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Monday, December 31, 2012

TOP 5 BEST AND WORST HORROR MOVIES OF 2012



  Last year I didn’t look at the box office numbers before making my list. So I thought I would take a peak before making this year’s list just to see how my picks measured up with the box office. Obviously that does no good for DVD or limited releases but still. So here’s a quick look at some domestic box office results from Box Office Mojo (as of 12/28).

#15 Snow White and the Huntsman $155,136,755
#16 Hotel Transylvania $143,923,820
#19 Prometheus $126,477,084
#33 Dark Shadows $79,727,149
#45 Underworld Awakening $62,321,039
#51 ParaNorman $55,980,775
#54 The Woman in Black $54,333,290
#55 Paranormal Activity 4 $53,851,000
#56 The Devil Inside $53,261,944
#59 The Grey $51,580,236
#61 The Possession $49,130,154
#63 Sinister $47,977,484
#72 Resident Evil: Retribution $42,345,531
#73 The Cabin in Woods $42,073,277
#78 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter $37,519,139
#85 Frankenweenie $34,485,378
#87 House at the End of the Street $31,611,916

  Interesting right? Yes, I included a movie or two that might not have been exactly horror, and animated horror movies as well. And no, I didn’t want to look at the number of theaters. That’s just digging too deep into it. I’m sure you’re already scratching your head at where some of these movies landed. So let’s see if any of these movies landed on my lists.

My Top 5 Best Horror Movies of 2012:



#5 ParaNorman: It’s a little unusual for there to be several animated horror films in one year, so I feel as if I need to include one. Yes, they are kid movies, but still. This is certainly one the kids will like, maybe because they can relate to Norman. The supporting characters aren’t half bad either. The movie gives audiences a taste of ghosts, a witch, and some hilarious zombies. My only complaint is the story feels like it’s missing something. On a side note, "Hotel Transylvania" is a pretty funny movie.


#4 Juan of the Dead: Ok, I have to give some love to some lesser-known horror movies, so here’s my surprise pick. This movie is simply hilarious, especially for a guy from Miami. Yes, there might be some political jokes that not everyone might get, but there are plenty of jokes for everyone. Speaking of plenty, there is plenty of zombie kills for those who are looking for zombie deaths as well.
 

#3 The Tall Man: This movie is brought to us by Pascal Laugier, who did “Martyrs” (a must see). It might not be as horrifying as “Martyrs,” but it holds its own. While it starts off more of a horror movie, it becomes a good thriller/mystery movie. The acting is solid, and the best thing about it is all the twists and turns. It definitely keeps the audience on their toes. 


#2 The Cabin in the Woods: Here’s the movie that promised to be original while looking like the typical horror movie. It created a lot of buzz, and had everyone hiding the big secret in the movie. By the way, can we talk about that secret yet? Anyway, it’s that secret that makes the movie different as promised. Besides the typical horror stuff, the movie also includes a good amount of comic relief. I’m sure I will see this movie at the top of many of lists. It was looking like number 1 for along time, but was overtaken late in the year by…


#1 Sinister: For me, this was an easy choice. I love everything about this movie. It has suspense, tension, scares, and plenty of horror. I appreciate the different use of found footage, the acting is great, and love the look of Mr. Boogie. No way did I expect it to be this good before seeing it, so I’m glad I got a chance to see it. I will look for a movie to top this next year!


My Top 5 Worst Horror Movies of 2012:



#5 The Apparition: Unfortunately for this movie I just watched it so I know how much it sucks over others I might have forgotten about. To start off, all the experiment talk is just too confusing. They went too fast for my slow mind. The audience will never care about the couple because they are just thrown into the middle of the couple’s lives. They give it a decent attempt to scare audiences, but fall short. And it has a common theme with several of the movies on this list... a terrible ending.


#4 The Innkeepers: I should have known there would be nothing interesting about a pair of innkeepers (sorry people who are innkeepers). Really, this movie just tries and tries to build to something spectacular happening, but all the audience gets are two people babysitting a hotel with almost no one in it. And when the so-called spectacular event happens, it amounts to whatever you want to call is the opposite of spectacular. The only thing about this movie that haunts me is how I wasted my time watching it. (Yes, technically this came out at the end of 2011, but was released in limited theaters in 2012 so I included it)


#3 Paranormal Activity 4: Just when Paranormal Activity was starting to grow on me they had to give us this waste of a movie. It’s as if they waited to the last minute in order to make another movie. The scares are weak, the story is full of holes, and audiences won’t care about this new family. Worst of all, they just don’t include anything new and special about the previous movies. If you look at the box office numbers above, you will see why there will be a 5th part.


#2 Chernobyl Diaries: This movie has a similar theme to say “The Hills Have Eyes” or “Wrong Turn,” but it certainly doesn’t live up to those movies. I had some hope for it because the setting seamed to make sense, and the story tried to be different. However, the scares are weak because they let the audience hear more of the deaths than see them. Actually, the random use of animals is more scary. And yes, a predictable ending.  


#1 The Devil Inside: This movie certainly didn’t start 2012 off with a bang. Just because it’s a found footage exorcism movie didn’t mean it brought anything else new to exorcism movies. There are a few bloody moments, but is lacking in scares. Since it’s a documentary, there is way too much boring conversation going on. And let’s not forget the dreadful, and much talked about ending.

Interesting how I didn’t review many of these bad movies. I guess that is a good thing for me although I did watch them.

