Holovis has designed and delivered the terrifying multisensory experience that surrounds Thorpe Park’s new coaster The Walking Dead: The Ride.
The thrill ride is the world’s first roller coaster themed on the popular The Walking Dead AMC TV series which is based on a comic book series written by Robert Kirkman. The immersive multi-sensory roller coaster opened this Easter and features special effects and a replica of the iconic watchtower from the series.
For The Walking Dead: The Ride, Holovis worked with Merlin Magic Making to create the immersive experience that draws guests in the post apocalyptic zombie story, right from the initial queue line to the preshow, dramatic on-board effects and the death defying finale.
The preshow starts with guests in a Safe Zone which is soon compromised by the Walkers (zombies). Holovis provided the terrifying visual and sensory special effects woven into the theming, which include what appears to be CCTV footage showing the Walkers attacking the area of the queue line guests have just passed through and trying to break through a 4K screen which looks like a window.
Riders are then divided into groups as they move through the rest of the queue. Zonal surround audio and lighting gives the illusion that they are the only group there. The immersive media scenes continue into the loading station and on the coaster. At key moments physical and digital effects are combined with action from real actors.
Integrated media, special effects and theming
The process for Holovis began on its Demonstration Campus in the UK, where all the media scenes were filmed and the audio created in the Green Screen and Sound Studio, before adding a full post production treatment.
Holovis also designed and installed the zonal audio and lighting that makes the different queuing groups feel so isolated, and the media and special effect moments for when the coaster dramatically pauses during its journey.
“This is a great example of our turnkey capability, as we’ve worked with Merlin Magic Making from the initial design phase through to capturing and creating all the media and integrating it with the AV and lighting across the whole attraction and special effects. This has allowed us to really maximise the impact, as the repercussions from things that are being seen and heard are interconnected to fit the gripping story,” explains Peter Cliff, creative director at Holovis.
The attraction is an almost unrecognisable retrofit of X: No Way Out, which launched in 1996 as the world’s first backwards roller coaster in the dark.
Cliff adds that the new thrill ride, “also showcases how existing attractions can be given a new lease of life through integrated media, special effects and theming making it a quick and easy transition, with minimal structural work required.”