Hello there Freaky Darlings! I hope all is well on this fine day. Glad to see things have cooled down a bit in my neck of the woods. t won’t last long though I assure you. Don’t know why I’m complaining about the heat anyway. Have you ever been on a planet with Five suns when they are all risen in the summer? Not pleasant I tell you what…you know what is pleasant though? A LITTLE NEWS!! Yep, got some stuff for Fatality Fest, some rumor on that groovy Harry Potter Phase 2 project at Universal, AND the first little bit of HHN 23 whispers have started to trickle out. All of this…and maybe more on…
THE PSYCHOTIK NEWS ASYLUM!!!
I’m going to end with the fatality Fest News…make you sweat! DON’T YOU DARE SCROLL DOWN! I’ll know and I’ll call you a filthy cheater! Anyway, I’ve been looking around for news on the new Potterverse Project at Universal Studios Orlando. Things are really tight-lipped at this point. Security cameras are everywhere and no one is able to get very close. So far there are rumors that you will be able to venture into Borgin and Burkes, the creepy dark wizard shop in Nocturne Ally. the only other bit I’ve found that was interesting is rumors about the Hogwarts Express. So far rumor is it will have no less than six different experiences. Of those you can only imagine one will have to be a Dementor attack like in the 3rd book/movie. I can’t wait. I know I’m in the minority when I say I say i WANT to see a Dementor attack…but something is alluring about getting to see them with no danger…um…this time…Anyway. The last rumor making its way around is a possible opening date of June 2014. More specifically, June 11, 2014. So far they seem to be on track to that goal, but things can happen between know and then. We shall see….
Next order of business, HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 23! Nothing too hot, just some stirrings that we may see some info sooner than later. Apparently, the Legendary Truth page has been a buzz since it’s lock down back in January. This much is true though, the dates have been released. The dates are as follows: Sept. 20-21, 26-29, Oct. 3-6, 10-13, 16-20, 23-27, and Oct. 31-Nov. 2. I know it’s not much, but hey it’s something. Maybe they will come forward with some more info soon. We can dream till then right?
Last thing I want to share is some news from Fatality Fest. The show had a pretty nice announcement last night. Fatality Fest has added Joe Bob Briggs to their list of guests. Most of you may know Mr. Briggs as the host of TNT’s MonsterVision. Fond memories of that show. That same time frame brought us the Monday night wars between WWF and WCW. Would always watch it after that…those were the days…ahhh! Fatality Fest is growing as we speak, I really do think this convention is going to be a new staple event in Florida. Viva la Fatality Fest!
That’s all for now Freaky Darlings! Keep a look out this week…you never know what’s in store!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
Holy Shit on a carbuncle!! It has been ages since I have anything new to say about Halloween Horror Nights! A bit slow to the punchline they’ve been this year! Top that with massive amounts of depression, massive amounts of happiness, total loads of debauchery, and boat load of liquor and what you get is quite possibly the biggest bi-polar orgasm the world has ever seen!!! AT ANY RATE!!! We have some Halloween Horror Nights 22 business to get down to…let’s begin!
Theme and Icon:
This year really doesn’t have one. No icon…No theme. Well I suppose with the list of houses you could say the Theme is AWESOME!! One word with a shit load of exclamation points! What I’m taking from all of this is they are trying to strip the event down to the basics…haunted houses. Maybe they are trying to see if they can survive on the mazes alone. Maybe I’m over thinking it and they were a bit busy. Maybe they spent have the year pulling the pud and threw this stuff together at the last-minute! I DON’T KNOW!! What I do know is, they have a hell of a house line up and this is all I really have to say on this bullet point…moving on!
I look forward to this year in and year out. After one HHN falls I begin the wait for the next…the only thing that tides me over is the website coming active over the summer. So what do I think of the website this year? DAMN PATHETIC!!! No Games…No Extras…And they made us all wait until a month before the event to give us anything!!! Uni this is not your A-Game in this area. As craptastic as 19′s website was, it was still better than a hallow frame-work! Shame on you!!! The lack of website could be explained by the lack of theme…but still…a game or two wouldn’t have killed ya!
As you might have guessed I’m saving the best for last…the houses. However, I’m impressed with the shows (or rather the new show!) Yeah they only ever add one show, and I’m cool with that. As long as it’s not the bad 30 minuet mockery of Rocky Horror Picture Show…or freakin’ Brian Brushwood…I’m cool. The 20 Penny Circus looks like the perfect act to fit in with HHN. Bill and Ted has been hit and miss the last couple of year to be honest. Last year was good, but still not up to snuff from years like 05′-07′. Maybe they will pull out some stops this year. Just look at what has been in pop culture for 2012…and there you have it!
**If you would like to know more about 20 Penny Circus, check out their Facebook page HERE
Not to thrilled to say this but I will. there will be no set zones this year. Yep, all of the barriers are down! If someone wants to chase you from one end of the park to the other…they can! One thing that does have me excited is that supposedly there is going to be no personal space. They can touch you. Now in years past, I’ve had scareactors do this anyway…so I’m curious as to how this will all pan out. The only thing is they tried this back in 07′, and it didn’t work. Maybe this year will be different, It’s anyone’s guess. The different “hordes” of scareactors include: Vampires, Warriors, Prisoners, Traditionals, Beasts, and a new breed The Iniquitus. At least the scareactors sound interesting…
As I am writing this HHN Crypt posted on their Facebook page some photos of the street elements for this years event. I’m a little impressed. They are going to have some sort of set dressing. It appears that the Walking Dead: Dead Inside will spill out onto the street with a walker area. Other areas look to be taken over by cemetery. There was also some pictures of vampire posters posted. I’m a little more hopeful.
The meat an potatoes of this article…the moment you have been waiting for…my pre-ranking for this year’s event!! Now, yesterday was the media preview, and I’ve seen a bit. So far I’m impressed with what I have seen. Thank you to all the websites that were there and spread the word over the internet. So here we go…
7) Gothic- The only reason I’ve ranked this last is I don’t know much about it like I do the rest. The premise is there, to be honest I think it will be cool…I’m just not convinced it will be better than the other ones. I could be very wrong with this house, but hey I’m ready to be proved wrong. Just something doesn’t seem that scary about Gargoyles…not sure what it is.
6) Dead End- I’ve seen very interesting things about this house. However, I can’t rank it that high because this house was done two years ago. I think I will like it, because I liked that house! I love the real hidden scares. Sneaky is good…I just hope I don’t keep getting the feeling of Deja Vu.
5) Penn & Teller New(kd) Vegas- I only put this one here because I know it’s going to be a fun house. I can’t very well put a fun house in a pre-rank above some of the phenomenal looking ones. You never know though, Penn and Teller are who they are. The thought of it being a fun house could prove to be a load of…well…Bull Shit!
4) Alice Cooper- Welcome to My Nightmare- I have seen the walk through of Hollywood’s version of this last year. Damn impressive! HHN meshes so well with Alice Coopers particular brand of rock music. The godfather of shock rock’s HHN maze may prove to be quite…shocking! Alice Cooper said it best with his announcement, “Welcome to my nightmare…I think you’re gonna like it!”
3) The Walking Dead- I’m going out on a limb making this my number 3. I wanted to make it 2 or 1 but the other two have my attention more. At the core of it this house is still a zombie house. I’m not saying it won’t stand out against other zombie houses. Far from it! There are some pretty iconic scenes in this house. My problem is with the fact it’s going to be a walk through of those scenes instead of a linear house. I could be wrong, but that’s the fun of these things…
2) Universal’s House of Horrors- This one…this is one to watch. The news on this house is there will be two firsts. One is a scene in which you have to crawl on your hands and knees while scareactors loom over head. The second achievement comes in the final room of the house. Supposedly it will set a record for the most scareactors in a single scene. It would also appear that the house will be in Black and White, I’m not sure though. Why not number one you ask…well I’ll tell you!
1) Silent Hill- I have been hoping and dreaming for this house since the first time I ever went to a HHN back in 2005. Silent Hill offers so much to a haunted house…it’s like the game was practically made to be put in other mediums just to be awesome! I can wait to feel the ash, to see the foggy scenes, to be nearly sliced to death by a nurse, and have my skin taken off by Pyramid Head. This house just has so much going for it. They didn’t reveal a whole lot media night (and you could tell it!) This makes me one excited Psychopath!
Well this article has taken me a lot longer to write than usual. Lot’s of stuff has been going on lately and to be honest I’m still trying to get back into the routine. At any rate, we will be at Halloween Horror Nights 22 on Sept. 28th doing the Annual Passholder thing. The group will be there with our freak hats on, so you won’t miss us. Everyone from Myself, to Seras, to ArnieFreeze!! We even have some new comers going with! Good friend Samhain and Magic Bob!! So come on out, say hello, get scared, and get your mug posted on a website!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
Special Thanks to all of those that went to the Media Preview night and provided everyone with the awesome video and photo thrills. You help make the wait go a lot less painfully. Encyclopedia Psychotika thanks the following Screamscape, Inside the Magic, HHN Nightmares, Behind the Thrills, Attractions Magazine, and HHN Crypt. You guys get the best info!
It has been months of waiting and weeks of sifting through crap…BUT IT HAS HAPPENED!!! Halloween Horror Nights has finally announced some details about this years event (other than dates…it’s just important to mention that they have announced dates) It all started last Saturday at ComicCon with an announcement that Silent Hill was going to be used in the event. It’s definitely going to be used as a house, but I have to wonder if they will use it as a zone as well. Either way this one just came way out of left field. Everyone was totally expecting Walking Dead. That wasn’t the only announcement though. Yesterday it was finally confirmed that Walking Dead was going to be a part of the 2012 event. The buzz has been there for months, but I have to say it’s nice to have it a definite thing. I’m still puzzled as to what will tie this all in together. No mention at all of a theme or an icon. For now let’s just speculate on what we have…
Welcome to Silent Hill
Not lying when I say this gave me a woody. I have been wanting a Silent Hill house since the first time I went to Halloween Horror Nights. It’s really to perfect! Creepy town, disturbing creatures, and graphic-beyond reality violence…it’s perfect! I’m really just wondering if they are going to solely do a house or if they will include a scarezone too. I really hope they maximize the experience and add a zone too. I loved it when they used to tie in the zones to the houses. It’s almost like it gave it a little extra “umph!” Either way I’m sure we can expect a seriously twisted time. Can’t wait to see Pyramid Head in the rotten flesh! If you need reasons to fear this thing known as Pyramid Head…be sure to look at the very end of the article.
The Walking Dead
This one is an old rumor made true. So excited to see Universal make this a reality. The Graphic Novel and the Show have so much to offer as a house. If you look at the video below you can see some of the scenes and guess whats in store from there. They show blueprints for the hospital scene with the door that reads “DON’T OPEN DEAD INSIDE” (by far one of my favorite visuals ever. There is also what seems to be a room with lot’s of hands trying to get in. I’m sure they are going to do such an off the wall fantastic job, the only thing that could complete it, would be walking through the house with our dear friend Melissa Cowan! Since people have been taking construction pictures the last little bit, we can only assume this house will be in the Disaster que. People have sighted what looks like a barn being constructed and a Winnebago that looks like the one from the show. Again…hope they use this as a zone too!
In closing, this year looks like another good one. Can’t wait! Also no definite on what is going on with the whole SS 44 business. Rumor has it (damn that bitch has a lot) that the new location will be SS 33. Which is good news because it’s a better space. I’ll let you all know more as it comes to light.
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
Well, it’s that time of year again. School is letting out, Hurricane season is getting ready to loom its ugly head, and Universal Studios Florida has began construction for Halloween Horror Nights 22. Uni has been pretty tight-lipped this year. No hints to the theme or the house names, just permits. The Permits were filed for construction the 8th of May. So far it looks like they are only going to have 7 houses, but then again it’s early we could see another. Some seem to think we could see a return of a double house ( I get so excited when this info comes to light. I know there are some other info that has been out for a while, however, that info has now been pretty well dashed to bits. Let me explain…
A couple of months ago I ran across a rumor mill over on Behind the Thrills. It was pretty good, but I felt it was the same old same old that had been rumored before. About every year since the last one that was in two parks, there is a rumor that the event will spread back to the two parks. I just don’t think it will ever happen again. When the event takes up both parks, I just feel that it’s too over the top. The walking from park to park really kills you, not to mention that there are several parts of IOA that are hard to theme. HHN 15 had no theme to speak of in Suess’ Landing. Not to mention…rumor has it (no not that song) Universal can’t have HHN in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter due to something in the contracts. Now mind you, they can close that area off and use the bypass but I don’t think that will be the case. Now they did have a nice rumor that Uni was going to take a shot at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party with a similar event. Believe me, I wanted to see this. You never know it may happen. But with the permits already surfaced…I don’t think we will see anymore. Still though, give it a good look because you never know what may come out of it as far as theme and icon.
