Best Horror Nights Year Ever

Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 21, 2008
19,735
Orlando, FL
Since there's some debate as to this year's event being best ever, so let's talk about what is.

Granted, there's going to be some difference in opinions since some people have been 15 years, and others been 3... so let's be mindful of that.

IMO, what makes up the criteria is the strength of house line-up, zone line-up, shows, theme, and marketing/merch.

Discuss!
 

OhHaiInternet95

Veteran Member
Aug 18, 2017
2,064
This thread is going to get really ugly.

My ranking:

#1–18

(Bit of a gap—doesn’t say anything bad about the gears below.)

#2–28
#3–16
#4–26 (razor thin margin between all three of these)

(Bit of a gap again)

#5–27 (Just felt very generic, other four years felt like they had at least some sort of theme to them, and felt very “bare” in spots—Altars, Hive; still had lots of fun even thought this is my “bottom” pick, I feel like any year I get to go to HHN is a blessing!)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: tankart150

SeventyOne

Veteran Member
Jul 1, 2010
2,598
Orlando
Gonna be honest, I discount marketing/merch. Hard enough to remember the houses and zones at this point, perils of getting old. Going since 2001.

My pick: 2011. The weakest house in that line-up was probably The Foresaken, and even that has grown on me in hindsight. GOAT comedy house. GOAT 3-D house. And still had Nevermore, Nightingales, the exceptional Winter's Night ... Pick a house at random from 2011, it would be HOTY in 2017 or 2018.

As for zones, 7 invented the modern scare-zone model, still an all-timer. Grown Evil was a good use of Central Park. Acid Assault and Nightmaze failed, but at least they were interesting failures--an attempt to try something new, like 7 re-inventing the scare-zone experience. Lady Luck didn't really work, but at least HHN figured out you could do a selfie zone to save her scare-zone.

A decent Bill & Ted's with the Gazoo rip-off alien--it felt like they finally figured out the 2007 edict of "stop using other people's IPs" (and the first use of "douchecano"). And Death Drums is a top three show at the event for me.

That said, a strong argument can be made for 2015. An equally impressive house line-up, my favorite zone of all time (Psychoscareapy), and my second favorite show of all time (Jack) to compliment B&T.

Rounding out my top 5: 2005 (which just took the event to another level, even if some houses were bad in hindsight), 2007 (solid house line up with New Line IP, Dead Silence, arguably first comedy house in Home for the Holidays, lots of atmosphere with carnival rides); then a gap, but probably 2008 (couple houses didn't work, but Scary Tales, Dead Exposure, Hallow, Body Collectors were all great, some interesting scare-zones--but probably the worst B&T show ever).

Worst, without question, was 2012.
 

OhHaiInternet95

Veteran Member
Aug 18, 2017
2,064
Gonna be honest, I discount marketing/merch. Hard enough to remember the houses and zones at this point, perils of getting old. Going since 2001.

My pick: 2011. The weakest house in that line-up was probably The Foresaken, and even that has grown on me in hindsight. GOAT comedy house. GOAT 3-D house. And still had Nevermore, Nightingales, the exceptional Winter's Night ... Pick a house at random from 2011, it would be HOTY in 2017 or 2018.

As for zones, 7 invented the modern scare-zone model, still an all-timer. Grown Evil was a good use of Central Park. Acid Assault and Nightmaze failed, but at least they were interesting failures--an attempt to try something new, like 7 re-inventing the scare-zone experience. Lady Luck didn't really work, but at least HHN figured out you could do a selfie zone to save her scare-zone.

A decent Bill & Ted's with the Gazoo rip-off alien--it felt like they finally figured out the 2007 edict of "stop using other people's IPs" (and the first use of "douchecano"). And Death Drums is a top three show at the event for me.

That said, a strong argument can be made for 2015. An equally impressive house line-up, my favorite zone of all time (Psychoscareapy), and my second favorite show of all time (Jack) to compliment B&T.

Rounding out my top 5: 2005 (which just took the event to another level, even if some houses were bad in hindsight), 2007 (solid house line up with New Line IP, Dead Silence, arguably first comedy house in Home for the Holidays, lots of atmosphere with carnival rides); then a gap, but probably 2008 (couple houses didn't work, but Scary Tales, Dead Exposure, Hallow, Body Collectors were all great, some interesting scare-zones--but probably the worst B&T show ever).

