Thorpe PArk Fright Nights 2020 Review

Thorpe Park’s infamous Halloween event is back once again, but rebranded for 2020 as Fright Nights Fearstival!

The event has likely been adapted due to the current pandemic, offering only 2 scare mazes this year, both which are largely outdoors and require an additional ticket to experience. What the event has lost in scare mazes, it has gained with a large number of scare zones meaning almost nowhere is safe in the park! 5 scare zones, a Cinema experience and an entourage of roaming actors complete the scare lineup, along with the thrilling rides the park is known for.

Covid measures include the enforcement of masks on most rides, scare mazes and within the scare zones themselves, there’s also social distancing markers and reminders to keep your space from other groups; the actors will get within approx 1m of you, they are also wearing masks, and they will not touch you. The scare attractions operate from 3pm. In line with the government curfew you can expect queue lines for rides to close as soon as 8pm to allow the rides and park to be cleared in time.

Platform 15 – Scare Maze

‘Depart on a one-way ticket and trek along the overgrown railway line, the last known route of the vanished locomotive – the notorious Sleeper Express. Don’t lose your tracks and risk disturbing the haunted souls that were once aboard, or you may just experience the same chilling fate. Can you outrun what lies at the end of the line or will your journey terminate here, at Platform 15?’

The maze has had a big revamp for this year, switching the direction, and you actually queue through the tunnel before starting the attraction. We did like the refresh, and the storyline worked well with the bits of signage and other hints towards the story in the second half. However there felt to be a real lack of actors, especially in the first half, and the big scares didn’t really deliver in the second half either. It’s still an enjoyable maze and the new ending worked well, we just preferred Platform 15 in previous years.

 

Scare: 5/10 – Themeing & Storyline: 7/10 – Actors: 6/10 – Overall: 18/30

Roots of Evil – Scare Maze

‘Unearth the horrors that lurk within a forsaken forest and prepare to meet the terrifying abominations that dwell within. Move discreetly through the dark undergrowth and pray your presence goes unnoticed, or risk becoming one of the forgotten forever.’

It’s quite obvious this maze has replaced Blair Witch from previous years, with a similar route in the woods and some key features the same. However they have definitely improved upon it with the new intro scene taking you into the Jungle Escape building, and the ‘Forest’ definitely felt more overgrown than before, with fantastic lighting. The storyline was delivered well with different actors throughout trying to prevent the roots from taking over including a watchtower scene which we liked. The ending creates some good final scares, but overall it’s nothing terrifying.

Scare: 6/10 – Themeing & Storyline: 8/10 – Actors: 7/10 – Overall: 21/30

Creak Freak Unchained – Scare Zone

‘NEW for 2020! How much wood would a wood chop chop if a wood chop could chop YOU? The Freaks of the Creek have hacked their way out of the Creek Woods Saw Mill and are wreaking havoc on the town. Tread carefully past the deranged family of lumberjacks lest you find yourself chugging gasoline fumes on the wrong end of a chainsaw! Brace yourself and prepare for the gruesome worst as you take on the chainsaw massacre madness of Creek Freaks Unchained.’

It’s such a shame that Creek Freak Massacre couldn’t return this year, but the park were clearly determined to allow the residents to bring their crazy antics to the old town area. This is a one way walkthrough scare zone which heads through the old town area, additional themeing has been added to give the Creek Freak vibes. There was plenty of great interaction with the residents taunting and ‘attacking’ you with various weapons including chainsaws of course!

The Fearstival Arena – Scare Zone

‘NEW for 2020! A mysterious menagerie has rolled into the heart of the Island, but is it all just smoke and mirrors? Step into the dusty and dilapidated FEARSTIVAL Arena and witness the notorious Compère and their freakish cast astonish and disturb their willing spectators. This cabaret of carnage may sound fun, but will you leave shaking in FEAR or grinning in awe? ‘

With an abundance of freakish characters this scare zone reutilises the Oktoberfest area and arena, with additional ‘freakshow’ set pieces and an overhaul of the stage. This area definitely contained some of the most creepy costumes, but with the open area to fill allowed for plenty of interaction opportunities from terrible magic tricks to meeting the bearded lady & her crazed pet. Roughly every hour there is a short fire & light spectacle featuring a pumping soundtrack which all the freaks really go wild for!

The Swarm: Invasion – Scare Zone

‘NEW for 2020 – Enter the dystopian wasteland after dark as THE SWARM has invaded, leaving a path of carnage and desolation in its wake. Head with caution as you pass through this alien infested landscape and pray you aren’t abducted by these other-worldly extra-terrestrials. THE SWARM: INVASION – the end is now.’

The Swarm island comes alive this Halloween and it’s fantastic to see, it really adds a new dimension to the ride area and completes the backstory. The conspiracists are out in full force trying to warn you, and visibly terrified as The Swarm comes flying past them. The military presence on the island aren’t all that they seem either. Whilst it’s not scary, we loved the atmosphere the scare zone brought to The Swarm island which can feel quite isolated sometimes.

The Howling Of Lyncanthorpe High – Scare Zone

‘Chill out in the twilight with the students of LycanThorpe High but keep your wits about you and pray the moon isn’t full – these creatures can be a more than a little boisterous. NEW for 2020 you’re invited to The Howling of LycanThorpe High and they’re on the hunt for new recruits – but be warned, their bite is worse than their bark!’

A new school is on the island this year, located in Lost City, here you can hang out with the Lycanthorpes. The werewolf’s are great fun with some intimidation and scares added in for good measure. The scare zone includes lots of picnic benches to chill, whilst their ‘party bus’ has a DJ playing music, and their American football pitch dancefloor brings some random challenges and flashmob dances.

Terror At Amity High: High School Sucks – Scare Zone

‘It’s Prom Night at Amity High and the teens of Amity Cove invite you to join their bloodthirsty festivities up at Make-Out Point behind the old Speedway.  But these are no ordinary high schoolers – they’re always on the lookout for fresh young blood to join their gang. Stay calm, try to blend in and hopefully you’ll survive the night…’

Amity High are back, with their diverse class of vampires from all the different stereotypes, they all come together once again for their dance routines. There is some fantastic interaction and many creepy & funny moments to be had with the classmates. Roughly every hour there is a flashmob dance show at the ‘prom’ to catchy Halloween songs, the Lycanthorpe’s even make an appearance for a dance off!

The Crows – Roaming Actors

‘Near The Crows nobody goes, are they watching? Nobody knows. Myths passed down from generation. Did that just move, or was it your imagination? They roam and they creep in the dead of night, but blink and they’re gone, out of sight. Near The Crows, nobody goes. Are they watching? Nobody knows.’

These frightening characters roam around the park appearing in mystery locations causing plenty of scares to people passing by. They use their surroundings in the park well trying to blend in. The crows move slow, but it adds to the eerie atmosphere the creepy entourage bring to the areas of the park that they pass through.

Overall we found this to be one of the most enjoyable years of Fright Nights we’ve experienced. Whilst there’s an evident lack of mazes and big scares, the atmosphere in the park with the multiple scare zones and roaming actors was nothing short of incredible, and has definitely left us wanting to return!

Tickets for the theme park must be booked in advance due to limited availability. Tickets for the mazes are advised to be booked in advance, but if available can be purchased on the day using your phone (and the QR code at the entrances). Each maze costs £10 per person (£9 for annual pass holders), and gives you a time slot to enter the queue line (from our experience you can expect a queue of up to 45 minutes).

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