Halloween Horror Nights 2017 (USH): Reviews & Photos | Inside Universal Forums
  • Signing up for a Premium Membership is a donation to help Inside Universal maintain costs and offers an ad-free experience on the forum. Learn more about it here.

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 (USH): Reviews & Photos

Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 21, 2008
20,821
Orlando, FL
Please share your opinions and photos of this year's event here. Reminder that there will be spoilers in this thread. PLEASE KEEP DISCUSSION TO ONLY PHOTOS AND REVIEW IN THIS THREAD.
 

HHNManics

Veteran Member
Jun 6, 2016
1,550
The Insidious: Beyond the Further Souvenir Card you get for saying the Password to Specs and Tucker in front!

 

Freak

Veteran Member
Jan 10, 2013
4,110
No man's land: SoCal
Alright. Get yourself a sandwich and a Coke because this one is going to be a bit of a (Fairly spoiler-free) lengthy review. I'm going to try my best to be to the point but also address everything I liked and disliked about this year. Bare in mind, I went with an open mind excited to see the event, reserving my judgement not from the reviews, but from my actual experience. So get ready, here we go!

First I want to address the early entry situation. What a freaking mess. They have a few lanes for people to get their early entry wristbands but they have the giant mass of people merge down into a single file line. It caused the flow to dramatically slow down and groups to get pushed away and separated. Really poorly laid out. Ugh. Now for the mazes.

Saw: The Games of Jigsaw: This was the first house we hit of the night. I had fairly low expectations going in here because it was Saw and this was the third time they did this. I walk in and the rooms are all the same as the ones from '09, just a different layout and far less detail. The razor wire trap looked embarrassingly bad….like home haunt bad. Just a chain link fence with white plastic sheets and dummies on top of a carpet. Don't even get me started on the bathroom scene. Considerably shrunk down and lacking of detail. I don't recall the bathroom in the movie having a dark carpet. Not to mention after every other trap, there were just solid black walls. Seeing that is incredibly lazy of a transition being that we're inside of a factory. It should all be one giant environment. Overall, lazily designed house that get more like a home haunt, if anything. There was one good scare at the beginning and the giant buzz saws were kind of cool. Other than that, it was easily the worst house of the event for me. Not even half as god as '09/'10.

Set design: F
Scares: C
Overall: D-

Ash Vs. Evil Dead: Starts off fine. Trailer scene is kind of cool. As we exit….blackhallway……we go through some nicely detailed rooms, but after we leave the cabin, we walk through a solid minute of black walls. It was so bad, a group totally missed we were supposed to turn right and looped right back through the cabin scene. I am absolutely baffled why Murdy would think this would be acceptable. Half of the entire friggin maze was just black, unthemed hallways that completely took me out of the world. On the bright side, I got some really good scares and Henrietta was really cool. It's just….ugh…all of those lazily designed black walls for transitions. It absolutely killed it for me. Get used to me bringing this up because this is a consistent issue. I did enjoy this a bit more during a second run-through.

Set Design: D (Nice detailed sets, but the black walls ruin the flow)
Scares: B
Overall: C

American Horror Story: Roanoke: This was the strongest of the Metro set houses. It had some beautiful set design in here and some really good scares! I just wish for the outdoor scenes they would cover up those black walls a bit more with green mesh netting or something. I finally experience one house I legitimately enjoyed. The ending was really cool and gave some great scares! Again, I wish they would put more detail into those black walls at the end. It's a lazy cop out.

Set design: B+ (Only thing keeping me from giving this an A would be some black walls at the end and in the "outdoor" scenes)
Scares: B
Overall: B

The Shining: Ooooohhhh boy. We waited for a long time for Murdy to pull this off and I'm sorry to say it disappointed. I mean, REALLY disappointed. How in blazes did Murdy and Chris find this bull to acceptable!? Instead of creatively transitioning from the hedge maze to the hotel, we get a black wall with the laziest possible scare. We have some very nicely detailed rooms only to be cut off with choppy transitions with black walls. I mean, there were so many black walls transitioning between rooms it was insulting. You have these few nicely detailed sets that made me actually feel like I was in the hotel and then you ruin it with lazily themed blank hallways!? What the fridge Murdy!? Even in the here maze it was chopped by a black wall when it should have continued in there. Oh, don't even get me started on the elevator scene. I am dumbfounded how lazily done that scene was. DUMBFOUNDED. Just a freakin' TV screen showing clips of the movie. They weren't even trying.