Horror movies I wanted to see but haven’t: Frankenweenie, Grave Encounters 2, Resident Evil: Retribution, and The Bay

Horror movies I'm most looking forward to seeing next year: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D, Evil Dead, and Insidious 2.

If you are curious about my list from last year, here it is:

Friday, December 28, 2012

SILENT NIGHT REVIEW


  Ah the holidays. Time to decorate a tree, and put up some lights. Time to do a little shopping, and prepare for a Christmas feast. And don't forget to leave Santa some milk and cookies for when he comes down the chimney. That's if he does come down the chimney. If he knocks on the door, you might have a problem!
  Aubrey (Jaime King) is part of a small police force in a remote Midwestern town. She’s struggling to believe she will ever be a good cop. Things don’t get any easier for her when a guy dressed as Santa decides to kill off everyone on his naughty list. With the help of Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell), she follows the trail of bodies in search of this Christmas criminal.
  So I'm all in on watching a rogue Santa. This Santa is pretty crazy, and shows no mercy for the naughty. His unusual mask makes him scary enough, but doesn't make it so obvious he's a bad Santa until it's too late. They do a pretty good job of hiding the motive for his killing spree. It had me curious throughout, and ends with a decent twist.
  Going back to the no mercy part, there are plenty of death scenes. If audiences are looking for a movie where a guy simply goes on a killing spree, this is it. Everyone including myself really seems to enjoy seeing Santa with a flamer thrower. It’s definitely one of the more memorable scenes.
  I guess you can’t have a killer Santa without killing a child. I admit I was a little surprised by that. There is one kill that is a good idea, but poorly executed. It’s when the girl is put in a wood chipper. She can’t possibly still be screaming, as half her body should be chopped to pieces.
  While the killing spree is fun, the rest of the movie isn’t. With the exception of the foul-mouthed Santa Jim (Donal Logue), there isn’t another character that is interesting. Aubrey’s struggles didn’t make me feel sorry for her, and remainder of the police force were just clowns waiting to be killed. That might be the result of some poor dialogue, and bad acting. I expected more from Malcolm, who is way too dramatic.
  There aren’t many Christmas themed horror movies so sometimes you just have to take what you can get. This rogue Santa is brutal, and the deaths scenes surely will please horror fans. There’s a high enough body count, and plenty of blood splattering moments. However, bad acting, and dialogue make you want to fast forward to the next kill. I would certainly give this more pools of blood if I found the story as fun as the killing spree. In other words, I give “Silent Night” 2 pools of blood!

  HorrO  

Friday, December 21, 2012

WARM BODIES REVIEW


  So “Warm Bodies” begins and one of the first things that come up on the screen is the Summit Entertainment logo. Panic mode… as I suddenly realize there’s a chance I'm about to watch Twilight for zombies! I already had concerns that this might be a sappy zombie movie. Summit wouldn’t try to kill zombies like they did vampires would they?
  The story follows a zombie, who is eventually named R (Nicholas Hoult). Early on he can't talk, but the audience gets to hear the voice inside his head. R and a group of zombie friends go on the hunt for some food, and find some humans searching a lab. A fight occurs, where R sees and surprisingly saves Julie (Teresa Palmer). This becomes only the first step in R's transformation from zombie to human.
  This is a different zombie movie because it’s refreshingly from a zombie’s point of view. The opening scene shows R walking around an airport with the audience hearing his thoughts. It's a tremendously funny scene hearing what a zombie could be thinking. He's not sure why he's there, what he's doing, and can't remember his life as a human.
  It’s not just from any zombie’s point of view; it’s from R’s, who proves to be a very intriguing zombie. Most zombies don’t want anything more than brains. Well, R wants a lot more than that. The audience sees how R is just a little different than the zombies around him. He lives in an airplane, and is a collector of things. One thing he collects, and surprisingly plays are old records. The music choices are perfect for R’s situation, and add some extra entertainment to the movie.
  R’s life as a zombie changes forever when he saves, and basically collects Julie. She quickly becomes his most important possession, as if it's zombie love at first sight. He's adamant about keeping her safe, and even tells her that. Yes, the transformation starts with R being able to say words. From this point on, the more time he spends with Julie, the closer he becomes to turning back into a human.
  Of course, Julie isn’t so sure about living with a zombie, as she has been taught that they want nothing more than to eat you. However, after R proves he isn’t a threat to her, she becomes as intrigued in him as the audience. As R and Julie spend sometime getting to know each other before their real journey begins, the on screen chemistry between Nicholas, and Teresa really bring these characters to life. Nicholas does a great job of selling that R’s in love with Julie, but not over doing because he’s still a zombie after all. Teresa equally does a suburb job of showing how Julie handles the awkwardness of the situation, and balancing her feelings for R while wanting to return home.
  There are two other things worthy of note about this movie. One is what happens to zombies when they eat brains. While not giving it away, it’s a very fascinating idea if that’s something that really could happen. Seriously, that could open the door to other great zombie movie ideas. Maybe it has been done somewhere else that I’m unaware of, but it certainly grabbed my attention.
  Besides this just being about zombies vs. humans, the other note worthy thing is that they introduce a third party to this equation: the Boneys. Not the most creative name, but that’s what they are, bones. Actually, they do a good job of making these skeleton guys pretty creepy for skeletons. While zombies are out for brains, the Boneys are out for anything with a heartbeat.
  While “Warm Bodies” has similarities to Romeo and Juliet, it certainly isn’t just a sappy love story. It’s a different kind of zombie movie about a very special zombie. Allowing audiences to first hear R’s thoughts and later speak, makes him a likeable character from the start, and provides plenty of humorous moments throughout. There is also just enough action, and yes romance to complete this story full of interesting ideas. The great chemistry between the lead actors makes this movie complete. Because Summit didn’t ruin zombies as well, I give this movie 3.5 pools of blood.

