Fright Nights at Thorpe Park is back for another year and this year is like no other with a massive IP coming to the park in the AMC’s Walking Dead. Possible one of the biggest franchises currently in the work the Walking Dead provides not one but two mazes for the park in 2017.
The Walking Dead Sanctum, an outdoor experience as you follow the dead to safety. This is joined by the premier maze Walking Dead Living Nightmare featuring Negan and the first Walking Dead maze in the world to feature scenes from the latest season.
These mazes are joined by previous mazes, Saw Alive, Platform 15 with an all new ending and The Big Top.
The Mazes for 2017
Saw Alive – Saw Alive has been reviewed many times over the past 7 years since its first debut at the park, as a full time attraction in 2010. The attraction is only available on Fright Nights and it holds the only Lionsgate presence at the park for the first time in several years. Located in the old Thorpe Bell the maze is based on the Saw films, they are the most successful horror film franchise films ever.
The maze itself is a solid experience, the scenery and theme is easily the best of any maze at the park and more on rival with some seen on the independent circuit. Dark, smoke and strobes fill the maze throughout as you walk through some iconic style sets from the movie franchise. In groups of 8-10 hands on shoulders guide you through the dark, encountering the classic bathroom scene, freezer scene, swinging axe scene and the gun carousel among others. But you won’t be alone, you will see many actors along the way in plain view and hidden including the notorious Pig face. Over the years Saw Alive has grown a little stale but because of the whole boat being themed its very difficult to change, this year sees the first new Saw film in years in “Jigsaw” even the man himself came to Thorpe Park in September. However no updates to scenes or trying to get in on the new film has happened, still a good maze but does need an update.
The Big Top
In it’s third year now The Big Top has gone from strength and this year is no exception with it being the best yet. Few changes to previous years including a pre-recorded opening with the fortune teller. From here you venture into the Big Top with Clowns and frights set out all along the way. The strobe light section is the first one you come to and be warned you will need to have your wits about you to work through and see the frights along the way. The strobes have multiple routes before heading further into the Big Top.
You then have another choice to go down the corridor ahead or the mirror maze hidden behind black curtains on the left. Bright lights,more strobes and typical circus horrors lay ahead with a lovely tribute to Walking Dead found inside! At the end you again have 3 doors to choose from before ending up in a black tunnel being chased by a chainsaw. Overall a fantastic maze best experienced at night in the dark it provides some fantastic scenes full of colour yet at the same time a dark and disorientating strobe section, don’t miss it!
Hot on the heels of the Ghost Train revamp in 2017, Thorpe Parks needed to change Platform 15 for 2017 and in 2016 it was the worst maze in the park. That is what they have done, the story is about the same, you are looking for, the conductor of last train to leave Platform 15 hasn’t been seen in years. Once you leave the station you are explained about the last train to leave and the last whereabouts of the conductor, from here you come face to face with the last train (the old Canada Creek Railway Train) which has some dead bodies and live actors to greet you. From this you carry on walking around the lake area before coming to the new part of Platform 15.
Once a plain walk turns into a mini wooden village with the first being a house, warped babies and body parts await whilst exiting the areas leave you wide open to scares from people behind the wood. There are plenty of scares along the way before you head towards the infamous black tunnel, now with a themed entrance.
You are stopped and told not to enter, the tunnel is still very long but new sound effects along the way really add to the creepy aspect of the maze, with actors along the way especially at the end. A totally changed maze for 2017 and again must be done at night, a fantastic experience and was for us the scariest maze of the night with jumps, atmosphere and was very creepy. Highly recommended for this year.
Walking Dead – Sanctum
One of the new mazes for 2017 is The Walking Dead Sanctum, located in a new location behind Swarm the aim of the maze is to be one of the survivors and make your way to sanctuary. The maze is all outdoors approaching the maze is built and enclosed by shipping containers, once inside you will be sent wither right or left down an alley of clothes and into the first community area. With zombies attacking and scenery you may recognise appears before you eventually make your way to the final scene. Here is the long troth where people were smacked into was the only scene I could relate to the Walking Dead. Sometimes you get to interact sometimes you just walk out and although elements of the mazes theme looks really good but the maze itself lacks scares and depth. A real shame this maze needs a re-think if it is to return for 2018.
Walking Dead – Living Nightmare
The premier experience for 2017 is the Living Nightmare which replaced Cabin in the Woods at the back of X, with the park really upping the theme aspects to bring the experience to life. Now if you are not a fan of the Walking Dead you will probably not understand aspects of the maze or even appreciate it, that said the opening scene is genius. With a little bit of swearing Negan comes to get you before forcing you to your knees ready to be picked out by Lucile, and this is done with amazing details and precision. A scene lasting a minute with a photo taken you then head into the maze to see scenes from the TV Program, this mainly includes the Prison complete with walk on school bus and the famous doors.
Strobe light section and some fantastic sets greet you along the way with a chase with a walker at the end seals the mazes conclusion. The detail is amazing and although not that scary the maze flows very well and provides some great actors and figures you will recognise along the way. Perhaps the maze is quite short especially when considered to Cabin in the Woods however the story makes up for this, IF you like the Walking Dead, if you don’t you may not understand it all.
Our favourite maze for 2017 possible due to Walking Dead being one of our favourite TV Shows this again comes highly recommended for Fright Nights.
The prepaid escape room also returned for 2017, much the same as 2016. You can’t go into to much detail, 3 rooms, 10 minutes to escape the maze to win. Some great actors inside looking to put you off from breaking the codes in each room.
Final Cut Cinema
Returning to the Angry Birds Cinema as several years absence the Final Cut shows a 10 minute Walking Dead feature, with adverts from press night celebrities opening it before a montage of the Walking Dead to date. This then ends with an extended advert for the 100th episode, again if you are not a Walking Dead fan this may be pointless for you but for us it was a great addon.
This is possibly the best Fright Nights in years add in the roller coaster and rides then you have a great day out and comes highly recommended this year. You can see all the mazes below on our You Tube channel and check out our Vlog after the pictures at the bottom of the page.