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Halloween Horror Nights 25: Reviews & Photos

Discussion in 'Halloween Horror Nights 25' started by Brian G., Sep 17, 2015.

  1. Frank Drackman

    Frank Drackman Premium Member

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    a few more pics from our adventures:

    near psycoscareapy, the façade that leads out to (I think) the new Christmas store...for those of us that do look up, there is some neat scenes playing out in that upper left window...plus a bunch of spiders further to the right (that you can barley see at night:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    from the Icons area, there is this woman that kept promising to take my daughter off my hands, but see never did ;-)

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    Cindy:

    [​IMG]

    From the Die In and the Exorcist:

    [​IMG]

    a shot of Evil taken root (from across the lake):

    [​IMG]

    and a Scary Tale:

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. OrlandoGuy

    OrlandoGuy Member

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    Ok, I'll play. Mostly because I saw a couple things differently from you guys so that's always fun :tongue:. I'm currently waiting on a delayed plane so I'll probably get a little self-indulgent and write a long one, hope you all are ready.

    A couple things I noticed first though...I take back everything I said earlier in the HHN General Discussion thread about Universal being greedy and all that. Last night they extended the park hours to 2 am rather than 1...as someone who's worked front line jobs at the parks, this is a big deal. I really appreciate Universal's effort to accommodate what they thought would be massive crowds. Extending hours is not an easy thing to just up and do but they went ahead and did it anyway. Bravo. And what's more, they really didn't need to at all. It would've been very possible to knock out everything last night.

    Which leads me to my next point...crowds were great. The walkways were very comfortable and it felt like we never waited over 30 minutes, even when the posted wait was 60. Express pass (aside from Werewolf) felt like it was handled well and evenly and you can definitely feel Diagon and the ninth house. It was a very, very nice night and I give Universal props for actually improving their event operations-wise.

    Content-wise, however, I left disappointed. Something's just not the same. Maybe I'm just jaded after having been going for so long. But HHN used to be really special, and no matter how much money they put into extravagant set pieces and amazing houses, that atmosphere the park had up until 2010 is just not the same, but I'll get to that. First the houses...

    6. Werewolf - I loved this house in 2013...it was honest to God one of my favorite haunted houses ever. And on paper, having it back is a dream come true because I loved it THAT freakin much. But it didn't click for me this year. It felt abbreviated or something (I remember it going on foreverrrrr last time for whatever reason). It also just wasn't as fun for some reason. Maybe it's because it's a repeat? Maybe it's because they really did cheap out on some aspects this time around? Either way, I was really disappointed coming out of my formerly favorite haunted house, thinking "that's it?". I will say that one of the big ass wolf puppets scared me pretty bad, but the rest of the house was just painfully mediocre.

    5. The Purge - I actually really liked this one. It started out pretty uneventful, but it eventually picked up and I liked it for what it was. The loud music, the screaming actors, the graffiti everywhere, it was just fun. Yes, you can tell where certain Scream sets were supposed to be but it's only obvious if you knew that Scream was planned there ahead of time. If you guys had had no idea about that, I doubt you would've noticed and for that reason, I think it's getting unfairly panned. This house actually had my favorite finale of the night, best use of strobes since Dead Exposure.

    4. Monsters and Mayhem - alright, I don't get it. This house was good, but best of all time? I don't think it even comes all that close to being best of this year. I've been going for almost ten years now, I am familiar with the houses of the past, but for some reason I had a hard time identifying what room was what, except for Gothic and the classic monsters. After reading up on it, I figured out what was what, but it didn't translate (I thought what was supposed to be Forsaken was Creature from the Black Lagoon and didn't realize the Nightengales were in it until reading about it and thinking, oh yeah, I guess that was what that one was). I don't know, the scenes weren't fully developed enough to establish a sense of place for me, so it was just a mumbo jumbo mess. Also didn't get too many scares (even the bear was disappointing for me). Too many classic monsters, not enough Icons, and it also felt short despite what I had heard about it being the longest house ever. I will say, the facade was amazing...but other than that, very very meh.

