Halloween Horror Nights 28 General Discussion

Lucky Planet

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2013
2,346
I think we have reached the point where HHN won't have any more "dead" nights. However, if you can do stay and scream OR wait outside the gates an hour or so before park open, you can accomplish 5-7 mazes within 2-3 hours without needing Express.
I thought last night was fairly non-busy.
Dont forget losing the 8 PM Parking.
that has definitely made the lines shorter until 10. lines before 10 are manageable. the park is still very crowded but it is not as bad. Im sure that change is here to stay. people are still paying for parking and the locals get to go later, i wonder how much universal is making in parking. or what the difference is from last year.

Reviews all over the place. Some say one of the GOAT, on par with 21, etc. A few others say on par with 22 (well, only one review I've heard was THAT negative, but yeah).

My opinion: easily the best house set design in the years I've been coming (16, 18, 26, 27, 28)--especially the facades, which for seven of the houses range from very good to mind-blowing. As far as house intensity goes, it's tough to say because I am VERY VERY hard to scare, especially with the conga lines that have been a thing for at least 15 years now, though some of the houses do feel a little understaffed. Also, they clearly took a couple of risks that didn't quite work out (the "barrel" scare in Carnival that I never saw, the dropdown clown, the single light source in SoX) but I applaud Uni for being ****sy. Still, think the vast majority of the houses are really good.

The scare-zones: Vamp '85 is MEH. Traditions falls just short of TrT, but I love that there's no stage, as I always love having a set in that spot. Killer Klowns is too short, but has sort of an Asylum in Wonderland feel to it. I like the different displays in Chucky. Overall improvement from last year.

The event feels decidedly less corporate than it did the last two years.

Basically, 16's shows + 18's backstories, house intensity, and scare-zones + 28's house design = perfect event.
I agree with the houses being understaffed. im noticing a lot of holes in all the houses. (And it is not due to cast change) im noticing empty holes on carnival and trick r treat and Sinema and scary tales. it is very disappointing. (And im not talking about actors not scaring me, I also check if the people in front of me or behind me get anything,) some spots are just empty. kinda sucks.


as for the zones, i kinda love them this year. Vamp doesnt have too many props but the stage show is really awesome and gets the crowd fired up. also the vampire host is wonderful and gets the crowd going. the zone is kind of simple and doesnt have a lot going on but the energy is really good.
I think twisted tradition is beautiful and creepy. I know trick R treat was amazing but this zone is really nice at night. the pumpkin creatures are really cool. Killer klowns is super small but everyone has such a great time in that zone. its like a big block party.

The zones this year might not be the best, but Vamp, killer clowns and Chucky all feel like nice street parties. maybe they are not scary and dont have that many props but they feel like fun parties. they are very entertaining.
(even the clowns by the simpsons are yet Another big party, those guys have the most fun out of all the zones. they are really crazy this year, a lot of dancing and a lot of yelling.)
 

Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
5,777
Out of curiosity what do they consider the events best?
2007 and 2008 are broadly considered their best years. 2011 has its fans (though that was the year I decided the event wasn’t worth it), as does 2004. 25 is considered the best of the recent years.

Which is why claiming “GOAT” years for HHN is so... misguided. This year looks amazing because the last two years were pretty down after 25. And I don’t see people raving about 28 like they still 2008.
 

OhHaiInternet95

Veteran Member
Aug 18, 2017
2,446
2007 and 2008 are broadly considered their best years. 2011 has its fans (though that was the year I decided the event wasn’t worth it), as does 2004. 25 is considered the best of the recent years.

Which is why claiming “GOAT” years for HHN is so... misguided. This year looks amazing because the last two years were pretty down after 25. And I don’t see people raving about 28 like they still 2008.
Funny enough, I’ve seen plenty of long-timers say 27 was better than 25. 26 is generally considered a weak year.

And I thought 21 was considered one of the very best?

18 is obviously a consensus and well-deserved GOAT (I was EXTREMELY lucky to attend that year).

Of the four years I had attended before this year, people generally considered 18 the best, 26 the worst, and 16 and 27 somewhere in between.
 
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Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
5,777
And I thought 21 was considered one of the very best?

18 is obviously a consensus and well-deserved GOAT (I was EXTREMELY lucky to attend that year).
I acknowledge 21 (2011).

I think HHN suffers from recency bias for a lot of people. Next year, unless they pull off a perfect event, will not be as well received as this year only because so many people like this year. Then 30 will be huge, because 1) it’s an anniversary year and 2) 2019 will be a “down” year.

From the outside (where I sit), this actually isn’t a strong year. The praise isn’t there. Glancing at social media, 3 zones and about 7 houses are non-existent. The conversation is about Stranger Things, Poltergeist, occasionally Trick R Treat, Vamp and Klowns. Everything else rarely gets mentioned. That’s... not great.
 

