Halloween Horror Nights 29 (UO): Reviews & Photos

RogueAntilles

Rookie
Aug 20, 2014
249
Quick Ranking
1. Universal Monsters
2. Yeti: Terror of the Yukon
3. Ghostbusters
4. Depths of Fear
5. Nightingales: Blood Pit
6. Graveyard Games
7. Killer Klowns From Outer Space
8. House of a 1000 Corpses
9. Us
10. Stranger Things

1. Vikings Undead
2. Rob Zombie's Hellbilly Deluxe
3. Anarh-cade
4. Vanity Ball
5. Zombieland: Double Tap

Pros/Cons
+ Solid House Line Up
+ Great Shows
+ The scale of some of the houses is staggering.
+ My top 3 houses I wish I could do constantly.

- Not the best scarezone year.
- Stranger Things is shockingly weak.
- Wwaayy too many static mannequins/creatures in houses.
- Express Passes kill the event.

I'll do a full review after night 2.
 
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JM-BENT

Rookie
Jun 16, 2017
278
Clermont, FL
This is a really hard year to rank for me. I’ve seen every house except Nightingales at least once and while everything is very solid, nothing quite jumps out as my favorite like others have in the past. Overall one of the more well rounded years but nothing is too exceptional.

I’ll post back with final impressions once I go through all of the houses at least twice.
 
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Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
19,046
Orlando
I felt like this was an overall solid year. We ran through them all over the course of two nights (ROF Express, so we could go to bed at decent times). I have a hard time rating fairly, so instead, some spoiler-free comments on my favorite parts:

Stranger Things - I’m a big fan of the show, and this did nicely to me. The Starcourt portion had a slow down for my first run through, so we actually got to stand and take in the whole scene without being pushed along. Even knowing what was coming, it was impressive.

Us - I may have shouted “Pluto! Bad dog!” at one point. I have inventive fearful sayings.

Killer Klownz - Easily the most fun house. I got a little dance out of one of the scareactors in the final room while I was head banging to the title song, a definite highlight.

Depths of Fear - Like others have said, light on the scares. It’s bright enough though that we were able to appreciate how gorgeous of a set it was.

Overall I don’t have a favorite or least favorite house - I think they were all of equal quality.
This is a really hard year to rank for me. I’ve seen every house except Nightingales at least once and while everything is very solid, nothing quite jumps out as my favorite like others have in the past. Overall one of the more well rounded years but nothing is too exceptional.

I’ll post back with final impressions once I go through all of the houses at least twice.
I agree with you guys.

There's really no bad house this year, but there's no GREAT house either. There isn't a Poltergeist or a Scarecrow: The Reaping. I feel like it's all about the runs you get through the houses and from here on out, the casts will be what sets the houses apart from each other because I honestly can't pick an order and feel confident in it at all. It would just be me throwing darts at a board.
 

