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Halloween Horror Nights 26: Reviews & Photos

Discussion in 'Halloween Horror Nights 26' started by Brian G., Sep 16, 2016.

  1. Joe

    Joe aka TestTrack321 Staff Member Moderator

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    This was a solid year highlighted by consistency (minus one exception) and polish. Where as last year had higher highs and an anniversary buzz that cannot be replicated this year it also had more lows.

    Scare Zones:

    All scare zones had highlights, but I found Survive or Die lacked the improv the other zones had and was my least favorite. Warf was crazy beautiful and would use this as an example of how HHN isn't all terror and freight. Chance is the lemons from lemonade zone which tends to occur due to the poor location of the house, I had a few inspired scares or silly moments in the zone but nothing fantastic. Banshee ties Warf in the costume department but adds scares. Finally Vamp 55 is the clear winner this event with a cast that knocks it out of the park.

    Shows:

    B&T has one of the weakest premises ever this year and one that still doesn't logically make sense. Things just *happen*. Not to say the show isn't worth seeing or that there are not good jokes in it (parkour! live sitars!) but the show feels to have been in a draft stage in April, left alone till August, then quickly updated with quick references (hey look there's Lochte!). As a bleeding heart liberal I'm supporting Hilary but DAMN those Hilary jokes were fantastic and hilarious.

    AoV was the most left field concept and it mostly worked. The clear winner in the group was the dream sequence which was mind blowing and really well done but the rest was random or generic. Skateboards? Drum solo? Huh? I liked the show but I enjoyed the artistry more than the actual end product. As a cis white midwestern guy this just isn't up my ally and that's perfectly fine. Also watch the opening video and keep an eye out for H2 and TWD houses as part of the asylum.

    Houses:

    9) Chance- Wasted potential, more money seems to have been invested in the preshow movie than the actual house (shout out to the use of Portofino Bay). I had a good scare but the rest was, to quote someone in my group, "on a local haunt level". Scare actors try but it just falls flat.

    8) TCM- Ok hear me out. I like this house, I HATE the smell. I spit about 30 times after this house to get the taste/smell out of my body and got a little sick afterwards. The house was very well done, had a good scares, but just something I don't want to do again in it's current incarnation (with smells).

    7) H2- The most disappointing house this trip, H2 is badly laid out, has inconsistent acting, and just doesn't land like the original house did for me.

    6) Krampus- Good smells and a beautiful house. Some good startle scares but just not enough. House seems incomplete and understaffed.

    5) Tomb- I enjoyed this house immensely and had a good last run on Sunday with the group. Lack of variety knocks it down a peg or two.

    4) TWD- It's TWD but good! I think a lot of the hype comes from "He likes it he actually likes it!" rather than it being fantastic. This edges out Tomb due to variety, edges out Krampus for scare actor quantity.

    3) Exorcist- My first run through on Friday was meh which is why Mike and Nick are less enthused by it. My second with Sean blew us away with great scare actors and effects. Really well done and I enjoyed it. Smell was there but didn't bother me.

    2) AHS- The house was so good the theme song stuck in my head and represented the event for me (like how the drum song from the music loop last year got stuck in my head). Atmospheric, great scares, great random actors doing cool poop, and great sets. Not number one because of waits, hype, and my lack of enthusiasm for the IP.

    1) Ghost- When making this list my first thought was "do I want to do this house again". With Ghost Town this is "yes" more often than not. The house has lower wait times which helps a lot. Some of the best effects in the event EVER, including pepper's ghost, rain, wind, lightning, and mirrors. Not every scare actor gets me but the ones that do get me EVERY TIME. Favorite house this year.

    The Repository:

    Despite what my group says I enjoyed Repository on the whole. Was it my realistic expectations, probably. The actors saved the experience in my eyes. Problem was the mission briefing, VR lead up, and the VR all had little to do with each other. This would have been much better if a free drink was included.

    Overall:

    Great event, can't touch last year but that was expected.
     
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  2. DannyPowers

    DannyPowers Rookie

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    Now that I've sat with it for a week (and changed my house rankings about 87 times), I'd like to put forward my review of HHN26 for the enjoyment and criticism of my peers.

    Let me know how your lists match up with mine.

    Houses

    First off, I wouldn't consider ANY of the houses this year "bad". It was a pretty well-rounded year with many of them excelling at some things that other houses may have been lacking in.

    That being said, you can't do a list without some houses at the bottom, and that's where this was particularly tough.

