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Best and Worst Years of HHN (Hollywood)

Jan 10, 2013
No man's land: SoCal
As of this Friday, I will have been going to HHN for ten years. I may have to update this by this weekend, but looking back over the time line, I figured it would be fun for us to reflect what we liked or didn't like. I'll do the best and worst in my top 4:

Best years:

#4: '09 - My first year. Everything was new and was got me hooked onto haunts. Not much else to be said here.

#3: 2011 - This was my absolute favorite year for a while. My first year at HHN was '09, so I was so used to just seeing slashers. This is the first time I got to see them tackle a variety of different themes (aliens, Mexican urban legends, etc.), feature original content (La Llorona, Alice Cooper), and feature the new creature effects, which I thought were cool. While not perfect (repeat scarezones, repeat of HoTC, and Terror Tram were "eh"), it was great and different after going in '09 and '10. Looking back, it's probably lost its awesomeness slightly as better mazes have come along, but it's still a year very dear to my heart for taking a big step forward in changes. Also, Bill & Ted was awesome that year.

#2: 2014 - I know some people didn't like it because of crowd issues or because of Clowns and Dracula but.....I really liked this year. It's currently my second favorite year. Just like 2011 there was great variety with the themes and the content was pretty solid. Yeah, Clowns was a turd and half of TWD felt like a repeat, but AVP alone made this a descent year. I even enjoyed Dracula (GASP) AWiL was pretty good even though it didn't compare with Orlando's awesomeness. Scarezones were pretty good.

#1: 2016 - Shouldn't surprise anybody. Still the best year ever. Even though I got a weak runthrough on AHS at first, I liked it better as time went on. Everything. Was. Amazing. Even the Terror Tram wasn't bad! Really, REALLY solid year.

Worst Years
#4: 2015 - This was an okay year. I was really let down by all of the repeated themes (AVP repeat, TWD fatigue, Insidious and Halloween returning). But Halloween and Insidious turned out to be really good! Crimson Peak is in my list of top 10 houses. TiTE though.....yikes. That alone made it on the worst 4.

#3: 2010 - Yeah, I was disappointed with this year. Repeat of Saw, repeat of F13 and NoES, crappy tram, crappy HoH......at least F13 turned out to be good. HoTC is, to this day, is still my favorite 3D house despite it being slightly tainted by the repeat.

#2: 2013 - Ohhhh this year reeked. I remember being SO excited seeing the metro backlot opened and us getting a sound stage house for the first time. There were even a lot of promising properties (Insidious, ED, TWD). But oh man....the execution for all of the mazes except TWD and El Cucuy were sub-par.....VERY sub-par. BS was total BS, ED's creature effects were lame, Insidious was choppy with too many mannequins.....yeah. I did enjoy El Cucuy and TWD but it was also the year Bill & Ted got canceled. That left a bad taste in my mouth. Not to mention I felt like there were advertisements EVERYWHERE. They were advertising Black Sabbath's album on the Starway, advertising TWD on the Terror Tram monitors, signs advertising Chucky's new movie in his scarezone....ugh. Awful year.

#1: 2017 - Amazing how we went from the best year ever to the worst year ever. Almost everything was a MASSIVE disappointment. Black walls everywhere, crap scarezones, crap execution, just everything was bad. I pray we never experience something like this again, because it was AWFUL.
Only got the chance for 2 years, so allow me to give some..feelings.

1st: 2010 - This was at a point of my childhood to where the year prior, I gave Fright Fest a shot back in that period..and in this case, I was more "forced" to go. I experienced in that year, F13, HoTC, Terror Tram, Vampyr, and Saw. I didn't go into NoES (we were cut by time), and I didn't go into Bill & Ted until 2012.

As someone who never experienced anything prior to that year, my favorite maze was more in the reign of Friday The 13th, as it genuinely scared the crap out of me. Saw had me meh, and Vampyr did give me some chills. But the most scares I got, was in the scarezones.

That said, HoTC was outstanding and I wanted to go in twice.

So yeah, not the best of introductions, but it got me started at-least. I'd say it's definitely the "worst" of the two.