  HorrO

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

HOLIDAY HORROR WISH LIST



  I did this last year, and I think several of you had some fun with it, so I'm bringing it back. It's very simple, just imagine you are a little kid again, and are about to write a letter to Santa telling him what you want for Christmas. Except think of it as if you are writing to the Santa from "Silent Night," and are only going to be asking for things that are horror related. Basically I want all of you to come up with a Holiday Horror Wish List. It could be something that you could really get like a DVD of your favorite horror movie of 2012, or an autograph from your favorite horror icon. Your list could also be something you would like to see happen in the world of horror for 2013 such as, a sequel to a horror movie, or no more remakes (not happening by the way)! To give you a few more examples, here's my Holiday Horror Wish List followed by a look out how some of my wishes from last year turned out.

-Showtime to decide that season 8 will not be Dexter's last!
-For everybody who hasn't seen Sinister to see it!
-The motherf***ing release of Jeepers Creepers 3 already!


-Will settle for 2 out of 3 to be good (Texas Chainsaw 3D, Carrie, or Evil Dead), and 1 out of 2 to be good (Insidious 2, or The Last Exorcism 2)
-More screenings of independent horror films, and horror conventions to come to Florida!
-For Paranormal Activity 5 to be the last one unless they finally take my advice and Start A New Story Line!


-Was going to wish for a certain character from The Walking Dead to die, but it looks like I got that wish early. Got a 4th season coming. How about a poster signed by the whole cast (living and dead)?
-For the real life horror in the world to end!
-Continued support for HorrO's Gory Reviews, The Dog Days in Zombieville, PromoteHorror.com, and all things horror!


Now it's your turn! Please post your Holiday Horror Wish List in the comment section below, and we will see if Horror Claus will make it come true. 

Holiday Horror Wish List 2012:

-More episodes for season 2 of American Horror Story: got a 2nd season and a 3rd on the way
-For another network to do a zombie show! Hell more zombie movies and less vampire movies: Well looks like 2013 might be the year
-The release of Jeepers Creepers 3 already: As you could tell, I'm still upset about not getting this one
-For horror movies not named Paranormal Activity 4 to make over $10 million on opening weekend: Some movies did pretty well
-Supernatural to be renewed: Done, now we need another
-The strength to see 1 more Twilight movie: I survived, and glad it's over
-The Insidious DVD please: Never got it, but maybe I'll get a 2-pack after the sequel
-Continued support for HorrO's Gory ReviewsThe Dog Days in Zombieville, and PromoteHorror.com: You guys gave me this one... thanks!!

  HorrO

Sunday, December 16, 2012

THE WALKING DEAD: VIDEO OF FUNNY PICS!


No Walking Dead… no worries! Here’s a little video that will hopefully make you laugh, and remember some of the good times from the show until it returns. Enjoy…


Sunday, December 9, 2012

SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D REVIEW


  Finally the long awaited sequel to “Silent Hill!” What an injustice to the original that they took so long to make a sequel. There is a lot to like about the original, and plenty of craziness that I'm sure it couldn't have been that hard to put together a sequel sooner. Just look at how many Resident Evil movies they managed to put together. So after the inexcusable wait, did they do any justice with "Silent Hill: Revelations?"
  The story take place many years later, as Heather (Adelaide Clemens) is all grown up now. She’s on the run with her father, Harry (Sean Bean), from the evil forces of Silent Hill. What seem to be nightmares becomes a real life nightmare when Harry is kidnapped, and taken to Silent Hill. That’s when Heather teams with an unexpected new friend Vincent (Kit Harington), in order to get her back to Silent Hill.
  So let me start with the real injustice… the acting. The combination of Adelaide and Kit just doesn’t work. Watching the two together actually made me wish I were in a room with the pyramid guy. There is no chemistry between the two, especially when there is suppose to be. That is kind of surprising because Kit actually does a decent job on "Game of Thrones."
  Now to the good part, which is the Silent Hill creatures. Starting with the nurses, they are awesome as expected. There are only two things I didn't like about them. One is that they only had one scene. Come on, you can never have enough of the Silent Hill nurses. The other is in their only scene; the scene ends with the nurses posing. Yes, I know they are supposed to stop, but the way they end the scene is too staged. It’s almost like they stopped for someone to take their picture.
  Then there is the pyramid guy. It’s good to see they make more use out of him then the nurses. However, he just didn't seem as scary and/or intimidating as in the original. Maybe spinning the carousel didn’t do him any favors. There is a good fight scene between another creature, and him.
  While the usual creatures are great to see, there is a mannequin creature that steals the show. Think of it as a robot looking mannequin spider. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but that’s what it looks like to me. The way it moves around the room is terrific. It’s also fun watching how it incorporates a new piece of itself.
  It turns out that mixing 3D with the Silent Hill creatures is a good combination. It’s good to see that there is actually stuff popping off the screen instead of 3D just to make the movie look a little better. There is nothing earth shattering, but still enough to keep the audience on their toes. I’m actually still amazed at how ash falling from the sky is one of the better 3D effects. I’ve seen it now in several movies, and it just seems so real.
  In the end, “Silent Hill: Revelations” doesn’t match the mystery and suspense of the original. The bad chemistry between the actors certainly doesn’t help matters. However, if you are a sucker for the Silent Hill creatures like me, then you might find some enjoyable moments. There are also some decent 3D moments thrown into the mix. Overall, this movie doesn’t do the original enough justice so I give it 2 pools of blood.

