Thorpe Park has come under fire from UK tabloids after claims that it will allow children to enter its new Saw Alive Horror Maze attraction.
The Sun and The Mirror both features articles on the controversy, which comes ahead of Saw Alive's official opening on March 18. Based on the popular series of "torture-porn" movies, the maze will feature live actors recreating scenes from the films.
Both papers claim that the park will allow children onto the ride, despite the movies being rated at 18 in the UK. The park is yet to fully respond to the allegations, although the Sun does quote Thorpe Park boss Mike Vallis as saying "guests will be advised it is not suitable for under-12s."
MP Keith Vaz, a long-time opponent of violent video games, criticised the park by saying: "Children should not be exposed to extreme violence in the name of fun." Vaz is no stranger to controversy himself, having been involved in a number of conflict-of-interest inquiries which culminated in a suspension from parliament in 2002.
Despite the furore over its age policy, Thorpe Park is likely to be delighted with the additional publicity for Saw Alive. It follows hot on the heels of a number of other publicity stunts by owners Merlin, who are targeting the park's core teenage audience with the new attraction.
Meanwhile, Thorpe Park has released a number of details on the horror maze following a press preview. It will recreate six scenes from the Saw films, with guests being "tested" in each one by Jigsaw, the evil genius who torments victims to test their will to live.
Guests brave enough to enter the maze will first experience a recreation of one of the death scenes from the movies, before walking down an electrified corridor (which as expected will provide real electric shocks). They will then have to attempt to escape from Jigsaw's lair, while navigating a number of other contraptions designed to test their "will to live".
Saw Alive will be located close to Saw: The Ride, the themed Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter coaster which has proven hugely popular since its spring 2009 opening.
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