Halloween Horror Nights 25: Reviews & Photos | Inside Universal Forums

Halloween Horror Nights 25: Reviews & Photos

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Brian G.

Jan 21, 2008
Orlando, FL
With employee previews last night, and opening night tomorrow, please share your opinions and photos of this year's event here. Reminder that there will be spoilers in this thread. ONLY PHOTOS AND REVIEW IN THIS THREAD.
My quick review.

Houses I saw
Jack Presents: 25 years..... - Great house, re live your favorite scenes from HHN past. It's a cool collection and offers decent scares. There's a really cool mirror trick that makes it look like you're high up in one of the scenes.
The Walking Dead - Worse than last year. Probably the weakest Walking Dead house they've done. Not scary at all. They coolest part were the two walkers wading in water. The Techno dance party at the end was ridiculous and didn't make sense at all!
RUN- Decent house, some good scare. Cool sets. Mid level Disaster Queue house. Honestly, there was so much going on there were no memorable parts.
Body Collectors - AMAZING!!!! This will be a sleeper hit for this year. The facade into the house is breathtaking and it only gets better from there on out. Great scares, and amazing set design. The flow of the house is really cool and finale is awesome. I will definitely be revisiting this house.

The Jack Show "Carnival of Carnage" delivers! Some may think it has a little too much dancing but the interludes were short and made sense in the flow of the show. It all added to the spectacle as if Jack has been working all these years an ramping up the flair factor. Chance is the star of the show. The production values of this show are above everything we've seen from Universal. Going forward this is the type of creativity and scale should be used to develop their everyday shows.
Here's my review from Employee Preview:

Monsters and Mayhem.. Fantastic house. I think this anniversary house was done better than Hallow'd Past, to be honest. A lot of my favorite houses from the past were featured, but there were some things I felt were not ready yet. Time will tell if things improve! 10/10

American Werewolf in London... Honestly, I like the house, but I feel it was just too soon to bring this one back. I couldn't even spot the new Werewolf puppet. The other puppets were a lot more fluid, however. 4/10

Freddy vs Jason... AMAZING haunt. Really was terrified throughout the entire house, specifically with Freddy's portion as NOES has given me nightmares in the past...no pun intended. The ending was hard to tell who was the victor, but I am sure that will get better. Dem screenz, though... 9/10

Asylum in Wonderland... Hands down my favorite 3D house they've ever done. With the neon lighting and 3D effects, it really feels like you are tripping out. Fantastic job. 10/10

Body Collectors... This house is beautiful. Love the combination of the Collectors with our dear inmates at Shadybrook, and the facade is even more gorgeous than I could've imagined. Scares were definitely there. 10/10

Run... Not gonna lie, I was kind of hoping this one would've been set up to be a chain-link maze like the original Run from 2001. I was let down about that, but the scareactors were working their rears off to deliver awesome scares. 7/10
The Walking Dead...
Yeah, not gonna say much on this one. Here's a hint... :horse::shrug: The only cool thing in the house was seeing the walkers in the water. No scares. 0.5/10

The Purge...I really liked the scarezone last year, and I feel pretty much the same about the house this year. I feel that they were able to work with what they had built for Scream and did a fantastic job converting it into The Purge. 8/10

Insidious...this house really creeped my friends and I out. The effects were awesome, and the sets were unbelievable. Kudos to the red-faced Demon for scaring the crap out of me! 10/10

Hoping to catch Carnage and Bill & Ted tonight!
I only got to do 5 houses tonight. But my reviews....

Insidious - I went in with sky high expectations after early reviews, we did this first after doing S&S in Diagon Alley and had still had to wait 30 minutes and I felt the pacing we had was awful. Too many people stopping in rooms and ruining it for everyone else. I noticed this a lot tonight and I hope Universal cracks down on it, because I felt like I could've had a better time in this house. I would take Halloween over it based on what I saw and feel like it could still be up in the air for best house of the year.

Body Collectors - This house was awesome. It was brutal, scary, looked awesome. The actors delivered, this was a great one. I prefer it over Insidious so far.

RUN - I was disappointed my group picked to do this and was even more disappointed with my go through. I never really felt scared, it just felt like an unnecessarily gory house without the in your face scares. Maybe it was just a bad go through, but I didn't like this.

