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Halloween Horror Nights 22 Reviews & Photos

Hockeyman55

Premium Member
Aug 19, 2009
5,526
Palm Beach Gardens
So last night was a weird night for photgaphy for me. I lugge around my bag with everything including the tripod but ended up not even taking that many pictures.I wanted to make sure I experienced all the house and shows before I went around and took some pictures but by the time that came around I was exhausted and didnt feel like busting everything out :shrug: Here are some that I did manage to take. Also they didnt do anything with the lagoon show Im assuming because of the weather/wind and that was the one thing I was looking forward to shooting with the tripod.


Halloween Horror Nights by Mike Sperduto, on Flickr
 

Andy

aka Hatetofly
V.I.P.
Mar 16, 2010
11,095
With gusts in excess of 35mph last night it's good they shut the show down. It would of looked bad I assure you. I've seen it with 10mph winds and I couldnt recognize a lot of the screen projections and I got soaked in a spot I've never gotten wet before.

- - - Updated - - -

Awesome photos by the way and totally know what you mean about setting up after a long night. I bought a gorilla pod before my Cali trip and love it! Highly recommend getting one, and I got it on amazon with the ballhead attachment (a must) for much less than my tripod.
 

Hockeyman55

Premium Member
Aug 19, 2009
5,526
Palm Beach Gardens
With gusts in excess of 35mph last night it's good they shut the show down. It would of looked bad I assure you. I've seen it with 10mph winds and I couldnt recognize a lot of the screen projections and I got soaked in a spot I've never gotten wet before.

- - - Updated - - -

Awesome photos by the way and totally know what you mean about setting up after a long night. I bought a gorilla pod before my Cali trip and love it! Highly recommend getting one, and I got it on amazon with the ballhead attachment (a must) for much less than my tripod.
Thank you Hatetofly :smiley: I should invest in one of those gorilla pods also, at least now I now for next time lol.

Although sad I didnt get to see any of the lagoon show I understood why they werent showing it.


[/url] Spooky Pumpkins by Mike Sperduto, on Flickr[/IMG]
 

universal_fanatic

Premium Member
Feb 12, 2008
1,817
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I'm thinking there referring to the circular room, sorry scareactors I don't know the name of the room outside of Frankenstein.

In the room their are openings all around you. Just to the left of the passage to the next room, their is an opening with what appears to be Frankenstein attached to his lab stable that's standing vertical. Its a mirror gag also made to make it appear as if he is a further away than he really is. Once the sound and lighting effect are queued by the actor Frankenstein breaks loose and charges straight towards you. With the mirror gag it makes it feel like he is charging you very quickly. It is an intense scene.
Hm, ok I definitely don't think I saw that at all :shrug:
However there was a scene with a
scareactor/mannequin up high and while I was focused on that someone came out of an arch below. That one got me good and I was wondering if it was Dracula...?
 

Andy

aka Hatetofly
V.I.P.
Mar 16, 2010
11,095
Hm, ok I definitely don't think I saw that at all :shrug:
However there was a scene with a
scareactor/mannequin up high and while I was focused on that someone came out of an arch below. That one got me good and I was wondering if it was Dracula...?
Yes

That was Dracula
 

Cwoolboy

Veteran Member
Sep 22, 2009
1,501
Leesberg, FL
Tonight I bring you my trip report from Scare Central: Halloween Horror Nights. Now, I only got to go one time this year (frowny face), but I'll be fine...nest year I'll have to get another frequent fear pass (really is the way to go, more BOO for your buck). Anyways, last year I predicted that 22 wouldn't be as good as 21 was.....was I right? Could I possibly be psychic? Let's find out.

THEME

Let's start out with the theme this year......there is no theme. Wow, that was easy. Yup, this year HHN decided to forego their usual theme and go themeless for a change. Not the best of choices, but I'll live. There is no over-arching story for this year. I guess if you wanted to be technical you could say that the studios is themed to an unearthed graveyard, but that wasn't all that well done. There was scattered props and graveyard theming throughout, but it just didn't wow. Hey, somethings better than nothing I suppose. Also, There didn't seem to be as much fog as there was in previous years, so I came home smelling signifantly less foggy that I usually do (frowny face again).