    3. Run - Really liked this one. I am a huge sucker for the campy stuff, and I also have NEVER disliked an Earthquake house aside from Doomsday in '08 (disclaimer, I never did Leave it to Cleaver). Something about that venue clicks for me, and Run was the perfect house for it. It was fun, it was gory, I loved the detail in the transition rooms (the TV's, the score updates), and every room was just so out there but in a good way. I loved the guy who looked like he was nailed to the wall and then ran forward spraying you with "blood"...awesome effect. I don't know, for me, this was just a really fun house but it didn't sacrifice intensity which is a plus.

    2. Freddy vs. Jason - I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan of this property, and it sucks when the headliner is something you're indifferent toward (not like last year when we got Halloween and the fanboy in me exploded through the whole thing). That being said, this was a good house. I loved that we got two facades and three well-defined acts. There was also a ton of actors and they weren't afraid to get in your face. This SHOULD have been a little better though. The mirror effects had a lot of potential that seemed to get squandered. The finale was a little on the lame side (it was a pretty basic effect). But wasted potential aside, I loved the set design and the cast in this house.

    1. Body Collectors - THIS is what HHN needs more of. No gimmicks, no IP, just a good old haunted house. Loved that the spine rip was back (even though I would've preferred a more original effect), and I loved the facade and general placemaking throughout the house. But the real star was the cast...they all got SO in your face. The finale to this one was insane. I actually still am recovering from a little stitch in my neck I got from jumping away from an actor so hard. They were THAT on point. This was just a great throwback and a great, intense, non-PC, bloody house.

    My friends got tired by the end of the day and knowing I had to be up early the next day we headed out before hitting Insidious or Asylum (I have no intention of doing Walking Dead). However, it's looking more and more likely that I'll be coming back in a couple weeks, so hopefully I get to try those soon. The one thing about these houses is that while I *liked* all of them, I didn't love them. No house was without a couple major flaws. I don't know, they just didn't click with me this year. While I did get a few good scares in BC, for the most part, scares were minimal the whole night. Houses felt less eventful, with a lot of them being repetitive. Nothing felt new, I never walked through any of them thinking, "wow, this is awesome, I've never seen this before". Even the duds last year (like Dusk Til Dawn, for example) had at least ONE aspect that was stunning. On the flip side, each house here has at least ONE problem with it (like the recycling of the spine rip scene as the centerpiece of the BC house). There also seemed to be a little less energy than normal. Overall, I haven't been more indifferent to a lineup than 2012. I'm hoping that it gets better on my (hopefully) second go-around. But picking a number 1 was tough for me, just because they all were less than impressive IMO. I will say, this is the bloodiest year in a while and I really love that.

    As far as scarezones go...

    Scary Tales - boring, small, unoriginal, didn't like it.
    Die-In - I was disappointed with the actors that I did see, overall this zone is too cramped and too low-energy. Wish it was bigger so that you could see some of the more iconic characters without having to sort through throngs of people.
    Icons - thought this was pretty well-done, much better than the icon zone in 2010. Also thought the individual shows were a nice touch.
    Central Park Zone - I forget the name, but this was pretty good. Loved the return of the pumpkins, and MAN they pumped some serious fog in there. Lots of good scares here, but really nothing we haven't seen the last few years.
    Psychoscareapy - not overly scary or intense, but well-thought-out, original, and detailed. The actors, while not overly scary, are a riot, and the props are very cool and well-designed. Also really liked the projections in some of the windows, nice touch. But, like the houses, even the best zone this year was just ok to me.

    Also, I have to mention the Jack Show. I hated this. This is, by far, my least favorite thing I've ever seen at the event. I like the concept behind it a lot, but the execution is just too weird for me. Look, I love gore as much as the next guy, but when you're inviting a bunch of nerds to yell, "Kill! Kill! Kill! Blood! Blood! Blood!" then it gets weird. I like the violence in the houses because it makes you wonder how they did it, and the spectacle of it is just cool. But this was just too macabre. If what you guys are saying is true, that this is really the pinnacle of HHN entertainment for you...well, I don't know what to say lol. This was just too emo-punk tryhard for me. Kills are cool for show, but it was trashy and weird here. Not gonna lie, judgments were made on some of the crowd.

    And that's that. TL;DR: Like the return of blood, *like* all of the houses just fine, but don't love anything. Overall underwhelmed and missing the atmosphere of the olden days (even though I can't put my finger on exactly what that was). Still, a meh year at HHN is still a great time, and the logistics and operations of this event were a huge step above prior years. Can't wait to go again, but will still be reminiscing about '07, '08, and even last year over this one.