Worst, without question, was 2012.
I know I'm a year (plus a week) early to this, but I'm going to bet we see sequels to 21 houses at 30. They've done plenty of sequels to franchises pre-20, so I figure they're due at this point.

As always, @Brian G. , I look forward to hearing your final review.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SeventyOne

JungleSkip

Premium Member
Feb 15, 2010
19,824
The Mushroom Kingdom
My rankings of the 8 years I've been going:

1) HHN 25 - This is what a HHN is supposed to be. Great icon who felt like he really was running the event, two hilarious shows, fun, festive streets, and a great lineup of houses. I loved the event so much I flew back for the closing weekend. Body Collectors and Monsters and Maniacs are still in my Top 5.

2) HHN 21 - The only thing holding 21 back from topping 25 is that Lady Luck was such a nothing burger. 21 probably had the strongest lineup of houses before 28 rolled along, the streets were fun, and B&T was still rocking and rolling. Plus it had In-Between and Bloodngutz, the two houses that really made me fall in love with HHN.

3) HHN 28 - Easily the best house lineup top to bottom I've seen, which is the only reason this is so high. 8 houses that I would rank as good, with 5-6 of them being great.

4) HHN 27 - The Shining, Dead Waters, HIVE, AHS, and Blumhouse were all really good, but the reason HHN27 ranks this high is because Scarecrow: The Reaping is the best house I've ever seen from HHN. I miss it still. Plus the final show of Bill & Ted was a great one.

5) HHN 26 - Yes they absolutely botched Chance. Yes her house was one of the worst I've ever seen. Yes this should all be unforgivable. But Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Exorcist, Krampus, Tomb of the Ancients, American Horror Story year 1, and an actual good Walking Dead house made up for that. Not to mention that Ghost Town is one of the most fun houses I've been through. Plus Vamp 55 is still my favorite zone ever.

6) HHN 23 - As lame as the all-Walking-Dead streets were, this event had some killer houses. The Cabin in the Woods, Evil Dead, and La Llorona were all solid, and American Werewolf in London is an All-Timer.

7) HHN 24 - 24 seemed like a year where the creative team was the definition of burned out. The streets were uninspired, the houses ranged from "good but forgettable" to "outright bad". I'm glad 25 resparked the team's vigor.

8) HHN 22 - I mean...what is there to say, really? The beginning of the Walking Dead Scourge. The loss of a house. The absolute botching of houses based on Silent Hill and Penn & Teller. An Alice freaking Cooper house. The 3 originals were solid, and Gothic is probably one of the most ambitious houses ever, but man, this year flat out sucked.
 

Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 21, 2008
19,735
Orlando, FL
I've been going since 2002. I'll always have a special place for HHN 12, but realistically - here's my ranking of each year:

1. 18 - Strong houses, strong zones, great icon although weak icon house, helluva marketing campaign.
2. 25 - Strong theme & icon, house line-up mixed bag but does have couple GOATs, great zones, great shows.
3. 28 - 2nd Strongest house line-up, solid zones but didn't reach potential, fine show.
4. 21 - Strongest house line-up, but very weak zones with 7 being the only real stand out. Weak icon, with a weak presence.
5. 19 - Solid houses, solid zones, solid icon. Nuff said
6. 20 - Solid houses, solid zones, fine shows, Fear was a letdown, however.
7. 14 - Good attempt at the dual park. Houses were solid, zones bridged the parks well. Point of Evil was a big dud since it never worked.
8. 15 - Best overall story to date, good houses, good zones, Terra Queen great, Storyteller crap, as well as her house.
9. 27 - 3rd best house line-up, but OK zones besides Trick R Treat. Great shows anchored by B&T, but overall event suffered from lack of direction.
10. 12 - Caretaker probably scariest icon, with GOAT house, featured good executed concepts such as Treaks and Foons and Marvel/Villains.
11. 17 - Great Big 3 houses, solid supporting house line-up with great icon, but the parkwide scare zone was a bust. Did feature GOAT HHN archway
12. 26 - Solid house line-up, OK zones, but Chance was a huge letdown and her house is a WOAT contender. B&T was weak, but AoV was refreshing.
13. 13 - Solid houses with 2 GOATs but also 2 duds, fine zones, Director better served at USF, not IOA.
14. 16 - Should've been better given the concept. Great to see some returning classics, but only PS with Jack felt refreshing. Zones underwhelming, but the shows are some all-timers.
15. 24 - Another year that seemed to lack direction. Other than Halloween, houses were fine, zones and shows underwhelming
16. 23 - Hated parkwide Walking Dead, OK house line-up with AWiL and Cabin being memorable.
17. 22 - Save for Gothic, WOAT house line-up. Parkwide scare zones also felt uninspired and featured probably the worst B&T.
 