OhHaiInternet95

Veteran Member
Aug 18, 2017
2,446
I acknowledge 21 (2011).

I think HHN suffers from recency bias for a lot of people. Next year, unless they pull off a perfect event, will not be as well received as this year only because so many people like this year. Then 30 will be huge, because 1) it’s an anniversary year and 2) 2019 will be a “down” year.

From the outside (where I sit), this actually isn’t a strong year. The praise isn’t there. Glancing at social media, 3 zones and about 7 houses are non-existent. The conversation is about Stranger Things, Poltergeist, occasionally Trick R Treat, Vamp and Klowns. Everything else rarely gets mentioned. That’s... not great.
At least leading up to this year, the odd years this decade have been better received than the evens. So if this year does finish as a disappointment as you predict, there's the strong possibility that next year surprises. This year looked great on paper. At very least, it more than lives up to the hype (blows it away, in fact) when it comes to set design.

If this year does go down as a disappointment (which it might not), I wonder if Uni will have enough negative reviews to correct whatever problems there are.
 

shiekra38

Veteran Member
Dec 13, 2009
9,917
Florida
Poltergeist showed me they can definitely do a Ghostbusters house if they wanted. the puppets used for Poltergeist showed me they could do a good and scary ghostbusters house. would be easy and good to do, would not even have to be a comedy house, the demons and ghosts on ghostbusters were scary enough to make the house scary.
librarian ghost could be a puppet, and a Pepper's ghost. the demon dogs could be puppets, Slimer can be both a Pepper's ghost and a puppet, the entire house can be done like Poltergeist.

I really wish they went for it. would be so cool.
I think we haven't seen GB yet for a couple of reasons:
1) They don't want to do it haha
2) GB IP was tarnished with the last film, and they don't want confusion
3) Just not a fit in their eyes currently/More "horror" IPs to tackle first

2007 and 2008 are broadly considered their best years. 2011 has its fans (though that was the year I decided the event wasn’t worth it), as does 2004. 25 is considered the best of the recent years.

Which is why claiming “GOAT” years for HHN is so... misguided. This year looks amazing because the last two years were pretty down after 25. And I don’t see people raving about 28 like they still 2008.
07-08 were my favorites...From the website to the unique houses to the special changes at the end of the event

It's subjective though...To a first timer, HHN 22 is their fave because it had a big Walking Dead house haha

I acknowledge 21 (2011).

I think HHN suffers from recency bias for a lot of people. Next year, unless they pull off a perfect event, will not be as well received as this year only because so many people like this year. Then 30 will be huge, because 1) it’s an anniversary year and 2) 2019 will be a “down” year.

From the outside (where I sit), this actually isn’t a strong year. The praise isn’t there. Glancing at social media, 3 zones and about 7 houses are non-existent. The conversation is about Stranger Things, Poltergeist, occasionally Trick R Treat, Vamp and Klowns. Everything else rarely gets mentioned. That’s... not great.
I would say that this year is certainly the most "covered" by bloggers, social media, etc...It is one of the most cohesive in recent years...It has a feeling and identity to it...I definitely see that as a positive

2019 will be interesting , it's going to be hard to break the HHN routine of HHN...It's becoming a bit by-the-numbers because of the crowds and limitations with thousands of people. I think that's why years like 2007 - 08 stick out to people...Universal, as a whole, was down in attendance all around...That was pre-Potter, pre-Comcast, and the event felt much more intimate back then...I would NEVER want to go back to those days though haha, I like where Universal as a whole is at...They just have to figure out the next step for HHN once it becomes too big for itself
 

OhHaiInternet95

Veteran Member
Aug 18, 2017
2,446
I think we haven't seen GB yet for a couple of reasons:
1) They don't want to do it haha
2) GB IP was tarnished with the last film, and they don't want confusion
3) Just not a fit in their eyes currently/More "horror" IPs to tackle first

07-08 were my favorites...From the website to the unique houses to the special changes at the end of the event

It's subjective though...To a first timer, HHN 22 is their fave because it had a big Walking Dead house haha

I would say that this year is certainly the most "covered" by bloggers, social media, etc...It is one of the most cohesive in recent years...It has a feeling and identity to it...I definitely see that as a positive

2019 will be interesting , it's going to be hard to break the HHN routine of HHN...It's becoming a bit by-the-numbers because of the crowds and limitations with thousands of people. I think that's why years like 2007 - 08 stick out to people...Universal, as a whole, was down in attendance all around...That was pre-Potter, pre-Comcast, and the event felt much more intimate back then...I would NEVER want to go back to those days though haha, I like where Universal as a whole is at...They just have to figure out the next step for HHN once it becomes too big for itself
I feel like Comcast's management of Universal parallels Michael Eisner's management of Disney, in that they took away some of what made Universal special, but were necessary to save it from going under. They have GOT to go on a streak of practical rides to make up for all the screen rides.
 

Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
5,777
They just have to figure out the next step for HHN once it becomes too big for itself
Too late.

It is what it is. There’s a formula, of course, but it has the same casting, operational, marketing, and design issues that it’s had for nearly a decade.

The one thing the event needs is probably the one thing the event won’t get for a long time - outside blood. Mike and Patrick do a fine job, and they engage well with fans, but Mike has only ever worked at Universal. His team has been at Universal (various Uni parks), but mostly Orlando for a decade. And, when you realize that Mike was apprentice to Roddy, who was apprentice to Timon, who started the event, you start to understand why Universal always feels a bit behind the gun on design. All they really know is how Orlando does it.

If you compare that to how the various California haunts rotate lead designers around (Knotts to Queen Mary’s, etc), and how cutting edge a lot of regional haunts are (Netherworld), the design aspects of the event start drifting from fine and edging to disappointing.
 

dxwwf3

Rookie
Feb 2, 2008
285
I’ve only been coming since 25, but after one night at this event, it’s very clear that this is the best year since I’ve been going to. The worst house this year is better than the bottom 2 or 3 houses from the last few years. This is a year where the original houses are all better than the best IP house IMO.
 

shiekra38

Veteran Member
Dec 13, 2009
9,917
Florida
Too late.

It is what it is. There’s a formula, of course, but it has the same casting, operational, marketing, and design issues that it’s had for nearly a decade.

The one thing the event needs is probably the one thing the event won’t get for a long time - outside blood. Mike and Patrick do a fine job, and they engage well with fans, but Mike has only ever worked at Universal. His team has been at Universal (various Uni parks), but mostly Orlando for a decade. And, when you realize that Mike was apprentice to Roddy, who was apprentice to Timon, who started the event, you start to understand why Universal always feels a bit behind the gun on design. All they really know is how Orlando does it.

If you compare that to how the various California haunts rotate lead designers around (Knotts to Queen Mary’s, etc), and how cutting edge a lot of regional haunts are (Netherworld), the design aspects of the event start drifting from fine and edging to disappointing.
That's a very good point..I wonder what someone new would do with the event...But I also feel that Universal/Comcast is content with the HHN brand as it is...I still think the amount of people that flock to the event versus 10 years ago makes the company feel as if there is a reason to "stick to the formula"

I mean, this year, Stranger Things has added a countless amount of people that will probably return next year
 
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shiekra38

Veteran Member
Dec 13, 2009
9,917
Florida
Sorry for the double post, but I do find it interesting how at HHN it is acceptable to have such long reset times for scares...There are some elements that you wont see until your 3rd or 4th walkthrough because they take so long to reset/sound effects to finish/strobe to shut off

I also find it interesting that many of the houses suffer from a "hallway, scene, scare, hallway, scene, scare, etc" type of set up this year...quite forumlaic

I think that's why I find Seeds so fascinating and amazing and even Scarecrow last year...They didn't necessarily feel like the run of the mill HHN houses to me
 
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quinnmac000

Veteran Member
May 14, 2014
5,324
Seoul, Korea
Too late.

It is what it is. There’s a formula, of course, but it has the same casting, operational, marketing, and design issues that it’s had for nearly a decade.

The one thing the event needs is probably the one thing the event won’t get for a long time - outside blood. Mike and Patrick do a fine job, and they engage well with fans, but Mike has only ever worked at Universal. His team has been at Universal (various Uni parks), but mostly Orlando for a decade. And, when you realize that Mike was apprentice to Roddy, who was apprentice to Timon, who started the event, you start to understand why Universal always feels a bit behind the gun on design. All they really know is how Orlando does it.

If you compare that to how the various California haunts rotate lead designers around (Knotts to Queen Mary’s, etc), and how cutting edge a lot of regional haunts are (Netherworld), the design aspects of the event start drifting from fine and edging to disappointing.
I don't think its the blood issue.

I think its constraints placed from how early they are allowed to utilize spaces, amount of dedicated budget for design, and the temporariness of structures. The Darkness (St Louis) can afford to be cutting edge with moving platforms and motion bases in their houses because the buildings are only used for their haunted house. Netherworld can spend all year adding effects into their spaces which HHN does not have the time and ability to necessarily do. HHN can't do that because of the temporariness of the sound stages which get used for other things during the year.

Even by changing a lead designer doesn't necessarily mean a event will be better.
 

shiekra38

Veteran Member
Dec 13, 2009
9,917
Florida
I don't think its the blood issue.

