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Thursday, December 23, 2010

MY TRIBUTE TO GREMLINS



    I don’t know why other than it is the holiday season, but I was in the mood to watch Gremlins. This was one of my favorite movies when I was growing up. I don’t know how long it has been since I last saw it. After watching it, I was happy to see that I still enjoyed it after all these years. Instead of reviewing it and boring you with all the reasons I love it, I decided to pay tribute to the movie. So with a few comments and fun facts sprinkled in, here are pictures, and videos of some of the unforgettable moments in Gremlins.

How could you not love this little guy?

I told you all selling the Mogwai would be a mistake!



I forgot he was in this movie. 


The days before PSP and Nintendo DS!

Fun fact 1: The gremlin was actually coined by the British Royal Air Force in the early 1900s. The word gremlin first appeared in print in a poem published in 1929 in the journal Aeroplane. Gremlin was used during WWII to explain the inexplicable mechanical problems that would happen while an aircraft was in flight.  

A Gizmo Clone…this can’t be good!


Feed us! Feed us! It’s only 11:30pm. 


This seems like a good time to review the 3 rules for keeping your Mogwai happy and safe:
1-keep him out of the light, especially sunlight
2-keep him away from water
3-never feed him after midnight  
I always wondered if you can’t feed him after midnight, then at what time in the morning can you feed him?  


Tell me you are not eating my gingerbread man cookies!

This isn’t a chestnut roasting on an open fire. 

Fun fact 2: Mogwai can be translated from Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese as meaning monster or demon. In Gremlins, the mogwai is a cute little animal who likes to sing.


It is awesome how they sing the Gremlins theme song.






How I love the bar scene: 


Smoke if you got em! 

One of the things about the gremlins that always amuses me is how they laugh after they do something bad. 


Who needs a bartender? 


Fun fact 3: In the original draft of the script, instead of Stripe being a Mogwai who becomes a Gremlin, there was no Stripe the Mogwai and Gizmo was supposed to turn into Stripe the Gremlin. Steven Spielberg overruled this plot element because he felt Gizmo was cute and audiences would want him to be present at all stages of the film. 


Hey beautiful! 


I think it is best if you let Stripe win. 


He is a cool cat. 


Fun fact 4: Little to no actual dialogue for the Gremlins and Mogwai exists in the script in itself. In addition to several instances of on stage rewrites changing or adding to much of the script, the voiceovers were all mostly ad libs, repeating snippets of just performed dialogue or in reaction to other sound effects or environment. To this end, Howie Mandel recorded Gizmo's lines phonetically for foreign dubs of the movie, where localized dialogue and in jokes helped make the picture successful with audiences worldwide. 


Hey, weren’t you the same Gremlin that held up the bank? 


Gremlins like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, go figure!




Gizmo to the rescue! 


Fun fact 5: The theater that blows up was subsequently involved in another accident when Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) in Back to the Future (1985), smashes into the front entrance at the end of the film. The theater then burned down with the rest of the buildings in the fire that happened right after the filming of Back to the Future Part II (1989).


Gizmo’s revenge! 


The final narration of the movie by Billy’s father: 


“Well, that's the story. So if your air conditioner goes on the fritz or your washing machine blows up or your video recorder conks out; before you call the repairman turn on all the lights, check all the closets and cupboards, look under all the beds, 'cause you never can tell there just might be a gremlin in your house.”




  Hopefully we get a fun and well done part 3 one day! 

  
  HorrO 


(fun facts taken from IMDB)

Friday, December 17, 2010

TOP 5 BEST AND WORST HORROR MOVIES OF 2010



  2010 started off well with some descent movies such as, Daybreakers, Legion, and The Wolfman. A few months in came probably the most anticipated, and talked about movie of the year: the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Some of the talk was positive, but more of it seemed negative. Speaking of greatly talked about movies, I can’t forget to mention the DVD release of The Human Centipede. The summer kicked off with Splice, and ended with The Last Exorcism. October should have been a time to celebrate with horror movies, but the box office was pretty weak for movies such as, My Soul to Take 3D, Let Me In, and Hatchet 2. On the other hand, it ended well with Saw 3D, and Paranormal Activity 2.
  What does all of this mean? It is about that time of year to wrap up the 2010 horror movie season, and move on to 2011. With that said, here is my list of favorite, and least favorite horror movies of 2010. As with my list from last year, this list includes only the movies I saw, so if I left out your favorite movie, “sorry.” Trust me, I wish I could have seen them all. Also, I decided to give out a few awards so without further delay:

My Top 5 Favorite Horror Movies of 2010:

 #5 Devil: I vowed not to see M. Night’s movies in theaters anymore but seeing that he didn’t direct this movie, I gave it a chance. I was expecting them to screw up the twist, but to my surprise they didn’t. It isn’t earth shattering, but seems to fit well with the direction of the movie. Devil Review 

#4 Paranormal Activity 2: What a difference a year makes! As you may know, I am not a big fan of part 1. I was waiting for this movie to disappoint me much like first one, but it didn’t. It actually got me to jump once or twice, and the storyline didn’t bother me this time. Paranormal Activity 2 Review 

