FRIGHT NIGHTS 2021 is now underway at Thorpe Park Resort, with the event celebrating 20 years of fear. With three scare mazes, four scare zones, roaming scarecrows, and two scare shows, the 2021 line-up is one of the most comprehensive to date. Attraction Source was invited to the preview event on Wednesday 6th October to experience everything this year’s event has to offer.

Please note whilst we have tried to avoid giving full details, there may be some small spoilers

New for 2021 is Trailers, where guests are invited to witness the power of film come to life at SuperSpark Cinema – a picture house with a shocking reputation. The maze contains a spine-chilling collection of horror classics inspired by FRIGHT NIGHTS’ past, with call-backs to mazes such as The Asylum, The Big Top and The Curse, interspersed with scenes from fictional horror films. This new attraction is well-executed throughout, with illuminated signage and queueline entrance, the exterior façade of SuperSpark Cinema that teases some of the latest releases, and a more theatrical first couple of scenes that sets-up the storyline. Aside from a scene inspired by a certain Vulcan Peak, the building’s interior has been completely transformed from its time as Jungle Escape, with high-quality scenery that continues the higher standards that the event has looked to achieve in the last couple of years.

Hacking their way back into the abandoned Creek Woods Sawmill after a year hiatus, the Buckwheats return in the Resort’s most intense maze, Creek Freak Massacre. The maze continues to utilise a well-designed, detailed set which makes good use of a compact space, with some well timed scares to create an effective experience throughout, culminating in a genuinely disorientating ending.

Returning for a sixth and final year, PLATFORM 15 provides one last opportunity to discover the unfortunate fate of the Sleeper Express. The maze follows the the same layout as seen last year, with guests entering the maze’s queue-line between Saw: The Ride and Samurai, through the entrance façade which has been adapted to feature the ‘End of the Line’ tagline. This year sees another iteration of the storyline, with the tour guide telling the tale of Screech Rye Village and a young Timothy Ricketts who received a ticket to ride the ill-fated locomotive. Notable changes include the addition of mechanised swings and a see-saw that has guests questioning whether they can see the ghostly children of the village, as well as the enclosure of the finale scene, which helps to make it more intense. Overall, this version of the maze sees this long-standing attraction depart on a strong note. Of course, the question will be what development it makes way for…

This year’s event sees scare zones established as a core part of the FRIGHT NIGHTS line-up, with two new offerings for 2021. The first of the new additions is The Crows of Mawkin Meadow, located along the pathway running between Lost City and the former location of SAW Alive. The route has been completely transformed to take guests on a walk through the cursed village of Mawkin Meadow and its fields of corn to unearth the origins of the infamous Crows. The combination of set pieces installed along the route and fog creates both a creepy atmosphere, and provides the scare zone’s inhabitants with plenty of hiding places from which to scare guests. However, the fact The Crows have received their own scare zone doesn’t mean they’re confined just to this section of the theme park, as they also once again appear in mystery locations as the night draws in.

Marketed as a second new addition for 2021, LycanThorpe vs Amity High: LoveBITES! combines two separate scare zones from the last few years on the Stealth plaza. The celebrations of the blood-thirsty teens of Amity High have been gate-crashed by the students of LycanThorpe, reigniting the vicious feud between the rival schools. While last year did see the two casts periodically come together at the Amity Speedway for a dance-off, that concept has been taken to the next level at this year’s event, with theming elements such as the school buses all brought together in the one area, along with new features such as a podium for each school. An energetic new dance routine has been created for this year, providing guests with an impromptu show at regular intervals.

Once again, the Buckwheats can be found out and about in Old Town, welcoming guests en route to the Creek Woods Sawmill in returning scare zone, Creek Freaks: Unchained. Featuring theming throughout, and a number of areas set-up as mini scenes, this year the scare zone provides the perfect complement to the maze, extending the Creek Freak experience for guests on their way into and upon exiting the maze itself.

Also returning for a second year is The Swarm: Invasion, a scare zone that brings to life the desolation and carnage of Swarm Island. As you make your way through, operatives approach and scan guests for processing, while other inhabitants seek to warn guests of the danger, and even fight back in some cases. The scare zone has seen enhanced theming for this year with the erection of a tent, the use of the former games stands, a new missing persons wall, and Speakers’ Corner stage.

Also new for 2021 are two scare shows. Birthday BASH! sees guests invited to Hattie and Hugo’s birthday party, but don’t be fooled by the bright balloons and shimmering streamers, as mummy’s spoilt little angels have a dangerously devilish side. As well as combining live vocals and dance routines on-stage, the characters also roam the surrounding area, terrorising guests as they go. The second show will see the Resort celebrate the 20th year of FRIGHT NIGHTS with Legacy – A Fire and Light Display, but unfortunately this show wasn’t available for the preview event. At the time of writing, it has also been listed as unavailable on the Resort’s website, so we hope it is able to make its debut soon.

Overall, FRIGHT NIGHTS 2021 combines the strengths of the last two years – well-designed mazes in 2019’s Creek Freak Massacre and atmosphere-enhancing scare zones from 2020’s FEARSTIVAL – to produce perhaps the strongest incarnation of the event in recent years. Throughout the event there is a good variety of themes and original concepts, which is sure to mean that there is something to scare every guest, including the various reality TV personalities and social media influencers who were in attendance at the preview. The Resort’s Entertainments team have clearly established their creative strengths to create a high-quality, all-encompassing event.

FRIGHT NIGHTS runs on 8th-10th October, and 15th-31st October, with the Resort open 10am-9pm on all dates. As in 2020, there is an additional charge for the three scare mazes, with individual maze tickets available for £10 each and a combined three maze ticket priced at £27 (or £24 for annual passholders and hotel guests). Whilst this is likely to mean that the days of mazes being included with admission are over, it does appear that this has enabled their quality to be lifted.

Are you planning a visit to FRIGHT NIGHTS this year? Make sure you share your thoughts and reviews over on the Attraction Source Forum.
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