A blood-splattered girl blocks the path ahead. ‘What the hell are you?’ shouts the teenage boy leading our group through a ‘horror maze’. Moments ago, this lad was as confident and cocky as Danny Dyer in, well, a Danny Dyer film. ‘They’re only actors,’ he was telling his mates. Minutes later, he’s been reduced to a cowering wimp, reassuring himself with his own words: ‘They’re only actors; they’re only actors.’
Pure terror is what you sign up for at Fright Nights, Thorpe Park’s annual Halloween takeover. Unlike nearby Chessington’s family-friendly Halloween Hocus Pocus, Fright Nights aims to scare the bejesus out of you. And this year, TP has seriously ramped up the fear factor. With the park open until 10pm, there’s the chance to ride the five big roller coasters in the dark. But it’s the four live-action horror mazes that bring in the crowds. These themed walk-through experiences mix gory scenes, clever lighting, an ‘X Factor’ amount of dry ice and 200 actors in a bid to make you jump out of your skin every ten seconds. The actors will touch you, shout at you, tickle you and chase you with chainsaws: (almost) anything to freak you out.
For 2013, Thorpe Park has also teamed up with Lionsgate to recreate some movie franchises in horror maze form. In ‘My Bloody Valentine’, you venture into an abandoned mine hoping not to bump into the gas-masked killer. ‘Saw: Alive’ is filled with people in various states of horrific torture. And ‘Cabin in the Woods’ is the only maze that’s actually a maze, with a choice of different paths to venture down. We found a secret room where we were able to operate effects for other explorers, and then ran into some creepy monsters from the movie.
Be prepared to queue. On our visit, the mazes were all topping an hour’s wait. But if you’ve become immune to trashy horror movies, Fright Nights is the place to test your nerves. If a bunch of mugging and gurning drama-school graduates doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.
Find more Halloween fun
Enjoy Halloween with the kids
Have a frightfully good time with our guide to Halloween for kids in London Halloween in London Find the scariest costumes, the spookiest walks and the freakiest parties to make this Halloween a real treatVisit our guide to Halloween in London Remember a time when scary and exciting meant pretty much the same thing? Your kids live in that time. Let all the squeals of delight and terror out at one of these ten great Halloween events for kids. All Dogs Matter Halloween Dog Walk and Fancy Dress All proceeds from this Halloween dog walk on Hampstead Heath go to the All Dogs Matter charity. There's mulled juice and prizes for best dog and owner fancy dress back at the Spaniards Inn. Boo at the Zoo There are spooky events all through the day at London Zoo, from Halloween versions of the popular regular feeding sessions to storytelling and bat mask-making. You can trespass into Mr Darkmire’s Curiosity Shop of Horrors, while owls fly over your head, or see creepy creatures up close in the Amphitheatre for an Animals in Action show. Disco Kids Spooktacular It's a chance for the whole family to do the monster mash. The Albany celebrates Halloween with DJ Jean Genie and C-12's Wayne Summerbell spinning tunes. Ghostly Goings-On at the Harry Potter Studio Tour There are special – and mostly thoroughly repulsive – additions to the Making of Harry Potter Tour at Warner Bros Studio for Halloween. The Great Hall will be decked as it was for the Halloween feast in 'Harry Potter and the Priso