 #3 A Nightmare on Elm Street: I know this will make it on a lot of people’s worst movies list, but I am just too bias towards Freddy. Yes, this is not the Freddy we are use to, but I just couldn’t help but be excited to see a new movie. It took sometime, but by the end of the movie, I got over the fact that this is a different Freddy. However, it isn’t without its flaws, which many people have pointed out. While I gave this one of the highest ratings of the year, I did have to come back down to reality and resist making it number 1. The top two movies were better movies, even though I greatly enjoyed Freddy. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) Review 

#2: Shutter Island: This isn’t exactly a horror movie, and I almost excluded it. Then I thought more about it, and just couldn’t over look this movie. It has a great story, the scenes are shot so well, and it really reminds me of a Hitchcock type film. This is also another movie with a good twist at the end. Shutter Island Review 

#1 Let Me In: Yes, I just did it. I made a remake my number 1 movie. At the time I saw this, I hadn’t seen the original so this was a totally new movie for me. I found myself absolutely loving the storyline. The interaction between Owen and Abby is so intriguing, and it is interesting to see a different perspective on vampires. I finally saw the original, and was glad to see they didn’t screw up the story in the remake. It has a little more to the story, and the biggest difference is that it didn’t have the poor CGI effects the remake has. Let Me In Review 

  I am sure you think I am nuts about now. I made a remake my number 1 movie, and dared to include A Nightmare on Elm Street in my top 5. I know I left out some names that will be at the top of other lists such as, The Last Exorcism, Frozen, and Splice. I was expecting The Last Exorcism to be scary, and it simply wasn’t. I can’t complain too much about Frozen, but it didn’t overwhelm me. And Splice, while it was somewhat original, was a bit disturbing.

My Top 5 Least Favorite Horror Movies of 2010:

#5 Skyline- Another movie that isn’t exactly horror, but I just couldn’t pass on the chance to mention how bad it is. If it was a horror movie, I would have made it number 1 and is worse than any movie on this list, but that would have been too easy. It is all too familiar with many alien movies already made, the acting is terrible, and the ending is weak. They obviously spent all their money on the CGI, which is actually not bad. I can’t believe I wasted theater money on this movie.

#4 Saw 3D- It really hurts me to include this with my least favorites because I am a fan of the Saw series. The 3D adds nothing to this movie, and actually makes the kills look really fake. There is a serious lack of Jigsaw, which isn’t good considering this is his game. The only hope with this movie is that is seemed to leave the door open for a reboot of the series, after some time off of course. Saw 3D Review 

#3 Cabin Fever 2- This movie gets off to a good start as it picks up right where the original left off. However, it slowly becomes a movie that is more concerned with how much the blood it can spill than anything else. I am all for bloody scenes, but it just becomes a ridiculous blood fest with bad acting, and weak storylines. Cabin Fever 2 Review 

#2 Case 39- I learned a lesson from this movie: when a studio delays the release of a movie that long, it is probably not a good thing. The idea of the movie is not bad, but it needed more. There is just something missing from it. On top of that, it is not one of Renee’s best performances either. Case 39 Review 

#1 Survival of the Dead: This movie is a complete wash for me. The whole story of the two feuding families never catches my interest. On top of that, I couldn’t even understand what Patrick O’Flynn is saying half the time. As usual, I was looking for zombies, but didn’t feel I saw enough of them. The only interesting thing about the movie is that it shows zombies in the water, and that they will eat something besides humans.

I know some people will include Piranha 3D in their worst movies list, but I actually enjoyed it. You just can’t take the movie seriously. Like I did last year with New Moon, I left out Eclipse. It is too easy to include the Twilight movies. I heard bad things about movies such as, Mirrors 2, and The Lost Boys 3, but I haven’t seen them so they are spared from making the list.

And now for a few awards:

Best 3D Horror Movie- Resident Evil: Afterlife
Worst 3D Horror Movie- Saw 3D
Best Horror Remake- Let Me In
Worst Horror Remake- Buried Starring HorrO See what I'm talking about! 
Most Disturbing Horror Movie-Splice/The Human Centipede
Biggest Horror Disappointment- The Last Exorcism
Most Blood-Piranha 3D/Cabin Fever 2

Horror movies I wanted to see but haven’t yet: Hatchet 2, Mirrors 2, and My Soul to Take amongst others.

Horror movies I am most looking forward to seeing next year (if they are released as planned): Priest, Scream 4, The Thing, and Fright Night.

