Thorpe Park Fright Nights 2016
The Big Top
Saw : Alive
Cabin in the Woods
With an armful of mazes, escape rooms and roaming actors – Thorpe Park Fright Nights 2016 is a terrifying place to spend an evening.
Last night was the Press Preview of the Thorpe Park Fright Nights 2016. I’m a massive fan of scare mazes and haunted walkthroughs, and Thorpe have a tendency to do them well. Is their offering for 2016 utterly terrifying – or is it just a load of smoke and mirrors?
I won’t focus on ALL the mazes – if I’m honest – Saw : Alive, The Blair Witch and Cabin in the Woods are generally the same each year. That’s not a bad thing – they are a lot of fun, and all three will make you jump, and scream. You can read about my thoughts on them here.
If you want a look inside Saw : Live – I was able to film a walkthrough video – sorry for the screaming.
This is a new maze for 2016 – it cleverly uses the path of the old Canada Creek Railway which winds along the woodland packed edge of the park. The ‘story’ is about a train that left Platform 15 and was never seen again. Along the route, your group come across the abandoned train, lost in the forest. As you get further into the woods you encounter the ghosts of the passengers – they certainly aren’t sleeping souls. There’s a lot more to it all than that, but – I don’t want to spoil it.
I really enjoyed taking the sprawling paths of Platform 15 – it’s packed with scares, and fantastic actors. The length of the walk allows their to be quiet spots, which heighten the tension. You know there will be someone jumping out, exactly when though.. the anticipation is a killer!
The Big Top
The Big Top has moved this year, and whilst the exterior isn’t perhaps as impressive as it was – the inside – well, it’s a different story. Whilst I enjoyed the Big Top in its first revision, the general consensus was – it needed work. I’m happy to say that Thorpe Park have listened, and the Big Top at Fright Nights 2016 is – FUCKING TERRIFYING.
I can’t say too much – but – this is probably the most scared I’ve felt in a horror maze. The design is wonderful, and it’s an ACTUAL maze too. The main area is lit by a strobe light that really messes with your mind. The experience is hard to describe, but the strobe flashes really do disorient you. The faces of the actors are right in front of you, and then gone, but weirdly, still there. It’s a real head fuck. I LOVED it.
It’s similar to how ‘The Asylum’ used to be – it was always my favourite. It’s nice to see some of the elements that worked well in there re-imagined for a new audience.
I think my only criticism is, it’s easy to find yourself outside the tent with the actors screaming ‘WRONG WAY’ – it lessens the effect. Equally though, these things need emergency exits, so I’m not sure how ‘fixable’ it is. I really think the Big Top is the jewel in the Fright Nights 2016 crown.
Containment was around last year, but I didn’t get chance to try it. It’s essentially an ‘Escape Room’ experience. This is a paid attraction (the others are included in the ticket price), you’ll get a time slot and the whole thing lasts around 20 minutes. You find yourself locked in 4 rooms, and you have 5 minutes to escape each one.
Three of them have actors inside which help and hinder your progress, they are fixed in character the whole time and it makes for a very intense experience. It’s really hard to think whilst someone is screaming and shouting at you. The lights flicker, sounds boom, it’s pretty hardcore.
We managed to ‘Escape’ two of the four rooms successfully – those who fail like we did are issued with a wristband. As you roam across the park and mazes with these ‘failure’ bands you might find you get a bit more attention from the actors.
I would recommend doing this as a group of friends – you are really pushed hard to think on the spot and it’s easier to work with people you know. Also a top tip is to really LISTEN to the actors – there are usually clues in what they say. The £10 per person cost (£8 if you’re a passholder) is well worth it.
With an armful of mazes, escape rooms and roaming actors – Thorpe Park Fright Nights 2016 is a terrifying place to spend an evening. It’s positive to see that the resort are listening to criticism and have resurrected the Big Top as ballsy, hard hitting experience. I do think that perhaps that the Blair Witch and Cabin in the Woods could do with a bit of a revamp. Blair Witch certainly has more to it, but it’s just missing ‘something’ to make it brilliant.
The Thorpe Park Fright Nights are very popular, so pre-booking tickets is essential. I’d also recommend grabbing Fastrack tickets too, so you’re not stuck in queues all night.