OhHaiInternet95

Veteran Member
Aug 18, 2017
2,064
I've been going since 2002. I'll always have a special place for HHN 12, but realistically - here's my ranking of each year:

1. 18 - Strong houses, strong zones, great icon although weak icon house, helluva marketing campaign.
2. 25 - Strong theme & icon, house line-up mixed bag but does have couple GOATs, great zones, great shows.
3. 28 - 2nd Strongest house line-up, solid zones but didn't reach potential, fine show.
4. 21 - Strongest house line-up, but very weak zones with 7 being the only real stand out. Weak icon, with a weak presence.
5. 19 - Solid houses, solid zones, solid icon. Nuff said
6. 20 - Solid houses, solid zones, fine shows, Fear was a letdown, however.
7. 14 - Good attempt at the dual park. Houses were solid, zones bridged the parks well. Point of Evil was a big dud since it never worked.
8. 15 - Best overall story to date, good houses, good zones, Terra Queen great, Storyteller crap, as well as her house.
9. 27 - 3rd best house line-up, but OK zones besides Trick R Treat. Great shows anchored by B&T, but overall event suffered from lack of direction.
10. 12 - Caretaker probably scariest icon, with GOAT house, featured good executed concepts such as Treaks and Foons and Marvel/Villains.
11. 17 - Great Big 3 houses, solid supporting house line-up with great icon, but the parkwide scare zone was a bust. Did feature GOAT HHN archway
12. 26 - Solid house line-up, OK zones, but Chance was a huge letdown and her house is a WOAT contender. B&T was weak, but AoV was refreshing.
13. 13 - Solid houses with 2 GOATs but also 2 duds, fine zones, Director better served at USF, not IOA.
14. 16 - Should've been better given the concept. Great to see some returning classics, but only PS with Jack felt refreshing. Zones underwhelming, but the shows are some all-timers.
15. 24 - Another year that seemed to lack direction. Other than Halloween, houses were fine, zones and shows underwhelming
16. 23 - Hated parkwide Walking Dead, OK house line-up with AWiL and Cabin being memorable.
17. 22 - Save for Gothic, WOAT house line-up. Parkwide scare zones also felt uninspired and featured probably the worst B&T.
12-14 are ranked lower than I would've expected, completely agree with you about 18. Thanks for the rankings!
 

JunoSynth

Rookie
Sep 26, 2013
497
Morrison, CO
I missed a few good years unfortunately (HHN 21 comes to mind) but here are my rankings of those I went to so far.

1. HHN 28 - Too many houses/zones I enjoyed to ignore
2. HHN 18 - Was my #1 for awhile due its strong lineup/zones
3. HHN 14 - My first year so it has as special place in my heart
4. HHN 17 - Very strong year for me. Good IP's and Originals. The Texas Chainsaw/Freddy house was amazing!
5. HHN 27 - HHN is starting to go back to originals and IP's I really enjoy
6. HHN 19 - Zones were stronger than the houses this year for me but one of my favorite houses (Leave it to Cleaver) was this year
7. HHN 26 - Not a bad lineup. Just wasn't a strong year
8. HHN 23 - I was already getting tired of "Walking Dead" and all the zones was a horrible idea.
9. HHN 16 - There wasn't really much here I enjoyed. I didn't really care for any of the houses except maybe Scream House: Resurrection
 

Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 21, 2008
19,735
Orlando, FL
12-14 are ranked lower than I would've expected, completely agree with you about 18. Thanks for the rankings!
12 still did feature Fear Factor, and it loses points for Boo-Ville.; and while fun - Project Evilution and JP Extinction was more cheesy than scary.
With 13, Director's show was pretty bad and probably not what I would've gone with in hindsight. Funhouse of Fear and Jungle of Doom were also pretty meh, and Screamhouse was essentially a repeat.
14, just got outclassed by newer events.
 