rinacee

Member
May 30, 2010
650
Florida
Wanted to pop on and do an updated review after a second full night. We were there Fri-Sun, though Friday we had only intended to grab our tickets and eat dinner. Instead we ended up doing one house, AoV, and getting a drink and chilling in zones. We didn't do all houses more than once since our second full day (Sunday) we went with a friend who had specific houses she didn't care to do, and on top of that the crowds were worse on Sunday than Saturday (at least double the wait for most houses). In general, however, we had much better runs through the houses we repeated on Sunday.
1. Universal Monsters: Still my number one. It was even more intense my second time around and we hit all the scares. Got to see the Hunchback bell effect and everyone was so on point. Had probably my most in-your-face scare in this one with the last Dracula in the house. He got me good, because I had missed him the night before! Actors were solid, sets were solid, and most characters had balanced representation. Definitely one of my favorites of all time.
2. Ghostbusters: All-around good time. My second run was even better than the first and the scares felt more on-the-nose this time. The energy is there start to finish, from the song playing right before you go in, through the house, and the reactions as everyone is exiting. Just fun.
3. Killer Klowns: my top three pretty much has stayed the same. In all fairness, KK is up high because it is my favorite property that was represented at the event, and has been a dream house of mine for ages now. I was able to do it three times and enjoyed every single run through, especially dancing through the last scene as the Dickies song played. Love the smells (they seemed to be dialed down a bit by my last run through) and Klownzilla was pretty epic. I think my favorite was the cotton candy room, where the puppets were bursting through the cotton candy walls. Very faithful adaptation, a lot of fun. I can't say they ever got me in this one but they got my husband and friend to scream.
4. House of 1000 Corpses: This one rose up a spot for me. Actors are doing really well in this house, both in terms of scare timing and in terms of embodying their characters. The house is very well put together and my favorite that has been in the MIB location. My husband, who is a fan of the film, really enjoyed it. I love the facade. The only thing I didn't enjoy is the scent that is pumped in during the scene that is decorated for Christmas, because it made it very very hard for me to breathe even after I was out of the house, but that might just be me. Actors interacted with my husband and I (Grandpa Hugo, Baby, and Spaulding).
5. Graveyard Games: the more I think about it, the more this one should be higher on my list. I only got to do this one once, and I didn't get all the scares directed to me. But it was beautiful. I probably felt the must unsettled in this house. It was eerie, the sounds were spooky and hair-raising. The first scare actor (the male teen) got my husband really badly and laughed at him after he screamed and said "got ya dweeb" and that became a running joke for the rest of the event. I liked the variety of ghosts/actors--it didn't feel predictable in that way.
6. US: This one felt very unsettling. Not scary in the way other houses are, where there are lots of jump scares for lighting gimmicks. I just felt uneasy the whole way through, on edge. It takes a lot to do that, since in the end we know it's just a haunted houses. The music playing throughout really made the house for me. Great casting.
7. Yeti: I dropped this one down after taking time to think about it. I think I had built it up in my head, but after going through some of the other houses again and really thinking about it, I didn't enjoy this one as much as I thought I would. The yetis were very impressive and scary, and we loved some of the effects (husband was very into the heart rip). It just felt like when your timing is off, it's OFF. I didn't really feel too in danger or freaked out, and I am a weenie. I guess I expected a bit more. Liked the setting and snow, because it was immersive. Just not 100% there for me.
8. Depths of Fear: My second time through this felt a little more on point. Actors felt a little more aggressive (not necessarily the mouthbrooders, but everyone else). I wish all the water effects that have been discussed in other threads were working, because I think it would help. This one does feel a little bit half-baked for me for some reason. I understand the story from reading up on the boards and looking at the site, but it makes me wish there had been maybe one more room for story set-up. I feel like the tension would have translated better than jumping right into needing to escape, if that makes any sense at all. If the alarms started when I was already INVESTED in the house/story, I'd feel more scared I guess. But it's a tent house and I understand those limitations. All in all, the second time around I got one good scare (the person who comes from above you a little bit and swings their arm) that made my friend ask if they touched me (they did not)--they just got that close and that intense. The house NEEDS that and I was glad to see it a bit more the second time.
9. Nightingales: This was a one-and-done for me, mainly because my friend specifically did not want to do this one and also because the smell makes my stomach turn (obviously that's the point and they achieved it well--I just get migraines and am sensitive to smell haha). My husband and I said it reminded us of burning wood and rotting meat in a grocery meat department (we both worked at grocery stores when we were younger). Probably the most claustrophobic house of the event, but even then not too bad. Really like the lion effect. The Nightingales themselves were not as scary to me as the previous iteration, and I didn't have a moment that really caught me off guard. There were times where even though the jumped/scares were nearly constant, the rapidity of them almost made it redundant. In fact, as we exited Depths on Sunday we heard someone complaining about that--that they couldn't even appreciate the scares because there were some spots they felt were just too packed with them. It felt predictable and you almost couldn't gather yourself/put your guard down enough to get scared again.
10. Stranger Things: definitely solidly at the bottom of my list after two runs. I love the show, but even my super-fan friend said that it wasn't necessary. With a few actors missing the second time it felt even more sparse. I wish there were more live actors. The mindflayer is awesome and huge, and I liked certain effects (the credits on the arcade machine is really cool), but it was didn't hit the mark for me this year.

Zones: I honestly don't even have a ranking. Saturday was rainy on and off so we missed a lot of them that day, and beyond that they just felt weaker this year than usual. I liked Rob Zombie, but my non-Zombie-fan friend was confused and said "where ARE we?" because she didn't understand the hodgepodge of it all. I also enjoyed the Vikings zone. I felt they were the most aggressive and most classically "scary" of the zones. Vanity Ball was a lot of fun and we had a good time interacting with the scareactors, who had great quips and responses to every stupid thing my husband said to them. Anarchade didn't have the energy I was hoping for, but looked really cool. Zombieland was relatively low-energy every time I went through it, though on our last night on the way out they all came for me. I was too exhausted to really scare at that point, but damn if they didn't try.

Academy of Villains: We saw this twice. We RARELY go see the shows, let alone repeat them. We loved this show, and our friend also enjoyed it very much. She doesn't love scary events, but she said she was tempted to get a frequent fear pass to come back and enjoy the shows a couple more times. Very high energy, tied in well to the Halloween atmosphere, and amazing soundtrack. I loved it possibly even more the second time around.

Marathon of Mayhem: A TON of fun! I love how they made use of the buildings to project images. It was way better than what I was expected when I first found out there would be a lagoon show. Would watch again if I were returning to the event.

Overall: Not the strongest year I've ever been too, but pretty cohesive overall. I appreciated the strands the ran through some of the houses and zones in terms of theming, and the merchandise was ON POINT this year. Zones were some of the weakest overall that I've experienced at the event, and didn't feel very scary or overwhelming. Some were sparse on actors at times. The houses were a solid line-up, and hard to rank at times. The shows were some of the best I've seen at the event, and as someone who normally isn't into the shows, I really really enjoyed them and feel they were integral to rounding out the event.
 

rhino4evr

Veteran Member
Apr 7, 2010
5,005
t is my favorite property that was
Quick Ranking
1. Universal Monsters
2. Yeti: Terror of the Yukon
3. Ghostbusters
4. Depths of Fear
5. Nightingales: Blood Pit
6. Graveyard Games
7. Killer Klowns From Outer Space
8. House of a 1000 Corpses
9. Us
10. Stranger Things

1. Vikings Undead
2. Rob Zombie's Hellbilly Deluxe
3. Anarh-cade
4. Vanity Ball
5. Zombieland: Double Tap

Pros/Cons
+ Solid House Line Up
+ Great Shows
+ The scale of some of the houses is staggering.
+ My top 3 houses I wish I could do constantly.

