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Fright Nights

Fright Nights 2005

Here's our review and photos of Thorpe's 2005 Fright Fest:

TTP Review:

"So, Fright Nights 2005 - would it live up to my experience in 2004? Regrettably, no. The attractions just weren't up to it on my visit. Of course, riding the rides in the dark was just as thrilling as ever; Samurai was especially exciting. But the supposed highlights of the event only served to disappoint. Here's why:

The Asylum
(Located in the building next to Nemesis Inferno)

The Asylum was essentially the same as previous years' Freezer, but the designers made guests walk in the opposite direction - walking in through the old exit and coming out of the old entrance. I'm not quite sure what purpose this served, but it did take away last year's enjoyment of seeing people come out of the exit screaming whilst queuing. Another difference was that there was a long walk once you walked thorough the entrance door (this time a single prison cell door) before you got to the action. Last year, once you had walked through the huge Freezer doors, you were engulfed straight away.

But I digress; the main difference this year I felt was that the actors were simply not as scary. Everything else was near identical, so it just goes to show how it's the "live" element that makes these attractions terrifying. The actors this year simply weren't moving much. Last year I had actors screaming at me, trying to break out of cells, appearing violent. This year the actors walked around in an eerie daze, which was spooky, but not frightening. I was on edge, but nothing made me scream other than a freak holding an injection needle. So, same setup, same atmosphere, but for me the actors this year let it down. I wanted to believe that I was in an asylum with raving loonatics, and I wanted to be panicked into screaming and running out. Unfortunately, it didn't happen.

Hellgate
(Located at the back of the X:\ No Way Out building)

Hellgate replaced last year's 3D Freakshow; situated in the same position, behind X:\ No Way Out. To Hellgate's credit, I thought it was better than 2004's 3D Freakshow in that it had a darker atmosphere. But the same criticism of The Asylum applies here; the actors were hardly moving at all. They stood and stared, which was unnerving, but I never felt threatened or genuinely scared. Hellgate was quite different to The Asylum in that it was quieter and lighter; you knew what was happening and where you were going at all times. It did make more sense than 3D Freakshow; there was even a pre-show story being told through the speakers when queuing. But, it was short, and provided very few thrills. The best bit was upon exiting the attraction; a hand came from the floor and grabbed my leg!

Carnival of the Bizarre
(Located in the Pirates 4D Theatre
)

My wishes came true; the Circus of Horrors were back in town for 2005 - at a price of £3 per person. It was very much the same as last year, which was no bad thing - an energetic performance from the whole cast. Gary Stretch and the Mongolian Laughing Boy were amoung the main oddities in the freakshow, but this year there seemed to be less action and more theatrical suspense-building. This year, a bed was on stage, and so unfolded a story about a helpless young girl who was having nightmares. The nightmare was the show and all the freaks contained within it; the performance ended with hands popping up through the bed to swallow the girl up. The humorous ending of one of the hands giving the audience the middle finger was a nice touch; so in all, a different show to last year, but enjoyable nonetheless. Personally, I would have preferred less story-telling and more of the amazing stunts that this troop can pull off. Some parts of it this year were simply random.

The Bottom Line

I love Fright Nights. The atmosphere, the rides lit up at night and the added attractions all served to give guests a really enjoyable, if expensive (£5 extra for maze fastrack and £3 extra for CoB) day out. Thorpe did well again this year, especially on security - it was really slick, and I saw no problems at all. I only really have 2 points that I feel need addressing. Firstly, the actors in both mazes this year needed to be far more in-your-face to be scary, and secondly, Fright Nights is now such an insanely popular event, and I think that to cut down on the stupidly long queues, now's the time for a 3rd maze to be included. Let's just see what 2006 will hold..."

Ben Case

Photos:

Theming
The Asylum
Colossus at dusk
Colossus
Inferno's bend
Thorpe Park at night
Quantum
Rush
Samurai
Stealth had a searchlight effect
Vortex

With thanks to David Wall

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