Monday, April 07, 2008

Houdini Lives!

Over the past few weeks, I've been reading a really good biography on Harry Houdini.  If you're at all interested in the early days of show business, this is a book I'd recommend.  It's fascinating.

Anyway, reading this book has reminded me of Houdini's Great Escape... the attraction at Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags New England.  

The reviews of this attraction are always mixed, but I happen to love it.  It's one of the few attractions at a non-Disney/Universal park with an actual storyline.

For those of you who don't know, the attraction begins as you approach a stately, Victorian manor.   The first room you enter is an old library, filled with dusty books and many of the magical props that Houdini used during his career.

I won't spoil what happens, but if you catch this attraction on a day when all the effects are working, it's pretty damn good for a regional park.

After the pre-show, you move into the main attraction which is essentially a Vekoma Haunted Swing.  The attraction uses convincing effects to make it seem like the audience (and the room around them) are turning upside down again and again.  This is all set to a dramatic soundtrack that goes along with the storyline.

It's difficult to find pictures or video of this attraction, but there are similar ones around the world.  Check out this video of Hex at Alton Towers to see what it looks like.

Anyway, I'm a big fan of adding storyline to attractions to make it more of an experience.  Hopefully we'll see more regional parks attempt to add a bit of story to their rides.

It will be interesting to see how the new Dark Knight Coaster turns out at Six Flags parks across the country.  They seem to be trying to give it a bit of story along with the thrills.

Talk about it in the forums!

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