Halloween Horror Nights 2019 (USH): Reviews & Photos | Inside Universal Forums

Halloween Horror Nights 2019 (USH): Reviews & Photos

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Brian G.

Jan 21, 2008
Orlando, FL
Please share your opinions, reviews, photos, and videos of this year's event here.

Reminder: There will be SPOILERS in this thread.

1) Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman
2) Killer Klowns from Outer Space
3) Us
4) Holidayz In Hell
5) Creepshow
6) House of 1000 Corpses
7) Ghostbusters
8) The Curse of Pandora's Box
9) Stranger Things

1) All Hallow's Evil
2) Christmas in Hell
3) Toxxxic Tunnel
4) Spirits & Demons of the East
5) Fallen Angelz

Zones except for the top 3 suck and I only disliked in terms of mazes was Stranger Things. Overall really great year.
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Now, reading the review, he does seem to refer to both FMTW and Creepshow as solid, so I think the term "bottom tier" is being used a little loosely in the article.
Yeah “bottom tier” is definitely being used loosely with these mazes because FMTW and Creepshow are solid. They aren’t bad mazes at all. Nothing about them is bad. I enjoyed FMTW because the scareactors were touching me. I loved it! Wolfman acted like he licked me and I felt all his hair on my shoulder! Great sequel.
Shoutout to @HORRORable Commenter for running into me at the Metro set restrooms! Cool to run into someone from here! :)

Bare in mind that my style is slightly more partial to scenic and effects than scares, though scares are still pretty important in my book. With that said, here's my straight-to-the point review of everything in order of what I've done (Note this review may contain moderate spoilers):

Ghostbusters: Love GB. Probably my favorite horror comedy ever. Yes, I consider it a horror comedy. It's more heavy on comedy than horror, but I still consider it so....but ANYWAY, this was my most-anticipated. I managed to get two run-throughs of it. First one wasn't so hot. Missed all of the scares. I will say the effects were cool and I loved that you went inside the Containment chamber. I liked that the giant Gozer dogs were scaring within the context of the environment and not in a black hallway. That was always my biggest peeve about the "wolf" scares and they resolved that this year. There were some black hallways, but they made sense. It wasn't super-annoying. I was bummed to not see the Gozer temple in the house or Vigo the Carpathian, but I liked it. My first runthrough was a C, but after my second runthrough, it's a low B. Cool effects, but light on scares.

Grade: B-

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman: This house was also high up on my anticipation list as I LOVED Monsters last year. I will say this was probably scarier than Monsters. The scenic was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The "Vs" scares were on-point. Also liked there were very few "black wall" transitions. Excellent maze. Also one of the more aesthetically pleasing mazes they've ever done. Not surprising for a gothic theme.

Grade: A+

Creepshow: Love the original movie. Wow, they really did this IP justice! The facade for the "birthday cake" house was extremely immersive; heck the whole maze was super immersive! The transitions were tastefully done with the comic book covers as that's what they should've done with TrT last year. If they did that last year for TrT, I would've enjoyed that house a whole lot more. The scenic was VERY well-done (Loved the lady looking through the glass on the door to the kitchen) and the scareactors....omy word the scareactors were AGGRESSIVE. Probably the most intense house so far. Well done Murdy. You didn't mess this property up. Black wall transitions were so few and far in-between I barely noticed.

Grade: A+

Killer Klowns from Outer Space: This wasn't quite as high on my anticipation list, but this was a surprise to be sure! Loved the little mini show with the farmer guy looking for his dog. Man, this maze felt too good. The set design was so immersive and so grand, it didn't not feel like a Mummy venue house at all until the very end with the black walls (Which I didn't mind); plus the layout made it feel more spacious as opposed to the usual "zig zag to the back" that the layout generally is for that venue. The cotton candy room and the shadow puppet scenes were so grand in scale, they clearly pushed the limits of the scale for the Mummy venue. Great scares in here! Klowns looked awesome....I wish I could say more, but I REALLY loved this house! They clearly cared about this IP and it shows. Well done.

