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Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
So, I had a few visits to Fright Nights this year. In total, it was 6 visits. Most of them were just evening pop-ins (the bonus of living close and having a pass I guess).

First visit was for Press Night, which I never use to judge the quality of the event. BUT I could tell it was going to be a much better event than previous years.
I also had a visit on the Annual Pass preview night (the first 'proper' one in a few years), where the attractions were again on top form.
I then had other visits scattered throughout the run.

I had a fair few runs on each of the mazes.
-Trailers was my favourite this year - a maze that isn't particular scary, but nicely themed and designed, with some good moments. It lacked that 'oomph' moment at the ending, and seemed to focus a bit too much on cramming Easter eggs and references in at point. But for the most part, was very solid.
-Platform 15 is a maze which has historically been very inconsistent. But it was good to see its final season was a good one. The idea of the maze was to start off slow and build up and up and become more intense. I think for me it started off a bit too slow and peaks a bit too soon, but for the most part, a solid farewell.
-I didn't particularly rate the critically acclaimed Creek Freak Massacre in its opening year. And this year, it was much worse. I have theories as to why, but who knows if any of them are right. In any case, whilst I never rated this maze, I know it was well received, so it's a shame to see it a shadow of its former self...

Scare zones were good on the whole.
-Swarm Invasion was the highlight for me. It's clear that the park gave this the least attention and budget and just let the actors run with what they could do. But this worked in its favour almost; clearer a creative and strong cast who were able to make the best of it. I still don't think it is right to call it a 'scare zone', since it's just an extension of the Swarm story, but it was good.
-The Crows scare zone looked great and seemed to go down a treat. It doesn't quite have the same impact when it's busy, but it was good.
-Creek Freaks Unchained is fine as a little story extension to the maze.
-Amity High vs LycanThorpe High is a good dance show flash mob thing. As a scare zone outside of the shows though, it's pretty weak.
-Birthday Bash was a nice idea and the show they had was good with lots of good characters. But given the characters weren't there that much outside of shows, it fell a bit flat. The previous show/zone that was there last year, Fearstival Arena, was much better.

Then there was the Fire and Light show, Legacy. It's good, because it's a fire and light show, but it was still the weakest one I've seen. It was chocked full of so many references it got a bit lost in itself. It could decide if it was trying to tell a story, or to just be a 'Here's loads of music with lights and fire, enjoy' type show. And it lacked a good ending. I hear the park have purchased the rig set up though, so I imagine it will return and grow in future years.

My last visit of the event (and of the season) was with a couple of people who had never been to the park, during the Thursday of half term. We didn't do any mazes, but the scare zones were a lot quieter and the park was insanely busy. I know this happens, but having not visited on such a day for a long time, it was a stark reminder of how hectic the park can be at the wrong time.

One final thing: Maze upcharges. I'm all for the park upcharging for the mazes so long as the quality is there. I also think they should have one free maze, to serve as a taster / for people who don't want to pay. But the cost is all wrong. £10 per maze is way too high. No maze is near that quality; they're all £5 at most.
For reference, as I always use this as the benchmark for these things, when I did The Clinic at Walibi Holland (gazes a knowing look to the likes of @Howie and others...) in 2019, that cost me 15 euros, about £13 back then. Simply put, there is no way any of this year's mazes should be priced anywhere that close to Clinic.

All in all though, a good year, much better than some of the more recent ones. Hopefully onward and upward now.
Great assessment and would agree on most of this.

Especially the creek freak part, I was a fan in the first year, this year was shocking. On most of my runs there was absolutely nothing in the most intense part from last year (cage maze,) On others there was just one chainsaw wielding redneck maniac... :(

Trailers was the highlight, totally agree.

I definitely agree on charging.... there are events with much better, longer mazes, full of more actors and much more besides, that cost less than £5 per maze for entry and maze access... Tulleys, Screamfest, and so on...

Platform was weak this year for me, and last... I much preferred it with the tunnel at the end. And felt they made better use of the train area with fire effects and actors on the train in previous years... For me it's lost it's 2 best USPs.

I enjoy all of the scare zones, and really hope they continue to build on them.


Mega Poster
I have to admit i was completely luke-warm on Trailers. The concept is cool, but i feel some aspects of the maze just did not work.

Here is a few points to why
  • Lack of a Finale
Trailers has a really cool special effect in its finale, but it is completely undermined by not much urgency? It is a great special effect, but the finale to this maze is NOT scary at all, and the actors did not seem keen on giving out some sharp scares to give us a reason to want to get out..
  • Actors not used to full potential
Trailers seems to have some issues with its actors. There is plenty of them, but at points it seems like there is not enough in some rooms. I think the seperation between the rooms (basically the whole setup) really limits actors to their confined spaces. This is usual for mazes, but with the use of rat runs an actor can re-appear and stalk groups, Trailers kind of limits this by confining its actors to its scene. Some of the scenes also lacked the raw interaction that makes scare mazes fun IMO, it is still there in some rooms, but in some rooms it feels actors are not really even trying to get scares. They are just selling us their scene, but we as an audience are not part of that said scene.

The maze is certainly a great theme and concept, but overall my run throughs just left me wanting more.
Creek Freak was my favourite this season, though i admit the strobe section is dreadful. It is good that it is so small, other than that it is a great maze with strong scares and actor interactions. Many laughs, and intense scares. Platform has a mountain of problems but the cast were brilliant and some of the actors in there were delivering straight up masterful jump scares. I also like the new finale.

But yeah i'd thought id revise my thoughts, i think £10 is just plain exortion. I am glad i did scarecon aftershock. CF and Platform gave me some proper great scares, i do hope we see some price slashes next year.


Mega Poster
But yeah i'd thought id revise my thoughts, i think £10 is just plain exortion. I am glad i did scarecon aftershock. CF and Platform gave me some proper great scares, i do hope we see some price slashes next year.
This is the thing that annoyed me a lot about Fright Nights this year, last year Annual Pass holders did get discount for singles, but this year they locked the AP discount only to the combo ticket that on most nights was sold out anyway so you couldn’t get any form of AP discount. Alton Towers did give AP discount for single run through to (£6.40 for Freakshow instead of £8), and it was a solid price for the maze.

Thorpe realised they could make a *censored* load of money by charging for mazes last year due to the pandemic, and fully capitalised on that this year, last year I understood the reasoning behind it, only going through in family bubbles or on your own, it made sense, but this year with classic return to batching 10-20 people inside a maze at one time, it did leave a sour taste for the price, and I do think it should have been cheaper, even if brought in line with Towers (£8 or £6.40 AP for singles)

As much as I’m still very sad that I’ve experienced my favourite maze for the last time, I am glad my bank balance will look more healthy next October/November, as I’ll never go through a scare maze to the same level as Platform 15.

ScareCon Aftershock was without a doubt worth the price, I will likely go to future events if held at Thorpe, as it was just such a fun evening of entertainment.