    EDIT: Forgot to mention...saw Purge at 60 minutes (really more like 30) right next to Walking Dead which was posted as 30...really hope that it truly is dwindling in popularity and we can start doing other stuff soon.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
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  3. Frank Drackman

    Frank Drackman Premium Member

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    having issues up there, this should be the one of the woman who was to take my daughter off my hands:

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. ThemeParks4Life

    ThemeParks4Life Veteran Member

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    When I went into TWD and Purge both were posted 60 (around 7:30). TWD looked like it was more than an hour.
     
  5. OrlandoGuy

    OrlandoGuy Member

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    Well crap then lol...I wanna say I was over there around 9 or 10?? Still was cool to see though
     
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  6. SamJay

    SamJay Newcomer

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    It totally depends, but based on the wait times I've seen, The Purge has had longer wait times way more frequently than TWD. A couple people I've spoken to in the lines for other houses have all said TWD was just okay.

    I'd like to think this is all the writing on the wall but if TWD isn't around for HHN 26, I'll eat my hat.
     
  7. sjago13

    sjago13 Premium Member

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    Purge and Walking Dead see to be the two houses that have their wait time to fluctuate from 20 to 60 the whole night. I think it might revolve around jacks show letting out and people wandering back.
     
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  8. Joe

    Joe aka TestTrack321 Staff Member Moderator

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    I thought your reviews were good, cannot agree with them all, but it was founded I felt. As for Carnival of Carnage I'd like to comment and say I'm on the opposite end. There's something awesome about seeing basically magic tricks performed as 'kills' on stage. I enjoyed the humor, acting, and atmosphere a ton. It was a real blast and I can't wait to see it again a few more times the last night. Heck, with the writing and the passion the cast does I'd say it might be one of my favorite them park shows, period.

    Random side thought I've had, is that it seems this year is a celebration of the cast more than anything else. All the great parts of the houses, zones, and shows have been based around their free reign and skills. It's really a sort of curtain call after 25 years.
     
  9. Brian G.

    Brian G. Staff Member Administrator

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    Just a couple from the weekend:

    IMG_2175.jpg IMG_2398.jpg
     
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  10. OrlandoGuy

    OrlandoGuy Member

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    Thanks!

    I like the idea behind the show, and I love kill scenes in houses. But something about getting people to chant, "yeah blood and killing!" made me feel weird. I dont know. I liked the Arrival show a lot more, where there seemed to be more of a "purpose" to the whole thing.
     
  11. graspthesun

    graspthesun Premium Member

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    Just finally recovered from this weekend. Here is my review:

    HOUSES:

    9. American Werewolf in London - I could see where the Piccadilly Circus scene was improved, but I just could not enjoy the house. The timing for everything was off. There was no enthusiasm and for one of my favorite houses in 2013, this just almost destroyed those fond memories. After the first run through, my husband and I decided to avoid it for the rest of the event.

    8. The Walking Dead - This house struggled. The cast didn't seem all that enthusiastic about their roles and the house was incredibly disjointed. There were just too many locations and no way to tie them together like the previous seasons. The omission of Alexandria threw off the timeline. So it failed at scaring and it failed at story. The water gimmick would've been laughable if it weren't so terrible. I hope this gets retired for good after this year.

    7. The Purge - I can appreciate the attempt to salvage this house at the last minute, but I think it was too little too late. The cast was energetic, but there was little in the way of props or setting. Graffiti walls and a torn up kitchen weren't enough to create a narrative.

    6. Asylum in Wonderland - 100k times better than Aftermath in 2013. I didn't get a single scare in the house, but the cast was into it and the house was gorgeous. Scares are the most important factor to me though and I can't rate this higher considering they were lacking.

    5. Run - What a fun house. I find the Disaster queue houses to be the most fun, in a kind of haha way. The sets were pretty good, but the scares weren't really set up in a way that worked. I was nervous in the candy room that someone would try to pop out from below on the left, but it never happened and it always led to some disappointment.

