Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest.  It has probably been over two decades since I’ve been to a Fright Fest, last one being on the East Coast, so I was interested in seeing what Magic Mountain had to offer.  My first impressions were positive as this event was a massive undertaking that spanned the entire theme park and I could tell that the people putting it on were very passionate about making Fright Fest into what it is. First up, we go into the details of each of the mazes followed by the scare zones we got to experience.  Although there was only one new maze this year, AFTERMATH 2: CHAOS RISING, this was Nightmarish Conjurings first time going so each maze was new to us.  Without further ado…

SynopsisChaos reigns as renegades threaten to overtake the city and release a deadly virus… 

To say this maze is large is an understatement, it’s mammoth.  The maze has a lot to offer in terms of intricate set design and special effects.  However, though it was a very large scale maze we often found ourselves getting lost or confused as to where we were going.  I enjoyed the scares of this house and it was quite apparent that a lot of time and effort went into making this maze one of the premiere ones at Fright Fest.  What I didn’t like, was the constant yelling from the scare actors telling us to “Move, Move, Move” to the point where they would stop us to yell in our faces.  At one point, a scare actor got in the face of one of our group members and wouldn’t allow him to move forward.  This could have ended badly, however, our friend was able to brush it off.  I think that AFTERMATH 2: CHAOS RISING has a lot of potential and is a fun maze to experience.  I enjoyed seeing the pyrotechnics go off as well as being scared from the few scare actors that were hidden in areas that I didn’t see.  Overall, this is one of the better houses to attend at Fright Fest.

Synopsis: There’s hair raising terror around each nightmarish turn and dreadful screams down the long twisting hallways.

This was hands down one of my favorite haunts at Fright Fest.  I loved the background story of the Mansion as well as the set design.  The atmosphere was very reminiscent of my all-time favorite Disney ride, “The Haunted Mansion.”  What set this haunt apart from the others was the fact that I couldn’t see where a lot of the scare actors were coming from.  This is so rare nowadays and whoever was responsible for Willoughby’s Resurrected did a fantastic job of making sure you couldn’t see where the actors were coming from.  Also, the detail that went into the design, as well as the costume and makeup of the actors, was top notch.  I liked that the maze offered a photo opportunity when you entered; however, it was one of the main causes for this house having such a long line.  When you exit the maze you can view the picture that was taken and purchase it to bring home, but this led to the line being backed up and it caused people to get easily irritated.  I would suggest in the future to have this area for off to the side so as to not cause any traffic jams with the exiting of the maze.  Overall, Willoughby’s Ressurected was tied as one of my favorite mazes at Fright Fest.

Synopsis: Dare to roam the haunted gardens of the Willoughby family.  This dense labyrinth of man eating plants and evil apparitions is no playground for the faint of heart.  

I think haunts that resemble creepy gardens are some of the coolest experiences to be had. However, with Willoughby’s Garden of Darkness, there was an immense amount of loss opportunity here.  This haunt had no design to it other than being covered in the same foliage throughout.  Granted, this gave the actors opportunities to hide within the foliage but it did nothing to make the experience enticing.  I’ve had the opportunity to go through some amazing haunts that were designed around forbidden gardens and they have been top notch and I feel as though if the designers had put in a bit more effort to really make this maze feel like a garden it could have resulted in being a successful attraction.  Yes, I was scared a few times but as I left the maze I felt more disappointment than anything else.  I hope next year if they do the same haunt they put some time and effort into cultivating this into something that isn’t just foliage thrown over the walls of the maze.  Overall, if you need to skip out on a maze at Fright Fest, this would be the one to skip.

Synopsis: Come face to face with this elusive blood-thirsty creature as it terrorizes a local Dia de los Muertos festival.  

I really wanted to love this haunt.  I’ve always been fascinated with the legend of the Chupacabra so I had high hopes for this.  What I really enjoyed about this maze was the set design, both leading indoors and outdoors, as well as the amazing makeup and costume designs.  However, one of the biggest pet peeves with this was the use of the fog.  At times it was so thick that you couldn’t see anything inches in front of you.  Not only would this be a huge hindrance for anyone that has a handicap but also to the scare actors who end up accidentally running into guests because they can’t see where they are going (which happened to me).  This haunt had so much potential but I think it just needed that extra push to take it to the next level.  There were a few hiding spots that the actors were located at that I didn’t see and for that I will give credit where credit is due, but for a house that had the opportunity to be so much more, it fell short.  Overall, I wouldn’t necessarily say skip this house but if time is of the essence make sure to leave this one till the end of your evening.

Synopsis: Over the hill and through the woods to grandmother’s house you go. 

Other than Willoughby’s Resurrected, this house tied for my favorite of the evening.  I loved seeing the Grimm Fairy Tale of Little Red Riding Hood played out in a dark and sinister way and the people behind RED’S REVENGE pulled out all the stops to make this haunt one hell of an experience.  My only critique is that I wish there had been more scares.  The strongest aspect of this maze was the set design, it was far superior than any other haunt at Fright Fest and has left quite an impression on me, but where they strived to kick ass with their design, they lacked in their ability to scare the guests.  However, I’m willing to look past that because of not only their design but the cohesive story that was shown from start to finish, with an added surprise in the beginning.  The only other downside to this haunt is the wait time. Because of a surprise opening, the lines don’t move as fast as the other haunts, so I would definitely urge  you to hit up RED’S REVENGE first so as to make sure you aren’t standing in line waiting for hours.

Synopsis: If you dare to enter, be aware of your surroundings at all times.  Unknown animal like screams have been heard deep within the unsecured vault.  