    I really consider the bottom half of my list to be tied, mostly due to all of them doing something really well. Anyway, here's the order I came up with and a few notes on each...

    9-Krampus: Probably my biggest disappointment just because I was looking forward to it so damn much. The first half of the house was very meh, with great construction and environment, but very little else. The real savior of it was the last two rooms (the attic and Krampus' lair). Both of those were jam packed with things to look at, and were pulled off exactly as they should have been. It's just a shame they didn't find a way to expand on those further to the rest of the house.

    8-Texas Chainsaw Massacre: I actually got my biggest scare of the event in this house. It was in the long hall where nothing really happens until the end. Leatherface shattered a window and I got "hit by the glass". Very shocking. The long stretch of nothing happening really worked to defy expectations.

    The rooms felt really lived in and had a strong beginning and end, but the middle was a little lacking. I loved that Leatherface just kept popping up as you're trying to leave.

    7-Exorcist: Creative did a really good job making a haunt out of a movie that has about 4 characters and takes place mostly in one room.

    It's much more conceptual than their houses tend to be, and I really liked how you were "getting possessed" along with Regan. The main downside is that many of the rooms seemed a little "same-sie" and repetitive as you walked through.

    6-The Walking Dead: If this is the last year for a WD house, this will be a fitting farewell. As a "best of", nothing really stood out as too unique, just some solid scenes. Plus, it's always good to see that amazing forest room one last time.

    P.S - I have a feeling that if they are putting in a year-round attraction, these first few rooms might be a good indication of what we'll see.

    5-Halloween Hell Comes to Haddenfield: Probably the best example of a house walking you through the actual movie narrative. I really loved how pushing through the closet built suspense and led up to the final battle from the original Halloween house.

    From there the construction and storytelling was all top notch. I wasn't 100% sold on the effects of the finale, but they looked pretty good for something so hard to pull off in a haunt.

    4-Ghost Town The Curse of Lightning Gulch: This house was all about the scenery, scenery, scenery. The construction and detail in this house was amazing.

    There were some unique scares as well (including a rare over-the-head scare). I also really loved the weather effects and the return of artificial height that they used in Monsters & Mayhem last year. It also helps that there was a lot of comedy injected as well.

    3-Lunatic's Asylum 3D: I know that this is near the bottom of most people's list, but I really loved it. The key to any good 3D house is making you feel like you are in another reality (or another version of your current reality), and that's exactly what this house did.

    On top of that, there were a few rooms that tried some pretty unique things (floating heads behind paper-doll bodies), we also saw the return of the giant Dollhouse heads, and there were a bunch of Chances.

    This facade was also one of the best of the year, and tied last year's and this year's events together, as well as laid groundwork for the inevitable return of Jack.

    2-American Horror Story: One clarification. My wife and I are not huge fans of AHS. We've watched all of Murder House, Asylum, and Coven; and only part of Freakshow and Hotel. I think that might be the only thing keeping this out of the top spot for me.

    The main thing that impressed me about this house is that they actually hired two casts' worth of look-a-likes AND used a ton of actual audio drops from the show. Those two things alone really added to it's authenticity.

    The only drawback was that it's based on such a convoluted property.

    So, if you're not 100% familiar with all of the references, you'll find yourself saying, "well that looked cool. Why the hell was it there?". We ended up having to look up several things after the fact, and still ended up a bit uncertain why they were in the house.

    That being said, it didn't feel quite like a traditional HHN house. It felt a lot like this might be a little bit of an evolution in house design for them.

    1-Tomb of the Ancients: The main thing I can say here is that this was just a solidly designed house. There is a TON going on in this house, and they jam it all into a claustrophobic little space inside a tent.

    It had great jump scare placement, big theatric scenes, and a ton of detail everywhere you look.

    Scarezones

    I'll be honest here. These we really lacking this year, with the exception of one stand-out.

    5-Lair of the Banshee: Incredibly similar to Evil's Roots last year, and Bayou at 24. While I do love how foggy and eerie it can seem in this area at times, it seems like creative may have fallen into a rut here.

    4-Dead Man's Wharf: Small and packed. Unfortunately the only thing this one really had going for it was the excellent make-up and creature design.

    3- Survive or Die: Can we all agree that this felt like it might have originally been a Purge scarezone that got scrapped?

    I can appreciate that they tried here, but I feel like the ambitious storyline they were going for didn't quite work. We wandered a little bit listening to some pleas to join certain parties, and followed around motorcycles/ATVs...and then nothing happened. An extra point or two for the cool projection mapping on the buildings.

