The fog has rolled in slowly clustering in pockets around the base of the place known as Six Flags Magic Mountain. From the dark corners the monsters, creeps, and ghouls have come out of their crypts. It is time now for one of our favorite events of the season, Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest. Filled with 6 phenomenal scare zones, 7 mazes 3 shows, and a total of 19 coasters, this is the thrills & chills capital of the world.
Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest is a unique haunt event, unlike anything else in southern California. While other theme park haunts tend to close their doors to end normal operating hours, then re-open as a scarier experience, Magic Mountain takes a cue from their other regional parks, handling things differently. The park opens as usual in the morning. Then, at 7pm on select nights, the park changes. An ominous announcement is made, and monsters are unleashed in what is called The Surge from inside the Suicide Squad: The Fright Fest Experience area.
Guests who have been there for the day are free to stay and enjoy the rollercoasters like Twisted Colossus, Full Throttle, Tatsu, Viper, X2, The Riddler’s Revenge, Batman, Scream, The New Revolution, Apocalypse, and Goliath in total darkness and stroll through the scare zones. If visitors would like to brave the haunted houses or mazes, they can purchase a wrist band or front of the line wristband for access.
What sets Fright Fest apart from the other haunts, aside from the aforementioned wristband program, is their command over Scare Zones and their stunning make up creations. This is some of the best work you will see at any haunt with actors who really get up and interact with the guests and never once stop moving, EVER. Add to that the remarkable make up and costuming and you have a recipe for unforgettable horror. Good times.
A few years back, Six Flags turned their attention to revitalizing the Fright Fest brand to compete in the very dense so-Cal Halloween market. This effort yielded two remarkable mazes (Red’s Revenge, Vault 666) and a revamp (Toyz of Terror 3D) that could easily be compared to the other haunts available. They also revitalized their expansive Willoughby’s Resurrected and just last year the Six Flags team built their largest maze to date with Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising. This year they focused their creative attention on a new scare zone (Damned n’ Disguised) and revamped a blackout maze on the top of the mountain (Dead End).
Tied to the adjacent Willoughby’s maze on the top of the hill, Dead End focuses on Evil Brother Malacai from the estate as he haunts the halls of this black out maze. The leader of our group was given a single flash light that was enabled with special capabilities to change color and vibrate and we were made to navigate our way through the pitch black passages.
This maze has been slightly improved with a bit of a storyline and the addition of the interactive flashlight. However, it is still a blackout maze with actors hidden to startle.
Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising
Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising is an expansive tour through a destroyed wasteland, moments after a cataclysmic event. This maze has the wow factor down pat with multi-story sets, fire and smoke effects, and the largest cast of any offering. The problem is the story. We know there is a contamination, and we are repeatedly told to “RUN! RUN! GO!” from nearly every cast member we encounter. This maze works when we are given a second to take in the spectacle and navigate the large, often hair-rasing courses around rubble and wreckage. Of course the one stand out actor is the stilt walker. Damn fine work.
A product of the Fright Fest Renaissance Red’s Revenge continues to entertain. The sets and lighting in this one are the best at the fest with saturated colors and elaborate sets. Our group loved this walkthrough even if the audio in the first room that sets up the story is spotty at best. This maze also had the best talent of the night with everyone on point and ready to scare.
Another product of the capital investment in Fright Fest a few years back, Vault 666 is still worth a look. This maze of an evil science lab mixing humans and animals still has the same fun set pieces that made it work.
Oh Chupacabra. Sigh. This maze, built around the evil Mexican creature that stalks the night, murdering livestock. Constructed in the former queue of The Revolution, this maze is the one that needs a lot of work.
A storyline as rich as the Chupacabra could really be the stuff of nightmares. Instead we are faced with plywood walls, a little bit of sound, and actors in sets that don’t exactly make sense. This maze needs a full-on reboot or needs to be done away with. It is the one sour note in an otherwise solid line up.
The classic Willoughby’s was revamped and resurrected with a host of new digital effects and fun stunts. For Magic Mountain fans, part of this attraction goes through the building that housed the old Magic Pagoda walkthrough. It is surprising how much space sits atop this hill, waiting to be explored in this classic haunted house style walkthrough. This one is a DO NOT MISS.
Toys of Terror 3D
We are suckers for the Chroma-Depth 3D effects in this maze. Touring the twisted toy chest of a demented toy maker we are subjected to startling and disorienting environs and monsters. This one is another DO NOT MISS!
While Fright Fest has a ways to go with its mazes, the scare zones are always some of the very very best. This year is no exception as they have introduced a brand new area to the mix, along with the returning favorites.
Damned ‘N Disguise
Brand new for 2017 Damned N’ Disguise is billed as a “morphing masquerade” of monsters and music. The scare zone is a hit. Full of music, unbridled energy from tireless actors, and a killer lighting package, this is one area that is a DO NOT MISS along with all of the other scare zones.
Sitting back and watching the actors I was in awe. They were constantly moving, constantly scaring, constantly entertaining. While the morphing aspect may have been lost on some of the more distracted Fright Fest goers, there wasn’t a single moment of disengagement. People were screaming, laughing, dancing, and having a great time. I frankly did not want to leave the area, but we had more of the park to see, so…
Exile Hill, is a classic scare zone on top of the mountain. Ghosts, demons, and the undead roam around ready to terrify. There are also some ridiculously talented sliders there too with plenty of slopes to play on. Another DO NOT MISS
Suicide Squad: The Six Flags Fright Fest Experience
The Suicide Squad Experience is back for 2017 and we were not disappointed. Just as dark and demented as last year, they seem to have pulled DNA from the actors from the movie and replicated them for Fright Fest and the guests amusement. As the Joker’s mayhem destroys the area, he and Harley Quinn hold court and take pics with guests. Good stuff. DO NOT MISS
Heading down to Scream or the awesome Twisted Colossus? You will need to go through the TERRORtory Twisted scare zone to get there. We love this steampunk horror theme that ties into Twisted. It is another fine example of Fright Fest make up and Scare Zone expertise. DO NOT MISS.
How these actors do it we have no clue. Dancing around like nimble terror makers the monsters at Demon’s Door simply do NOT stop. THis is the perfect scare zone to start the visit with as the teaming creatures are there to scare, but aren’t above posing for a picture. Once again, the make up, is totally on point as are the talent. DO NOT MISS.
Nightmares – A Twisted Fantasy
It might be a trek to get to, but this is still one of our favorite Scare Zones in the entire park. This is, in great part due to the phenomenal actress playing the Witch, along with the rest of the fantastical creatues basking under the glow of the backlights. In a canopy of trees, fog, and phosphorescence we wander into a whimsical fantasy of twisted versions of familiar fairy tales.
The actors here take the time to interact, be silly, and scare the crap out of you. another DO NOT MISS.
Once again, Fright Fest holds on the the unhinged and creative scare style that made us fall in love with other haunts before they became more corporate. The actors in the scare zones are given the freedom to be silly and interact in a way that sets this haunt apart from others in southern California. What’s more, the make up is the best you will find at any haunt this year. Still remarkably detailed and at times oozing with blood, goop, and all manner of icky stuff, it is a wonder that they can get so many actors out, into the park with such beautiful make up every single night of the event.