- Not the best scarezone year.
- Stranger Things is shockingly weak.
- Wwaayy to many static mannequins/creatures in houses.
- Express Passes kill the event.

I'll do a full review after night 2.
just curious what you mean by Express Pass kills the event? As in, the lines are too long?
 

Captain Tragedy

Premium Member
Oct 14, 2011
442
New Donk City
Went the first seven nights. Overall had a great time and, house wise, this year is super strong. Streets were........yeesh, not great.

Houses: Lineup was overall awesome. Really only didn't like a couple.
1) Monsters - Had a great run with only me and another person early in the evening. Hit every scare and the sets are awesome. Superb house. Could be in top 5 of all time. The beginning scenes had the most clever scare I've every experienced. "I wonder where that statue is?" was a direct quote from me my first run. "DE-VOUR THEM!"
2) Graveyard Games - Absolutely terrifying. Creepy and great storyline. Mini panic attack on one of my run throughs as it seemed relentless in its scares. Just constant with very few breaks. Effects were awesome. The candle blowing scene left me speechless. Well except for the worst scare/scream I've had in years.
3) Ghostbusters - So much fun! Actually had some great scares, though not many. That song just gets you pumped!
4) Nightingales - Always had good runs through this one. Everyone is in your face. Super gory. Lion got me every time. That smell, tho.
5) Killer Klowns - Awesome house. Lots of great scares. Great touch in adding the photo op outside.
6) Yeti - Pretty great, but never had the best timing. One effect I loved I would try to slow down a little to see each run, I won't spoil here. Let's just say one yeti helped clear this one dude's chest congestion efficiently.
7) Depths of Fear - RIP in pieces, Helix or Max or whatever. Liked this one more as event went on. Very interested to hear in all the back stage drama one day. I got "got" really bad a few times.
8) ho1k corpses - I liked it, but sometimes reallllly dark. Like, I was walking into walls dark. Wish the Dr. Satan scene was larger. Cast was on point the entire time, though. Always super intense.
9) stranger things - Let this be the last year for ST. It was fine, but just nothing compared to last year's relentless Demogorgon scares.
10) Us - Never saw the movie, so probably couldn't appreciate it. I may have had one scare? More tense than scary.

Scarezones: Going to try to say something positive in each one as I could write paragraphs about why the streets this year were not all that good.
1) Springfield chainsaw gang - Unless a scarezone really wows me, I'll always give top slot to the real mvp's of the streets.
2) rob zombie - I like his music and the photo ops were a nice touch. Too congested to really enjoy most nights
3) vanity ball was interesting - makeup was cool, runway definitely a unique setpiece
4) Vikings - the sets were neat. Blood eagle ftw.
5) Anarchade - Laser ceiling was a nice effect, but Lady gaga on stilts with nunchucks isn't scary.
6) zombieland - I liked the mini shows they did. Never did see the bill murray "zombie"

Shows: If you had told me beforehand I would like the shows more than the scarezones, I would have had you committed.
1) Marathon of Mayhem - WOW! What a show for Mike Aiello to leave on. Tons of energy and the use of water screens and building projections were all top notch.
2) AoV - Actually really liked this one a lot. Saw it a couple of times. Had a great theme/story to it and the music and choreography kicked ass. That contortionist made me squirm more than anything I saw in the scarezones.

Overall: 8.5/10. Houses really helped pick up the slack from the lackluster scarezones and the shows surprised me in how much I enjoyed them. Merch was so good, food was great, ROUND BLINKY CUPS ARE BACK BABYYYYY!
 

NYG

Member
Apr 21, 2013
589
House Rankings after first night...

1) Ghostbusters
2) Universal Monsters
3) Yeti
4) Nightingales
5) Graveyard Games
6) Stranger Things
7) Depths of Fear
8) House of 1000 Corpses
9) Us
10) Killer Klowns from Outer Space

One observation - this was one of the first year's I've gone where I felt less scared. Granted, Ghostbusters and Killer Klows are not inherently scary houses, but as a whole, very few made me jump compared to last year. Not complaining, definitely makes the houses more accessible if they did in fact tone down the scares and I still had a blast!
 

RogueAntilles

Rookie
Aug 20, 2014
249
just curious what you mean by Express Pass kills the event? As in, the lines are too long?
People buy Express Passes to bypass the regular line when in reality you're making the line longer. We were waiting for Nightingales and Depths of Fear with absolutely no one in express. Our line was constantly moving, we were in the house in 10min or less with a posted 30min wait time. When we did Ghostbusters and Universal Monsters, the express line was almost LONGER than the regular line and it was a slog to finally get into the house.

The dumbest thing I've seen people do year after year is when they event FIRST opens they jump right in express. Most of the time there's no one in the regular line and they could have just waited till later in the night and did the house twice. I walked passed a line of 30 express people going into Us and overheard one of them looking at our line, "Why did we just use express, they're walking right in?"

Express is the ultimate amusement park racket. Last Sunday my group and I did every house by 10pm, 2 shows without express.

I agree with you guys.

but there's no GREAT house either. There isn't a Poltergeist or a Scarecrow: The Reaping.
Agree to disagree. 3 of the houses this year are exceptional. Universal Monsters could be in my top 10 of all time.
 