    2-A Chance in Hell: The one gets extra points for having the 2nd best cast in the bunch.

    There's a reason they put the same two actors at the front gates during every night's opening scaremonies (Smiley and the crazy chick that played a crazy chick in Shadybrook last year)...it's because they're fantastic.

    With very little given to them, they did their best to improvise little shows and bits with Chance.

    Speaking of, I think this was a great way to handle everyone wanting a picture with our icon, and the actresses did a great job trying to keep selfies entertaining.

    1-Vamp 55': Almost everyone's favorite, with good reason. Cool set pieces, and the most active cast by far. They were constantly running around and interacting with both each other and guests. Bonus points for looking like a throwback version of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode.

    So that's it. Overall a really good year. Solid houses, two great shows, and a few decent scarezones.

    I think reviews would be over the moon had they not had to live in the 25th anniversary's shadow. Can't wait to see what they come up with next year.

    Start the countdown.
     
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  3. Brian G.

    Brian G. Staff Member Administrator

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    Another wave of photos!

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  4. Brad

    Brad Newcomer

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    Got back yesterday from our annual trip. I will say that overall, I think this year had the best lineup of houses out of the 9 years I have visited.

    People have provided enough reviews, so here are my quick rankings:

    Top four (can't decide which is best - they would all be #1 at previous years):
    -ToA
    -Texas Chainsaw
    -Exorcist
    -Krampus

    Next bunch (all really solid):
    -AHS
    -Halloween 2
    -The Walking Dead

    Still really good:
    -Ghost Town

    Awful (even for bad years):
    -Lunatics

    We did the Repository on Thursday (10/20) - overall, I thought it was worth the additional cost. The VR was pretty sad, and we were confused the entire time, but the interaction with the actors, the "physical" nature of some parts and the storyline / effects were really neat. I'd like to see this expanded in future years (and just give up on the VR).

    Also did Unmasking the Horror (afternoon, 10/21) - we hit Halloween 2, Tomb of Ancients (incredible) and Krampus. No pictures in the two IPs.

    Not usually in to scarezones, but loved Vamp55. AoV was really good too. First year we didn't see Bill & Teds since we started (and I was totally OK with that).
     
  5. Brian G.

    Brian G. Staff Member Administrator

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    Decided to get a little artsy with some of the photos....

    IMG_7207.JPG IMG_7505.JPG IMG_7561.JPG
     
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  6. sjago13

    sjago13 Premium Member

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    Just wanted to add some final thoughts on this year as I am done unless I can find time Sat.

    This past weekend the actors were on point. I had not been for 3 weeks and I feel like a lot of them really got into their role as they felt comfortable with their environment and were getting very in your face.

    A few actors in particular I would love to give props to:
    Bat guy in Tomb always would flourish his "wing" and then grab right into our faces.
    Bearded lady would actually stoke my friends beard.
    Most of the mikes. Some were bad simply going though the motions but some of them were committed and very aggressive. On of the casts in particular was great.
    Syringe crown lady had great interactions on Halloween.
    The principle and teacher in vamp were great.
    And one of the Chance's were great. Whenever it was her set and we were walking by we always stopped for at least a little bit. I really enjoyed her rant on children this past weekend because there were too many of them this weekend.

    My final rankings are:
    1. American Horror Story (10/10)
    2. Tomb of the Ancients (10/10)
    3. Halloween 2 (9/10)
    4. Ghost Town (9/10)
    5. The Exorcist (9/10)
    6. Walking Dead (9/10)
    7. Texas Chain Saw Massacre (8/10)
    8. Krampus (8/10)
    9. Lunatics Playground 3D (5/10)

    Top 3 are all very good houses that can go toe to toe with the best from other years.
    Ghost Town was beautiful and could have great scares but was highly timing dependent and some scenes had long resets leading to times where I would miss a lot of the actors.
    Exorcist, beautiful, had some really good scenes and the scare potential but has the least amount of actors and also stretches of wasted space with nothing going on. Best facade hands down though.
    Walking Dead is the best walking dead house and has good scares just tired of the property. But at least this year I can't roll my eyes at people if they say this was their favorite this time.
    Texas and Krampus are both good houses, but are very inconsistent and are missing elements that could have made them way better. Texas has some really long resets as well, first 2 kill scenes and the final indoor scene can all be missed entirely. Only saw the girl run out the window 2 out for 10 runs.
    While I don't actively hate Chances house it didn't do anything for me and would only do it if it was walk on or I was there with someone new. It was just lazy and didn't make sense.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
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  7. qwerty

    qwerty Newcomer

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    Just got back from my Orlando trip and what a better way to procrastinate than by writing a review!
    For reference, this is my second HHN (did hhn25 as well), and I only did 1 night without express. I do realize that I'd need to have done the houses multiple times to get the full picture, since each run can be different...but anyways, here we go!

