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Halloween Horror Nights 19 Reviews & Photos

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Jan 22, 2008
Orlando, FL
Haunt season has arrived! Since employee previews have started tonight, I figure it would be good to make a thread for everyone who attends to the event to post general reviews, notes, tips, and photos here.

With that said, happy HHN!
Whew, what an exhausting night! Overall, I love this Halloween Horror Nights compared to years past. There were a few things that I wasn't a fan of, but nothing too major. We will have a more in-depth review tomorrow morning (as my body aches and my bed calls) but I figured I'd share my grades for the houses and Bill and Ted. We didn't really have a chance to experience the Scarezones so grading them will have to come when I visit this Thursday. Anyways, onto the grades....

Frankenstein - My favorite house by far. The sets were killer, and the costumes were top notch. Most importantly, the actors were on their "A"' game. The whole feeling in that house just reeked of Frankenstein. A+

Wolfman -
This was my favorite house until I hit Frankenstein. The sets were spectacular as well, especially the forest scene. What made this house great though was the sound effects and lighting. Hearing the howls and snarls of the Wolfman right in your ear was intense. A-

Dracula - I loved this house. The costumes and make-up were fantastic. The set design was top notch as well. My only beef is that I didn't get to see any of Dracula himself. A

Silver Screams - This house probably would have been my favorite if the scenes for each "movie" were longer. The set design though was probably the best of the houses. It felt like you were in the middle of each movie, especially "The Strangers" and "Shaun of the Dead". Some of the "movies" that I had hoped would have had longer scenes were too short, IMO. Oh, and gotta love that popcorn smell. A

Chucky -
This is essentially a really twisted funhouse. As if Toy Story went really wrong. It captured Chucky perfectly. The spinning vortex is a lot more disorientating here then I can remember from years before. B-

Saw -
This house is going to be hit or miss, depending on if you walk thru during the "hot scenes". Luckily, I was able to see most of them. I don't want to spoil any of it but it really is "in your face". The ambience of the whole house was great too. The sound, lighting, set design, and Billy were all fantasic. Oh, and mucho love for the final scene. B-

Leave it to Cleaver -
I'm sort of torn on this house. It's a great story, it has great sets, and the smells make the house awesome. It just felt more creepy then actually scary. Most of the actors didn't really scare us, but instead just stood there shouting out cheesy one-liners like "You have a nice Rump Roast!". However I think creepy was the goal. I exited the house and just thought "Well this was kinda weird". Maybe next go around the grade will change but for now.... C+

Spawning -
The bottom of the list. The sets were great, and had some cool scenes but it was just overall lackluster. I couldn't get into the house at all. I just didn't find the "Scoulders" scary. Not the fault of the actors, I just looked at masks and thought "Deformed Sleestaks". Maybe this house could be like Dead Exposure last year and change my opinion by the end of the event. Until then. D +

And last, but not least....

Bill and Ted - It's ben a few years, but Bravo! This is the Bill and Ted I miss. The dance numbers were fantastic and the character parodies were hilarious, especially the "Random Twilight" bits. Granted it had the cliche lewd jokes, it still felt like a breath of fresh air. A-

The highlight of my night though was actually meeting Brian O'Halloran (Dante from Clerks) and Doug Jones (Abe Sapien from Hellboy). They were there for the Fangoria Radio Broadcast. They were great guys, and it was nice to talk with them during the Media Event, especially Doug Jones. He was very humble, and appreciative of his fans.

We will be uploading pictures of Opening Night by morning. We will have more reviews of what we did experience, and any other thoughts I forgot to mention here. :lol:

Way to start off the Haunt Season with a bang!
Great grading, Brian! :) I think it will take me a couple of days to actually go through all 8 houses and review them for myself, but what you said about each one pretty much has me thinking about doing certain houses (i.e. Cleaver and SAW). I'm a scaredy cat. :look:

Like I said above - I wasn't really on point with taking pics tonight since we were just trying to take it all in for the first night. But just a few I did grab:








Ok, so opening night was pretty much a bust for me and the kid. Last year he LOVED HHN, hit all the houses but one, this year=freak out. I don't get it, but anyways, we did the two AP early houses and then he refused to go in anymore. So, we spent a lot of times in the scarezones. Now I have 6 houses to go in and need a friend to go to HHN with!!

So we did Chucky first-B+ I loved it honestly. The damn monkeys scared the crap out of me just like I thought. People in front of and behind us got a nice laugh. Not gory at all, well lit, tons of good jumps and really a lot of fun.