Getting back to the permits though, there was some interesting clues pointed out by Park Rumors. Apparently there were a few scene names revealed within the permits. One has something mentioned of a “Bat Belfrey” and “Mirror Room.” They think that leads to a castle or a cathedral. I sort of agree with that. I can’t come up with anything better than that. The next one says something about a “Hospital Hallway” and a “Rooftop.” Now they don’t seem to think anything other than Hospital. I agree with some of the other readers that posted below on that page. Some others believe that there could be a Walking Dead themed house. To help substantiate that thought, look HERE. Seems Behind the Thrills noticed a certain property in the Cyber Image store that I did my last visit. Honestly, I didn’t think much of it at the time. Cyber Image generally is home to some pretty cool merchandise from all over the place. They also had some True Blood stuff at the time. Can’t imagine a house after that, but you know I wouldn’t be surprised either soooo….yeah. Back on Topic, the last house had a scene in it called “Creature Pit.” This had them stumped and me too. It’s too vague of a term really, Creature could mean anything. Maybe a long rumored Army of Darkness house? Who knows! I think it all will depend on the theme.
Remember the first link I told you to look at from Behind the Thrills? There is an excellent little bit in there about the theme having to do with two’s. Like having a double icon and theme it around choices and duality . At first I thought maybe this one wouldn’t hold water. With the rumor floating around though of a double house, I don’t know there could be a bit more to it. Personally, I think with the hundred year anniversary, we are more likely to see something along that lines. Again this is only speculation. Hopefully we will get a bit more in the next month or so. Until then, this is it! Stay tuned for more soon!!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
Good Morning, My Freaky Darlings! I’ve been dying to talk about this for some time now, but the craziness that’s called life has prevented me from doing so. My favorite ride at Islands of Adventure recently got a little more than your average refurbishment. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman got a new look, and let me say it was damn impressive. Normally, when you see a ride go down for refurbish, it’s just paint and a few minor tweaks. Universal announced almost a year ago that the ride was going to get a big retorque. Not only were they going to redo the old screens and bring them up to date with new High Definition ones, but they also planned to introduce a more realistic ride video. I have been eagerly awaiting the chance to ride the new tricked out Spiderman ride since that tidbit of info went across my screen. Last week, I got my chance! Before I get into this though, let me take you on a trip back to what made the ride so special before it had the “Pimp My Ride” experience…
The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman ( 1999 )
When Islands of Adventure first opened back in 1999, this young Psychotik couldn’t have been happier. I was finally going to get to go to a theme park involving my childhood hero’s, The Marvel Comic’s Superheroes. I was excited for Jurassic Park Island too, but I could have spent ALL DAY in Marvel Island. I remember the first ride I wanted to go on was Spiderman, unfortunately my cousins wanted to ride Doctor Dooms Fear Fall (Something I didn’t mind at the time. Their first choice was The Incredible Hulkcoaster. Which since I was less experienced with rollercoasters, I was absolutely terrified of! I knew the Fear Fall would take that idea right out of their head) So alas, I had to wait. When we did get to ride it, we had to wait like 2 hours. (Average wait time back then…and you people bellyache over 30 minutes) It was soooooo worth it. A 3D romp through the pages of my favorite superhero! HOW COULD YOU GET ANY BETTER!?
The main story line follows Doc Ock and the rest of the Sinister Syndicate (Hobgolblin, Shreik, Electro, and Hydroman) stealing an experimental levitation gun from Stark Industries. J.J. Jameson not having any reporters left to cover this mess, sends you and your other fellow riders in the experimental SCOOP vehicle. Now the SCOOP is supposed to be the most amazing invention to hit media. Capable of going anywhere, and getting any shot…how could anything go wrong? Well, after a warning from your friendly, neighborhood, wall crawler…the screwy thing takes you right into the hideout of the Sinister Syndicate. And in true J.J. fasion, he opens his big yap and get’s you found. From their the Syndicate tries it’s best to catch you while Spiderman tries to save your silly ass. You first encounter Electro, who gives you a rather…eh hmm…”Shocking” experiance (No ladies he didn’t pull his pants down…family friendly) From there you rattle on over to a room withe a tank where you have a close encounter of the symbiotic kind. As you are trying to escape, Doc Ock fires a few levitation blasts over head making some pieces of the stolen Statue of Liberty float above you. Escaping down, what seems to be a sewer way, Spidey and the SCOOP get a few second break before you are attacked by Hydro. As you get hit by a flying pipe your sent to a room where Doc Ock busts through a brick wall to roast your hide (I mean it too…) From there you jerk back and forth before you bust out onto the street. Think your safe, think again! Hobgoblin tries to blow you away with some pumpkin bombs (I must also add that he has one of the most quotable lines from the whole ride! lol) Spidey saves you from getting blown up, but unfortunately finely get’s bested by Doc Ock and you get blasted with the levitation ray sending you up, up, up…all the way to the top of the sky scrapers. Spiderman tries to web you down sending you on one bumpy ride as you get pulled around through the air while a fight ensues. The end result? The Doc reverses the effects of the ray, sending you on a simulated 450 foot free fall! Spidey spins a web just in time, setting you on the ground where you can get safely back to the Daily Bugel! So tell me…What could possibly be wrong with this ride entailing an overhaul?
Simply put, it was made in the 90′s! The animation wasn’t the best, the 3D was sort of fuzzy, and there were even a few scenes (that up until now) you could completely tell what was going on unless you were a seasoned veteran. STILL!!! This ride was completely innovative and way ahead of it’s time. Even after the release of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey some, including myself, still held this ride in higher regards. Now that you get the idea for the ride, let’s talk about what they did to make an epic ride even better…
The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman: The Ride ( 2012 )
To start off with, like I said, they added some High Definition screens to provide a much better picture and better 3D effects. Then they totally remade the ride video to look more realistic AND have even more depth. The difference between the two is just staggering. Were the old video made the rooms have a bit more depth, the new ride video really gives you the feeling of being in a wide open space. With much better video and the HD screens you are able to see all of the scenes the way they were meant to be seen with no blurring. You don’t even get the weird cross-eyed effect that most 3D attractions give you. The new way that the characters are all presented are just out of this world as well. You can actually see the stitching on Spiderman’s glove. Doc Ock has a sort of combination between Spiderman 2 version and the comic book. Shreik just looks absolutely terrifying. You can even make facial expressions out on some of the other characters!
In addition to all of the above mentioned, sound effects and the ride soundtrack were made much better. The soundtrack now has a much more modern rock and roll tone to it. The added sound effect of squealing tires and many others add even more to the experience. Quite possibly one of the coolest additions for fans is the appearance of Stan Lee! (If you look at the couple running away when Doc Ock levitates the theater marquee and then again at the final scene with the man in the green sweater….you will see Stan “The Man” Lee) I just couldn’t believe how different the ride was, but at the same time how it was still my old childhood favorite. You could say the ride was…well…”Amazing!” (I will post a video of the ride below from Coaster Force…Mind you it in no way captures the overall effect or feel. But if you are veteran as I am, you will see some of the changes that have been made.)
In closing, I encourage all of you to make a trip to ride the new version of the ride. I assure you, it is worth the trip. Any self-respecting Spiderman fan will just love it. That’s all for now my Freaky Darlings…I’m rather liking this regular posting thing! Now I just have to think of some more to talk about…alas…this is the only problem.
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
Well Freaky Darlings, another year down and gone. But with that we have a whole new year of nonsense to look forward to and enjoy. Some people even think the world will end this year. I suppose it could…the world could be chipping away underneath our feet as we speak. A super weird mutated virus could turn everyone you know and love into flesh eating zombies. Or the world could just keep on spinning (Much more likely) and prove all of the doomsday theorists to be a bunch of whack jobs incapable of enjoying life! What ever happens, there is something definitely ending that has garnered my attention more, and that is the JAWS: The Ride attraction at Universal Studio’s Orlando. I did promise you all I would post a final farewell as well as my theories as to what is going in (Better post em’ now, because they may post whats going in tomorrow!) So let’s dive into some shark infested waters for the last time shall we!
Tomorrow will be the last day of operation for one of the last surviving original rides at Universal Studios Orlando. Riding it one last time was a bit bitter-sweet. I had the pleasure of making that last ride with Seras, Jazmin, and my best friend Todd. As we were going through the familiar twists and turns of the ride, I looked around and remembered all of the special memories I had from the ride. The first time I ever rode….the first time I dragged Seras on…late night at Halloween Horror Nights…the times when we had a skipper that felt the need to ham it up a bit or make it their own. So many fond memories…then it hit me. I looked around at all of the effects. Everything was dirty…it all looked so bad and it justhad a rehab a short time ago. Then, an epiphany finally hit me! I finally understood why this ride was going away. In the history of this ride, it does go down quite a bit. The cost of maintenance has to be astronomically high as compared to some of the other attractions. The fire effect has even been indecisive as to whether it would stay or go, because of the cost! Looking around…I just realized it was time.
Now don’t take me the wrong way, I will miss the ride. It may have gotten stale for me, but I have fond memories attached. More I’m saying, it won’t be as bad as Back to the Future leaving. As we progressed through our final ride it ended in the same way it always did. The only difference is for the first and last time, Jazmin saw the shark. Poor thing got the poo scared out of her…literally! One last memory was made, and I’ll remember it forever (as I’m sure Jazmin will…I’m not looking forward to the therapy bill!) I must also mention that it was somehow the first time Todd had ridden as well. His opinion, it was cool. I just wish he could have seen it on a good day. At least he got the experience of seeing the one scared child that always managed to ride…to bad it was my kid…I feel so bad, but it’s something we will laugh about later…I hope!
At any rate, we all had a nice time. It will be sad to see it go! But, at least we all got to say goodbye. Just one question remains….what will replace it?
What is going to replace it?
This is the question on everyone’s mind. What will replace JAWS and Amity? Well Darlings, it’s looking like the general census is Harry Potter Phase II. Now this isn’t just a guess! A lot of reasearch from other sites as well as my own research has been done. It looks pretty likely. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a team member to talk as I’ve done before (Ever since Water Boarding was deemed inhumane, this work is just impossible…lol…Seriously though…)
The full rumor is,(I still say rumor, Uni could throw a wicked curve ball!) The replacement will be The Diagon Ally/ London area from the movies and books. The ride looks like it may be Gringott’s (Yeah you remember that really cool scene with the white dragon in the last movie…that!) The most unbelievable of all the rumors though, is a Hogwarts Express that will link the two parks and use the Kong 360 technology. This is the evidence:
* Universal is contract bound to deliver a Phase II to the Harry Potter Park
* The contract also states that Phase II will have to have elements from the last film
* The Harry Potter attraction is contract bound to be updated every so often
If you want to see more, check my source links below. One link in particular. I won’t say too much, but I will say HHNRumors found some pretty cool info on a ‘Project 722.” A lot of speculation as to what 722 means (Some say it’s a reference to page 722 of Deathly Hallows which references Kings Cross Station. Some say it’s in reference to Gringott’s because all of the vaults 700 and above were considered High Security…can it be both?) Check them out!
More info is sure to come as the month progresses. Rumor is announcement will come January 24th. Uni has other projects in the works though, so that announcement may not be about Potter Phase II. Could be sooner…could be later…but I’m sure something will be this month since the popular belief is that construction will begin February 2012. At any rate, that’s all for now. Stay tuned to more madness to come.
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
You know, I really hate it when Universal Studios decides to kill a classic ride. It pained me to see Hannah Barbara go (like wise for Jimmy Neutron)…Shot my dreams down when Ghostbusters made way for Twister…Wrecked me when Kongfrontation took a dirt nap…and DESTROYED ME when Back to the Future was shut down for The Simpsons. Now another one of the legends is about to go belly up…JAWS The Ride will stop their shark filled Amity boat tours FOREVER effective January 2nd 2012. This is a huge blow to us lovers of the classic Uni. To be honest, I thought E.T would have bitten the big one first. To be even more honest, I would have thought anything that had Steven Spielberg attached to it would be immune forever! To make matters worst, the blow isn’t even softened with a hint to what the next attraction may be. This is a sad time indeed…The future at my favorite theme park is hazy and unclear…So to try to brighten things up…I do so hate dreary posts…Let’s speculate on a few things that this announcement has begun to toil in my head!!! What is going in the area? What kind of ride will it be? What will they do with one of the eight HHN locations down? SO MANY QUESTIONS AND NO ANSWERS!!!! ALL WE HAVE ARE….
What IS going to replace JAWS and Amity? Their has actually been talk of JAWS getting the ax for a little while now. At the very least the las couple years. The first rumor I had heard was just after completion of the Wizarding World. The rumor was an expansion to Harry Potter. Some seemed to think it was a valid idea for them to add a Harry Potter themed area and attraction to Universal. I suppose it may be possible. Harry Potter is a large enough world to spill over to Uni as well. I just hope it doesn’t! As much as I would love to see Diagon Ally in real, too much is too much!!! I’m sure they could make it work, but this is at the bottom of my list for hopeful ideas. PLUS…their really is no evidence that would point to this. They have said WWOHP will have a Phase 2, but as far as I know that will be the rest of the Lost Continent….Cthulhu’s Tentecles, I hope that’s not what replaces JAWS and Amity…
Another theory I have thought of is…TRANSFORMERS!!! Awesome ride in Disguise! Seriously, they could put it there…it could happen. As far as the area, they could just make it an expansion to the World Expo area. I’m just not sure what it would all look like. As much as I want to see the ride, I’m thinking more and more as I type this that ir won’t happen. They would have to tear down EVERYTHING, fill in the area, construct a building…I just don’t know. No evidence that this may happen at all, but if I find something I’ll let you know…
Either way, we are talking about a large piece of land being developed. Whatever comes in I’m sure will impress. Universal hasn’t let me down yet. However, there is still one more question on my mind…The JAWS que has been home to HHN Haunts for quite some time. What are they going to do with a missing location….well….
