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Halloween Horror Nights 29 (UO): Reviews & Photos

666ParkAve

Newcomer
Jul 2, 2013
24
Orlando, Florida
So I went on 10/30. Arrived at 5 PM and did started at the back of the park. I usually judge houses on multiple factors besides just “scares” examples set design, lighting, effects, costumes, makeup, masks, the how did they do that type of stuff and even music and smells. I completed all 10 houses (without express) and did 5 of my favorites again.

Scare Zones......this year was pretty blah.

Houses
1 Universal Monster ‘s
2 Yeti Terror of the Yukon
3 Graveyard Games
4 Ghostbuster’s
5 Killer Klowns
6 Depth’s of Fear
7 House of 1000 Corpse
8 US
9 Stranger Thing's
10 Nightingale’s

They should have stopped at last years Stranger Things house which was perfect. This house was horrible. Nightingale’s lighting was so bad I could not even see the scare actors and the story was ?? I have no idea, facade was cool, but that’s where it ended. I would give the entire event a 6 out of 10. Something was missing and I can’t put my finger on it. Just felt like a really odd, off year.
 
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SeventyOne

V.I.P.
Jul 1, 2010
3,054
Orlando
After 14 nights, my final take on my 19th HHN:

Overall Pros:
  • Strongest house line-up since 2011, if not ever. Two in the conversation for GOAT, best comedy house since HR Bloodengutz, only one house I’d consider a failure (even then, not Worst of All Time bad).
  • Every house felt a satisfying length—nothing stops abruptly 2/3 of the way thru.
  • Food booths stepped it up this year--the store was practically an attraction in itself.
  • Not sure UOR considers it a pro, but on the whole crowds were manageable more nights than they weren’t.
  • Marathon of Mayhem was a blast. Best AOV show yet.
Overall Cons:
  • Heavy reliance on effects/static figures instead of actors—I still suspect done as proof of concept for adding houses without increasing casting (effects are fine, even innovative, in theory, but it limits the shelf life on houses, which is bad when you’re trying to stretch the event to 2 months).
  • Repetitive monsters—Nightingales, Depths and ST feature the same monster design throughout the house; Yeti only has two. Chainsaw Team also wore identical costumes. Again, I suspect this is related to budget issues.
  • Tho inconsistent, some nights Ops were back to old habits.
  • Too many kids. Not even teens—middle school kids and strollers. There were nights HHN looked more like MNSSHP.
  • The Zones—woof.
Onto specifics … the houses:

10) Stranger Things: A mediocre house forced to be standard bearer for the event. Far too many obviously static figures with too few live actors. Too many of the same demigorgon. Actors didn’t seem like dead ringers for the actors like many did in 2018. The Mind Flayer at the end just didn’t work—KkfOS did the same effect only better.
Highlights: The cabin scene. I thought the bus scene worked fairly well, too, when it was staffed.
Room to Improve: Base the house off a different show? Seasons 2 and 3 provided some new scenery but not enough new monsters.​

9) Us. Never did see the movie—house didn’t really inspire me to –but as a maze, nice opening façade, but otherwise standard complaints this year: too many mannequins, repetitive costumes on the scare-actors. That said, friends and I all got caught good in that final room, so that single scene pushes it over S.T.
Highlights: fun house opening. Car crash scene in the woods looked convincing. Final room with the line of mannequins/actors.
Room to Improve: More actors. Fewer “victim” actors. Idk, fans of the film seemed to like it, so my sense is this is as good a house as you get from a psychological thriller v. a good old-fashioned monster movie.​

8) Depths of Fear: I respect this house. Like Graveyard Games, felt like it tried to mix in more effects. Unfortunately, unlike GG, there weren’t enough actors to compliment those effects, and the effects didn’t always work. Most of the fish-monsters being pulled didn’t help, tho even when there were more it was a single design. Also, it’s hard to do a realistic “future sci fi” environment on an HHN house budget—it always ends up looking like cheesy painted plywood. Still the cast gave it their all, managed to get some good scares. In sports analogy, this house lost, but it didn’t embarrass itself.
Highlights: “Get to the escape pods, I’ll cover you” (hopefully better than that wetsuit covers…never mind, easy joke). The opening suspended fish-monster set a creepy tone, and the first infected crew member got a lot of scares.
Room to Improve: Had the waterfall climax Legacy described come to be, would have ended the house on much higher note. More variation in fish-monsters might also have helped (ideally monsters who could fit thru the damn boo holes).​

7) House of 1,000 Corpses: IP aside, highly detailed sets with lots of quick turns, and a solid cast. People seemed to get legit scared in here. Rob Zombie not really my thing, but my friends who are fans all cite it as their favorite house, so did something right.
Highlights: Realistic façade. Captain Spaulding in the first room. Exo-skeleton surgeons.
Room to Improve: Maybe a more accessible IP? Then again I imagine the HHN/Zombie fandoms overlap a lot, and I’d hate to deprive those fans of a house they loved.​

6) Killer Klownz from Outer Space: Stupid movie, but this house managed to capture pretty much everything in it. Shadow puppets, police station, pie in the face, cotton candy cocoons, it all made the cut. All the different clowns represented as well, nice variety in contrast to most other houses this year. Not particularly scary, but it’s a comedy house.
Highlights: Klownzilla. Oddly, the pizza delivery klown (obvious effect but it seemed to get people). The cotton candy and popcorn scents.
Room to Improve: This had everything you could want from a KKfOS house—if you didn’t like it, you weren’t going to like any Killer Klownz house. For what it is, it was perfect.​