I think its constraints placed from how early they are allowed to utilize spaces, amount of dedicated budget for design, and the temporariness of structures. The Darkness (St Louis) can afford to be cutting edge with moving platforms and motion bases in their houses because the buildings are only used for their haunted house. Netherworld can spend all year adding effects into their spaces which HHN does not have the time and ability to necessarily do. HHN can't do that because of the temporariness of the sound stages which get used for other things during the year.

Even by changing a lead designer doesn't necessarily mean a event will be better.
Well, they used to have that stuff....I think it's a crowd issue personally

An 11th house wont solve it either
 

Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
5,777
I don't think its the blood issue.

I think its constraints placed from how early they are allowed to utilize spaces, amount of dedicated budget for design, and the temporariness of structures. The Darkness (St Louis) can afford to be cutting edge with moving platforms and motion bases in their houses because the buildings are only used for their haunted house. Netherworld can spend all year adding effects into their spaces which HHN does not have the time and ability to necessarily do. HHN can't do that because of the temporariness of the sound stages which get used for other things during the year.

Even by changing a lead designer doesn't necessarily mean a event will be better.
They start building in April, and have used moving platforms before (when they had less time to build). Most moving platform are off the shelf pieces anyone can buy. You buy it, set it up, and go. The drop floor used to be just as ubiquitous as the vortex tunnel (the original Scarepy actually used the drop floor in the finale). And the tents are only used for HHN, so that’s not really an excuse. And each house at Uni cost around $1 mil each, so that's not the issue. Regional haunts do a whole lot more with a whole lot less.

In 2012, Universal did its first ever "crawl" section where you had to duck under something in a house. Cool. Great. Fun. They treated it like this great new innovation in scaring. Problem is, that had been a go-to tactic for a decade in local and regional haunts (same with crooked floors). Big puppets are just now getting regularly used at Orlando when they've been a defacto feature at Netherworld since its inception.

I will never deny that HHN requires an immense amount of talent and creativity. Their original stuff is still some of the best around. But, tactically, they are persistently behind the curve.
 

ProColor

Newcomer
Sep 18, 2018
58
They start building in April, and have used moving platforms before (when they had less time to build). Most moving platform are off the shelf pieces anyone can buy. You buy it, set it up, and go. The drop floor used to be just as ubiquitous as the vortex tunnel (the original Scarepy actually used the drop floor in the finale). And the tents are only used for HHN, so that’s not really an excuse. And each house at Uni cost around $1 mil each, so that's not the issue. Regional haunts do a whole lot more with a whole lot less.

In 2012, Universal did its first ever "crawl" section where you had to duck under something in a house. Cool. Great. Fun. They treated it like this great new innovation in scaring. Problem is, that had been a go-to tactic for a decade in local and regional haunts (same with crooked floors). Big puppets are just now getting regularly used at Orlando when they've been a defacto feature at Netherworld since its inception.

I will never deny that HHN requires an immense amount of talent and creativity. Their original stuff is still some of the best around. But, tactically, they are persistently behind the curve.
As an aside to this, last year I started going to regional haunts in central Florida (Shallow Grave in its last year, Petrified Forest, etc.) and it really opened my eyes as to what passion, creativity, and even working with limitations can do to elevate a house. Those experiences really changed the way I viewed HHN from a design and innovation perspective.

I guess the short of it is I can go into an HHN house and know what to expect from a scare perspective 95% of the time. If I go into a well designed regional haunt, I won't know what to expect.
 

shiekra38

Veteran Member
Dec 13, 2009
9,917
Florida
They start building in April, and have used moving platforms before (when they had less time to build). Most moving platform are off the shelf pieces anyone can buy. You buy it, set it up, and go. The drop floor used to be just as ubiquitous as the vortex tunnel (the original Scarepy actually used the drop floor in the finale). And the tents are only used for HHN, so that’s not really an excuse. And each house at Uni cost around $1 mil each, so that's not the issue. Regional haunts do a whole lot more with a whole lot less.

In 2012, Universal did its first ever "crawl" section where you had to duck under something in a house. Cool. Great. Fun. They treated it like this great new innovation in scaring. Problem is, that had been a go-to tactic for a decade in local and regional haunts (same with crooked floors). Big puppets are just now getting regularly used at Orlando when they've been a defacto feature at Netherworld since its inception.

I will never deny that HHN requires an immense amount of talent and creativity. Their original stuff is still some of the best around. But, tactically, they are persistently behind the curve.
Ironically, some of the best HHN houses/years have come out cut budgets
 

youhow2

Member
Mar 25, 2010
611
I think they need to reevaluate the feasibility of a two park event. If the zones are suffering, if the event as a whole (even if this is one of the best years in recent memory) coming up close to suffering, they need to expand the event and utilize all possible space. Spreading crowds between two parks can alieveate a lot of concerns.

Islands of fear and HHN could even be billed as two separate events, and they can use the Potter ticketing tactic to get people to pay more for the tickets.