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Photo TR: Movie World Fright Nights


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Fright Nights 2015

Last weekend I headed up to Movie World to check out Fright Nights, their take on a haunt event. This was my first Fright Nights encounter, though I think the event has been running for about five years now. As with most haunt-type events the park ran scare zones and mazes, as well as entertainment stages and upcharge escape rooms.

 

There were four main mazes, all based on films. Wolf Creek 2 and The Evil Dead had returned from the previous year, while Wyrmwood and Friday the 13th were new additions. I've not seen any of these films, so I can't comment on how well they represented the movies, but all were of a high standard - in the set design, atmosphere and scare actors.

 

As Movie World is only a regional park I wasn't sure where the quality would land, but they did an excellent job. I saw Universal Singapore's Horror Nights last year and the Movie World event compares favourably, although it definitely has a smaller budget. The great thing about Movie World's nighttime events is that passholders get a free ticket, which is pretty good value when an annual pass is only $100.

 

Our group elected to do the "Ultimate Terror Tour", which included a VIP lounge and front-of-line access, and an invite to meet the cast at their pre-haunt briefing. This also included a special haunt experience, which was the highlight of the evening. The kids' area of the park had been cordoned off, and VIPs were given a private tour by an amusing old lady who introduced us to all of her freaky "children". The tour concluded with a carousel ride, reprogrammed to run a special haunt program featuring creepy organ music, fog, and flickering lights. Halfway through the ride scare actors jumped onto the ride and proceeded to get up close and personal. The whole concept worked very well, and would have made the VIP tour worthwhile on its own.

 

On to the photos! I left my big camera at home, thinking I'd see how well just the iPhone would do. Turns out it's generally OK but doesn't handle low light all that well, so thanks to Harrison for supplying a few extra pics from the media night.

 

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Here we are at Fright Nights! What better vehicle to welcome us in than a hearse...

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Movie World literally roll out the red carpet for their VIPs, and we were welcomed to the lounge with jello syringes.

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The Dirty Harry Bar had been decked out in blood and cobwebs, just for us!

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VIP lanyard, a.k.a. my "must be first" pass!

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A giant spider watches over us, deciding which guest will make the juiciest meal tonight...

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First stop was the Hollywood Stunt Driver stage, for cast briefing and selfies.

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This part was less exciting, turns out actual briefings are a little mundane... clean up the break room, stop guests from triggering the fire alarm... the usual notes.

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The sun began to set on Main Street, and Fright Nights could begin!

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The carnival freaks started the night with a little show.

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Our first maze was The Evil Within, shoehorned over the bumper cars track. This was probably the weakest of the mazes, with some unmemorable sets (mostly a lot of black corridors) and an unclear plotline. Perhaps if I'd seen the film it would have made more sense.

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Back in the park the fog machines were plentiful, and cranked up to the highest setting. This stuff was seriously thick, which made for some good scare zone atmosphere!

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Fright Nights was clearly a very popular event, and all of the mazes had long lines. So hooray for front-of-line passes!

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Wolf Creek 2 is an Australian horror film which I think is based on backpackers being kidnapped and tortured by a redneck psycho. This was quite well done, especially the set design, the highlight of which was a truck coming out of nowhere to run over you.

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Fire performers might not be scary, but they aren't bad to look at!

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The city square part of the park housed the Freaks scare zone, including some this special offering for lonely coaster enthusiasts.

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A lot of the makeup and prosthetics were quite well done. The weird watercolor effect is not an artistic statement, just my phone trying to compensate for bad light.

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This distrubing gentleman - large, bloody, and seemingly devouring foetuses - attracted quite the crowd.

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The group got hungry so we headed back to the VIP lounge for some food. I wasn't too keen on the refrigerated buffet.

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Meat off the bone is more my style.

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The kids area was roped off, only available for the special VIP haunt. This was the highlight of the night for me, the ending scene on the carousel being particularly immersive.

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At the front of the park, the Zombieland scarezone had transformed the entrance fountain with a burning car and fire!

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Lots of fog, lots of zombies scaring the tweens.

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They all seem suitably terrified.

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You should always wear protection, or this could happen. (thanks Harrison for the photo!)

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More zombie. (thanks again, Harrison)

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Another pic of the car, because it's great.

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The two headliner mazes were located in the movie studio next door, accessed via a long, foggy walkway.

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First up: Wyrmwood. This is based on a recent Australian indie film about a mechanic who fights zombies. Sort of Max Max meets Dawn of the Dead.

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Pirates 5 has finished filming so Sound Stage 1 housed the Wyrmwood maze. The maze itself was quite good, only hampered by the ratbag teenagers behind me who thought it was a mosh pit. Stupid kids, you are the reason they have the annoying "hands on shoulders" conga rule.

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I ain't afraid of no zombie! (photo credit - Harrison)

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Both Wyrmwood and Friday the 13th had special VIP rooms where we got to control parts of the maze. For Wyrmwood, this involved some hidden cameras around the maze with various effects nearby.

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We could trigger alarms, horns and other noises when groups walked past. This was a lot of fun, especially if you could get the timing exactly right.

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Next up - Friday the 13th.

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This one was definitely my pick of the night. The scenes had an "open" feeling that you don't often get in a haunt maze, as we wandered through a seemingly endless forest. Camp Crystal Lake was sufficiently creepy, the whole experience was satisfyingly unsettling.

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This one featured a great VIP room. No button-pushing here, instead you were pulling on ropes to make parts of the set move, and squirting defenseless park guests with spray bottles. I'm not sure if this added to the story but it was definitely fun.

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The night was capped off with a "rave party" back in the city square. I liked that they ended the event with a show rather than letting people just drift out of the park.

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More fire! Hooray!

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This ended with the scare actors coming to dance among the crowd, very Beetlejuice.

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And that's the event. Overall I was quite impressed, and the group had a great time. The VIP tour was well worth it, look forward to seeing what they come up with next year!

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Great TR Aaron! I just went to my park's Haunt Night, and honestly, I would trade it easily

for what you just visited, lol. And I agree with Chuck, the Carousel ride sounds great! Here,

they left the pathways open among the kids' rides, but they were all mostly themed up with

scary and gory stuff, which is better than not doing anything to them at all. But you

couldn't ride any of them

 

Still, a temp.enclosed merry-go-round with indoor effects and scares would have been cool, here.

 

Thanks for sharing your visit!

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The "haunted" carousel ride sounds very clever--more parks should try it.

The park pulled it off really well, definitely one of the most immersive experiences I've had in a theme park.

 

Uhhhh... isn't Wolfcreek based off a true story, meaning that they made a walkthrough based on two real-life people being brutally murdered?

Yes. Yes it is.

 

I'd say your were confused. If I'm basing it off the correct theme, The EVIL Within maze is based off a video game, not a movie

You're right, it is a video game - I don't really pay much attention to the horror genre. I think the risk with basing a maze off existing IPs is that if people aren't familiar with the story of characters it might not make a lot of sense. Universal Singapore did a great job last year with not one maze or scare zone using an existing IP, so it was more accessible to non-horror-fans like myself.

 

Thanks Aaron. Great report. The place looked packed. Any idea of the wait time for the maze's 'Stand By' que was?

Wait times weren't posted, but I would estimate 30 minutes for the returning mazes (Evil Dead, Wolf Creek) and up to an hour for Wyrmwood and Friday the 13th. They were moving people through pretty quickly. Even with the front-of-line passes we didn't have time to see the Friday the 13th 4D film attraction, do an (upcharge) panic room, or watch much of the live entertainment. I know of a few people who went back on multiple nights.

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