The Purge - I was annoyed by the constant stopping in this house more than any other. It's bad when you see the same scare actor jump out twice. But the house was fun and well done for being short notice. I can see that they no doubt had already started on Scream.

An American Werewolf in London - Timing was awful, literally missed every puppet coming out. But it's obviously incredibly well done.

As for Bill & Ted, I thought it was AWFUL. I barely laughed and I thought the whole Kanye thing was kind of weird. I did like the return of SEX WITH THEIR TAILS though.
Did passholder preview last night, which of course was a mess again and too crowded, they should have let passholders just have the whole front of the park instead. Only did 4 houses (I only stay 'till 20h).

Purge: Liked it better than I thought I would. There is not much horror to it though, just a massive overdose house with blaring metal music and strobe lights, was well stocked with scare actors as well, though it does not feel that scary because of the abundance of light and sound, so when a scare actor pops out it does not make you jump, it is just past of that superfast flow.

Asylum: Breathtaking. Not regular horror, but more of a surreal nightmarish thing. Opening vortex sets the tone, you really feel like you are falling down or turning upside down. A lot of strange and colorful creatures inside. Not too disorienting, a lot of rich visuals here.

Body Collectors: That facade wow! Really sets the mood, very realistic. Once inside it does not let down as everywhere you see carnage.

AWIL: Pretty much the same house as last time, so great. A lot more werewolves though, beautiful shadows as well in which you see a wolf, only to then run into a real one. Very visceral aswell!
Got through 8 houses and both shows last night. The park was super crowded and ended up impacting my opinions on houses far more than it should. So far though I feel the original houses are shining stars. As always this is just from the first night and I know thing will change dramatically for all of HHN throughout

25 years 5/5: this house was epic one of my new all time favorites, I was super excited going through the transitions and they were great. Used a lot of the strongest scenes from each and Gothic was wonderful. Special surprise character was also great. Only gripes I had, if they are using Christmas why no elves. Why is Eddie there but no one else

Asylum 4/5: everything I wanted it to be. Colors were what I was hoping for not too over the top. Vortex tunnel was brutal. Gripes: asylum is underplayed, why no Cheshire if he is hinted at throughout the house

Body collectors 4/5: another great house. More of everything you want from this franchise, unfortunately missed the spine rip

Run 3/5: high energy house unfortunately unlike the original. Some interesting concepts but I don't think they took hell gate far enough.

Purge 3/5: could tell this house was last minute because some scenes really don't make any sense. That said it starts slow and then ramps up to overwhelming chaos.

Fvj 3/5: missed most of all the scares but can see this being a good house. Jason was very intimidating and most freddys were pretty good. Gripes, don't know if we really needed screenz in this one. Roided out freddy looked really out of place.

TWD 1/5: this was the worst TWD house in my opinion. Didn't understand a lot of it especially the final room. Both critical props not working (door, zombie charge). The zombies in water gimmick was greatly overplayed. Putting two walkers that can go into over chlorinated kiddie pools if they choose was super lame.

Insidious 1/5: this house had so much going for it and absolutely fell apart mainly because of Ops. Did not get a single scare, TMs waving and telling you to keep moving even though there is no where to to to in near every room completely ruined this walk thru
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Here are my quick thoughts from opening night. I will write a more extensive review after my 2nd night.

Did everything with no express. Ding! I'm 70 bucks richer!

The Purge
- Not as bad as I thought but nothing special either. Scares were 50/50 some were into it other just stood and stared. I would have much rathered Scream over this.

Freddy vs Jason - Much better than I thought. Jason was tall and menacing. Freddy was sleuthy. A lot of fierce ping pong scares. Creepiest moment of the entire evening was walking into the dream/Elm Street house with the two little girls pointing. The screens did nothing for me. Seemed gimmicky and poorly executed. Overall great house that just misses being perfect.

Insidious - I see the potential in this house. Unfortunately we had an extremely slow group in front of us that ruined the house. Seemed to be a pattern last night. However, great sets, sounds from the movie and all 3 demons are present. Enjoyed it but can't wait for repeat visits.

