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.