    Houses in order of my favourites:
    American Horror Story: fave house of the night. was cool to see the characters from the show, the casting was spot-on. I've seen many people say this house was more theatrical and not very scary, but I got some great scares in this house, probably because of the sheer amount of actors! It felt like there must have been like 70-80 actors in this house? Anyone have the actual number?
    Ghost Town: Another house that I heard was beautiful, but not scary. And again, maybe I had a good run but to me there were definitely enough scares! I don't remember too much about this house, minus a mummified body on a bed and the outdoor raining section, but I remember leaving the house LOVING it!
    Halloween: scariest house of the evening for me. the way you hear "trick or treat" before michael myers pops out always scared the poop out of me because you didn't know where he'd be coming from. I also thought the fake-outdoor neighborhood-looking section was v cool.
    TCM: second scariest house of the night after Halloween. Those actors were HUGE! I also liked how the actors seemed to have room in their scenes to really take a run towards you instead of just popping from behind little boo holes. And the ending was great. Heard people say the smell ruined the house for them...maybe they ran out or something, but my friend didn't even notice they were pumping smell in there. I definitely smelled something not too pleasant but only focused on it because I already knew it was supposed to smell. Definitely wasn't strong at all...
    Tomb: heard very high praise of this house on here, and saw it was many people's #1. Wasn't the best house for me. It was still good, in a cheesy kind of way. The stilt walkers were cool, and I got a good scare by those lit up walls. I was so distracted by the pretty hieroglyphics that I didn't see like 4 actors pop out at once. The crocolion was weird and not scary. Still a solid house though.
    Krampus: My least favorite house of the evening. Probably got a bad run though. The people in front of us were getting all the scares and it was so bright that we saw them all coming. Those doll cookie face things (sorry, didn't watch the movie) were creepy at first, but after a while it was all the same, no costume variety. The snow and nutmeg smell was cute, but I just didn't think this house was scary (and I'm a scaredy cat!). I was also under the impression that the kitchen gingerbread men would move in some way but guess not. came off as cutesy.

    Didn't get to do the Exorcist, Walking dead or Lunatics Playground. The only one that I was disappointed in not doing is the exorcist. Still, I think getting to do 6 houses without express so close to halloween is great.

    As for scarezones, I loved them all, except for Banshee's lair and the roaming hoardes. The acting/improv inVamp 55, the atmosphere of Dead Man's Wharf, the projections in Survive or die were great. I even liked the Chance zone! Across the board, the scareactors were so into it! Was disappointed in banshee's lair since it was my fave zone last year. And it's such an easy location to make a zone. Literally all they had to do was pump it up with more fog (there was practically no fog when I passed through), string up some lights, and maybe put those stiltwalkers in a nicer darker costume so they can actually blend in with the background and surprise people like the Groots last year instead of just...standing there in their bright white bathrobes. Also, last year the clowns took over springfield as their own zone. This year, it felt like there was alot of dead space. When I passed through springfield you couldn't even hear a chainsaw revving and some cheerleaders were just leaning against garbage cans chatting with security? Or going up to people and scaring them by sort of waving their hands in their face instead of revving those chainsaws. It felt empty compared to last year. The Hillbillies weren't exactly owning that bridge either, and I saw 2 geishas on my way out, that's it.

    BUT I'm nitpicking up there, Overall I had an AMAZING time!
    My advice to anyone going for the first time next year, or even this weekend coming: Do read reviews to make a gameplan of which houses you want to see, but form your own opinion. I went int0 this event thinking it would be significantly worse than hhn25, but honestly I'd put in on par with 25 (streets a bit worse, houses better).
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
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  8. Joe

    Joe aka TestTrack321 Staff Member Moderator

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    Wow we got screwed the weekend we went down, Halloween was good one night, pretty bad the rest.
     
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  9. SeventyOne

    SeventyOne Veteran Member

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    One of those houses with a noticeable difference between the two casts. Or maybe they rotated out. But a shame, because cast and the hospital facade were all this one had going for it.
     