  HorrO 





Thursday, December 9, 2010

THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 1 REVIEW



  Zombies have finally made their way onto our television sets. The Walking Dead gave horror fans something to be excited about after Halloween. Too bad it couldn’t continue more into December. Oh well, now that season one is over it is time for a quick review in case you missed my weekly random thoughts on the episodes.
  I am not too familiar with the comic, so a lot of the show was new to me. Obviously it is about zombies, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. There are two things that stuck out. One is how many really emotional moments the characters go through, and the other is obviously the zombies. One thing that can’t be missed in each episode is the emotional moments. The show really wants the audience to feel sorry for the characters, and they use that sorrow to get the audience to connect with the characters. From the moment Morgan looks through the rifle at his zombie wife deciding whether to kill her or not, to Rick reuniting with his family. From having to watch Amy die, come back a zombie, and then die again, to having to leave Jim on the side of the road. I quickly learned that this show just isn’t about killing zombies, and zombies killing people.
 While it may seem easy to connect to some of the aforementioned characters, there is also a chance to connect with even the more disliked characters. There is no disliked character with a bigger role than Shane. While Shane seems like he is trying to do what is best for everyone, he is too high tempered, a liar, and a cheater. However, the audience eventually finds out that Shane honestly tries to save Rick, so he isn’t as big a liar as he seems. He just falls in love with the wrong woman at the wrong time. Then there are the brothers Merle and Daryl. Both need some anger management classes, and distance themselves from the group with their racism. It is quite surprising that the show went as far as it did with some of the racism, but that is what happens when they can put a show on AMC, and not NBC. As foul-mouthed as Merle is, did he really deserve having to cut off his own hand? And Daryl, even though he is quick to want to put everyone out of their misery, the audience can still pull for him to find his brother (and ride off into the sunset).
  

  Now to my favorite part of the show: the zombies. In the first episode, there are zombies everywhere. The first zombie that the show displays is a little zombie girl, which is a good choice to kick things off. From there Rick finds zombies roaming the streets, a half bodied zombie crawling in the park, and a massive group of zombies in the city. As the episodes go by, the number of scenes with zombies starts to drop. It seems like the zombies start taking a back seat to the emotional moments. If you read my random thoughts on the episodes, you could probably tell I was somewhat annoyed by this. The emotional stuff is great, especially for TV, but the more zombies the better. Not only that, but it isn’t until the end of episode 4 that a zombie kills a person. Before that, they show zombies eating a horse, deer, and a rat. Disgusting yes, but it is not as fun as watching people and zombies fight it out.
  As far as the zombies themselves, they are really well done. The half bodied zombie is a nice touch. Then there is the woman zombie in the building with its mouth all messed up. That is a freaky looking zombie right there. Besides their looks, there is the interesting possibility of the zombies still having some intelligence, or memories. For example, Morgan’s zombie wife actually walks up to the door, and tries to open it. Another example is when the zombies are trying to break into the department store, and the one zombie is trying to break the glass door with a brick. There are also some good zombie kills. There is a quick but awesome decapitation at the end of the final episode. Another favorite is when Rick takes an ax to a zombie’s head when they are walking the streets disguised as zombies. When the zombies actually are attacking the humans, instead of snacking on animals, it is good to see the zombies get to sink their teeth into them as well.
  The emotional moments, and awesome zombies combine to make a good first season of The Walking Dead. It will be interesting to see what they have in store for next season considering they may be using freelance writers. Will they stick with a heavy does of emotional moments, or lean in the direction of more zombie action? They could go in a completely different direction, which would be surprising after the success the show has already achieved. To finish this off, I leave you with some questions that hopefully will be answered next season:

-Where will the group of survivors go next?

-Will they find Merle, or will he find them? And where is his hand?

-When will Rick find out his wife and Shane slept together?

-What will be added to the zombie menu (reference random thoughts on episode 3)?

-What did the crazy doctor whisper in Rick’s ear?

-Will we see Morgan and his son again?

-Will Rick’s son ever finish his homework?

-What other characteristics will these zombies have?

-Will we get to see zombie Jim?

-Who will be the next member of the group to be bitten by zombies?

  HorrO

Check out my random thoughts on the episodes: Horror on TV 


Friday, November 19, 2010

BURIED STARRING HORRO

  
  Who needs Ryan Reynolds when you could have had HorrO star in Buried? Yes, that’s right, I had my own little buried alive experience. Ok, it was only a simulation, but still. I purposely left this experience out of my post on Spooky Empire 2010 so I could give you an up close look at this unique simulation. Basically, people would lie down in a real casket while it simulated putting you into the back of a hearse, and soon enough buried alive.


  As I was walking around at Spooky Empire, I noticed there seemed to be a commotion coming from a certain area. I could see a lot of people gathered around, and kept hearing this banging sound. Curious as can be, I made my way over there only to find this casket shaking around, “what the hell did I stumble onto?” As I got closer, I could see a monitor on a table next to the casket apparently showing the recording of a person inside, “wow, there was really someone in that thing!” I watched as it finally stopped shaking, and a person stepped out of it. I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t believe people were actually brave enough to get in that thing. Then, came the all-important question: Was I brave enough to get in the casket?


  After spending most of the second day of the convention going to Q & A’s, I finally got the opportunity to make my way back over to THE CASKET! No one was in it at the time, but plenty of people were standing around looking at it. They wondered the same thing I did: Who had the guts to ride it next? One of the owners of this simulation tried to talk people into jumping in the casket. I walked away to think about it again, but soon enough made my way back. I had to do it. When would I get the chance to do something like this again? I mean, you are only supposed to be in a casket once, and that is when you die. Plus, it would be something fun to write about (having fun now).


  So there I went. I paid $5.00 to get in the casket, and another $5.00 for the DVD. I took off my shoes, and stepped into the casket. I stood there for a second, but there was no turning back.  I laid down, and tried to get comfortable. The owner had to adjust the camera a few times by opening, and closing the casket to make sure it captured an up close look at me. Really, he was teasing me before he gave me some last words, “Rest in Peace,” and closed the casket for real this time.