Jack Presents: 20 Years of Monsters and Mayhem - *loud clap for A&D* I loved this house. The best fan service possible. So many classic rooms, including one of my personal favs, Scary Tales (Goldilocks). Damn bear gets me to this day. I could go on. Do not miss this.

Body Collectors Recollections - This is my #1 house so far, Jack's house is right behind it. I'm a huge fan of the original BC house (05) and every Psychoscareapy. This definitely felt more Collectors than Shadybrook. I got my best scare of the night here. A Gentlemen coming right to my face with a knife out of nowhere. The 2 final rooms have the best finale in the entire park.

Run: Blood, Sweat and Fears - Cool concept. Everyone's reviews was pretty spot on. There's a lot going on in this house. I seemed like the actors need to get their timing down or something. Lots of variety in actors and potential scares but I feel by the 2nd weekend this house will find its flow.

Asylum in Wonderland 3-D - Has a cool opening. Love the call back to The In-Between. Least scariest house in the event (besides WD). A cool experience to walk through but each room I can see every actor a mile away. The In-Between is still the reigning champ HHN 3D house.

An American Werewolf in London - Puppets still rock. House still rocks. A classic.

The Walking Dead: The Living and the Dead - *Yyyawwwnnnn*

Before I write about each zone I will say the star of this event is the streets. I saw scareactors EVERYWHERE. My sis and I were targeted several times through each zone. I can not say one negative thing about the streets they are on fire this year.

Psychoscareapy Unleashed - This will go down in HHN history. Absolute chaos! Actors are EVERYWHERE and totally in their roles. I can't tell you how many times I thought I was looking at a guest and they would turn around to be a Shadybrook patient.

Scary Tales Screampunk - Got 2 scares from the same actor. Cool costumes/set piece. Loved the line interaction with Asylum and Jacks house.

Icons - Just amazing. Best photo-op zone they've ever done. Great stroll down memory lane. Loved all the different shows/sets. Actors in-between the stages were following me and my sis.

Evil's Roots - Another classic Halloween zone. Beautiful and eerie. Actors were perfect.

All Night Die-In Double Feature - Love the transition from black and white to modern. A petite zone that leads to a variety of interactions with classic monsters. My only gripe is the screen. It's too dilapidated to see what's being shown.


Bill & Ted - I heard a lot of people say negative things about this. I'm not sure it they fixed something from EP but I didn't think it was that bad. Not as good as last year but I had a few laughs.

The Carnage Returns - The best HHN show I've ever seen. Jack is a damn rockstar. He had me laughing my ass off at times. Definitely a little too much dancing but they kills were great. Chance was sexy as always. Has a perfect pace but ends kind of abruptly. Can't wait to check it out again.
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Thanks for pointing out that was from Scary Tales Goldilocks. I knew I had seen those bears before but I couldn't remember where for the life of me.
Forgot to mention the girls from Elm Street, completely agree that was an awesome scene. Did you see them pretending to jump rope after pointing. That little touch made all the difference to me!

Die In Scarezone: I felt like the concept got muddled a bit having the classic monsters next to purge and other more contemporary movies. Maybe I didn't realize as the event progresses the years come together?
Die In Scarezone: I felt like the concept got muddled a bit having the classic monsters next to purge and other more contemporary movies. Maybe I didn't realize as the event progresses the years come together?
That was definitely a cast change. It switches from the classic monsters to the modern.
I actually enjoyed last years event. Such an upgrade from year previous. This year is truly a return to form for Horror Nights. Best year since 09. The houses are good but still finding their flow. Streets are 100% on point.
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Alright I did everything the event had to offer within one night. Even though I had express, I almost wasn't able to do it all because the express lines were pretty heavy. Don't try and do gringotts like I did folks, I had to run to the final house at 12:50 before it was too late lol. But to start it off, wow....just wow. Legitimately one of the best years of all time. Detail has never been higher, the amount of things to do is unbelievable and it's all just so good. I was blown away by it all. Let's start off with the houses from worst to best, but first....