  10. SeventyOne

    SeventyOne Veteran Member

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    FINAL REVIEW

    (Will still probably go Saturday, but not sure extended days will have the same casts, so just going to post this now.)

    The Houses


    (9) Lunatic’s Playground: My criticism of 2016 distilled down to a single house—way too repetitive of past events with no sense of story. The basic theme and the tunnel were ripped directly from Alice last year. The rest of the house felt like random scenes from the past covered with 3D paint (whether they needed it or not). “Did we use the TENS unit yet? No? Throw it in Chance!”
    BEST PARTS: Credit where it’s do, this house felt long, which has always been a top criticism of mine in the past.
    ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Probably in my bottom 10 of all time, so just burn it to the ground and start over.

    (8) AHS: Should probably give this a pass—only went through three times, once during the day, twice at night. Not a fan of the show, wasn’t going to waste 2 hours on a house that does nothing for me. Same criticism as before, natch—no story, missed several iconic moments/scenes, just a random collection of “hey, remember this?”.
    BEST PARTS: To paraphrase my friend King Bob of Save Pleasure Island, you can never go wrong with hot French maids. Fairly convincing Kathy Bates, GaGa and Dandy look-alikes as well.
    ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Lock to return next year, at least Coven (season 3) had the most striking iconography.
    And please—no more 10 minute walk to exit the house.

    (7) Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Tent 2 maze based on 70s movie. House façade. Walk in past staircase, eventually continue through kitchen, as sound bites of movie play. “Surprise” horror icon around corner when you exit. But enough about the original Halloween house …
    I confess never was a fan of the movie. But just felt too much like Halloween 1, only without the iconic music or a sense of fun.
    BEST PARTS: Leatherface actors were all solid. The flaws here are in repetitive design, not cast.
    ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Grandpa should’ve been a live actor.

    (6) Krampus: Actually faithful to the movie: a couple scenes brimming with manic energy suffocated by an otherwise boring slog. Not creepy enough to be scary, not funny enough to be a dark comedy house. Psychoscarapy did it so much better, this feels almost like a mockbuster cash-in on that house.
    BEST PARTS: Like in the movie, the gingerbread men scene. The mom strangled by Christmas lights also worked for me. The Calvin & Hobbes snowmen. And ok, the snow globes at the end are brilliant, if you saw them on the backstage tour--99% of guests didn’t.
    ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Too many elves. No moving Krampi. Felt like the first six rooms have maybe three actors between them.

    (5) Halloween 2: Poster child for way too much borrowed from past events. A couple scenes from the original house, an admittedly awesome hospital façade, then the back half of “Disaster Queue Generic Industrial Set” (Leave It to Cleaver, Giggles & Gore, Zombiegeddon…). And of course Mike after Mike after Mike. But one of the casts was spectacular, made the house work, like the original Havoc. First weekend was a joy. Then Ops got out of control, became way to obvious, and basically killed what momentum the house had. I suppose #5 is better than I anticipated, but Ops probably kept it from top 3.
    BEST PARTS: That hospital front, complete with cat scare. “Dumpster Mike.” Clever final room (again, true of probably every house but TCM this year, felt like a satisfying length). Even the logo outside—simple but effective.
    ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Ops—don’t stand in front of key show scenes!!! And if you have to warn guests three times how to navigate the next room, maybe take a couple steps during the week to rework it, make it easier for the conga line to follow. As I alluded to, one cast was clearly better than the other.

    (4) Tomb of the Ancients: Liked it a lot, didn’t quite love it like a lot of you. Cool mummy house marred by way too much hangy stuff. Another maze where had it been done a decade ago would’ve had more of a story rather than being a random jumble of scenes, but at least it brought the scary.
    BEST PARTS: The extra-loud drop screens. Normally not a stilt-walker fan, but all the Anubises (Anubi?) delivered effective scares. Strong cast in the strobe-lighted room immediately after as well.
    ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Needed at least 70% less hanging vines. A few are effective, that many just annoying. Also the façade felt half-done—if you can’t effectively hide the tent, go with the Halloween 2 approach and don’t bother trying.

    (3) The Walking Dead: I know. WTF? Hands-down cast of the year. Maybe they had a chip on their shoulder for being stuck here, but they all went the extra mile. And exactly what a TWD house attraction should be—a greatest hit montage of the show (not to mention the best effects that have been used at HHN over the past 5 years) packed into tight corners and short hallways. Didn’t have a single walk-through that didn’t get a jump out of me or leave me shaking my head how good this actually turned out.
    BEST PARTS: The campsite. The zombie around that corner who got me every time. The iconic hospital door. The deer-eating scene. Most effective use of the jail set in three tries.
    ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: I still think the IP is played out. And really, how do you top this? So no room for improvement, rest on your laurels with this one, Universal.