5) Ghostbusters: Yeah—it’s not scary. Still fit the Halloween party theme perfectly. Loving recreation of the sets/costumes, nice use of movie clips to sell you on being in the thick of the action. While the house could’ve used a few more actors, the effects were innovative. Going inside the containment unit was a stroke of genius. I’d be ok with this same nostalgia recreation treatment for Beetlejuice or Big Trouble in Little China, assuming no other comedy houses that year.
Highlights: Guests dancing to the song in the queue—especially opening night, Jeanine. Pepper’s ghost Slimer. The dog coming thru the door. The NYC skyline scene. The final Venkman.
Room to Improve: At least one demon dog too many. Could have used a few more ghosts (maybe another room) inside the containment unit. Obviously losing actors hurt a lot, put too much emphasis on the unreliable effects—once they started breaking down, it killed the house. Should’ve entered by the Library with Ecto-1 set outside for photo ops, like at Klownz.​

4) Nightingales: Proves the old HHN adage that a great cast can save a weak house. Sets were fine if a tad generic, fairly well designed with tight turns and distractions, but it took the cast gelling to make this a top house for me. Once they found their groove, did not let up on the scares. Overcame the repetitive, not-as-cool-as-the-original masks and the general lack of plot to make one of the scariest houses in a while.
Highlights: Punching gladiator. Female gladiator stabbing the nightingale. The lion (the one week he worked). Dueling nightingales room toward the finale—surprised they didn’t accidentally touch more guests.
Room to Improve: As mentioned, the masks were meh and repetitive. Really needed a floor of the coliseum finale or something—as is, it just sort of ends.​

3) Yeti—Terror of the Yukon: House felt freezing cold, yetis were aggressive, sets were realistic and impressive. Missing that X factor to make it an all-timer for me—I wonder if a video with some backstory may have helped here—but a well-executed monster house. Most years this would have been at least a top 2 house.
Highlights: The cold. The heart rip scene. The ice cave. The swiping hand.
Room to Improve: Standard 2019 complaint—with only two types of yeti, became somewhat repetitive. Also, effects were slow to reset—a common complaint in soundstage houses, but a complaint nonetheless.​

2) Graveyard Games: After a slow start, became one of my favorites this decade. Immersive sets that could induce chills even without a single actor. A lot of cool effects blended perfectly with their surroundings. But not at the expense of deploying a number of actors throughout the house, all of whom scaring like their (after)life depended on it. Add in the traditional Halloween vibe, this is an all-timer for me.
Highlights: The opening graveyard and Sid (he got guests every time I went thru). The dirt smell. The candles being blown out. The dead kids playground. The final black tunnel.
Room to Improve: Facebook montage queue video was a clever idea but (i) kind of hard to follow the story and (ii) kills my suspension of disbelief by suggesting high school kids still communicate via FB. Local news montage or something may have worked better. May be Mandela Effect, but I’d swear the Exit sign wasn’t on in the dark tunnel my first run—and that made it so much creepier.​

1) Universal Monsters: What do you get when you combine detailed sets, a mix of fun effects, a great cast, and an evergreen fan-favorite Halloween IP? The House of the Year, and a strong contender for House of the Decade. Sets were perfect from the opening room on, with Easter eggs like Frollo and the boat over the creature. In a competitive year, this was the best cast, eager to scare and constantly in guests’ faces. When this was firing on all cylinders, I honestly don’t know what else you could want from a house.
Highlights: The opening statue garden. The brides (both of Dracula and Frankenstein, the MVPs of the event). The mummies. The first Wolfman. Really just the mix of monsters, glad to see Hunchback and Phantom represented.
Room to Improve: The mile-line long back here, then mile and a half line back out. Just too far. At the very least, let Express holders have a shortcut to do Parade 1, then go here before exiting.​
 

SeventyOne

V.I.P.
Jul 1, 2010
3,054
Orlando
And the Zones. Bottom two in running for WOAT; even #1 no great shakes. Let’s get this over with.

6) Zombieland: Not enough props to give a sense of place-making. Shows felt infrequent, canned nature was readily apparent. Most of the cast just sort of there, with minimal make-up. With lax enforcement of the “No costumes” rule, the actors really just blended into the crowd—victim actors looked like guests. And a big honkin’ ad for the new movie in the middle of it all. “Survive or Die”-level bad.

5) Vanity Ball: Make-up effects were really cool, else this might be #6. But almost all the actors made zero effort to scare. The main stage show added nothing, and I never saw the side stages used for any sort of mini-show.

4) Anarch-Ade: Looked really cool at night, with the stilt-walkers and laser ceiling and game cabinets lit up. A couple actors made an attempt to scare, even as the zone typically felt understaffed. Still had all the drawbacks of being the “Main Street” zone tho, and kind of a one-trick pony design-wise.

3) Springfield Chainsaw Team: I’ve mentioned before, they clearly lost a step this year (well, one shift lost multiple steps, the other remained decent if not spectacular). Just didn’t seem that into scaring. Maybe it was the rumored lack of veteran actors, Idk. Generic 80s neon masks didn’t help, either, I really think the clown make-up gave them a manic energy lacking this year. But honorable mention to the bearded guy whose saw broke, so he just ran around yelling “chainsaw noises!”.

2) Vikings Undead. Nice gore, interesting outfits (too many orcs tho). Most actors made an attempt to scare. But understaffed, so it got so crowded that the actors could barely move. And I’ll be blunt—I miss the pumpkins. I think I’d prefer this be a rotating Halloween-themed zone every year (or just keep the pumpkins and some creepy music, move the actors elsewhere).

1) Hellbilly Deluxe. Like Ghostbusters, not scary, but fit the party atmosphere. Visually exciting, loud audio fit the theme, a couple cool photo-ops. A better use of this space than a traditional zone, but even this got so crowded as to be impassable on busy nights. Dancing robot was the star of the event.