???. American werewolf- not counting this one on the list because it's not new. It's the same thing as it was in 2013 but the puppets are WAY better. I got insanely bad timing and missed pretty much 50% of the wolves (as did most of you apparently) so that's a problem that must be fixed soon. But even with that it's still one of the best houses of all time. Even with the amazing houses this year it just stands high and mighty as one of the greats, alright back to your scheduled programming

8.The walking dead- I don't think I've ever been bored inside a house before. I felt like I needed to see this house just to give it a fair chance but nothing stood out to me. Sets were bland, zombies were zombies, it's just another forgettable walking dead house to add in the pile of forgettable walking dead houses. Also dubstep? Really? Just miserable, this needs to die.

7.the purge- a surprise for me. The actors in this house really gave it their all, insanely energetic, twisted and just an overall blast. Everything else was ok. There was no flow to the house, you kinda just went from scene to scene with no real story or anything to back it up. You went outdoors to inside to maze then back to inside it was just a uncoheasive mess but a fun one at that. Go for the actors (who are only gonna get better as the event goes on). Another havoc like sinario

6.monsters and mayhem- it was fun but there was really nothing original about it whatsoever. It was just an amped up hallow'd past witch isn't a bad thing but it could've been better. The pacing was a bit odd, the scenes never really flowed together and some things just left you questionable. I felt like they could've put better scenes and the universal monsters were completely out of place and pointless. I'm sorry but toilet paper mummy and Frankenstein's monster just aren't scary anymore. Again it was fun, I enjoyed my time and it was cool to see some characters again. It's just not as good as some of you are making it out to be.

5.Freddy vs Jason- good lord what a blast. Universal did the impossible and turned two 9 film long franchises into highlight reels without missing anything. The iconic moments were there, the kills were fantastic and the sets were unbelievable. Every room was so dense with stuff to see that it was just overwhelming. Then you got to the fight and....ehhh. It starts off with them duking it out in person and the actors were just going at it. So energetic, so vicious it was a horror fanboys wet dream, then.......screens, mirrors and ending? It was disappointing because the fight started off so good, the screens just didn't work and idk I just wanted more live action fighting. Shame too because if that were the case, this would easily be in the top 3.

4.body collectors- holy hell this was gorgeous. Every set, detail and prop was just on point. As with fvj, every room was so dense with details. This is definitely one you need to go through multiple times if you want to catch them all. The gore was over the top and genuinely cringe worthy at times (spine rip has never looked more painful) and the actors really just gave it their all. My only gripe is that there wasn't enough asylum patients to even it out. Other than that though, bravo.

3.insidious- absolutely terrifying. Scariest house this year and possibly ever. It was insanely well thought out and full of really unique suprises and effects. These actors are also insanely relentless, especially the demons good lord. It's amazing when a triggered effect stops and the actors stay and linger after it's done just cause. Insidious was full of moments like that and it just made it an amazing house. Definitely a must see

2.Asylum in wonderland- a giant yes!!!! My most anticipated definitely delivered. Easily one of the best 3D houses I've ever been through. The costuming, sets and the 3D effect was just on point. It all looked like it came directly out of a comic book and it was just spectacular. So many memorable scenes and moments, I really loved it.

1.Run- one word, phenomenal. Everything about this house was as close to perfect as possible. The costumes were some of the best I've ever seen at horror nights, filled to the brim with personality and creativity. The kills were awesome the music was awesome the actors were awesome it was just AWESOME!!!! I know I'm the king of unpopular opinions and maybe I just got good timing but this was amazing. Truly one of my new favorites

Alright now time for scare zones from worst to best

5.steampunk scary tales- meh, as I stated before I'm not a fan of anything steampunk. Some characters stood out while most were just kinda there. Not really scary or creative just kinda ok.

4.icons- basically the arrival show from 16 as a zone. Filled with great call backs but mostly just 4 mini shows leading up to the Jack show. Fun but not too great

3.evils roots- really great original designs mixed with some old favorites. Loved the fairies so much. A really great cast to tie it together. Only if there wasn't as much fog, would've loved to see more of it

2.die in- I know I said the classic monsters aren't scary above but they kinda were in this one. I loved how they stayed faithful to the designs of the films and how many actors were just contested in this area. They'd tag team you anytime they could and that was awesome. There were a few "who?" Characters in there but I thought it was great none the less

1.scarapy- everything was so top notch. A hilarious idea met with really great performances and sets. As I stated before, the portrayals of these crazies were insanely unique and not obnoxious. So many amazing interactions between them all and it was just an effect of good casting and make up. Another bravo

Show time!!!!