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rhino4evr

Veteran Member
Apr 7, 2010
5,005
People buy Express Passes to bypass the regular line when in reality you're making the line longer. We were waiting for Nightingales and Depths of Fear with absolutely no one in express. Our line was constantly moving, we were in the house in 10min or less with a posted 30min wait time. When we did Ghostbusters and Universal Monsters, the express line was almost LONGER than the regular line and it was a slog to finally get into the house.

The dumbest thing I've seen people do year after year is when they event FIRST opens they jump right in express. Most of the time there's no one in the regular line and they could have just waited till later in the night and did the house twice. I walked passed a line of 30 express people going into Us and overheard one of them looking at our line, "Why did we just use express, they're walking right in?"

Express is the ultimate amusement park racket. Last Sunday my group and I did every house by 10pm, 2 shows without express.


Agree to disagree. 3 of the houses this year are exceptional. Universal Monsters could be in my top 10 of all time.
Personally I like to take my time at HHN, but still see everything. I'm not a local, so when I go, it's one night only. If I didn't have express I feel like I'd be running around like crazy.

I do agree, that using an express when the wait is 15 mins or less, makes no sense. I typically walk into the regular line when that happens.
I will probably do that for one of the popular houses so I can go twice.
 

Bort

Newcomer
Sep 7, 2015
36
Just got back late last night from a fun trip to Universal. HHN 28 was my first time going (after years of watching videos and researching it all), so I don't have the most experience, but nevertheless here are my thoughts:

1. Yeti: I was pretty excited about this one since it was announced because of how bad the swamp yetis were getting me at the end of Slaughter Sinema last year. Such a great set design. Those trenches are just so much fun to walk through.
2. Universal Monsters: Initially was low on my excitement list, but the more I heard long time visitors talk about how well Universal treats these characters when they appear in a house, the more excited I became. Far more intense than I thought.
3. Killer Klownz: I'm a sucker for this property. Both times I went through this house I grinned from ear to ear the whole time. There were a surprising amount of jump scares in this for me. I think this house fit perfectly in the Shrek theater.
4. Us: This was the only house that all of my group was familiar with (somehow none of them have seen ST). So we were all excited for this, and it delivered. Love the sound design in this house. If you liked the movie, you should have fun in this house.
5. House of 1000 Corpses: I tried to watch this movie just before coming and had to shut it off about 75% of the way through cause it was so disgusting in some parts. But that disgusting nature and chaos made into a fantastic house that had a lot of energy. Beats out Blumhouse big time from last year.
6. Graveyard Games: I think this one is more the timing that I went through than anything. I hit it at the beginning of the night one time, and the very tail end of the night on the other, so getting warmed up/being exhausted may have played factors for both myself and the cast. I can see why it was the top of the list for many, just didn't have a great run myself.
7. Nightingales: I honestly don't remember much of this house (and that's not necessarily a good or bad thing). It was okay.
8. Ghostbusters: Only got to do this once, whereas many others I got two runs in. Set design was very cool, but didn't hit in the same way that I think it does for those who grew up with the movie.
9. Depths of Fear: This tent in particular is always gonna have high standards to live up to because of how much I loved Slaughter Sinema last year. Got a couple scares in here, but overall just okay.
10. Stranger Things: It's sad that this year's house dropped as much as it did. Season 1 was my second favorite house of HHN 28. There's a few interesting rooms in this, but ultimately let down by the lack of Starcourt Mall (and season 3 as a whole).

Academy of Villains: The absolute highlight of the event this year. My group included people who had never heard of AoV. Went in with no clue what to expect, and came out raving about it. Saw it both nights and had a blast. The energy that they bring is phenomenal. I got goosebumps from the pops in the crowd when some of the performers make their appearances.
 
Aug 13, 2016
606
No change in my order, but now with added details! First some general event observations..

1. Operations staff within the houses are just about as bad as I've ever experienced in 15+ years of attending. Far too many of them are over-the-top, aggressive, obnoxious and completely ruin the moment. So far, I've seen at least three Ops TMs standing directly in front of scenic elements and even worse in front of an actor's boo-hole blocking an effective scare. To be clear, this isn't a slam against all Ops TMs in the houses. The ones who are bad are just really over the top and in most cases, it's very much unnecessary.

2. I've said it a few times over the past few years, but in my opinion, scare zones at USF just don't work anymore. The event is too crowded, and the Superstar parade has really limited the design of many of the zones. I don't have a solution, but where I used to spend hours hanging out in the zones years ago - nowadays I mostly just walk through on my way to do something more entertaining. I actually find walking through the crowded zones to be more of a nuisance than anything. That being said, I really enjoy Hellbilly Deluxe! It's probably my favorite zone since All Nite Die-In: Double Feature from HHN25. It's nice to finally have some fire effects back on the streets.

3. Marathon of Mayhem is a much-needed attraction at HHN. Not only does it help draw people off the streets and away from the house queues, but it's a really fun show. Every time I've watched, there have been people around me cheering their favorite parts. It's definitely a hit!

4. I still loathe the walk to and from the parade houses. Unfortunately, it is what it is. This leads into my house reviews. It's a shame that my favorite house this year includes the longest round-trip hike..
 
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Aug 13, 2016
606
Please forgive the double post. The post was just too long for me not to split it up.