Freak

Veteran Member
Jan 10, 2013
3,799
No man's land: SoCal
Of the four years I've gone to HHN Orlando (As you can see in my signature), here's how I would rank them:

25: Definitely the best year for me. I love me some Jack the Clown. Monsters and Mayhem was pretty amazing, the line-up was amazing, everything about it was amazing. Loved it.

27: Still really good. No icon, but still had some great houses.

20: My first time going. Houses were pretty good. Hades was probably my favorite.

23: The weakest of the four I went to, but I still loved it, especially with AWiL.

Hope to be back next year!
 
  • Like
Reactions: tankart150
Aug 13, 2016
588
And Death Drums is a top three show at the event for me.

Worst, without question, was 2012.
I will post my thoughts on the the best HHN year, hopefully a little later today. But, I wanted to touch on the above really quickly.

I feel like Death Drums got overlooked by many. I loved the innovative design and the fact that they tried something different. The show created a lot of kinetic energy and I too feel it's a top-3 show at the event.

My bottom three years are 20, 22 and 23. HHN20's slate of houses, taken as a whole, are probably my least favorite of all my years of attending. HHN22's streets were a failure and many of the houses were sub-par. HHN23 was dragged down by a few really poor houses and the worst scarezones I've ever experienced at HHN.
 
Aug 13, 2016
588
So, I'll preface my thoughts by saying that I put more weight towards the haunted houses than the scare zones and basically use the overall themes/backstories/Icons/websites/shows/etc. and ultimately which year I'd prefer to re-visit in order to break any (near) ties while comparing the events.

I've attended 15 non-consecutive years of HHN beginning in 2000. I already mentioned my 3 least favorite years. I'll just list my 10 favorite years here.

My first tie actually comes right at the top. It was tough choosing between..

1. 2007 (17) - The house lineup was stellar. The houses at the Carnival of Carnage are my all-time favorite collection of houses at HHN. I would have liked to have seen more from that year's zones, but I still enjoyed the stuff that was featured on the streets. Great website. Lots of fun leading up to the actual event opening. Jack's inclusion as the Ringmaster is the most successful as far as cohesiveness and immersion with the event. Really cool archway/entrance. The sheer number of houses that I'd like to experience again puts 17 over the top versus my 2nd favorite year.

and..

2. 2004 (14) - Castle Vampyr is my all-time favorite HHN house. Coupled with Ghost Town, those two houses stand a cut above. I *loved* the queue videos this year, as well. I miss them dearly. I also very much enjoyed 3 of the scare zones this year. While the walking between the two parks was a pain, I felt the 2 parks meshed fairly well as one overall HHN "park/event."

3. 2008 (18) - The ultimate year for website design, Icon reveal and backstories. My 2nd favorite year for scare zones. Scary Tales III, Dead Exposure, Body Collectors and The Hallow were standout houses. If I recall correctly, attendance was down due to the event featuring almost solely original content and the economy sputtering which lead to a more intimate feeling and some great personal experiences throughout the run.

4. 2006 (16) - The event focused on HHN's past while looking towards it's future. 16's scare zones are my favorite all-time. Harvest of the Souls, Deadtropolis and Blood Masquerade were some of my favorite zones ever at HHN. I loved The Arrival show and that year's Bill & Ted show is the best one I ever saw. The Icons' placement within some of the houses was hit-or-miss, but still appreciated. Screamhouse, All Nite Die-In, and Pschoscareapy were my favorite houses at 16.

5. 2009 (19) - I really enjoyed all 3 of the classic monsters' houses, Silver Screams, and Chucky. Dracula remains one of my absolute favorite houses. The scarezones at 19 were mostly mediocre.

