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Monday, November 21, 2011

Unmasking the Horror Tour (Behind the Scenes of HHN's)


  
  I hope my post on Halloween Horror Nights 21 gave you a good look into what this event is all about. Now I want to give you a look behind the scenes of HHN’s, and what goes into making these haunted houses so great. Before I get into the houses, let me tell you a little about the Unmasking the Horror Tour, which gave me the opportunity to bring you all this great information. Prior to going in the houses, everyone got to watch a video giving a brief history of HHN’s. It was a good reminder of some of the past events, and what made them so awesome.


  After the video, they separated us into two groups of 12. Then our guide gave us an explanation of this year’s event, and how Lady Luck was tied into the story behind each house. Yes, the houses aren’t just there simply to scare us. Each houses has a story, which is connected to the horror icon. When she finished with her explanation, it was finally time to see the houses.
  Like last year, we got to go into three houses. I already gave you some information in my HHN’s 21 post, so I thought I would show you some more pictures, and give a brief explanation as to what is going on. 
  The first house we went into was "Nevermore- The Madness of Poe." The first pictures here are of the first room in the house. Basically the scaractor Poe is sitting at the desk working on his writings. He wasn’t really scary, but certainly was frustrated with how the writing was going.




  The next room was one of the most interesting rooms of all the houses. Here Poe is knelled over a hole in the floor containing some body parts. What makes the room so interesting is that this small scene is replicated several times. There is one Poe on the floor, one on the side of the room, and even one on the ceiling. The scare comes from finding which Poe was the real one.




  When some people think Poe they think ravens, so of course there had to be a room with ravens. Here there are some ravens in a tree behind what is suppose to be a window. However there is nothing really there, and instead they simulate an effect where it appears the window glass is shattering. 




  In this video below, the guide gave us a little detail about another part of this room.


  Where are the blood and guts in this room you ask? Well, here you go. What you see in these pics is what you get. Some hanging heads, and a pendulum going through a body. 





  Next was a ballroom style room where they had people dressed all-nice dancing in front of some mirrors. Obviously they are fake, but the trick here is finding the real dancing scaractor.



  The grand finale in the house was at the top of this stairway. The scaractor Poe was at the top right in front of this painting. If you were lucky enough to be in the room at the right time, the lights would flash, and you could see a woman named Victoria appear behind the painting.
 

  Now to the next house, which is "The Forsaken". This house got right into the blood and guts. As you can see from the pics and the video, there were several dead bodies, and plenty on weapons in this house. They made for a great photo opportunity if you were on the tour.








  In the next pic, I’m standing where a scaractor crewmember would be standing. Behind me is a hole in the wall that has a projection of more of these crewmembers coming through it. Basically they were trying to take a page from the church scene from the original "Fog" movie. 



  I know you don’t really what to see anymore of me, but here is a pic of the me on the slanted floor I mentioned in my other post.



  Now for a video and some pics from the amazing final room of the house. As you come in the room, you are walking under three men who have been hung. One of these men has a wire attached that simulates his body shaking while being hung. When you come out from under there, you are met with some wind, and smoke, as you see a stairway with a few crewmembers on it. Again, the trick here is finding which crewmember in the room was real. The open space in the room really helped you soak up everything that was going on in the room.







  The last house we went into was "Winter’s Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery." This video shows the really cool entrance to this house.


 Sometimes in some of the houses they use props from movies, which they did in this house. The stagecoach you see was the one used in Van Helsing.


 Here is a pic of a nice creepy statue. Why am I showing it to you? Well on the opposite side is the same space in the wall for the same statue except this statue is actually a scaractor.



  Here is a pic of two bodies in a coffin. Not a big deal right? Well if you walked through here and had any thoughts of jumping inside, you might be interested to know that someone already laid to rest in this coffin.



 Does that stagecoach in the next pic look a little small? Well, that is because it is a small model of the cemetery. It is actually behind this brick wall that you see. There is suppose to be a scaractor behind the wall popping out every once in awhile when you are peaking through the hole.



  You might be thinking this next pic is just a pile of bones. Yes, and no. Yes there is a pile of bones, but if you closely you can see a small place to sit. They had a scaractor sitting here that looked like they were part of the pile. Of course they would jump up at those who weren’t paying attention.


  Now here is something you probably missed if you went in this house. I looked for it, but it was too hard to see when the room was dark. It is the tombstone for Mary Shaw from "Dead Silence". I thought that was cool except most people probably didn’t know it was there.  



  Right after that is another stagecoach with these creatures standing in front of it. I think you get the point, which one is the real one? And in case you are wondering, it isn’t always that easy to tell who the scaractor is.



