Trills By Day, Frights By Night
Six Flags Magic Mountain Brings the Fun and Scares Back to Fright Fest
For 2018, Six Flags Magic Mountain offers some of the most unique scares you can find in Southern California at a price that should make everyone jump for joy. Boasting 6 mazes and 7 scare zones, there is so much to do and experience at this years Fright Fest. Let’s not forget about its world class roller coasters that you get to experience at night! Or even the brand new CraZanity! Monsters and coasters never looked so good!
A reincarnation of the Willoughby family’s beloved haunted mansion that includes hair-raising horror down long harrowing hallways and around each nightmarish-turn.
Willoughby’s Resurrected is a quintessential piece of Fright Fest. It’s story and history have deep roots in the event and it has even inspired one of the best scare zones (adjacent to the maze) Exile Hill! Unfortunately, the scares in this maze were few and far between and it seems as though it’s seen minimal changes in recent years. This is really a shame since it has arguably the best sets in any of the mazes at Fright Fest and some really fun special effects. But those alone can’t it. It also seemed drastically understaffed, going long distances with no monsters but having overly loud pressurized air for scares.
To me, this needs to be the example of what Fright Fest should be! I never want to see this maze leave, but I want to see it evolve, change and continue to improve along with the event itself. This maze has so much potential to be one of the scariest mazes at Fright Fest and I would love to see it become that in the coming years. Long live the Willoughby Family!
Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house you go, but in this fairytale, guests and the wolf are hunted by Red and her demonic minions.
Red’s Revenge is a little long in the tooth, but it still delivers great sets, creepy monsters, and a cool opening moment that ALWAYS freaks people out. I usually stand in the back of the room to watch peoples faces when…NO SPOILERS HERE!
This maze actually has one of my favorite moments in any maze at Fright Fest. It’s when you turn a corner and you see Red standing high atop a tunnel and we are surrounded by her monster minions. It’s a jaw dropping moment that’s grandeur isn’t matched by any other maze at Fright Fest.
This maze hasn’t seen much change since it debut at Fright Fest. Although it was a hit right out of the gates doesn’t mean it should go untouched.
I would love to see this maze get the same treatment that Willoughby’s and Aftermath got; and that’s a sequel! It’s a great way to reinvigorate a maze, especially one that has so many cool aspects and moments.
AFTERMATH 2: CHAOS RISING
The city of Ash Valley is threatened with the release of a dangerous virus.
Still one of my favorites, Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising is one of the biggest mazes I’ve ever seen at any haunt. The sheer size is incredible and it really feels like the apocalypse has come to Southern California. SFMM reused some of the larger sets from the older Batman Stunt show that use to be at the park to help fill out this attraction; and it really helps build upon the story!
This type of concept for a maze allows a lot of latitude when it comes to scenic design. The apocalypse doesn’t have any particular look or feel, so the designers take it upon themselves to build what they believe it would look like. Piles of rubble, burnt and crashed cars, fire effects and mutated creatures. Everything added together really helps build a sense of urgency and panic; especially the loud fire effects.
This year, SFMM seemed to have spent a good amount of money for this maze. I noticed a lot of the scare actors were wearing Immortal Masks, which are some of the best in the business. With the additional of these improvements, I think Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising continues to be one of the more impressive mazes at Fright Fest.
Experience the maze from the new movie, Hell Fest, where all of your screams come true… Will you make it out alive?
Ugh…where do I start? I have to say, this was the one maze I was most excited for at Fright Fest this year. I’ve been pumped for the movie and I thought this maze was going to be a perfect primer for the film. Unfortunately it just did not deliver. A major reason for this was because it was essentially the prior years maze with some minor things added.
Last year, this location was home to Vault 666; which was an impressive maze. It was incredibly unnerving and had some great scares. This year it seemed as though they left the prior sets and props up and just changed a few things and changed the name. I was really expecting Fright Fest to blow it out of the water with this maze and I guess my high expectations are a reason why I was so let down.
In recent years, Fright Fest has been delivering high quality experiences, which is why I’m expecting so much from them. I would like to point out that I hadn’t seen the movie at all. So when SFMM boasted this as “the maze from the movie” it could very well be 100% accurate! I could be wrong! I will have to wait and find out when I go see the film.
SEWER OF SOULS
Sewer of Souls takes guests into an underground world of lost souls and terrifying tunnels where evil oozes.
New for 2018 and my favorite maze of the night, Sewer of Souls was nearly perfect in every way for me. It was silly, fun, campy and most importantly scary. It isn’t anything more than it needs to be and it revels in it. I really miss the days of black light and chroma depth mazes because they are just so much fun! I was so delighted to know that Sewer of Souls was going to be just that! Something about wearing those glasses really put me on edge because my peripherals were completely taken away. I think most of the scares in this maze actually utilize the lack of peripherals and come at you from the sides. I found myself jumping a lot and loved every second of it.