6. 2011 (21) - Nightingales and The In-Between are all-timers. Forsaken and Bloodengutz were solid. The rest were just okay, for me. I wasn't a big fan of any of 21's scare zones. Lady Luck was a big swing and a miss.

7. 2015 (25) - My 2nd favorite "anniversary" event. Fell short of 16. Would have preferred if the other Icons were featured as prominently as Jack. For me, Jack peaked at 17. I'd like to see the others have their stories fleshed out more. I enjoyed the scare zones, and they were a huge step up from recent years, but none of them were great. As far as the houses, it was a very top-heavy event for me. I felt like 4 of the houses were sub-par. 25 Years and Body Collectors were great.

My next tie was between the most recent two events. They are very close in my mind. I give the slight edge to..

8. 2018 (28) - I rank this year a little above last year based mostly on which event I'd prefer to attend again. I feel like the house and scare zone quality between the two years is very close. The build up/marketing over the summer was markedly better this year when compared to last year's debacle. While the Bill & Ted show was missing, I didn't miss it personally. I felt the show quality had dipped over the recent past to the point where I didn't find it enjoyable anymore. I do wish they brought in a new horror/Halloween type show. I guess, for me, I'd rather experience Poltergeist/Dead Exposure 2 again than anything from 27.

9. 2017 (27) - The event felt pretty similar to 28 to me. So, I won't add much here. A solid year, no doubt. But nowhere near my favorite.

10. 2000 (10) - My first experience with HHN. I think the fact that I rank this so "lowly" on my list throws some cold water on the notion that everyone over-rates their first experience at HHN and that nothing will ever live up to first impressions. The houses were fun, not especially scary. Midway of Dr. Morose (clowns in the old Amity part of the park) is my all-time favorite scare zone. I feel that the current iteration of HHN could really benefit from trying to re-create some of the aspects from that zone. I know it's not the most feasible idea with the current park setup and the crowds the event now draws - but that zone (and I'm sure the ones that preceded it in Amity) was really special. Oh, and some clown named Jack (I think?) made his first appearance at the event.
 
Last edited:

OhHaiInternet95

Veteran Member
Aug 18, 2017
2,064
So, I'll preface my thoughts by saying that I put more weight towards the haunted houses than the scare zones and basically use the overall themes/backstories/Icons/websites/shows/etc. and ultimately which year I'd prefer to re-visit in order to break any (near) ties while comparing the events.

I've attended 15 non-consecutive years of HHN beginning in 2000. I already mentioned my 3 least favorite years. I'll just list my 10 favorite years here.

My first tie actually comes right at the top. It was tough choosing between..

1. 2007 (17) - The house lineup was stellar. The houses at the Carnival of Carnage are my all-time favorite collection of houses at HHN. I would have liked to have seen more from that year's zones, but I still enjoyed the stuff that was featured on the streets. Great website. Lots of fun leading up to the actual event opening. Jack's inclusion as the Ringmaster is the most successful as far as cohesiveness and immersion with the event. Really cool archway/entrance. The sheer number of houses that I'd like to experience again puts 17 over the top versus my 2nd favorite year.

and..

2. 2004 (14) - Castle Vampyr is my all-time favorite HHN house. Coupled with Ghost Town, those two houses stand a cut above. I *loved* the queue videos this year, as well. I miss them dearly. I also very much enjoyed 3 of the scare zones this year. While the walking between the two parks was a pain, I felt the 2 parks meshed fairly well as one overall HHN "park/event."

3. 2008 (18) - The ultimate year for website design, Icon reveal and backstories. My 2nd favorite year for scare zones. Scary Tales III, Dead Exposure, Body Collectors and The Hallow were standout houses. If I recall correctly, attendance was down due to the event featuring almost solely original content and the economy sputtering which lead to a more intimate feeling and some great personal experiences throughout the run.

:,(
Proves that what's best quality doesn't pay. I'm pretty sure what led them to do five originals this year because the waits for them at 27 somewhat achieved parity with the IPs (Scarecrow's wait rivaled AHS and Saw's), so I'm hoping they don't drop the number of originals next year. This year benefitted strongly from having five.