What about Halloween Horror Nights?…My second favorite house from 21 was housed in the que for this ride. In years past, this has always been a location for a house when HHN has been at USO. So what about next year? Are they going to ax a house? Will they find a new location?….OR…Will we see a return of the Islands of Fear. Next year will be the 10 year anniversary. Uni is really good about playing up numbers. I can tell you they’re were many hints at it this past year. Hints that the event may find its way back to IOA. I’m not going to lie, I would love to see this. If not just to see WWOHP taken over by Death Eaters, and a Harry Potter themes house. Rest assured, I’m keeping an ear to the ground for this one.
Either way, JAWS…The Ride will join the ranks of other classics taken out to pasture. I sure am going to miss that Shark. If I get too lonesome hearted though, I could always find a way to Universal Tokyo. Not only are they keeping their JAWS…BUT they have the only surviving Back to the Future The Ride. That’s all for now Freaky Darlings…If I find anything in the future I will let you all know. As of right now, I should be going to Universal the 22nd of this month. I’m good at sleuthing, and if there is a rock to be turned over…I’ll find it.
Until Next Time, My freaky Darlings,
Well, it’s a sad time of year for me. October has ended. My favorite month of the entire year gone just like that. So much has happened this month I can’t begin to tell you everything. Most disappointing is, I wasn’t able to post a quarter of the articles I had planned. INCLUDING my annual review of Halloween Horror Nights 21. This pains me to no end. I feel as though I have failed you all..(All three of my regular readers! Ha Ha!!) So it occurred to me, does the fun really have to stop? I mean, does the horrible fun of Halloween really have to stop because of something as trivial as the month ending? HELL NO!!! If the stores can stock Christmas a week into the Halloween season, I sure as hell can extend my Haunt season! So prepare yourselves…I have every intention of extending my haunt season until Thanksgiving. The review will mark my protest against the end of October. That being said, pull your Jack-O-Lanterns back out…and buy some more candy…this season isn’t over yet. I’ve no idea how this will turn out. To be honest, I’m kind of pulling this all out of my ass! At any rate, let’s take a look back on Halloween Horror Nights 21…
Well, another Halloween Horror Nights has passed…and what a Horror Nights it was! I was absolutely blown away by some of this years houses. This year marks the hardest I’ve ever had to think when ranking them. That’s not to say this year didn’t have room for improvement. It did seem like they put so much attention into the houses and some of the newer aspects of the Scarezones, that they really dropped the ball in the Scarezone department. The easiest way I can paint a picture of this years event is to discuss it one moment at a time. Let’s start with the Houses…In Count Down order!
8) The Forsaken- This house was really the only let down of the night. I don’t think it was because it was bad. More, I just had higher hopes for it. The hype just didn’t hold up. It has a nice story, that is conveyed rather nicely. (Although, one in our group was convinced the Spanish Troops were actually Gladiators…I didn’t thinks so…but still) The Scareactors just weren’t up to par. All of them had masks with glowy green eyes…not the best choice. The ship’s mast room everyone was talking about wasn’t doing it for me. You could tell that there were dummies and actors in the room (Note: This effect was used entirely too much at the event…and it only really worked once…). Like I said though, it wasn’t all bad. In the beginning there was some pretty nice gore. The wind and rain effects were a nice touch. The best room in my opinion was the tilted room. You were kind of forced to be near the Scareactors in a narrow environment that kept you way off base. One of the coolest effects was a bungee Scareactor. Looked cool seeing him look like he was flying from way out to burst in the room. Still, it just wasn’t up to snuff when you consider the rest of the event.
7) Winters Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery- This was another surprise! I picked this for number 2 and it dropped to number 7! This one really wasn’t that bad…It just wasn’t scary.This house had some of the best visuals I have seen. The grand cemetery facade was just breath-taking. Perfect for a HHN wedding. The cold was a nice touch, which would have been more obvious if it hadn’t been cool that night already. My favorite effect was a half zombie pulling itself across the ground. You see they raised the ground to your right and had a well hidden Scareactors top half-dressed to look like a zombie pulling itself over the ground…you had to see it! One of the crypt scenes was noteworthy as well. The mirror effect used to make a skeleton look like he was crawling out of a big hole would have looked a lot better…If it wasn’t for seeing the mirror that made the effect. The Scareactor dressed as a pile of bones was a could throw back to last years Scareactor dressed like a chair (The chair was less obvious!) I didn’t want it so low, but I just can’t rank a house higher based on how pretty it is.
6) The Thing- OK something was definitely strange about my HHN Spidey Sense…I PICKED THIS FOR NUMBER ONE!!! This house was still what I expected. Really nice creature effects, shit your pants gun shots, and cinematic scenes of sweet The Thing goodness! Really, the fact this one was so low should attest to how good the other one’s were! The animatronics were really more disturbing than I expected. It was hard to look, but then again it was hard to look away. The one hanging out of the ceiling and the one at the very end were the things (Pun intended) nightmares are made of. The gun effects were a lot better than I remember from 07′. I wish I would have seen the movie though. It would have let me know exactly how good the story was told. However, from what I know of the original, they managed to tuck a few of the iconic scenes from the original. (To explain what I mean…If you have never seen the original, there is a scene where the team of the American outpost investigates the aftermath of the Norwegian outpost.) The best of those that I hope people caught was the radio room where you see the operator kill himself. If you stayed in the room long enough, you would see him laid back in the chair wrists out, just like the movie. I also want to mention the over head Scareactor in one room. He really just made you feel nervous.
I only had a few issues with the house as a whole. Unlike the previous The Thing house, the protagonists had no interaction with you. Really it was like you were walking through the movie. You almost felt in the way…Seras waited for one of the actors to shoot in one room. I just wish they would have interacted a little better. My next issues was the “scary” Scareactors. Most of them just looked like they had a tumor growing out of their mouth. The ones toward the end did get better, but the beginning ones were a bit silly.
5) H.R. Bloodengutz Presents Holidays of Horror- From number 7 in the prerank…to the number 5 spot…this house did not disappoint. From beginning to end was a constant onslaught of the campiest horror this side of the SyFy channel (Only it was actually good and entertaining!) I wish I would have had time to watch the que video’s outside. The que showed you clips from the H.R. Bloodengutz show. Each clip was featured in the house, but the rate you go through…you don’t have time to see them. The facade to the house was fitting. It was like you were entering through the back of the TV station. The loading dock smelled like a real loading dock (Not that it’s a hard scent to achieve, but a nice touch none the less!) The guy playing H.R. in the opening room was really into it. He kind of set the mood for the whole house. It’s really funny when you notice some of the holidays. Everything was represented from the big holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving all the way to the obscure like Presidents Day and Arbor Day. The funniest one when you noticed it was St. Patrick’s Day. Your kind of caught off guard at first, until you see the pot of gold and all of the shamrocks. The most imaginative was Presidents Day. When you walked into the room, the key effect was a nuclear bomb going off outside. You see the “Football” suitcase counting down on the president’s desk. When it goes off you hear the loud “BOOM” and the room floods with light. That’s when you notice the mutilated president corpse on the couch and the zombie Abe Lincoln and George Washington. The last I have to mention is Christmas. The only thing I can really say to describe the true epic nature of this section is…Crazy Cartoon Elves with Machine guns…with a murdered Mrs. Clause and a Santa with his head blown off.
4) Nightingales: Blood Prey- From here on in was some of the hardest decision making I’ve ever had to make on houses. All of them were top contenders and this one was no slouch. Let me first say, this had a really imaginative concept. I really didn’t know how they would pull off the trench atmosphere. It could have went either way, but they knocked it out of the park. The facade made my jaw drop. I couldn’t belive the grand scale of it all. When you first enter, you only really see German soldiers for a scene. To be honest, the Nightingales are more terrifying. One of the effects that stuck with me was a soldier trying his damnedest to protect you and move you out of the area. As he is telling you to run and stay down, he is grabbed from behind. All that’s left when she pulls him away is his bleeding legs. The rest of the house is full of some of the best gore I’ve seen at HHN. Honorable mention goes to the soldier laying out on a table just spewing “blood” into the air. Made everyone get the creeps. I was really concerned about the masks at first, but you know upclose…they work. I don’t really remember having any real problems with this house. I think I just wish it would have been longer.
3) Saws N Steam: Into the Machine- From right here just let me say, any preconceived notions I may have had this year for a house just because of the location…well now they are right out the window. The location of these top houses usually held the background starters of years past. Now they hold the best ones! I had high hopes for this house. As good as the Scarezone was last year, it had a lot to live up to. If there is one thing this house proved, it’s that you can take a really good Scarezone and turn it into an epic house! I don’t even know where to start. The whole house was done so great. You really felt as though you walked into a giant machine-made for extracting fluids. The story line was told clearly. The effects were top notch. Everything from people being mutilated on a table to canisters of meat being squished to squeeze every last drop out. The further your journey takes you…you see more and more water. One room is lined with what looks like fish tanks on all sides. Closer inspection reveals those aren’t fish in those tanks…but bits and pieces that slipped through. As you make it to the last scenes, your faced with a giant waterfall with a man in an old-fashioned dive suit behind it splashing water at you. It’s at this point you remember…the only way these people have water is to harvest it…THAT’S ALOT OF FREAKIN’ WATER!!! I really hope they use this house as an example of what to do for future years. Maybe we will see a 7 house next year…hmmm….
2) The In Between- This house set a new standard for all 3D houses…HELL..Effect houses in general. I picked this one for dead last and it nearly walked away with number one. One of the easiest ways to describe this house is a bad acid trip…A REALLY, REALLY BAD ACID TRIP!!! From beginning to end, the whole maze became an all out war on your senses. Sight, Touch, Sound, and I believe in one part Smell…It could have been someone crapping themselves come to think of it…anyway…all of these became your worst nightmare. There was one room with laser lights being sprayed everywhere. If you looked down, you felt as if you would drop off the face of the Earth. To top it all off, you had these near invisible black strings hanging down and hitting you. Giving ou the feeling you could feel the laser dot’s. The rooms that had creatures in them…you couldn’t see them until the wall came to life. AND BEFORE I FORGET!!! The spinning walkway was the worst it has ever been. I feel like I’m going to fall down when I walk through this effect when it’s normal. Add 3D and BAM! No Bueno!!! I cam close to naming this my number one. But, their was something the number one house had that this one didn’t…
1) Nevermore: The Madness of Poe- I have been a fan of Edgar Allan Poe since…well…EVER!!! I had to think on this one for a while because I wanted to make sure that it was the house that made this number one and not the little goth kid deep down inside. The whole maze painted a brilliant story and captured the very essence of Poe’s madness. The first scene you are faced with is Poe writing at his table frantically in an alcohol fueled rage. The most I can guess is this is supposed to be when the madness takes him over. As you progress you walk through the incarnations of some of his better stories. If memory serves me right, it was Tell Tale Heart, Pit and the Pendulum, and Black Cat. Tell Tale Heart was the coolest of those three. As you walked in, the same scene of the narrator tearing open the floor boards revealing the heart is recreated on every wall and even the ceiling. My first scare in this house came from the Scareactor hanging out of a hole in the wall. I loved the beating heart noise as well. The second act of this house came when you entered a grand hall. At the top of a stair case you could see Poe swaying back and forth drunk of of his mind. Beware though, the spirits of his late wife haunted the room at every turn. And I do mean EVERY turn! I can’t remember the exact sequence of events after this point but I can tell you this…Masque of the Red Death and Cask of Amontillado were the bomb diggity! Cask was creepy when you looked to the right and say a skeleton chained inside a wall. Even worst was when you looked to the left and saw Poe Bricking YOU in.
The only part I thought was a bit silly, was the giant ravens. Not that they were bad. They were very cool…but all I could think about was the Big Horney Bird from Hell in Little Nicky. I would have just died if they would have started dancing to the tune of “Ladies Night.” That was really the only thing I found off, and even that wasn’t really off. Just more of a humorous observation.
Now that I’ve went through the Houses…it’s time to attack the Scarezones. I still have mixed feelings about the Scarezones. Some of them really weren’t the best, but I still liked some parts. However, my number 1 Scarezone this year is my all time favorite. Let’s examine shall we:
6) Nightmaze- As much as a good idea as this zone sounded on paper…it equally failed to deliver. I just felt like something could have been done to make it better. I liked the thought of a moving zone. The actors had a good idea going with no caring if you were coming or not and closing off sections to make you go back. But the way it was designed just looked sort cheap and last-minute. Really you could recreate this area at your own house if you wanted. One time out of three was decent going through it. It just wasn’t up to par.