I didn't mind the black walls in the Exorcist because they made sense (Being demon possessed) and all the action in the movie took place in one room (mostly). That sort of property did allow for some darkness to make it creepy. Here, because there is a lot to work with and the movie is rich in detail, you can't just crap out on design and go, "We're in Jack's mind so here's black walls! HUURRR DUURRR" The way this was executed is utterly insulting to fans of the movie and HHN. The only good things I have to say about this were that the rooms had some very nice detail and the huge maze actually felt cold. Being that Murdy was chasing this property for YEARS, I'm shocked as to why anybody would find this good. This is not a good maze. This is Universal pulling down their pants and taking a dump in front of our face while saying "redrum".

Sets design: D (Several rooms are worthy of a "B", but it's those…..wanna guess?)
Scares: D
Overall: D

Terror Tram: The Achilles Heel of the event. At least they didn't have two separate paths and force people down the crappy one. It's Terror Tram. Same ol' same ol'. Meh. Cheesy but funny video at the end.

Overall: F

The Horrors of Blumhouse: I keep wanting to call this Blumhouse of Horrors. I mean, that flows a lot better. They should've just started the maze where the entrance normally is for Parisian and have Purge actually inside the house. The Purge section just felt awkwardly laid out and outrageously cheap like a home haunt. Literally. Reused props everywhere. Once I got inside, it actually wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be. Happy Death Day was surprisingly not bad and good on scares. In fact, I thought it was as good as the Sinister section. Speaking of which, why was that snuff screen in the main room so small!? I would've given this maze more praise if they moved the Purge to the end and not outside and if the maze had FAR less bla- (Sigh) Do I even need to say it anymore? Some nice sets and scares here and there but, my word, did half this maze feel really bare.

Set design: C (Black Walls ruined it though nice sets here and there)
Scares: C+
Overall: C

Titans of Terror: I really liked the original-ish backstory for the maze. The backstory is nice and the the facade and set of the actual house the kid lives in is great! There were some really nicely detailed rooms in here with some good scares. The Freddy section is probably my favorite with the creative use of lighting. I did notice quite a lot of reused props, audio, sets, and scares in here. Quite a bit. Leatherface was the weakest section overall. It felt very throwaway. There were black walls for transitioning between sections, but it didn't bother me considering this was all a nightmare. In that case, it worked. They were scarce and didn't ruin the flow of the maze like it did with….well, EVERY SINGLE HOUSE THIS YEAR. Overall, not one of the best houses ever, but good enough to not make me regret buying that frequent fear pass. Good backstory, good sets, good scares even though a lot of it felt rehashed.

Set design: B
Scares: B
Overall: B

Insidious: Beyond the Further: Wasn't terribly excited being that this is the third time they've done this. Not to mention, everything else wasn't really great. Tucker and Specs were great in the way they acted and gave me the prize. Also, the facade was big and beautiful. It looked and felt like a full-on house. I was pleasantly surprised to see some very nicely detailed rooms and some really good scares in here. Yes, there were a LOT of black walls, but like I mentioned in my Shining review, I don't mind them if they work and have a proper purpose. It works here because of the further. Although there was a poor transition with black walls towards the beginning, everything else was fine and flowed smoothly. Scares were really good and had some REALLY awesome rooms in some areas. This was the surprise hit for me and probably my favorite maze this year. Definitely better than '13's but not quite as good as '14's. Solid maze. Just please let Insidious go already. It's time to move on.

Set design: B+
Scares: B+
Overall: B+

Jabawockeez: Skipped it. Don't give a rat's rear.

The Walking Dead: Who cares?