2: 2012 - I missed the chance of Thing, and saw videos of that from the year prior. Still kicking myself over it, but it is what it is. But on the other hand, I experienced EVERYTHING that the event had to offer this time.

La Llorona & Alice hold a very special place for me on my love, especially Alice. Texas Chainsaw Massacre had me screaming and booking it out, and TWD was great in my own eyes. I also loved Bill & Ted for all that it did, and even Death was fun.


Really wanting to come back, but I doubt it'll be this year at this point in time.
AMAZING - 14, 08, 12, 10, 13, 09
GREAT - 15
GOOD - 11

But if you want to take a magical journey with me, let's go!

I wouldn't say any year of HHN has truly been BAD. At most, I can say there's been one "Below Average" year and an "Average" (at default) year. I love HHN so much that even a "Good" or "Great" year is considered lower on the list. So that means there will be 4 on the "WORST" list and 7 on the "BEST" list. Let's do this chronologically...

2007 - This is almost here by default. At the time, this was an A+ and in many ways, still is. However, the event has grown triple the size since than and gotten better and better in many ways. Just by sheer volume of quantity on top of quality in today's standards, this ranks at the bottom, but was still a very amazing event.

2008 - Just want to note that although it wasn't much different from '07, the few improvements really pushed over the edge from what they did the year prior. This was easily my favorite Terror Tram and Bill & Ted, which were a big deal to me back than. The new/updated NOES house was great, plus getting a repeat of what is still literally the best maze I ever gone through, TCM: BIB. F13 was so much fun back than and so old school... in some ways, I hope we get a F13 maze like that again. And NOES while we're at it, too, why not.

2009 - Saw and Halloween are still top tier mazes. Considering they remade both of these and they weren't even half as good is telling how high in quality HHN was pushing out back than. MBV was pretty lame, but the Saw Terror Tram was a blast. This also had one of the best scarezones ever, Welcome to Hell. Bill and Ted sucked that year though (I think this was the nerdy Darth Vader kid one).

2010 - I was very disappointed with the announcements at first, but was completely blown away by what was delivered. F13 and NOES were actually better than the 07/08 mazes. They were much more scary, visceral, and aggressive. The older ones had charm, these ones had bite. I was disappointed by HOTC; murder ride section was too long, the 3D was just blurry vision and it was missing a certain charm to it. Even the Saw repeat was good, as they added some cool new scenes, yet kept the same intensity and flow - it was an improvement on an already great maze and I feel a lot of people hated it for no reason. "Repeat" was such a bad word back than. Vampyre was freakin' ferocious for a HOH overlay, they were double and triple teaming, chasing, and getting in faces. I think the only thing genuinely BAD this year was the Chucky Tram, but that for me was a huge guilty pleasure, so I didn't mind one bit (and seems like a masterpiece in retrospect compared to the Chucky tram in 2017). Also, King Kong 360 was open and I got to do that for the first time, it was oddly a highlight of my night.

2011 - This was my first time being a bit disappointed with the event as a whole. They got rid of Western Street, so a small stretch of scarezone was missing in an area where it desperately still needs it to this day. Scream was presented as one of the main attractions and it was so sadly underwhelming. The SZ and TT Scream stuff had nothing to do with the property or it's mythos, it just had a bunch of Ghostfaces running around for no reason - so for me, to this day, this had the worst TT ever. Alice Cooper and Hostel were good-ish, but not great. Wolfman was freakin' terrible and I had no desire to ever do HOTC again, but here it was, and this was an ACTUAL repeat where literally nothing had changed. The Thing and La Llorona were great though, but the latter improved even more the next year.

2012 - This is where the "every even numbered year is great" theory started to come into effect. Although, there was a fair share of bad this year. Universal Monsters Remix... like W...T...F?! Alice Cooper Goes to Hell was very underwhelming. Silent Hill was "meh," and TCM:SITL was good, just nowhere near as good as BIB. The true standouts this year, that make it "HOOOO BOY" amazing were the first year of The Walking Dead maze and Terror Tram and the La Llorona repeat which somehow got 2 times scarier. This had one of the best Bill and Ted shows also.