    (2) The Exorcist: Clever effects made it work more than it didn’t. Particularly the scrim hallway and the vomit maze. Head-spinning Regan a little cheesy—how could you do the effect otherwise tho?—but floating Reagan really worked. Projected demon faces throughout a nice touch as well.
    BEST PARTS: In addition to the scenes mentioned above, that façade is amazing—looks just like the movie poster and actual Georgetown. Post-climax scenes manage to convey a truly disturbing version of hell that feels in line with the movie. Poltergeist in head-spin room gave the house some much needed buzz.
    ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Probably the weakest of the modern era 70s/80s classic houses (other than TCM) just because of its repetitive nature, heavy reliance on mannequins. Costume for final priest looked … bad. For whatever reason, conga line seemed to stall out in this one more than the others.

    (1) Ghost Town: Amazing sets and costumes. Solid cast. Clever premise. And I saw plenty of people jump and scream, not sure where the “not scary” meme came from. Enjoyed every run-through I did. No “X factor” to make it GOAT for me, but far and away best of the event.
    BEST PARTS: The rain. The Pepper’s Ghost (I’m a sucker for that effect). The saloon and player piano ghost. Also ghost hiding in saloon ceiling. That huge stagecoach depot. “That’s my gold!!!”
    ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Steep gorge gimmick worked better in Gothic and Dead Silence.


    The Zones

    (6) Survive or Die: Woman in Babushkas v. Guys in Gas Masks. And buildings falling because … reasons. Probably spent an hour collectively in this zone, still no idea of the plot. Obviously thrown together when the main event zone was purged, but still have to think they could’ve done better.

    (5) Roaming Hordes: Again, they don’t roam, and 2 to 3 actors does not make a “horde.” So the Unthemed Chainsaw Zones. As I said last year, chainsaws work best when used more sparingly. Overkill with them ruins their effectiveness. Of the groups, geishas had best costumes but no energy; cheerleaders had dumb generic costumes but at least a sense of fun; hillbillies felt like a non-entity—costumes looked like the average Bithlo guest on a Wednesday night, didn't really stand out; scarecrows were the most effective (and most Halloweeny) but felt like I barely saw them out.

    (4) Take a Chance: The Chances seemed to be having fun when they weren’t skeeved out by guests. Needle-crown girl was good. Rest of the cast were so-so. Clearly hampered by having to work in the main drag that had also been turned into a photo op—I suspect the cast would’ve been much more effective in a NY street zone with more room to maneuver. Does not hold up compared to the far superior Shadybrook zone last year—I’d have avoided the asylum escapee theme for a few years.

    (3) Banshee’s Lair: Banshees and death angels looked good, other characters less so. Solid if not spectacular cast. Built boo holes but rarely saw them used. Really needed some creepy Celtic music to sell the theme. In other words, fine for what it was, will be forgotten by St Patrick’s Day.

    (2) Dead Man’s Wharf: Spectacular costumes, great cast. Boat and other props were great. Really liked lightning effect. Still got way too crowded to be scary, but that’s a design flaw, not on the cast.

    (1) Vamp 55: Fun sets, great costumes, and a stellar cast that really got into both theme and scares. Had room to move, too, which I’m sure helped. Far and away best zone, would love to see this as a house at some future point.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  11. DannyPowers

    DannyPowers Rookie

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    Good wrap-up SeventyOne

    I especially agree with

    Those are the parts that really made that house for me. Especially Pepper. Such an easy illusion that's not used enough.
     
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  12. Brian G.

    Brian G. Staff Member Administrator

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    My final rankings:

    1. AHS - Got better for me as the event went on.
    2. Tomb - Didn't bring it enough the final couple weekends.
    3. The Walking Dead - Again, I'm over it - but they did a great job this year. Let it go out on a high note.
    4. Halloween - Cast was stellar save for a bad weekend run a few weeks back.
    5. Krampus - Still fun but lost its muster the final few weeks.
    6. Ghost Town - Still one of the best designed houses to date, but a lot of the scares never materialized.
    7. Exorcist - Bounced up and down between great to meh. Up until Friday night, the last few weeks were rough runs.
    8. TCM - Personally, it seemed like it never found the footing. Save for a couple great runs, it was just OK.
    9. Chance - Obviously.
     
