Eight haunted houses, six scare zones and a couple of shows equal one thing, Halloween Horror Nights (HHN). This event helps answer one question: are people more scared drunk or sober? If you are looking to get drunk and be scared, this is the place. Okay, I’m not being fair, you do not have to be drunk to enjoy this event (really). I have been to many of the HHN events in which some were good, and others were bad. I have to say this was a good year.
Basically, for this review I am going to list the haunted house or scare zone, give you the description given by the event guide (e.g.), and then give my opinion of it. After that I will talk about the HHN must see show “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure,” and then “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” I will then give my number one tip on how to make the most of your HHN experience.
-The Wolfman: “Forget everything you thought you knew, and prepare yourself for the sights and sounds of the newest addition to Universal’s legacy of horror, straight from the upcoming feature film” (e.g.). Well, hopefully the movie will be better than this house. It started off good, as you had to walk through a forest going into the house. It was dark and had enough depth that you could not see when the wolfman came out at you. After that, the house was not that scary. Other wolfmen tried to scare you, but it just did not work. They had people who were in the middle of transforming into the wolfman. The house was more about telling the story than actually scaring you. The house just seemed too short to me.
-Dracula: Legacy in Blood: “Vlad Dracul has chosen you-now you must decide whether to join the Dark Prince in everlasting life or reject his offer and suffer for all eternity” (e.g.). Like many of the houses, the entrance was well done. They had impaled bodies all around as you walked in. The thing that made this house scary was not actually Dracula, but it was his bride. They had a lot of flashing lights as you walked around the corners, and the bride would pop out at you. Shameless to say, the bride scared me good one time.
-Frankenstein: Creation of the Damned: “Dr. Frankenstein’s Creature has returned to make the Doctor pay-and he’ll destroy everything in his path to gain redemption. Guess who’s caught in the middle?” (e.g.) This one was all about the electricity. The lightening that brought Frankenstein alive was out to fry you next. There was a lot of misdirection, where they had you looking at things while Frankenstein popped out at you. Also, this was not a nice Frankenstein; it was a very mean looking one.
-Leave it to Cleaver: “With a steady livestock of transients and town lawbreakers to choose from, there is truly no end in sight for Sam Meetz’ butcher business” (e.g.). This was one of my favorite houses. Many of the transients and lawbreakers, as they are called, had masks on that were similar to the girls’ mask in The Strangers. They were pretty freaky popping out all over the place. The house seemed like it was one of the longer ones. It had a big finish as you had to pass through the butcher shop and exit out the front of it. Outside waiting for you was Sam Meetz himself accompanied by his loud chainsaw. It you hate chainsaws, stay away from Sam.
-Saw: “See if you can escape the latest demented game of the serial killer Jigsaw. But what happens if you aren’t just the victim, but the trap itself?” (e.g.) This was another one of the better houses. It started off as if you were in Jigsaw’s hideout from the first couple of Saws and took you all the way to his death. They had him on his deathbed just like in the movie. They had TV’s that Jigsaw usually views showing scenes from the movies. The doll was on his tricycle coming out at you, but it was too dark and there was not much sound signifying that he was there. I was disappointed with that. I thought that we would see him a little more. While Leave it to Cleaver had a good ending, Saw had the best. You walked into a dark room with a lightly flashing light. As you had to walk across the room, Jigsaw with the pig mask stepped out of the corner. Does not sound that scary, well it was not one Jigsaw. There was probably 6-8 of them all surrounding you. It definitely felt like you were going to be the star of the next game.
-The Spawning: “Something ‘different’ has moved in among the sewers, and it’s your job to venture into these pipes and restore the water flow. Beware what lies beneath…”(e.g.). To me, this was probably the worst house. It just had a bunch of lizard looking people popping out at you. They were not scary looking to me, and never got close to scaring me.
-Chucky: Friends till the End: “Ever wonder what happens when good toys go bad? Nothing is what it seems as you step inside and experience what it’s like to live in Chucky’s world” (e.g.). Another cool entrance as you walked into the toy factory. A larger Chucky sign was displayed at the front, which was great to take a quick picture with. This house was a tour of a toy factory as Chucky and some of toys tried to scare you. There was a pile of what seemed to be stuffed animals, but it was an actor that tried to scare you. I thought that was a good idea because it was hard to tell if it was going to move or not. My only problem with this one was actual Chucky himself. All the Chucky masks were too big. It made Chucky look weirder to me than scary.
-Silver Screams: “Enter the Universal Palace Theatre, a realm where the horror on the screen is ripped away to reveal a world that is truly terrifying” (e.g.). This house had a combination of several movies, including The Phantom of the Opera, My Bloody Valentine, and The Strangers. As you walked through scenes of these movies, the Usher popped out trying to scare you. Either that or he really wanted to take you to your seats. Instead of having the usual flashlight, he had an air hose that blew air at you. Since they cannot touch you, I think this was a good way to scare you. They had the guy from The Strangers in the house trying to scare you. I loved the movie so I loved seeing him in a house.