ICON

Ok, how was the icon for this year? There wasn't one. The "unofficial" Icons are the Iniquitus this year. They rise from the graveyard bringing a gang of terrible terrors with them to terrorize you. The Iniquitus weren't given much backstory, and the focus of the event was more on The Walking Dead than them. That said, you do see them quite a bit walking around the park...so that was neat.

SCAREZONES

Ok, everybody together now: THERE AREN'T ANY. This year HHN had groups of roaming scarectors. The marketing team promised there would be nowhere you would be safe and scareactors would be more in your face than ever and that they would be allowed to chase you. That would be cool, if only you had a chance of running into them. The raoaming scareactors are quite possibly the worst idea HHN has ever had. This year it's really a case of being in the right place at the right time. The streets feel emptier than ever, and I only ran into maybe 3 roaming haordes (as they're called). Easily the best hoarde is the zombie one outside of Disaster. They are always there, and they actually mingle and blend into the crowd. When I first walked through that area I thought the zombies hadn't come out yet, and then a zombie in a wheelchaor wheeled right past me and another one shambled by. I geeked out at the realization that they had zombies wearing regular clothes, so that it would be harder to tell who was a zombie in a large crowd....very neat scare tactic, and one I definitely hope they carry on into future years.

BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT HALLOWEEN ADVENTURE

I LOVE Bill and Ted, so I always make a point to visit this show each year. This year, the setting is San Dimas High School. Bill and Ted get caught up in the class president elections and turn on each other, each thinking they would be better at the role. The remainder of the show focuses on them going about (seperately) trying to secure votes from this year' s pop culture icons. Naturally, it ends with them realizing that they are both important, and that only together can they save the future. STATION.

The Mayan opening was simply fantastic. Loved the female Mayan outfits (think sexy Mayan bikinis). They open the show talking about the end of the world prophecy, the end of Twilight ("We sure will miss it, said no one ever"). They also do a fantastic, fun, and sexually suggestive dance (what's new?) to Wild One by Sia. One of the best openings for the show I've seen.

The Epic Rap Battles of History: Obama Vs. Romney was pretty cool. Was surprised to see this reference here since I didn't realize those Youtube videos were so popular.

The Gangnam Style portion was fun and cool.

LOVED LOVED LOVED the Chris Farley Chippendales/Magic Mike guy. SO FUNNY. Really enjoyed getting to see the classic Chris Farley routine here, and the guy really got into his role, dancing suggestively with audience members. He pointed to his cheek for a kiss from one of the audience members, and when she went to kiss his cheek he turned so she got his lips instead. He acted shocked and shook his fanger which got a great reaction from the crowd. ****ing hilarious.

LOVED the "Where's Jaws" part, Sharky/Chompy came out with a sign during this part, saying he will chomp for food. Very clever, and good to see BnT acknowledge Uni's massive **** up.

Love how they fit in the classic "69!!!!" part from the first film.

LOVED how they brought in classic Abe Lincoln from the first film at the end.,

The Finale was pretty cool, even though the dancing resembled something out of high school (I think that was kind of the point though).

Overall, this year's show was certainly better than last year's attempt but it still wasn't one of the best ones. I didn't like the whole Bill Vs. Ted theme this year, I like it better when their working together. I also feel that the show would have benefited from more phone booth (It only appears during the last 7 minutes of the show). While the show could have been better, I still had fun with it and would gladly recommend it.

Rating: 7.5/10

HOUSES

Now we get to the part you've all been waiting for....the houses. Last year had some of the best, strongest houses I've seen. Was this year just as good? Well, I got to hit all seven, so let me preach the truth to you.