The stand out moment in this maze was a portion where you find yourself walking on a narrow wooden board above (what seems to be) a deep pit filled with water. This moment had me completely elated! The effect was extremely…effective. I found myself trying to be extra careful where I stepped because unconsciously I believed I was actually precariously walking above a pit filled with sewer water!
CONDEMNED – FOREVER DAMNED
A NEW MAZE full of horrific haunts of a dilapidated home where the walls are alive and the spirits of those who once lived there unleash their fury of anyone who dares enter.
Another new maze for 2018, Condemned – Forever Damned continues the trend of bringing high quality mazes to Fright Fest and a great addition to the park. With fun special effects, great maze/set design and energetic monsters; Condemned is one of the best in the park.
Condemned introduces some really fun moments that are great for scares and just keep the guests guessing though their experience. As a seasoned haunt goer, there were even moments where I found myself cowering and even jumping at the scares. I think what Condemned succeeds in the most is allowing it’s scare actors flexibility with their scare tactics. I came across many monsters that we able to utilize their surrounds better than any other maze I’d see during the night. This helps a lot of unpredictability and also helps with repeatability. I believe that one coming to Fright Fest more than one night will find that the scares in Condemned will be changing through the run of the event.
All around, Condemned hit all the beats I’d expect from ANY haunt. If this is the type of quality Fright Fest will continue to produce, I am very excited about the event’s future.
The scare zones at Fright Fest are the reason I love this event so much. If people were to ask me why they should attend Fright Fest, I would point them to the scare zones. A big reason why these scare zones are incredible is because of the amazing work of Scott Ramp. The prosthetics and make up done by Scott Ramp and his Scream Team are second to none and the best in Southern California. Although imaginative, I don’t think the scare zones at Fright Fest would be as effective without these prosthetics.
Roaming Scare Actors
Through the night, I was happy to come across two groups of roaming “hoards” of monsters. One was a group of Vampires and the other was a group of Goblins. Although I like the concept of the roaming hoards, they need to be much bigger to have a true effect.
Having a handful of monsters roaming the park is cool in concept, but the executions lacks when there is really only 3-5 in each group.
Steam-spewing mechanical beasts relentlessly hunt down their victims.
Steam punk monsters roam the scare zone with the most fog, which is extremely fitting. I absolutely love the decorations in this scare zone. Steam punk doesn’t illicit thoughts of gore and blood right off the bat. BUT they have it here!
Wonderful costume design, impeccable make up, incredible lighting and over all amazing ambiance, Terrortory Twisted is not to be missed!
The dead have risen and are looking for new souls to take on this dark and sinister hill.
An iconic scare zone to Fright Fest, Exile Hill is filled with Fog and quiet possibly the scariest and most intense of all the scare zones at the event. It’s very reminiscent of Ghost Town at Knott’s Scary Farm; in the sense that it’s incredibly hard to see at times and the monsters get right up in your face.
The monsters in this scare zone are moving around so fast that it’s impossible to take a photo of them in their naturally dark habitat. Even Innocence and her slow walk are sometimes hard to photograph because of the fog.
Since the lighting on Exile Hill is so minimal, it’s actually difficult to distinguish who is a monster and who is a regular guests. This really helps put people on edge as they walk through, and it’s much easier to scare them when in that state. Although it might be tough to get to, Exile Hill is worth all the extra effort to get there.
NIGHTMARES: A TWISTED FANTASY
This evil nightmare has never been so edgy as your favorite bedtime stories take on a new and twisted tale.
This is by far the best scare zone at Fright Fest, Nightmares is able to perfectly mix whimsical characters and set pieces with a overwhelming sense of doom. These characters don’t shy way from talking to guests as they pass through the zone, and will confront them with some interesting conversations.
I think that’s what sets itself apart from the rest of the scare zones, character. The scare zone has so much character to it, it’s hard not to like it! Each and every scare actor in this scare zone act, speak, and move differently which helps it’s chaotic nature.
Outside of Exile Hill and City Under Siege, Nightmares is a great example of the versatility of Scott Ramp and his Scream Team’s prosthetic work. Each character are unique in design and color! With the addition of the black light, each and every detail of the makeup and costumes play a roll. No detail is left unnoticed here!
The bright glowing greens, yellows, oranges and whites are eye popping and a great addition to an over all dark area. What I love most is that a lot of the characters have contacts that allow their eyes to glow in the black light as well. There is something so unnerving and unnatural about coming face to face with monsters with glowing eyes. It really adds another level to this area.
Welcome to HELL…be prepared for your mind and body to be completely taken over by the evil spirits that await you.
A completely different type of black light scare zone, Demon’s Door is a perfect zone in juxtaposition to Nightmares. It’s much darker, more sinister and the monsters DEFINITELY don’t joke around. These sword wielding demons are fierce and will get right in your face.
