After visiting the awesome Thorpe Park Fright Nights for the first time last year, we were eager to return and see how this year fared.
Fright Nights, similarly to Scarefest at Alton Towers, is one of the busiest periods at the park which can result in ridiculously long queue times for both the rides and scare mazes. Please be aware of this before you visit and note that it only gets busier the closer to Halloween you visit.
We visited on Saturday 18th October, a date we believed was early enough in the Fright Nights season to be clear of any super long waiting times. We were wrong.
I don’t wish to be starting the review on a negative point but the park was extremely busy and it was obvious they had oversold the Maze fast track tickets.
As we joined the horrendous fast track queue for Studio 13, the all new maze for 2014, we were made aware our wait could be at least 45 minutes. As the queue size increased, people towards the back were being advised their wait could be up to 1 hour 30. Personally, I don’t find 1 hour 30 or 45 minutes acceptable for a paid fast track ticket. However, had we have entered the standard queue, we would have been looking at 3 hours.
If you want to get on all the scare mazes and have some time to ride a couple of rollercoasters in the dark, choose the 5pm Directors Cut Fast Track ticket at a cost of £25. It may sound like an expensive choice, but, considering the queuing times, it will be worth it!
Now back on track, we started our Fright Nights journey at Studio 13, the new maze everyone seemed to be talking about.
Replacing ‘The Asylum’ of previous years, Studio 13 was a completely new concept based on a fictional set of the movie ‘The Motel’.
The maze itself had a number of superbly themed scenes throughout. The level of detail was clear for all to see with realistic props and surprisingly, some excellently produced ‘gore’.
We also loved the unique back story which was consistently conveyed throughout the entire attraction and was made use of in one of the scenes where the actors came to life as the words ‘action’ were screamed.
As we weaved our way through Studio 13, we were startled on a number of occasions by some excellently placed actors who kept the intensity going throughout. From the typical ‘in your face’ impact scares to some more subtle scares, we were thoroughly kept on edge.
In the final scene of Studio 13, we were frantically chased by an angry chainsaw wielding man. This was inevitable after hearing the chainsaw in the queue so it didn’t quite have the impact we were hoping for.
The only real gripe we had about Studio 13 (other than the wait) was that the corridors seemed to be too wide in places. We could often predict and see where the actors were going to come from which obviously detracted from the overall ‘scare’ factor.
All in all, Studio 13 is a solid replacement for The Asylum and great addition to the Fright Nights lineup. It has an original back story, an excellent set and enough scares to keep us interested.
My Bloody Valentine
After becoming our favourite maze of 2013, we had high hopes for the big hitting ‘My Bloody Valentine’ as our group were apprehensively led into the entrance. We were greeted by an intentionally distressed actor who informed us of a few safety precautions before proceeding with the story of the infamous Harry Warden and the cold blooded killings that took place in the mine.
Shortly after, we made our way through the attraction and were set upon by a number of actors from the first corridor to the last. The scares came at us fast and hard as we finally found our way into the concluding pitch black scene where arguably the best scare was saved till last.
My Bloody Valentine has a free form element to it which means you are allowed to follow whichever path you choose. This was a great feature and had our group split up on a number of occasions before we all actually made it to the exit.
Once again, the attraction had an impressively authentic feel with its unique theming and layout. The darkness adds to the intensity and a number of floor textures and smells really create an immersive experience.
Overall, My Bloody Valentine, although very similar to 2013, has firmly cemented itself as one of the strongest attractions at Fright Nights. I hope it stays this way for the forseeable future. What a great scare maze!
The Blair Witch Project
Following on from My Bloody Valentine, we visited The Blair Witch Project which we enjoyed in 2013.
The Blair Witch Project was extremely similar to 2013 but featured less enclosed ‘shed’ areas which we thought it missed.
In essence, The Blair Witch Project aims to capture the true horror of the cult film with a number of tents, camping scenes and hanging clothes. We noticed there were an awful lot of actors lurking in unexpected dark places which made the overall experience quite intense.
Unfortunately, Thorpe Park appeared to be sending significantly large groups through without leaving sufficient gaps. This resulted in us being able to see where some of the scares were going to come from and slightly ruined the experience.
Whilst there are some great jump scares and the setting for the Blair Witch Project (in almost complete darkness) is excellent, we felt that so much more could have been done to improve the attraction.
We may have experienced a bad run through due to the numbers of guests at the park, however, we feel the Blair Witch Project wasn’t quite up to the standards of last year but still worth experiencing.
We were intrigued to see if anything had changed in Saw Alive from previous years where it had really promised so much but never lived up to expectations
This year’s Saw Alive took us all by surprise! It was apparent the effort Thorpe Park had put into the attraction to improve it for 2014.
Each scene seem to offer something new with an impetuous on the actors to really bring it to life. From start to finish we were thrown scare upon scare in an intense journey through Jigsaws twisted maze.
The construction and detailing was outstanding and the actors were truly on par.
Some of the new enhanced scenes really caught us by surprise and made the overall experience worthwhile.
Well done Thorpe Park & Lionsgate for finally getting Saw Alive up to standard.
Cabin In The Woods
Finally we visited ‘Cabin In The Woods’, one of the UK’s pioneering ‘free form’ scare mazes.
Cabin In The Woods uniquely allows visitors to choose their destiny (as in the film). This is achieved excellently with a vast number of doors and rooms you can explore.
Our visit to The Cabin was frantic, intense and extremely scary!
Each room we visited presented a new theme and equally effective scares. From an outdoor indoor room to a 70’s themed living room, the creativity and attention to detail was something to behold.
The actors throughout were committed and kept our adrenaline levels to a maximum.
Whilst The Cabin In The Woods can be slightly chaotic with numerous groups criss-crossing as they find their way out, generally, it’s the pinnacle of Fright Nights and an attraction you MUST visit!
On the whole, we thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Fright Nights. Whilst Thorpe Park have some organisational work to do with the queuing system and Fast Track, they can still be immensely proud of the 5 attractions they and Lionsgate have produced.
Along with the scare mazes, the roaming actors were excellent and help build the atmosphere throughout the day.
Fright Nights run until November 2nd and tickets need to be pre-booked for the best rates! We highly recommend a visit, it won’t disappoint…