To celebrate 20 years of Fright Nights, Thorpe Park has started offering limited availability VIP Tours of this year's mazes, Trailers, Platform 15: End Of The Line and Creek Freak Massacre in a new package called Behind The Screams Tours. Costing £50 per person, you go behind the scenes of the mazes, get an entry ticket to experience the maze later on in the day and you get to pick an exclusive poster to take home or receive a set of postcards depending on what tour you experienced!
The first stop on the Behind the Scenes tour is Containment, the location where Thorpe Park filmed the promo videos for this year's event. With almost everything left in place, you walk into the film studio with the 20th birthday balloon still hanging from the ceiling, the desk left empty and all of the posters plastered on the wall were ripped up to make it more spooky.
Previously this space was used for an escape room, however, with Containment being sent to the Fright Nights graveyard a few years ago this space has remained empty for a few years.
In the room adjacent to the finale of Containment / the filming room, lots of previous costumes worn by actors were shown off. If careful enough guests were also offered the opportunity to try on some of the costumes. Some of the costumes shown off were from The Big Top, the original Amity High jackets, Walking Dead Living Nightmare and the dentist from Containment to name a few.
On the walls around the room, signs had been installed outlining the history of Fright Nights, from when the event started back in 2001 with The Freezer through to 2021. All of the logos for mazes and how long they were operational could be seen on the displays. It's amazing to think how many mazes/attractions Fright Nights has been through throughout the years.
A big part of the second room was about the process of the brief, designing and development of Trailers. As seen on some of the boards, Thorpe Park has shown the development of the mazes logo going from a simple design to what we have today. Each area of the maze pays homage to old attractions and mazes without naming them for example, Bozo's Playzone has the past references of The Big Top, featuring easter eggs such as Big Top posters and audio playing in the scene. From Jungle Escape to Trailers the whole building was gutted removing all of the theming and walls to create a clean slate for Trailers. A small selection of photos showing the maze being built can also be found on the walls.
After around half an hour of wandering around looking at old signs that had been brought back out, looking at old props and asking questions we wandered over to our mazes for our behind the screams tour. Two tours can be booked, one with just Trailers and the containment museum and the other which has Creek Freak, Platform 15 and a visit to containment.
Platform 15: End Of The Line, since being installed in 2016 the maze has seen some big changes. From the route you take through the maze being reversed, new theming elements installed such as the creepy cottage house halfway through and multiple different entrances and endings to the maze, the maze has been a Fright Nights staple. Let's hope the conductor has finally found peace!
To signal the end of Platform 15 the maze has received a new name for its final year 2021. Platform 15: End Of The Line.
Starting off at the entrance to the maze, we walked through the long black tunnel that shields guests from Saw The Ride and any items that could be dropped by people on the ride. Fun fact, if needed this tunnel can be collapsed into itself to allow for emergency access to Saw The Ride or any maintenance tasks. New for 2021, more theming was added to the side of the banks, children could be seen winging on a swing and playing on a seesaw. Taking the route that the old Canada Creek Railway took, the maze lasts for around 10 minutes, walking next to the old Loggers Leap track and lift hill at multiple points.
When talking to our VIP host, the fence huge fences towards the end of the attraction that actors hit and kick to create jump scares have had to be replaced multiple times since it was first installed due to damage. It might be the attractions last year, but the floor in the creepy cottage has also been replaced for 2021. Some new props can also be seen in the cottage, don't be fooled into thinking the cakes look nice, they seem to be made of concrete! A quick glimpse into the old train shed where the old Canada Creek Railway trains were stored shows that after the attraction was closed in 2011 the trains still remain in the shed untouched.
The biggest bit of theming for Platform 15 has always been the old Canada Creek Railway train. In 2020 the front of the train was pushed onto its side to create more of an obstacle and to give actors another location to scare guests. The first carriage of the train was also slightly moved to create a diversion.
Since the train was first used in 2016, more black paint has been added to create the effect of tar exploding over the train. Looking back at photos of what the maze first looked like the train looks completely different.
Other interesting facts about the maze include the lights towards the end of the maze, these were actually used as part of the Canada Creek Railway. The fake train, that flashes a bright white light at the new ending of the maze, has the front of one of the CCR trains and the shell of an even older train behind it. And you end the maze at the old CCR train station, the words please mind the gap has been painted on the station platform for years.
Platform 15: End of the Line has finally met its death. And might soon be replaced by a new rollercoaster code-named Project Exodus.
Codenamed Project Korn, Creek Freak Massacre is a maze located in the old Loggers Leap ride station. New for 2019, the maze was unfortunately closed for 2020 due to coronavirus. However, with restrictions lifted slightly during the 2021 season the maze can reopen following a few changes inside. Nothing major has changed inside the maze however a few more ventilation shafts have been installed.
Starting in the pre showroom where you are met by one of the sawmill workers, some of the photos on the side are photos of people involved in the design and making of the attraction. With the house lights on, you can see queue line fences from the old loggers leap ride are still there, but now holding up the exterior walls. This is visible in the first corridor of the attraction. Down the first corridor, there are sliding panels that actors can use to scare guests, however, these have never been used. Just like in the tunnel there are places that actors can touch guests but have not been used outside of press nights.
Due to operational reasons, the "spinning axe" in the room where someone is beneath the table has been removed however, this has been replaced with a chainsaw. Which we think works better! Old theming from Saw Alive has also been recycled into this attraction, some of the cogs from the old Saw maze have been installed in the roof of this scene.
When the Loggers Leap station was converted into the maze, the trough for the old log flume ride was covered over, meaning the trough is still underneath. Loggers Leap is yet to be removed at all, the hoist system to remove boats is still installed and the control panel for the ride is still installed. No photos were allowed in the old op booth but there's a cool old school Mack Rides plaque on the panel. Towards the final section of the maze, a new fence has been installed to stop guests from just walking out, now guests will walk around the last scene before being chased out by a chainsaw.
The end scene to Creek Freak Massacre is the old on-ride photos booth, behind the new walls installed for the maze, all of the boards where your photo would be displayed on a screen remain. An interesting fact we never knew before is that for every chainsaw in a maze there has to be at least one backup for each chainsaw in use.
We really enjoyed our behind the scenes tour, being able to take a proper look around the mazes with the lights on and no actors running around trying to scare you is a great way for scare enthusiasts to experience the full package. Our negative point with the tours this year was spots were really limited and the value per package was very mixed. On one tour you would get to see 2 mazes, and the other package you would only do Trailers, which we understand is because the maze is new. Since maze entry was included, the duo package seemed more worth the money as you get £20 worth of maze tickets included. We think that Annual Pass Discount should be applied on these tours, as an incentive for AP holders. We are so pleased that photos could be taken throughout the tours, as this is normally something that can only happen at press events, and seeing all of those extra details in the light was a great touch. The running time of the tour was great and we had plenty of time to explore both mazes, we hope this is something that Thorpe Park brings back for next year's Fright Nights.
Fright Nights 20 years of Fear was a big year, we are so pleased we got to experience these mazes behind the scenes!