5) Your Luck is Up- The new team that has taken over this event since Michael Roddy left has done one thing in both HHN XX and HHN XXI that I have not liked…The Icon of the event has not had a house.With Fear it wasn’t a big deal. The Scarezone was enough. For Lady Luck, we had a nice story line. A story line that was wasted because their was noting to tell it. Consider for a moment, if you will, the zone that was in Sting Ally last year. Saws N’ Steam was a great zone (My personal favorite of all time until this year!) So you can’t blame the area. The set design was OK…but it was the same thing at either end. It was home to 5 Luck Scareactors, 3 Monster and 2 Normal. This made the area very predictable. The whole distraction tactic was easy to see through. It looked cool, but it was just kind of meh…Not what I would expect after seeing last years zones.
* Editors Note: The area that they used to take pictures with Lady Luck served as a better zone for the Icon…
4) Grown Evil- This Scarezone was pretty good. It brought me back to the year they had Harvest of Souls. The creatures were pretty decent. Not sure why the Bat Stilt Walkers all had boobs that were like “Look at me!!” Maybe there are some Furries on the creative team…I don’t know! I’m not complaining about that. My complaint, and this could have just been their direction for the night, I couldn’t get not one damn picture of them! Everytime I went for one, they would cover up or turn their head. It was frustrating to say the least. So for punishment…Your at Number 4!! Ha! Now who get’s the last laugh. Also the actors didn’t try near as hard as they should have to scare Seth or Myself. On another note I did like that they used Silent Hill music in the area. It was a nice touch.
3) Canyon of Dark Souls- From the first pictures I had seen of this area, I didn’t expect much. It really wasn’t that bad in the long run. With wind blowing it made it impossible to see where the Scareactors would come out of. The costumes did a good job of blending in. The music was fierce and the fire effect was great. I also enjoyed the area being lit only by the light of the fire. Seth was dressed as Death the Kid from Soul Eater so he had ton’s of fun with the Scareactors. He kept wondering if they were all members of the Death Family. People were loving it…I don’t think this zone’s actors got it, but believe it or not there was more than once he was noticed. My only problem? This zone could have been a lot bigger.
2) Acid Assault- I liked this area and at the same time felt it had room for improvement. The effects used to make the buildings look like they were falling apart were epic. I can’t wait to see how these effects are used in future years. The music was fitting. The set dressing was spot on, and the Scareactors I did see looked good. My only issue was the lack of Scareactors. The area had next to no scares. It looked great and that’s why it got so high on my list. However, it ended up being Michael Bay…all style…no substance. You might be thinking to yourself, “Malice, it just sounds like the Scarezones this year were all awful!” Well, I still have one more to tell you about…
1) 7- Words can’t accurately describe my love for this Scarezone. This zone was able to do so much with very little. You can honestly say it was the actors that made this area. I loved that it changed as the night progressed too. When you first got there, the ladies that represented the deadly sins were rather tame. The minions still offered scares. I mean, they can’t sacrifice that just for effect. The music playing all around was a choir version of Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People.” As we progressed through the zone, the actors were very responsive, acting out perfectly what their sin was. The Lust guys were my favorites. Before we left, my friends Lenny and Seth were both molested. This spells a good time in my book.
Later on in the night, I decided I should go back through and catch anything I might have missed. I was really interested to see how the 7 zone had progressed. What I walked into was so much better than expected. The music had changed from a choir version to the real version. The girls that once looked to be temptresses, were warpped completely by their sin. The pictures and the video I’m going to include will say it all. It was like you walked into a night club gone terribly wrong. Like you were in a horror movie, and this was the big reveal. It has even inspired me for a short story. I just can’t say enough right now. Hats off to you Uni! Take a bow!
Now I know this review has been rather long, but I still have things to go over. Mostly I want to discuss the shows and the icon. Then I will close this mother, and let you and me have a nice nights sleep…
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure- I’m not going to lie, I get less impressed with this show as the years go by. Last year I nearly gave them an excuse, until I looked back and found they DID have a lot of funny stuff to go off of. This year had even more than last year, so that excuse went WAYYYYY out the window. I will say that it was better than last years…but that’s like saying a you have a higher IQ than the guy with a lead pipe coming out of his head. I just think they get to afraid when it comes to making fun of anything Disney has done. You don’t have to make it the same character, you can get around it and make it just as funny. Which they did do in one instance (El Capitano Mexicano anyone?) One of the funniest things of the whole night was a bit they had using Jeff Bridges’ character from True Grit. All of the things they could have used, they used wrong…I mean…COME THE FUCK ON PEOPLE!!! Man up! Rent Seth McFarland for Christ sake…OR Trey Parker and Matt Stone…SOMETHING!!! I did this one first this year…Next year, you can be sure it will be dead last on my priority list.
OH…and before I forget…Drop some of the music numbers! They add more every year…and they get less impressive every year. If I want to go to a PG-13 strip club…well I wouldn’t go to a PG-13 strip club!! So just…NO!!
Death Drums- I did not get to see this show up close and personal. No, I decided to go to Bill and Ted…*sigh*…BUT, I have seen it via the wonders of the internet. I have to say i was really impressed. It was nice to see Brian Brushwood was gone. I do hope this show comes back for next year. The drummers and dancers were all very talented…I’ll add the video for you below. It speaks louder than my words.
*Editor Note: Video is from Inside the Magic…be sure to give their YouTube channel and show some love…
I have mixed feelings about the Icon this year. Lady Luck was a wonderful Icon…the way she was portrayed in the media and promotions. When you got to the event, all of the Lady Lucks (except the Monster version) were just kind of…there. They didn’t talk…they didn’t elicit a response…you might as well have put a Royal Gaurd in a green dress! I just didn’t get how you go from the one on the advertisements and the one you met. I also really enjoyed the connections between the houses and Luck. She had a great story…the delivery just wasn’t there.
Taking everything into consideration, It wasn’t a bad night. It wasn’t the best HHN ever, but it wasn’t the worst either. I think HHN XX set that bar too high. I still see seeds that were planted this year that I’, sure will blossom into something great next year. I spent HHN with great friends. Some I just met, some I’ve been with before. HHN wouldn’t be the same without you guys. Special thanks to Seth Garner, Lenny Mosco, Amanda Rivera, Cullen Wheeler, and of course my lovely Seras Psychotik! Thank you Amanda and Bo Van Hassel for watching the Demon Seed, you helped a lot in all of this as well.
* Editors Note: I didn’t think about this until later, but I can’t help but wonder why they used so many masks this year. I hope this isn’t a new trend because some of the masks really ruined the realism. Nothing like getting into a performance…and then seeing a blatant mask line…
ALSO!!! Incase you think I forgot about us being at IOA during the day…think again! I remember the pain very well. NEVER AGAIN shall we go to the park for the whole day before doing HHN. NEVERMORE!!! It was fun…just too exhausting. I will give an update on that…but it will be later. November 12th I will be going to one day of the Harry Potter Celebration for a thus far unnamed Q & A session. So, look forward to that!
That’s all for now Freaky Darlings, stay tuned for more to come. Here’s to HHN past and looking to HHN future…
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
Hello, Freaky Darlings! As some may or may not know, Halloween Horror Nights released all info on the 31st. I’ve waited a bit to post this, if not only for the fact I wanted to see what else the website was going to do. The wait was worth it, because the site still has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. I’ll get to all of that in due time. For now, I want to talk about the houses and zones. This is the first year I’ve gotten around to doing so much with HHN before the event, so I think now will be the time to make my predictions for how I’m going to rank the houses and zones. I feel this early in the game with knowing only what the website says will make my opinion a little less biased. This year is going to be hard. I have like 4 houses tied for the number one spot! Alas, I will try to be fair….
(Editor’s Note: I broke my own rule in the process of doing this article. Opening night came and went and I had to sneak a peek at the scarezones. So far no videos for the houses…so it’s only a little cheat…DON’T JUDGE ME!!!)
(I’ll start in reverse. Kind of like a count down…)
8. The In-Between- This one rounds out my bottom. Not because I don’t think it will be a good house, but because I don’t think it will be near as awesome as the others. I could be wrong! This house is another 3D house, which is not really a bad thing. I believe the last I was in that was 3D was in 07′ (Jacks Funhouse in Clown-O-Vision). Even then, that house wasn’t bad, it was just more a trippy thrill ride. I tend to rank this type of house more like a fun house. The description, however, tells a different tale. According to the website, this house is supposed to be in your face terror as you step into a third dimension with terrible creatures around every corner. So you never know, this one could push its way up the list!
Using the website as a tool to imagine what we will be dealing with, I can’t tell much. On the HHN Facebook page, they have released a picture from inside the house. It didn’t seem really “scary”…more it looked like something out of a black light painting. This house was represented by the Green Card in the backroom (“Certain Rune”). There really isn’t much that you can figure out from that game. Although now the Carnival of Carnage ferris wheel makes a lot more sense! Maybe when the second game goes active and I can unlock the special pages, I will have more to add to this article. I will note that this house is in the newer Parade building, and that spot does have a tendency to yield very pleasing houses.
(Editor Note: Since I have started writing this, a few things have been said about this house. Uni is claiming that this house will be like no other 3D house to date. They also promise there is a scene in this house so epic, they need not tell you what it is. You will know it when you see it. And when you see it, you will talk about it for years to come…)
7. H.R Bloodengutz presents Holidays of Horror- This one pulls into my number 7 only because I know this one is going to be a hilarious house, not a frightening one. Not to say that it is bad, but again I just don’t think it will hold up to the others. Keep in mind, the funny house from last year nearly took the number 1 spot. Don’t count it out! The story is of a horror host at the end of his career, and he is going to make sure you never forget him. The house boasts that it will be a collage of various B rated holiday horror films. (Home for the Holidays ala 2007 anyone?)
From what I have unlocked on the site, the story behind the house is pretty tight. H.R Bloodengutz is a failed theatrical actor that had to turn to Horror Hosting to stay in the biz. Now, years later, he finds himself canceled and out the door. This doesn’t sit well with him. After delivering so many years of faithful service, he deserves a grand exit…and he’s going to give it to you. There is a piece of a police report detailing an assault on the station manager. Also, there is a recording from H.R’s answering machine. You really get the feeling that this is something he didn’t want to do, Horror Hosting. He wanted a position in a more theatrical environment. I’m not sure if it will be important that his uncle was a taxidermist, and he was going to work with him…but it was mentioned. Incase you want to know how to unlock it, you will have to play both Yellow card games. Last, I will mention this house is going to be in the Disaster que. Houses in this area have been pretty good, but so far I belive there has only been one that really blew me away. We will see.
6. The Forsaken- I picked this as my number 6. I do believe that this house has potential to move further along up the list. The concept is really cool and I enjoy any house that is mixed with real history. Gives it a bit of a realistic element. Also, this house is firmly planted in the parade building. So far, I have yet to see a sour house come out of that building. INFACT…the last two years Encyclopedia Psychotika has went to HHN (2008 and 2010) that building has housed my favorite house for that year. Not that the location really matters, but if it did, that would set the bar pretty high.
The story follows the fate of the doomed 4th ship of Columbus’ Voyage. With the flip of a coin, the captain and crews fate was sealed. Years later, the crew still haunts their final resting place. Filled with rage from a terrible death, you will feel their wrath. Looking to the website for clues, their isn’t a whole lot more than what I’ve mentioned. The back of a picture frame on the desk establishes the ship as a member of Columbus’ fleet. A piece of parchment shows you a decree by the Queen. This decree says the leader of the voyage should be decided by a coin toss. The last piece of paper is a decree, seems to be written in blood, that states that 4th ship should be erased from history. That no one is to ever speak of the captain or the crew ever again. I’m guessing this has pissed them off. I’m curious to see what the actual house will tell us.
5. Saws N’ Steam: Into the Machine- I toiled over this one. The next houses in this series are very hard to rank. Mostly because they all look awesome. This is the first year I have had this big of a tie for number one!! Usually it’s only between 2, but this year…just wow. Back to the maze, this is the first time HHN has ever taken a past Scarezone and turned it into a house. Last year Saws N’ Steam got my number 1 for Scarezones. The only reason it is further down on the list is because of the sheer number of great looking houses. I have extremely high hopes for this one. The only check I see so far, is the location. The house is located in the Jaws que. Not that every house that comes out of this area is bad…I’ve just not had a favorite yet. The area is limited with what you can do. I’m just hoping the area doesn’t clash with the Steam Punk atmosphere.
From what I can tell from the info available, it seems this houses back story involves a fake cult. The people who were featured in Saws N’ Steam the zone need people to take water from. I’m guessing that they have created a cult or some sort of community that promises a better life if you give everything to them. So as you might have guessed, once you get in…your not leaving. At least not with all of your bodily fluids. Last I checked, water in your body was a good thing.
4. Nevermore: The Madness of Poe- This spot nearly went to Saw N’ Steam: Into the Machine. However the little goth kid in me would have slashed my insides until I bled out! I love Edgar Alan Poe and am thrilled to see a house built around him and his books. I especially love the tie in to Lady Luck, and can’t wait to know more. I’ll get to that in a minute, for now allow me to get giddie. Some of you may ask yourselves in a Canadian accent, “Why didn’t he put this at number one if like’s it so much, eh?’ Well, from here on out, these houses are all tied for number one!!!They are just all so damn good! The only thing I find disappointing about this house is it is in a Sprung Tent. I would have loved to see this house get the Soundstage treatment.