The scare actors take their craft extremely seriously (the same in all the zones) and you can feel the difference. They have even given themselves demon names! When visiting Fright Fest, you might hear the names: Irascantur, Demonia, Mortem, Baby Demon and many others while venturing through this scare zone. I find when scare actors take their make up and flesh it out into their own characters, it really brings scare zones to another level. Truly bringing characters to life, instead of just simple monsters scaring people.
I could sit in this scare zone all night long and watch these Demons scare the pants off of people! These guys/gals are great at what they do and pair that with the high energy music, Demon’s Door is simply the perfect scare zone to welcome victims…errr GUESTS to Fright Fest.
CITY UNDER SIEGE
Back by popular demand. The unruly comic-like characters run rampart in the streets of DC UNIVERSE.
I was so happy to hear the clowns were returning to the DC Universe area. With two years of Suicide Squad, I was ready to have these crazy monsters return! This was the scare zone that made me fall in love with the Fright Fest scare zones in the first place. Wonderfully atmospheric and filled with extremely talented scare actors, City Under Siege is the perfect concept for the DC Universe.
The unpredictable nature of these monsters really make you feel on edge and even I was looking over my should to make sure nobody was following me. Due to the terrain, this area is perfect for sliding! I saw plenty of clowns terrorizing guests as they tried to pass though the zone. It’s truly a wonderful sight to see!
Overall, the lighting in the zone was okay. It didn’t seem to stand up next to many of the other scare zones. I would love to see this zone get even more dark, especially near the back by Batman. So even if there aren’t any scare actors in the back of the area, guests will still feel as though they are susceptible to any scare.
Regardless of minor flaws, I am so happy to have these clowns back in the DC Universe to retain their rightful spot at Fright Fest. These clowns are fast, funny and scary! The perfect combination of any clown scare zone!
Eerie whispers, long windy howls and mysterious gory creatures lurk among us.
New to Fright Fest this year, The Shadows was promised to me ultra gory and haunting. I thought it kinda lived up to those sentiments. Although this scare zone had wonderful atmosphere, I felt as though the concept was a bit lost in the execution. I wasn’t quiet sure what the props had to do with the name and how it all tied into hillbillies. It was never explicitly said it had hillbillies in it, but all the characters in the scare zone spoke with thick southern accents and wore overalls with plaid shirts.
If this scare zone returns next year, I would love to see it improve on clarifying the story and concept for the zone. It has great make up and atmosphere, but I know Fright Fest can take it to the next level.
Step into a wicked haven for cauldrons, broomsticks, spells and magic.
Also new for 2018, Witches Lair takes the place of Damned and Disguised: Change Before Your Eyes; which was in front of The Justice League Ride. Our problems with Damned and Disguised was the lack of props for scare actors to interact with as well as break up the swarms of people.
We are happy to report that it seems as though SFMM has heard those complaints and built a new scare zone with that in mind. Witches Lair includes many props, including large trees built especially for the scare zone. It helps set the tone perfect when those trees are perfectly backlit with the fog rolling through them.
In the center of the scare zone was a small structure built so guests can enter and wander around, allowing monsters to hide behind corners and wait for the guests to come to them! I know this year and in the past, we’ve complained about Halloween Horror Nights doing something similar to this. The one major difference between this and Horror Nights is that there are multiple paths to take in Witches Lair. You are not forced to walk in one path the entire time and if you choose to reenter the structure, then you can do so anywhere around its perimeter. With Horror Nights, you have to walk all the way to the beginning! The free form nature of this really allowed for a ton of scares to occur and there was no shortage of people screaming and literally running as far as possible from the witches and other monsters that inhabited this area.
We loved this new addition and would love to see it grow for next years Fright Fest.
Pros and Cons
This years Fright Fest at Magic Mountain is truly one of the best in recent memory. With the addition of two new high quality mazes and scare zones, Fright Fest is a must see event in Southern California.
One of the only complaints of the night was that it felt as though there were long stretches of nothing between scare zones. This park is massive and it’s hard to decorate and theme every square inch. The fact that they do so much is already a major accomplishment on its own. I just know it would be great to see some atmospheric lighting in the areas with no scare zones, just as a reminder that we are at Fright Fest! Even if there are no scare actors in sight, I want to feel the Halloween vibes through the park.
Lastly, we need to see changes to returning mazes. For those who visit Fright Fest year after year, even if it’s a small change, altering mazes helps in their longevity. Red’s Revenge, although fantastic, really feels as though the doors closed last year and the doors reopened this year with no changes. The mazes we all know and love at Fright Fest deserve some TLC each year.
With the ever growing quality of maze design, set design and everything in between, Fright Fest is really making a lasting impression on the thousands of people who come to the park every Fall. The improvements made over the past couple of years makes us crazy fans excited for the future of this event.
For more information and tickets for Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain, make sure to head over to: SixFlags.com