Last weekend I got the opportunity to check out this year’s Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest. While last year had been my first year, it didn’t seem like there was much in the way of change going into this year’s incarnation of the frightful event. What announcements that had been made were made earlier last week and, for the most part, it looked like the only thing new was a potentially revamped past maze in Vault 666 Unlocked. Upon attending this year’s Fright Fest, it seemed that the scares inside the mazes we were able to attend were a vast improvement from the previous year and more consistent.
Now, with that all said, the following is my review of each of the haunts and scare zones in the order that I went through:
SEWER OF SOULS – MAZE
Description: Dare to enter a foul-smelling wretched wasteland, sure to raise a few hairs…luring you in and then leaving you to fend for yourself.
Thoughts: With this maze being on top of the mountain, we made sure to knock it right off our list. There was a pretty significant delay at the start of the night with the fire marshals checking on the fog, with what appeared to be one evacuation before the maze had even opened. Because it was opening night, I just assumed that this was the same glitch that the maze had run into during last year’s opening night and, with some finesse and fine-tuning, wouldn’t be an issue for the remainder of the run.
That being said, the maze was about the same as it was last year. While the concept of the maze itself was positively disgusting (you know, roaming around a sewer with god knows what), the glow in the dark neon colors painting the way made it beautiful. Like last year, this maze is also one where you are given 3D glasses. Last year we didn’t get the chance to use the glasses, but this year we did. To be honest, I think the glasses detracted away from the visuals. When I had used them, they had blurred everything together and the beauty of the neon paint was mismashed together. I ended up taking them off and thought that the visuals I got to experience then were a lot better than what I would have had to deal with if I had worn the glasses throughout. Overall, SEWER OF SOULS was still as lovely as it was last year. Maybe don’t wear the 3D glasses though.
WILLOUGHBY’S RESURRECTED – MAZE
Description: The Willoughby’s Family mansion tale unfolds before your eyes at this once affluent Victorian mansion that has become a haven to evil…
Thoughts: Last year when I went through WILLOUGHBY’S RESURRECTED, I remember there being a lot of dead space at the very beginning of the maze before running across our first scare of the maze. However, this year it seemed like the maze was chock full of monsters who greatly utilized the lighting and blind spots to their advantage in maximizing their scares. While the overall design of the maze was about the same from last year, I think the abundance of scare actors toward the beginning of the night when we attended greatly improved upon things from last year. The majority of the rooms had actors and there was an effective use of tag-teaming that made me absolutely giddy. Overall, WILLOUGHBY’S RESURRECTED although mostly the same as last year definitely felt more lively this year with the increased amounts of monsters in the maze.
EXILE HILL – SCARE ZONE
Description: The dead have risen and are looking for new souls to take on this dark and sinister hill.
Thoughts: This Scare Zone is located by the Sky Tower and, as the sun began to slowly descend, you could see the monsters slowly matriculate onto the hill. Just like last year, I did not get to find Innocence, the fan favorite character that slowly walks around and stares at you deep to your soul. I swear, one day I will find her. Screams reverberated in the area throughout the course of our time there and for good reason. These monsters are stealthy and will sneak up on you before you know it. This Scare Zone still ranks high for me.
WITCH’S LAIR – SCARE ZONE
Description: Step into a wicked haven for cauldrons, broomsticks, spells and magic.
Thoughts: Located near the DC area, you’d really have to be blind to miss out on the labyrinth constructed for this particular scare zone. Patrons can enter the maze and try to find their way out, but take heed. There are literally monsters that make up every corner of this scare zone. Whether you are physically in the zone or just walking past it, no one can deny that the scare actors were working hard for those screams. The only thing that I have to note is that I think operations should maybe put a light or something near the crates that they have throughout the course of WITCH’S LAIR. Even for the most vigilant of people, there is a significant tripping hazard with these crates just because the lighting in the area makes it hard to see where the crates are.
TERRORTORY TWISTED – SCARE ZONE
Description: Steam-spewing mechanical beasts relentlessly hunt down their victims.
Thoughts: This scare zone was a new one for me and I was easily lured in by what looked like a steampunk spider creature. The lighting and projection effects were really lovely, as you get a sense of the steampunk vibe that this scare zone was definitely going for. Once again, these scare actors are working super hard to make sure they are maximizing their screams which, in a zone that seemed more brightly lit than most, seemed difficult since we could easily see them. A couple of them silently skulked up to us while we were recording and caught us off guard, so I definitely have to give kudos. For a scare zone that was brought back from the depths of Fright Fest’s past, TERRORTORY TWISTED was a delight.