PENN AND TELLER NEWK'D LAS VEGAS: In this house, Penn and Teller accidentally detonate a nuclear bomb during one of their shows in Vegas. Seeing this as an opportunity, PnT re-make Las Vegas in their own warped vision. We are invited to tour Newk'd Vegas as they call it, and are given 3D G;asses as protection. The house was extremely lackluster, especially when compared to The Inbetween last year. There are some clever ideas, like a conjoined bride and groom and a mutated Elvis Presley, but for the most part the house isn't all that creative or trippy. The best room is easily the flashing lights room, where the whole room is covered from head to tow in multi-colored flashing lights.

Rating: 6/10
Rank: #7

UNIVERSAL'S HOUSE OF HORRORS: I had high hopes for this one. The story is that we are getting to travel through the classic Universal Monster movies, the twist is that we are doing so during a freak storm and everything shall be illuminated by lightning strikes. Sounds pretty cool, huh? Oh, if only it were...if only it were. The house starts out with a walk through a theater lobby that has a seriously cool Silver Screams vibe, it's once we enter the first film that everything falls to ****. Every room is blacklight (which I've never been a fan of). The costumes are poorly detailed, and blacklight as well. Yes, this house was a serious disappointment. Best room was one where they actually made you crawl under a netting, I've never had to do this in a haunted house before so that was a nice switch up....unfortuntely everything else sucked. The year round haunt at Universal Hollywood (which bears the same name as this one) is mounds better than this.

Rating: 6.5/10
Rank: #6


THE WALKING DEAD: I count myself a fan of the ridiculously popular tv show. I've seen every episode, and I need to get caught up on my season 3 episodes. I also had pretty high hopes for this one, and unlike House of Horror it did not disappoint. the zombie costumes and makeup effects were superb, resembling the zombies you would see in the show. The rooms were pretty cool as well, although it didn't exactly feel like you were in the show it was still close enough for me. Highlights include the dead inside door (which would occasionally push outwards), a chain link fence (that also had the push outwards effect, pretty cool). Best room is where you get to walk through the burning barn complete with copious amounts of smoke and a burning smell....super cool.

Rating: 7/10
Rank: #5

WELCOME TO SILENT HILL: I've never been a fan of Silent Hill. I've never played any of the games, I have seen the first film though (it didn;t impress me, the sequel is getting even worse reviews which I didn't think was possible). I had heard a lot about this house, and just thinking about going through it gave me the serious willies (I know enough about some of the creatures and setting to be afraid)...so naturally I HAD to hit it up. In this house we get to take a tour of Silent Hill and meet some of it's infamous inhabitants along the way. We get some up close and personal encounters with the nurses, pyamid head, gas mask dude, and many other freakish inhabitants. yes, this is the stuff nightmares are made of. Best scene is the opening one where there is a falling ash effect, sirens, the smell of ash, serious amounts of fog, and a parked white Ford Expedition....very cool stuff. I would easily say this was the scariest house of the night. it had fantastic settings throughout and the costume designs were superb. Definitely a DO NOT MISS.

Rating: 8/10
Rank: #4

GOTHIC: This was my most anticipated house of the year. The story here is that we are traveling through a cathedral that is under going some renovations. At night, it's stony inhabitants come to life to keep guard over it. The house has some magnificent settings inside, from it's cathedral facade, to a pipe organ room complete with candles that light up and are blown out by wind, to the bell room (with some hunchbacks protecting the bells), to a complete church room we get to walk above (with pews, an altar, and candles....absolutely breathtaking), to a beautiful starry night we get to view by walking on the roof (with a gargoyle flying past). This house wasn't as scary as others (still scary enough), but it's got some of the most beautifully realized settings you can see in a haunted house. The best rooms were the one where you get to walk over the main church room and the pipe organ room (which had an air blast scare....I HATE the air blast scares). Another DO NOT MISS.

