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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

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