  HorrO

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

THE COLLECTION REVIEW


  While it seems a good deal of people enjoyed "The Collector," I have an issue with it that just continues to bug me. The movie just ignores who the Collector is way too much. All the audience knows is he collects people, and that's it. No reason why, where he came from, and why Arkin couldn't seem to kill him. So would "The Collection" give audiences a sufficient look at who the Collector is?
  “The Collection” takes place not long after the previous movie. Early on, Arkin (Josh Stewart) manages to escape the Collector (Randall Archer) at a warehouse party. In the same scene, the Collector collects another victim, Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick). Being the only person to escape the grasp of the Collector, Arkin is approached by Lucello (Lee Tergesen) about Elena’s whereabouts. Lucello, who works for Elena’s father, forces Arkin to help him and his team find the Collector, who is held up at an abandon hotel.
  There is nothing like starting off the holidays with a blood bath. That is pretty much what happens in the warehouse scene, and sets the stage for plenty more blood splattering, bone crushing moments. As in the first movie, the death scenes are on point. Yes, the special effects could have been better at times, but it’s still pretty good for those looking for some gore. The audience also gets to see him torture a few souls, and what he has done to others. He's definitely a sick and twisted individual.
  Which leads me to all the aforementioned questions about the Collector. No, I won’t ruin it and tell you everything about him, but they do shed some light on who he is. As expected, they didn’t answer all the questions, for example how in the hell does he know how to build all these traps. In “Saw” the audience gets to see Jigsaw working on his traps, so at least they see him experimenting. However, after finding out the Collector’s background, it explains more about what is he is doing to his victims, but not how he can do all of the trap building.
  It just seems to be one of those horror movie things that typically gets a pass, which there is plenty of in this movie. There is a totally unbelievable escape from one of the Collector’s suitcases, another not so simple as it seems escape from a cage, and for those that don’t know you don’t preserve bodies in water. After seeing it, come back to me, and we can talk more specifically about that. Going back to “Saw” for a moment, this movie reminds me of “Saw II” in some ways (a group of people trying to escape a building that is totally booby-trapped.) Not too shocking considering this movie is brought to us by some of the same people who worked on the Saw movies.
  In the end, I guess I got what I wanted, which was answers. Yes, not all of it makes sense, and there is still some things left untold, which is expected. The final scene does leave the door open for more, so maybe they can complete his story one day. If you enjoyed the deaths scenes, and gore in the first movie, then you will probably enjoy them in this movie as well. While I enjoyed the blood bath plenty, there are just too many coincidences, and things they let pass. If they could’ve just tightened some of those things up, I might have given it more than 2.5 pools of blood.

  HorrO

Saturday, November 17, 2012

SPOOKY EMPIRE'S ULTIMATE HORROR WEEKEND 2012



  This was a year of change for Spooky Empire’s Ultimate Horror Weekend, as they changed venues. Regardless of the new hotel, the Hilton Orlando, the convention still proved to be a terrific show for horror fans. As usual, there were panels, Q and A’s, movie showings, merchandise and autograph room, and several special events.
  Instead of going day by day, I’m going to change it up this year and give you a few thoughts on some of the activities I attended in general. Some pictures and videos’ll help me along. Also, I’ll let you in on some of the activities and celebrities that were there whether or not I saw them.

Zombie Walk:


  As usual the convention kicked off with a zombie walk, and definitely as usual I caught the end of it. Why… because I was busy being zombified!


  It’s always fun seeing all the zombie costumes, and taking pics like the one above. I especially find it awesome when parents dress their little kids up as zombies.

Q and A’s:


  There were many great Q and A’s, but my favorites were The Devil Reject’s and John Kassir (Crypt Keeper). If I had known they were going to turn out to be so awesome, I would have recorded the entirety of both. As you might expect, The Devils’s Rejects was filled with many crazy stories. Sid and Ken were definitely having a good time, and loved every second they got to talk. Hopefully you watched the video, as Tyler also had a funny story about Halloween.


  When I got to meet John prior to the Q and A, I quickly realized what a cool person he is. He was having a great time interacting with fans, as he signed autographs and took pictures. He continued the great interaction right into his Q and A. I have to admit, I didn’t know much about his career besides being the Crypt Keeper, and it was extremely interesting hearing how he got started.



  Two more standing room only Q and A’s were with the cast of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, and Rosen McGowan. Of course, I’m always interested to hear stories from Robert Englund, but it was cool seeing the rest of cast as well. I was surprised to see how young many of them looked. I never realized they were that young when they made the film. Also, I never realized Rose had such a strong following, but I wasn’t surprised that she didn’t hold back when answering questions.
Other Q and A's: Heather Brewer, Cast of Zombie, Tom Savini, R.L. Stine, Kane Hodder, and Cannibal Holocaust

Special Events:


  These special events were something new to me. The MuckleBones Monster Museum had its own room for all the displays you see in the video. They did a wonderful job making everything look so real. You can also tell they made for fun photo ops. As far as the Hearse and Creepy Car Show, there weren’t as many hearses as I thought there would be, but they certainly picked some good ones for the show. As you can see, the coolest one was the coffin car. Now I would love to see people’s expressions as that thing drives down the street. The Evil Puppets table was also interesting; as it brought back memories of puppets I haven't seen in years like Critters, and Dark Crystal.
Other special events: Tattoo Festival, Celebrity Charity Poker Tournament, Bands and Live Performances, and the Bloody Mary "Hands On" Makeup To Die For Zombie Workshop