  So it was just the casket and I. That was until I heard two voices start talking. They were saying how the boss wanted them to take this casket to the graveyard, and bury it. I focused so much on the casket that I forgot about the experience as a whole. Then, the casket started to bounce around, as it was simulating them picking it up, and throwing it into the back of the hearse. I heard the hearse start, and could smell the fumes of the car. The casket tossed around, and I could hear the car racing down the streets before coming to an abrupt stop.



  The two guys started talking again as it simulated them pulling the casket from the back of the hearse. They carried it to the graveyard, and dropped me in. They were laughing, and it was all at my expense. The casket was really shaking when they were carrying it, but it wasn’t over yet. They threw some dirt on top of the casket, which I could smell, and I was buried alive.  There was a pause before the final part of the simulation. I really didn’t know what to expect at that point. I thought it was over, but then the casket went crazy one last time. Something touched my feet, which I didn’t know was going to happen, and kind of scared me. Then, there were some weird sounds, and an awful smell took over the casket. The smell was so bad I could still smell it 15-20 minutes afterwards. After the final shake, there was another pause before the owner opened the casket. I stood up, and climbed out of the casket hopefully for the last time until it is for real.



  Immediately, people wanted to know what it was like. Was it worth the ride? I would say it was well worth it. First, like I said before, how many times am I actually going to get in a casket, none the less, get out of one. It was also fun because it wasn’t just sitting inside, and shaking all around. There was actually a story going on, and I was part of it. Besides the story, it also made me use some of my senses. Obviously I could feel the casket as it bounced around. The casket’s movements were as bumpy as it looked, and gave me a very good shaking. It was pitch black in there. The only time I could see anything, not that there was anything to see, was once or twice when the casket popped open for a split second while bouncing around. There was the smell of the hearse, the dirt, and then something fowl at the end. The silence was deafening when there wasn’t any sound effects. As soon as he closed the lid, I couldn’t hear a thing that was happening on the outside. I’m glad there was nothing to taste in there.


  Was I scared? Not really, but I was a little intimidated while watching others get in it. It was just a simulation, and I wasn’t really going to the grave. I guess there is just something about a “casket.” It makes people think of death, and it’s your final resting place. Surprisingly, the owner said most people took the experience well. They only had to stop it once for a girl that totally freaked out. I stayed pretty silent in the casket because I didn’t want them to think I was freaking out and stop it. I really wanted to scream, “let me out” just for the effect. I kind of wanted to ride it again to add some drama to the video, but decided against it. Maybe next time! Next time? Yea, I would do it again!


I would like to thank the people at 13th Hour Productions, Inc. for providing such an awesome, and unique experience. You can contact them at www.hour-13.com for more information on this ride.

