Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain is back! The event runs from September 10th – October 31st and features 6 Haunted Houses, 8 scare zones, and different pieces of entertainment. For us, Fright Fest is always a favorite simply because of one thing, the scare actors. The raw passion and dedication that these folks not only put into their scare tactics but also their characters is astounding. Now, not all guests will have similar experiences and have the opportunity to have one on one character moments. But when they do happen, they leave a lasting impression. Additionally, the make-up and prosthetics done by Scott Ramp and The Scream Team are second to none. It gives Fright Fest its own flair and personality that not many haunts have.
The 8 scare zones are: The Dead Zone, Terror Rising: Dark Developments, City Under Siege, The Devil’s Triangle, CarnivHELL, Exile Hill, TERRORtory Twisted, and Nightmares. This is where Fright Fest really thrives. The character interactions are second to none. Our moments with Lorraine Lurane in Nightmares is seriously a major highlight of each year. This years newest scare zone The Devil’s Triangle takes these interactions to the next level with a storyline that connects all the characters together. This culminates in a (multiple times a night) show that gives the backstory of the zone. But, often the characters will feed you bits of information as you pass through the zone. We thought this was a nice twist on the typical scare zone at Fright Fest. While we love a traditional scare zone, it’s always nice to see SFMM taking risks even if they don’t succeed.
The other new scare zone this year is CarnivHELL. This was one of our favorites of the night because of the actors and it was highly populated. Characters that will take a moment to creep you out and put you on edge only for the other to knock you down with a great jump scare. Our only major issue with the zone is it’s location. We wandered through CarnivHELL twice and each time it seemed as though people didn’t even know there was a scare zone in Bugs Bunny World. It seems like an odd logistical choice to put a scare zone off the beaten path instead of the highly populated main thoroughfare. This is something we’ve brought up multiple times in reviews past.
SFMM is a massive plot of land which is very difficult to cover completely in scare zones. But with strategically placing scare zones in specific areas, it would feel that much more cohesive than it does now. Placing CarnivHELL on the main pathway towards Goliath would be a great change. Also placing Terror Rising in a more populated area. Coming down from Viper and X2 is usually very vacant and doesn’t give the talented actors and actresses many opportunities to torture guests.
Additionally, scare zones that have great aesthetic and style need to be expanded upon. We love the style and tone of The Dead Zone. The prosthetics and neon glow works so well next to the cars of West Coast Racers. But we’d love to see the props and lighting expanded to the area instead of a small gauntlet style scare zone. Or add the much needed additional cast to make areas feel more populated. For example, after the addition of Wonder Woman: Flight of Courage the landscape of City Under Siege has changed pretty drastically. No longer do we have the narrow pathway for the sliders to scare guests. Now it’s much more open and this year feels a bit barren. It seems that this year is a transitionary period for this scare zone, but over all it seems that certain scare zones got priority in terms of cast and there should be an even amount spread throughout for better experiences across the board.
If you’ve never attended Fright Fest at SFMM, something to keep in mind is that mazes are an up charge experience. Because Fright Fest isn’t a separately ticketed event, the up-charge is on the mazes only.
This year, Fright Fest has 6 mazes: Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising, Sewer of Souls, Condemnd: Forever Damned, Vault 666: Unlocked, Willoughby’s Resurrected, and the newest maze Truth or Dare. Unfortunately when we attended Fright Fest, Truth or Dare was not opened yet. Which we find a bit odd because the event had been running a couple of weekends and the newest attraction hadn’t opened. We were very disappointed but we will be going back to experience the maze and updating our review once we’ve experienced it. Outside of the new maze, this years offerings were a mixed bag of experiences. Some good surprises and others not the greatest.
The Willoughby’s Family mansion tale unfolds before you eyes at this once-affluent Victorian mansion that’s become a haven to evil spirits. Presented by SNICKERS®.
Willoughby’s Resurrected is a main stay of Fright Fest. It has seen many iterations over the years and this year is no different. This year, it has received some nice adjustments and changes. If this maze was played more subtly, it could be the perfect creepy haunted house experience. Which, because of it’s sets and sound design, would work perfectly.
Unfortunately, many of the scares in this house are far from subtle and have me grabbing my ears rather than scaring me. This maze has SO MUCH potential to be a haunt classic across SoCal. I’d love to see maximum effort put into this maze so it can become it.