Merchandise and Autograph Room:


  If you were looking to spend money on horror merchandise, then this was the place to be. There were all kinds of great things to buy like old movie posters, figures, exclusive merchandise from other conventions, and plenty of other oddities. The room also featured many artists looking to sell their work. It’s always amazing to see some of the creative stuff they come up with.
  More of my money went to autographs. It’s not ever day you get a chance to get meet these people, although I still can’t believe I’ve met Robert Englund twice, and Kane Hodder multiple times. I chose not to have anyone else sign my “Icon” T-shirt this year. Instead, I had Robert and Kane sign the shirt you see in the video (at least I thought it was funny). I was excited to get some new autographs this year from the likes of Tyler Mane (damn is he tall), Sid Haig, and IronE Singleton (R.I.P. T-Dogg). Yes, I can’t believe he got killed off right after I got to meet him. He was super cool, and having a blast with all the fans.
Other celebrities signing autographs: Rose McGowan, Heather Langenkamp, Steve Dash, Lawrence Harvey, the cast of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, and many more.

V.I.P. Party:


  As you might be able to tell, there were several firsts for me this year, including the V.I.P. party. The party provided a good chance to mingle with some of the celebrities. I’m not sure how they decided to do it, but it seemed like celebrities would come in and talk with people for a while. Then they would leave and other celebrities would come in, and do the same. Some of the celebrities that attended were members of the cast of Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Tyler Mane, Ruggero Deodato and Lawrence Harvey.



  Story telling time… as you can see from the above pic, I jumped in for another hard choking pic with Kane. When I stood next to him he mentioned that he had the shirt I was wearing. Of course, I reminded him that I gave it to him. He told me that he actually wore it during a webisode he filmed. Yes, it made this horror dork extremely happy to hear he actually wore it. The next day was when I actually got his autograph again, and of course I mentioned the shirt to him. He said he wore it while filming a paranormal webisode at the Stanley Hotel. I will definitely be on the look out for that. Oh… and Robert said his wife wears the shirt I gave him. Ok sorry for the story telling.

Freakshow Horror Film Festival:



  I didn’t get to see as many of the movies as I wanted to. I was interested in several of them because I featured them at PromoteHorror.com, but they weren’t playing at times I could make it to. However, I did see “Spiders 3D” in 2D, and lets say the best thing about that was getting a free T-shirt. I did see a short film called “DeadBox,” which was based off of the Redbox machines you might have seen that was actually pretty good. They were also showing movies besides at the festival where I got to see “Zombie” for the first time. It was definitely pretty good in its time.
Other movies being shown: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Frankenhooker, and Cannibal Holocaust

Panels:



  They had many great panels as usual. Most of them were held by some of the authors that attended the convention. They usually put a great group of authors together with an interesting dynamic, and definitely opinionated. One of the more intriguing panels I attend was the one about remakes. Yes, the R word! Not only was it interesting hearing the panel’s opinions, but also it was interesting hearing the opinions of other fans. 
Other panels: What Scares Us, Cryptozoology, Sick and Twisted, and Vampires.
  Well, I could go on and on, and even tell more stories, but I will leave it there. There will be more videos of some of the other Q and A’s and pics on the Spooky Empire 2012/2011 Pictures and Videos page. I hope this gave you a little taste of what the convention was all about. Maybe I will see you there one day!

  HorrO

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 2012



  The theme for Halloween Horror Night’s (HHN) 22 was “No Way Out.” Maybe the theme should have been “No Way Am I Missing HHN’s.” Like many people, with houses dedicated to The Walking Dead and Silent Hill, there wasn’t much more they needed to do to convince me to attend this event. While there was plenty to talk about with those houses, the original HHN houses held their own. The big change this year was that they did away with the scare zones, and let the scaractors roam free in what they called “Street Experiences.” Also, there was the totally awesome Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure, and a new live show 20 Penny Circus.
  I was lucky enough to attend the event on 3 different nights, each providing a different experience. On the first day, I actually went on the “Unmasking the Horror Tour” in the afternoon before HHN. I’ll have more on that tour in a behind the scenes post. As far HHN, that was the first night it ever rained while I was at the event. That sounds bad, but it actually became a good thing because not everyone wanted to stand in lines out in the rain. So if you want a sure way to get through HHN in a hurry, grab yourself a poncho, and brave the rain. The lines were cut in half, and I did all the houses in about 2.5 hours. There was a downside besides the rain, there were no scaractors roaming the streets while it rained. However, it still was fun, and definitely a new experience.
  Speaking of new experiences, I had another on the 2nd night, as I went on the “Arcane Insights Tour.” This tour is similar to the R.I.P. Tour (a guided tour through all the houses), except one of the designers from HHN went on the tour along with the guide to give us even more detail about the event. Again, I’ll go more into what that tour was all about in a behind the scenes post; however I might refer to it while talking about the specific houses.
  On the 3rd night, there were no tours and rain to help me out. However, being a HHN pro, I still was able to make it through each house in pretty good time. You might wonder why I try to go in the houses more than once. Well, that’s because each time is a new experience. There are scares you might have missed, or sometimes different scaractors play a role better than others. Sometimes you just want to try to figure out how exactly they pulled off a certain scare. I’ll give some examples in my thoughts about the houses. 
  Now onto the good stuff, below is a description of each house, the street experiences, and live shows from the event guide followed by my thoughts about each of them. I hope I give you a good feel for the event, and if you did go, maybe I saw something you missed. As you can see, included are some pictures, and videos I pieced together as well.