Now…about the house. The Madness of Poe is supposed to be a trip into one of the darkest literary minds known to man! From the website you can see there was a choice that Lady Luck had influence over. He was on the wrong end of that choice, thus giving a reason to his mysterious death (I love you Universal Creative!!). Not much is clickable on the hints for this house. There is a news article establishing the winner of the game of chance gone wrong. There is also a nifty poem written by Poe about Lady Luck. I’m assuming there will be more of a story told within the house. I might also add that a preview video spread around online revealed a few books used as scenes in the house. I was able to pick out: “Tale Tell Heart,” “The Raven,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “Fall of the House of Usher,” “Pit Pendulum,” and “Masque of the Red Death.” I can only hope there will be more! Moving on…
3. Nightingales: Blood Prey- I love that Universal has elected to add so many real-world elements into some of these houses. This is the third I have mentioned so far that is actually based in history. Might I also add how cool it is they chose WWI instead of WWII. I always love what they do with soundstage houses. Even if they aren’t great, they look fantastic. The house setting win’s me over as well. Trench warfare is terrifying to think about in general. So many hiding places…I’m giddy with delight!
The story behind this follows a victim of Lady Luck that decided to go overseas instead of helping his family business back home, (See kid’s…Family First…they keep you from being mauled to death by fanged blood-sucking freaks!!) Following the hints given, you can tell the soldier in question has become injured. His crossing of paths with Nightingales comes from his stay in the military hospital. You see by night the nurses have a deadly secret…they aren’t nurses at all (I wonder if his HMO knows this?!) You see the Nightingales stalk their prey when they are injured until they are at their weakest. Unfortunately for our soldier, I think he is at that point…and what do you know….He’s just in time for supper. Fortunatly…so are we…or unfortunatly depending on how adventurous you are!
2. Winter’s Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery- Seras and Myself have very high expectations for this house. It has an interesting back story, it’s in an old style graveyard, it’s winter time, AND it’s in a soundstage. A few F/X have been released. Of course there is a cold effect. To top that off there is supposed to be real snow! I’m curious as to whether they are going to handle the scareactors as zombies or ghosts. I’m hoping both!! I want the type of ghost F/X they used in Wyndott Estate from last year.
Lady Luck sinks her teeth into a victim here with a choice. That choice was as simple as where a newly wed couple wanted to pick the land for their new home. Apparently, Mr. Hawthorn chose wrong, because his wife died of mysterious circumstance. After her death, he turned the land into a cemetery. Now there is a legend saying that the dead come back to life once every hundred years…and what do you know…Happy Anniversary!
1. The Thing- One of my favorite houses from 2007 is back with a vengence…sort of. This one is based off of the new prequal coming out soon and this time it get’s the soundstage treatment. So what happens when one of Malice’s all time favorite movies get’s the treatment it deserves? It makes me bounce of the walls with excitement! They also manage to tie it in pretty well to the Lady Luck theme.
Apparently one of the characters from the movie (or so I am guessing) is flying a Helicopter and needs some gas. She has the choice, either land in a village close by and take longer to get back in the air or land at a research facility and barely make it. You guessed it…that research base is the one with the copycat alien running amok. Judging off of the last Thing house, Uni knows what they are doing. Taking what they already know they should be able to kick it up another notch. Keep in mind this house is tied with three others, so you never know it may end up lower down. Time will tell.
Okay, when ranking these, I’m not going to go to far into the description. More I’ll give you a short summary as to what I’m looking forward to from what I have seen online.
6. Canyon of Dark Souls- I put this one last only because there wasn’t anything that really blew me away in the videos I have seen. Then again, camera angles are everything. In person it could be completely different.
5. 7- I would like to put 7 higher, but the main draw is going to be the outfit changes. There are three outfit changes through the night. Seeing all of them together may paint a better picture and make me love this one more.
4. Nightmaze- As much as I would love to put this higher, you really can’t see much here. Yes, I’m aware that’s the point…but still. I didn’t see any scareactors in the area, but then again you really just couldn’t see much! It could be really good in person.
3. Grown Evil- Every picture I’ve seen from this zone intrigues me. The characters look very cool and the scenery looks even better. I must add, I also gave it kudos because they use a main theme from Silent Hill in the area! It’s just one of those themes that add an extra air of eerieness.
2. Your Luck Has Run Out- I have to put the Icon Scarezone high up. I love this years Icon and her back story. I love the 20′s speak easy feel and am expecting a lot out of this zone. Maybe I’m setting myself up for disappointment? I don’t know…
1. Acid Assault- From everything I have seen, this Scarezone looks like hands down the best. The effects in the zone look top-notch. My only concern is lack of scareactors. It’s still to early to tell though. That zone is really open, and the opening nights rained out. Taking that into account, the scareactors may have not been so active. Still, the acid damaged building falling apart look great.
That’s pretty much all I can say at this time. The website looks really nice in all of its entirety. This year looks like it’s going to be legendary. It just seems like the 19th isn’t coming soon enough…THAT REMINDS ME!!!!
ATTENTION ALL FREAKY DARLINGS!!!
Enyclopedia Psychotika will be at Halloween Horror Nights October, 19th 2011! We will be there all day. I’m currently planning a few things to tell you all where we will be and when. If you are going to be in the area, come out and say hi! Anybody I see that day will have their picture taken and used on the review for the event! DETAILS COMING SOON!!!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
Hello my Freaky Darlings…It’s that time of year again. When Universal pulls all of their ghouls out of the warehouses and letting the monsters out of their cages. All in preparation of this years Halloween Horror Nights 21. The rumor mill has been pretty tight-lipped as compared to years before. A trend that does seem to get worst as the years go by. There are three sites that I have found reliable info while sleuthing the web: Screamscape, HHNRumors, and Behind the Thrills. Now I warn you this isn’t much, but at least I have saved you the trouble of searching yourself! So let the milling begin!
This late in the game normally there is at least an inkling as to who or what the icon is going to be. I think it has been pinned down three likely candidates, with one being the more likely than the other two. One rumor is a gambler, and I’m not fond of this rumor. I just don’t see this as a workable angle. I mean the only way it could work is if his back story involved him losing too much to the house (being the event itself), and now he must draw in as many souls as he can to help pay his debt. Sort of interesting, but not as good as the other two. The Dealer I see being fun! Cut out the middle man of the gambler and go straight for the most feared person at a casino. The Dealer represents a person that can influence you to keep going and keep going until in the end he takes everything…in this case including your soul. The last and most likely is Lady Luck. Lady Luck is interesting in itself because again like Universal is taking a mythic concept and giving it new life (Bloody Mary anyone?) Making this even more likely is what the writer over at Screamscape points out. Did you know Jack wasn’t the original idea for HHN07′. Instead it was a fortune-teller, Lady Luck. I do remember hearing this but it wasn’t until he mentioned it I remembered. Taking this into consideration, I do see Lady Luck as more likely, but then you never know time will only tell…
Belive it or not there is one house that was announced already and I’m as excited as ever for it. Universal announced last month that Halloween Horror Nights would once again be the home to an attraction based on The Thing. Only difference is this one is more based on the newer movie which is promising it will be more terrifying than the original. They better deliver on that promise, as that’s a pretty tall order! Still I’m glad to see this concept coming back. When the The Thing: Assimilation was announced, I was one that back tracked and found the history of the house. Finding out it was slated to be a house way back when in 02′. All the things I found about the house made me giddy, (The Thing is one of my all time favorite movies.) So the fact they are bringing it back with the promise of it being MORE terrifying than the last…That’s enough to make me want to go.
As for other houses, I’m really kind of stumped. If you go to HHN Rumors they have a casting list for some of the roles cast. I really can’t pick much from it. The only things I have seen yet point to maybe and Alice in Wonderland/Through the looking-glass house and maybe something to do with a prison. Feel free to look at that casting list here. If you have any theories, be sure to let me know and I will post them here, giving you credit of course.
All I can say is “Wow!” The website has some rather interesting games going on with it. These games are able to win…regardless of what some have reported. The one with the Tv’s is the easier of the two. There really isn’t a way to cheat them either as in times past. The only one I belive people can help you with is the key game, but I have yet to crack that one as well. I’m curious as to how many games are available. All I can say is wager carefully. Lose against the House and you are banished for an hour. Really I think the development team has done a good job starting out. Anything is better than 09′! Check it out here!
Thats all I have so far. At the very least I will attempt to keep you updated once a month, but somehow I feel they will come a bit more frequent than that. Hope this get’s your mouth-watering!
Until Next Time. My Freaky Darlings,
P.S Check out the very same sites I get some of my info from at the links below:
For the last Twenty Years, Universal Halloween Horror Nights has terrorized people from all around the world. The event has grown so far from Fright Nights twenty years ago. Even though last year was a low point, this year truly proved why people love HHN. The houses were top notch. The scarezones where the best I have seen yet. Unfortunately this year the shows took a back seat, but we will explore that later. This year I was joined by the lovely Seras Psychotik, and the ever interesting Arnie Freeze! I have so much to touch on, so let’s take the plunge. I had so much fun at the event this year! So it is with great pleasure I bring to you, an Encyclopedia Psychotika Review…
A New Age of Darkness Begins…Halloween Horror Nights XX: Twenty Years of Fear
This years event revolved around the coming of the entity behind the last twenty years of Halloween Horror Nights, FEAR! Fear has ultimately been the one pulling the strings. With all of the icons being meerly his puppets, you really had to wonder what he was going to be like. For weeks they teased with small flashed of him, and pictures of a rather gnarly looking mouth. When he was finally revealed, I have to say it ramped me up for the event ten fold!! Most were ready to write this off as a carbon copy of Sweet 16, but they were proved very wrong. This year wasn’t about the past so much as it was about A New Age of Darkness. If this year is any indication to the direction of the event, I think we will all be very pleased to see what happens.
First I would like to talk about the media for the event this year. That advertisement campaign this year has me with mixed feelings. I have really enjoyed the commercials, and some of the other videos that they have released. However, I was really disappointed with the website this year. They have only really added one point of interactive content. No back stories, no tie in’s. On the other hand though, they have had some other really cool content in exclusive pictures, interviews, video, etc… so I can’t really say that I don’t like it. I guess I would just like to see more story development than what was given. I’ll let you decide though. Below I have collected some rather interesting videos. The first three are the teasers for Fear. Following those is the media teaser video and the commercial. Enjoy:
Starting into the event, I was pretty jazzed up! I didn’t get to go last year, and this time away from HHN was far to long. I was really intrigued, and couldn’t wait to get in the doors. The archway wasn’t as dressed as it could have been. At night it looked better, but let’s face it the majority isn’t going to see it at night. I want it to look good going in the day when I’m going in, and leave me a strange feeling of foreboding (like I’m going to die!) But, I’m not going to hinge the entire event based on whats outside. They did have the video screen in the arch this year. I have it for you below in its original format as it appeared on the website:
Once we got through that arch, (Took a while being heckled by security. I swear I’ll have my annual passes next year!) we were met by the all to familiar clouds of fog and the Chainsaw Drill Team. In the past I generally over look these guys. Never made sense having a “Drill Team” that wasn’t army fatigued. I got my wish this year. They were marched in front ans center and directed to unleash hell right in front of the Universal Store. It was so fun seeing people scatter! I forgot how good it felt seeing the look of terror on other people’s faces once they see a group of twelve chainsaw-weilding-maniacs disperse in a crowd. This was a good beginning to an epic night.
I’m going to get a little less linear now while jumping into the houses and zones. Instead of discussing them in order of experience, I want to give them in order of bottom to best. Now, keep in mind, just because a house or zone is ranked last, doesn’t mean it was bad! Every house and zone this year has a very well designed, and nicely thought out! That being said let’s start with the Scarezones:
6) Esqueleto Muerte- I think my expectations were just to high for this one! All the things I had read leading to our trip told of how much of a cool party type zone this was. Then when I got to it, yeah the glowing effect was cool, and the costumes were great but it wasn’t party at all. Maybe they tried making it scarier and went the wrong direction. I will give the Scareactors credit, I did se them handing out a few jumps and screams. They looked very creepy, but in a cool sort of way. The overall design was amazing with the theme being a black-light Day of the Dead motif (sort of making it a Night of the Dead?) At any rate it was very cool to look at, and with the scares being abundant, it wasn’t the worst ever, I just think it could have been better. ((The design team get’s an extra nod for originality))
5) The Coven- I actually liked this zone more than I thought I would. Most zones in the Shreck Ally have been known to fall short for me (with the Exception of Blood Masquerade in 06′). The main theming was that of a small witch coven. The area was rather simplistic. You had a nice mixture of old-lady-hag witches and eye-candy witches. Each end had a pilgrim tied up and burning at the stake. I really liked this effect. While were passing through you had one that was playing the suffering victim straight forward. Then at the opposite end closer to the Wyndot Estate, you had a rather comedic pilgrim. I wish i could upload our footage, he was a laugh riot. The main scares were from the two little huts they had in the zone. Taking a page from the old Mole people scare back in 05′, you had these little huts. How they catch you is they had a sheet over the front of the hut, making you think it was more a mound than anything. Then at random timing, and old-hag witch would come screaming out of one of those things like a bat out of hell!! I unfortunately was right in front of one when this happened, and had to jump out-of-the-way! The effect got me and like 5 people around me so Ku-Do to them. The whole zone was finished off decoratively wise with a glowey obelisk in the middle of it. (It was glowing green when we walked up on it, Seras thought we were on Krypton!)
