Other Fright Night Features
The Fright Nights event isn’t just about surface level design – the actors and the attractions and so on – it’s also about the intricacies: there are scarecrow crosses adorning lakesides and entrance ways (some with scarecrows attached, others scarily lacking); areas that surround attractions such as The Swarm are choked in fog; “Happy Birthday” plays with a Halloween-ish twist; and there are tasty treats that include many tricks, such as candyfloss with edible spiders, blood bag cocktails and monstrous doughnuts each with hilariously-themed names such as Tinchy Spider and Candy Man!
As for the actors, no inch of flesh has been left unturned – their prosthetics and costumes make them appear as authentic as their Hollywood counterparts, and in your own neighbourhood would likely scare the pants off you. That's not to suggest they aren't frightening here - while we did suggest that an encounter can feel more awkward than anything, you'll still find yourself going out of your way to avoid them if you're lucky enough to see them coming first. And their scare zones compliment them well, expanding upon their fancy-dress themes to create little pocket realms of the macabre.
One of the signature experiences of Thorpe Park Fright Nights are the scare mazes, and if its scares you're after then they're a must. This year they include Creek Freak Massacre, Platform 15 and Trailers, with Trailers being the main event. While of course they vary massively in theme, the mazes all share the same concept, and rely heavily on walking around in the dark with actors jumping out on unsuspecting guests. However, those with any form of photosensitivity - or any neck or back problems - should steer clear, as they are likely to be nauseated for all the wrong reasons.
If this isn't something that bothers you, though, then consider yourself lucky, but for a handful of people these scare mazes are automatically ruled out, which is extremely disappointing given the vast appeal of these exclusive Fright Nights experiences. With that said, if you find that your morbid curiosity gets the better of you, and you're willing to brave a maze despite the insane levels of strobe lighting, then we highly recommend Platform 15 - while there is still some strobe lighting, it's only briefly at the end of the experience. As for Trailers and Creek Freak Massacre, let's just say that darkness isn't the real issue in these mazes.
There’s a lot of detail to take in as you explore the park, which is easy enough to do even while you’re being harassed and hunted by half-turned hellhounds. And the fact this all takes place once the sun goes down only enhances the atmosphere. The only real downside where details are concerned is that the signage isn't as obvious as it should be - especially considering it's dark. But once you manage to find everything, it's fair to say the devil really is in the detail...
Scare rating: 9/10
Fun rating: 8/10
The Rest of the Park After Dark
It isn't just the scare mazes that you need be on the lookout for during Fright Nights - some of the parks major attractions are actually open for the evening. This year they are Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, Stealth, Saw - The Ride, The Swarm, Rush, Detonator, Samurai Vortex and Black Mirror Labyrinth. Getting on major rides isn't easy at the best of times, so you might wish to make sure that you hit the Fright Nights specials before you end up losing valuable time queuing for an attraction that you're able to enjoy at any other time of year.
However, if you insist on maximising everything Fright Nights has to offer, we recommend investing your time in Saw - The Ride and Black Mirror Labyrinth, both of which are specifically horror-themed as they're based on popular movie franchises and TV shows which are scary enough from the comfort of your sofa. Nevertheless, if you're lucky enough to make it on to one of the rollercoasters at night, then you'll definitely get more out of the experience than you would during the day, especially with all the mayhem going on down below.
But if we're speaking strictly about scare mazes, then Black Mirror Labyrinth is unmissable. This sensory-defying experience is hugely immersive, and unlike the other scare mazes, will stay with you long after.
Scare rating: 9/10
Fun rating: 8/10
Thorpe Park's Fright Nights is open to the public Friday 8th - 10th & 15th - 31st October. To book tickets visit the Thorpe Park official website.
A bit like horror in modern cinema, Thorpe Park Fright Nights relies heavily on jump scares, loud noises and special effects. On the other hand, it is a Halloween event, and there are plenty of tricks and treats in store, so theme park-goers and scare-junkies alike are guaranteed to enjoy thrills and chills. While Thorpe Park is laid out in a circular fashion, it's still worth grabbing a map or at least familiarizing yourself with where to find everything before you go, because this is the last place you want to get lost in the dark...