Grade: A+

The Curse of Pandora's Box: Wait time was a little slow due to the preshow, but I think it's worth it. The store you enter was really neat. Clearly some re-used props from UM last year in there. Now, this maze has been getting a TON of hate. I can see why, but surprisingly, I really liked this house...probably more than I should. Yeah, it's story is disjointed and it's a ton of black walls and some reused sets in here, but you know what? I actually liked this house! It's our answer to "the In-Between". It's a more intense maze that takes place into a void of evil, so the story/setting is broad enough to allow for an effective budget maze. The Medusa scene was pretty cool! I loved the lighting effect on there. Overall, I think this might be the most under-appreciated maze of the event. Not my favorite, but it's not terrible. I think it's worth checking out. It did remind me of the older Knott's 3D mazes, but actually good.

Grade: B-

House of 1000 Corpses: Probably the least-anticipated as I've already seen the one from '10/'11, so I kinda knew what to expect. While the original one took some creative liberties to appease the 3D aesthetic, this one was slightly less colorful and more gritty. It definitely had the HHN-of-old feel like TCM and the old slasher houses. Heck the house reminded me a lot of TCM. While there are a few black walls that were annoying, I did enjoy this. Better than Halloween 4. As expected, not as good as the first version, but not awful. Some good scsares.

Overall: C+

Holidayz In Hell: Though a little short, they managed to pack a LOT into this tight venue. It's quite impressive. They really pushed the limits on how tight they can make the rooms. Aside from the annoying black hallway with the leprechaun (Don't know why they can't ever have any scenic in that long transition hallway), it's a very well-done maze! The Halloween scene was my favorite. Scenic was awesome, scareactors were intense. Glad they chose to do this. I'm not big on Figure, but I liked it regardless.

Overall: A

Us: This maze is the underdog of the event. Wow, this was great! This was really low on my anticipation list as I expected this to be a last-minute blackwallapalooza. Not the case, AT ALL. Transitions were smooth as butter and the scenic was so well done and so immersive. Scares were very intense and well-crafted. I really liked how there were several rooms that were actual full rooms; like, they went all-out by putting in a hard ceiling and flooring. I really wish more houses had this. I felt like I was actually there and didn't feel like I was in a house. The car effect was great and so was the ending. The cast who did the creepy walk that the tethered mother does were on-point! While not really "scary" it was very unsettling. It added a lot to the maze. Second most intense of the vent for me.

Overall: A

Stranger Things: This maze really got dumped on by everybody. I do agree with everyone here that it was the weakest maze. I went in with abysmal expectations expecting nothing but black walls. Scenic was actually really good. The creature effects, I felt, were really neat. Scares were weak. That's the biggest thing holding me back from liking this. They clearly threw some money into this, but it felt like it was designed as scares being an afterthought. Oh well. It was okay. Good scenic, good effects, but lame scares. Still liked it slightly more than last year's house though.

Overall: C

What do I think of 2019? I dare say I like it as much of 2016, if not slightly more. More diverse themes, scarezones were great (Finally good music in Toxxxic Tunnel. Awesome design for Demons of the East. All Hallow's Evil an intense gauntlet), scenic was great....I just loved this year. While there were black walls, I've kinda accepted that some black walls here and there are just that way it's going to be. For the most part, the black walls didn't feel like lazy budget-cutting. 8 times out of 10, they were done effectively. So yeah, can't wait to go back!
Had a pretty fun time last night. It was cool that they added a few extra things for the preview night.

Overall I liked pretty much all of the mazes, sans Stranger Things. During my walk through I had hardly any actors so the scenes felt extra empty. The effects were good but I feel like it missed the bar big time. It almost felt like it was the same thing over and over with the demodog gag. Not sure why they combined season 2 & 3 (marketing, I presume) but season 3 got no love and then the maze was over.

The water effects were in abundance this year and I have to say I'm not a fan.

Loved Creepshow, Killer Klowns and Pandora's Box!
I'll save a full review for when opening weekend is done, but from the 4 mazes I did, this is definitely a solid year, I was only able to stay until 10 pm but I managed to do Ghostbusters, Creepshow, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space, I really loved every single one except ghostbusters, but even then I had a really fun time in that maze. Though I gotta say, if things keep going how they are, Killer Klowns is a serious contender for my favorite maze ever. Edit: Forgot to mention, smells are definitely back this year and I'm really glad, there were some really nice ones like incense and cotton candy, but there was one in Creepshow that made me literally wretch, which hasn't happened since the dead dog room in Halloween, so you've been warned on that front.