  HorrO

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

SAW 3D REVIEW


***Spoiler Alert- this review gives away storylines, and twists***

  This is the end of an era, the end of a franchise. Since this is supposedly the end, it should go out with a bang. So what is the bang in this movie? Is it the 3D? Is it the traps, or the blood and guts? Is there some amazing revelation that put a close to this story? How is this movie going to complete the Jigsaw puzzle?
  In the usual Saw fashion, there are a few storylines-taking place. Hoffman survives the trap that he is in, and tries to go after Jill. She escapes, but Hoffman will not stop until he gets his revenge on her. Then, there is a man named Bobby Degen, who claims to have survived a Jigsaw trap. Problem is he was never in a trap, but he is now. He is forced to go through a series of obstacles to save his friends from Jigsaw’s traps, which ultimately ends with him trying to save his wife. The final storyline here involves Officer Gibson, an internal affairs police officer, who Jill asks to protect her from Hoffman. Apparently, Hoffman has a score to settle with him.
  This is Saw “3D,” so let me start with the 3D effects. They didn’t do much for me, and I actually like 3D. They have some of the usual blood and guts fly at you early on, but then, there isn’t much use of 3D until the end of the movie. How can you just forget about the 3D throughout the bulk of your movie? Then, they try to save it at the end with more of the same blood and guts coming at you, and when Dr. Gordon throws the saw across the room. He never does that if this movie isn’t in 3D. They just didn’t do anything new, or different with the 3D. On top of that, the 3D ruins a lot of the traps. The picture is so clear that you can tell how fake the special effects are. Either that, or they just did a really poor job with the effects.
  Speaking of the traps, there aren’t enough impressive ones. The first trap consisting of two guys, and their cheating “girlfriend” is not as great as they make it seem. It may be impressive for the people gathering around it, but isn’t for the movie audience. She gets a saw to the stomach, so what? It doesn’t even go all the way through her, and the special effects are so fake. And how in the hell does Hoffman get that thing in the middle of downtown, and hook up the sound to speakers? Then, there are two traps that use the same style of pipes. One set of pipes going into a woman’s neck, and another into a woman’s face. How about something a little different? And when the guy is walking over the blanks, but just gets hung. That is not a very Saw-like trap if you ask me.
  There is some blood and guts, which is a big reason people like this franchise, yet they just ruin a lot of it because you can tell it is so fake. I would have to go back and watch some of the other Saw movies, but I don’t remember any of the other movies being as fake looking as this one. 3D actually backfires on this movie because it shows how fake the blood and guts are. However, the scene where the car takes off, and ends up killing 4 people is some bone crushing fun. Also, there is a good look at Jill after one of the traps rips her face apart. You just have to use a little imagination to get the full effect of the traps. And don’t get me started when Bobby pulls out his teeth. It is not really a trap, but I have an issue with teeth pulling.
  Then, there is Bobby’s storyline. How is it any different from William’s storyline in Saw 6? Both have to go from room to room to try and save people they have a relationship with. They both fail at saving their friends, and then fail again when it matters most. William’s storyline is good because it is original, and it gets the Saw franchise back on track after a miserable part 5. It doesn’t work for Bobby because it is the same story, and old at this point. How about something a little more original? They come up with a creative storyline to get Hoffman in the police headquarters to kill Jill, but are too lazy when it comes to Bobby’s storyline.
  Now let me ask you this: would A Nightmare on Elm Street be any good without Freddy through most of the movie? Would Friday the 13th be any good if Jason were missing throughout a majority of the movie? Where is Jigsaw through most of this movie? Yes, he is dead, but you still see plenty of him in part 6. He is nowhere to be found in this movie. There is one quick appearance at a book signing, which is actually a funny scene, but that is it until the end. Killing off Jigsaw makes this series different and works for a while, but it apparently becomes too hard to overcome in this movie. They really let this movie be Hoffman’s show, which makes it seem as if something is missing the entire time. Whatever could that be? At least they make good use of the doll.
  This brings me to my next point, which is they really could use someone like Tobin Bell in this movie because the acting is terrible. It doesn’t help that some of the writing is terrible as well. The woman screaming in the trap at the beginning is so unbelievable. She is screaming just to scream, and not because of the fear of the moment. Also, when Bobby is trying desperately to save his wife, the emotion is just as unreal as some of the special effects. The only actors that do a half way descent job are Costas Mandylor (Hoffman), and Cary Elwes (Dr. Gordon). The problem is that Hoffman never says a lot, and Dr. Gordon isn’t a factor until the end of the movie.
  Besides the traps, one of the other great things about this franchise is the twist at the end of the movies. Watching them, and trying to guess what is going to happen makes it a fun experience (I was usually wrong by the way). Knowing that this is the final Saw takes some of the fun out of it. The only thing left to wonder is how it going to end. I figured it would end with the death of Hoffman, and kind of wanted to see that. Well, that didn’t happen (told you I’m usually wrong). All they could give us is Dr. Gordon locking him in the room where the whole series began. Bringing it back to the beginning is fine, but couldn’t they at least torture Hoffman. Yeah, he did get his face sliced apart, but there should be more punishment for him. The twist that Dr. Gordon is one of Jigsaw’s accomplices works because it makes sense that Jigsaw needs another hand with his game. Jigsaw ends up having several people help him with his game, but how is Hoffman able to pull all this off without some help?
  I really hoped that Saw 3D would end with a bang, but it fizzles out instead. They didn’t make good use of the 3D, and it only makes the special effects look fake. Over all, the traps are not as impressive as some of the past movies. There is some blood and guts, but again too much of it looks fake. They need a better storyline, better acting, and more Jigsaw. Maybe one day, years from now please, someone will give this franchise the proper ending, and complete this puzzle (unless they remake it first). Since this movie makes me feel like there is still a piece of the Jigsaw puzzle missing, I give it 2 pools of blood. Game over!

  HorrO

Saturday, November 6, 2010

BEHIND THE SCENES OF HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 2010


  Now that I have given you an overview of Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 2010 in Orlando, Florida, I want to take you behind the scenes. This year I went on a behind the scenes tour of Halloween Horror Nights called “Unmasking the Horror.” I had some doubts about how interesting this would be because I wasn’t sure how much they would be willing to reveal. Well, for someone who has been attending this event for several years now, it turned out to be a terrific experience. I have added some videos, which I encourage you to check out because they will add some perspective to what I am talking about.
  The tour started off in a private room, where two guides went over the history of Halloween Horror Nights. They went through the years almost one by one giving us information about each year’s theme. Also, they explained how some of their horror icons were born, and how some other characters that were supposed to be icons never were for one reason or another. Take Cindy Caine for example. This character was a little girl, who is the daughter of The Caretaker (one of their other horror icons) that had her face burned in a fire. She was supposed to be an icon one year and wreck havoc on guests, but because of a recent string of child abductions at the time, they decided not to make her the focus of the event. This year she had a house dedicated to her storyline, which was The Orfanage.
  Another story they told us was how the events of 9/11 changed how they went about HHN’s that year. It was originally supposed to be their bloodiest year yet, as they were going to go all with the blood, and scares. Then 9/11 happened, and they had to decide if they were even going to hold the event. After a great debate, they decided to proceed with the event, but would get rid of all the blood. Instead, they toned down the event with green slim in the houses. It maybe interesting to note that they plan their HHN’s event at least a year in advance. While HHN’s 2010 is taking place, they are already working on HHN’s 2011, and maybe even 2012. There are eight people who are responsible for the designs, and themes of the events.