4. 2006 (16) - The event focused on HHN's past while looking towards it's future. 16's scare zones are my favorite all-time. Harvest of the Souls, Deadtropolis and Blood Masquerade were some of my favorite zones ever at HHN. I loved The Arrival show and that year's Bill & Ted show is the best one I ever saw. The Icons' placement within some of the houses was hit-or-miss, but still appreciated. Screamhouse, All Nite Die-In, and Pschoscareapy were my favorite houses at 16.

Deadtropolis was awesome, but I actually like Tradition better than Harvest of the Souls. Psycho Scareapy was my favorite, then Scream House. I think those top two miiiiight top anything from this year (I'd say Poltergeist and DE2 are roughly on the same level as Scream House), but top to bottom still not as strong a house lineup as this year overall.

5. 2009 (19) - I really enjoyed all 3 of the classic monsters' houses, Silver Screams, and Chucky. Dracula remains one of my absolute favorite houses. The scarezones at 19 were mostly mediocre.

6. 2011 (21) - Nightingales and The In-Between are all-timers. Forsaken and Bloodengutz were solid. The rest were just okay, for me. I wasn't a big fan of any of 21's scare zones. Lady Luck was a big swing and a miss.

7. 2015 (25) - My 2nd favorite "anniversary" event. Fell short of 16. Would have preferred if the other Icons were featured as prominently as Jack. For me, Jack peaked at 17. I'd like to see the others have their stories fleshed out more. I enjoyed the scare zones, and they were a huge step up from recent years, but none of them were great. As far as the houses, it was a very top-heavy event for me. I felt like 4 of the houses were sub-par. 25 Years and Body Collectors were great.

My next tie was between the most recent two events. They are very close in my mind. I give the slight edge to..

8. 2018 (28) - I rank this year a little above last year based mostly on which event I'd prefer to attend again. I feel like the house and scare zone quality between the two years is very close. The build up/marketing over the summer was markedly better this year when compared to last year's debacle. While the Bill & Ted show was missing, I didn't miss it personally. I felt the show quality had dipped over the recent past to the point where I didn't find it enjoyable anymore. I do wish they brought in a new horror/Halloween type show. I guess, for me, I'd rather experience Poltergeist/Dead Exposure 2 again than anything from 27.

9. 2017 (27) - The event felt pretty similar to 28 to me. So, I won't add much here. A solid year, no doubt. But nowhere near my favorite.

10. 2000 (10)
- My first experience with HHN. I think the fact that I rank this so "lowly" on my list throws some cold water on the notion that everyone over-rates their first experience at HHN and that nothing will ever live up to first impressions. The houses were fun, not especially scary. Midway of Dr. Morose (clowns in the old Amity part of the park) is my all-time favorite scare zone. I feel that the current iteration of HHN could really benefit from trying to re-create some of the aspects from that zone. I know it's not the most feasible idea with the current park setup and the crowds the event now draws - but that zone (and I'm sure the ones that preceded it in Amity) was really special. Oh, and some clown named Jack (I think?) made his first appearance at the event.
 
Last edited:

Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
18,278
Orlando
For me, I would rather two houses that blow my pants off and then quite a few good ones and I can deal with the bad. That's why I don't see 28 as high as some do. While most every house isn't terrible, none of them are all-timers (not even Poltergeist imo) and i've just felt a bit "meh" on the houses this year after having a house like Scarecrow last year.

It's a solid lineup this year no doubt, but it's solid as in the houses are for the most part all formidable. There's really nothing that makes this year stand out to me at all other than that and I think in hindsight, when we aren't living in it, this year will be ranked lower. It certainly feels a lot emptier than normal with B&T gone as that was a must do. AoV isn't in anyway a must do and therefore it changes the feel and pacing of the night.
 

