From the echoing cackle and cries of Movie World VIP attendees already facing the horrors within, it was easy to tell that 2016’s rendition of Fright Nights was going to set itself apart from years prior. Gone was the horde of zombie jealously guarding the main horror mazes in the normally inaccessible sound stages, and in their place stood nauseating alleyways and themed zones designed to capture you off guard.
As Fright Nights swung into action, The Gatekeeper rolled in to unleash terror upon the (un)fortunate ticket holders. The masses ran towards The Conjuring 2 Maze, but a few stragglers took a few wrong turns, ultimately twisting and turning through the smoky Apparitions precinct, where actors were only too happy to materialize out of the twisting American alleyway vapors to punish the lost visitors. The seemingly perpetual issue of overcrowding at this year’s Fright Nights was resolved, with the lines never lasting longer than 40 minutes for the most popular attractions.
The Conjuring 2’s intensity was matched by its fully themed maze, winding through the haunted Hodgson family residence, where old man Bill Wilkins is only too happy to scream and wail at the terrified maze runners as they push past his death chair and into the backyard. A few short steps past the distracting swing set, and you are forced back into the house to confront the true villain, the demonic nun. Without giving much more away, the hugely successful Aussie-directed film is faithfully reimagined for horror fans to enjoy. It is gloriously horrifying.
Opposite The Conjuring 2 maze sat From Dusk till Dawn: The Series’ maze, taking visitors through a destroyed bar before squeezing them through the claustrophobic Mesoamerican tunnels under the club. Vampiric scares and entirely out-of-this-world experiences await Fright Night visitors within, and when these two mazes are coupled with the return of the Wyrmwood and Friday the 13th horror mazes, it makes for a truly flooring experience. Expect to be dragged at times through the mazes at breakneck speed by your group, and be stuck cowering in fear of Jason Vorhees as he towers above you. The actresses and actors look genuinely scary thanks to the meticulous efforts of the TAFE Queensland Diploma of Beauty Therapy students, who volunteer their Friday and Saturday nights to ensure that each and every performer looks as horrifying as their movie counterparts are.
By the time you mix in Fright Night’s horror take on the increasingly popular escape rooms and the opportunity to race from 0 to 100 kilometres an hour in two seconds on the Superman Escape, you have easily filled your night with rare moments that cannot be experienced anywhere other than Movie World, right here on the Gold Coast. It’s more than enough to instil fear into the most thrill-hardened fans, so enter at your own risk…