Overall, I thought the house line-up, shows and cohesive atmosphere made a great event, just below 25 and 21 in the modern era. I also realize I’m in the minority there, and fully expect some big changes next year
 

OhHaiInternet95

Veteran Member
Aug 18, 2017
4,249
(This is going to be stream of consciousness.)

Le sigh, another year come and gone.

I actually enjoyed this year a lot, despite some flaws. As I've said a bajillion times, I was very happy with the originals.

Nightingales is easily my house of the year. Yeah the old masks and maybe a coliseum finale (tent tho) would've been nice (would've easily been my all-time favorite house), but I really don't care because it had a brilliant concept, a terrific cast (guy/gal in facade = scareactor of the year), and it was tight, dark and nasty. Exactly what I look for in an HHN house, I think I like it better than Scarecrow. I miss it already.

Yeti was a very timing-dependent house, but oh when you timed it right! The yeti who comes out right after the heart rip scared me so badly. Glad it was somewhat cold. The arm was a neat effect when it worked. And as usual for a soundstage, some gorgeous set design.

I'm going to keep defending Depths of Fear. The scariest possible house HHN could do for me would be aboard a plane in crisis. This, like IT before it, comes the closest to that they'll be able to (especially with Alien off limits). For all the problems this house had, it never failed to make me feel squeamish. The eel puppet that comes down from the ceiling, the countdown, the mirror gorge and of course, Helix made for a very scary experience.

Graveyard Games was nice and atmospheric, with some very innovative scare tactics--soooo much potential for future scares with that whisper hallway. Nice uses of scrims. The candle hallway was cool--as someone else mentioned it was amazing how naturally the candles blew out.

The IPs...Killer Klownz was a blast--I wish we had the redneck guy and the endless doors like in Hollywood, but aside from that everything I could ask for as a fan of the movie. I definitely see why people gravitated towards Monsters, as there was plenty to like about it. Awesome projections. The last Frankenstein scared me so badly tonight. The finale of Us made it a passable house. Corpses meh, Stranger Things meh. Ghostbusters...ugh. As a zone or as a house version of MIB it could've worked, but it simply does not make for a good book report-style house.

Scarezones...eehhhhh...uhh...well, RZ was quite fun. Vikings had a very nice amount of gore. Anarch-Ade looked pretty I guess. Zombieland had a nice soundtrack...but yeah overall a forgettable year for zones. If they increase the house count I wouldn't mind axing Plaza of Stars as a spot.

With rare exceptions (HMUS, anything involving the icons) I'm just not a "show" person. Looked like they did a nice job with Marathon of Mayhem but just not my cup of tea.

Overall a very enjoyable year. Let the countdown to XXX begin!
 
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Allison

aka Elegia
Staff member
Moderator
Apr 18, 2018
775
When the Ghostbusters talk got started my feelings for it ranged from indifference to no interest at all. I didn’t have any sort of nostalgic connection to the film (franchise ?) and the most I thought of it was finding the backlash to the new movie ridiculous. I decided to properly watch the original (I had only seen bits and pieces of it) in the summer and I loved it so I was really looking forward to the house. I ended up finding Ghostbusters to be the most fun house that I honestly think I’ve ever been in over the past 4 years I’ve been attending. It was the one thing I looked forward to the most when I would get to go and it never really disappointed me.

As for Rob Zombie I was absolutely not looking forward to his presence this year at HHN. Never really was a Ho1,000C fan (still not) and I 100% disagree with his choices for his haunts, using true crime by highlighting Gacy in Chicago, Manson in LA, I just find to be really cheap and low. All that said I ended up actually enjoying Hellbilly the most out of all the scarezones this year. While I do think San Fran (and Central Park) need a serious reconfiguration to be used as effective zones in the future (if your actors are stuck on the sidelines because it’s too crowded, IMO, it’s a problem) I found it just had a really fun vibe to it that made it my favorite to go through.

So I hope this “review” (it’s not really a review) is more of a cautionary tale to try not to pre-judge too much of something you haven’t experienced yet. If you’re familiar with the source material and already know you don’t like it then that’s one thing, but if you’re on the fence then maybe give it a shot-you might end up pleasantly surprised.

Hope everyone going for the final night has a great time and cheers to Dirty 30 :toast:
 

ssirin88

Rookie
Sep 9, 2019
407
We did 12 total visits this year and it's funny how our rankings changed from the first weekend to the last night.

1: Graveyard Games: Literally never had a bad run through this house. The sets and makeup are fantastic and each time a different scare got me.

2: Universal Monsters: This could have easily been number 1 as well. My favorite house to do in the daytime when my eyes haven't adjusted to the dark yet. Cast was always on point.

3: Ghostbusters: I love the movie and this house was just pure fan service. I liked having Janine do non scripted lines and the music added to the fun. No it wasn't really scary, but it didn't need to be.

4: House of 1000 Corpses: This is one of the houses that moved up on my list as the event went on. The beginning and end of this house are the best parts. The middle is just okay, but the cast was always very into it.

5: Nightingales Blood Pit: Opening weeks, this house was at the bottom. They definitely made improvements as the event went on and the nightingales got more active and in your face.

6: Yeti: I feel like I never had a really good run in this house, but the set and monster designs were great.

7. Depths of Fear: Another house that improved over time once they took out some of the mouth brooders. Anyone else noticed they covered up the dog with fog? Lol.

8. Us: Great house if you manage to get a full cast, but most the time there was some missing scares. Not a bad house, but the wait times don't help either.

9: Stranger Things: Sets were great, but lack of actors and scares considering the long wait times. Wouldn't mind a break from ST next year.

