that this is a work in progress though!
So all in all, Living Nightmare is a fantastically themed attraction, which delivers a story line very fitting within the show. The scares are perhaps on the weaker side, especially compared to other mazes, and the ending needs some work, but for the most part, the maze has an amazing atmosphere and stunning theming which is arguably the best the resort have seen in a scare attraction.
The Walking Dead - Sanctum
The second new attraction for 2017 is based around Seasons 4 and 5 of the TV show. Located outside, behind The Swarm, it is more akin to a scare zone than a scare maze, but still produces a number of scares.
Making use of the old My Bloody Valentine shipping containers to create a route, you walk around a supposedly safe zone, away from Walkers. Instead, the humans are the ones you should be worried about... There's some fantastic pieces of theming scattered around, and many things hung to restrict your view of what is coming, creating some good jump scares.
During the attraction, the actors do have set scenes that they create, meaning that some don't interact with guests. This does leave some moments where there's no real scares, but instead create an atmosphere that leaves you on edge, wondering what could happen to you, rather than worrying about what is happening to you.
Unfortunately the ending is a bit weak, and just happens, rather than giving you a memorable exit. Again, we understand that some effects are to be introduced to the exit area, so it is a watch this space! We would also like to see some more audio played throughout the attraction, which could really add to the experience.
All in all, Sanctum is a fun attraction, which again produces a fantastic atmosphere that really puts you in The Walking Dead universe. A more memorable ending and a few little tweaks would make it a strong attraction.
Platform 15 was, unfortunately, a weak attraction last year. Too much open space, not enough actors and little action meant that it verged on boring for large parts of it. This year, there are plenty of new scenes which have largely improved on this...
The pre show walk has received a slight change in story to reflect the new scenes (introducing Creek Village, an area served by the Sleeper Express that left Platform 15, but since abandoned due to strange occurrences). It has also seem more special effects, include many misters, to create a very eerie atmosphere. You also get a lot nearer to the Sleeper Express piece before the fire effect goes off, making it more exciting to see.
After the train scene, you now venture into Creek Village. You enter a series of buildings from the village, all of which feature a creepy atmosphere, and are greeted either by villagers warning you away or 'Sleepers' who now haunt it. This section featured many scares, tight spaces, and an atmosphere which did leave you on edge.
After the village, your only means of escape is the tunnel. This has received some small changes and a new ending, but is still the weakest section of the maze. Some more effects and things that affect your other senses would certainly help keep people on their toes till the very end.
All in all, Platform 15 has received a large number of improvements, and now is a perfect fit in the Thorpe Park line up.
The Big Top
After a fantastic second season, we didn't think Big Top could get any better...we were wrong.
About half the maze has been changed this season, meaning that it once again feels like a completely different maze. The Madame Mephisto pre show is now done by a pre recording projection (though that perhaps goes on for a little bit too long). A mini mirror maze now follows the strobe section, and the prop room and animal cage have been slightly redesigned / moved. The clown wash room has been changed and is now longer. Prior to the finale, guests are now equipped with a choice of going through one of three different doors, and each door contains its own individual tricks and horrors...
All of the new scenes fit perfectly within the attraction, and add a real chaotic and intense feel. The strobe maze is the most disorienting that we've experienced, and since it contain multiple routes in there, it is very easy to get lost. We certainly spent many times going round in circles, and regularly losing each other!
Big Top remains the star of the Fright Nights show, and in years to come, we think that it will remain this way!
Now in its eighth season at the resort (making it the second-longest running maze ever at Fright Nights), it's perhaps understandable why Saw Alive receives less attention from regular goers. Though it hasn't received any changes from previous years, Saw remains a dependable scare attraction - it has fantastic scenes, actors who are intense and some nice effects (and the Freezer room is cold this year!).
Though nothing special, Saw Alive will no doubt get newcomers running for the exit at the end of the maze, and will give Saw fans a true feeling that they've been immersed into some of the traps
Back for its third season, Containment is doing well for itself. Following the positive response to the story and set up of last year's version, Containment remains the same this year, though obviously with new codes to help keep things fresh for returning guests. Once again, a special shout out to the cast of Containment this year, who really do make it the best it can be!
Though we still do enjoy Containment, and are certain it will produce something truly memorable for newcomers, we hope to see some bigger changes if it returns next year to keep it nice and fresh!
Roamers are back again this year, and they recreate the Saviors from the later seasons of The Walking Dead - a vicious group of survivors, lead by Negan, from the show who aren't afraid to attack you if you get in their way. The team look the part, and are very intimidating as they walk around.
The resort has also seen some changes for Fright Nights, with bits of theming dotted around the resort, The Final Cut cinema in the Angry Birds theatre after 3pm, multi-coloured lighting around the resort and an IMA Score track which combines the 'Sound of the Island' with The Walking Dead soundtrack and some generic creepy beats. It's certainly creates a nice vibe around the resort!