This past weekend was my first time seeing Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest. I’m no slouch when it comes to haunts. I’ve already seen what Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights and Knott’s Scary Farm had to offer this year in terms of scares, and have been consistently going to haunts for many years. That being said, since it is my first year attending Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest, I had to rely on 2019’s review here at Nightmarish Conjurings. (There wasn’t a 2020 version due to COVID-19.) I’ll be referencing that off and on to compare and contrast what has and hasn’t changed as well as give you my first-timer thoughts of all the mazes and scare zones.
DEMON’S DOOR – SCARE ZONE
Description: Welcome to Hell…be prepared for your mind and body to be taken over by the evil spirits that await you.
Thoughts: This scare zone is right near the entrance to the park and starting at 7 pm, there are demons that wander the area. The trouble with the entrance area is that it is also the exit of the park. The area itself also serves as an area where many kids and teens wait for their parents to pick them up. On top of that, it is also where the Guest Relations building, which had a tremendously long line all night. That meant that I knew there were demons in the area, but outside of the large statues erected near the main gate, I hardly spotted any of the scare actors among the crowds.
In fact, I’d say my only complaint about the night is that the park was so crowded. For reference, all of the roller coasters were a 90+ minute wait. Because of the crows, the scare actor to guest ratio made it seem like the scare zones were nearly dead, even though not all of them were.
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 zone is at the peak of a mountainous climb. Seriously, the park really is against a mountain, and the area nearby features two mazes WILLOUGHBY’S RESURRECTED and SEWER OF SOULS. I didn’t see the tram that takes people to the top of the hill working so I made the climb up myself and when I reached EXILE HILL, I was kind of thrown off. Maybe it was my timing, but the blue fogged zone had one or two scare actors working at the time, and no trace of Innocence, the iconic character that I was told to look out for from the previous 2019 review.
Despite the scare zone not being overly exciting, I was pleasantly surprised by the two mazes atop the mountain.
WILLOUGHBY’S RESURRECTED – MAZE
Description: The haunts of Ghostober take on dark visions of spirits, haunted artifacts, and supernatural investigations gone wrong. Brought to Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest by discovery+, the streaming home of Halloween.
Thoughts: Discovery+ and their Ghostober celebration present this maze. It was wonderful to walk through. The 2019 review made it seem like this maze required more actors to fill up the space.
There were plenty of actors, although the maze has few jump scares, which allows for guests to not run from one room to the next. Instead, you are allowed to take in a lot of the decor and, of the many mazes at Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest, I thought this was one of the more detailed spaces. It has this Disneyland Haunted Mansion feel to it as you walk from the library through the hallways, and even into a small cemetery.
Most of the scare actors lure you to gawk at them, wondering what they are up to. A good amount of screens and secret mirrors are used within, but practical sets rule this maze, especially one room that had to have featured 100 or so (fake) candles that lit the room and its ghouls. One of my favorites of the night!
SEWER OF SOULS – MAZE
Description: Vanish into an underground world of lost souls and terrifying tunnels where evil oozes and creatures taunt. This attraction is presented by M&M’s®.
Thoughts: I’m not sure what I got from this maze. It seems like it was supposed to be an underground world of lost souls, but that confusion isn’t helped by the set design. I’m not saying it’s a bad set design, but it doesn’t convey the message that I’m in a sewer. In fact, of the mazes I went to, this was the only one that didn’t have any signage out front. So, I didn’t even know I went through SEWER OF SOULS until I looked at my park map afterward to see what the heck I had just experienced.
This maze used the most blacklight paint out of any of the mazes and it felt like I was walking through a Jackson Pollock painting that had been graffitied with the same set of paints. It was interesting and had more actors in it than the previous maze, WILLOUGHBY’S RESURRECTED. There are several misdirects from set-pieces and actors that allow for other actors to jump out and surprise you. A fun little maze but, outside of the paint scheme, I wouldn’t rank this one high, especially compared to its Discovery+ neighbor.
Good for Six Flags getting that M&M sponsorship though!
TERROR RISING: DARK DEVELOPMENTS – SCARE ZONE
Description: Your worst nightmares rise up from the depths of hell and prey on the innocent who dare to enter this haunted cemetery. Beware the dark developments that could haunt you for all eternity.
