As part of a multi-year Fright Fest expansion, Six Flags Magic Mountain will add more monsters, better mazes and additional nights to the annual Halloween event.
In hopes of keeping up with the twin beasts of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood and Halloween Haunt at Knott’s Berry Farm, Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest 2014 will add three promising new mazes and remove the last of the camouflage-covered ride queue mazes that came to represent the annual event’s low-water mark.
Magic Mountain's revamp of Fright Fest began in 2011 with the addition of Aftermath, a massive outdoor maze that significantly raised the bar for quality.
A complete renovation of the perennial Willoughby's Haunted Mansion in 2012 saw the addition of elaborate visual effects and improved props and sets to a haunted maze that had grown tired and predictable over the years.
Last year’s “new” marquee maze proved a massive disappointment, with Toyz of Terror amounting to little more than a fresh coat of paint on a woeful 11-year-old clown maze.
New for Fright Fest 2014:
Red’s Revenge - Turning the classic fairy tale on its head, a risen from the dead Red Robin Hood hunts the Big Bad Wolf and anybody else who wanders into the forest (that would be you and me). Scenes set in a village, a cottage and a throne room show an immersive level of detail and quality - including theatrical sets, thematic props and special effects - not typically associated with Fright Fest. (Located behind the Full Throttle sports bar)
Vault 666 - Step inside an abandoned secret government research facility that once conducted genetic experiments crossing humans with animals. Hybrid creatures roam the corridors of the bunker that includes a blood-letting room and an electrocution chamber. (Located behind Full Throttle Plaza)
Willoughby's Garden of Darkness - Envisioned as a tandem attraction to the revitalized Willoughby's Mansion, the garden maze at the top of the amusement park will feature man-eating plants that come to life and creatures that emerge from the undergrowth. (Replaces the former Black Widow maze)
Returning Fright Fest mazes ranked from best to worst:
Willoughby's Resurrected (2012) -- The completely refurbished attraction combining detailed set dressing, imaginative practical effects, inventive video projections and high-energy monsters into a fantastic maze was head and shoulders above virtually everything else at the past two Fright Fests.
The Aftermath (2011) -- The post-apocalyptic maze of overturned vehicles, hovering helicopters and fireball explosions in the former Batman stunt-show arena typically features the biggest cast of any Fright Fest maze.
Total Darkness (2013) -- This pitch-black maze delivers on the promise of a simple yet intriguing premise. Holding on to a length of rope, small groups are sent into the blacked-out maze inside the Magic Moments Theater behind a leader with a tiny, dim flashlight. You never know where the in-your-face scares are coming from next.
Toyz of Terror (2013) -- This underwhelming replacement for the woeful Jokester’s Hideout that occupied this space for more than a decade follows the same layout and recycles many of the same gags from years past — only with toys instead of clowns. This year’s 3-D version promises a new look and layout to the maze.
Chupacabra (2011) -- After some misfires in years past, Chupacabra seems to have found the right mix of characters with a host of terrified Mexican villagers direct from central casting running scared from a werewolf-like beast. Last year, a splash of spooky lighting and an over-abundance of fog did little to hide the inattention to detail in this unimpressive paint-and-plywood maze.
Six scare zones return to Fright Fest for 2014: City Under Siege, Exile Hill, Nightmares, Zombie Crossing, Wastelands and Demon’s Door. A new scare zone, Ravenstitch, will feature a steampunk meets the Wild West theme.
Fright Fest 2014 at Six Flags Magic Mountain runs on select Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from Sept. 27 through Nov. 1.