The Walking Dead:
Band together as you escape infection and face hordes of walkers from AMC’s hit The Walking Dead. There's no way out.

This house really made you feel like you were on the show. It started off in the mall from season 1, and ends in the barn from season 2. They carefully placed several items throughout the house fans of the show might recognize, such as bunny slippers, Rick’s bag of guns and his hat, Daryl’s crossbow, and the ax-saw Merle sawed his hand off with. This is one of those examples of why going on the tour is good. While I noticed some of those things, I might not have been on the lookout for them without our guide telling us to look for them. Going in the house more than once, allowed me a good chance to find those items. As far as the zombies, yes there were plenty of them. I wouldn’t say any of them really scared me, but they were certainly cool to see. There was also a cool scene outside of the house with the school bus, and car they left the message for Sofia on.
5 pools of blood mostly cause it was cool feeling like you were on the show, and we love zombies!


Silent Hill:
Dare to venture to the ghastly town of Silent Hill, where an alternate dimension of horror awaits. Nothing is what it seems.

Another house that I was very much looking forward to. Again, this house wasn’t that scary, but it was awesome feeling like you were in the middle of movie/game. The nurses were well done, and cool to be standing so close to. A few rooms stood out in this house. One was where several nurses were standing together and one had to be real, but which one? Also, right next to them was the little girl standing at the top of some steps. That definitely was distracting me. Another room had a guy who was lying on his stomach, and looked as if his back was bending backwards. That kind of made my back hurt. Then the room I was most looking forward to seeing… the room with the pyramid guy. I was really disappointed with this room because it took until the third and last time I went into the house for the guy to move. The first two times he just stood in the corner looking around. I was really mad until the third time when he was actually walking around trying to scare people… finally!!!
4 pools of blood because I had to wait so long to see the pyramid guy do something.

Alice Cooper- Welcome To My Nightmare:
Face your demons in legendary rocker Alice Cooper's twisted mind and bear witness horror and music become one.

Nothing against Alice Cooper, but I’ve never gotten into his music so this house wasn’t as big of a deal to me as the previous two. This house was a mixture of different things with an Alice Cooper look alike at the end. One of my favorite rooms in the house was actually more of a hallway. In each section there was a statue to your left and right. There was a series of them, and of course you had to guess who the real person was. I liked that each time we went into the house they were in different places.
3.5 pools of blood for a good effort, and certainly an awesome entrance.


Penn and Teller New(KD) Vegas:
World-renowned magicians Penn and Teller have accidentally nuked Las Vegas, but don't worry, it's all part of the show… or is it?

Every year they seem to have a house that is meant to be more fun than scary. No surprise here, this was the fun house. A perfect example of this is the buffet room. On one side, you would look at the buffet and have a bunch of weird things happen to you like getting blasted with air. When you came around the other side, there was a series of buttons that you got to push to make those weird things happen to the people who were still on the other side. It might not be for everyone, but the thing I liked about the house was that it was 3D. Everyone got a pair of glasses as they went in, which was really cool to have on in a room that was filled with Christmas lights.
3 pools of blood cause while it was fun and the 3D was interesting, it was barely scary. (You can see more about this house in my behind the scenes post)

Dead End:
In Carey, Ohio, the Hartford Mansion was cursed after horrific acts occurred inside. And the truth is the deadliest part of all.

I want to save some of the more detailed descriptions for my behind the scenes post because when you see the pictures you will be able to get a better understanding about what I’m talking about. I will say that this house was much better than I anticipated. It starts off with some tricks like an old lady that floats back and forth over stairs, and a surprise-spinning tunnel. It all ends with a ghostly scream, and an interesting scare.
4.5 pools of blood for many great attempts to scare you!


Gothic:
By day, the Cathedral de Caementum Animus is being restored. By night, the gargoyles that keep watch come alive.

Going into the event I expected The Walking Dead house would be the best. While it was extremely cool, I couldn’t say it was the best house. When discussing the houses, this seemed to be most people’s favorite. Well, it was mine too! Again, I will give more details in my behind the scenes post, but I’ll say the tricks they did with the gargoyles were pretty awesome!
5 pools of blood for making gargoyles cooler than I ever thought they could be!

House of Horrors: Face the original masters of terror in blinding black and white as lightning slices through the surrounding darkness.

I really didn’t expect much from this house. I mean, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, etc… we’ve all seen them before. Well, this house turned out to be pretty awesome. First, it was probably the darkest house. You got helped through with the flashing lights, but I swear at times I wasn’t sure which direction to go. There was a nice room, where all of the monsters came at you, that had streams of big movie film coming down from the ceiling. Also, there was another room where you actually had to bend down to walk under a net and when you came up there was a creature right there to scare you. I liked that that creature really didn’t have to move. It was just to startle you. They definitely saved the best for last. There was what appeared to be a Frankenstein at quite a distance from you, and then in a flash he was breaking through a branch coming right at you. Yes, there was a second Frankenstein that was the one coming at you when the light flashed. It was intense, and extremely well done.
4.5 pools of blood that could have been earned just for that final room.


Street Experiences

The Iniquitus:
Rooted in evil, these are the patrons of death, and those who have risen from the cemetery. The Iniquitus are those who summoned the Dark Legions to come and feast here.

The first of some good costume designs to scare people with, or have their pictures with instead!