    4. Monsters and Mayhem - I think there were three tiers of houses this year. The top 4, the bottom 4 and then AWIL. This house was awesome. The Nightingales scared me every single time. The ghost effect in the hallway was awesome. The Gothic throwback was great. My husband got screamed at by pervert Santa every time. The best scare of the event was when Jack popped out of the mirror at me. I ran straight through the next room without even looking around me. The reason this is 4 as opposed to higher is that there were a few rooms that didn't really give much in the way of scares, but the rest of the house more than made up for those rooms.

    3. Body Collectors - This house was beautiful and creepy. I didn't really get terrified per se, but there was a constant sense of unease. The music, the sounds, the smells, the smiles... every bit of it was great.

    2. Insidious - I agree with others that some of the scares could be seen from well ahead, but I never once had a bad run through this house. The cast really delivered every time with the most enthusiasm of any house and the effects were great as well. The two casts were a little uneven. The cast that has the mother wandering the room, even going as far as climbing up on the couch and walking on it, while demanding that her "daughter" say her name was the better cast in my opinion.

    1. Freddy vs. Jason - I didn't realize this until my second run through this house, but I am actually terrified of Freddy Kreuger. There were times where he would jump out and I would just freeze and press myself up against a wall until the person behind me nudged me a little. During one run through, my husband got lost in the mirror maze, I walked up to Freddy taunting me. While I kept my eyes on him I completely missed Jason popping out to attack me. That was my hit the floor moment for the year. It was amazing. The cast where Freddy wins at the end is the better of the two in my opinion, but both were great.

    SCARE ZONES:

    5. Scary Tales - This one looked nice, but I think this scare zone is the worst placed one in the park. There are never enough actors to really break through the crowds. That being said, I had to take a photo with Jane. She was awesome.

    4. Evil's Roots - This scare zone edges out Scary Tales almost solely for the stilt walkers who could make their presence known around the crowds. The scenery was also cool, particularly the wicker men.

    3. All Nite Die-In - Cool concept. Great props. I really liked this one, but without the show scenes of the top two, this one couldn't compete.

    2. Psychoscarapy - Great show scenes. The pumpkin carving guy was my favorite. He really embraced the role of a psychopath who was carving people's faces like pumpkins. The burning gazebo was awesome. I never got to see the costume contest live, but the act was awesome.

    1. Icons - Perfection. Great show scenes. Great props. Great scareactors.

    SHOWS:

    I'm not going to rank these because they're not really comparable.

    Bill & Ted - I loved the throwbacks. The joke about Doc Brown going back to 1992 to start the Wild Wild West Halloween Show was probably my favorite. The entire Kanye plot was rough and not really that great, but I loved the one liners. I'm still singing "Look there's dinosaurs. Freakin' dinosaurs."

    Carnage Returns - This was a fun show. The acrobatics were on point and I loved the special effects. Chance and Jack were great. My only criticism is that the Whack a Troll dance sequence stretched on for a while.
     
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  12. Brian G.

    Brian G. Staff Member Administrator

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    Some more photos:

    IMG_2029.jpg IMG_2055.jpg IMG_2065.jpg IMG_2123.jpg IMG_2172.jpg IMG_2194.jpg IMG_2216.jpg IMG_2221.jpg IMG_2321.jpg IMG_2348.jpg
     
  13. Brian G.

    Brian G. Staff Member Administrator

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    A few more:

    IMG_2293.jpg IMG_2343.jpg IMG_2365.jpg IMG_2438.jpg IMG_2474.jpg IMG_2507.jpg IMG_2545.jpg IMG_2687.jpg IMG_2734.jpg
     
  14. Nick

    Nick Staff Member Moderator

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    I think I finally have a solid order. 25 years and Body Collectors sometimes trade places, but overall, this is it.

    Great:

    1. 25 Years - Just perfect. Also, Bears.
    2. Body Collectors: Recollections - Absolutely beautiful house. Not as scary as much as gory. Feels like you're watching an old horror movie in action.
    3. Insidious - Still need to go through this a little more, but it was awesome
    Above Average:
    4. Asylum in Wonderland - Not scary per say, but I just really, really enjoy it. The cast has definitely been stepping it up lately too.
    5. Freddy v. Jason - Yet to get any good scares, but the sets were awesome and jump-roping girls scene was creepy af.
    6. An American Werewolf in London - Very cool and fun house. I'll note that I DID NOT go in 2013, so that doesn't affect my ranking.
    Mediocre
    7. The Purge - Originally intended to be Scream, so i'll let some thing slide. The cast did the best with what they had.
    Bad:
    8. TWD - Dark lighting, no scares, over-done.
    9. Run: Blood, Sweat and Fears - Just no.
     