  After revisiting the HHN’s of the past, our guides took us to get a behind the scenes look at three of this year’s houses. The group separated, as each guide took about 12 guests into different houses. My group’s guide took us into the Hades house first. This house is based on the Greek God Hades. Before we got to the front of the house, we went into a sound stage where the house was located. In this case, there were actually two houses located in one sound stage, which I thought was pretty amazing. 





  After a brief description of the house, we started to make our way through it, as the guide explained many of the techniques they used in order to scare you. In the “Halloween Horror Nights 2010: Behind the Scenes Tour- Hades House #1” video, the first thing you will see is an AAT device (Actor Activated Trigger), which the actor uses to scare the guests. It could set off sounds, lights, or some trick to get your attention as the actor jumps out for the scare. As you will see from some of the videos, each house has a series of twists and turns that lead into 3 or 4 main rooms, where there is something extra scary going on based on the theme of the house. In the same video, you see the first main room of this house, which is a room where bodies are being prepared to be eaten later on. This was a great up close look at the hanging heads, body parts, and a body on the table that had been carved up. Of course, this was scarier in the dark, and when there was a character working on the body. Also, as I mentioned in my look at HHN’s, Medusa made an appearance in this house, and in the video titled “Halloween Horror Nights 2010: Behind the Scenes Tour- Hades House #2,” you get an explanation of how she scares guests. 



  The next house we went into was Psychoscareapy, which was home to the souls of the criminally insane. If you notice in the videos and pictures, they do a marvelous job with the entrances to the houses. It sets the tone for the house, as you brace yourself for what lies inside. This house had one of my favorite scares of all the houses. You would come into a tight hallway where there were bars with a series of hands gripping them. In the dark, it was hard to tell which hands were real, so as you walked through, all the sudden a hand would reach out at you. Also, the actors could bang on the window, and even reach through holes in them. In the video “Halloween Horror Nights 2010: Behind the Scenes Tour- Psychoscareapy #1, you can even catch a quick glance at some fake arms the actors could use to scare you. 
  The other cool scare in this house was a fake guy on a chair getting electrocuted. In the video, the guide pretty much explains what happens. As guests walk by, they see the guy sitting there, and there may or may not be a nurse walking around in the room. Either by control of the nurse, or automatically, the chair will start vibrating, and the guy starts acting like he is being shocked. I was surprised that this was actually a fake guy. In the dark, it looked extremely real, as if there was an actual actor in the chair. I got to see this house twice, and saw this scene with, and without the nurse. The nurse was a good distraction before the guy got shocked. 



  The final house we went into was Legendary Truth. The theme here was a ghost team called the Ghost Seekers (like the Ghost Hunters), where called upon to investigate the possibility of paranormal activity in this bed and breakfast. Almost immediately when you enter this house, there was a scare that was very easy to miss. As you came around the corner, there was a glass bottom floor. If you weren’t looking down, you may have missed an actor dressed as a ghost sliding back and forth. They were able to do this scare in a way that is similar to a mechanic sliding under a car. On the outside of the house, an actor would lie down on a rolling platform, and slide under the house. Then they would push themselves back and forth under your feet. The guide told us they built the house higher at the front just for the purpose of setting up this scare. I missed it the first time, and just caught a glimpse of it the second time. If you weren’t looking down, which usually the really scared people do, I don’t know how you would know it was there. You can see this in the video titled “Halloween Horror Nights 2010: Behind the Scenes Tour- Legendary Truth #2.”



  The main rooms in this house were awesome. After you got past the ghost on the floor, there was a living room with a fireplace. This was meant to distract you from these three pictures on the wall that you couldn’t see until these retina burning strobe lights went off. The picture was of the demon from the exorcist. As the guide mentioned, the image is supposed to be burned into your eyes so that you still see it for about a minute after the lights go off. Well, she wasn’t lying because that happened to me. I was confused in the house when I kept seeing it. It did take a minute or two to get that picture out of my mind (thought I was going nuts for a minute). You can see this in the video titled “Halloween Horror Nights 2010: Behind the Scenes Tour- Legendary Truth House #4.  
  Also in this video, you got to see another room where a girl was on top of a bed. As you passed by, she would hit here AAT device, and lights would start flashing around the bed. In the corners of the room, the dresser drawers would open a close. This was a good ghost like effect for the house. It may not seem like a lot, but when you are walking through and people are screaming, it brings out the chaos in this room. Also, if you check out this video and the one that follows, take a close look at the pictures. You can notice the faces change as the camera moves.
  Halloween Horror Nights is a great experience. It is a lot of fun, especially for us horror fans. After going on this behind the scenes tour, I have a greater respect for how much work they put into scaring guests. There is tremendous effort put into every detail, from developing the themes and icons, all the way to the props, and scares. Even if it doesn’t scare you, all that work pays off because it will probably scare the person behind you. 