Vampires:
From all eras of time, worldly vampires are summoned here to Halloween Horror Nights to feast on living.

I know a lot of people are tired of vampires, but these vamps were cool looking and were definitely hard at work scaring people.


Beasts:
These legendary animal-like creatures will prey on those with a taste for horror.

They did a good job making some of these creatures pretty ugly.

Warriors:
This ancient army was slaughtered in war and now they seek revenge. Be aware as they approach under a cloak of darkness; their attack may catch you off guard.

Ended up being more like a bunch of half naked guys marching around. Nothing scary here.

Prisoners:
Horrifically burned in a woman's prison fire, the dead remain caught between life and death. They seek their release to the afterlife, killing all who stand in their way.

Anyone with chainsaws is sure to scare plenty of people. I liked that women had the chainsaws this year, but prisoners aren’t that scary either.


Traditionals:
The traditional ghost and goblins of Halloween past come together to try to feast more than just once a year!

Again, some pretty cool, and scary costumes.

Overall, I’m still not sure whether I liked the scare zones, or this street experience more. They are almost the same thing, as the scaractors were still in the streets, but there were no themed areas. One of the cool things was that they could go almost anywhere, including in the restaurants, which I caught a quick video of. Maybe one more run at the street experience, but with different scaractors will help me decide.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure:
A MUST SEE! Party on as those two most excellent dudes return to skewer the biggest names in entertainment and pop culture.

If you read my HHN post from last year then you know I’m a huge fan of this show, but for once didn’t like it last year. Well, I was glad to see they rebounded, like I knew they would. They put on another hilarious show with the theme centered on the election. It had characters such as, Honey Boo Boo, Katniss, the Avengers, and of course the candidates for President.


20 Penny Circus- Fully Exposed:
The 20 Penny Circus brings their “Magic For People With Questionable Taste” to an unsuspecting Halloween Horror Nights audience.

I would like to think I have questionable tastes at times, but this was not one of them. I didn’t care for this show. I could see it being for a certain audience that attends the event, but this wasn’t my cup of tea. It was basically magic tricks with a lot of sexual innuendo.

  Overall, I had a terrific time. Going on all the tours was well worth it, especially if you are really interested in the houses. As a group, this was one of the better years for the houses. I can’t say there was one that was a complete waste of a house. They definitely tried to take the scares to a new level. The street experience could have been better. Maybe with a different mix of scaractors it could have been scarier. Bill and Ted rebounded nicely, while the 20 Penny Circus just wasn’t for me. I hoped you enjoyed this look at Halloween Horror Night’s 22, and don’t forget to check out my behind the scenes found here. Also, you can find more videos here.

  HorrO

BEHIND THE SCENES OF HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 2012



  As mentioned in my Halloween Horror Night’s 22 (HHN) post, I was lucky enough to attend the event on 3 different nights, and went on two different tours. Much of the focus of this post will be on the “Unmasking the Horror Tour, but I will conclude it with a little about the “Arcane Insights Tour.” As far as the “Unmasking the Horror Tour,” it’s basically a guided tour through three houses during the daytime. It’s a great tour to go on if you are interested in knowing about the inner workings of a haunted house attraction.
  Unlike last year, this time they only let us take pictures on the tour. So what I’ve done is put together all the pictures in one video so that you can easily see all the pictures. After each video, I tried to describe some of the pictures, and what they tried to do in the house. You may need to go back and watch the video a second time to see exactly what I’m talking about. It was a shame they didn’t let us record the tour because in two of the houses they had the effects going on while we were inside. It would’ve made for some cool videos. However, I did go ahead and add my own cheap sound effects!



  Every year they seem to have a house that is meant to be more fun than scary, and the Penn and Teller house was that house. Apparently Penn and Teller have wanted to do a house for HHN for a long time, and this was finally the year. They had some input on the things you see in the house, like the doves. Also, you may have noticed there are a lot of pictures with them on it. That is all stuff from their shows that they supplied HHN with. And to top it off, they not only visited the house before HHN began, but they visited the house on one of the nights HHN was going on (too bad it wasn’t on a night that I was there).
  The above video starts off with a look outside of the house, including a shot of a guy standing over a can that was actually taken at night. Not long after that are some shots of the room that they actually took the promo pictures for advertising. Moving on to the “Honeymoon Suite,” you see some good examples of what I meant about having stuff from their shows in the house. You can see the small bed with a mirror above it. There was a French maid in this room who was supposed to scare you.
  You can also see the doves I mentioned, which had glowing red eyes that you could see at night with the 3D glasses on (yes this was also a 3D house). Speaking of red, the guide told us they use red in a lot of the houses because people seem to be attracted to red. There are a couple of pictures of a notebook, which isn’t that interesting right? Well, I included them only because it’s actually the script for Mortal Kombat. You can also see some X-Mas lights, which looked pretty cool with the 3D glasses on.
  What would Las Vegas be without some slot machines? While you were busy looking at them and trying to push the buttons, there were scaractors dressed as Roman soldiers roaming the room. Another popular Vegas theme is the wedding chapel. You see a few dead visitors sitting in the chairs. This chapel actually featured an Elvis look a like as a distraction. After that, you can see the buffet that I mention in my HHN post. There was a lot to look at as the people pushing buttons on the other side abused you. Not only are people attracted to the color red, but also like pushing buttons, which is why they set this room up.