Thoughts: One of two new scare zones added to this year’s lineup. It’s a long name for such a simple concept. The garden areas to the side of the walkway were filled with gravestones and a large red fog filled the space. I saw a few scare actors wandering around but couldn’t make out what they were due to the crowd levels. I think they were zombies, which would fit the cemetery vibe.
Overall, not a bad idea for the first year, but I think it can be improved upon by adding more to the actual walkway area and making it stretch the pathway a bit further. That would allow for the scare actors to spread a bit more and maybe help lessen the compact crowds in the area.
NIGHTMARES: A TWISTED FANTASY – SCARE ZONE
Description: This evil nightmare has never been so edgy as your favorite bedtime stories take on a new and twisted tale.
Thoughts: This is the area I spent the most time in and had the most fun with. A black-lit neon Wonderland that featured varying types of scare actors from a witch to a stilt-walking something-or-other. It was nightmarish but also beautiful. A purple fog was used in this area to separate it from the TERROR RISING area not too far down the walkway. Of the scare zones, this was my favorite and it seemed to be for many others who I saw stick around in this zone with me rather than continue to walk right through. NIGHTMARES is something I hope will get more extensions to it and I’d love to see a maze added as well.
AFTERMATH 2: CHAOS RISING – MAZE
Description: In the City of Ash, the spirits of the dead and the near-dead inhabit the post-apocalyptic city releasing a deadly poison. This attraction is presented by DOVE® Chocolate.
Thoughts: This maze is clearly a fan favorite! Even the line for the Fright Lane had me waiting about 10 minutes to get into this maze and I see why. It’s a unique experience since it takes place outdoors. There are several large props like junked cars and debris piles that help guide you through the experience. A large fire can be seen from a decrepit police station building. Given the zombie apocalypse theme, I much prefer this to most of the other zombie scare zones and mazes, either at Fright Fest, or even The Walking Dead attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood.
It was low on scare actors when I walked through, but the auditory experience that includes radio and tv broadcasts, people screaming, and the sound of large flames going off at the police station really make up for it. There is just an eerie feeling throughout.
This is also one of the longer mazes at Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest, which made me feel like it would never end, and that was a good thing. I loved being immersed in this atmosphere.
THE DEADZONE – SCARE ZONE
Description: A renegade group of cyberpunk zombies feed on the flesh of unsuspected trespassers.
Thoughts: This is the second of two new scare zones for Magic Mountain and another standout. The area’s cyberpunk theme also had a great setup for artwork, neon lighting, and some fun characters.
Not as big as I would have liked, but that comes from just how much punch this area packs. Like the other new area, TERROR RISING, I’d like to see this expand in the coming years. It’s close to the AFTERMATH 2: CHAOS RISING maze, but I think the area could also use another maze and the cyberpunk theming is perfect for it. As a year one idea, this was executed very well!
WITCHES LAIR – SCARE ZONE
Description: Wicked witches will cast a spell on all who dare to enter. Beware of cauldrons, broomsticks and black magic.
Thoughts: From what the 2019 review had said, I was looking for this to be bigger and more laid out than it was. Big giant trees surround the area, but the fence maze that surrounds the witches is a bit too easy to run in and out of. It’s a perfectly fine set up, but as something that has existed previously, I was hoping it would expand into something greater. However, it seems like it has remained the same or even downsized from previous years.
CITY UNDER SEIGE – SCARE ZONE
Description: The unruly clowns are loose again and running rampant in the streets of DC UNIVERSE.
Thoughts: An entranceway that sees a large jack-in-the-box sit out in front of the DC Universe along with large green lights shooting out from the roofline, this is a scare zone that you want to see up close. The Joker’s clown henchmen are running amuck and terrorizing everyone.
Along with NIGHTMARES and THE DEAD ZONE, this scare zone is the most well thought out with the lighting and costuming being on brand for an area near Batman: The Ride.
I didn’t get to spend as much time as I needed to get to a show but, if I were to return to Fright Fest, this would be an area I’d soak in, especially for the lighting.
