Nightmare Fuel / Theme Parks

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Now who doesn't love theme parks? They're some of the best places to go to for escapism, excitement, and fun.

... except when there's something in the park that will scare your pants off. And it's made worse because of the fact that here, you're not watching something scary on a TV screen as usual. Here, you're right in the middle of it.

Whether it be some ride about ghosts or the undead, Halloween park events, stuff that wasn't meant to be creepy but ended up being anyway, or even entire parks that have been left abandoned and are now rotting away, you will find all sorts of examples here. Solo-attractions that aren't at any theme parks, especially including haunted house attractions, will also be covered here.

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    Fort Edmonton Park's Halloween Spooktacular 
Fort Edmonton Park. Ah, that little old folksy historic museum park in Edmonton, Canada. It's always a fun and happy go lucky place, right? Except for Halloween season, when for two nights near the end of the month of October, a collective of ghouls ranging from student-age to adults decide to turn the place into a spooky good times then it's downright terrifying. The show has always been aimed at people aged 16 and over, though in recent times they have made it a bit more kid-friendly (the 2014 season, however, will be making it a bit Darker and Edgier).

  • 2010 was focused entirely on zombies, with the whole park being turned into a battlegrounds against the dead. Tons of gore and grotesque makeup was to be seen, and a Crazy Awesome zombie fighter with a battling gun.
  • 2011's season was undoubtedly the scariest yet. The theme was the Carnival of Lost Souls. Two houses in particular stand out:
    • The Clown Asylum, where the asylum was overrun with crazy clowns, and then you got to the very end... A Joker-esque clown with an ex trembly grotesque smile and a chainsaw appears and chases you out while laughing hysterically.
    • The puppet house was extremely grotesque and morbid, with the concept of people being turned into puppets and involving tons of brutal torture- the female actress' screams were realistic and scary enough to cause people to walk out of the house.
  • And then there was 2013... which featured:
    • "The Haunt", which was a Paranormal Activity style tour that relied heavily on Nothing Is Scarier in all three examples and actually worked. The entire 1885 Street area was used for it, and drifting from one building to another was nothing short of uncomfortable when it was that dark out. The story concerned a woman who had been abused by the whole town and committed suicide, and the hosts brought you to where she frequented. At one point you were brought to a bridge where the ghost of said woman appeared behind you and screamed at you... and as a nice Surprise Ending, you were brought back to Egge's, where you were trapped in a house full of screaming children and strobe lights.
    • The Dollhouse on 1905 also relied on Nothing Is Scarier and achieved it to a chilling effect. An old woman lives in a house full of dolls, some of which are actually living humans. Before you enter, you are asked if you've seen two girls and are shown a photo of them. The woman's daughter makes her entrance by shouting, "MOMMEEEEE!!! I DON'T LIKE THIS DOLLY ANYMORE, HE IS UGLY! I WANT A TALL ONE!". You are then brought to the kitchen, where said two girls are sitting at the table, and one utters, at one point, "help me...". The little girl soon grabs a syringe, and goes for you... before the lights turn out and you hear a scream. There's also a surprise ending here too; a SWAT team bursts in to seize the premises, which happens so quickly it caused some people to doubt it actually happened.
    • The rovers on 1905 street were worth a mention too; one being an adolescent boy who was a zombie and would literally charge after some people down the whole street, and a burn victim who spoke in a Walter White voice and threatening tone, while limping in a menacing manner.