Vault 666: Unlocked
Demonic relics and obsolete oddities are locked in an abandoned vault in this dark and sinister antique shop. Presented by 3 Musketeers®.
Not going to lie, last time I went through this maze…I wasn’t that impressed. It felt long in the tooth and just a random assortment of scenes. While the story might be a bit convoluted, we had so much fun in this maze. Lots of great visual gags as well as just overly creepy scenes. Many of them putting me on edge and just giving me the creeps. Not many mazes are capable of doing that to me anymore, yet the talent in this maze was absolutely crushing it.
Condemned – Forever Damned
Beware the souls of those who lived in this dilapidated home. Presented by TWIX®.
The last time we walked through Condamned was in 2018. At the time we were extremely impressed with the set and maze design. But since then, not much has changed. If anything, the lighting has somehow gotten darker. To the point where in some scenes its somewhat hard to make out whats happening. Additionally this maze felt understaffed. We aren’t sure if we caught a staff change right in the middle, but we had long stints without running into any monsters at all. While wandering an abandoned dilapidated house is creepy on its own. we’d rather do it with some monsters lurking in the corners.
Sewer of Souls
Vanish into an underground world of lost souls and terrifying funnels where evil oozes and creatures taunt. Presented by M&Ms®.
The Sewer of Souls is a traditional haunted house in many senses of the word. Utilizing chroma depth paint to visually confuse the guests; you traverse through colorful sewers with many sight gags. In 2018, when it debuted, we thought that the maze brought a breathe of fresh air to the event. Bringing some much needed fun and creativity to the maze lineup. In 2022, it feels like the luster on this one is starting to wear off. There are still great wow moments like the illusion of walking on a plank of wood high above water. But other than that, the scares were few and far between. I feel like the Fright Fest team could easily tweak this maze to really make it sing.
Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising
The city of Ash Valley is threatened with the release of a deadly poison. Presented by Milky Way®.
Single handedly the largest maze of any haunted attraction in SoCal, Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising puts its guests right in the middle of a zombie outbreak. While visually really appealing, it feels like so much of what made this maze fun and unique was taken away. At one point, they were using Immortal Masks for some of the monsters. This year it was replaced with light blood splatter and black/white makeup to make them look ghostly. Along side Willoughby’s Resurrected, I feel like Aftermath could easily be one of the mazes Fright Fest can be notable for, yet it feels like it’s’ forgotten about.
Every year we attend Fright Fest, we leave with a massive smile on our faces. The unique and tailored experiences we end up receiving makes all the difference. While maybe the event doesn’t reach the heights of a Scary Farm or HHN; they revel in what makes them unique. The unique character interactions their guests leave with is something that is so very unique to Fright Fest. Yes, you can receive very similar experiences at other haunts. But it never really matches what the actors and actresses are capable of doing here at Fright Fest. With that being said, is 2022 the best year for Fright Fest? No, it isn’t. But is it their worst? Not even close! There are many areas of the park that are in “transitionary” periods which greatly affects the Fright Fest product. But, there are many aspects to the event that we do expect to be adjusted next year. One major aspect is scare zone locations. This can greatly affect guest experiences and we think if scare zones were more appropriately placed, it would make the event feel so much better. Secondly, we’d love to see the scare tactic by the monsters at the event vary. Right now, it just feels like a lot of people are screaming at us. While a loud sudden noise can be startling. Not every scare needs to be that nor does a startle scream scare work every time. Third, there needs to be an even balance of talent across the board at the event. Some scare zones felt so populated (which is wonderful) but other zones felt like they were begging to have more talent to fill the spaces.
Ultimately, at this price point, there really is no other deal in town as good as Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain. A lot of people attend Fright Fest because they’re buck goes a bit further. But just because that may be the case, doesn’t mean that the scare zone and mazes that are returning don’t get a bit of love to ensure a good experience in the coming years.
At the end of the day, did we have fun? You bet your butt we did! There is a unique special feeling at Fright Fest that cannot be copied. Is it the thin air at the top of Samurai Summit? Possibly. Or is it the pure creativity of the team involved that makes Fright Fest feel like a halloween/horror lovers playground? I’m inclined to think it’s the latter.
FOR TICKET INFORMATION REGARDING SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN AND FRIGHT FEST, CLICK HERE