Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, Florida is an event I look forward to every year. For its 21st year, the horror icon was a newcomer, Lady Luck. I can’t say she struck any fear in me, but that wasn’t going to stop me from attending this event.
As I have done the past couple of years, I went on the R.I.P. Tour to ensure that I got to see every haunted house. For those not familiar with the tour, it is a small private tour in which the guide gives you background information on the houses, and leads you right to the front on the lines. Trust me, not waiting in those long lines is a big deal.
The R.I.P. Tour wasn’t the only tour I went on, as I also went on the Unmasking the Horror Tour. This tour gives you a behind the scenes look at three of the houses. I will have more on that in a separate post. In between the two tours I had about two hours to spare once the event opened. And what did I do you ask?
Well, I raced through each house, and by a miracle made it through all eight of them. Tiring yes, but it allowed me a chance to see each house twice. It isn’t always easy to visit houses more than once, but if you get the chance, I say go for it. You will usually have a different experience each time. You might see something you missed, or get a scaractor that does their job better than the previous one.
All right, finally to the good stuff. Below find a brief description from the event guide of the haunted houses, scare zones, and live shows they had along with some of my thoughts on each of them. Enjoy!!!
The Forsaken: “Within an abandoned Spanish fort, the mutinous undead crew of Columbus’ missing fourth ship has returned with a vengeance.”
My thoughts: The dead crew had some cool looking green glowing eyes. Sometimes it tipped you off to where they were if you were paying attention. One of the different things about this house was that one of the rooms had a slanted floor, which was suppose to be part of the ship. It was a good addition to the house because it made you watch your step, and not see where the scaractors were hiding. Also, this house had one of the better final rooms. As you entered the room, you were under three men that had been hung. Once you came around the corner there were real and fake crewmembers waiting for you (more on this house in my behind the scenes post).
The In Between: “An ominous portal reveals a 3rd dimension where fiendish creatures collide with our world in a phantasm of terror.”
My thoughts: I was definitely excited about going into a house wearing 3D glasses somewhere besides the movie theater. They did a good job making the most out of the 3D. Not too far into the house you have to walk through a spinning tunnel. By the time you get across the walkway, you have become dizzy as the 3D effect sets in. This made everything that followed even crazier. The rooms were full of lights and different colors with creatures standing still in the backgrounds until they came at you. I really hope they do at least one 3D house a year from now on.
Nevermore- “The Madness of Poe: Step into the mind of author Edgar Allan Poe, where every turn of the page takes you closer to insanity.”
My thoughts: Poe is an interesting person to base a house on, but I wasn’t too sure he is exactly scary. I was right, as the Poe scaractor in the rooms wasn’t that scary. However, this house had one of the more interesting rooms. There was a really dark room with Poe sitting in a certain pose with a heart in front of him. This pose was duplicated in several different places in the room. The trick here was finding which Poe was real. Another cool room had Poe standing at the top of some stairs with a huge picture behind him. If you got luck to see it, the lights would flash ever once in a while, and you could see Virginia behind the picture (more on that in my behind the scenes post).
Saws N’ Steam: “Spinning blades and crushing pistons threaten your every step as you’re forced deeper into the bowels of a mechanical nightmare.”
My thoughts: After talking about HHN’s with people this seems to have been a popular house. I liked it, but I didn’t think it was the best. It might have been the best at trying to be disgusting. The theme here was that they were killing people in order to take the water out of your body. One room had cool machines in the wall that were squishing the water out of flesh. Similarly, there were fish tanks in the wall that had flesh, eyes, and fingers. The last room was interesting, as it featured a guy with a weird device over his head standing behind some water. Ever once in a while it would seem like he was shocked or something, and come through the water as you walked by. He definitely got me wet.
H.R. BloodenGutz Presents Holidays of Horror: “Join creature feature host, H.R. Bloodengutz, in his final televised broadcast as he presents a SCARE-athon of holiday-based horror.”
My thoughts: Every year they always have a house that they kind of just have fun with. Sometimes it works and is entertaining, and other times it becomes just a waste of a house. I would say this house kind of worked. Each room in the house was dedicated to a holiday, such as the 4th of July, Easter, and Thanksgiving. The names of the holidays were slightly changed to television shows. Some of the names were Thankskilling, and Feaster. H.R. BloodenGutz was in the first room greeting everyone as they walked in. He wasn’t too scary, and neither was the Easter Bunny that tried to scare people. He needed to be in a better hiding place. Grandma being cooked as the Thanksgiving turkey was cool.
The Thing: “Inspired by the new thriller, paranoia spreads among a group of Antarctic researchers as they encounter a creature that has the ability to turn itself into an exact replica of any living being.”
My thoughts: This was by far my favorite of The Thing houses that they have done. In the past, I just did not like how they went about presenting the Thing. There was a good feel to this house, almost like you were in the movie. Basically you are entering the same outpost that is in the movie. As you make your way through the rooms you see the researchers hiding in fear of the Thing. A couple of them were armed with guns, and would open fire when a Thing appeared. I made the mistake of looking right at one of these guns when it was fired, and was blinded for a couple of seconds.