2013 - There was always something bringing down a certain area of the park. TWD's second year was pretty dang good, but the backlot was being brought down by a hulking giant piece of crud known as Black Sabbath -- dear God, WHY? Insidious was fantastic, but Evil Dead was too stale... literally lots of mannequins for no good reason. El Cucuy was a lot of fun, but there was Universal Monsters Remix for a second freakin' time for some ungodly reason. And sadly, Bill and Ted was probably the worst it had ever been... so bad, they cancelled it mid-run and it never came back.

2014 - This year was a MAJOR surprise. Even the properties that sounded lame turned out to be GREAT. The scarezones at this point had been lacking for a few years and it also had a cool TWD zone and ofcourse, DARK CHRISTMAS, my all time favorite. AVP... just a legend of a maze, beautiful in every way. TWD wasn't as bad as people said it was -- could've had some more new stuff, sure, but it was still good. Didn't expect much from From Dusk Till Dawn, turned out pretty decent. But alright, Clowns 3D was the worst maze ever at that point in time (little did we know how bad it could get only a year later), but stuff like Dracula Untold, which I expected literally nothing from, was a heart pounding treat. AWIL was great, mostly for those scares you get in the dark right at the end. And Face Off was a genuinely great send off to the HOH, the best overlay they ever did for that attraction.

2015 - Now I say "worst" very loosely here because I really enjoyed this year. I loved the final TWD maze, and enjoyed the return of Insidious, AVP and Halloween. However, there's a few major BLIGHTS smack dab in the middle of this event... THIS IS THE END 3D, which is the worst maze in the history of HHN, bar none. Crimson Peak was beautiful to look at, but ultimately a very...very... LAME maze. The Purge Tram was just okay, I expected a bit more.

2016 - What's there to say that hasn't been said? Absolutely perfect from top to bottom.

2017 - Same for this year, just... yeah.


#3: 2010 - Yeah, I was disappointed with this year. Repeat of Saw, repeat of F13 and NoES, crappy tram, crappy HoH......at least F13 turned out to be good. HoTC is, to this day, is still my favorite 3D house despite it being slightly tainted by the repeat.
All these years later and I still don't understand your stance on this lmao you didn't experience F13 or NOES in 07 or 08, so they weren't repeats to you! And on top of that, the mazes were 100% different in every single way, from character design, sound, make up/costume design, tone, scares, kills -- everything was brand spanking new. It was the lead up to announcements that was the most annoying, as we all expected some great new properties, but the actual execution had me more surprised that I never doubted anything they chose to do ever again, no matter how much I disliked the source material (except for Alice Cooper). And Vampyre was a great HOH, the cast in there rocked.
This marks my seventh year attending HHN and my taste has changed quite a lot over the years. Even now, I’m currently making changes to my top 10 maze list and my rankings of the years. Speaking of the rankings...

7. 2017: Yeah. Not unexpected. It wasn’t a great year, but was it as bad as everyone says? In my opinion not really. I loved The Shining, and for being last minute, Titans was awesome. Insidious was weak, Ash was disappointing, Blumhouse was very weak, however I did have a lot of fun in Saw. The scarezones this year didn’t deliver and the terror tram was the worst I’ve ever seen it.

6. 2012: I don’t remember much from my first year, I had just turned 13 when I went and I only went once so most of my memory of the houses comes from videos. I loved Alice Cooper, it was the first maze I ever went through and it got me into his music. La Llarona was incredible and terrifying. I don’t remember much of TWD or Monsters Remix besides being chased with a chainsaw clown after that maze. I wasn’t much of a fan of Silent Hill and I didn’t even finish TCM because I was so scared. It was a great event though and it got me hooked, I just don’t remember it well.