1. Universal Monsters - Love this house! Starting with the projections on the outside facade and continuing in to the indoor statues - just awesome! I don't know if it's a situation where one cast's actor scares differently than the other, but there's one actor playing the missing statue from the indoor facade who stands out in the open acting like stone before lunging at the guests. It's done very well. The Wolfman on a harness running towards you and then being shot at by a hunter - when you time this just right it's a great scene/scare. I've seen both the frequency and the intensity of this scene get ramped up lately. I think this particular scene was done better in the 2009 house, but this one is still good. I appreciate that they designed a new "scare" with the Hunchback ringing the bells, but I think it falls flat and takes too much time to reset. The Creature from the Black Lagoon scene is just okay. I wish they utilized some real water. I'm not a fan of this version of Dracula's design. Both Dracula's brides and the Bride(s) of Frankenstein are great in this house, especially Frank's brides. One in particular strikes the famous Bride pose (you know the one) even while she's resetting/resting. I really appreciate the little things like that. The Mummys look scary and are fairly aggressive. I love the final room(s) with The Wolfman, Dracula, Bride of Frank and Frank. That Wolfman/Dracula are good at the ping-pong scare. I think this house will remain my #1 through until the end.

2. Yeti - This house was originally my #1, but it suffers from inconsistent timing and possibly it's just not a very repeatable house. However, my first run through this house was outstanding! I like how it takes a couple of rooms before you come across the first Yeti. It allows the suspense to build and you actually start to believe you're out alone in the cold wilderness. There are some cool shadow projections in this house. The entrail-feasting Yeti is a fun one to squatch, err watch (I'm sorry), as is the chest-punching scene. Door Yeti isn't taking any of your crap. The ice cave/trench is fun, especially the Yeti arm scare - always gets right up in my face. The finale is a nice nod to Swamp Yeti from Slaughter Sinema. I'm glad that in a house full of the same creature that they chose to vary the Yeti design a little bit and that they don't all look exactly alike.

3. Ghostbusters - Begins with a weak facade. I think the library/books scene was done better in Dead End (HHN22). Librarian ghost projection followed by "Murdy's famous black hallway scare" is fairly well done. I just wish there were a few more scares in this house. I was initially surprised to see Janine with a live mic. I find her hard to hear sometimes, but that's definitely a fun scene. Slimer is enjoyable every time he shows up. Entering the containment unit is possibly the scariest part of the house. I hardly ever see Winston. Keymaster/Gatekeeper scene is visually awesome. The Terror Dogs are underwhelming. The Zuul temple scene is grand and dramatic. Stay Puft isn't quite what I was expecting, but effective nonetheless. I think the house could have benefited from a few more appearances by the actual Ghostbusters, but the ones cast aren't the best lookalikes. I wonder if they had a tough time finding people who looked like them. While writing this, I'm realizing that I don't enjoy the house as much as I thought I did. I think when I'm in the moment inside the house, I'm having fun for nostalgic reasons, but strictly as a haunted house I'm not sure how well this one holds up. Good chance this one falls down my list as the event goes on.

4. Depths of Fear - My biggest surprise hit, especially when taking into account what many of the actors have been dealing with. I was immediately impressed with the opening hanging Moothbrooder scene. Visually, it's just impressive. I think the lighting design throughout this whole house is very effective. I love the energy/effort that most of the Moothbrooder actors have. The water trough is a nice touch. I wonder how many guests are splashing it around? I even wonder if anyone's tried drinking from it. The back-lit 'brooder charging toward you at the end is a cool scene. I wish the planned waterfall effect was in use, though. Overall, the house feels a bit like The Thing Assimilation from HHN17 in that you feel the urge to get out quickly - albeit definitely not as well done. And finally.. the dog. Does it offend me? No. Do I think it's necessary to the house's story? Nope. Do I think it should be removed? No. I'm just not sure I understand why they felt the need to include it in the first place, but it is what it is at this point.

5. Nightingales - I'm not a fan of the new mask design for the Nightingales. I thought the masks from 2011 were much scarier. These new ones are almost comical to me. Nice facade, especially for a Sprung Tent. The opening outdoor scene gives me, again, The Thing Assimilation vibes. I wish the lighting was a little better on the Lion puppet. What really pushes this house up my list is the group of very aggressive actors towards the end of the house starting with the Nightingale mannequin feasting on the horse and the elevated scare directly across the path. That Nightingale got me the best of anyone in any house this year. Kudos to them. All the way to the exit is high-energy aggressiveness and I really enjoy that.

6. Graveyard Games - I seem to be in the definite minority by not placing this house in my top-3. While I do enjoy going through this house, I'm not sure I understand the hype. I do like the taunting actor (Sid?) out by the facade. Did they reuse some Gentlemen/Body Collector masks in here? I like how the actors wearing those masks creepily stare out at you from the walls. The room with the mixture of real "child" actors and mannequins is my favorite scene in here. I don't love the finale.

