Fright Nights has returned to Thorpe Park Resort for 2023, transforming the resort into a heart-stopping playground of horror, where frights lurk at every corner! Sticking to the format of the last few years, the event features three scare mazes along with additional scare zones and shows to experience. Attraction Source was kindly invited by Thorpe Park to attend their Fright Nights Preview event on Thursday 5th October 2023 to experience everything on offer.
Stitches is the new headline attraction at this year’s event. Daring guests are invited to step into the disturbing realm of Howell’s Toy Emporium. Inhabited by the Toymaker’s wicked creations, witness your cherished childhood companions morph into tormentors before your eyes. Stitches is one of the strongest mazes in Fright Nights history – the concept of the attraction is extremely creative and, unlike other attractions which have been seen at the event in the past, the maze is full of highly detailed scenes and creepy set pieces. Each scene features different toy characters to provide a range of scares within the attraction. Many rooms contrast each other to maintain the maze’s pacing and keep guests on their toes. Quite a few of the costumes were creepy and unsettling, so it is clear how this can terrify many guests going through. It is great to see how gore has also been implemented into a concept which is usually associated with being creepy and high energy. There are some corridors between certain scenes which feel a bit plain and uneventful, however the rest of the maze makes up for this. It is extremely impressive how much Thorpe Park have fitted in the space, with the attraction feeling long and complete. One of the scariest aspects of the attraction is the finale which utilises the ‘seven dolls’ concept from Trailers on a much grander scale.
Survival Games has returned for its second season within the Fright Nights line-up. This multi-route scare maze separates groups and forces guests to brave elements of the attraction alone. Similar to last year, the attraction is a fast paced and action-packed experience which contains a disorientating mix of corridors and dead ends. There have been some small route changes within the arena section of the attraction, and the maze can become repetitive quite quickly if an efficient route through it is not found. With the departure of Creek Freak Massacre from the Fright Nights line-up, Survival Games now features a chainsaw finale which significantly enhances the experience.
The third and final maze at the event is Trailers. The attraction has become a staple Fright Nights maze, taking guests inside SuperSpark Cinema where the different films on show come alive. Inside the attraction, the entire maze is extremely well themed and is one of the most immersive mazes within Fright Nights history, paying tribute to past Thorpe Park scare attractions. No major changes have been made to this attraction since its original debut in 2021, so, if this maze was to return next season, then it would be great to see a few of the rooms updated with new films and scenes. Do you spot the Attraction Source Easter Egg?
Lucifer’s Lair is the brand-new scare and entertainment zone at Fright Nights 2023. Replacing the former Birthday Bash show, this zone is located opposite Ghost Train and utilises the same set up that was in-situ for Oktoberfest. The area contains live roaming scare actors, devilish delights and nail-biting entertainment. Throughout the day, there are many different live shows including a band, fire display and a deadly sins dance show. This scare zone features full 360 immersion with theming, large set pieces and plenty of fire! Lucifer’s Lair had a lot of energy and a very strong atmosphere, with always something going on to engage guests. The set design, costumes, shows and effects highlight the quality of Thorpe Park’s scare offering and showcases the talent of their creative team.
Creature Campus – Trouble’s Brewing is a refresh of the Amity High vs Lycanthorpe High scare zone while featuring the same characters. Within the area there is also the introduction of a wicked sisterhood of witches, waiting to cast an ominous veil over Amity and Lycan’s freshers’ week festivities! Outside of the show times, there did not seem to be any actors roaming in this area which is different to prior years. As you walk into the Stealth plaza, guests are now greeted by a massive set of bleachers, which serve as the stage for this year’s show and allows for people further back in the crowd to still have a good view of the performances. The quality of this production was on par with 2022, featuring a main flash mob along with a mini show which runs at select times throughout the day.
On the pathway beneath Nemesis Inferno’s lift hill and first drop, guests will find the returning scare zone, Death’s Doors. Within this attraction guests come face-to-face with 21 daunting doors each hiding a sinister secret. This scare zone has an additional level of interactivity, in that guests can choose which doors they knock on to discover who or what awaits inside. Unfortunately, most doors did not seem to feature scares behind them when we knocked, and many actors seemed to just be roaming the zone which somewhat defeats the purpose of the experience. Nonetheless, 2023 has seen the introduction of a few new characters and costumes.
Also returning for 2023 is fan favourite scare zone, The Crows of Mawkin Meadow. The attraction sees guests walk amongst corn fields to unearth the origins of the infamous Crows. The removal of the old SAW Alive queue line has further expanded this award-winning zone. The attraction now features an additional storyline, themed indoor spaces and a more twisty layout. Unlike last year, the attraction has returned to being single route, which allows for every guest to have an interaction with every actor, enhancing the attraction by making it feel even busier and intense than ever before.
Overall, Fright Nights 2023 is arguably more refined and stronger than last year. The event has further highlighted the resort’s focus on quality, theming, storytelling and providing a strong range of scares. It is great to see the event continue to feature three well themed scare mazes which all offer different scare experiences. The atmosphere of the event is also enhanced by the scare zones and shows which have increased in quality over last year. There is a good variety of scare attractions across the resort, and it will be great to see how the event continues to develop in the coming years. Team members Caleb (Launched Reality) and Matt (Thrill Pix) had a fantastic evening checking out the event. The resort concluded the preview event with the announcement that the name of Project Exodus, the new for 2024 coaster, will be called ‘Hyperia’, with a dramatic video and signage unveiled upon exit from the park.
Fright Nights runs on 6th – 8th and 13th – 31st October, with the Resort open 10am – 9pm on all dates. There is an additional charge for the three scare mazes, with individual tickets available for £8 in the afternoon before 6pm and then £10 in the evening. Annual passholders can experience the mazes before 6pm for £6.40. Thorpe Park also offer combo tickets for one entry to each maze – this is £24 in the afternoon before 6pm and £30 in the evening. Annual passholders get all three mazes for £19.20 before 6pm, but discount is not available on the combo ticket for slots after 6pm. Annual passholders can also experience unlimited mazes from 3pm – 6pm every day of Fright Nights with a Frequent Frights Pass priced at £99.
Are you planning a visit to Fright Nights this year? What are you expecting to terrify you most? Let us know via the Attraction Source social media channels.