Scare tactics at Thorpe Park's Fright Nights

Get a taste of terror at this year's most chilling ticket: Thorpe Park’s revamped Fright Nights. We take an extra pair of pants and brave the live horror mazes



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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.

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