Wicker Man roller coaster, scarier than the bees, will hurtle you through fire
No, it’s not the bees, but a new roller coaster themed to The Wicker Man films looks just as terrifying.
Announced on Sunday, the new attraction — which bears the same title as the 1973 Christopher Lee thriller and its notoriously awful remake starring Nicolas Cage — is scheduled to open this spring at Alton Towers, one of the U.K.’s leading theme parks. The films upon which the ride is based (both inspired by David Pinner’s 1967 novel Ritual) follow detectives investigating the case of a missing child, a chase that brings them to a mysterious island whose inhabitants practice a twisted form of neo-paganism involving human sacrifices.
Touted as a “multisensory rite of passage guaranteed to get your heart pumping and senses tingling,” the Alton Towers ride is currently under construction via the Pennsylvania-based company Great Coasters International, the same organization responsible for recent wooden creations in U.S. parks like Kings Island’s Mystic Timbers, Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s InvadR, and Gold Striker at California’s Great America.
Preview images for the coaster — the first wooden design to be built in Britain in over two decades — show the 2,028-foot-long track passing through a 58-foot-tall humanoid figure reminiscent of the structure that appears at the end of both films. Riders will seemingly blast through the towering formation at high speed while fire and lighting effects flare up around them.
In case you were concerned about, you know, potentially meeting the same crispy fate as the characters played by Cage and Edward Woodward in both versions of the film (wood is flammable, FYI!), the park has taken extra steps to enhance the safety of Wicker Man‘s riders.
“We’ve worked with industry experts to ensure that our guests do not come in contact with the fire at any time,” Alton Towers’ health and safety director, Steve Woods, says in a preview video shared on the resort’s Twitter. “Much of what will appear to be real fire is actually an illusion created by special effects. So, there is absolutely no danger to our guests in those areas.”
On June 2, 2015, one of the park’s steel constructions, The Smiler, seriously injured a handful of passengers when a train collided with another that had stalled mid-course due to high winds. Two young women each lost a leg in the accident, and the park was fined 5 million pounds (roughly $6.7 million) before the ride reopened in September 2016.
Woods stresses that park employees will undergo “hundreds of hours of training” in anticipation of the Wicker Man opening. Just steer clear of the operators if they’re wearing animal masks and/or ceremonial face paint.
The Wicker Man (Movie - 1973)