Like RED’S REVENGE, VAULT 666 has an added surprise in the beginning that really sets the tone for the entire experience.  This was another haunt that was designed very meticulously with noteworthy attention to detail and one of the better haunts we experienced at Fright Fest. I really love when scare actors, or actors in general, participate and interact with the audience and this maze definitely went above and beyond for that.  VAULT 666 had a lot of fantastic scares and unique hiding places for the actors and I enjoyed hearing my boyfriend get surprised by creatures lurking about.  I was bummed that I didn’t get to truly experience this maze to the full potential but that was not the fault of Fright Fest but due to the teenagers behind us that kept ramming into my boyfriend and I.  It wasn’t until I had to yell at them to back off that I finally got to experience how awesome this haunt was, but unfortunately by that time were were towards the end.  Overall, this is definitely one of the better haunts and I would make sure to hit this one up right after RED’S REVENGE as it can also have long lines due to the beginning show.  Luckily, RED’S REVENGE and VAULT 666 are close together so you should have no problems hitting those up first.

Synopsis: This defunct toy factor is now haunted by a chilling turn of events that took place when the admired inventor went psychotic, adding demented spirits to his beloved toys.

I notoriously am not a fan of 3D haunted houses.  I’ve never really understood their purpose and for the most part I don’t really enjoy them.  I will give Toyz of Terror 3D cred though as they did put together a visual maze that was entertaining to walk through.  Clowns are one of the few things that really creep me out so it’s always an adventure when you come face to face with one and I did so many times in this haunt.  I enjoyed how interactive the scare actors were as well as the design of each of the rooms we went through.  I have found that 3D haunted houses typically aren’t scary but there were a few times where I got surprised because the actors were expertly hidden within the walls.  This definitely wasn’t the best house that I went through but it was at the top of the chain of mazes to go to and at the end of the day was enjoyable, and that’s what matters doesn’t it?  Overall, you should definitely give this one a run through as its near RED’S REVENGE and VAULT 666 so once you exit VAULT 666 it’s easy to walk over to this.


This scare zone was the big draw of the night as many people wanted to see some of their favorite characters from the Warner Bros. Motion Picture SUICIDE SQUAD.  The problem with this though was the massive amount of people wanting to see the Joker and Harley Quinn, which resulted in large clusters of people not moving or allowing people the chance to get close for pictures. Something that I’ve come to find out about this Fright Fest is that one of their strongest attributes is their creative department, especially makeup and costume.  The characters that we got to see – Joker, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc and Katana, looked as though they stepped right out of the cinematic film and I couldn’t help but be impressed with the amount of work that went into making these characters come to life.  It was also pretty cool to see the fire show inspired by the Diablo character in this area.  I think had there not been hordes of people (or me running into a fire hydrant) this would have been a cool area to sit in and take in all that was happening.

The Ruins Scare Zone is located right at the AFTERMATH 2 maze entrance and like the maze, it had a lot of zombie-like people walking around.  I didn’t get to spend too much time in this area as we were being shuttled off to the next maze but as I mentioned many time throughout this review, the makeup and costumes were top-notch.

TERRORtory Twisted
This was a scare zone that I wasn’t able to get too the night I was at Fright Fest, but from the pictures I’ve seen, it looked spectacular.  I’m a fan of Steampunk and anything that is designed in that vein is good in my book.  If you get to check out this scare zone let us know and tweet or tag us in your pictures!  We would love to know what you think!

This scare zone is right when you enter Fright Fest and was one that I found myself really enjoying.  Whether it was creatures running after innocent bystanders or monsters on stilts, I was immediately sucked into this hellish nightmare.  Again, the makeup and costumes were incredible and as a whole I loved being in this area.

Again, this was a scare zone that I wasn’t able to get too that night.  I’m sure the makeup and costumes were fantastic as that was a common theme that was seen throughout Fright Fest.  If you get to check out this scare zone let us know and tweet or tag us in your pictures!

This was a really cool scare zone and it’s located far atop the hill of Skyzone.  My group and I had taken some time to rest here and while doing so got to take in the scenery.  My boyfriend and I were immediately mesmerized by one scare actor who was putting on a quite a performance in a tree.  The entire area had a really creepy undertone and it was one that I enjoyed being in for quite some time.

Who doesn’t like a good scary fantasy?  Black lights were aglow in this scare zone and Alice was definitely not the cheerful innocent girl from Wonderland.  My boyfriend had a lot of interaction with the scare actors in this zone and it resulted in some pretty hilarious snapchats. This is definitely one of the funner scare zones to be in and one that is fun to people watch in.

Overall, Six Flags Fright Fest was definitely an interesting experience.  I would love to know more about the haunts and who designs them as it almost looked like each haunt was created by separate haunt owners.  I think that Fright Fest had a lot of opportunities to grow and it’s getting there but just needs more of a push.  Some of these mazes were some of the best designed one I’ve seen thus far at any park that I’ve gone too so it’s apparent that Six Flags has some real talent.  When it comes to the makeup/costumes/special effects, this is an area that they really shine because I haven’t seen anything like it.  I think that if Fright Fest could get the right group of people to push them in the right direction this could be one of the premiere Halloween events to go to, they just need some more guidance and help.  All in all, I would like to see what Fright Fest does in the future and I hope that they continue to grow with their talent because there is something special here, it just needs to be cultivated more.

For more information on Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest, visit their website and follow them on social media on FACEBOOKTWITTER, and INSTAGRAM.

Shannon McGrew
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