Gloomy Wood certainly does need new emphasis on something other than the wood to make it fresh and differ it from the Dark Forest. Spiders are a good idea, but you can't build a theme on spiders because it would end up quite gimmicky. I like trying to think about the orginal core concept of an area, which often gets very worn and unclear over the years, especially with half-hearted rethemes like we saw with Duel. The Gloomy Wood of today and the future is certainly very different to the Gloomy Wood of the past.
Gloomy Wood was always meant to be a fun, light-hearted area based around the Haunted House, which was designed as a scary but magical, quality, theatrical dark ride. However, the original 'idea' has mostly worn off. Now, 'Duel' is neither here nor there with a solid theme and the whole are acts like the second half of the Dark Forest. Why are there zombies attacking inside a mansion? Why is only half the ride about zombies. Why does 'Dr Roydoon' never turn up even though he is meant to be in the storyline? And, after all that, what have guns got to do with anything? The ride just feels a messy and dumbed-down version of the old Haunted House, but with lasers and zombies interferring every now and then; along with a few random, cheap after-thoughts posing as special effects.
The fact that its icon ride is now a laser quest damages the rest of Gloomy Wood, which has ended up being limited to a themed pathway and graveyard queueline. Something desperately needs to be done to fix this in the near future or the area will just collapse. All relevance to Gloomy Wood should be ignored, which will be fairly easy since the only reference to this are the trees themselves. There should be a new, more solid theme to base the area on. I like the idea of cemetery (Sinister Cemetery, anybody?) because it will keep in continuity with previous years whilst offering much more potential than things do now. Large, gothic gates at each entrance with lanterns and the spooky, dramatic Gloomy Wood music dancing about. Haunted Hollow and the Haunted House queueline could both be given new theming features to really take-on the new idea. Maybe even a touch of a 'ghost town' theme could give it more opportunity. John Wardley's initial idea was actually for the area to be themed around a swamp, so maybe the could be a good element of that to it as well. As long the concept is solid and immersive and has proper large scale theming.
Anything that will both seperate it from the Dark Forest and support with dying concepts with a new, strong theme (no more wishy washy "Ug Land being taken over by vines" type themes that have to be discussed and argued over before anybody knows what it actually means). The area can then be built up and improved from there, including a theatrical Duel retheme to bring back proper dark ride magic, and to making the area something for Alton Towers to boast, instead of hide away. I strongly think this is something Alton Towers should be focussing on in the medium term.