7. Stranger Things - This year's version is definitely a step down from Season 1's house. I wish there was a more even split between seasons 2 and 3. In fact I'd prefer 40/60 in favor of season 3. Many of the lookalike actors aren't as spot on as last year, but a few of them are really good. In fact, I think the actors with strong resemblances to the characters are the main reason I rank this house higher than the three below. As others have said, there are too many mannequins in here. The scene with Will looking up at the projection screen comes across as hokey to me. I do enjoy the particles floating in the air representing the Upside Down. I like the blow torch guns that a couple of actors have. I think the Billy behind the fence does a really good job. The cabin scene with so many of the kids is a very impressive scene. There's just so much going on in there that's it's sensory overload. The Mind-Flayer is cool, but not as impressive as Klownzilla. Lucas is too far away from the guests and depending on how foggy it is it can be hard to see him. Seeing Erica all decked out in her adventure gear calling me a nerd is a simple yet memorable scene for me. All things considered, I think this house could drop down my list by the end of the run.

8. House of 1000 Corpses - Rob Zombie's Masterpiece? Lukewarm on the movie, but felt that it would translate exceptionally well to a haunted house. I am disappointed with this one. For starters, I feel like the Captain Spaulding character is mis-utilized. I don't like the fact that the actors are forced to lip-sync his lines. I wish they were given some leniency to speak and ad-lib a bit. It's such a fun character and, for me, his charm is completely lost with the lip-syncing and it's pacing. I also wish there was a bit more focus on the murder ride and the serial killers featured on the ride. Overall, I think the house could improve a bit if some of the cast increased their aggressiveness. I have to give credit to the actor playing Otis in the room with the victim in dunce cap. He always has a lot of energy and gets right in my face. I also enjoy The Professor/Cyborg actors at the end of the house.

9. Killer Klowns - I'm not a fan of the movie. I wasn't a fan of last year's scare zone. Surprise, surprise - not a fan of the haunted house, either. I like the scene where you don't know if the clown or cop is real. The Klownzilla puppet is great!

10. Us - Again, not a fan of the movie. I think the house falls flat. Nothing against the actors, they do a very good job of playing their parts. The house is supposed to be unnerving, but I just find it to be a complete bore. I think the actor holding the sign at the entrance is a waste. I don't feel the IP lends itself to being good source material for a house. The best part of the house is probably the finale, but I've seen it done and done better multiple times in the past. Hell, the scene is done more successfully in Graveyard Games. If you enjoy watching actors blankly stare off into space, this is the house for you!


tl;dr - I like some things at HHN29, while I also dislike some things.
 
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itsabee

Rookie
Sep 11, 2019
191
No change in my order, but now with added details! First some general event observations..

1. Operations staff within the houses are just about as bad as I've ever experienced in 15+ years of attending. Far too many of them are over-the-top, aggressive, obnoxious and completely ruin the moment. So far, I've seen at least three Ops TMs standing directly in front of scenic elements and even worse in front of an actor's boo-hole blocking an effective scare. To be clear, this isn't a slam against all Ops TMs in the houses. The ones who are bad are just really over the top and in most cases, it's very much unnecessary.
100% with you. I think there may be a lot of new people. Last year, knowing I was specifically looking for my boyfriend’s cast whenever he’d do a different house, I’d wait with ops at the front for the cast change that was happening in five or ten minutes, right? I asked the ops girl outside the entrance of the house (two minutes before the cast change) and she’s like, “I don’t think I can let you just stand here.” Keep in mind that I’m by myself, not taking up too much room. I don’t mean to sound like I know more than a team member, but like, girl, I know I can. It’s not even a new rule this year; I did it at Graveyard Games a whole fifteen minutes early.

Once you’re in GB, they really, really want to push that crowd through. Couldn’t stop to appreciate my friend’s stilt scare because ops was yelling at people to move down the hall. There weren’t gaps or anything, it just made everyone speedwalk past three good scares.

Yike.

Entering the containment unit is possibly the scariest part of the house. I hardly ever see Winston. Keymaster/Gatekeeper scene is visually awesome. The Terror Dogs are underwhelming. The Zuul temple scene is grand and dramatic. Stay Puft issn't quite what I was expecting, but effective nonetheless. I think the house could have benefited from a few more appearances by the actual Ghostbusters, but the ones cast aren't the best lookalikes. I wonder if they had a tough time finding people who looked like them.
Yes and no? So I’ve asked the GB friend above why I just never see Winston, and it’s because Cast A Winston is just gone. He quit. The proton packs are really heavy and all of the Busters are having problems with them. Winston is a role that’s only sometimes filled in with a reserve now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more of the team meets the same fate because of those costumes. Man, this really is the year for uncomfortable scareactor attire.
 
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Neo

Newcomer
May 8, 2019
66
Just flew home, my quick review:

House Rankings
  1. Killer Klowns - This house was everything I hoped for and more.
  2. House of 1000 Corpses - This was way at the bottom of my list, but loved it!
  3. Graveyard - Most jawdroppingly gorgeous house in years.
  4. Yeti - First two run throughs were just OK (first one was during a shift change), the last two bumped this waaaay up the list.
  5. Ghostbusters - Exactly what I expected and loved it. But was blown away by numbers 2-4 so this moved down a bit.
  6. Monsters - Not the biggest fan of the classic monsters, but loved the house.
  7. Depths of Fear - House looked amazing, and the scares were OK, just the monsters were lame.
  8. Nightengales - Thought the nightengales looked like bird people with the new masks.
  9. Stranger Things - This house was never ending. Couldn't believe how huge it was. Not bad at all, just not my thing.
  10. Us - Did it once in 5 nights.
Scare Zones
  1. Rob Zombie - One of my favorite zones ever.
  2. Anarchade - took the most pictures in this zone, the neon colors just made the zone pop.
  3. Vikings - too few characters. And, ummm, trolls or orcs or something?
  4. Zombieland - Either we missed the Zombie Kill of the Week show, or it didn't exist. The airhorn call for the Zombies to converge on the prize building was pretty cool.
  5. Vanity Ball - Didn't care for this at all.
Shows
  • Tie - both were great this year. Monsters of Mayhem was just awesome. AOV's show this year had a TON of energy and was just awesome. Was a little surprised that last year the Rob Zombie song had "MFers" in there unedited and Marilyn Manson this year even had "s**t" edited out.
A few spoiler-ific photos below:

