4) HHN: 20 Years of Fear- This zone kicked off the night just right! This zone was the perfect dream for any HHN enthusiast. The coolest thing is walking through and trying to pick out where you know certain props from. The Scareactors in the zone were pretty awesome. You had your all-stars from 16 and a few others from other years. They all utilized the area very well. The Chucky darted out between the props for some good scares. The best ones in the area though are the ones next to the HHN15 banners toward Fear Revealed. Neither one will you really see until it’s too late, they blend in that well! I would also like to note the freak out I got in the area. As you walk into the zone there is what looks like a Crypt Keeper mannequin in a chair. Well I thought it was a mannequin until it started walking next to me. I really wish I could have caught him scaring somebody, because he was so convincing he could have un-nerved the manliest of men!!
3) Zombie Gras- When I first read about this zone, I got giddy! I have a short story I have been working on that is pretty close to the sights seen in this area. If you ever been to Mardi Gras and thought, “You know…this event is pretty cool! But you know what? If we only had some zombies…” The Scareactors were very energetic and were in abundance. The main piece in the zone, is a Mardi Gras float with a sole survivor tossing out beads. Beware! While you may think he is tossing you a free prize, realize not all free things come without consequence. Here’s a hint: Zombies like shiny beads! This gave me some pretty good laughs throughout the night. You have no idea how fun it was seeing hapless saps get lulled into a false sense of security by the promise of Mardi Gras beads. Just to run to get them and find themselves face to face with a flesh-eating monster! Definitely the best Zombie zone they have done to date.
2) Saws N’ Steam- I really thought creative dropped the ball by putting this into Sting Ally. I mea, how on earth could you ever hope to have a good scarezone in such a small area. Let be the first to say I was proved wrong! This was the best as far as scares go. From the menacing leader of people of New Yorkshire to the people getting chopped in the ally ways…it just never stopped. Going through the zone really was like going through a gauntlet. Let me also tell you that if you dwell in the area to long, you will get wet! The chainsaw people in the area are pretty aggressive too. Expect more out of them than The Chainsaw Drill Team! It’s almost like going through a short house is the best way to describe it.
1) Fear Revealed- Why did this area get my number one? It was freakin’ awesome that’s why!! I literally spent all together 45 minuets in this area through out the event and could have spent more. The Icons never break character, not even for a second! (Trust me I tried!!) The little picture areas were a nice touch as well. I wish i could have gotten some more pictures of those. You could even walk over and sit down in them for photo-ops. Was it scary? No! Was it so cool that it made me totally geek out and act like a kid in a candy store? Yes Yes Yes YES!!! Fear was also very photogenic. I have to give the guy credit, it is impossible for him to not have an epic picture. I sort of wish there would have been an arrival show, but this area more than made up for the lack of one. If you know anything about the last 10 years of HHN, you will really enjoy this zone. Bring your camera’s. You won’t regret it.
As awesome as the scarezones were this year, (The best yet in my opinion!) they were still just the icing on the cake for the houses! The houses this year were fantastic. Not much wrong with most of them. A real good bounce back from last year (or so I have heard). Let’s dig in…
8) HAVOC: Dogs of War- This was my least favorite of the night for several reasons. First off the story was terrible. If you hadn’t looked in the map description you would really have no clue as to what this house was about. There was experimentation, that much is true apparent! Other than that just a series of roided out, bald freaks screaming at you. I’m afraid of UFC fighters like the next guy, but not something I want in my houses. Next big problem is the amount of hanging wires! It was like being walked though a room of naughty tentacles in about every room leading out of the houses. It was like being in a Japanese porn! I half expected them to spring to life and start having their way with some (It would have been an improvement, and at the very least more entertaining!) The hanging wires are really what ruined it for me. Just as you get into a few good scenes in the house, that’s when they hit you. The worst part is they start getting more frequent as you head for the exit!! Universal typically always has a stinker, this one was doomed to be it! I will say that the facade going in was really cool, and the overall theming of the house was that of a mad science lab gone terribly wrong. The gun turret on top of the house was a nice touch. I couldn’t imagine having to stand there for hours on end to make it in. That thing really does start to grate your nerves. As you get closer though, you realize what a great effect it really is. Point made if you don’t think you can make this house, don’t worry you aren’t missing much. It certainly won’t be your…..White Buffalo….(the one that got away)….
7) The Orfanage: Ashes to Ashes- Our first house of the night came in the form of this one. It was very cool getting to see Cindy get some proper treatment in the form of her own house. I will tell you that there are only a few scenes that will really knock your socks of, but the presence of this house is what gets you. The realistically give you the feeling of trying to escape a burning building all the while being haunted by the ever sadistic Cindy Cain! The story you get the feel for is that some how The Caretakers daughter didn’t die all those years ago. More she was sent to an Orphanage, and things didn’t go well. There is a very cool scene toward the beginning where you see little Cindy writing “Do on to others…” on a chalk board. As you pass there is a black light effect that makes words look like they are bleeding. The other scenes involve other children trapped in beds, or in cages while they slowly roast. It is also noteworthy that in these scenes if you’re not careful you will get a surprise from our little demented orphan! The final scene you walk through gives you a pretty “heated” experience, as you are exposed to some real flame to give you one last jump! The house is definitely a good starter if you want to heat things up…you know light your fire….help you feel the burn…OK I’ll stop!
6) PsychoScareapy: Echoes of Shadybrook- If you have been to HHN any number of years from 13 on up, you might have happened across a PsychoScareapy. The Shadybrook has made itself pretty infamous in its previous three incarnations. If you have been to the others I will tell you it has pieces from the other three. It’s not as intense as the original, or as treacherous as Maximun Madness, and it’s definitely not as fun-loving as Home for the Holidays. However, this one does carve out a pretty interesting legacy on its own. The facade you are met with is of course the iconic Shadybrook Asylum all boarded up and falling apart. As you go through the corridors some rather familiar faces are there to greet you again, only this time they are more twisted, and seem to be more blood thirsty! If you listen carefully through some sections you can hear the oh to familiar calming music playing distorted over the disintegrating PA. Some good scenes include some electro-shock therapy, and a caged corridor with many rows of hands…but which ones are real? It made for a very interesting experience, the only thing I could have asked for was more! It would have been nice to have more, maybe a revisit to the good ol’ poo room! I could have maybe asked for a Jack the Clown reference somewhere, but i sort of get why they didn’t…
5) Legendary Truth: The Wyandot Estate- So have you ever wondered what it would be like to go on a paranormal investigation where your provoking has gone a bit too far? Then this is the house for you! The premise of this house is a new invention for drawing out paranormal activity has been put into action…and you get to try it out! This particular house was home to some rather cool effects. Very ahead of itself this house was! The ghoulish glowy faced ghosts were a nice touch. especially when you realize the face is doing a sort of black light glow…and there are no black lights!! A few things to mention is a floating spectre on a wall (I really just couldn’t figure this effect out!), a hologram of the Storyteller that is über realistic, and living furniture! Man, that living furniture will get you eveytime! The distraction to that room is what get’s you. The room with it in there seems pretty normal except a ghost sitting in the corner. Well while you are busy watching him, a freakin’ chair scares you!! The house just has a very creepy feeling to it, and paints a pretty good story. I really can only hope they move forward with the tech in this house!
4) Catacombs: Black Death Rising- If there was an under-dog of the night, it was this house! I really wasn’t expecting much. Most people already discounted the house, said it wasn’t much to see. I wasn’t going to listen to that though, as I used to have a fascination with the Black Death. The story telling at the beginning was a great mood setter. I also enjoyed the accuracy of the Doctor outfits. It only added to the awesomeness when Arnie Freeze pointed out that they looked like Spy Vs. Spy. The house actually provided me with a couple of scares. The best one out of all of them was a three-way scare in the middle of the house. As you walk through a hallway, there is a archaeologist hung upside down twitching back and forth. As you look up one of the doctors takes the opportunity to catch you as your gaze comes down. Seconds after this a Black Death zombie rushes out of a grave hole, and then to end it all another Doctor comes out at you. This house also get’s awesome points because of the Doctor that tipped his hat to me on the way out (I was wearing my Top Hat).
3) Hades: Gates of Ruin- I will always love all things that have to do with Greek Mythology. That being said, I’m also very particular to the point where things have to be perfect. This was a the perfect Mythology house! You couldn’t take a step without their being a scareactor there to catch you. It was very nice how all of the scareactors were very camouflaged. Very nice effects!! One of the best characters was Medusa. That slippery-slithery Gorgon made even the steeleist of manly men crumble at the sight of her! She even sets a nice little trap. After the first main room, you pass into a room with a cut out section in the wall. In this section, Medusa’s head hangs and you think. “Ha, Perseus got that bitch!!” Well you find out exactly how wrong you are when a red strobe activates, the floor buzzes, and she jumps out of that hole for one last horrah!! My next favorite character was the Minotaur. The atmosphere that thing could set just staring you down, get’s you wired! I also want to add one of the parts that made the three of us jump unexpectedly. One of the last rooms we passed had holes in all of the walls. I kept thinking to myself, “I’ve seen all of the worst things mythology has to offer, must be a repeat or something…” Well apparently the Lizard from Spider-Man was a greek myth, because he jumped out of one of those holes and gave us a good shock!!! The only thing I think we missed in the house was Hades on his throne. I saw it there, I just didn’t catch him. If it was anything like the picture that house painted, I’m sure it was epic!
2) Zombiegeddon- This house almost got my number one spot. It definitely has a secured spot in my top 5 ever! I really went into this thinking it as going to be purely slap stick. I was pleasantly surprised to find a mixture of straight forward fear and goofy slap stick humor. As you enter you are met with the signs for Z.A.P. (Zombie Awareness Program) These guys don’t just kick zombie ass. They teach YOU to kick zombie ass! From there you enter a room with a specimen zombie tied up at a cash register with an arsenal of weapons on the wall. Here on out you enter a survival simulator. First lesson, No Mercy! What would it be like to walk into a nursery with an infected zombie baby? You find out here! I think from there you have about 2 more scenes of humor, then that’s when you here it (and see it!) Something smashes into the complex and causes a big disruption in this places harmony! The Zombies are let loose and are infecting the other survivors. The house takes a dramatic twist at this point, going from happy-go-lucky to pretty damn intense at moments! The first room to remind you of this is a containment room where all the zombies are pulling at chain link fences, letting you know incase you forgot that there are plenty of specimens! Most rooms you have the typical zombie is trapped behind something but bangs on shit to freak you out. One of the best freak out moments is in the room with the vehicle that started all the trouble. It’s a pretty wide open room with at least 5 undead in it, and the way they cam at us! Just Wow!!! I give this house an A for Awesome story telling. Of all the houses I have ever put under my belt, never has a house told a story, and in such perfect detail. From survival to shit storm in 2 seconds! I love it!
1) Horror Nights: The Hallowed Past- At last we have arrived at the best house of the night! Why was this one the best you might ask? This house took everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING I love about HHN and rolled into one big fat house! My only regret was this house wasn’t longer! You enter the madness by walking into the prop warehouse. From here you are allowed to journey through twenty years of props and banners. You could spend all day in these opening scenes and still not see and appreciate everything! Then seamlessly you enter a trip down memory lane. The house takes some of the best scenes from Horror Nights past and puts them into action. They replicate these rooms flawlessly. There were moments I honestly had to double take and wonder what year it was. It’s amazing how somehow they could manage to call up not just all the memories from the house, but the memories from that year!! Scenes used were Alice is Wonderland (Scary Tales III, HHN18), Dead Exposure (HHN18), S.S. Frightanic (HHN8), Body Collectors: Collections of the Past (HHN18), what appeared to be Silver Screams (HHN19), and definitely Horror Nights Nightmares (HHN14). Now could I have picked some better scenes? Yes, I would have traded Dead Exposure for something from The Thing or at something from Sweet 16. But, the way they evoked those memories was still too cool to discount the whole house. It gave you the terrible feeling of trying to remember all of those houses you have ever been in and then thinking “God, what will they do next!!?” Then you end up exiting through the Prop Warehouse, which comes as a perfect end to the perfect storm. If you are worried about not having experienced the houses the scenes are from, don’t fret. They are still really good scenes, and you get a small taste of what you missed. And if that is what you missed, think about whats next in this New Age of Darkness…..
