Thorpe Park Fright Nights is one of the regular stops on the annual tour of UK Halloween events.
After the disappointment of "quantity over quality" at last year's event, it was interesting to see what the park were pitching for 2019.
The worst of last year's cheap additions were gone - no more Vulcan Peak or Dead Creek Woods - but also missing was the long running Saw: Alive.
In their place was a new scare maze: Creek Freak Massacre, which had been billed by the park as "the most intense Halloween maze in the history of Fright Nights".
Would an adventure into the freaky creek live up to expectations? And what about the rest of the event? Continuous rain on a mid-October Saturday seemed the ideal time to find out...
A big screen welcome to Fright Nights
Fright Nights doesn't really get going until the mazes begin opening at 3pm, so there was time to grab some morning rides
Feared 5 was a Fright Nights "attraction" which gave away free wristbands to anyone who rode all five of the big coasters after dark - good luck with the length of the queues!
The rain started properly as we joined the queue for Nemesis: Inferno, and the umbrellas came out
The rain and the volcano's mist created a spooky atmosphere, and Fright Nights hadn't even properly begun!
The ride was running well
Thorpe didn't release a Fright Nights pin badge for this year, but were instead selling the 2018 badges - it felt like a bit of a dirty trick
The rides in Old Town would close early to make way for Creek Freak Massacre and Platform 15
Colossus had broken down as we walked past
The promise of drying off indoors had attracted a huge hour plus long queue for Derren Brown's Ghost Train before it even opened at midday
We decided to go for lunch instead - also inside, with more food but less VR
Fin's had an updated menu especially for Fright Nights
I tried one of the new options - actual real healthy food! To be honest, the salmon was a bit rubbery, but its great to see the park moving towards offering more than burgers and fried food in Fin's. Let's hope for even more options next season!
I then ruined my whole healthy eating day with chocolate "brownie" for pudding. Brownie? Looks more like a giant slice of very tasty cake and deliciously rich chocolate sauce to me, but I wasn't complaining!
Following a very lazy lunch, there was just time for a quick ride on The Swarm before the mazes opened
It really was pretty wet, with large puddles forming all over the place
I do love The Swarm station flyover
Given experience of previous years we knew it was a good idea to join the queue for Creek Freak Massacre, the new maze, around 2:30 even though it wasn't due to open until 3pm.
Our decision was justified when we looked at the number of people behind us a few minutes later!
We were let into the main Creek Freak Massacre queueline a few minutes before 3pm
It felt quite nostalgic walking over the old Logger's Leap footbridge and looking at the remains of the old log flume
It's been a while since anyone has stood here and seen a full Logger's Leap queueline!
Creek Freak Massacre takes place inside the former Logger's Leap station building and newly boarded-up undercover queue area
The maze was pretty good, although didn't really live up to the promise of the most intense Fright Nights maze ever - most people were leaving with smiles on their faces rather than running out of the exit in fright
Having visited Alton Towers' Scarefest the previous week and being very impressed with their new Attic and Darkest Depths mazes, I found Creek Freak Massacre a bit of a lacklustre addition in comparison: a few years ago some wooden walls, smoke filled corridors and chainlink fences would have been first class, but the premier league of scare attractions has moved on a lot since then. Alton have built impressive attic rooms and sinking pirate ship scenery ... Thorpe nailed some wood to the walls and chased people around with the tired old chainsaws.
Oh the lies! It was actually almost an hour.
Some old scenery from last year's Dead Creek Woods is still there at the end of the station platform
This year, the queue climbs up to the station platform from the former railway track
As always, Platform 15 begins with a walking tour down the railway track, before the group is left on their own to explore further and find the Sleeper Express
Platform 15 used to lack any real finale - that's been fixed this year, with a concluding scene at the end of the tunnel climaxing with visitors coming face to face with the missing conductor!
Next up was The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare. There were no real changes to the maze this year, although we had a great run through as we lost most of our group and ended up with the two of us going around on our own.
The Terror at Amity High show was back in the area around Stealth
This guy really enjoyed telling me all about munching on body organs ... anyone would think he was a vampire!
This year there are two different shows on offer - we saw a double bill featuring "Don't Go Down To Wildor", followed by "Don't Move" which was the same film we saw last year
The 4D effects were manually operated by a staff member, who seemed a bit overly enthusiastic about cramming in as many as possible ... the water effects added to the blood spatters, but I'm not sure my horror film watching was enhanced by the bubbles!
The queue certainly looked quite long
Darkness fell as we waited ... we moved frustratingly slowly because so many people with fastrack were being let in ahead of the normal queue
Finally we reached the front and entered the bus at the start of the maze
We had a really good run through. It was made even better by one of the actors who, when the house lights went up and the maze was paused for five minutes, stayed in character and interacted with us until everything was restarted.
The queue for Blair Witch was long and the rain was coming down more heavily, so we decided to skip the maze and call it a night
Overall, Fright Nights 2019 was a vast improvement over last year's event. The two Walking Dead mazes were good fun again, Creek Freak Massacre wasn't top of the class but is still an OK maze, and it was good to see Platform 15 getting a bit of attention with a new finale.
However, it feels like Thorpe are stuck in a rut - while the scare attractions industry has blossomed over the last few years, Thorpe Park are still producing the same kind of mazes at the same sort of quality they were ten years ago. I really hope they up their game next year, get a decent budget and can create some amazing, scary, modern Fright Nights attractions.
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