I was somewhere in the middle of flipping upside down on the new Joker Roller Coaster at Six Flags New England this weekend when it occurred to me that, hey, maybe we, as a species, are a bit odd for wanting our adrenaline rushes from roller coasters and being scared by fake zombies, ghouls and other creatures of the night.
Not an original thought, I’m sure, but as I exited the ride with my two youngest minions (now 18!), I pondered the concept of theme parks. We build these huge machines in order to satisfy an adrenaline rush that rarely lasts longer than two minutes. And we love them. I love them, as do my minions love them too. And Fright Fest brings it up to another, more immersive level. In many ways, Six Flags New England’s Premium Fright Fest attractions reminded me of the Harry Potter creations at Universal Studios, as both attempt to put the park visitor into the story world.
The only difference is that there are no Hogwarts students, wizards, or dementors hanging out at Universal’s Diagon Alley, whereas there are zombies, killers with chainsaws, and other scary creatures of the night populating Fright Fest.
Fright Fest at Six Flags New England is divided into two parts: The Haunt Zones and the Premium Attractions.
The Haunt Zones are basically the redecorating of the sections of the park for Halloween, complete with converting some rides to a Halloween theme. Our favorite of these was the LightMOSFEAR Zombie Coaster, the renamed Pandemonium ride. Pandemonium is a mousetrap coaster and thus allows for plenty of time to look around and stare down in the spooky cemeteries and other ghoulish decorations. The employees working the ride also are into the spirit, wearing fake-blood spattered safety vests.
Though perhaps the most impressive prop of all was the giant spider on the Wicked Cyclone ride. Almost convinced me not to ride the Cyclone. Because…GIANT SPIDER.
Park employees dressed as witches and zombies also populate the haunt zones. I saw one teenager try to give a witch a hard time and she turned around and chased him away, to the laughter of his friends.
The Haunt Zones are free with park admission. The five Premium attractions, as hinted in their names, cost extra. They can be bought online for $47.99 each. Is it worth the cost? That depends on just how much you enjoy Halloween and being scared but the park has certainly put a great deal of care and planning into them.
The Haunted Mansion is the only one in the main section of the park and it’s like walking through, yes, a Haunted House, with actors assigned to certain parts, and special effects like air pops and hidden chambers designed to startle and scare even the most jaded visitor. The other four attractions are located down in the picnic area. Two of them, the Slasher Circus 3D and the Forgotten Laboratory are inside. The Circus is freaky, especially walking through it with 3D glasses and, again, has freaky circus performers popping in and out via hidden openings. The Laboratory is, well, evil mad scientists. They’re both fun and, if you pay for the pass, you should walk through them.
But the crowning achievements of Fright Fest are the two outdoor attractions: The Aftermath: Zombie’s Revenge and Wicked Woods. You must walk through a path decorated with the landscape littered with sights and sounds that could be from a horror movie. Darkness and smoke are used to good effect, as the “zombies” and other types often appear about of the fog and the paths through the woods take you into mock-ups of post-disaster abandoned buildings. It’s scarier because you’re outside, at night, hearing things that normally freak you out anyway. (But, of course, no one is harmed….at least, not that I’ve heard….)
If you love Halloween, you’ll want to experience Fright Fest.
Disclaimer: Corrina received complimentary entry to the premium attractions from Six Flags New England.