So, with the meat and the potatoes discussed, let’s get to the slim pickings…the shows. The last 3 years the shows have sort of taken a back seat. The only two shows they have this year are Bill and Ted and Brian Brushwood. I won’t be able to review Brian Brushwood for you, but I can tell you I saw his act back in 07′ and it wasn’t impressive. From what I understood from other guests walking around the park that night, he hasn’t gotten any better. If you have to choose between a house or even Bill and Ted over Menace or Malice…don’t choose him! (By the way how dare he use Malice! There is only one Malice worth seeing and that is me baby!!) That being said here is my thoughts on Bill and Ted…
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure- First I have to say there wasn’t much to work with this year as far as hit movies go and other pop culture. (There was more than what they used, but I’m guessing that there were some other legalities) But to their credit they did good with what they had. The stage was totally redesigned for the event. Some topics you see parodied include: Iron Man 2, Doctor Who, Twilight: Eclipse, Jersey Shore, Justin Beiber, Lady Gaga, The Last Airbender, Toy Story 3, Katy Perry, Seaseme Street (not what your thinking, funnier), Lost, Sorcerers Apprentice, BP Oil Spill, and even Antione Dodson!!!! I’m sure there are a few more that I’m overlooking, but hey be surprised. There is even an old villain revisited (A villain that this show has beaten to DEATH!!!) Not the worst show, but definitely not the best. It’s worth seeing if you have time…
Where do I stand on HHNXX? It is defiantly one of the best years I have been to! If you haven’t gone this year, you need to. The event was crazy funny, and a nice homecoming for me and my group. I could have went back at least 3 more times and been happy. I hope you have all enjoyed the review, and if you go I hope you find it helpful! That’s all for tonight Darlings….stay tuned for more to come this month…Hint: Mr. Hush Weekend of Fear is right around the corner…
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
So today is the day. I can hardly contain myself! Halloween Horror Nights: Twenty Years of Fear. It’s been far to long, but I’m more than ready. I hope you all enjoyed my retro reviews. The next review is going to be all-inclusive and super detailed, so get ready for it. Right now I would like to make my predictions for houses and scarezones. This way everyone can see the comparison…
1) Gates of Hades
2) Horror Nights: Hollowed Past
3) Psychoscarepy: Echoes of the Past
5) The Orphanage: Ashes to Ashes
6) Catacombs: Black Death Rising
7) Legendary Truth: The Wyndot Estate
8) Havoc: Dogs of War
1) Zombie Gras
2) 20 Years of Fear
3) Saw’s N Steam
4) Esqueleto Muerte
5) The Coven
6) Fear Revealed XX
So that’s my predictions. We will see how on I am! I hope HHN is ready for Malice Psychotik. FEAR asks who will face him….I WILL FACE YOU FEAR!! I AM READY!! BUT IS FEAR READY TO FACE MALICE!!! TOMORROW WILL TELL!! MALICE VS. FEAR…..PLACE YOUR BETS!!!
If there ever was a year that I think Universal could have made a script out of the event story, this would have been the one. Reflections of Fear set a new precedent in the event as far as story telling went. Once they started the website, they would slowly peel back the layers of the Legend that is Bloody Mary. To take something as iconic as the Urban Legend of Bloody Mary and make it their own is just…well legendary!! The creative team also kicked it up another notch by having a fully interactive game go on at the same time of the event, The Legendary Truth. Never had Universal went into such detail over one of their characters! Never had they an icon that had been so omnipresent. Belive me when I say she was EVERYWHERE! So, My Freaky Darlings, hold on to your freak hats! It’s going to be a bumpy ride as i take you back…Back through the Looking Glass….
To fully appreciate this event, you have to know what went into it. The website started giving you diary pages of one Dr. Mary Agana. The good doctor was trying a new experimental way of curing fear. Her thesis was, to make her patient confront their fear head on. To put them in an inescapable situation where they either face their fear or die! I’m sure you can imagine what ultimate ends they met. As the journal pressed, you start to see Dr. Agana’s mind unhinge. She actually starts to enjoy seeing her patients suffer. She enjoys seeing them die, and relish in the fear they experience. The journals feature an audio, so that you can really see this take effect. Depending on how into the website you were, you could read into the side story of a Private Investigator, Boris Shuster. It was all just a fully immersive experience that painted such an interesting picture. Thanks to a website HorrorNights.be I’m able to post a link below to not just the Halloween Horror Nights 18 website, but also the Legendary Truth Website. For The Reflections of Fear site click here. If you want to see the Legendary Truth click here. That year they also did a very cool arrival. unfortunately, they didn’t do this for the public. It was a press night only event. Thanks to YouTube though, your able to see it below.
I’m going to start you off with atmosphere first. The whole event was about you being drawn through the mirror and into her world. Bloody Mary made her presence known everywhere. Universal even replaced the medallion that hangs in the archway with a giant LED mirror. In this mirror, Mary would talk to you. It added so much to the event seeing her up there, spreading her message of terror. I’ve taken the liberty of embing this video for you below:
A big part of this atmosphere was the Scarezones. Here’s what you had to expect:
Asylum in Wonderland- This zone took one of my favorite childhood stories in a direction I rather fancied. I loved this whole area! From the foul-mouthed Caterpillar to the demented White Rabbit, this area was some naughty good fun. They had these huge screens all around as you went though that projected various pictures. If you looked closely you might even see the Cheshire Cat. Most of the actors here were on skates. What did this mean? Only that they could sneak in and out of those screens to scare you that much more quickly. there were also a few mirrors in the zone. I wondered if they were just scene decoration or what they would do. My question was answered when a light flashed in it, and you see Bloody Mary. It was like Disney turned on its head!
The Skoolhouse- A very creepy atmosphere this one had. It took the idea that The Skool had in HHN 15 and made it better. They put so much detail into this area it was insane! They had a bus parked to one side, and even had a little walk through School House you could go into for a quick scare. There really is nothing like a group of scary demented kids plotting your demise. Seras assisted in a scare here too! I was filming the school and dropped my guard. The Teacher walked up behind me and just stood there. Of course Seras says nothing, and when I turn around all I can see in my LCD screen is the face of the teacher. This image has to be every paranormal investigators nightmare. I give him credit, but most of it goes to my loving Seras!There was also a very cool attachment to the area where the tree canopy was filled with glowing Jack-O-Lanturns. A very cool visual indeed! Made even better when they would all go out at once to the audio of Bloody Mary being said three times…
Fractured Tales- Another favorite of the night! This was Mother Goose off her meds! It was cool to see how they would take this and run. I belive they even had Mother Goose walking around (with a goose on her head). The had Little Miss Muffit with a giant spider on her, the Pied Pipper with a rat hanging out of his mouth, Little Red Ridding Hood with the Big Bad Wolf’s head in her basket, and many more. It was a laugh riot to see some of them. I kept calling the ogre a pissed off Shrek. He didn’t like that too much.
Streets of Blood- The idea here was really good. Taking history, and turning in the fashion of The Body Collectors. The area was supposed to make you feel like you have been transported to White Chapel where the Ripper murders took place. The story they paint is that it wasn’t Jack the Ripper that did the murders. Rather it wasn’t one person at all. That it was the Body Collectors harvesting organs. The street was populated by the Collectors and by a different Collector you hadn’t seen before. They looked like something out of an insane asylum, and acted almost like a dog. They even had an added element of hookers walking around, and without a seconds notice one of the Body Collectors would attack them in the street. The way this zone looked was very authentic. Even using street candles to illuminate the area in l00 of conventional lighting.
American Gothic- Surprising enough i didn’t spend much time here. I did like it! The dress was very cool, and the Scareactors did a good job. But to be honest I just wasn’t feeling it. I think the concept was great, they just limited themselves to much. Lizzie Borden was the only one mentioned, and best I could tell all the others were civil war soldiers. So if there were more there, I didn’t catch them. I will say the girl playing Lizzie gave quite the few people a good startle. It just wasn’t my thing.
Path of the Wicked- I’m not going to lie, I was giddy when i first heard this announced. The Wizard of Oz is such a cool movie, and the thought of seeing twisted characters from it (and Flying Monkeys) was too much. My only disappointment in this area, was the artistic freedom they took with the Flying Monkeys. They didn’t look like monkeys, nor did they have wings! The were more like demented flying squirrels. The effect that they had though was cool enough. As you walked through, they did have “Monkeys” Flying over head back and forth on a safety line. The Witch up in her tower chastising the passerby was pretty cool too. I loved what they did with The Scarecrow, The Tin-Man and the Lion. It added a very nice touch.
With the Scarezones being what they were this year, you had to figure they would deliver on the houses, right? well deliver they did! Maybe not as hard as I thought they could on some, but still a pretty good line up none the less. Now all of these houses were based off of a victim of Bloody Mary (See her journals on the web page.) To add an extra easter egg to each house as well, there is a hidden Bloody Mary in each. This was a fun little game to play as you went through the houses. Here’s what they had:
Scary Tales: Once Upon a Nightmare- This was the third in a series of these houses. So with a name like this, everyone had very high expectations. It delivered and then some! This was my favorite house of the night. I even had to do it twice one of the nights. In this house you went through Rapunzel, Goldie Locks, Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz…and that’s just to mention a few! My personal favorite scenes was the Mad Tea Party, (Alice, Mad Hatter, and Door Mouse all dance an rejoice over a disemboweled March Hair…intestine strung across the room) The Scarecrows corn field, (With Dorthy mutilated hanging from his post, and a Tin-Man that would squirt you with his Oil Can) and Goldie Locks and the Three Bears (Where you come face to face with a pissed off Papa Bear!) The Secret Mary sighting in this house was good one too. When you are walking through the Alice in Wonderland section, you walk through a hallway filled with mirrors. The only thing that pops out of the mirrors is the Red Queen screaming “Off with your head!”…all except one. When you least expect it, Mary jumps out of this one for the win!
The Hallow- here you take a journey into the heart of what Halloween is all about. Samhain runs free as he shows you the true traditions that forged this holiday. Now to some this could have been confusing. You have to know a lot of the lore to get some of the references. But they manged to still making it interesting enough, to where even if you didn’t know, you weren’t left out. One scare in the maze that got me was a room filled with little statue holding out a Trick R Treat bag. I’m just going through expecting them all to be statues (they are really tiny.) When one of the statues lunges at me. Little person Scareactor For the Win!! I also took the liberty to make goat noises at Samhain. Like most of the Scareactors I mocked that night, he didn’t like it. The Mary Sighting in here was possibly the coolest. They had a see through screen hung in front of you. What this allowed them to do, was project a ghostly image onto it of her walking into frame, smiling, then disappearing. It was very cool!
Dead Exposure- When I heard what this house was actually about, I got disappointed. Se rumors where it was going to be spirit photography. What it actually was is a black light filled house where all the zombies could only be seen when the black light flash goes off. I was surprised to find as campy as this one was, it was pretty damn good! There were quite the many moments where you would get surrounded, and because of the flashes you could see them until it was too late. There was one room in particular that got everyone. The whole room was filled with fake black paint zombies. There was still about five real ones though, and you couldn’t tell until it was too late. The story behind this one wasn’t bad either. Charlie McPherson was supposed to be the reporter covering this mass infection. The journey you take is actually supposed to be a journey through his pictures. This all of corse ends when you get to the last scene to see him being eaten. Great concept, I just wish there wasn’t so much empty space at the end.As for the secret Mary, I didn’t catch her in this one. From what I understand it was very hard trying to.
Reflections Of Fear- In a un explainable move, creative put the icon house in the Jaws que. I didn’t think it belonged here, and was dreading it. To my surprise it worked! It worked so well I couldn’t have pictured it elsewhere. This maze took you through Dr. Mary Agana’s clinic. If you followed Legendary Truth, it was supposed to be like a paranormal investigation gone horribly wrong! Mary drags you into her world, where she shows you exactly what happened there. There was a moment that got Seras and me in this house. One of the last rooms you walk into, there is a Dr. Mary Agana’s standing in the corner. as she gets your attention, a Bloody Mary bursts out of the glass next to you. You got to hate the wonders of misdirection. For an icon house it did wonderfully. I just still have to imagine what could have been better had it been in a Soundstage…
Doomsday- I swear to you I was the only person in the world excited for that house! (Well, Seras too!) I had never seen so many people against a house like this. The concept was great. It just brought you back to enough scenes in the movie to go “Hey, i remember that…” But, for the most part it was a stand alone house. I loved the music in the house, and they way they dressed. I even loved the smell of the Bar-B-Qed man in one room (Offered to stay and help cook) The Scareactors here were as light-hearted as Psychoscareapy the year before. I just really enjoyed this house for what it was. They were my kind of people!
Body Collectors: Collections of the Past- I may have missed the first Body Collectors…my White Buffalo (the one that got away), but i wasn’t missing this one. This became my second favorite of the night! The story takes you back to White Chapel London during the time of the Jack the Ripper Murders. You quickly find out there is no Jack, only the Collectors. You get a chance to walk all the way into their lair, and see a hole room littered with past victims. I loved the buildings in this one. You could really see how hard the design team worked to make this a success.