CONDEMNED: FOREVER DAMNED – MAZE
Description: Attend an open house at the recently abandoned home of a habitual collector of things.
Thoughts: CONDEMNED: FOREVER DAMNED suffered a wee bit again on the story front this year, but it made up for it with well-designed rooms and overall scares from actors. You definitely get the sense that you’re walking into an abandoned home, where it becomes very obvious that there are squatters and maybe something more lurking beneath the surface. The tight spaces and the general grossness illuminated by the bulk of the set design creates that claustrophobic feeling needed to get people on edge. However, as you get towards the end of the maze and the more “damned” elements start coming into play, it muddles up the story and part of that may have to do with the lack of steady transition between what seems to just be a condemned home to the damned portion. The maze is definitely getting there though and I think with a little bit more finessing, CONDEMNED: FOREVER DAMNED will be on point.
One note that I did have is that this maze has a room specifically where you have to crawl across a bed in order to maze it out of the room. The bed is literally rock hard. I’m assuming the surface is made of wood or something. But, it is definitely something that will pose a difficulty for anyone with joint problems or who does have an issue with mobility. I’m wondering if there is a way that the team can maybe cushion that bed to make it easier for guests. I’m also curious to know if they do offer the option for guests to go around the bed if they can’t handle the crawling motion.
RED’S REVENGE – MAZE
Description: Over the hill and through the woods to Grandmother’s house you go. Enter the world of Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf
Thoughts: This is a good ol’ favorite at Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest and for good reason. This maze has a concrete story that gets explained very early on. It’s literally the first thing that patrons get to learn before diving into the world of the forest that Red Riding Hood had to walk through before meeting her untimely end. Like last year, we get to experience all of the spooky critters that occupy the forest, with a very noteworthy spider creature that I have to point out due to its glorious butt wiggle. This maze also had one of my favorite call and response tag teams, which you know who you are. I don’t want to spoil what kind of call and response, but it was a really great one.
Once again, the true showstopping moment was when you got to see the all-powerful and vengeful Red towering high above everyone showcasing her might. RED’S REVENGE is still honestly my favorite maze at Fright Fest and I will be sad if it ever leaves because the story is probably one of the easiest and best ones that they have developed for the mazes they have. That combined with the set design, the spooky critters, and the actors that maintained the ambiance in the maze, it really stands out.
DEMON’S DOOR – SCARE ZONE
Description: Welcome to HELL…be prepared for your mind and body to be completely taken over by the evil spirits that await you.
Thoughts: This Scare Zone is located at the very beginning of Fright Fest as you walk through and it is the last thing you experience before you leave. We got to see the different demons roaming about and sneaking up on unsuspecting patrons who were coming and going around the time we were departing. The costume and makeup designs were just as memorable as they were last year. And, honestly, DEMON’S DOOR is the best way to leave the park. While I think I really enjoyed the many different varieties of spooky demons walking around in various displays of horror.
Overall, my time at Six Flag’s Magic Mountain Fright Fest was mixed. The mazes that we were able to get to were a delight, with beautiful set designs and hardworking actors who made it clear that they were here to kick butt. That being said, the biggest thing that makes attending this event difficult is how big the park is, especially with the new construction that forces people to go all away around the park or up and over the mountain to get to AFTERMATH 2: CHAOS RISING. With no easy way for us to get to it (as we were a group with mobility issues), we ended up choosing to opt-out of checking out that maze.
What I suggest for anyone who plans on attending Six Flag’s Magic Mountain Fright Fest is perhaps attend AFTERMATH 2: CHAOS RISING first as it is the most difficult maze to get to. After tackling that, make your way up the hill via the tram they have available to knock out SEWER OF SOULS and WILLOUGHBY’S RESURRECTED. Take the tram back down after you are done in this section and then make your way over to the Sports Bar that they have, where you can find the remaining three mazes. This is the easiest and less stressful way that I can devise to make sure that anyone who attends Fright Fest is able to take in all the mazes. From that point, you can leisurely take in the remaining Scare Zones. If you utilize this plan of action that I have come up with, I think your time at Six Flag’s Magic Mountain Fright Fest will go smoothly. The mazes are really not something you want to miss out on this year.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit their site here.
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