Rating: 8/10
Rank: #3

ALICE COOPER: In this house we get to travel through Alice Cooper's warped mind as we re-visit some of his classic songs. This was my first house of the night, and it was also one of the best houses there this year. The lead-up to the entrance is great with Alice Cooper's 'I Gotta get Outta Here' blaring (really pumped me up). We start out in an insane asylum, where Cooper's protagonist Steven is apparently being held. From there we get to travel though different scenes set to classic Cooper songs including a classic 50's style kitchen, a 50's style high school (complete with freakish jocks) and other rad settings. We also get to see Cooper in the house, usually stuck in a straight jacket...there is also the classic guillotine routine that Cooper would use in his live shows. It was an insanely creative, fun house that I am seriously disappointed I did not get to hit more than once. Another MUST SEE.

Rating: 9/10
Rank: #2

DEAD END: This house is themed to that creepy, dilapidated house on the hill. Over the years, the kids of the town have created ghost stories about the house and what happened inside it. We are essentially double dared to take a stroll through the house on a Halloween night, unfortunately we learn the gruesome truth of what actually occurred there, which is far worse than anything the neighborhood kids have dreamed up. The house is beautifully themed and structured. We enter up through some stairs and into the front door, stroll through the living room, into a hallway, down into the cellar, explore the greenery, up into the attic, etc etc etc. It really does feel like you are traveling through this house and everything feels connected from room to room. It's spectacular. Dead End also has some really great scares (including a new effect which includes ghostly floating mannequins). This is one of the best houses I've seen at HHN, and it's definitely a DO NOT MISS. I wish i could have hi it up several more times.

Rating: 10/10
Rank: #1


OVERALL

This year's Halloween Horror Nights was essentially controlled by Hollywood's creative and marketing team, and it shows. The event just doesn't feel connected like it should. The lack of an overarching theme or an icon hurts the event, and the lack of any scarezones or scareactors in the streets makes the event feel emptier than usual. While I did enjoy most of the houses, they still weren't as strong as last year's (also didn't like the upped amount of air cannons used in the houses). This would be my least favorite year so far. I still had fun while I was there, and I definitely enjoyed myself.....I just wish it could have been stronger overall. Let's hope HHN 23 can right this year's mistakes.

Rating: 4/5
 

John321

Member
Jan 11, 2012
729
Well another HHN in the books. I actually enjoyed this year, no it wasn't my favorite but still a good year. As far as the street experience it wasn't horrible but I prefer the classic scarezones. Assuming they'll go back to scarezones for 23 due to the bad reviews of the Street Experience I'm very curious what they have in mind. The houses did not disappoint as always I was blown away by the detail. Out of the 7 years of going I still think 2007 was the worst year.
 

TylerDurden

Veteran Member
Oct 14, 2012
1,475
Well another HHN in the books. I actually enjoyed this year, no it wasn't my favorite but still a good year. As far as the street experience it wasn't horrible but I prefer the classic scarezones. Assuming they'll go back to scarezones for 23 due to the bad reviews of the Street Experience I'm very curious what they have in mind. The houses did not disappoint as always I was blown away by the detail. Out of the 7 years of going I still think 2007 was the worst year.
Really? I actually remember 2007 pretty fondly. I think the problem is that it was my first year and I may have just been impressed by the whole thing and had nothing to compare it to. I thought the houses were really detailed and well-done, and I did get the living crap scared out of me quite a few times!
 

John321

Member
Jan 11, 2012
729
Normally your first year going is either your favorite or in your top 3 of favorite years because you have no idea what to expect.
 

Octobers Fade

DEAD inside
Premium Member
Jul 10, 2010
6,081
NoRemorse Cemetery
Normally your first year going is either your favorite or in your top 3 of favorite years because you have no idea what to expect.
It is truly so many things that effect how one feels about HHNs.
My first two were not even close to my favorites, One was so crowded and the wait times so long I just drank most of the night because I refuse to wait over two hours.
 