I tried to mostly stay away from spoilers, but I just had to see this. This is laughable what even is the context to this scene it looks unfinished I just don’t get it....
Edit: I also just want to say I haven’t gone to the event yet so I don’t know if it looks better in person, but man does this not look good in that picture
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I tried to mostly stay away from spoilers, but I just had to see this. This is laughable what even is the context to this scene it looks unfinished I just don’t get it....

Is that in show lighting? if so, they should have just stuck with a projection effect.

I tried to mostly stay away from spoilers, but I just had to see this. This is laughable what even is the context to this scene it looks unfinished I just don’t get it....

Nooowww, the comparison is a little unfair....

Orlando's on the left is the Season 3 version from the Mall while HW's on the right is the Season 2 smokey version which possesses Will. I don't quite get why they would do that one anyway considering you're trying to make a gas version a solid.
Nooowww, the comparison is a little unfair....

Orlando's on the left is the Season 3 version from the Mall while HW's on the right is the Season 2 smokey version which possesses Will. I don't quite get why they would do that one anyway considering you're trying to make a gas version a solid.
I'll take a sub-par ST in favor of having the significantly better Klowns any day tbh
Nooowww, the comparison is a little unfair....

Orlando's on the left is the Season 3 version from the Mall while HW's on the right is the Season 2 smokey version which possesses Will. I don't quite get why they would do that one anyway considering you're trying to make a gas version a solid.
I understand that it’s a different version, but man does it just look weird with no set dressing, it’s literally just 2 static props on some black walls, at least put some trees or something up as well
Alright, Here are my thoughts (also shoutout to @Freak, who’s just the nicest dude in the world)

House of 1000 Corpses (2): A-
While the set design was faithful and captured the dark tone of the film, the scares were lackluster and didn’t utilize many other characters than Otis, Spaulding, and Satan.
Lighting when dark was really dynamic and brought the editing to life.

Holidayz In Hell (3): A
I’m going to include Dark Christmas with this maze, since it so obviously is just an extension. The art work and character designs were grade A, and staffing seemed to be the most consistent of the night. Dark Christmas was beautiful, and this is the best year they’ve done it so far. It didn’t blow me away, but in no way was it bad.

Us (1): B+
This one was actually creepy. I usually hate the lack of face performers, but damn did the masks work. The production design was top notch, but the maze’s story and flow was disappointing.

Pandora’s Box (1): C-
I wanted to love this. I’m the one guy in the world that loves 3D mazes, and the lack of 3D hurt this one. It felt rushed, unprofessional, and not representative of the great work they usually do. At least it had some competent designs and a truly freaky finale

Stranger Things 2 (1): F

Killer Klowns (2-3) : A+
Total underdog. Great costuming, great scares, great audio design, and AMAZING production design. This felt like the Klowns we’re finally getting the recognition they deserved.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (2): A-
This one would be an a+ if it had more length. Best scares of the night, truly amazing masks and costuming, but too short to be truly memorable and iconic.

Ghostbusters (2): C
I was so excited for this one, and the scenes I knew they were doing were executed beautifully. That being said, the scares felt lazy, the maze seemed to be covered in black walls (which can be used well, just not here), and the story wasn’t well communicated at all. Points for the beautiful Terror Dogs and amazing Slimer Stantz scene

Creepshow (2): A
As a pretty lukewarm Creepshow movie fan, I loved this maze. It never felt dull, and when the scares were lacking they made up with beautiful scenic work. Costuming was again great, and the smells messed me up.

Walking Dead (1): C
New light package (or 2018 light package) was really nice and improved the experience, but the maze is both too short and understaffed.
So my group went last night. We had Unlimited Express so we managed to do every maze 3x (with the exception of Us and Holidayz in Hell 4x due to no one in express towards the end). Here's my thoughts based on the order we went in (this isn't a ranking):

1. House of 1000 Corpses: Having already gone through it in 2010 & 2011, this was my least anticipated maze, and I was a firm believer that the Water World location would make it feel cheaply made, with smaller sets and less scenes. However, just like Halloween 4 the previous year, my group was uber lucky to not only get every scare from each actor, but they were very aggressive (especially Otis, Baby, and Dr. Satan). It's like the actors new they were in a returning maze that didn't stand out from the impressive lineup, so they put their all in their scares to try and make it work. I lost my voice after finishing it and was greatly pleased (I love this year's Captain Spaulding mask with the eyeballs better).
Grade: A-

