2009 sees the return of Fright Nights to Thorpe Park, and in 2009 the four live action mazes return, along with Saw the Ride coming alive. The four mazes that returned are Se7en, The Curse, Hellgate and the best over the past few years, the Asylum all of which had been tweaked to be better than even.
Before the mazes the park its self, the entrance which Thorpe have been good at doing up over the past few years again looked excellent, but like the past few years the theme stops there, yes there are small bits dotted around but gone have the displays on entrance of cut pumpkins, and displays by Detonator and indeed with all the green gone years ago, the area around Hellgate with graves and smoke. That said there is effort by various ride teams to make the rides look as good as they can, but still things like Rush’s music is missing and audio at an all time low, the event clearly wasn’t in full swing early on.
Hellgate – Running for another year is Hellgate, as you take a walk through a hell house in corridors. Much the same as 2008 Hellgate hasn’t really moved forward, which is disappointing since for many years it has been a great maze, this year taking into account a lot of return customers from previous years, it just feels a bit flat. Mind you it could still make you jump, there are actors inside that may well jump out at you and for first timers, you may still find this one of the better mazes. Still worth queuing for.
Seven – Based on the seven deadly sins Seven since opening has been my least favourite maze, as some may have read from previous years and this is totally the opposite, as Seven to me, has had some major improvements. With rooms, scenery and effects 100% better than previous years, for me this was the biggest surprise of 2009 and could be the best maze in the park during my visit.
The Curse – New last year this returns again in 2008, as a crime scene ship lays to rest on Amity Cove Beach, you get to take a personal tour of the ship yourself and much like other mazes, groups of 8 enter hands on shoulders as you walk through the wreck. This maze isn’t like the others, with effects still very much in use in 2009, trip sensors for scenery, some of which don’t last long enough for the person at the back to see. That being said there are more actors in there this year, however the maze is just too light. A good example is in the diving man scene where someone tries to sneak behind you but the slow strobe lights the room so long, and so bright the whole effect is ruined. The maze is the worst, the combination of poor effects, last of frights and bright moments, it just doesn’t leave you with the wow factor the others do.
Asylum – Still one of the best maze in the park with Seven close on its tail, the Asylum takes you through the world’s worst, well Asylum! Constant strobe lights, many inmates behind cages, in front of you, hanging, there everywhere! The good thing is they don’t pop out and you know they are there at all times, its the disturbing scenes (baby being smashed against a wall) that will get you. And still need to watch out at the end, you will get chased…
There are two new additions for 2009, with the movies bites back in the cinema opening late (this was a little dull) and Saw the Ride comes alive.
Saw is the big new ride for 2009 and with preparation long in place it was a shock not to see a live maze for Saw, instead we get to see it come alive. The problem is those that went for opening have already seen this… A few people dressed in pig heads and someone acting in the trap inside the door. This was a massive disappointment, not what many were hoping as alive and to be fair really didn’t add anything to the ride, the ride however is very good at night.
Overall there was room for improvement, however we had a cracking day with the mazes still generally very good, ride up time was excellent.