Then we did Silver Screams. A-
This is where the kid freaked out, lol Great scenes and good layout. I thought the scareactors were still asleep, didn't get many jumps, just lots of standing and staring. The strangers set is awesome, but they just stood there? Hello, at least yell at me or something already. Killer from My Bloody Valentine almost took my head off with a pick axe-NICE!!!! Something happened in here though that's never happened to me before at HHN. I peed myself. Not really, we got LOST!! There is a part near the end that is so friggin dark apparently a couple people in front of us went the wrong way. So, all of a sudden it's like pitch black and the line is crawlingly slow, I see lots of wires and lights that look like a soundboard up on the wall. We all keep going and find a door, it leads outside to the back of the parade building. Hmmm, that's not right. So we go back and I see a door that says "scareactor entrance." I fling the door open and we are literally in a scene where there's a white movie screen playing something and the conga line is moving through. So, what the hell, I jump out at the guests and scream "MOVIES!!!" I figured I always wanted to be a scareactor anyways right?

So the guests jump of course, which is just priceless. Then I say "sorry, apparently we took a wrong turn." We move into the line and finish the house. Probably the most fun I've had at HHN to be honest with you. Maybe that's what freaked my son out? who knows.

So, we spent a lot of time in the scarezones, so I'll review those!

1. Containment-C
Inflatable containment things were cool, guy up on the army jeep telling you to get out was funny. I heard him yell "Hey, girl, get the hell off your phone, I'm trying to save your life!" Scareactors looked really good, did a good job but I think they didn't have much atmosphere to work with. Fog-fail. Um, wall of fog, not quite. More like faint misty morning. They need to triple the smoke in here. The green lighting is great but they need way more smoke.

2. War of the living Dead-A+
LOVED this one, went through it like 10 times. Atmosphere, costumes, scareactors were fantastic. The flame thrower is a little weaker than I expected but it was ok. Great zone, not to be missed

3. Apocalypse-city of cannibals-D
And it's only not gettting an F because the props were cool and the fire hydrant shooting water out was a nice touch. This is more like Apocalypse-city of buff frat boys with bad hair crouching in the street. BORING. There were 4 "cannibals" and two city people when we were there. Didn't see much energy from anyone honestly. There is no smoke at all. It was just bad and not scary. I would imagine your everyday guest didn't realize they were even in a scarezone. So hey Universal, that spot is horrible for a scarezone too, why not use the path between the lagoon and twister where the back to the future car is. Only thing in there was a funnel cake vendor.

3. Cirque du Freak-A
I was sad I never did find Kevin, maybe next time! This is a tough location IMO but the actors brought it home, great job. The only scarezone we actually got good scares in all night. The guy that was making that screeching noise was fantastic. All the costumes were great. The scareactors were very generous and posing for pictures with everyone.
Side note: I found all the scareactors in the scare zones to really be very accomodating for picture taking this year: Thank you! In the past I have found typically they don't like to stop and pose.
Very fun zone, nice job!

4. Lights, camera, hacktion!-A
Of course anywhere the chainsaws are is gonna be fun, but they did a nice job. The bloodied and running around screaming movie crew were great. I loved watching the chainsaw guys chasing the movie set crew, then see you and come after you. The big sky spotlights were cool at night too. Another fun and nicely detailed zone, IMO.

5. Horrorwood die in-B-
As we have all seen the props and set are amazing. The scareactors looked great and were getting good scares. I said B- because I think this zone has way more potential than it is delivering. The actors did nothing with the cars. Have them jump out of the cars once in a while. Set off the lights and horn when guests are walking by would be great too. It's good, don't get me wrong, could be better is all. The movie clips and ads on the drive-in screen were really funny.

Bill and Ted-B
So disclaimer, I'm 37 and listen to country so I didn't know a few of the songs and the whole music video thing at the end with (T-Pain?? I think??) yeah, I was lost on that one. It was a good show though, had for the most part all funny stuff. I don't want to be spoiler guy so I won't divulge details, but if you're going it's definitely worth seeing this year. Too much Star Trek though, really? Was that movie that popular? I'm waiting for netflix, lol

So, we had fun but I have to get back quick and go through the houses!!! If anyone wants to meet up on a FFP night shoot me a message!!! My wife isn't a HHN fan and my HHN buddy has gone south, so sad. At the risk of making this the longest post ever I'll put up a few pics we got that I haven't seen on here yet anyways!

---------- Post added at 09:48 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:16 AM ----------

Gonna double post, so sue me, that one was getting too long. Here's some pictures from opening night:

We did the AP get in early thing, got there right at 5pm, line was HUGE. We were done with both houses by 5:30. They won't let you out until 6:30 when the gates open so if you do this don't bother getting there too early. Just a tip! For a second, just, eh forget it...

Door to chucky, good booming music to get you pumped up, then Chucky doing his little chant thing was pretty cool.

Notice the fire hydrant, cool touch.

"Say Hello to my little friend!" Hey Rewster, it's Joe Montana!! LOL!

They had ushers outside the main gates which did a nice job of setting the mood. Also the live usher in the ticket booth was great!

HHN merchandise-take a Billy doll home for the little ones, ha ha!

