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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

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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