Thorpe Park to open terrifying Walking Dead-themed roller coaster ride

'Completely immersive' attraction boasts state-of-the-art special effects

Jack Peat
Tuesday 20 February 2018 12:33
The experience invites thrill seekers to flee The Walking Dead in a relentless and spine-chilling bid for survival
The experience invites thrill seekers to flee The Walking Dead in a relentless and spine-chilling bid for survival

Thorpe Park's "chief scaremonger" has told how he created terrifying special effects for the brand new The Walking Dead: The Ride after watching close to 150 episodes of the smash hit zombie TV show - twice.

John Burton, 26, is the brains behind the multi-sensory coaster, which is the first in the world to be themed on AMC’s post-apocalyptic global TV phenomenon.

The experience invites thrill seekers to flee The Walking Dead in a relentless and spine-chilling bid for survival.

The "completely immersive" ride comes complete with state-of-the-art special effects, and a replica of the iconic Watch Tower.

Those who are brave enough will travel through deep, dark tunnels amid extensive and realistic themes, bringing to life some of the most compelling and gruesome scenes from the show.

They will be confronted by blood-soaked zombies throughout the ride – and even the queue is expected to be scary.

Married John, who started working on the design 18 months ago, said: "Guests will believe the walking dead are all around them - like they are in their own episode of the show.

“It’s 15 out of ten on the scare scale.

‘’I watched every episode of the series from start to finish and back to front twice to ensure we got everything exactly right.

‘’I was a fan of the show anyway, but I spent two months watching it along with official AMC Walker training videos.

‘’Thorpe Park Resort has been consistently raising the bar in the scare stakes for years and this will be the ultimate test of riders’ mettle.

John, who lives in Kew near Richmond, Surrey added: ‘’Our Fright Nights season was amazing. The next step was to give The Walking Dead its own ride, a home here.

‘’It is going to be right up there with the best in the world in terms of the whole experience.

‘’We are combining physical and digital effects because it is going to be dark, so we are going to make the most of that.

''The darkness acted as a canvas for us. We have incorporated the latest in special effects, lighting, smells and even touch elements to create a terrifyingly unique atmosphere.

‘’The experience does not stop when you get off the ride. The whole experience from the point when you join the queue is going to be immense.''

Earlier this month, keen candidates were put through their paces in a bid to land one of the oddest jobs on the planet – a scare actor at Thorpe Park Resort during their upcoming Year of The Walking Dead.

Wannabe zombies are required to meet strict ‘scare-factor’ criteria including the ability to frighten guests in any environment, coping with sudden screams from thrill-seekers, and keeping in character in any situation.

Key responsibilities include being able to interact in character with members of the public, being able to become zombie-like at a moment’s notice, and being able to cope well with sudden noises from thrill seekers, including screaming.

The roller coaster opens this Easter and is at the centre of Thorpe Park Resort’s Year of The Walking Dead unmissable series of events. The Surrey based theme park re-opens for its 2018 season on Friday 23 March.


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