Cirque du freak scareactors looked great, just like the movie shots I've seen!

Apocalypse, should have called it disaster. I mean really, I see the website and think "whoa, this is gonna be amazing zone, scary monsters!" I see scary monsters and go, HUH? I was expecting something like the cemetary mine scarezone several years ago at IOA, THOSE were scary! These dudes, not so much.

"you're gonna want to turn and go the other way, this is a level 3 containment area, GET OFF YOUR PHONE, I'M TELLING YOU YOU'RE GOING TO DIE!!!" awesome.


Woohoo, pictures from last night! I just realized I forgot to tag some of them. Whoops.











Brian and Brian O'Halloran (Dante from Clerks)


Brian and Doug Jones (Abe Sapien from Hellboy)















And Bill and Ted pictures:





I liked BriMan's grading system, so I just thought I'd throw in my (spoiler free) 2 cents worth as well, based on his system. In my tired stupor last night, I threw them down by favorite (so far)...... but just to elaborate a little more (for anyone who cares :lol:), and to talk a little about the scarezones as well.....

The Wolfman - This house has the best production value (IMO) of any house I've ever been to at HHN (out of 4 years overall). Based on the trailer for the movie, it transcends even the feeling of being on set -- you are in the forest being stalked by the Wolfman! As BriMan mentioned, the lighting and sound effects are spectacular. As I said, I'll keep this spoiler free so as not to ruin any surprises - but there's one scene that presents the most unique position of a scareactor ever. And the final scene in the woods is laid out like a hyper-3D cinematic masterpiece. Walk slowly, you'll want to take it all in and make sure not to miss any timed-out scenes. A+

Frankenstein: Creation of the Damned - Last night I rated this 4th. But after sleeping on it, I have to move it up to #2. The design of this one is both true to Franky and completely new and fresh. If Universal would produce an updated Frankenstein's Monster film based on this design, it would be fantastic. Also to piggy-back on what BriMan said, the actors in this house were top-notch. There are a couple scenes that play out very cinematically and make you want to stop in your tracks to take it in (sorry flashlight nazis!). The entrance of the house, which is outside of the castle, is absolutely beautifully designed. And major kudos to the new Monster design. A

Silver Screams - This house also has some of the best design layout I've seen from the HHN crew. Each scene is introduced perfectly through the theater design, making you feel like you are walking into the Universal Palace Theater entrance and into the film itself. Transitioning between the movies brings you back to the creepy Palace Theater time and again, taking you on both a tour of the movies as well as a tour of the history of the theater. One scene literally takes you "behind the scenes", showing the fate of those who disrespect the theater at the hands of the Usher, just out of view of the unwitting public eye. My only complaint - I was really hoping to see a Psycho scene, and could have used a little more representation of old-school horror to match the history of the theater itself. A-

Leave it to Cleaver - Cleaver revels in wonderful dark humor, much like Creatures last year. Not much of a scary house, but lots of fun as a divergence of theme from the rest of the event. B

Saw - Very true to the Saw film franchise, the scenes of this house feel like living, screaming movie posters for the film series. My only beef with it is it seems the "hot" scenes don't happen quite often enough for you to catch them while being shepherded through the house. You will have to do this one several times to take it all in, which will be difficult considering it consistently had the longest line in the park. But that being said - great design and performances by the "victims". B-

Chucky - Much like the Chucky films, this house is a lot of fun if you don't try to take it too seriously. It's a nightmare of toys-come-to-life, and surprisingly enough the most uncomfortable scene involves simple inflatable clowns :lol:. The entrance (spinning tunnel) can be sickening if the line is moving to slow - beware if you've had a few drinks. C+

The Spawning and Dracula - we didn't get a chance to hit these houses on this trip. I'll weigh in on these next time.

Scarezones :

Lights, Camera, Hacktion - Chainsaws always equal a good time. The "crew" was great, running in terror. B-

Horrorwood Drive In - Spectacular design, and the clips playing on screen were a blast. I just wish, as Snoman said, there was more going on with the scareactors. His idea with the car horns and lights as scare tactics would have been a great addition. B+

Cirque Du Freak - Great design on both the set and scareactors. One of the better zones for startle factor, even though it's small and brightly lit. Better than expected. B+

Containment - I hate to say it, but...... pretty lame. It needs much more fog to be effective. (In all fairness though, it was a pretty breazy night). A couple scareactors were really cool, but most were just normally dressed people with leper lesions. Lighting was cool, but needs more fog. D+

War of the Living Dead - All I can say is: awesome. The scareactors are the best in the park (IMO), and the lighting in this area is fantastic. Also, the war sound effects are really good. I would only like to see more scareactors and action. A

