TH13TEEN at Alton Towers
TH13TEEN is the only product of Intamin Amusement Rides that made this list. The attraction sparked rumors prior to opening that there would be a mandatory waiver and strict 16+ age limit, simply due to the whispered intensity and terror of the coaster. Though this would not turn out to be true, and TH13TEEN would later fall to the lower half of Alton Towers’s ride catalogue, the ride was not without its fanfare and one-of-a-kind element.
Though a newer and much jollier-themed Intamin would open under the name Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, boasting its innovation in a vertical drop section, TH13TEEN did it first. When the coaster opened in 2010, the fully-enclosed vertical drop was kept a tight-lipped secret, such a secret that guests could only learn of the new element by experiencing the ride for themselves.
Wicker Man at Alton Towers
The only woody on this list, Wicker Man is perhaps the world’s newest horror-themed roller coaster. Manufactured by American company Great Coasters International, this coaster can also be found at Alton Towers. (See a theme here?) Here guests become sacrifices, hauling through 2,608 feet of track.
The ride is tied with the Smiler when it comes to its elaborate theming, but is my personal favorite in the area of aesthetics. The CGI-exclusive Millennium Flyer trains weave in and out of an intricate and massive wooden bust featuring a goat on one side and the Wicker Man himself on the other. Mist and lighting imitate fire as guests pass through the centerpiece multiple times throughout the ride.
This coaster has quickly become a favorite for many Alton Tower regulars, and that’s saying something considering their lineup of some of the best roller coasters in the world. It opened in 2018 after months of waiting in secrecy.
You may have noticed a common thread in many of these rides is Alton Towers, a park found in Staffordshire, England with a knack for theming and creating thrilling attractions There’s something about Alton Towers, about their creative team’s constantly-innovating endeavors, that does horror so well, that finds a way of unsettling and exciting guests at the same time. It’s no surprise that their annual Halloween event, Scarefest, is considered one of the best in the world. Alton Towers doesn’t just create rides—they create worlds for those rides to live in, fleshed-out universes that make you feel part of the action, all without touching intellectual property, with outstanding originality and precision.
I, for one, would love to see more of these horror-themed roller coasters in our parks. And not just our big parks, but in our Six Flags and Cedar Fairs and beach boardwalks. Because why do we deserve to be scared in October?
Do you love a horror-themed coaster not on this list?