Fright Fest is Upon Us – Halloween at Magic Mountain
I’ve been to Halloween nights at other parks, but this was my first foray into Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest. I was treated to a preview of their delicious ghoulish grub menu, given an express pass bracelet and sent into the darkness to discover the monsters lurking within.
The Surge marks the opening of every Fright Night, the monsters of the evening are unleashed from the gates of Gotham City. The wandering Scare Zone actors came out in their respective groups: Nightmares, dark-light twisted fairy tales; Terror-tory Twisted, robotic steampunk monsters; Exile Hill, ghouls and zombies; Damned ‘n Disguise, morphing masquerade party-goers; and Demon’s Door, demons and spirits from Hell. Finally, the back-by-popular-demand Suicide Squad team emerged to the rousing backing of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” This was a fun event, but also very crowded and too brief. It was also not as scary as it could be in the lingering sunlight. I much preferred the Escape, when at an hour before closing, all the monsters from all the Scare Zones congregate in Demon’s Door outside the Main Gate and interact with the park guests as they leave. A clown on stilts next to a demented white rabbit and a demon – it was a monster mash for sure!
Much like my co-worker Ryan S. Davis in his review last year, the stand-out Scare Zone for me was Nightmares, where bedtime stories (such as Alice in Wonderland and Pinocchio) take on a new and twisted tale. Decked out in black-light decorations, and accompanied by Danny Elfman’s brilliant Edward Scissorhands score, the menacing whimsy was just magical; It was more than scare actors jumping out at us. The new Scare Zone this year is Damned ‘n Disguise, located in the Metropolis area. Through the use of lighting, music and costumes, the masquerade changes before your eyes, from rock ‘n’ roll to Victorian and more, all with a sense of the macabre, of course.
Most of the seven Mazes – Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising, Red’s Revenge, Vault 666, Chupacabra, Willoughby’s Resurrected and Toyz of Terror 3D – are oldies but goodies, while the new Dead End finds you feeling your way through the darkness with only the menacing laughs of Malachai and sporadic gruesome displays to guide you. The tamest is Chupacabra, sporting a Dia de los Muertos theme, although there is a touch of gore. Willoughby’s Resurrected is a Victorian mansion full of ghosts, urging you to stay with them. Vault 666 started off as a research facility, but now its human-animal hybrids run amok and terrorize the guests. Toyz of Terror 3D finds you in the twisted workshop of a toy-maker gone insane. Don’t get too comfortable, as the glow-in-the-dark 3D visuals make it difficult to know if you’re really seeing what you think you are, and escaping is harder than expected.
My two favorites were Red’s Revenge and Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising. Red’s Revenge is the dark and morbid story of what happened AFTER the Little Red Riding Hood we all know. Red went crazy after the incident with the big bad wolf and turned to the woods, where more menacing wolves jump out of the darkness and trees look angry and alive. The sets and props were just phenomenal. Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising is the story of Ash Valley when threatened by the release of a deadly virus. People are turning into monsters or dying from the outbreak and we need to make it to quarantine zone alive. We were hurried through a spacious outdoor maze, through the fog and crashed cars, down the deserted (or are they?) corridors of a police station, hopefully to safety. The sets here were also outstanding, and the use of thick fog was spooky and added to the tension, hiding creatures waiting to get us.
In addition to having your wits scared out of you, there are also multiple opportunities for other kinds of entertainment. Club 6-Feet Under offers dim lights, ghoulish grub and spirited drinks while a DJ spins top hits above the dance floor. Voodoo Nights takes up the stage in front of Full Throttle, boasting a lively cover band surrounded by dancing guests and sneaky demons. The only performance I was unable to see was the Hypnotist at the Golden Bear Theater, but I hear some content may not be suitable for minors. And, of course, the rides. Terror Tracks brings you all the coasters you know and love, but in the dark!
- Come earlier in the day for more family-friendly activities, like trick-or-treating and pumpkin patch crafts.
- If you want to get to all the Mazes plus some rides, get the Express Pass. You’ll have a shorter wait.
- Save Red’s Revenge and Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising for last.
- Stick around for the Escape to interact more with the scare actors on your way out.
- Stop by (and spend time in) the Nightmares Scare Zone. There are a lot of decorations to see and appreciate.
- Enjoy some (mostly) shorter lines for the rides and get coaster thrills in the dark!