     Other Theme Parks 
  • The infamous Action Park that operated from 1978 to 1996 in Vernon Township, New Jersey, known for being a real life Amusement Park of Doom. One of the nation's first water parks, it was known for having inattentive, underage employees and poorly designed, unsafe rides, including a looping water slide. By the time it was closed, six people were documented to have died directly or indirectly from rides in the park, in such brutal ways as ride cars coming off the tracks and colliding with rocks, drowning, a heart attack caused by too-cold water, and electrocution.
  • Adventureland in Long Island, New York once had a haunted house ride called 1313 Cemetery Way. Sitting over its exit was the iconic animatronic Haunted Tree with an owl on top. After the owl said, "I wouldn't go in there if I were you!", the tree would taunt guests by waving its limbs and replying, "Why not? What's wrong with a little fun in the dark at Adventureland?" Later on in the ride's life, a chainsaw-wielding mannequin was placed in one of the windows and the tree would say, "Chainsaw? I don't like chainsaws, I once had a close shave with one and by the way if I get my limbs on you!" Sweet dreams.
  • The Atlantis Aquarium and Water Park in Mexico City used to have a motion simulator built like a bathysphere, which would seat a small group and take its passengers on a short, "underwater" adventure. But during the journey, the submarine encounters difficulties, smashes into the ocean floor, and springs several leaks (tiny amounts of pressurized water were released from the bulkhead.) Worst of all, the dorsal hatch breaks open, and an animatronic white shark pops its head in to menace the audience while the ride operator (the "captain") struggles to push it back outside. Combine the dark, cramped, and claustrophobic environment with the all-too-realistic leaks, and then add a huge chomping shark right above your head, and it's no wonder that this ride freaked some people out.
  • Chessington Worlds of Adventure has a few examples:
    • The park's Transylvania area, which has a floorless, inverted rollercoaster called Vampire with a very creepy station queue line, that includes an animatronic organist on the pipes. In addition, the ride music happens to have the sounds of screams mixed in with crashes of lightning and thunder in the background.
    • Professor Burp's Bubbleworks (before the redesign) was very much nightmare fuel. Especially the evil bubble with feet in its mouth and the terrifying "Pressure Room". Not to mention the creepy-looking animatronic figure of Professor Burp at the start and the end of the ride.
    • Tomb Blaster (a revamped interactive laser ride from the former Terror Tomb) counts for this as well, for there are many animatronic mummies, silhouettes of flying javelins, the like and a giant snake at the end. The former Terror Tomb had a skeleton playing a happy tune whilst the antagonist protagonist Abdab was murdered.
  • Kennywood Park used to have a dark ride called The Gold Rusher — that, among its many scenes, included one of a Giant Spider menacing a damsel in distress, with there being another large spider that would drop down from the ceiling right above the riders. Was certainly not a recommended experience for arachnophobes.
  • In Linnanmäki, a Finnish amusement park, there was once a ride called Fairy Tale Castle, which involved dolls dancing and waving along a children's song. Unfortunately, after a few years of use, the dolls started to break down. It was probably quite traumatic for children to witness dolls lacking body parts such as eyes, legs, arms and even heads jerk in a very creepy way with the already distorted music. For obvious reasons, the ride is no longer in use.
  • The entrance to Luna Park in Australia has guests walking through the mouth of a giant, grinning clown face.
  • The Transdémonium ride at Parc Asterix is quite scary despite its low budget effects. One memorable part involves car stopping for about 5 seconds (so one is fooled into thinking it's broken down) next to a merry go round/carousel made entirely out of bones, including the horses and riders.
  • Rock City — a nice, peaceful park dedicated to nature's beauty, right? Right. Until you try to get out. For decades the only exit was through a cave whimsically named Fairyland Caverns, in which young impressionable minds will be treated to creepy dioramas of the various fairy tales, lit with dark lights and eerie glowing paint and eternally trapped behind rusting bars.

     Abandoned Theme Parks 
  • This Katrina-ravaged Six Flags in New Orleans. The fact that the soundtrack is Godspeed You! Black Emperor just enhances it.
  • Here's America Adventure Park in 1987 and here is what's left of it now.
  • Abandoned amusement parks in Asia.
  • There's also Nara Dreamland, a Disneyland knock-off that went out of business in 2006 and has remained desolated every since.
  • The amusement parkin Pripyat, now a ghost town due to being so close to Chernobyl.
  • The former Geauga Lake amusement park in Aurora, Ohio. It closed very suddenly at the end of the season in 2007 and every ride was promptly torn down and moved to other amusement parks owned by the same company, along with every building being torn down. Seeing footage of the park in the present-day is haunting. Every sidewalk and path inside the park still exists, twisting past hollow foundations where buildings used to live, and concrete footers where rides used to stand, but the only living thing running the paths is the grass and other foliage gradually overtaking it. The paths even still have their old themes such as Snoopy Town. The only things still standing are the half-demolished main entrance, across a desolate parking lot, and a historic roller coaster called the Big Dipper, standing but not used since the park closed and also overgrown with weeds and run down. To top it off, until fall 2016 it was right across a lake of the same name from a bustling water park named Wildwater Kingdom owned by the same company as Geauga Lake in its final years and opened in 2005. The eerie empty amusement park with the Big Dipper was visible from inside the water park over the lake, until the water park closed for good as well in fall 2016, allowing the entire park to be redeveloped into something new at last.

    Haunted House Attractions 
  • Two words: McKamey Manor, located in San Diego. It's not your traditional haunted house, as going through it has been described as "living a horror movie". To go through it, you have to be 21 years of age and have to sign a very long waiver that ensures that you are of sound physical and mental condition. From there, the "tour" of the manor has its guests being sent through all kinds of torment that includes being bound and gagged, getting dunked into toilet bowls, being forced to eat rotten food and live worms, getting covered in fake blood, and much, much more. The experience is completely interactive and is basically as close to actual torture you can get without breaking any laws. It's literally designed to make you feel like you're going to die. Did we mention that the entire experience is four to six hours long? And you can only bring one other person with you. On top of all that, once you're in the manor, there's no getting out until the "tour" is over. No matter how much you cry, beg or scream, you'll be forced to endure the entire experience until the very end. And if you try to escape? They'll stop you. The experience will only be stopped if the person completely gives out mentally and/or physically. It's worth noting that one ex-Marine that did the experience mentioned that it's worse than boot camp. Just the promo videos for it alone are maximum nightmare fuel. Viewer discretion is heavily advised.
  • The London Dungeons, located near the London Bridge in the UK. A haunted house with the theme of London's horrific history.

    Other Non-Theme Park Attractions 
  • The Drive-In Wheel. It's a ferries wheel that has platforms you park your cars on and ride while in your car. Not recommended for anyone with a fear of heights.
  • Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas has a live shark exhibit not too unlike what you would find at SeaWorld or a big aquarium. The final room, containing the large tank the adult sharks hang out in, resembles the innards of a sunken ship. There's a plexiglass floor in the middle of the room for those who enjoy tempting fate, with a fake skeleton swimming with the sharks down there. But, perhaps you're too chicken to stand on that acrylic panel and head for the exit? Well, guess what the short path to the exit is made out of?
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