  Well I hope you enjoyed this look behind the scenes of HHN’s. They put great effort, and detail into putting on the event, which you can really appreciate on a tour like this. For anyone that really likes haunted houses, this is a great tour to go on, and see how they pulled off everything. You can visit the Halloween Horror Nights 2011 Pictures and Videos page for more pictures and videos from the event, and tour. Also check out my post on Halloween Horror Night's 21.

  HorrO



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 21 (2011)




  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!!!

Haunted Houses:



  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).


Scare Zones:


  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.


Live Shows:


  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.

  HorrO

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 REVIEW




  So today is finally 11-11-11! Some think the world is going to end today, but so far so good. It can’t end until you at least get to finish reading this review. After that you are on your own. The question here isn’t: is the world going end today? The question really is: is it the end of the world if you don’t see this movie?
  The movie starts of with a scene of a burning hallway, and a boy trying to reach his mother on the other end. The mother desperately wants to save him, but can’t make it through the fire. Joseph, (Timothy Gibbs), then wakes up from this nightmare that continues to plague him. Actually, it isn’t just a nightmare, but a reality that he just can’t get over. It is just one of several key events in his life that will lead him to 11-11-11!
  The movie basically starts off on Nov. 8, and counts down to the big day. Joseph is in a support group in order to help him get over the death of his wife, and child. While there, he meets Sadie (Wendy Glenn), who he randomly talks to for support throughout the movie. In other words, she is a waste of a character like several others in this movie. After talking with her, he pulls away in his car, and miraculously survives a car crash. Why… because the world has bigger plans for him. And what are those plans?
  Nov 9: Joseph takes a trip to Spain to visit his dying father, and brother, Samuel (Michael Landes), who he has pretty much been ignoring over the years. Apparently his father and Samuel ran a church, which has lost its favor with people. Samuel has high hopes that he will be able to get people to return to the church. Being a pastor, he has a strong belief in God unlike Joseph, who has given up on God. Things start to get weird, as there is more and more talk about religion, and 11-11-11. Samuel, and this strange woman, who is there to take care of their father, tries to convince Joseph to come back to God.
  They don’t really do a good job of it. Instead, Joseph gets engulfed in the madness of 11-11-11. He does some research and finds out that it has something to do with a doorway, and these messengers. Shockingly, the messengers have a message, and they are trying to deliver it to him, which happens time after time. It really becomes the only thing they try to scare the audience with. All that happens is the room gets dark, music is pumped up, Joseph looks aimlessly around, and a shadow pops up.
  Nov 10: One of those messengers is his father, who seems to be possessed when he wakes up from his deathbed to mumble at Joseph. One of the few important things that come from the conversation is that Joseph must protect Samuel from the messengers that want to sacrifice him on 11-11-11. Joseph is skeptical about this because he is still having a hard time getting over some of his father’s past actions.
  There is a church service where another unusual character, Vavier (Lluis Soler), is introduced. After the service Vavier approaches Samuel with a gun. He makes some threats before Joseph disarms him. It is all good except that the threats are in Spanish and there are no subtitles. Great, he could be telling him how awesome his haircut is and the non-Spanish speaking audience wouldn’t know what he is talking about.
  Nov 11: Unsurprisingly, the big day doesn’t go well. Sadie comes to see how Joseph is doing (woo!). Then more tragedy when their father passes away. At this point, I was extremely ready for whatever big event that was going to happen to happen already. I’m not going to give it away, but the ending is just as unsatisfying as the rest of the movie. I was hoping something interesting would finally happen, but in a way what turned out happening is somewhat predictable. Actually it would have been more fun if the doorway opened up, and suck them all inside. The only cool thing about the ending, besides the fact that the movie ends, is that the audience finally gets to see the messengers in their true form. Too bad they didn’t show them like this throughout the movie.
  Let me go ahead and just wrap this review up so that the world can end after you finish reading. There is just too much talking in this movie, and the whole mystery involving 11-11-11 never becomes that interesting. The attempts to be scary are weak, and too repetitive. As you could hopefully tell, I wasn’t fond of the acting, and the use of the characters. The twist isn’t that shocking, and they really miss an opportunity to push the limits of the whole 11-11-11 thing. So because it isn’t the end of this world if you miss this movie, I give it 1 pool of blood. Now go run and hide until 11-11-11 passes!

  HorrO

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

HALLOWEEN LIGHT SHOWS

This is not a review, but if it were I would give it 5 pools of blood. You MUST check out some of these videos I found on YouTube. I’m not even going to describe it for you, just pick at least one and watch it. I wish my neighbors did this because there is no way I would be able to!























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