Also, my post on HHN’s 2010: Halloween Horror Nights 2010 


  HorrO


Remaining Behind the Scenes Videos Below:

















Wednesday, October 27, 2010

HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 2010



  Halloween Horror Nights 2010 at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, marked a new milestone for Universal Studios. This was the 20th anniversary of Halloween Horror Nights, in which “Fear, Himself” was celebrated. Of course, they brought back many of the horror icons of the past to help “Fear” scare guests. As I did last year, I will give you the official description of the haunted houses, scare zones, and shows from the event guide (e.g.), and then give my opinion of them. Hopefully you will get a feel for the event, and this encourages you to take a trip to Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, Florida, one day.


Haunted Houses:

Horror Nights: The Hallow’D Past- “Travel into a nightmarish realm where Horror Nights isn’t just an event, but a reality” (e.g.). This house was dedicated to past Halloween horror nights, as it included some of the horror icons from years’ past. Basically, you were walking through a prop house, and got to see some props used in other horror night events. The props made a great distraction, as you fixed your attention on them, the horror icons would jump out from around the corner and scare you. The Usher got me good in this one, as he jumped out at me with his flashlight.

Catacombs: Black Death Rising- “During the plague, the infected were quarantined and trapped beneath the city. Now almost 500 years later, the dead are seeking vengeance” (e.g.). This was one of the darkest of the houses because it recreates going underground into a catacomb dig site. There were a lot of creatures lurking around in this house, but it was probably my least favorite.

Havoc: Dogs of War- “Shadow Creek’s super soldier program is a success, but the side effects have turned these “Dogs of War” into raging killing machines” (e.g.). One of the coolest things about this house was the huge gun they have by the entrance that made an extremely loud sound, as it pretended to fire. I didn’t find the house too scary, but I did like how several soldiers had shaved heads with barcodes tattooed on them. Every year they seem to incorporate a soldier themed house, or scare zone. I think they make better scare zones than houses. 

The Orfanage: Ashes to Ashes- “This burned out shell of an orphanage contains the souls of the forgotten and the lost, who all scream one name: Cindy” (e.g.). During our tour, our guide pointed out that this house was made completely out of burnt wood. That is pretty neat, and shows you the great lengths they go to in order to make the houses genuine. The house had to be burnt, as that was part of the continuing story of one of their characters named Cindy. If you weren’t paying attention, she would sneak up on you.


Zombiegeddon- “Six months after the zombie outbreak, independent training consultants promise the best zombie survival training money can buy…more or less…” (e.g.). I was very happy that zombies made their presence known at this year’s event with a house, and a scare zone. The house was full of zombies, which didn’t really scare you, but were awesome to look at. One of the best parts of the house took place right after entering it. There was a consultant, with a clipboard in his hand, and a zombie on a long chain next to him. Every once in a while the zombie would spring out at people. The consultant would pull him back, and say, “you can’t eat him, you don’t know where he’s been.” I got a good laugh out of that.


Hades: The Gates of Ruin- “Make your way into the Underworld and come face to face with the most terrifying creatures of myth and legend” (e.g.). When I saw that there was a house based on a Greek God I wondered, “what in the hell does that have to do with Halloween?” I had my doubts, but the house wasn’t that bad. It had some interesting creatures popping out, including Medusa herself. What I liked most was the hanging heads, and dead bodies around the house.


Psychoscareapy: Echoes of Shadybrook- “Fifteen years after they closed its doors, Shadybrook’s halls are still inhabited by the souls of the criminally insane” (e.g.).  There were a couple of good things about this house, but probably the best scare was a series of hands gripping onto window bars. As you moved through the hallway, you didn’t know which hands were real, and which were fake. To top it off, there were openings in the window for the real person to reach through.


Legendary Truth: The Wyandot Estate- “Using a machine that gathers ghosts, the Spirit Seekers are about to get more than they bargain for” (e.g.). This house had something I had never seen before. Actually, I missed it the first time I went through the house, and just caught a glimpse of it the second time. Not too far into the house, there was a glass bottom floor, where if you are lucky, you could see a ghost sliding back and forth. I will have more on that on my Behind the Scenes Look at HHN’s.

  As far as the houses, I had my doubts based on the descriptions given by the event guide, but they actually weren’t too bad. I can’t say any of them really scared me, but I was surprised a few times. The most impressive thing about the houses is the details, and scare-characters. In the dark, everything looks so real, and the characters are dedicated to trying to scare you. It is even more impressive when you get a behind the scenes look. 


Scare Zones:

HHN: 20 Years of Fear- “The lantern casts its light on some of the most frightening characters of Halloween Horror Nights past!” (e.g.). This zone was really a set up for the Fear Revealed Zone. It has some props from past HHN’s, and some creatures walking by. It also included the ever to popular guys with chainsaws. You can’t go wrong sneaking up on people with a loud saw!


Fear Revealed- “Empowered by 20 years of Chaos, Death, Sacrifice, Legend, and Vengeance, FEAR emerges to reign supreme” (e.g.). “Fear” was the star of this zone, as he was a guy on stilts walking around. Every once in while, fire would go off on the top of two giant X’s they had symbolizing the 20th year, and he would stand underneath it giving a frightful speech. The horror icons of the past such as, The Director, Jack, and The Caretaker were walking around scaring guests, and taking pictures. I like how they bring back some of the icons each year.