10: Killer Klownz: Not really any scares on this house but it's fun regardless. It definitely worked better as a scarezone though.
 
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Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 21, 2008
21,629
Orlando, FL
Final Rankings:

1. Yeti
2. Monsters
3. Graveyard
4. Nightingales
5. Corpses
6. Klowns
7. Ghostbusters
8. Depths
9. Stranger Things
10. Us

Yeti was the most consistent throughout the event, which is why I put it at #1. Monsters seemed to have lost a bit of steam for the last 2 weeks, but it was still great. Graveyard had a lapse in the middle of the run, but came back in the end very strong. Nightingales brought it from mid-run on. They went from bottom to mid because of the actors hard work. Corpses was great, too - but because the middle scenes kinda dragged for me, it couldn't overcome the other 4. Klowns was fun - but towards the end, it didn't have the same repeat factor as the other houses. Ghostbusters suffered from relying on the effects and timing, which could impact the enjoyment of the house. It was a great nostalgia trip, and a wonderful attraction - but as I said during the first week, it's not a haunted house. Depths picked it up but never really found themselves until the last 2 weeks - which was too little, too late. The Stranger Things Season 3 scenes saved it from going to the bottom of my list. Anything featured from Season 2 didn't work for me at all. Us just never clicked for me at all.

Zones:

1. Hellbilly
2. Anarch-Cade
3. Vanity
4. Vikings
5. Zombieland

The zones were OK. Hellbilly is the best because it was the most fun, and they used that effectively to scare - but the zones need serious work. Anarch-Cade made use of that little space well, and had the best aesthetic, but still understaffed. Vanity had some major pros and cons, with Maestro being a highlight - but it became a M&G. Vikings was fine, wish the costumes had a bit more variety as you couldn't really appreciate the design of the masks. Zombieland just wasn't working for me, and I had no interest in going through NY.

Some last round of photos:

IMG_4519.JPG IMG_4582.JPG IMG_4643.JPG IMG_5319.JPG IMG_5443.JPG IMG_5453.JPG IMG_5498.JPG IMG_5551.JPG IMG_5664.JPG IMG_5715.JPG

IMG_5754.JPG IMG_5950.JPG IMG_6323.JPG IMG_6396.JPG IMG_6655.JPG IMG_6679.JPG IMG_6719.JPG IMG_7117.JPG IMG_7138.JPG IMG_7141.JPG
 

ThemeParks4Life

Veteran Member
Nov 15, 2012
4,349
Central Florida
My updated/final rankings:

1. Universal Monsters
2. Graveyard Games
3. Nightingales: Blood Pit
4. Us
5. Ghostbusters
6. House of 1,000 Corpses
7. Yeti: Terror of the Yukon
8. Depths of Fear
9. Killer Klowns from Outer Space
10. Stranger Things

I didn't walkthrough Yeti, Klowns, or Stranger Things again, but I feel comfortable with the last two being where they are. Depths of Fear improved from the cast changes, but I think Yeti had better scares. I had a somewhat weak run of Nightingales last night, but the few scares I got were due to actors toying around the boundaries of their foot triggers. Monsters and Graveyard Games are definitely my top two, and the latter had my favorite run last night.
 

Rikku

Rookie
Nov 3, 2019
128
My first post on Inside Universal! Been at HNN for a long time but seems like that forum is dying ... anyways! Been going to HHN since 18/Bloody Mary so officially a decade of HHN. Anyways onward with my review.

This was a peculiar year for me, I always travel to the event for the last week (attended 7 nights total) and my first night was honestly dreadful. My partner and myself missed EVERY scare in all the houses and the zones being so lackluster I left the first night disappointed and concerned for the rest of my trip. However as we continued to go each night the event grew on me each and every night and we continued to get better and better runs. Then we would grab cocktails and truly enjoy going to the sidelines and watching Hellbilly and Vanity while we tried to do the same with the others they never clicked with us. Final night comes for our HHN trip and I am fully engrossed into the event all over again and it overcame all the obstacles and I am HHN crazy just as ever counting down until 30 knowing full well that there is nothing else like HHN Orlando anywhere.

Before house rankings I will say that I agree completely with SeventyOne about the KIDS....holy cow was there a ton of kids this year! Not just high/middle school kids but full on elementary and even younger kids. A family behind me went into Depths and Nightingales with us with a kid in a stroller! Pushing a stroller through the houses! Felt very strange to me and throwing off my vibe a bit. Then in Zombieland the amount of kids with arms interlocked running around was FAR to much and actually a group knocked over my partner one night. Needless to say I was pissed. Kids are kids but they can be held responsible to. Anyways a regular complaint at HNN is the event is skewing to young and friendly and I would always dismiss those claims as HHN has always had a house go a more lighter tone and still have savage houses...this is my first year I fully see it and am agreeing and hoping the event keeps its adult-geared tone and the event doesn't become overrun with kids and look like a MNSSHP. Man do I sound like an old man hahaha! Dang kids get away from my HHN!

10. Ghostbusters
The reviews on here say most of the effects stopped working near the end of the run which is when I visited but it always felt so lackluster to me, scary or not scary I just never found much fun in this house. The Ghostbusters themselves never seemed that into their roles when I passed. The scene with the Ghostbusters capturing Slimer was cool...but aside from a few elements the house didn't click with me.

9. Graveyard Games
I know blasphemy!!! How dare I place Graveyard this low! But this is a house I tried so hard to love but the timing never synced up for me after 7 runs. The house is stunning! I absolutely loved walking through it for aesthetics but man I never hit it right. I don't want to take away from all the love it is getting but for me I never had "the run." Also I don't agree with the black hallway as brilliance, I found it lazy and don't want to encourage the design team in that direction ever as it could lead us towards Hollywood lazy design choices.