2. Holidayz in Hell: Having loved last year's scare zone, I was curious to see how different it would feel in a maze setting. Was concerned it would literally be 95% of the scare zone set pieces and props, but gladly proven wrong. The actors gave it their all, and the creepiest part was the last two times we walked through, where both the Easter bunny and Thanksgiving turkey scareactors remembered both my fiance and 's faces and kept lightly grasping at the back of our necks. Really made things feel unsettling!
Grade: A

3. Us: Like everyone I was expecting this to be the weakest maze (especially since one of my high school friends who went to Knott's Scary Farm announcement event, while in line, met someone who worked for HHN this year and he told him about which mazes, based on behind the scenes, stuff would be the best ones, and even hinted Us would be pretty low). All the tethered actors hit their marks, and definitely the scareactors playing Tex and Dahlia were by far my favorite, with how they portrayed their characters and really scaring my group! One of my top mazes this year.
Grade: A+

4. Pandora's Box: I really wanted to like this maze, especially since, despite having heard the legend years ago in school, I was curious as to what monsters the creative team would include. Unfortunately it felt a bit disorganized, and seemed pretty recycled with set pieces. The 3rd time we went through we got all the scares which improved it a bit, but honestly felt out of place, especially in this year's lineup. It reminded me of going through a 2017 maze. (Funny thing is my group never got to see the pre-show, so I was shocked to learn about that on here).
Grade: C

5. Stranger Things: I knew, like last year, that a lot of the memorable, nostalgia-inducing scenes would not be included in this maze. And I know people will point to Orlando, like last year, and say that if they could include those scenes, so could Hollywood. But in all honesty, the maze was what I expected it to be, and I honestly don't mind. We already knew S3 would have an extremely minor part in this maze (there was a group of sorority sisters from UC Irvine behind our group the first time who felt cheated, as they assumed scenes including the Flayed, Mrs. Driscoll's basement and the battle of Starcourt Mall would be in the maze). I think it was fine and I loved the Demodogs and S3 mindflayer.
Grade: A

6. KKFOS: I was genuinely happy with the scenes they chose, the costumes and masks, as well as the layout. Whenever I heard Murdy talk about stepping into the movie, this is one of those mazes that truly fits that analogy. The Klowns were unnerving and I don't think they could "improve" it any other way!
Grade: A+

7. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man: I'll admit this was also low on my anticipation list, mainly because of the other IP mazes, but I wanted to give this a fair chance. Our 2nd and 3rd time going through this was much better, as we got more scares and a better chance to take in the sets. I was pleased to see the Wolf Man get more action, compared to last year's maze. Like UCM last year, you could tell Murdy put his heart into this, with the creative liberties his team took, rather than simply just abiding by the film of the same name. Overall, pretty good!
Grade: A-

8. Ghostbusters: My group was fully aware this maze wouldn't be big on scares, like the other mazes, but we were still excited. I was sooo happy to see the Scoleri Brothers in this maze, and had to admit both the library ghost and Slimer's scares really hit hard each time we went through. Absolutely loved seeing the hotel scenes and Dana's apartment attack being recreated. The actress playing Janine was also a huge plus, always interacting with my group and being sassy to other guests in that room. She definitely set up the atmosphere well for the start of the maze!
Grade: A+

9. Creepshow: My most anticipated maze of the year and I was definitely not disappointed at all! Father's Day and The Crate included all the scenes I expected. Fluffy and Nathan's corpse looked phenomenal and their scareactors did a great job of tricking guests into thinking they weren't going to repeatedly scare them! I especially loved Upson Pratt's actor, as he not only looked a lot like the original, but was not expecting him to be scaring us! The last two stories also made me really excited for the show and their monsters looked really grotesque up-close! Incredible to say the least!
Grade: A+++

Briefly scare zones: Toxxxic Tunnel was forgettable (C). Fallen Angelz was okay, but lacked atmosphere (B). Spirits and Demons had a little more flare, but they seemed to bunch up together a lot (at least when we walked through) (B+). All Hallow's Evil was the best (no surprise) and I wouldn't be upset if Murdy decided to give it a maze next year (A).

Overall this year was an extremely well-done year! I usually fall in the same boat as being more concerned about odd numbered years (2013, 2015, 2017), and I feel this year broke that record! I'll even go as far as to say a lot of the mazes surpassed the 2016 mazes! Murdy and his team truly outdid themselves!
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