Fright Nights 2017 launched at Thorpe Park Resort last night as AMC’s The Walking Dead invaded the Island. Featuring two brand new mazes centred around the global horror phenomenon, as well as the return of some old favourites, this year’s event promised to be one of the biggest to date. Attraction Source was invited to the media launch event to experience this year’s offering.

Headlining 2017’s event are two new mazes based on hit television show, The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare sees guests come face to face with the notorious Negan as they try to escape and survive and is the first attraction to feature scenes from season 7. One of the things which really stands out is the immersive theming and attention to detail throughout the maze, the attraction features a number of set pieces which fans of the show will easily recognise, however those who may not be familiar with the programme will also be able to appreciate the way the sets immerse you into the attraction. Right from the beginning, the actors set up a clear storyline, however, due to the maze being a free flow attraction, there are times when this does get lost as some of the scenes don’t always flow into each other as you move from one set piece to the next. Overall The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare is a strong addition to the Fright Nights Line Up, one which can be enjoyed by both fans of the show, and those who have not seen it before.

Also debuting for 2017 is The Walking Dead: Sanctum, based on Terminus which featured in season 4 and 5 of the TV show. Described as an outdoor maze, the attraction sees guests try to avoid the roaming walkers and being captured. Once again the Resort have installed some great, detailed theming, although the attraction would probably be better described more as a scare zone, as opposed to a typical maze. Whilst it relies on more low key scares than many of the other attractions, it does include some strong performances from a range of actors as you make your way through the attraction.

Returning for its second year, PLATFORM 15 once again invites guests to discover what lies at the end of the line as they follow in the footsteps of the ill fated sleeper express. This year has seen a number of changes to the maze, including a new indoor section, and several script changes, all of which help deliver a marked improvement to the maze compared to its debut season last year and makes for a significantly improved experience. Some of the theming even gave nods to past attractions, including My Bloody Valentine. Perhaps the one thing that this maze can still improve on is the ending, it still misses that final touch which would complete what is a significant transformation for this maze.

One of the best experiences of the night came from THE BIG TOP, the Figaro Bros. crazy carnival which is back for a third year. For the first time, the maze has become multi route, including a number of new rooms and a re-worked introduction scene which makes for a much more consistent experience throughout, and plenty of interaction from the residents of the maze. Saw: Alive has also returned once again, delivering consistent scares and proving that it is still a solid part of the FRIGHT NIGHTS line-up.

CONTAINMENT, the Resort’s horror escape room experience has also made a return for its third year. Whilst the overall story remains the same, the puzzles have received some updates, just to keep guests on their toes, and to ensure that the experience remains a challenge for those who may have experienced the attraction in previous years. Special mention has to go to the actors in this attraction who remained in character and continued to deliver some excellent performances, despite a technical issue in the final room.

In addition to the mazes the Island also sees a number of roaming characters as walkers and Negan’s Saviours roam the Resort, as well as pockets of theming in various areas of the Resort. As part of the launch event, the Island welcomed a range of celebrities to the Resort as they made their way along the red carpet, greeted by Negan as they prepared to face the mazes.

This year sees a marked improvement to Thorpe Park Resort’s Halloween event, with The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare in particular being a strong addition to the line-up. The improvements to THE BIG TOP and PLATFORM 15, have also significantly improved the overall experience, giving the Island arguably its strongest line-up in recent years.

Are you planning to visit FRIGHT NIGHTS 2017? What are your thoughts on the Resort’s newest addition to the line-up? Make sure you join in the discussion and share your thoughts over on the Attraction Source Forum.

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