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  15. TheDecemberists

    TheDecemberists Veteran Member

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    From 8 am to 1 am on Sunday I took over 30,000 steps and walked 13 miles. And then the next day I drove 10 hours.

    I hurt everywhere!

    It was definitely worth it. I think I got more scares in the three best houses this year than I did in all of the houses from last year combined. Anyways, here's my ranking:

    1. Freddy vs Jason - I got to do this one twice. The amount of scares I got from this house rivals what I'd expect from Netherworld. (HauntWorld recently ranked them #1 haunt of all time, so I don't use that comparison lightly.) Kudos to the scareactors for this maze.
    2 & 3 - TIE between 25 Years and Insidious. Both were fantastic. I wish I could have done them a second time, but I was playing tour guide and rides had priority.
    4. An American Werewolf in London - I get that it's a repeat, but I still got a ton of great scares this year.
    5 & 6 - TIE between Body Collectors and Asylum in Wonderland because they were both fun to look at, but neither of them were scary.
    7. Run - It was okay
    8. The Purge - Meh
    9. TWD - Please let this be the last year...
     
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  16. orlandoiloveyou

    orlandoiloveyou Rookie

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    I'll jump right inon this review...

    These 3 were definitely not on par with the rest.
    9.) Run- Wow this house was a disappointment. The longest lulls, and 0 scares. Queue video was entertaining though.
    8.) Walking dead- I actually enjoyed the house, it just wasn't scary. 1 startle.
    7.) Asylum- It was pretty, but even fully staffed there just aren't enough people in that house. There are 0 scares.

    These 3 were great... which goes to show how insanely good the top 3 are.
    6.) Purge- This house was so much fun, and maybe had the best startle I got the entire event. The closet in the "prom queen" scene. The energy was so great. These actors were pumped up.
    5.) AWiL- In all fairness, I had seen the POV before walking through this. The wolf puppets were incredible and scary. I heard a tour guide behind us say they were anywhere from $30,000-$40,000 a piece. for some reason though this one seemed the least detailed of the sound stages. Lots of obvious black painted walls and fabric nailed up to walk through. Did watch a girl nearly take a wolf to the face.
    4.) Monsters and Mayhem- What a beautiful house. Great scenes and great scares! I don't think this was house of the year however. It also didn't feel like it was that long compared to others. Did they count the long curtain exit to the chainsaw alley? Bride of Frankenstein got me good both go throughs. And that damn bear!

    WOWOWOW!
    3.) Body Collectors- Damn. This was cool. Sets were A+. those mini scenes were awesome with the throat slit and the stabbing and the spine rip. The rooms were wonderfully macabre. Especially that room with all the alcoves and the Body collector up on the platform in the middle. This felt like a movie.
    2.) Freddy vs. Jason- I don't know how, but this house was almost tied for favorite (i don't know how, because i'm not a huge fan of either character) The sound effects, the scares, the length. This house was intense. I didn't know how scary freddy could be. He got me really good in the hallway with his past kills. And continued to get me after that. I really loved this one.
    1.) Insidious- Wow. I mean this house was incredible. It was cinematic. The scares were everywhere and the energy was maxed out. The further scenes were perfect. Even after waiting 2 hours I was not let down my second time through. The apartment hallway, the lipstick lady, the double team red faced demon and woman in black triple scare made me jump in the air as well as nearly lose control of my legs.

    This was my first HHN and I was blown away. I can't wait to make this a tradition.
     
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  17. kingcooger

    kingcooger Member

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    Hello horror hounds,

    Right off the bat, let's flip the script. Here are my critiques of this year's Halloween Horror Nights:
    1. Universal believes chainsaws=Scary - If you want evidence of this look to the fact that 2 1/2 scarezones have them, at least three houses have them, and all the roaming hordes have them.
    2. Universal believes eprompts=Scary - If you want evidence of this look at every house. Seriously, every house.