8. Depths of Fear
Love the "Alien" like homage, as Alien and Predator are two of my most beloved movies/franchises. My partner found the fish creature costumes silly, I didn't personally have a problem with them however it did seem limiting. Probably the best scare happened every run of this house was the small fish puppet from the ceiling, that got me EVERY time haha. I knew the dang thing was there but man whoever was working it sure got it right in my face! Bravo! Loved the aesthetics but something just about it just couldn't compete with the other houses.

7. Nightingales
Unlike the fish creatures the Nightingales seemed to have a lot more freedom and could be more expressive and interactive. Definitely had some fun runs but similar to Depths it just is missing something to truly make it standout and be above the herd.

6. Stranger Things
So this is where actor interaction and experience truly come into play. Where Graveyard never had "the run" I had it with ST. One of my nights we had this house alone to just me and my partner and it was amazing. The group in front of me blitzed ahead while the group behind me never found us from the very beginning. Therefore we got all the cast interaction and attention and then some beyond just the audio provided. I don't know how it happened but it was absolutely one of the most magical HHN experiences I ever had. No I can't say this house is number one, it just simply isn't however I had a great time and it deserves some recognition.

5. Us
It seems like it boiled down mostly to those who saw the movie and those who didn't and how that impacted the enjoyment of the house. I saw the movie and enjoyed it so therefore I liked the house. I had some great timing in the house. Loved the loft scene especially with the Josh tethered with his hand gesture over his head was so perfect and he would always stare me down. I think for what the movie is, I am not sure what much else could've been accomplished to make this house any higher on my ranking list.

4. Killer Klownz From Outer Space
Similar to Us, I enjoy the movie so therefore I like the house translation and am not sure what else could've been done. I loved this house, I always left with a huge smile on my face. I kinda want to make this number one for sheer enjoy-ability and just how much fun I had with every run but the top 3 are such stellar standouts I can't do it. But this house had just about everything, I am so glad it got the house treatment after loving it as a street last year. It was consistent and just always a great time. Also loved the photo-op at the entrance, I think a great idea instead of streets fully dedicated to be a photo-op.

3. Yeti: Terror of the Yukon
Boy I loved that a/c with this hot HHN season! Stellar sets and some creative show scares like the hand bursting the chest and the door slam kill. Only issue with this house that made it number 3 was how long those scenes took and to reset, thankfully I never had an issue with the OPs in this house so if the scene hit us right I would basically stop to watch the scene play out. The Yetis were fierce and usually on point to attack me and my partner. Loved this house as well.

2. House of a 1000 Corpses
Well this was certainly a surprise, unlike Us you don't have to watch this film to enjoy the house. I have yet to see the movie and this house made me want to watch it right away. It was for sure on the bottom of my anticipation list. The audio was hilarious and quirky yet would terrify, the Spalding and clown in the beginning was a great way to start and really set the tone. It felt dark and gritty like old school HHN which I of course loved, kinda like Dollhouse of the Damned vibes. I never had a bad run and always had a great time. Interesting variety of characters/design and that hallway near the end with those skeleton/zombie like creatures duo popping out was great they hit hard. Wish Monsters got HotY however Ho1kC was a great second.

1. Universal Monsters
This was my clear winner of the year and perhaps my GOAT. The actors always hit so hard in this house especially for me was the Lagoon section! Man those guys were amazing and got so close to my face, made me yelp every time. Easily the most aggressive scare and consistent scare right up there with the puppets from Depths of the whole season. But also right up there the Dracula, Mummy, Wolf, my gosh I mean when this house was on fire it was on fire almost every turn someone was actively going for it and giving their best. Then thankfully the sets were just as beautifully stunning to compliment the brilliance of the cast. What I think also helped was the constant turns so that gave great opportunities for the cast to surprise and scare unlike the great hallways of some other houses. This I could just ramble forever but simply brilliant, easily one of the best if not the best of all time. BRAVO! I will seriously miss this house.
 

Rikku

Rookie
Nov 3, 2019
128
Scarezones....
Man this was a clear weak point this year. All of them felt way to small, not enough actors, and in general just not up to par with what I expect from this event. I hope feedback was received that this needs some work for sure.

**Chainsaw Horde (non-rating)
I understand they are horror event staples but I am so sick of them especially in Simpsons, I wish they would retire and be something anything else.

5. Zombieland
Easily one of the worst streets of all time perhaps THE worst. The streets of TWD 23 was better than this. Minimal make-up, hardly any sets....who knew there would be a day I missed the Purge? The Purge was a much better street, felt full, engaging, could spend lots of time with the Purge. This always felt like a bother to walk through, especially with the kids running around this zone in particular. I hope they got feedback about how rotten this zone was.

4. Anarch-ade
Fun to take photos in, some really stunning photos came from this zone. However any Purge haters who thought we got through this year Purge free are wrong. Those neon chainsaw masks? Totally Party City Purge masks. It was never scary and I am still confused why the stilt ladies had nun-chucks, one of the least horror weapons in my mind. But would never spend more than a minute here mostly walked through.

3. Vikings
I like the lanterns...like the pumpkins more but found it a good forest setting as this zone tends to be. I wanted to like the zone a lot more but the actors never gave me anything when walking through. However I found the sets to be pretty and not cheap like Anarch-ade and did spend time in this zone just watching it.

2. Vanity Ball
One of the better barker zones in a while, hated Chucky last year...last one I liked was Chance. Had some fun interactions in the area but this area felt wayyyyy to small. What happened to the grand size of like 7 and dare I say FaceOff? While some fun was had here it still pales in comparison to previous attempts in this zone but liked it far more than Chucky.