 
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Tobias

Member
Feb 25, 2014
975
Back in the general discussion thread, I mentioned I liked this year more than last year. Though something I didn't mention is when it comes to house rankings, this is honestly really tricky. I personally enjoyed all ten houses, and the conundrum I'm in is where you rank houses like KKfOS which weren't focused on scares...but were an absolute blast to go through each time?

Ultimately, like with last year I can't give a precise 1-10 ranking just yet, but I can put down a general idea of things. Over the course of Sept 21-22nd, I made sure to hit all ten houses at least twice, and a good chunk at least 3 or more. Something I was looking for was consistency, and that is a factor which helps me decide on a few houses.

For my general top three, I know what houses are in there and they ain't gonna' drop.

Ghostbusters (3 times) - While it's not as big on scares like the other houses, this house was the fun, special effects extravaganza which I hoped it would be! I loved the look alikes, Janine was always a hoot, the scale of some of the sets were jaw dropping and scare-wise I will say Slimer, one of the dogs, the Scoleri Brothers and that Wendigo looking thing did get me. Also, the house did end on the audio cue which I hoped it would have.

Graveyard Games (4 times) - This house really shined for me. The sets were beautiful, I liked the story, and the scares ranged from the utterly creepy to downright terrifying. One of which being the scene with the candles which is now the hardest hitting scare I've ever gotten, so much so I ended up falling flat on my side in a instant. Add in a truly creepy ending and this house shook me to the core. Anytime I went through this house, the cast was very aggressive and always showing me something new. An it's that kind of consistency which lands it in the top 3...possibly a potential GOAT for me as well.

Universal Monsters (5 times) - I've always liked the classic monsters, so of course I was excited for this one. An hoo boy, it delivered and then some! Great sets, a very energetic cast and a plethora of scares. I also gotta' hand it to the cast, since it's clear the house did reuse set pieces from Scary Tales last year...but CftBL worked that Little Mermaid set nicely, and the Phantoms worked their scene FAR better than ST did last year! Like with Graveyard Games, it gave the kind of consistency that can also make it a potential GOAT for me. I really enjoyed it that much!

Besides those three which I know are on top, but I don't know the exact placement...I actually know what house is #4 for me. While it didn't reach the top 3, it definitely stood out enough for me to firmly place it close behind.

Nightingales: Blood Pit (4 times) - Well, well well. The gore house get's in the top 4! How did it do that? It certainly had nice sets, the claustrophobic setting also helped with the scares, and there was some pretty nice tricks to it. Ultimately, it came down to the casts who were consistently aggressive in all four of my run throughs. There were certain Nightingales who never failed to get me each time, too. (I'm looking at you, Nightingale in the room with the wind!) An while I know people aren't fond of their look in this house, I'm fine with it. For me it gives off a neat harpy kind of look, without a doubt the kind of ugly face you don't want to see lunging at you...but they have no trouble getting all up in your face!

Now for 5-8, it's tricky. Got some real good houses all duking it out, and I still don't know how I'd rank them just yet.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (3 times) - This house was hands down the most fun of them all. I loved the GAT's, there's some nice gags in there, and that Klownzilla puppet is jaw dropping. How the heck did they cram that in there?! While this house wasn't big on scares, that's kinda' the point. An it was a treat going through it each time. This one might be the closest to being ranked #5 for me.

House of 1000 Corpses (3 times) - Without a doubt, this is the best MIB tent house. Great façade, can say the same for the sets, and there was a nice batch of scares in here, especially in the tunnels. While the film itself is not to everyone's tastes, I personally got a kick out of it, and I thought they did a real good job with the house. Friggin' Rufus got me every time in this house, and the first scare of this house is downright MVP worthy.

Us (3 times) - So this house has probably the most stunning of the look alikes, my jaw hit the floor on a lot of them. An they really pulled off a great creepy feel throughout the whole house, it was unsettling in the best way for me. I had some real good run throughs in here, and the finale was really tuned in so all of them in there have been able to pinball me around.

Stranger Things (2 times) - While this year's version isn't the surprising hit like 28's, I was really impressed how much they were able to cram into SS 25. There was some wonderfully big scenes, and I liked how creative they got with some of the transitions, too. The puppets near the end were really good as well.

Finally for 9 and 10, it's a bit more clear and firm then the middle of the pack.

9. Yeti : Terror of the Yukon (2 times) - I know a lot of you have this highly ranked, but to go back on consistency...unfortunately the two run throughs I had were consistently OFF on timing. I got some scares, but most of them were ahead of me, behind or resetting. I still enjoyed it, since the scares I did get were fantastic (Hello, yeti arm and Attack of the Swamp Yeti throwback!), but missing a good chunk of the scares is a big factor on me having to put this near the bottom.