5. 2014: Originally this was my lowest rated year. At the time I had only attended 2012 and 2013 and 2013 was my favorite of those, I didn’t think it lived up to 2013. I’ve looked back on it and it was actually a good year. Face Off was a great HOH overlay, well in terms of HOH overlays. From Dusk till Dawn was a lot of fun. Dracula Untold, while not accurate to the film, was still a pretty solid maze in terms of scares. I wish I could’ve seen what it looked like the way John originally designed it. Clowns... yeah that was a thing. The best part about that maze was Slash’s music and it eventually lead to his collaboration on my favorite maze of all time. Alien vs. Predator, while not scary, was awesome. And while initially a disappointment to me, recent re-viewings of the American Werewolf in London maze made me realize that it was pretty awesome, I just never got stellar run throughs. Walking Dead was meh, half old stuff, half new stuff. Overall still a pretty solid year.

4. 2013: A lot of people hate on this year, and I can see why. As a more serious fan of the event, the kind of fan I am now, I probably wouldn’t have liked that year much. But it was only my second year attending and it had a huge impact on me. 2012 was what got me hooked, but 2013 made me want to pursue a career working in theme parks. El Cucuy was my favorite of that year, the original storyline was awesome and it still remains in my top 5. Walking Dead was awesome. I liked Monsters Remix Resurrection a bit more than I liked the original and the invisible man designed by a fan is to this day one of my favorite HHN characters. Evil Dead was meh and I remember Insidious being scary, but not as good as 2015’s. Here’s what’s gonna boggle some minds... I loved Black Sabbath. As a scary maze, it wasn’t good. But as a translation of the band’s music I loved it. I was not a fan of Sabbath before the event, it was hearing their new album on the starway and all their classic stuff in the maze that got me into them. So it kinda holds a special place in my heart that way.

3. 2015: Yeah besides that thing that we don’t talk about this year was pretty great. I never got to see the first Halloween maze that John did, but I loved this year’s version. I had a completely solo run through and it’s one of the most intense experiences I’ve ever had at the event. Crimson Peak was scenically beautiful. Insidious was a great representation of the trilogy and it was pretty scary. Walking Dead that year was good, but I was fatigued. And while Alien vs. Predator was a direct repeat, it was still solid a second time around. This year also had my favorite scarezone ever, Exterminatorz. The tram was meh, I expected more from The Purge. All in all it was a pretty great year.

3. 2018: This position may change in the future, possibly after a closing night trip. But I loved this year. It was a solid year of fan service. To get the bad out of the way first, First Purge was a letdown. Blumhouse was better than 2017’s. Stranger Things also disappointed me. Onto the good. Halloween 4 was intense and represented a less than stellar movie in a pretty good maze. Poltergeist was awesome and intense. Trick ‘r Treat did not disappoint after years of waiting for it. And of course, Universal Monsters is my favorite maze of all time. This year’s tram happens to also be my favorite. 2016 is the only comparable year but it just wasn’t that good to me. 2018 was redemption. The scarezones were also incredible, besides Toxxic Tunnel which still wasn’t as bad as its 2017 predecessor. Holidayz in Hell was tons of fun and one of my all time favorites, Monster Masquerade was a great addition to the maze, and Trick ‘r Treat was fun as well.

1. 2016: Everything that needs to be said about this year has already been said. The only maze I didn’t like was American Horror Story just because I didn’t get a good run through and I’m not a fan of the show. The only other negative this year for me was the terror tram, it just didn’t do it for me.
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2012 - This is where the "every even numbered year is great" theory started to come into effect. Although, there was a fair share of bad this year. Universal Monsters Remix... like W...T...F?! Alice Cooper Goes to Hell was very underwhelming. Silent Hill was "meh," and TCM:SITL was good, just nowhere near as good as BIB. The true standouts this year, that make it "HOOOO BOY" amazing were the first year of The Walking Dead maze and Terror Tram and the La Llorona repeat which somehow got 2 times scarier. This had one of the best Bill and Ted shows also.

2012 was my only year at HHN - Hollywood, which also happened to be a very down year for Orlando. I thought the West Coast completely outdid the Orlando counterparts, specifically with The Walking Dead.

To this day, I have considered TCM to be one of the best house experiences I've ever been through. It is the only house where my wife cried for safety. It's funny to see another opinion of "was good".