Containment: This zone was at the front of the park where most people started off walking through. There was a large truck at the entrance with a guy at the top warning you before you walked under an inflatable arch. He was pretty funny has he said things like “to move quickly” and “not be in the middle of groups of three or you will die” (I have video which I hope to post). After walking under the arch, there were contaminated people coming out of the shadows at you. What really worked was that it dark and they had smoke blowing there. It was hard to see anything and if you were not paying attention, out popped one of the contaminated people.
Lights Camera Hacktion: Usually the areas where the guys with chainsaws are found are the best, but I did not think so this time. This zone was weak to me. It was too lit up and not enough chainsaw guys. The chainsaw guys had taken over the set of a movie. I did not see enough people getting scared by the sound of the chainsaw, which is always fun to watch.
Horrorwood drive in: Best scare zone this year. It was set in a drive in movie. There was a large screen showing old movies and several cars parked as if people were watching the movies. They had characters from different movies wondering around scaring people. Again, they had the three characters from The Strangers so this made me happy. A lot of people were getting scared here.
War of The Living Dead: This was the zone for anyone that likes zombie soldiers. You basically had to walk though a war zone with zombie soldiers firing their weapons, and chasing you around. It was loud and dark, but not as scary because for some reason a lot of people liked taking pictures with the soldiers.
Apocalypse City of Cannibals: The best thing about this zone was that every few minutes an explosion of fire would go off. It was crazy because it was an open area and the cannibals had a lot of room to run around. They were very freaky looking. There was a school bus that had apparently crashed there, and made a good place for the cannibals to hide by when they were not scaring you.
Cirque Du Freak: This was more of a show like theme than an area where people scared you. There was a creepy looking guy walking around on stilts. Hate snakes, well there was a guy walking around with one around his neck. They also had the traditional rat lady. For those who do not know, this lady lays in a glass box with a bunch of rats running around all over her. She even pets them. Everyone tries to get a picture of this.
So that was the houses and the scare zones. Now, if you ever go to HHN you have to go the “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” show. The Bill and Ted’s what? Yes, the “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” show. Basically it is a spoof on the movies, actors, actresses, singers, and anyone else that has made major news over the last year. Trust me, it is hilarious. The plot is pretty simple. Basically some bad guy tries to take over Bill and Ted’s phone booth to use it for evil purposes, and Bill and Ted try to get it back. Characters, good and bad, choose their sides, put down each other, curse, eventually fight, and the show ends with the characters singing and dancing. This year Phil from fan boy was the lead bad guy. Some of the other characters this year were the new Star Trek, William Shatner, Cobra Commander, Michael Myers, Christian Bale, the Watchmen (refer to as the Unwatchables), Wolverine, Meg Fox, Lady Gaga, and Bruno.
The only other show they have is the tribute to the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Basically, they reenact small parts of the movie on stage. There is a screen that shows parts of the movie as the reenactment goes on. It is not a bad show if you are a fan of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. If you are not a fan, or do not even know what it is, you probably are not going to like it, and should spend your time at the Bill and Ted’s show instead.
My number one tip for getting the most out of your HHN experience is to go on a RIP tour. Yes, it is more expensive, but it is the only way to ensure that you get to go into all of the houses and scare zones, and see the Bill and Ted’s show. Trust me when I say that lines for the houses are long. If you want to spend a majority of the night in lines that is fine, but just think about. Spending over an hour in line to go through a house for about 5 minutes is not the best use of your time. I think it is really hard to get to see all the houses and enjoy everything else as well. There is an express pass that you can buy, which basically puts you in a shorter line but you still have to wait. If not the tour, then get an express pass. Again, I really think it is hard to enjoy HHN if you spend most of your time in lines. Back to the tour, you are groups of about 12 people, and you have a guide led you through the park. The guide leads you around the lines and right to the front of the houses so you do not have to wait to get in. They give you a brief explanation of the house. You get several breaks to go to the bathroom or get those all-important drinks. The tour gets you prime seating for the Bill and Ted’s show. Sometimes, they will even get you on a ride at the park if there is time, and again without waiting in line.
So I have to say I was extremely happy with this year’s HHN. It was better than last year’s HHN. I liked 6 out of the 8 houses, which is good because, trust me; you will not like all of them (especially if you wait in long lines for them). The scare zones were definitely better this year than last year’s. It was a good year to go because it was not as crowded as usual (economy stinks). Remember the two things I strongly suggest, going on the RIP tour and seeing the Bill and Ted’s show (which is included on the tour). So I will give this year’s HHN 4 pools of blood, very good but not the best one out of the years I have gone. Hope to see you there next year!
Update: to see the videos from HHN please visit www.youtube.com/user/horrosgoryreviews