    3. Interactivity is for scarezones - The only house I had any interactive moments in were Run: Blood, Sweat, and Fears, but the scarezones were packed out with method actors and interactive moments.
    4. Masks are the new makeup - Once again, look at every house and you will see more masks than makeup.
    5. Jack's show should have had seating - Self explanatory

    6. You best know the source - The Walking Dead and Insidious made it very clear that if you did not watch either property, you would have no idea what was happening. Even An American Werewolf in London suffers this complex during the nightmare scene (but much less so than the other two).

    Those negatives out of the way, here are some of the positives from this year's event:

    1. The scarezones were very interactive.

    2. The Jack show was excellent.

    3. There were quite a few solid houses.

    4. The roaming hordes filled in the dead spaces nicely.

    5. The return of gore.

    And a few general observations:

    1. Why no drop down boo holes? - And when was the last time we saw one?

    2. Throat slitting, anyone? - Take a minute to think about this, there were at least four houses with a throat slit scene that I can think of right off (one of them has two).

    My credentials are that I have been going to HHN since 2009 (what some consider to be the last true Icon year) so I do not quite have the same perspective as some of those going longer, but I have a different perspective from those who have only been going since TWD years. Truly, caught in the middle. This fact shapes my entire review as I am sure the things above have made clear.

    Now let's do a quick breakdown of the houses:

    9. The Walking Dead: The Living and the Dead - I have to preface this by saying last year's house was fine as was 2013. Neither of them were groundbreaking, but they also were not terrible. This one though, has no story, only one scene that was effective, a terrible facade, and the sets were meh. I went through this twice to give it a decent shot and still could not get into it at all.
    Story/Concept: 0
    Sets/Effects: 1
    Scares: 1
    Atmosphere: 1
    Repeatability: 0
    TOTAL: 3/10

    8. An American Werewolf in London - A near replica of the house we had two years ago with two of my favorite scareactors missing and one new scare added. The sets are still good, the story remains unchanged, and (apart from the aforementioned actors) the scares are in the same places. This one will rank lower thanks to me already having seen it, the sets being replicas, and knowing where all but one scare would be coming from (it does not help that the new scare was ruined by the person in front of me backing up when it happened so that I knew it was coming).
    Story/Concept: 2
    Sets/Effects: 1
    Scares: 0
    Atmosphere: 2
    Repeatability: 0
    TOTAL: 5/10

    7. The Purge - A clear story, boring sets, and one cast was super into the material. I went through this three times and only had one memorable walkthrough where the cast all seemed super into their jobs (also, a certain scene happened right in front of me). Much like the movies, this is a great concept that has yet to be properly executed.
    Story/Concept: 2
    Sets/Effects: 0
    Scares: 1
    Atmosphere: 1
    Repeatability: 1
    TOTAL: 5/10

    6. Asylum in Wonderland 3D - This had one of the better stories, an actual finale, okay sets, and good costumes. That being said, there were not a lot of scares in here. I enjoyed myself in this house, but would not wait longer than 30 minutes to see it again. Also, that tunnel...
    Story/Concept: 2
    Sets/Effects: 1
    Scares: 1
    Atmosphere: 1
    Repeatability: 1
    TOTAL: 6/10

    5. Run: Blood, Sweat, and Fears - A good concept, decent sets, and at least one of the casts was on point. I enjoyed every walkthrough of this house as it was just fun, but only one of my walkthroughs yielded much in the way of scares. Not the greatest dark comedy house I have seen *cough* Bloodengutz *cough* but not the worst either.
    Story/Concept: 2
    Sets/Effects: 1
    Scares: 1
    Atmosphere: 1
    Repeatability: 1
    TOTAL: 6/10

    4. Freddy vs. Jason - I wanted to love this house, but I was able to guess where all the scares were going to be coming from before they happened. Both casts were great and the sets were pretty, but I just did not find this to be all that scary. Also, the lack of Freddy one-liners made it hard for me to get into this house. That being said, it did have one of the most accessible stories of the event this year and a clear finale.
    Story/Concept: 2
    Sets/Effects: 2
    Scares: 1
    Atmosphere: 1
    Repeatability: 1
    TOTAL: 7/10