OhHaiInternet95

Veteran Member
Aug 18, 2017
2,064
For me, I would rather two houses that blow my pants off and then quite a few good ones and I can deal with the bad. That's why I don't see 28 as high as some do. While most every house isn't terrible, none of them are all-timers (not even Poltergeist imo) and i've just felt a bit "meh" on the houses this year after having a house like Scarecrow last year.
While plenty do feel that way about Poltergeist, this is exactly why I would like to have “just” 9 houses with a lower-budget show. And you have some calling to spread the budget even thinner. :rolleyes:
 

ThemeParks4Life

Veteran Member
Nov 15, 2012
4,008
Central Florida
I've been going since 24. My thoughts on every year:

1. 25 (2015): This year was a special year, and I could feel the passion put into the event. All the Scarezones were pretty strong and by far the best group of zones in my time at the event. The house lineup is a mixed bag, but when this year contains three of my top five houses in Body Collectors, Monsters and Mayhem, and Freddy vs. Jason, that inflates its position a lot. Asylum in Wonderland was also great, and even Run managed to be a lot of fun because I was hit with every scare. The rest of the houses were pretty weak unfortunately: Insidious didn't work for me (the ops were horrible here btw), AWIL's cast was very unenthusiastic, TWD was boring, and The Purge is probably still the worst house I've ever been in at the event. Overall, it was a strong anniversary year, but its position is shaky when about half of the house lineup wasn't good.

2. 26 (2016): The house lineup this year is a bit more consistent than 2015, but it's still a little spotty. Halloween 2 and Krampus were both excellent houses, and Tomb of the Ancients was very good even though I got hit with very few scares. Texas Chain Saw and AHS were also pretty good. Like 25, the event nosedives in quality when I reach the bottom 4 houses. Ghost Town had amazing sets but weak scares (I got almost every scare thanks to being pulsed), and The Exorcist didn't really work despite being ambitious. I found this year's TWD house to be pretty overrated, and Lunatics Playground is a bottom 3 house of all time for me. The zones were fine.

3. 28 (2018): A little torn on whether I'd put 27 or 28 here, but the consistency of the lineup gives this year the edge. I'll echo what @SeventyOne and @Nick have been saying: this year lacked a truly strong house. Slaughter Sinema is my HOTY, yet it's barely in my top 10 of the past 5 years. None of the houses sucked (which is pretty impressive considering the duds that have been at the event recently), but all of them had something holding them back from rising to the next level. When I was at the event last Wednesday, I thought to myself halfway through the night after Blumhouse that this has been a pretty weak year. It picked up in my second half of the night, but again, none of those houses went beyond a 9. I hope to god next year has some truly special houses and creative isn't just filling time until 30, especially because I won't be a local anymore and will have to drive almost 4 hours for the event.

4. 27 (2017): Unlike this year, there were actually a couple of standout houses. Scarecrow is in a deadlock with Body Collectors for my GOAT house, and Hive and AHS were really strong too. Unfortunately, the event begins dropping in quality after those three. The Shining, Dead Waters, and The Fallen all had great sets but weak scares (DW was the scariest but hindered by that comical length). Ash vs. Evil Dead was decent but unmemorable, and Saw and Blumhouse were weak houses. The zones were incredible unmemorable too outside of Trick 'r Treat.

5. 24 (2014): My first year doesn't get any nostalgia points. Outside of TWD, Halloween, and Dollhouse, this year does not hold up in retrospect.
 

Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 21, 2008
19,735
Orlando, FL
For me, I would rather two houses that blow my pants off and then quite a few good ones and I can deal with the bad. That's why I don't see 28 as high as some do. While most every house isn't terrible, none of them are all-timers (not even Poltergeist imo) and i've just felt a bit "meh" on the houses this year after having a house like Scarecrow last year.

It's a solid lineup this year no doubt, but it's solid as in the houses are for the most part all formidable. There's really nothing that makes this year stand out to me at all other than that and I think in hindsight, when we aren't living in it, this year will be ranked lower. It certainly feels a lot emptier than normal with B&T gone as that was a must do. AoV isn't in anyway a must do and therefore it changes the feel and pacing of the night.
To each their own, but I disagree with most of this outside of AoV/B&T. I'd rather have consistency.

We had that kinda house line-up with 23 & 24 and those years were rough.

Again, you may not be a fan of Poltergeist, but it does appear it is favored very strongly by a lot of people as an all-timer. I think Scarecrow gets an extra bump because it was the first original "original" in a long time that knocked it out of the park.

You got a winner when a majority of people's reviews are saying their 9th ranked house is still fine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: OhHaiInternet95