  This was one of the two houses that had the effects going on while we were touring it. They seem to always have a house that looks like the typical haunted house on the outside, which you can see in the first few pictures. Then you see the old lady, who floated back and forth over the stairs. At night it was harder to see the wire, as they hide the effect pretty well. After that there seemed to be a normal walkway, but when the lights went out it was actually a spinning tunnel with ghostly faces.
  Moving along, you might recognize the doll on the wall. This was one of the houses that used a lot of the props from last year. Then you can see some pictures that were on the wall that changed depending on the angle that you look at them. I always have fun looking at those, but am careful of people lurking in the shadows.
  After that comes one of my favorite tricks, as you see three chairs and two ladies sitting in them. As you might have guessed, a scaractor sits in the empty chair waiting for the perfect to time to jump up and scare guests. Following those pictures, it’s hard to make out but there is a guy sitting in the bathtub. He’s the distraction because there was a scaractor standing behind the tub waiting for you. Also, there is a sink to the right of that with a fake mirror. Ever once in a while, it would slide down, and a scaractor would pop out.
  Sometimes they go for the camouflage scare, which is one of the scares going on in pictures of the room with lots of plants and windows. There was a scaractor placed in that room dressed as a big bush. Of course there are other scaractors in the room distracting you just in time for the bush to surprise you. Not long after those pictures, you might notice two quick pictures of some clothing. Well, the clothing belongs to Leatherface and Freddy, whose sweater might be easier for you to make out in the picture. They were definitely hard to see at night.
  Speaking of hard to see, one of the following rooms was a hallway of books. There were some books missing so that scaractors could stick their hands out at you. Those missing books just might be the books that were floating above you. You can see them in the pictures, but they were a little harder to see at night.
  The final room in the house was pretty cool. As you can see, there was a projection of a woman screaming. The projection is actually on top of a bed that was turned sideways on the wall. Where do creepy people sometimes hide in movies… under the bed. As you turn the corner there was a scaractor under the bed scaring guests on their way out of the house. It worked well as long as the line was moving.


  
This haunted house (the second one with the effects on) was set in a cathedral that was being restored, as you can tell from the outside of the house. If you previously visited Universal Studio’s and their Ghostbusters attraction, you will notice the gargoyles in the front of the house are the ones from the attraction. The bigger gargoyles are ones that Universal used to have at the entrance to the park along time ago. Just as you are about to enter the house, you see a statue to the far right. To your immediate left is another statue, which you don’t see in the pictures because it’s a scaractor statue. In the picture, you will see the device the scaractor used to set off some effects when they scared guests.


  As you can see there were a lot of things to look at as you made your way through. As I mentioned, they like to place things for you to touch, grab, pull, etc. Well, in the room with the giant bell there were ropes for you to pull on. As you did that, there were also scaractors in the room ready for those not paying attention. After that comes the first of several rooms with awesome gargoyles. You see a series of candles, which were especially made so that anyone who tried to light one couldn’t! Above you was a gargoyle strapped to the harness you see in the picture. It would stand still and then fly across the room with some sound effects playing.
  After a series of pictures of statues, you will see some pictures that look like I was taking pictures of some pieces of wood. It was hard to get a picture of, but on the inside of the wood and downward was where the church was. There was also a reflection so that you could also look upwards in the room and see it as well. And what was all that for? Well, when you walked forward looking in that direction, there was a hatch in the ceiling with a gargoyle waiting for you to pass.
  Moving along you will see a big black curtain with some small shiny objects on it. It’s supposed to simulate the night sky. Why… for the gargoyle that flew back and forth. You might be able to see the bar and harness that it was hooked up to. To your right you will see what looks like a small house, where a scaractor was sometimes hiding.
  Then onto the final and best scare in the house, and of the event. There was room that was pretty dark, and didn’t look like a lot was going on. You could see the opening you can see in the picture, but there didn’t appear to be anything there. That was until a gargoyle sprung at you stopping at the wall. You can see the place where the gargoyle grabbed onto to the wall to hang on, and pop out at you. The first time experiencing this was the best, even though we were tipped off of this happening as you can see. They did a really good job of hiding the gargoyle until it was flying towards you. It was funny because every time we went into the house after seeing it the first time, we would stop there and yell for the gargoyle to come out. It was that cool.
  Now for a few thoughts about the “Arcane Insights Tour.” While I’ve done the regular R.I.P. Tour over the past few years, this was definitely an upgrade. The difference between the two tours is that the Arcane tour not only has a guide taking your group around, but your group is also accompanied by one of the designers of HHN. I had my doubts about how this would turn out, but it was well worth it.
  T.J. was the designer that accompanied our tour, and he was fantastic. He’s been working there for over 16 years so he had plenty of stories to share. Before going into the houses, both T.J. and our guide, David, would give us the background on the house, and things to be on the look out for. After walking through the house, we could ask them about things we saw, and maybe didn’t see. At one point, we stopped touring the park and had a Q & A session, where we all got to ask him questions. It was nice not only hearing about this year’s event, but he also referred to many of the events in the past. We also got to hear about how they plan the houses, the challenges they face putting the houses together, how the marketing was done, and a little about possible future plans for HHN. I would say this tour is definitely for people who are really interested in HHN both past and present, and enjoy learning about the inner works of these kinds of events.
  So I hope this has given you a good inside look at Halloween Horror Night’s 22. This was certainly one of their better years, and I’m glad I got to experience it on multiple levels. If you have any questions about the event, the tours, or any of the videos and pictures I shared, please feel free to ask me about it. In case you missed it, you can read my post on HHN 22 here, and see more videos here.

  HorrO
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