Halloween 2014: Fright Fest mini-review

Somewhat to our surprise, Hollywood Gothique is extremely impressed with this year's Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest. Not that we had anything against Fright Fest, but our past impression was that the annual Halloween event was for people who wanted to enjoy the Magic Mountain roller-coasters and then walk through a few haunted houses as a bonus, not a main attraction. For Halloween 2014, however, Fright Fest offers eight entertaining mazes, including a couple of standouts, Willoughby Resurrected and Red's Revenge.

The fun-house style of old (simple sets made of painted flats) is almost totally gone, replaced by a series of convincing environments, and the number of scares per square foot is quite impressive, with multiple monsters attacking from different angles. Also gone is the conga-line approach: at least on Sunday evening, when we attended, all the mazes were allowing customers to enter only in groups of a dozen or so, insuring that you never missed a scare because you were at the back of a crowd.

We have not been to Fright Fest since 2011, so part of our enthusiasm may simply be due to unfamiliarity, but we enjoyed Six Flags' Halloween horrors more than those at the Queen Mary Dark Harbor or Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. We do not have time for a maze-by-maze review right now, but we can say that, with this year's haunt, Fright Fest leaves its also-ran status behind, taking its place among the best Halloween theme park attractions in Los Angeles.

Fright Fest's remaining dates are on Friday, October  31 and Saturday, November 1. Six Flags Magic Mountain is located at 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway in Valencia. Tickets are $69.99 for adults; $44.99 for children under 48-inches; and free for children under two; tickets may be purchased online in advance for discounted prices. Your ticket gets you in for the whole day, but you must purchase a wristband for admission to the night-time mazes. Click here for the Fright Fest webpage.