Apocalypse - This one had great potential...... but completely flopped. A couple cool effects with the busted hydrant, the helicoptor spotlight, and burning bus. But there were maybe 4 scareactors roaming around, and just not enough action at all. D-
Well, got in all houses last night..What was the soldier scare zone theme about?? They all wore the same costume and carried guns??!! Kind of mundane really.:shrug::clap: Got drenched while waiting on line for the Spawning. Some houses were obviously under staffed and bordered boring. Scare Zones weren't up to par this year either. Chucky house and Wolfman were probably the best. Oh well, it was only the first night..Going on Wed and again on Friday, maybe it will be better.:clap:
Well, got in all houses last night..What was the soldier scare zone theme about?? They all wore the same costume and carried guns??!! Kind of mundane really.:shrug::clap: Got drenched while waiting on line for the Spawning. Some houses were obviously under staffed and bordered boring. Scare Zones weren't up to par this year either. Chucky house and Wolfman were probably the best. Oh well, it was only the first night..Going on Wed and again on Friday, maybe it will be better.:clap:

You know, I was thinking...... it seems to me, like Thing said, the houses and zones both had way less scareactors than usual. Can anyone answer -- is this because it's a low attendance weekend, so they are staffed lightly? (I've never been opening weekend, so maybe that's normal?) Or is it an indication of budget cuts? Or are we both just mistaken? I know we have some scareactor veterans on here, so maybe you guys have some insight?
Amazing event. Here's my final review.

1. Frankenstein: Creation of the Damned [10/10]
- AWESOME house. I got all of the scares. Extremely detailed. Couple really outstanding scenes.

2. Silver Screams [10/10]
- Amazing. I loved the concept, being similar to DIE In. Only this had a greater variety of movies. There were 2 great scenes in this house that were definitely memorable from some of my favorite horror movies of all time.

3. Dracula: Legacy In Blood [9/10]
- Another great house. I got a lot of the scares, and it was spectacularly detailed.

4. The Spawning (Fangoria) [8/10]
- Amazing. Half of the time I had no clue where I was going or where the scares were coming from. Not nearly as detailed as the previous houses, but definitely had its fair share of good scares.

5. The Wolfman [7/10]
- Another great house. Very detailed and stunningly themed, but I didn't get as many scares as in the previous houses.

6. Chucky: Friends Til The End [5/10]
- Fun house. Very enjoyable, but not too scary. I got a few jumps, but it was mostly just fun.

7. Saw [2/10]
- Not as gory as expected, and a huge letdown. I expected much more out of this house.

8. Leave It To Cleaver (Fangoria) [.5/10]
- Sucked out loud. No ifs, ands or butts. The queue video got me super pumped, but the house just sucked. NO scares, NO memorable scenes. Just horrible.

1. War of the Living Dead [5/5]
- NAZI ZOMBIES. Nuff' said.

2. Lights, Camera, Haction [4/5]
- Fun zone, loved the chainsaws.

3. Containment [3/5]
- Loved the blow ups, and got a few good scares.

4. Cirque Du Freak [3/5]
- Very enjoyable. Not too many scares though.

5. Horrorwood D-I-E In [2/5]
- Loved the movie screen, but no big scares.

6. Apocalypse: City of Cannibals [1/5]
- What's with this location? No scares are ever present in NY without the utilization of Sting Alley. This is just getting ridiculous. No scares, no theming.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure: [3/5]
Didn't live up to it's hype. Couple of good laughs, but overall it was a letdown.

Rocky Horror Picture Show: A Tribute [?/?]
- Didn't get to see it this year but I've seen it in the past.

Overall it was a very good event. I don't think it was as good as last year, but it was still very good.
Here is my review.
First off this was not as good as Reflections was last year. Still fun, but not last year.
Houses (these are in the order that I did them.)
Chucky: I think that they went more for making nice scenes more than good scares in this one. It was fun to see everything but I wouldn't go through it expecting to get scared to bad.
Silver Screams: My favorite house of the night. The scenes were great, and it was the house that I probably got some of the most scares in.
Saw: I think that I walked into every room after the traps were all set so the house really didn't do much for me.
Spawning: Really good house. If you aren't paying attention the creatures can get you good.
Wolfman: This was the best looking house of them all. The scares really depended on where you were and most of the time you aren't going to be in the right place at the right time.
Frankenstein: This house had a few scares. Not as scary as I expected but they did have a few good team scares.
Dracula: This house was scary. Brides were jumping at me all over this house. I really only saw Dracula once so that was a little disappointing.
Cleaver: It may have been because I was wet and not able to enjoy the house but it was really bad. I'd take Doomsday any day of the week.
Zones. I didn't really spend a lot of time in each of the zones but I was most impressed with Cirque.
Houses seemed brighten than last year. Seemed like there were less actors. If you want to get a shirt check places other than the studios store. Sprung tents do not differ much with light from opening to close. The ending of Silver Screams is better in the light than in the dark.