Wrong kind of fright at SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN’S FRIGHT FEST 2022


This year’s visit to SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN’S FRIGHT FEST in Southern California was my first time experiencing the annual event. With Halloween being one of my favorite holidays, I went to the park with the highest of hopes, ready to have a great time. Unfortunately, I must report that it turned out to be one of the worst theme park experiences of my life. The park was barely made up to feel spooky, the scare zones had very few monsters/ghouls roaming around interacting with the visitors and after searching for long periods of time to eventually discover the hard-to-find haunted houses, there was barely a scare in many of them. Honestly, I was expecting much more than FRIGHT FEST 2022 had to give.

Upon arrival, I immediately noticed that there weren’t enough decorations throughout the park. For a big Halloween event, it seemed to be missing a true Halloween vibe. The props and decorations that were there looked great, but it just wasn’t enough to set the creepy tone needed for an event like this. I feel like I should have walked into a park completely overtaken by the demons of Halloween, spiderwebs littering every inch of the walls, rides, etc… and didn’t get it.

The festivities began at 7:00 pm with a group of monsters coming out to start their invasion of the park. Most of the make-up and creature design work was interesting and scary, with the stilted creatures being the most impressive. Thankfully the actors were giving it their best efforts and everything started in a fun and exciting way. The crowd was having a good time interacting with the monsters and seemed to be enjoying themselves. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long. As the sun went down and the night’s darkness started to invade the park, everything should have started to get crazy, but as the other visitors and I entered all the different scare zones there wasn’t a lot going on and very few monsters were anywhere to be seen. Where did all of the creatures I saw earlier go? I can only speculate. Maybe they headed over to the haunted houses. In the CARNIVHELL scare zone, I only encountered one monster and even though he tried his best to engage with the small crowd of people, there is only so much that one creature can do. This lack of a monster presence in the scare zones made for a mostly uneventful experience as we walked throughout the park.

One thing that made the event more of a chore than a fun time was the fact that this year those in charge of FRIGHT FEST decided to go completely digital with the park’s navigation. I was informed that there would be nothing printed out and that visitors would need to go online to get the park’s map on their phones. This means a guide the size of a cell phone screen, as opposed to a decent-sized fold-out map, was all anyone would have to find their way around. There were also no signs throughout the park to help point visitors towards the haunted houses, making them nearly impossible to find. SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN is a large place that can be incredibly hard to navigate. My guest and I were constantly getting lost and asking for directions, once we were pointed towards a dead end.

After eventually finding the haunted houses, I have to report that most of them turned out to be rather tame. The interiors were too dark, and the fact that no lights were allowed to be brought inside made them dangerous. What little could be seen of the production design was pretty impressive, but most of the haunted houses were too dark to see much of what was there. Then, no matter the haunted house theme, the same thing happened in all of them. Either someone jumped out at you from behind a corner, or visitors would come across a monster/zombie who was just standing there, jumping at them at the last second. At first, this was fun, but by the time I got halfway through the third haunted house, it all just began to feel repetitive and no longer effective. SEWER OF SOULS was the standout if only because visitors were given a pair of 3D glasses, causing the look and feel of this particular haunted house to present itself as different even if it still had some of the same types of scares.

If there was one thing that I really enjoyed, it was at the VOODOO NIGHTS stage. The band that I got to see performing played with a lot of energy and was the highlight of the night. The performers were all made up in Halloween make-up and clothes and were a lot of fun to watch and listen to. I wish I could give their name, but there was no signage to tell us who they were. 

I went to SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN’S FRIGHT FEST with the hopes of being able to recommend it to everyone, but really can’t. I will close with this note: I talked to numerous visitors who complained about the difficulties getting around and finding the haunted houses. One couple even went as far as to add that this was their sixth year coming to the event and as much as they had enjoyed past FRIGHT FESTs, this year was a big disappointment.

Passes for this year’s FRIGHT FEST event were provided by SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN.

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