Scarezones: Ugh. This is probably the worst year for scare zones. All of the props for the entrance were literally on a cart ready to be rolled out. Tunnel is the same as last year and the Metro sets felt like a giant home haunt. When you compare them to Orlando's elaborate extravaganzas of scare zones, the difference is pitch black and white light. Pathetic. They literally emptied their warehouse to reuse all of the props for the scare zones. They weren't even trying.

(Cont.)
 
  • Like
Reactions: JMalez

Freak

Veteran Member
Jan 10, 2013
4,110
No man's land: SoCal
*Sorry for the double post, but my review was so long, I had to divide it up because there's a character max.

So yeah, that's HHN 2017. Not even remotely as good as last year. Only three good mazes this year. Everything else had one glaring issue in common: Black. Walls. EVERYWHERE. This was a serious problem in '13 and some in '14, but after that, they seemed to have mostly solved that issue in '15 and '16. Now this year has gone a giant step backwards by having a world-record amount of black unthemed walls with a random scare in there. There are so many in most of the mazes, it feels like there is no variety or difference in any of the mazes at all. Most of them have black hallways accompanied by some random out-of-place scare that ruins the flow and makes no sense. Because of that they all feel the same and give no diversity in the mazes.

Oh, and the way the event was organized was absolutely poor. Early entry was a mess, conga in Insidious was AWFUL, and line cutting was really bad in Insidious and Shining. So many people were swarming like vultures to catch up with their friends and slow down the line with their entire circle joining the one or two people. It felt too crowded and packed in. They shut down too many areas of the park and packed everybody into areas that everybody needed to go. There was little room to spread crowds. Put a gauntlet around French and Baker street. Open up Potter for Pete's sake to eat up the crowds. Why is Potter still even closed during the event?!

Also, let's talk scares. I love trigger scares because they work, but why does every. single. scare have to have a seizure-enducing strobe light? You can see it from the next room, thereby grabbing your attention and ruining the scare for you. Those hanging sheets to mask it won't do much good when you can see that flashing light. Now you're like, "Well, there's the scare." Why not do what Orlando does and have just audio scares in several areas? It's more effective and doesn't draw too much attention to the scare spot prematurely. I'm not saying get rid of strobe/audio combo scares altogether, but just cut back on the strobes….significantly. Use the strobe sparingly.

So what the heck happened!?!?! They had a very successful year and now this year, they apparently ran outta money. Where did all of that budget go (Assuming that was the case)? Why did they have such a solid year only to follow that up with "it can't be as good as last year, so who cares!?" HHN was improving in its set design and scare tactics, and now they have just take a GIANT step backwards. With prices increasing, the event getting more popular, and now selling alcohol…..where is all that money going? I may go back one more time in October out of obligation, but this year was an absolute mess. If I was Murdy or Chris, I would be terribly embarrassed with how this event has turned out and how it's being overall received. We've got a long way to go if we want our event to be as detailed as Orlando. Overall, not as bad as '13, slightly better than '10, not as good as '15 (Which was another weak year IMO). Please don't let next year suck. If they do Conjuring, Stranger Things, It, or Trick 'r Treat next year, I better not see it get butcher like the Shining did.

Can't wait for Knott's next week. At this point there's no way HHN will be as good as Knott's this year. Dark Ride sounds like it will be amazing.
 

horrornights789

Veteran Member
Jul 8, 2017
3,125
If they do Conjuring, Stranger Things, It, or Trick 'r Treat next year, I better not see it get butcher like the Shining did.
2/4 properties you mentioned are most likely happening next year(Conjuring & It, and possibly Trick R Treat if we push Murdy enough and if Orlandos is a hit), and I'm as nervous as you to see what happens. There's no reason for AvED & Shining to have black walls as transitions, especially Shining because of the amount of scenic things they have to work with.
 