Nightingales Blood Prey: “Patrolling WWI-era trenches, you discover you’re more than just as war… you’re being hunted by savage, shape-shifting banshees.”
My thoughts: This was my favorite house. Just like The Thing house, it really made you feel like you were in a war zone. As you made your way through the house you would see soldiers being killed by these banshee women. One of the best kills of the entire event happened here when they simulated a soldiers being ripped in half. Basically he would be standing in a spot and just as he calls out, a banshee comes from behind and takes off the soldier’s torso. I kind of ruined the effect for me by looking over the side, and seeing the two scaractors hiding in the background. It was still cool though. Another favorite of mine was a banshee on the top of the wall eating one of the soldiers. Both times I went in this house I told her what a great job she was doing eating the soldier, and I got squirted with water. Damn banshees!
Winter’s Night- “The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery: As snow falls on this serene gothic cemetery, spirits of the deceased rise from their graves… their ghostly sights firmly set upon you.”
My thoughts: This house really proved why you have to go in each house more than once. I had different experiences each time I went in the houses, but this one stood out the most has having a different experience in each room. For example, one room had a graveyard, where a zombie scaractor was suppose to crawl across. Well, the first time I went through there he was more like bouncing than crawling across. It totally ruined the effect. The second time there was probably a different scaractor, and he was doing a much better job of making it look like he was crawling. Another example was in another room where they had a brick wall with some holes in it. When you look inside, there was a small cemetery scene. The first time there was someone behind the wall scaring people, and the second time there was no one there to scare people (more on that in my behind the scenes post).
Your Luck Has Run Out- “Enter if you dare into the lair of the LUCKY. Your choices will determine if you make it out alive!”
My thoughts: Surprised that this was in a small space with it being based on Lady Luck. It was probably the zone that gave you the best chance for pictures. The fun part was the exit, where guys with chainsaws were waiting for you. It is so much fun watching people run in fear.
7- “By day, these seven Temptresses appear as a spectacle of beauty. But by night, they show their true fatal evil forms.”
My thoughts: These Temptress represented the 7 sins. At the beginning of the night, they showed their true beauty. By the end of the night, they represented their sin to the max. This was fun for people that saw them during the different stages of the transformations.
Acid Assault- “Degrading from the effects of acid rain, those that have survived the blistering decay are all alone in the city.”
My thoughts: This zone had one of the coolest effects of the night. On the side of the buildings, there were projections simulating as if the buildings were slowly collapsing. Even though it was the same thing over and over, it was something you just couldn’t take your eyes off of it. Later in the night, the rat lady made an appearance.
NightMaze- “Journey through the ever-changing maze of darkness. You won’t be scared the same way twice!”
My thoughts: This maze was basically a series of fences covered in black cloth. As people walked through it, the fences swung to a new position changing people’s direction. In some places there were scaractors dressed completely in black to blend in, and scare you. It was a good idea, but not that scary.
Grown Evil- “Nature has taken this once well-manicured garden back from the humans who once kept it.”
My thoughts: This zone probably had the scariest creatures out of all of the zones. It was dark, and smoky as you walked through here for the creatures to surprise you. There were some pretty cool nasty looking bats hanging from the trees as well.
Canyon of Dark Souls: “An overwhelming sense of death surrounds you, and the creatures that dwell within the Canyon are not welcoming.”
My thoughts: This zone had several creatures dressed all in black with oversized heads, and walking on hidden stilts. They hid against a background that looked similar to them. They weren’t that scary, but were fun to look at.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure- “Party on as those two most excellent dudes return to skewer the biggest names in entertainment and pop culture.”
My thoughts: The show that packs the stadium every time. If you have never seen this show, it is worth seeing at least once. It is a basic formula every year. A bad guy recruits an evil team to get rid of Bill and Ted. Bill and Ted form their own to team to put a stop to them. These teams are made up of famous people, and characters that have been in the news over the past year. This year included, Smurfette, Papa Smurf, Sucker Punch Girls, Presidents Bush and Obama, and True Blood characters. There was also some singing and dancing by half-naked men and woman. The show was funny, but not as funny as in the past. I don’t know, maybe I have just seen one too many of them.
Death Drums- “A seductive, hard hitting and raw extreme drumming experience. Three different shows nightly.”
My thoughts: This was a new show for HHN’s. This one was filled with more half naked men and women dancing to the beats of the drums. They rolled out these giant platforms filled with guys drumming from different levels. There were three different shows, which unfortunately I was only to see the first one. It was entertaining, but I’m not sure it fit the HHN’s theme.
So I hope this gave you a good look into what HHN’s is all about. I strongly suggest you visit this event if you are presented the opportunity to do so. You don’t have to go on the tours like I did, but I recommend it. If you have any questions about HHN’s I would be happy to try to answer them. Also check out my post "Unmasking the Horror Tour (behind the scenes of HHN's)", and more pics and videos.