1. Hillbilly Deluxe
Man this place felt like a party and again old school HHN. However similar complaint of it just feeling wayyyy to small, one step you are in and the next it is over. But had some fun unique characters, found the dancers a nice adult tone and made it feel like an adult event, every one seemed like they were having a good time. When not in houses I would stand by the F&F exit and just watch the zone for a bit. Only street in the end that felt good.


Again in the end I ended up having a blast this year and there was a lot of greatness however the places it did fall short I think stood out extremely hard making it hard to overlook. But like I said in the end no one does it like HHN Orlando and it is truly something I look forward to every year. I can only hope it continues to improve and get better as I love this event dearly. I am excited for HHN 30 and what it will bring. Let the countdown and speculation begin!
 

itsabee

Rookie
Sep 11, 2019
217
9. Graveyard Games
I know blasphemy!!! How dare I place Graveyard this low! But this is a house I tried so hard to love but the timing never synced up for me after 7 runs. The house is stunning! I absolutely loved walking through it for aesthetics but man I never hit it right. I don't want to take away from all the love it is getting but for me I never had "the run." Also I don't agree with the black hallway as brilliance, I found it lazy and don't want to encourage the design team in that direction ever as it could lead us towards Hollywood lazy design choices.
I don’t mean to criticize you because you’re valid with your opinion, but I just wanted to mention that the black hallway wasn’t presented the same way as it was in the end. For the first weekend or so, it was simply a pitch-black room, and I believe the audio was louder. It was completely disorienting and unsettling. Apparently, though, people couldn’t/wouldn’t move when placed in the dark space, so they added the bright green exit sign to the top of the hallway. It does feel weird when you see it that way, like it’s more of an empty room marked by a clear sign as opposed to a set piece in and of itself. I don’t think we have anything to worry about regarding the black hallways of doom in Hollywood.
 

Rikku

Rookie
Nov 3, 2019
128
I don’t mean to criticize you because you’re valid with your opinion, but I just wanted to mention that the black hallway wasn’t presented the same way as it was in the end. For the first weekend or so, it was simply a pitch-black room, and I believe the audio was louder. It was completely disorienting and unsettling. Apparently, though, people couldn’t/wouldn’t move when placed in the dark space, so they added the bright green exit sign to the top of the hallway. It does feel weird when you see it that way, like it’s more of an empty room marked by a clear sign as opposed to a set piece in and of itself. I don’t think we have anything to worry about regarding the black hallways of doom in Hollywood.
Always one of the hardest things for me is the waiting game cause I always wait until the end of the event to go and every year something is removed or just doesn’t work like it did in the beginning. So it sounds like it could have been an interesting room to see in person, no video on YouTube could replicate. Sounds cool but still doesn’t change my experience or ranking. However sounds amazing and I for sure want to hear all the changes that happen over the course of the event!
 

SeanPhilly

Rookie
Aug 17, 2016
217
My two buddies and I were there 10/29 - 11/2. Five nights - most we have ever done. Also first time doing the last night.

My own personal ranking:

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

Top 6 were tough for me. But as I always say, even my number 10 is usually still awesome.

Like many others, I was disappointed in all the ScareZones. Would probably rank as:

1) Vanity Ball
2) Rob Zombie
3) Anarcade
4) Zombieland
5) Vikings

We had an amazing time.
C09D6B43-9717-4BD3-AEA7-763961CA0EE2.jpeg
 
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KengKun

Newcomer
May 6, 2016
71
I had a Frequent Fear Pass and went 4 nights in total. I went through around 8 houses the last night I went (11/1). Also this is my first time going to HHN (I was interested in the Ghostbusters and KKFOS, I would've gone last year but I did not save up any kind of pass)

10. Stranger Things
The biggest disappointment of this year. I don't even think it's worth a S&S at all (I waited an hour even after I got in line for the house) The sets are cool and everything but no scares and not as charming as other houses that have the same problem. The Demodogs are not scary at all (but they could be) and the season 3 part just feels tacked on in my opinion.
Best part- the Starcourt mall scene because the puppet was actually working and the sets
Worst parts- everything other than that. (exaggeration but you get my point)

9. Us
I don't even think this is even that bad but all the runs I had through this house did not live up to my expectations. The sets are accurate to the movie and the scares I did get were awesome. Other than that, it felt like a creepy house but it felt empty for me.
Best part- The scene inside the funhouse and the ending scene
Worst part- The middle part of this house felt boring and empty to me.

8. Depths of Fear
Went through this house the most and everytime I went through the quality of the house went down. I feel like adding more humans to the maze makes it feel weird. I prefer the fish monsters and all the scares with them. I liked how cheesy it was but like I said before the quality went down.
Best parts- the scare with the arm (?) from the ceiling and the scenes with the fish monsters.
Worst parts- the way this house went down in quality and decreased the number of the fish monsters from the house

7. Killer Klowns From Outer Space.
The house was colorful and true to the movie. I loved this house so much as a fan of the movie. The Klown costumes were so awesome and more big than I expected. The problem with this house is that it feels too short (which makes sense due to location) and the lack of facade compared to Hollywood's. Also the scares was repetitive and not really scary.
Best parts- Klownzilla and ending scene
Worst parts- Booholes are super noticeable and facade is pretty lame

6. Graveyard Games
Everyone rates this house at very high and I agree with most of the takes on this house. It is one of the scariest houses this year and has a consistent performance with the actors. The facade is stunning. The problem I have with this house is that I thought it would be more focused on graveyards and the whole idea of it not focused on cramped areas. I expected the sets to be more open and less cramped.
Best parts- Facade is stunning, actors are awesome, and the pitch black scene is scary.
Worst parts- Did not really expect what we actually got like I said before (wanted more open scenes)