MacMillian Crew

Veteran Member
Jul 16, 2016
1,149
I honestly don't mind black walls, but I legitimately understand those who have criticisms for them. And thinking back to the mazes, it honestly surprised me to realize that the only two mazes that had an actual scene with environment in the final room were The Shining and Saw. Though I liked this year, I do have at least 1 criticism for each maze:

Saw - I was disappointed there wasn't at least 1 trap from each of the 8 films in the attraction, to give it more variety.
The Horrors of Blumhouse - Though I really enjoyed this maze, the last two scenes felt really awkward since there wasn't a transition from Sinister back to The Purge. Basically I was expecting Bagul to come out, and instead got two soldiers with can shakers and Big Daddy.
Titans of Terror - I would have loved to have seen different types of scenes in Leatherface's section that weren't already on the tram.
Insidious - The ending with all 5 ghosts scaring you was similar to ToT's ending with Freddy, Leatherface, and Jason scaring you individually. I honestly was hoping it would've been similar to '15's maze that had a room with multiple actors in it.
The Shining - The Elevator room. I didn't even realize what I was looking at in there until I exited the maze the 2nd time.
AHS - Though I really loved this maze better than last year's, I felt they could've had Scathach in there to add more variety to the maze, rather than relying too much on Pig Man and Thomasin.
AVED - I didn't see Eligos in there, and considering it was in the promotional trailer, and thought it, along with the Newborns, were pretty cool looking, I was kinda bummed of its absence.

Ratings:
1. The Horrors of Blumhouse (A+)
2. Titans of Terror (A)
3. The Shining (A)
4. American Horror Story (A)
5. Insidious (B+)
6. Saw (B)
7. Ash vs. Evil Dead (B-)
 

ush.hacker

Veteran Member
Dec 10, 2016
1,383
Studio City, CA
I have finally done every maze at least twice and my least favorite is Insidious. The amount of plain blackout walls is excessive, and the entire maze was so random and flowed awfully. For a maze that they new that they were going to have earlier than any maze this year it was a major disappointment.
 

Ridesandstuff

Rookie
Jan 1, 2014
247
I have a question for those of you who have gone. I go to school in NorCal and usually come down for HHN but nothing really interests me this year. I was thinking of going to Knotts as I've never been and it looks fun. Basically I'm asking if anything this year is really worth seeing compared to previous years.
 

rageofthegods

Veteran Member
Sep 10, 2017
1,844
I have a question for those of you who have gone. I go to school in NorCal and usually come down for HHN but nothing really interests me this year. I was thinking of going to Knotts as I've never been and it looks fun. Basically I'm asking if anything this year is really worth seeing compared to previous years.
Ideally, you could do both, but since that's not really realistic for most people, I would recommend that you check out videos of a couple of mazes at Knotts and decide for yourself which one you would rather go to. I'm still in the camp that says this year is pretty ok/good overall, but it definitely is a step down compared to other years; whether that's due to laziness or budget cuts or construction is up for debate, but it definitely doesn't measure up to last year. If you feel that nothing interests you, definitely check out Knott's. They have a different feel to HHN that could be refreshing if you've only gone there for years.

(It's worth noting that Knott's often repeats its mazes year to year; there are mazes in Knott's (Tooth Fairy, Voodoo) that have been going on for 3 years now; one of them, Trick or Treat, has been here for 5 years. While Knotts does add scenes to its repeat mazes and changes things up from year to year, that could also factor into your decision to go this year or years to come.)
 

rageofthegods

Veteran Member
Sep 10, 2017
1,844
It is definitely not do to laziness. The entire crew of HHN works their asses off throughout the entire year just to be called lazy?!
I never said it was due to laziness, just that some people might say that. I personally just think there was a lot of chaos going on behind the scenes with replacements and construction that forced some things through the ringer. Sorry if it came off as standoff-ish.
 

Freak

Veteran Member
Jan 10, 2013
4,110
No man's land: SoCal
Yeah, LOTS happened behind the scenes. Losing the Conjuring, Evil Dead getting demands to be more like the show, apparebt budget cuts....I seriously doubt Murdy was rubbing his hands together in his carney evil laugh saying, "Muahaha I can't wait to piss off the hardcore fans!" Stuff has happened behind the scenes that we still don't know about.

I would bet serious money they cut Murdy's budget. There's no way this is the way Murdy would have truly wanted it. It's very disturbing to see such penny pinching after they have had their most successful year ever.

Speaking of success, did opening weekend even sell out?