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  13. Brian G.

    Brian G. Staff Member Administrator

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    The Last Batch

    IMG_7866.JPG IMG_7898.JPG IMG_7903.JPG IMG_7907.JPG IMG_7963.JPG IMG_8213.JPG IMG_8258.JPG IMG_8265.JPG IMG_8288.JPG IMG_8365.JPG IMG_8414.JPG IMG_8420.JPG
     
  14. criticalanalysis

    criticalanalysis Newcomer

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    Great review. Agreed entirely.
     
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  15. hhnlover

    hhnlover Rookie

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    hey critical weird question, what things would you change for 2016s event
     
  16. criticalanalysis

    criticalanalysis Newcomer

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    Get rid of Lunatic's Playground, AHS, Tomb of the Ancients, The Walking Dead, Survive or Die, Roaming Hordes, Take a Chance, Banshee's Lair, and AoV.

    Expand Dead Man's Wharf, add a few more sets to Vamp 55, have better & original scare zones.

    Upgrade / change some of the houses I think should stay that year in specific ways, too long to mention.

    Cohesive theme, better ambiance, random decorations around the park to up the Halloween vibe.

    No Chance.

    Better website.
     
  17. OhHaiInternet95

    OhHaiInternet95 Rookie

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    ^I can agree on LP, AHS, and TWD, but dude, YOU'RE the one pining for original content. I can understand thinking Tomb of the Ancients was overrated (I didn't) but this further confirms my theory that you're not going to be happy no matter what. I do wish Vamp '55 had been in NY, though. Loved Dead Man's Wharf.

    Here's a re-post of my review from HNN, if anyone cares:
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    My first HHN was 16. While I do not have that good a memory of any of the houses (only small bits here and there), my favorite house was easily Psycho Scareapy, best scare of the event was when an inmate yelled "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" in my ear--it scared the crap out of me. All Nite D I E In 2 was great too. Harvest of the Souls and Deadtropolis were both very good scare-zones. The overall best thing of the event, of course, was The Arrival. I had my picture taken with all the icons, as well as Darkness. Overall, the event was like nothing I'd ever seen before!

    My second HHN was 18. I spent the summer following the amazing website reveal, and Mary remains my favorite HHN icon (too bad they're not allowed to acknowledge she exists [​IMG]). I'd like to think that THIS is how you market an event--though sadly, from what I understand, the event didn't draw much attendance, likely due to to lack of well-known IPs and the fact that the event took place during the financial crash. Loved pretty much everything about Scary Tales (AiW scene legitimately made me queasy), Hallow and Creatures. Body Collectors--spine rip, Sweeney Todd and prostitute throat slashing scenes were awesome, problem was it was SO DARK. Interstellar Terror--awesome story (obviously based on Event Horizon, but still), but strangely didn't have much of an opinion. Dead Exposure--just didn't do it for me, though again an amazing idea, I missed pretty much all the scares. Loved the camera flashing sound. RoF and Doomsday--pretty forgettable. Loved loved loved loved loved Skoolhouse and Asylum, Fractured Tales and Path of the Wicked were good too. This event makes me sad that HHN is ultimately a special (and therefore temporary) event. Like, I would love to go back and re-experience it. 18 was easily A&D's magnum opus--you can tell they put everything they had into it.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Which brings us to 26. Although it wasn't 18, its quality was about on par with 16, which means I have had a blast at all three years, so I don't buy into the narrative some have that HHN is just a shell of its former self. I should note that this was the first time I was able to go multiple nights (9/18, 10/16 and 10/26). Because I wanted to go through certain houses a lot of times, I decided to single out a few houses I wasn't into. As a result, I skipped AHS, TWD, and LP3D. So here's my (ranked) review of the six houses I went through, as well as the scare zones:

    #6--The Exorcist (1 run): Unfortunately I was only able to go through this once. Maybe if I had gone through it again it would be higher. The highlights were definitely the facade and vomit hallway. Making a house out of a movie that takes place mostly in a single room, as many have said, was a tough task, and I can definitely admire their effort. However, IDK what was with that hallway with the noodles? Don't remember much else, unfortunately.

    #5--Halloween II (2 runs): I haven't seen Halloween II (heard it isn't anywhere near as good as the first, which I HAVE seen--not surprising). That said, they did a decent job on this. I liked that they start with the ending of the first movie, and the neighborhood sets and hospital facade were great (dumpster Mike!) Sadly, from that point up until the fiery finale, it was pretty bland. But what a finale! Mr. Saaaandman bring mee a dreeeeeeeeeeaaaaaammm!