5. Yeti: Terror of the Yukon
I had this at my top 3 based on my first runs through all the houses. Then I went through many of the houses again and I enjoyed the other houses more than this one after those runs. This house was super long for me and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The Yeti kill scenes are gnarly (I hit all of them the first few runs). I also loved the scene with the Yetis on top of the cliffs. The only thing that brings it down for me is the timing issues with some of the scares I had in my last few runs and how it takes a little long for the scares to reset.
Best parts- Super long (for me), stunning sets/facade, scares were there and were frequent
Worst parts- the timing issues with the scares and how long it takes for some of them to reset

4. House of 1000 Corpses
House is super scary in my opinion. I love how the house is structured as well. I do wish though we had more of the Murder Ride like in Hollywood but I liked the sets in this house too. Plus the whole Catacombs with Dr Satan's minions was super terrifying for me. The actors honestly just made the house for me with Spaulding. My problem with this house is super situational though as I feel like I went through this house when there was a cast change.
Best parts- Spaulding scenes, Dr Satan scenes, and the facade
Worst part- Cast changes in my runs which made me miss some of the scares

3. Ghostbusters
As a fan of the movie, this house is perfect. It has everything you want from a Ghostbusters attraction and it honestly made me tear up a bit when I was about to enter the house. I love everything about this house. The scares are not there but this house has a certain charm for me that would not let me hate this house. I missed most of the scares and some of the actors/effects were missing during the ghost attack scene but I still loved this house so much. As a fan, I was glad to be able to go through this and I hope more Ghostbusters things come to Universal in the future.
Best part- everything
Worst parts- When it ends (seriously though this house is not scary but I don't think that it was going for) Also the timing was off for most of my runs but I saw most of the scares in front or behind me.

2. Nightingales: Blood Pit
This house is scary. Before I went in, I had the mindset from the first few weeks. I heard from people that this was one of the weaker houses this year. I went into this house for the first time with this mindset. That being said, I was amazed. The scares are always there. I always get every scare in this house and I love it so much. The sets are claustrophobic and it smells so bad which is perfect for this house. The lion scared the crap out of me every single time and is the best scare of this event (for me). I literally dropped onto the floor because I forgot where he was. The finale of the house is one of the most scariest things I have ever been through in this year.
Best parts- The costumes, scares, and the lion scare
Worst part- Only compliant I have with it is the design of the actual Nightingale. Looks weird compared to the first house

1. Universal Monsters
This was my favorite house this year. It had some great scares. The facade is epic in scale and the monsters are designed so good. The sets are fantastic and the actors were some of the best in the event. My favorite scare was the Mummy scene as it gets me every single time. I do not have a problem with this house at all. 10/10 every single time.
Best part- everything
Worst part- N/A

Overall, a good year to start with and I am excited to see what is going to happen next year for HHN30.
 
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FaceBagman

Rookie
Nov 3, 2019
139
Last year was my first in attendance, this year came up fast & I was so happy to make the trip back from New York for another go-around!

I have to preface this review by saying that HHN29 came with some personal hangups in my life (getting sick 4 days into the vacation among other things), but I will always cherish it & the memories I made. HHN30 may wind up being very bittersweet, but I don't plan on missing it for anything!

Final House Rankings:
10. Stranger Things 2 - Last year's best feature was actually it's final room; as much as people (myself included) dislike black curtain hallways, that last gauntlet of Demogorgons in ST1 was very fun on a full-cast night. My biggest problem with ST2 is that seasons 2 & 3 upped the creature-count, but the house never seemed to reflect that, instead opting for more character roles. Those are fun little cameos for named characters, but don't offer a lot of repeat value. The D-Dogs were not menacing (way smaller than expected), and the fleshy Flayer puppets were visually lovely to look at, but not intimidating. I guess I set myself up for disappointment when I jokingly commented that I wish they could revisit the Twister show technology to simulate Season 2 Flayer. I think more possessed Wills could have helped too. Almost anything else could have helped...

9. Ghostbusters - Fun to walk through. Loved the trivia from my UtH guide that roughly 8000 discarded books were donated from libraries to create the NYPL room, since I work in a public library back home. But the house was way too timing-dependent on it's best scenes. Never got a Winston during my 4 runs, sadly. Though when you got all the other street scene hits, it was a great time. Same with the black hallway midway through. Not sure what could have been improved. Though like ST2, the Terror Dog puppets were super telegraphed, unlike the big puppet scares from last year in Poltergeist & Slaughter.

8. Nightingales: Blood Pit - The OG Nightingales is one of my classic "ones that got away", a house that came about when I was a stupid alcoholic who always wanted to visit HHN but drank away the funds I could have used to go. So I really wanted to love the prequel house. And despite my concerns about the new costumes, I did grow to appreciate them. I actually think the static props of the new 'gales looked amazing. And I did love all the cool props in here in general. After my UtH tour, I couldn't help but point at the ceiling & cry, "YOU KILLED OUR BEAR!" at the 'gale right after the horse prop lol. So this house only ranks so low because I never had a perfect walkthrough of it. I really wish I had. The last room got better & better every time, but I often missed the neck-snap scene, the lion, the first window, etc... Props to the neck-snap guy for returning my "let him die!" thumb down on closing night though!

7. Us - Another house that suffered from never having a perfect walkthrough. I do give it credit for trying something different, the actors going more for uncomfortable staring than jumps was perfectly fitting. Wish the car scene was a little more aggressive, wish the mirror maze was focused on more, wish there were more Plutos! But the final room, the living room, and the Ophelia scene were all knockouts. The Jeremiah guy following me with his stare as I entered the house was great on one night.