Bill and ted- ughhhhh, started off strong then just kinda dissolved into really unfunny jokes. I got a chuckle here and there but nothing on the scale of last year. It's sad when you can't even get the audience on your first show to care that much

Carnage- wonderful!!! Jack is such a character and the jokes he had were hilarious!!! A lot was carried from the original carnival show but who cares? Tons of fun, also chance is a godsend, a stellar duo for a great show. If only they cut out most of the airealist crap for more of them.

So those are my thoughts, hope you enjoyed reading it and prepare for a possible update next week. PARTY ON DUDES!!!!
So, got around to going today. Really enjoyed my time there, only made it for the last 30 mins of the AP hour unfortunately. Even this time of year (granted it was a Saturday), it's damn near impossible to do/see everything in one day.

We walked into the park just before 6 and stayed until 12:30-ish (1am close). We were able to do TWD, AWIL, Jack's 25th, Body Collector's, Insidious and The Purge done before leaving (missed FvJ, Wonderland, and Run 3). i'll admit we easily could've gotten one more in had we stayed until close, but we had to leave. Not showing up in time to make it in for the 5:30 AP open also hurt.

However, once we were in, we rarely stopped. Went from house to house to house nonstop. We never stopped for dinner at all (we grabbed a few drinks and snacks for while we we in lines). What hurt was stopping to watch Carnage, but left after awhile because my back was getting sore. Enjoyed seeing Jack and the show was fun, but standing for that long in one spot isn't ideal.

We also stopped to see Bill & Ted. Ugh. I have no idea what people think about the event in general yet, never mind B&T (i've purposefully avoided HHN material so it would all be a surprise), but I honestly think this was one of the worst B&T shows... ever. Kanye as the villain didn't work imo and seemed gimmicky following his VMA stunt. There was a lot that I liked from the show, the Hocus Pocus jab... that was also a jab at B&T was hilarious. They played with nostalgia a bit with the old 1990 park map, DeLorean, mention of BTTF ride, etc. They also played too hard on Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinski crap (bc Hilary is running) which is forever old by now.

They barely touched on Donald Trump, which I was a little surprised at, but I guess they don't want a republican to go a ----- about Universal being Liberal and anti-Trump and then next thing you know it, the show is cancelled, just like in Hollywood. Overall I came away feeling "That was it?". Maybe I need to see it again and hopefully the show improves with time, but I honestly think this show gives HHN 22 B&T a run for it's money.

My first impression house order (from the ones I experienced obviously) would be this:
1. Jack's 25th
2. American Werewolf In London
3. The Purge
4. Insidious
5. Walking Dead
6. Body Collectors (I had completely forgotten we even did this house)

As far as scar zones go, Evil's Roots was amazing (as that area always is) and All-Nite Die-in was fun too. The only zone that stuck out to me as being subpar was the Icons zone. I felt it was more of a display of the icons , I rarely would see street actors in that zone.

So overall, yeah, I probably could've done at least all the houses in one day if I hadn't stopped for the shows, but again, it would've still been pushing it and remember. We didn't stop to eat ever either. So either multiple days or Express is needed pretty much 99.9% of the time. Even in September.
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How many of the faces of HHN are complete head masks? I couldn't figure out what was going on with the Body Collectors faces nor can I figure out the gooey lip guy above. Anyone have any insight on this
We did every house save TWD. I'm one that has learned not to judge a house based on just one walk through, but this feels like a great year! The only house of the 8 we went through that I just didn't feel was run. I imagine it is tough to pull off a great house in the Disaster queue as I think last year, with that clown factory was the only house in that area (I think we started going with 21) that I really liked. I think the one thing I really like from last year was how different the house was when it was still light out as I think I enjoyed it more when it wasn't so dark out.

We went through run at night, but it really didn't do much for me.

I enjoyed the sound track of the event this year from the streets to the houses. Last year, I enjoyed the corner sayings..meat...make you pretty...mama...I didn't notice any of that this year, but wow, the girls letting you know that Freddy's waiting for you!