    3. Insidious - This house has some great scares and creep factor, but the story is unclear even to those who have seen the movies. We twice enter the Further, but only once have that amazing transition hallway leading to confusion as to where we are at any given moment. If this was intentional, good on them, but I found it a bit off putting from a narrative standpoint. The buildup in this house was amazing, but the finale did not work for me. This still remains one of the better houses of the event though the awful lines make it hard to repeat (or want to repeat).
    Story/Concept: 1
    Sets/Effects: 1
    Scares: 2
    Atmosphere: 2
    Repeatability: 1
    TOTAL: 7/10

    2. Jack Presents 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem - A lack of any cohesive story does not stop this from being a very fun house to walkthrough. There were a lot of good scares, amazing sets, and both casts seemed on point. It took two walkthroughs to really see and appreciate everything this house had to offer.
    Story/Concept: 0
    Sets/Effects: 2
    Scares: 2
    Atmosphere: 2
    Repeatability: 2
    TOTAL: 8/10

    1. The Body Collectors: Recollections - Those who read my credentials know that I have not seen a Body Collectors house before, but I did catch them in the last anniversary house. Therefore, what may be old hat to some of the more senior members, proved to be amazing to me. This house had all the creep factor I was looking for, an easily understood story, and some absolutely gorgeous set design. Easily my favorite house of the event.
    Story/Concept: 2
    Sets/Effects: 2
    Scares: 2
    Atmosphere: 2
    Repeatability: 2
    TOTAL: 10/10
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  18. kingcooger

    kingcooger Member

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    The scarezones were a very different beast from the houses. Here, interactivity was stressed, the scareactors were nearly always on point, and the crowds were manageable so you could scarezone watch all day.


    5. Scary Tales: Screampunk - One more setpiece would have made the difference in this zone. The one they have is great, but the lack of fog makes it hard for the actors to hide. The actors did the best with what they were given and I saw some solid scares and tag teaming in here even if I only received one or two myself.
    Story/Concept: 1
    Sets/Costumes: 1
    Scares: 1
    Atmosphere: 1
    Repeatability: 1
    TOTAL: 5/10


    4. Icons - Not a bad zone by any stretch, but there was little tying it all together. We had our four mains leading up to Jack's show because, well, why not? This proved to be a hugely interactive zone that I could have spent a long time watching in action. The scareactors were on point and brilliant at tag teaming and utilizing them to draw people to a mini show and then disperse them via scares was a great idea.
    Story/Concept: 1
    Sets/Costumes: 2
    Scares: 1
    Atmosphere: 1
    Repeatability: 2
    TOTAL: 7/10


    3. Evil's Roots - Like Icons, no cohesive story, but a VERY effective zone for scares. The fog and lighting effectively cover many of the scareactors leading to some of my best scares of the night. Not much in the way of interactivity, but the creep factor more than makes up that difference.
    Story/Concept: 1
    Sets/Costumes: 2
    Scares: 2
    Atmosphere: 2
    Repeatability: 1
    TOTAL: 8/10


    2. All Night Die-In: Double Feature - One of the two scarezones with a solid story this one shines when it comes to the method actors. Nearly all of the actors stay true to their source material leading to a zone that can be both frightening and fun to watch (also, another heavily interactive zone). The only complaint is that traffic flow can seriously disrupt the scares, but a lot of the actors got around this issue by hiding behind one group of people to jump out at another.
    Story/Concept: 2
    Sets/Costumes: 2
    Scares: 1
    Atmosphere: 2
    Repeatability: 2
    TOTAL: 9/10


    1. Psychoscareapy: Unleashed - I could sit here all night long. No joke. This was not a super scary zone, but man were the actors on point with their interactions. They really kept this zone both fun and creepy at the same time. It seemed like every time I walked through this area I saw something new. Also, the actors chasing not just guests but eachother as well was super effective in creating atmosphere. One of my favorite things was Nurse Brooke's version of the costume contest as it really added a lot to this area since her nurse was sympathetic and imposing with a very small touch of humor.
    Story/Concept: 2
    Sets/Costumes: 2
    Scares: 1
    Atmosphere: 2
    Repeatability: 2
    TOTAL: 9/10


    The roaming hordes were great at filling in the dead space and the clown saws in particular were amazing (see the clown saws cast change if you can).


    Finally, we come to the shows.


    Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure - It was, fine. Apart from the beginning cameo and resurrecting the classics sequence nothing was too notable or memorable. I did like the costuming during the MJ song as that lead actress' outfit was amazing. I am still waiting for them to do a horror themed show like 2013's (which was the best B&T I have seen) as I think the structure helps things. I mean, we had a Purge house so we could have had a Purge themed show fairly easily.
    Story/Concept: 1
    Sets/Effects: 2
    Dance: 2
    Humor: 1
    Repeatability: 1
    TOTAL: 7/10


    The Carnage Returns - This is the show I wanted. The jokes worked, the dance was good, and though the story was paper thin it remained fun. A horrible venue and long show time makes this one a hard one to repeat (my wife was recovering from a broken ankle).
    Story/Concept: 1
    Sets/Effects: 2
    Dance: 2
    Humor: 2
    Repeatability: 1
    TOTAL: 8/10


    Parting thoughts: This year was a return to form scarezone wise and the houses were decent to amazing (apart from TWD). I am hoping that having an icon this year, the phenomenal scarezones, and the great originals are tracking well so that next year will be a true return to form on all fronts. I have mentioned some of the things I would like to see at the beginning but I will add to that list entrance arch decorations, an entrance arch scarezone (was 2009 the last year?), and an icon that ties the event together AND gets their own house.


    Nighty nightmares,
    -Kingcooger
     
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  19. Fatality

    Fatality BANNED

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    Alrighty fellow horror hound - I'd love to discuss some of these points with you a little further.....

    1.) Chainsaws, while they maybe overused, are still extremely effective. There isn't one haunted house in America that does not end with a chainsaw at the end. At netherworld, we have 2 and the end of each of our haunts. I personally have become immune to them and they don't effect me - but most dont either. That doesn't make them any less effective. Sit in a scare zone and watch. They work and provide an abundance of laughs. I'm also partial to the sound / smell.

    2.) As a haunted house actor, I love the E-Prompts. They are an easy way of providing the trifecta - sound, lighting and a physical presence. As an actor its nearly impossible to maintain your voice an entire night (let alone an entire season). Sound is what scares people the most. If you cannot make sound you won't be too effective.

    3.) interactivity is limited inside the houses (and pretty much nonexistent) because people need to move thru these attractions. The waits are already hours long - can you imagine if interaction played more of a role? It would slow things down 10 fold. Drunk guests would want to say the most idiotic things and would wanna sit and chat ad naseum. The name of the game to Boo and Skadoo. Scare and reset as fast as possible, therefore being able to hit as many in the conga as you can. If an actor is fast enough you can get every 5th person in a conga. If not more. I've seen it and I've done it myself.

    4) the masks are all custom made and work of arts just like the way the make up is. Makeup takes a long time and in low visibility it just isn't cost effective / make sense. I LOVE make up more than anything - but it's a logistics / resources thing. At netherworld we have a crew of about 300 actors. I would say maybe 50 get make up (and that's a generous figure). The rest are in masks.

    5.) what do you define as a boo hole? If you're talking about a legit hole in scenery, or false doors / Windows, etc; I believe it's probably because they're extremely predictable. Also, it's all about that reset. Opening and closing a door takes time, and skill in the dark.

    8.) I think knowing the source material helps but isn't totally necessary. universal is about riding the movies. But you can still enjoy Harry Potter without seeing the movies the same way you can enjoy the various houses.



    I totally get some of your gripes and negatives - but just giving my opinion / perspective. I think there's a lot more rhyme / reason to things than people think about. I.E. Everyone hates the conga lines - but these things are designed for the conga. It's about hitting and trying to give as many of the same folks walking thru (~2000 an hour) the same experience.

    My haunt is not designed for a conga. We are designed to be "interactive" and for small groups. Towards the end of the season, we HAVE to conga or else we'd be there until 6 am. Literally, 8 hour waits and that's WITH a steady stream of people. And we are night designed for that and the experience blows. The interactive scares get lost and muddled and it because all about Scaring Forward and trying to pump folks thru.
     
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  20. Nick

    Nick Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, last I checked, HHN is in America and I can only think of one house that has a chainsaw at the exit this year, so unless you are talking about the streets, then the statement is overtly false based on HHN alone.
     

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