John321

Member
Jan 11, 2012
729
It is truly so many things that effect how one feels about HHNs.
My first two were not even close to my favorites, One was so crowded and the wait times so long I just drank most of the night because I refuse to wait over two hours.
Guess it depends on the person for me 06 was my first year an no it's not my favorite but ranks in my top 3.
 

shiekra38

Legendary Member
Dec 13, 2009
11,445
Florida
Late review but better late than never

HHN 22 - Growing Pains

Disclaimer: I just want to warn you before you continue that I tend to write long winded reviews...I will try to keep it tight and not babel, but no guarantees.


Houses: (In order of visit)

Alice Cooper:: We were let in a bit early due to us having an annual pass and we headed straight for the first house we could get to. The regular day park music was still in full swing and yet everything was closed up (restaurants and all). It was a very strange experience to say the least and I will probably never do the early access every again for this very reason (I know I’m picky, but I like my atmosphere.)...So yes the house, it was, well terrible. I didn’t really receive any scares and really didn’t understand the house as far as how it related to Mr. Cooper. There were a few nice tries, but everything just felt very blah. This was the first house of the season house and honestly it would have been easy to scare me, but none of the scareactors went after me.
Rating: 5/10

House of Horrors:: I was pumped for this house and was really ready for it to scare me to the level Dead Exposure did. I guess I was expecting too much from a house that got the short end of the chainsaw. This house was pretty awful and was a disgrace to the Universal brand and Universal Monsters...I understand that this house was built last minute yadda yadda...my answer is if you aren’t going to do it right you might as well not do it.
Rating: 4/10

Penn & Teller:: After looking for food and the only option being Lays and Turkey Legs we decided to go through Penn and Teller’s house. I personally loved the house will all of my heart. If any house was more deserving of being the featured IP of the year it was this house. The sets were clever and the scares were fun, it wasn’t scary but then again was it really supposed to be terrifying? I really enjoyed this one!
Rating: 9/10

Silent Hill:: Well, well, well, Universal is finally tackling one of my favorite video games. I was super excited for this house and could not wait to go in it. The house was a little different than I had envisioned personally, but it was nowhere near bad. Pyramid Head was awesome (even though he should have been featured more) and he was certainly menacing coming down that circular hallway they had him in. The only thing I would have changed about the house..well the two only things I would have changed is 1) Make the house tighter...yes I realize ADA requirements state clearly eight feet across for wall..that is not what I am talking about. There were some BOE spots in this house that really hurt it...by BOE I mean Big Open and Empty. 2) I would have liked the house to reflect the games a lot more than they did..honestly it should have been a walk through of all the game’s best moments..in an 8 or 9 scene house it is perfectly realistic to be able to have a best of house...let’s just clear something up..the 1st movie is awful and the 2nd movie is even worse..DO NOT base a ‘game’ house on a lack-luster movie. This needs to happen again but in a way that reflects the game...btw I would have killed for a Silent Hill scare zone.
7/10

Gothic:: I knew this house’s sets were going to pull at my inner ghoul’s heart strings and it certainly did..in a year of growing pains and sell outs I believe this shining jewel like the glowing of a distant lighthouse reminded us that A&D are still around and the spirit of HHN is still alive and well..The house was great and had some great scares. Need I say more, the first house that actually delivered was a story driven and organic concept..shocker
9/10

Dead End:: Beautiful entrance and beautiful design throughout. A true ghost house that left you wanting to visit again. I received some good scares and while I would not put it up there with Gothic I would say that it was much better than Legendary Truth a few years back.
8/10

Walking Dead:: Ok I realize I am a huge fan of the Walking Dead and was so excited for the house. The house delivered for the Walking Dead fan in me! The representation of the scenes in the show were done really well and this became on of the few houses that I was completely gitty in trying to find all of the Easter eggs from the show. The Halloween Horror Nights fan inside of me was also pleased by the scares. Timing scares were there but not to the point where you could potentially miss every scare in the house (which I will address in my year analysis). I didn’t receive as many as I thought I was going to but I still got some good scares. I really enjoyed this one.
8.5/10