TERRORTORY TWISTED – SCARE ZONE
Description: Steam-spewing mechanical beasts relentlessly hunt down their victims.
Thoughts: The steampunk aesthetic of TERRORTORY TWISTED is on full display with projected gears on the buildings, interesting signage made of steel and wood, and scare actors dressed to the nines while also being a bit frightening.
I spent quite a bit of time overlooking the space from the stairway into a theater as this scare zone is also home to DARK MINDS, a steampunk themed show that features psychic acts as well as dancers once again dressed the part. This is the first year of the show and it relies heavily on audience participation. The night I went the audience was mostly families and teenagers who tried to disprove the psychic on stage. At times the show didn’t flow as well as it could have, but I did enjoy the acts on stage. The dancers were especially on point and it goes to show that Los Angeles area theme parks have extremely good talent.
CONDEMNED: FOREVER DAMNED – MAZE
Description: Dare to step inside the horrific haunts of this dilapidated home where the walls are alive with the souls of those who once lived there and unleash fury on anyone who enters. Presented by TWIX®.
Thoughts: This maze along with the other two mazes I’ll talk about shortly are featured in a backstage area and are all close together. This is something familiar to those who have been to Knotts or Universal. Large crowds gathered in this area, giving it a lively feel throughout the evening. I’d like to call it the “chocolate backstage area” as all three are presented or sponsored by some type of chocolate candy bar.
This haunted house felt like the most classic of all of the mazes. As I walked from one room to the next, it was clear I was stepping into a bedroom or a kitchen area, but the monsters that lurked around me didn’t seem human. I couldn’t quite make out the story, but it’s one of those mazes where the story doesn’t really matter. The sets look great, the scares were plenty, and it was a fun time.
VAULT 666 UNLOCKED
Description: Demonic relics and obsolete oddities are locked in an abandoned vault in this dark and sinister antique shop. This attraction is presented by 3 MUSKETEERS®.
Thoughts: As I was walking up to this maze, I overheard two teen boys say this was the scariest house of them all and I think I have to agree with those boys.
This house was much more about demons and demonic possession. It also featured this great crematorium hallway with several arms sticking out looking to grab you. This maze got the most jump scares out of me and I’m usually on the lookout for those. Well hidden actors, great set pieces, and a very creepy feel make this a standout of the night.
Description: Enter the world of Red Riding Hood, but in this fairy-tale, you and the wolf are being hunted by Red and her demonic minions. This attraction is presented by SNICKERS®.
Thoughts: Another major standout maze! Beginning in a graveyard, you take this fairytale route through several scenes including ones with big tree monsters and an impressive animatronic spider with tons of spider webs all around. Arachnophobes, be aware!
Although I didn’t get to see Little Red Riding Hood, I understood the story right away and fell in love with its storybook elements. Along with WILLOUGHBY’S RESURRECTED, this is the easiest story and environment to understand, which gives it lots of benefits. The opening graveyard area, in particular, is a place I’d love to take my time in and see again.
My overall take as a first-timer at Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest is that much has been improved upon since 2019. There are two new scare zones and two new shows, though I wasn’t able to see GRAVE GAMES which features acts from America’s Got Talent. It premieres on October 1st. They really filled out areas of the park that were left undecorated for the Fright Fest portion of the park.
The crowd levels were the largest I’ve seen at any park this year, causing some scare zones to be a place I’d rather avoid as people were collecting within them. The night was sold out, but I personally wish Six Flags would have cut the crowd in half. I don’t know if that is financially feasible, but it would really help with crowd control and the scare actor to guest ratio. For those concerned about crowd control in relation to COVID-19, the crowding issue may give you pause.
If you are looking to visit, I’d recommend upgrading to the Fright Lane pass. This upgrade is needed more than any other Southern California park. Magic Mountain is an extremely large park to traverse with hills everywhere. The scare zones and mazes are so spread out that without the Fright Lane pass, I would have been lucky if I got to experience 2 or 3 mazes. If you are able to, I’d start near the back of the park first where the EXILE HILL area and its two mazes are located. Everything beyond that is easier to get to.
For more information and to purchase tickets to this event, visit their site here.