Over the weekend, I was able to attend Fright Nights on the 5th & 6th. Overall I was aiming to do the mazes a few times to get an overall idea of how the event operated and how far they have been able to stretch with the attractions/mazes. They had 11 designed attractions to try out and I was able to experience each one. How would Fright Nights compare to Scarefest and which would I find to be the better event?
I'll go through each attraction and review each one with relevant spoiler tags when needed.Screamplexx Cinema:
We only got to experience 1 short film but it was as expected. The films are available online so if you aren't able to view one of these films then you'll be able to find them on Youtube. Nothing really surprising happens if I'm honest so don't expect too much.Containment:
Containment was one of the experiences I was most excited to try out, having only done a single escape room, I couldn't wait to try out one with actors inside. Overall the experience appears to have remained unaltered (coming from the group who had experience it before) as expected. Actors inside were very good with distracting us but also helping us out if needs be. I wouldn't go back in a hurry as I feel until it's changed, I wouldn't see a need to return (having known the answers now!)Vulcan Peak:
Ok, I'm not going to beat around the bush with this, this was the worst scare attraction I've ever experienced.
Boring, uneventful, unfulfilling. I could go on but the main point is this: Vulcan Peak is a terrible maze, it could have had a great ending, it could have had a great hooded section, but it didn't. Everything inside was bad. I'm not going to explain what happens inside but tell you that we had a lack actors, lack of audio and a real lack of anything.
If you are daring to experience this, do it with a walk on queue. You'll thank me and the others who have warned you about it later.Saw Alive:
A relatively unchanged maze that still entertains, the classic maze is back but yet it still does attract a crowd. We did a couple of runs and it remains unchanged but the scares were on top form, they were able take advantage when as much as possible. There isn't much more to say besides that they are still doing well with this maze. I'm unsure how much longer it will stay but I'm happy to have some good runs through this year.The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare:
Another relatively unchanged maze for 2018, some script changes and changes to the beginning and end have been introduced but it's still unchanged. If I'm honest, It wasn't our best runs and felt like not a lot of interactions were had but this maybe me being spoilt with multiple re-runs of the Extreme version. Big up to the actors who picked on a guest who tried exiting early and made sure they were a target! Again, another year and another decent maze.Deadcreek Woods:
A new(ish) maze for 2018, utilising the route from Zombie Hunt, If I'm honest it's a bit tame and not providing much different from other mazes like Platform 15 or Do Or Die (more on that later). No touching or personal interactions which was a bit disappointing.
Nice little touches like a chainsaw mid course to catch you off guard was nice to have and using the checkpoint booth as a hiding space for actors to appear from was fun. The exit corridor/tunnel providing some close moments and the tight route was good to actors to come close but If I'm honest it just felt like a waste of actors being in this maze, the actors could have gone to something better (again, more later on that).
This is a tough one, having seen the build up, advertising and heard some of the reviews that this maze was getting; I really
wanted this maze to be great. But the one run I had on it was let down. It was good but not as good as I hoped
It was a tight course with a lot of foliage setting the scene well, actors inside were good at getting the jumps right and hiding correctly which was good. The preshow was nice to give a brief story but it was Incredibly short. It just seemed so short and really let it down having the queue been how it was. The house at the end was a nice touch as it was incredibly difficult to see anything so the scares were great but it just didn't make up for the fact it was really short.)
I feel if this maze was longer that it would have been a lot better but the fact it was really short and how quick you was in there just brings it down in my opinion.Terror At Amity High:
One of two scare zones for this year, this is something you really shouldn't expect much but you get a lot in return! The actors are just fantastic in staying in character and providing some really funny chit chat complimented with some genuine running away when they try to chase you! Multiple times i was chased by an American football player for not letting him steal my blood and then the next second talking to cheerleaders about joining their clan
or watching the actors and guests play a game of capture the flag! It was such fun to just sit down and watch how all the actors interact and it was fantastic.Platform 15:
One of my personal favourites from last year returns with some changes to the story and ending for the better in my opinion and I must say this was my joint top favourite maze of the year. It was incredible.
The Big Top: Showtime
The story now revolves around the tour but now including the story of a bride and groom and their terrible fate that laid before them. The village scene remains unchanged but had some really intense moments cornered by actors yelling at me and really making it difficult for me to continue. The cast in the 2 days I was there was really good and created some genuine scares and some tense moments. The ending tunnel is just as long as ever but now an actual end scene is added to make it feel more of an ending I guess? It's a bit cheesy but it works I guess as an ending. It's nice to see it be improved.
Believe the praise it has, the legacy of The Big Top has now been transformed into a scare zone/roaming actors and it's just as mad as ever. The show that happens every hour in the Dome is awesome to see everyone run in fear of the clowns invading and scare the hell out of everyone inside. The roaming side of it is incredible, no-one is safe when they are around. I saw them invade a few food outlets whilst people were eating and I must say it makes for an interesting sight. This needs to be return as a scare maze next year as it is fantastic, definitely one of the stronger attractions this year.The Walking Dead: Do Or Die
The strongest maze of this year, It truly was different from the other mazes this year, it just felt stronger and more intense than the others. It was my personal favourite this year.
Starting on the bus is a great starting point and the pre show is just superb, probably the best preshow for a scare attraction I've ever seen. Continuing on it just improves and gains momentum, you meet more characters and gets more intense with more touching and more interactions as you proceed. I was picked on a lot through these runs; cornered, pinned, bullied and even my hat was stolen briefly! It all makes for a great mid course chainsaw run which catches you off guard completely. You think that's it but then you're hit with a final container which if done well, you're completely blind and helpless.
It's strong and a massive improvement over its previous incarnation in Sanctum.
That's my maze reviews done and out of the 11 I experienced (Fanta's Twisted Carnival I did try and was very enjoyable but this is based on Thorpe's own mazes), 4 out of the 11 really stood out and 2 of those were the 2 scare zones.The fact that only 2 mazes really made me smile and stood out to me disappoints. Thorpe came into the scare season with a hefty amount of offerings have fallen short in my opinion and shown quantity should never be placed over quality.
Another note was that The Walking Dead: The Ride, Thorpe's own horror ride had no actors inside.
To me, this is appalling seeing their own ride which utilises actors on days where they weren't needed not even have an actor inside really angers and disappoints me. The last time I rode this ride was when they trailed a Live/Fright Nights mode made specifically for this event and the fact they either chose not to have actors or just didn't have enough actors to support this is a big negative in my view.
The big question, Fright Nights or Scarefest?
Scarefest wins this based on their offering impressing me more than Fright Night's line up and showed that less can mean more in the long run. Sure Thorpe has the screams and theming around park but that doesn't mean anything when half of your attractions are repetitive, short and understaffed. Cut out some of the mazes, have more actors in other attractions/rides and then you'll be along the right lines.