Streets:
I’m convinced of this particular statement. Howl-O-Scream does roaming hordes like nobody’s business..Halloween Horror NIghts does scare zones like nobody’s business. When the two have ever attempted the other it has failed (with the exception of some great zones at HOS). The streets were not awful, but they were certainly not good. The poor actors had to traverse Construction Studios back and forth while simultaneously trying to still scare people. It must have been awful to be a street performer this year. I liked the originality and trying something new, but zones need to return.
6/10


HHN 22 Analysis: I choose not to simply review this year, yes I reviewed the houses and streets but the event itself I believe requires a bit of a thinking party as to why it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. First of all let’s dissect what made the lead up to the event not so great. I believe the website acts as an informative piece of information as well as a tension builder for the year. I have heard many that think that if every year was like Bloody Mary’s year we would get bored of the same old thing. I wholeheartedly and respectfully disagree. It is very rare that you can find a true horror themed anything to be invested in. The climactic “what will happen next” questions that were raised the year of Bloody Mary (and the other icons) really built up to a climax as you walked up to the entrance of the arches. I realize things like a backstory and marketing take time, but if they wish to continue to have the #1 event in the nation then they must consider things like story. I have said this multiple times and will continue to say it...scary houses do not make Halloween Horror Nights what it is, just as much as for the day product rides do not make Universal what it is. There is a transformation into another realm and a backstory/theme that flows through the event that truly gets patrons invested into the year. That is why HHN has tons of fan sites and events like Knott’s Scary Farm do not. Howl-O-Scream has started to edge HHN on scares and are now starting to even edge them on story, detail, and theme.
A second thing that killed the lead up to the event was the marketing. I do believe that in the business world it is always important to market the biggest thing you have, there is a reason why Spiderman and Potter are in every Universal commercial. I do feel like HHN though has the luxury of being slightly more edgy and unpredictable with their marketing. What I mean is the simple fact that droves of patrons are going to attend the event regardless..you may as well create something that is remembered. I strictly remember the Albert Caine (Caretaker) billboards creeping me out when I was little. Honestly there is nothing scary about Alice Cooper's face or a zombie that appears to be half smiling. I would have really liked to see a marketing scheme that showed three gravestones coming from the ground with the IP titles on them while the Iniquitis loomed over them..what a killer marketing piece.
Let’s analyze the year itself for a moment and better yet what happened with the park. I have never been one to complain about a construction project in the Studios or Islands. I love the fact that the Studios is expanding and renewing, but with every growth comes growing pains. I believe the lackluster HHN this year was one of those pains. Mardi Gras will probably suffer some this year as well as Christmas. The all over zombie theme seemed pretty exciting I thought, while somewhat repetitive..it would have tied the year together a bit more I think. Honestly though the nail in the coffin this year was the lack of character to the year and by that I mean the lack of scare zones and atmosphere. This really hurt the event and really made the event feel like Universal at night. That is not what the event has set out to do and is not what the event should do, we need to reach higher than that and make the park feel like it has undergone a creepy transition. That seeing a scare zone in the distance and preparing yourself to walk through while simultaneously getting nervous/excited with every step is what I miss. Yes the scare zones are attractions and yes that is ok...also yes, the scare everywhere concept can work, but it needs to be done more strategically than it was this year.
So there you have it my analysis of Halloween Horror Nights 22 and all that went into it. Keep in mind lastly that this year did not suffer because of laziness and or apathy. There was some hard work that went into creating this year (or rather saving it). However there were some questionable choices made by some higher ups that resulted in a disconnected feeling. That has to be the thing that hurt this year the most, the feeling of disconnect. So HHN fans keep looking forward to the event and keep supporting it. When the park has undergone it’s transition to the #1 park in Orlando again the event will return...I know I will be waiting outside the gates of HHN to enter with the same excitement I have every year. Just as a friend can disappoint you sometimes you are always willing to pick up where you left off. Oh and thank you if you read this whole thing.
 
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