    #4--Krampus (3 runs): I was interested in seeing a house in the Shrek theatre. I had seen the movie when it was all but confirmed, and thought it was an okay, campy romp. Again the facade was impressive, enjoyed the cold effects. The biggest problem I had with this house? NO KRAMPUS. That being said the elves were pretty scary. The best thing in here was the smells. Mmmmmm gingerbread and...whatever that was in Krampus's lair. Seriously, what was that stuff? I need it in my life. [​IMG]

    The above three houses ranged from "eh" to "solid." The next house was "very good." I apologize for my "stream of conscious" writing, BTW.

    #3--Ghost Town (4 runs): The gunfight scared the crap out of me. The piano man was also a very good scare. The town square was jaw-dropping. I really liked the mirror effect's use in the mine (including the hanging miner). One little detail of this house that showed me "yep, A&D's still got it" was the fact that every scareactor had a corresponding "corpse" with identical wounds. I could be wrong, but I don't think that level of detail is very common in haunts. This house reminded me that this is a movie studio, because that's the level of quality that these sets were. The thing that kept this maze from being truly great was its length--I assume TWD got the lion's share of the soundstage? It just sort of ended, and I was hoping for a corral. Oh well. (Funny story: I walked through this on 9/18 SOAKING wet, as it was pouring outside. And then I encountered the rain section. Imagine my surprise.)

    These last two houses, at least to me, were fantastic.

    #2--Tomb of the Ancients (4 runs): As I mentioned previously, I loved the Hallow, and this one-upped it. While the facade could've used a bit better lighting, that's a minor nitpick. This did not feel like a sprung tent, and I would say it at least felt longer than Ghost Town--likely due to how intentionally claustrophobic it felt. The glowing hieroglyphs room was a terrific scare. The air "darts" were a nice touch too. The only real criticism I have was that the Amut statue at the end was a little misleading. I thought THAT was the puppet, and thought it just wasn't working. It wasn't till my last run through it that I finally saw him. All in all, it really did feel like the set of an Indiana Jones movie. Wonderful house. It's strange--while so many of it does kind of blend together, making it hard to remember too much of it (partially because I haven't found any POVs), it all blends together in the best possible way, if that makes sense. It gave the effect of being lost in this sprawling underground labyrinth, which I'm pretty sure is exactly what A&D was going for.

    #1--Texas Chainsaw Massacre (3 runs): A controversial number one, sure. Maybe this was purely because I hadn't been in certain previous houses, or I had extremely good luck, IDK. All that aside, the Leatherface actors were TERRIFYING. I find the look of the original Leatherface to be much scarier than Michael or Jason, and these guys towered over me (I'm 5'11). They got EXTREMELY close to me, and there were times I came close to fearing for my safety b/c of this--especially the hammer kill scene. The hitchhikers were very convincing. The outdoor section was a really cool add on. Plus, this house smelled wonderfully terrible--best way I can describe it is very old, gone-bad barbecue sauce. I haven't been in a slaughterhouse (thank god), but this is what I would imagine it to smell like. I know I'm in the minority, but yeah, I loved this house.



    Scare-zones

    #5--Lair of the Banshee: ummm...yeah, completely forgettable. Looking forward to them bringing back the jack-o-lanterns in CP this year for TRT.

    #4--Survive or Die: I liked the grunge, NIN-sounding music here, but too generic for me. Again, fairly forgettable.

    #3--A Chance In Hell: I actually kind of liked this zone. The actors were very funny, and I found Chance's random "KNOCK KNOCK!"s amusing. Nothing special, but I appreciated it for what it was.

    #2--Vamp '55: Although I wish it had been a bit more detailed, I have to give it to them for sheer creativity. The "skits" that the scare actors would do here were great--on 10/26 I had some conversation with one of the crying homecoming court girls. I can't remember exactly what she said, but it left me in (figurative) stitches. Cast was on top of its game here.

    #1--Dead Man's Wharf: A bit too short, but a great zone. The lightning mixed with the fog was beautiful and I loved the ship. I was filming the area at one point and then one of the fisherman walked up to me and made me walk back all the way across the street. It was great. Plus a hint towards The Shining house, in playing the theme music! I would put it a tier below Asylum and Skoolhouse, and that's pretty good.
    -------------------------

    Ironically, Crit and I had the same favorite house.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017

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