Zombie Gras- “This Mardi Gras parade has gone severely off course and the undead walk among us” (e.g.). This was actually a fun scare zone because it is a mix of the party atmosphere of Mardi Gras with the scare of zombies. Some of the zombies were walking around with brains in their hands, while others were dancing and having a good time. When was the last time you got to party with zombies?

Saws N’ Steam- “In a world powered by steam, the oceans have evaporated… leaving your body as an untapped source of fuel” (e.g.). There wasn’t much to this zone except for a lot of guys with chainsaws. You know what, that is all you need sometimes!

The Coven- “Beware the Cult of the Raven! Enter this witches realm at your peril, as unbelievers will be condemned to death” (e.g.). What would Halloween be without some witches? This zone had a mix of good-looking witches, and the typical evil-looking witches. Apparently, that was part of the witches plan to lure you into the zone, and scare you. Look at the pretty one while the evil one sneaks up on you for the scare. That wasn’t a bad plan.

Esqueleto Muerte- “Revel in the seductive taunts of Death as you wind through a glowing skeletal nightmare!” (e.g.). Every scare zone should have something scary in it, but I didn’t find it in this one. This zone was more about using that glow in the dark effect on skeletons. This was a good zone to bring your little kids to if the other zones scared them. They tried to scare you, but I wasn’t feeling it.

Shows and other events:

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure- “Party on as those two most excellent dudes return to skewer the biggest names in entertainment and pop culture” (e.g). As I mentioned in my post on last year’s event, this is a must see show at HHN’s. It may sound dumb, but when you see the line for this show, you will know it is the place to be. However, every few years they put on a show that disappoints, and this was that year. It was nowhere near as funny as last year’s show. All they did was point out that there have been a lot of bad movies this year, and that was it. Even the music selection was weaker than usual.

Brian Brushwood: Menace and Malice- “Experience two realms of bizarre magic by one of the country’s most outrageous illusionists” (e.g.). Sorry guys, I’m not a big fan of magic shows so I didn’t see this show. It replaced “The Rocky Horror Show Tribute” they have done the last couple of years, so I know that disappointed some people.


VIP Lounge: This year they included a special VIP lounge, where for a fee, you could go in, and take a break from the action. Inside, there were a bunch of props from previous HHN’s, and some movies. It made a great place to get pictures of some cool stuff. If you wanted you could stand outside, and watch other guests get scared in the Fear Revealed Scare Zone. At one point, a couple of characters walked through there, and interacted with guests. I thought that was exactly what that area needed to make it just right.

  I had some concerns going into HHN’s because of the lack of familiarity with the themes for the houses, but I still had a great time. I got to go in 5 of the 8 houses twice, which was great because each time was a new experience. As with last year, I probably liked 6 out of the 8 houses. While they probably scared me more last year, they still had some cool new tricks that scared many other guests, and I give them credit for trying some original ideas. I am somewhat disappointed with the scare zones overall. I don’t know what it is, but I want more from them. If this was your first year seeing the Bill and Ted’s show and you didn’t like it, please give it another chance if you go in the future. It’s hard to create a great show every year. I am already looking forward to next year’s event, and I encourage you to go if you have never been before. HHN’s is one of the best Halloween events around!

  I got to go on a behind the scenes tour in 3 of the houses, and I will be writing a separate post on that. Please check it out, because I will be taking a closer look at some of the things they do to scare us. There will be pictures, and videos to come as well.

  I have to take a minute to answer a question I get all the time about the event, and give you some tips for surviving HHN’s. If you have any other questions about the event, please feel free to ask. 

  Can I take my kids to this event? This is always a hard question to answer because I don’t know your kids. It really depends on what you think they can handle. If they are easily scared by horror movies, then this event may be too much for them. I have seen adults freak out at some of the things going on, so your kids could be freaked out too. I would say they should at least be a teenager, but again it really depends. On our tour, there was a father, and his two young sons. One of them was probably around 10 years old, and the other was probably around 13 years old. The father was a regular to the event and wasn’t bothered by the scares, but I can’t say the same for the boys. You could tell certain things scared them, but I give them credit for hanging in there for the whole tour.

  Once again my number one tip is to go on the RIP tour. Yes, it is expensive, but this is the only way to guarantee that you will see all the houses, and scare zones. That is, unless you are planning on going multiple times. I have never gone during a weekday, so that might also allow you to see everything, but I don’t know. The RIP tour is not only great because it guarantees you get to see everything, but the tour guide will give you a lot of the back-story to the houses, which makes them more interesting when you go in them. If you don’t go on the tour, then at least get an Express Pass, because trust me when I say, “the lines are long!”

  Here is another piece of free advice. Universal Studios closes the park generally for about an hour and a half before reopening for HHN’s. If you go to the park for the day, see if they have a deal to stay in the park while they are closed. This way you don’t waste time leaving the park, and reentering with the crowd. I did that this year, and they opened a house early for those that were waiting inside. By doing this, you get ahead start on the crowd waiting outside. Also, move from house to house as quickly as possible because the lines will get long in a hurry. There will be plenty of time for scare zones, drinking, and eating later on. I knocked off 3 houses in an hour and a half before the tour started, so it can be done.

  HorrO


Check out my HHN's videos at: HHN's Videos and pictures at: HHN's Pictures 
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