Lot of cool kills in the houses this year, great uses of air shots, and great scares in my opinion.

I thought it was neat last year when Mike Myers was waiting outside the house, seemed like more of that this year, but I think it is a little short sighted to use gas powered chain saws at the exit of one of the sound stage as the fumes seem to get trapped in the (mostly) enclosed walkway, seemed unhealthy if they have anyone working in that area.

Anyway, all in all we really enjoyed the night and I think they've done a great job this year and we look forward to enjoying more nights.
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How many of the faces of HHN are complete head masks? I couldn't figure out what was going on with the Body Collectors faces nor can I figure out the gooey lip guy above. Anyone have any insight on this

I'm probably not the best to answer, but if you are talking about the icons, my take is they are generally face characters, but out in the scare zones and such, it's sort of like the kids that come around trick or treating, some are in cool mask, some are in cheap plastic mask, a few are high quality mask, some just use mak-up, some use prosthetics with make-up.

I will say that this year there appears to be a lot of characters out on the street, my daughter loves the event (this is her second year going) and she'll be turning 10 soon. I just bring this up for it is fun walking around with her as many characters are drawn to her. We really haven't taken in the zones yet, just walked through some passing through, but the ones that speak, like the crazies over in Shadybrooke, it's just so fun to take in the conversations that are so out of left field.
Second night review.

Way less crowded last night and ops are getting into the swing for the most part.

All of the houses minus TWD are really top notch and it is hard to create a list. They are all starting to get their concepts down but flow is still an issue. Missed a good chunk of AWIL and Mayhem.

Had a great run through of insidious and mam that house cam deliver. 18ish year old girl behind me started sobbing uncontrollably about 1/4 into the house with her friend constantly telling her it wasn't real.

Possibly saw the best house gimmick ever in Purge. Completely caught me off guard and totally worked.

I'll post later apparently can't remember how to do spoiler from phone.
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Opening weekend first impressions (more or less best to worst):

Recollected: Amazing facade, great costumes and gags. Worthy successor to the thee franchises that inspired it.

Insidious: Wasn't a fan of the movies, but after a slow start, the house encompasses the best elements of them and becomes creepy AF, with a genuine sense of menace. Only problem is guest flow--so slow the blackshirts are already getting obnoxious to push guests through.

AWiL: Loved the original, top 5 of all time for me, this is the same except for maybe a slightly improved Picadilly scene. Fact it's a repeat only reason it's not my #1.

[Decent-sized gap]

Asylum in Wonderland: Very cool facade, best use of the tunnel ever (almost fell over, that never happens). After that, a well-done 3D house. I thought the asylum touches would be in each room, not just the end--that might have made it a classic. But as is, a solid house no one will remember in 5 years.

Didn't like the screenz, but did like the Crystal Lake and Elm Street sets. Only been through once, and this one seems to depend very much on the timing of your run-through, so kind of wait-and-see mode, much like M&M.

I really love the classic monster scenes--wish they'd been the entire house. And enjoyed the "best of" scenes but they can't be as strong removed from their original context. Potential to be very good, but marred by long stretch of nothing at the end and the fact none of the Jacks have faces/hair yet. Hoping this one improves by Oct. 31.

Run: I had fun in this one. Clearly helps if you've seen The Running Man, and also if you realize this is a comedy house (a couple people I've talked to don't get that). It doesn't have the level of detail a soundstage house would, and it's another no one will remember in 5 years, but it works in the moment.

[Another gap]

The Purge: Wanted to like this, and a couple scenes work, but overall didn't gel for me. None of the "world-building" that made the scare-zone so good. Instead, just actors in Purge masks walking around sets obviously from Scream.

TWD: Just ugh. The flooded basement scene doesn't work, you don't get a sense they're standing in water. More zombies in a generic industrial setting. Same sliding zombie effect we saw last year. Get a sense Creative is bored with this property.

As for shows, have a fuller B&T review up, but disappointed. Very much enjoy Carnival of Carnage. Haven't seen enough of zones to evaluate, tho the chainsaw clowns in Springfield are strong.