6. Graveyard Games - So, there were some great runthroughs of this house, but twice we hit it with major major scenes just missing actors (the female teen's introduction and the final scare). I do love the scenery in here though, including the trees! To look up and just see trees everywhere was really immersive. I wish Carnival Graveyard had worked this well on the vertical plane last year. The actors were almost always awesome too. I should probably rank this higher, but I mean 6-1 are all so good. Candle hallway was epic.

5. Killer Klowns from Outer Space - So I do think Hollywood actually beat Orlando on this house (the "another door?!" scene sold me on that), but I will say that the cast here did a great job with the awkward costumes. I was shocked they were able to stay so mobile in that gear. Unrelated: dark-haired Mooney was one of the all-stars of the event, just sayin...

4. Depths of Fear - I went in expecting this to be a disaster after reading early-season reviews & seeing opening night footage. But the staffing/role changes really made a major difference! It was corny, but still had some in-your-face actors. The only reason this didn't make my top 3 is that godawful stagnant water smell in a couple of rooms, not to mention the thoughts of what could have been had all the intended water effects made it to showtime.

3. Yeti: Terror of the Yukon - Really fun maze, I feel like nothing ever lived up to my first walkthrough, but that walkthrough was soooo good. The chestburster scene, the door-smash, the charging cave Yeti, the dropping arm. All sorts of great scenes in here, plus wonderful detail. Made me feel right at home back north (it snowed for the first time here today! >.<)

2. Universal Monsters - Had it at my #1 right up until the last night of the event, and it's still wicked close. The Phantoms were all so intense, all of them got right in our faces & lingered there, it was amazing. Drac & the Mummies were great at that too. The Creatures were all so well-timed. Love the Bride's design. Quasi was having so much fun, it was contagious. I always left this with a smile on my face, even on Halloween when I had a depersonalization disorder attack minutes before entering the house. Thank you, Monsters, for being a bright spot in that really rough night. <3

1. House of 1000 Corpses - This. Cast. Killed. It. Maybe it had a slight advantage over UM in the sense that, as opposed to ST2, Corpses actually benefited from less masks & more face-character roles. The actors stayed in character while showcasing incredible improv talents. Some fun things that happened here:
-Every time Baby Firefly was singing on my walkthroughs, I'd mouth the song & points back to her. On one such walkthrough, Otis timed his "No funny business!" perfectly and I died laughing. Once that Otis knew me, he kept getting more & more in my face and pointed back to me when I wished him a Happy Halloween. He was an absolute legend & my favorite actor of the event.
-Dr. Satan was making fun gestures & went out of his way on our first walkthrough to interact with a clearly not-ready-for-haunts child behind us in a way that calmed him down.
-Back to the Baby Firefly & Otis scene; on our last night, Baby's audio cue played, but she never emerged. I looked over to Otis and we shrugged at each other. Then he started to ad-lib lines calling out for her & yelling at her. It all seemed like exactly what Otis would say in that situation & I couldn't stop laughing. I just thought he adapted to the situation really well.
-Captain Spaulding returned our "happy Halloween" wishes in-character on Hallow's Eve after his voice line played.

Zones:
5. Anarch-Cade - I do think it's eons better than last year's Harvest thematically, though I never saw the actors quite as aggressive as the Harvest ones were on closing week last year. But it's so short & not really fun to stick around in.

4. Vikings Undead - Not enough room for aggressive actors, bulky costumes, too dark for photo-ops at night. The actors last year at least had opportunities to scare from behind boxes. I don't think I ever saw that this year. The two scenes were cool, but congested foot-traffic quite a bit when in progress. Also, would never know the vikings were "undead" without the name of the zone telling me.

3. Zombieland - I hated this zone during my first few days in the park. Way too kid-crowded and I didn't care much for the scene-shows. Getting dinner at Finns on Sunday night made me a big fan of the actors. I loved how they acted out scenes in front of the windows near us or went for scares on dining patrons. It was so much fun!

2. Rob Zombie's Hellbilly Deluxe - Metal af. Dirty af. People loved it when we were there. The actors were a ton of fun, and the photo ops were great. If the Living Dead Girl stage is the closest we ever get to seeing The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari featured at Halloween Horror Nights, then I suppose I'll have to live with that.

1. Vanity Ball - I just went over-the-top in-depth about why this is my favorite zone I've experienced so far in it's own thread. Long story short: the talent was so in-character every time we went through, and they developed their characters so deeply that they had something new to tell us about themselves (or which of our body parts they wanted!) every time.

Other notes: Academy of Villains was amazing. S'mores fries were fun and tasted great, but I wouldn't get them again. Springfield chainsaw guy that just made "ri-gi-gi-gih!" noises instead of revving up his chainsaw was hysterical, more of him please! The artist (only know their name is Shelby, sorry!) who did the artwork of original houses/zones did an amazing job & I would buy more of their work anytime.

Tentative overall 2-year rankings Favorite-to-Least - Houses:

Slaughter Sinema
House of 1000 Corpses
Universal Monsters
Poltergeist
Dead Exposure: Patient Zero
Scary Tales: Deadly Ever After
Yeti: Terror of the Yukon
Depths of Fear
Killer Klowns
Seeds of Extinction
Graveyard Games
Us
Nightingales: Blood Pit
Ghostbusters
Trick 'r Treat
Halloween 4
Carnival Graveyard
Stranger Things 2
The Horrors of Blumhouse

Scare Zones:

Vanity Ball
Revenge of Chucky
Rob Zombie's Hellbilly Deluxe
Twisted Tradition
Zombieland
'Vamp '85
Killer Klowns
Vikings Undead
The Harvest - Anarch-Cade (tied because both did things right that the other didn't)
 
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