10. Depths of Fear (4 times) - I'll preface that just because this house is 10, it doesn't mean I think it's a "bad" house. Far from it, I'd happily take this house over Blumhouse and H4 from last year at least. The sets are fantastic, and I love the creature feature vibe I get from this house. An the cast is doing what they can to get some great scares. I have to have this at 10 because there's a lot of potential in this house for me, but it's just not there yet. The missing water effects do hurt it since in some cases such as the finale, it relies on it working. It's a bummer it's not, but ultimately I still enjoyed this house quite a bit.

Scare zone wise, personally I don't get scared in those to begin with, so I'm more looking at the atmosphere and whatnot. For what it's worth, I did enjoy the zones this year. (Especially Hellbilly Deluxe, Vanity Ball and Anarch-ade.)

As for shows, I did see both of them!

Academy of Villains : Altered States - This is quite possibly the best show AoV has done since House of Fear, it's a really tight show with a great horror theme and good choice in tunes, too. It's quite a step above Cyberpunk which is generally regarded as a bit of a whiff.

Halloween Marathon of Mayhem - Now THIS is a lagoon show! A killer mix of synth tunes, projections and fountains for a awesome show to watch and jam out to. This really strengthen the overall 80's theme and I really hope they can do more shows like this in the future!

To close things off, last year in my 28 review I said the only downside is 29 will have big shoes to fill. Welp, 29 waltzed right in with Yeti-sized feet. It was a wonderful step up from last year, and I look forward to seeing what 30 will bring!
 
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Spaulding

Member
Jan 23, 2019
606
Thoughts after one night. Going back for more next Wednesday. The scores are totally arbitrary and mean nothing, but I like ranking things!

Only did 7 houses, so not all are included.

1. Graveyard Games. For context I have only attended HHN 24 and 29, so don't have a huge amount to base it on, but this is the best house I have experienced. So immersive with some unique ideas and I got a couple of really good scares 10/10.

2. Ho1C. I do wanted to put this at number 1, which shows how good I thought GG was.
This felt like the movie come to life. Grimy, sleazy and dirty as it should be. My wife also loved the film and said this is the first house where she actually felt she might die. Make of that what you will! 9.5/10.

3. Universal Monsters.

I am so glad they included Phantom here, because his room was the highlight. Awesome makeup effects and the mirrors made it so you never knew where he was coming from next.
Disappointing Creature room, but every other character got a great showing. 9/10

4. Ghostbusters. Not a scary house, but so immersive. They really captured the essence of the film, similar to Corpses. Loads to look at and I am sure multiple runs are needed for everything. They could easily turn this into a year round attraction.
Also, the room 'inside' the containment unit was so well done. Glad we got some sequel cameos. 9/10

5. Killer Klowns
Another really fun house. Thus one actually got me with a few good scares, mostly due to making me look one way, then coming out on the other side. Really liked how so many scenes were included, such as shadow puppets and pizza boxes. Really need to know the movie to 'get' a lot of the gags here.
Could easily swap places with GB on my list. 9/10

6. Us.
Possibly the most generic house. Nothing overly unique about it, although the movement of some of the scare actors was impressive. Felt like it needed something more, but I am not sure what.
I am glad it was included though. Worth experiencing. 8/10

7. Stranger Things

Oof, swing and a miss IMO. Did nothing for me. Too many lifeless mannequins and random 'guy with a gun'. I think seasons 2 and 3 were always going to be hard to turn into a house due to the creatures not being humanoid.
The mind flayer at the end was impressive and seemed to have a decent amount of articulation going on. 5/10

Scare zones.

These were mostly kind of disappointing. A couple of decent ideas, but on the while they don't work for me.

1. Vikings.

The only zone where I saw the SA were really trying to scare people. More of a weird Orc zone than proper Vikings but the blood eagle mini show is cool and I did enjoy spending a little time here. 7/10

2. Hillbilly Deluxe

The best themeing of any scare zone this year. So much to see and the LDG mini show is right out of the music video.

It's in too small an area though and the SA cant really get going. I saw a few just wandering back and forth, occasionally grunting at someone in a poor attempt to scare. 7/10

3. Anarchade
Looks great, but the scareactors were just wandering. Did not see any real attempts at scaring people. 6/10

4. Zombieland
To be fair, I only rushed through this one on my way to Us, so did not give it a fair shake. I did see one girl walking g around with a frying pan and ripped jumper. I hope she was having a good night because as far as I could tell, she was the entire zone! 3/10 (but I rushed through it)

5. Vanity Ball
I saw a scareactor say on the ground talking to a woman with a child in a stroller. She was making googoo noises at the baby. Sums this zone up.
My wife enjoyed it because she is into Ru Paul. 2/10

Academy of Villains was great, but I have not seen it before to compare to other shows. I would highly recommend it though. It is basically Jekyll and Hyde turned up to eleven. 9/10

Tried pizza fries for the first time. They were OK. Cant say I understand the hype. Too salty. 7/10

This is only my second HHN year, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. Meh scarezones, but the houses have been almost all fantastic. Looking forward to next week to watch the lagoon show, spend more time I scarezones and re-do some of the houses.
 
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