“Creatures!”- This house had the potential to be the most terrifying one of them all, and dropped the ball!! I can not tell you how disappointed I was. It was set up to be sort of like Stephen King’s The Mist, and fell short about a Green Mile! There was nothing really scary about it. The facade was perfect, there was even a few tentacles taking over the bar from outside, but once you got in there was nothing to be afraid of. You were really confused as to whether you should be afraid of the towns folk or the non-existent creatures. The only scare I remember is a hallway where you are under shot-gun fire. They achieve this with sound effect and air mortar, but it just wasn’t enough.
Interstellar Terror- This pulled in as my third favorite of the night, but honestly the best detail wise. They built a freakin’ scale spaceship facade…you don’t get more detailed than that! Welcome aboard the MSO Columbus, where a strange artifact has turned the crew into maniacs!! Personally, I was more concerned with the crew hurting themselves then me. They were a self mutilating bunch. Carving strange symbols into their skin, blowing themselves out of air locks, and one that just couldn’t get enough of shocking himself (really cool effect.) there was an awesome effect in this maze where they made you feel like you were walking across a cat walk that could drop you hundreds of feet! It was also nifty to find out the artifact was made from an old model of the E.T. Spaceship. Mary was easy to spot in this house as she came of one of the warning monitors toward the middle of the chaos. A good pick me up after the disappointment that was “Creatures!”
So the shows this year weren’t fantastic. In fact there was only one good one worth seeing, and that was Bill and Ted. I don’t really feel that I have to break these down as I can sum up the other two rather easy. The Rocky Horror Picture Show- A Tribute was even worst than the year before. While the Brian Brushwood show was the same as the year before. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure I was really worried about. With rumors flying around about a rather inappropriate Heath Ledger joke, and the election being that year it had the recipe for disaster. But, I was proven wrong for doubting the Wyld Stallions. They pulled together a rather entertaining show. They touched on the political race, just enough to say they addressed it. There was no inappropriate HL joke, and really it went business as usual. I will dare say I enjoyed it better than HHN 17. Sorry I can’t post you a video, but unfortunately Universal Orlando has gotten pretty tight-lipped about video taping the show since 2006. I can tell you it had a few really good Miley Cyrus jokes. She get’s turned into Two-Face (big surprise there!) Altogether though, it was pretty well-rounded show.
My feeling on the whole event was one of wow! Never had I seen such a tight-knit story like this one. Like I said it set a rather high bar in that area! They found out exactly how high the next year for Halloween Horror Nights 19: Ripped From the Silver Screen. That year got some of the worst reviews I have seen in the last 5 years of the event. Fortunately for all of you, you won’t have to hear about it more than this. I did not go, so i can’t give you an honest shot on the event. All I can tell you is that judging from the website and the story I did see, it had nothing on Reflections of Fear. This year’s story will always live on in infamy, and we can only hope that they will met that bar this year with Twenty Years of Fear.
With the finishing of this review, we will start living in the present. Halloween Horror Nights XX: Twenty Years of Fear was unleashed last night and just finished hours ago. I’m curious to see what kind of FEAR was kicked up at the event…
Until Next Time, Mt Freaky Darlings,
P.S. Here is a look at the commercial for that year! Watch and Enjoy!
In 2007, Jack was let back out of his box. What he brought with him, was The Carnival of Carnage! He also brought with him the New Line Cinema slashers Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface. It was a first in Halloween Horror Nights history with 8 mazes, 4 shows, and 1 scarezone that encompassed the whole park!! I won’t lie, it had its problems, but I do believe the scenery that came through and the houses they had more than made up for it. Not one house that year was a loser in my book, stealing my number one vote for houses. The parts that they did manage to dress came out wonderfully as well. It was like you really were walking into this massive Carnival. It even had a ferris wheel. The Website was also kicked up another notch, adding games to unlock content about the houses. They kept Horror Night fans glued to the computer every week in hopes a new game would go active. It was nuts, and the anticipation was off the chains and out of the straight jacket. So, without wasting anymore words, kick back, relax, and let me take you back….to Jack’s Carnival of Carnage!
The main story of the event was Jack taking over his old stomping ground, Oddfellow’s Dark Carnival and Emporium. Becoming the new Ringmaster of this Carnival, Jack felt it necessary to bring his own brand of mayhem to the show. He traveled long and far across the globe, gathering up acts along the way. Among these acts were the like of Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface. You soon found out though, that wasn’t all that was up Ringmaster’s sleeve. He was going to give everyone a show they wouldn’t soon forget…
I want to shake it up a little, lets start with the houses. The houses this year were nearly flawless. Even the one I did have problems with, I found later it was more a timing error (and not any where as bad as People Under the Stairs: Under Construction.) This is what the Carnival had in store for you:
Dead Silence: The Curse of Mary Shaw- I was one of a select few that really liked this movie. So when I heard it was being made into a house, I was just excited! This was an amazing trip through the movie. You go from the mortuary all the way to the Theater where Mary Shaw was murdered. The effects in this house were all-consuming. From the moment you walked into the mortuary, you were blasted with the smell of embalming fluid! Giving it that extra feel of realism. As you journey through the scenes, you have to beware of not just Mary Shaw, but her victims. Whether it be them coming out of a picture or springing from a trap door, those mutilated beings were sure to catch you off guard. One of the coolest effects I had seen at the time was in this house. There is one scene where you are walking across the rafters of the theater (really you are only about 2 feet off the ground.) Using mirrors they make you feel like you are 50 feet in the air with Mary Shaw staring up at you, just waiting for you to fall! The one scare that got me in the house was pretty sneaky. Using a play on the walls, you see Mary Shaw ahead of you coming toward you, in a blink of the eye she’s gone! So when you start looking around, BAM!! She’s right next to you! I thought this was a very cool use of a very old mirror trick. There was even a funny easter egg in the form of a picture of Elsa Strict, the Storyteller on her parlor wall. It was a very fun experience.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dreamwalkers- My favorite house of the night, Dreamwalkers was a trip through one of my favorite childhood horror flicks. The main story was you being exposed to an experimental drug called Sleepwell. Exposed is an understatement as you walk though a freakin’ fogged out tent of it. Thats when you are “transported” right smack in front of 1428 Elm Street. The House facade was every fanboys dream. Just like walking onto the set of the movie. You walk through a torn sheet, when you realize you are actually walking through Johnny Depp’s character’s bed (yes the room is on its side.) From here you are taken through some of the worst Nightmares in the series history. Complete with a trip deep down to the Boiler Room. One of the cooler scenes in the house is in the Boiler Room. You enter a section like a mirror fun house. If you hit it just right, you see three of you in front. The lights flicker, and one of them is replaced with Freddy. The guy is everywhere, around every turn, giving you no escape! There was a funny moment in particular in this house. When we were walking through the second scene, a Freddy got behind me. Now mind you I’m a fanboy walking in a dream world here, so I’m not paying any attention (although my friends behind me were glued to the action.) He took my pony tail up in his claws and said “How about a hair cut girly?” In retrospect that would have made my night, however I didn’t know what was going on until Seras tells me, “You going to let him talk to you like that?” Freddy if you are reading this, you are going to have to do better than that to get this Psychotik! Still my number one of the night.
Psychoscareapy: Home For the Holidays- This was hands down the most fun house of the night. Not scary, but FUN! Kind of like my perfect Christmas. The story here was the transport from the Shady Brook crashes in the suburbs. Letting loose all of the patients on an unsuspecting neighborhood of rich people during Christmas. The path the maze took was following the chaos they left behind. Memorable moments include a kitchen with a crazy baking cookies…made from skin! A workshop that took a terrible turn for the worse. Even a snowman…with an actually human head….a severed human head. It was funny to see Seras go through this house when she had a few in her. Dropped her guard terribly poor girl. We are walking through this house, and she is just wandering around enjoying the scenery. What she didn’t see was that the room filled with six patients, all circling around her. Needless to say she got had! They got her! Another fond memory of the night was walking through the workshop. I was really getting into it at this point. I started singing “Deck the halls with lower intestine…” When out of no where two maniacs drop from the ceiling upside down while another jumps from behind a box singing, “Falalala la! La La La La!!” That memory to this day still make me smile!
Vampyr: Blood Bath: This house was a vampire junkie delight. Instead of a dessert bar, you are given a Vampire night club (boy do those vamps like to party!) Universal really picked an awesome location for this house, as they landed it in Nazermans or what some may call Sting Ally. It gave the house an awesome indoor/outdoor thing. They even had a door man, and for the facade all they needed was a neon business sign. The entrance already looked like an alleyway. Made for a unique time. I will say though, the female vampires looked like they were trying to turn you on more than scare you. I actually turned to Seras when we first got in and said, “I’ll take the one with the Black hair. You take the Brunette!” In a awkward moment, there was one of the vampires that jumped out to scare Seras, only to stop short and apologize. Why? Well he thought we were two Scareactors. We’ve been mistaken by regular people, but never have we been mistaken by an actual Scareactor. Not really a lot of effects in this one. Although there was a scene with a vampire eating a poodle, and I swear it was animatronics because it moved. Other than that, the realism came from the natural setting.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Flesh Wounds- I went in to this house with pretty low expectations. Boy was I ever wrong! You couldn’t have told that from the facade. It was just a little weak for my taste. But once you got inside, it WAS the Hewitt residence. Complete with the sliding doors that could slide open at any minute. It was really cool to see this effect spring. Usually he had a victim in hand, dragging them back in! There was a scene that stopped a dude in front of us. He even threw his girlfriend in front of him! Leatherface was cutting through a wall with his chainsaw (complete with sparks from the wiring and beams.) When you walked through the kitchen there was a person chained inside the freezer. It was also a nice touch having the smell of soup beans in this area too. Like I’ve said, the smells are what sell you on the atmosphere. Even when you thought you were out of the woods, you still got snuck in for one more scare. As you exit, there is an all too familiar scene with sheets hung up on clothes lines. Well as you are trying to make it through, all of a sudden you hear a chainsaw rev up, and then here comes Leatherface! It made for a nice send off to say the least. I also can’t tell you how incredibly epic it was to turn around and look at him, just to see him spinning in place swinging his chainsaw.
Friday the 13th: Camp Blood- This house was a flop the first time through. The first time I hit it, it was still light out. Being in since it was in the Jaws que, you still see a lot of light coming in. Making a lot of the special effects not work. That being said, there were quite a few that relied heavily on the dark. The main story is, Camp Crystal lake is being reopened under new management. The new counselors, however, give you a proper hazing in the old barn where it is said Jason lives. Big mistake as the prank turns real, and Jason does start murdering people. You are met with several visuals from the series that would make any F13 fan grin ear to ear. this experience even comes complete with the shrine to Pamela Voorhees (how that head is still around, I’ll never know. One of the greatest effects they pull in the house is the one that relied a lot of you not seeing how it was done. The way it was supposed to go is, you walk into a room and Jason is on the upper level. A bright light comes on as he hurls a pulley hook at you, when the light goes out you don’t se it travel safely over head. When the light comes on Jason is no longer there, until you look down and he is right in front of you. THAT is how it was supposed to play out like the second time I saw it. The first time I saw it (with light) I walked into a room to see two Jasons standing there. In which one of the dumb goons tossed a rope at me that was tied to another line pulling it out-of-the-way. It was lame. The second time I went through the house though, when it was dark, I thought it was great.
Jack’s Funhouse: In Clown-O-Vision- You ever wanted to see what it was like to live in a psychedelic acid trip? Or an Andy Worhol taken over by twisted clowns? This was the house for you! This was the first 3-D house I had ever experienced. I really didn’t know what to expect. So I strolled up to it, put on my special Clown-O-Vision glasses and hoped for the best. There wasn’t really what you could call scenes, more like a series of rooms that looked like black light painting come to life. The floors were off set in some rooms, they used mirror tricks, trap doors. Everything you could expect in a fun house. Paintings jumped right off the wall! And then to some peoples surprise, the painting jumped of the wall and ran toward you! It was a real fun time. It definitely kept you off-balance, and I would have hated to do that one drunk! I did this one last on one of the nights, and I have to say it made a perfect end to your night. This house would have been a pretty good opener too, as it sets the whole circus atmosphere.
The Thing: Assimilation- There is nothing like stumbling into one of your favorite movies from the early 80′s. The story behind this house was the tightest of them all. It was sort of like a sequel. An expedition to Antarctica yielded the bodies of MacReady and Childs…but was it really them? What they did bring back to the Florida research facility was the same THING that caused the chaos so many years ago. When you walk into the facility, there are alarms going off and Marines trying to get you to follow them. You walk into the first room and see MacReady and Childs in stasis. However there is another chamber busted open. As you get further in, a lot of THING’s begin to take shape. Many of your favorite creatures from the movie are brought to life using animatronics. It’s really awe-inspiring the level of detail put into this house. During the middle of your escape you start to notice instead of the Marines helping you to an exit, they are SHOOTING at you! There is even a stomach churning part where the Thing is all around you and you feel something drip on to you from above. I was surprised when they decided to do this house (and thankful!)
Now as far as Scarezones go this year, there weren’t many. There wasn’t many because the whole event was one giant Scarezone! This is where the problem came. As good as an idea as this seems, it becomes problematic making sure that the whole park is dressed and there are enough Scareactors. So really it ended up turning into zones anyway. Creative really dropped the ball on this one. The only saving area where the one’s that were able to get the theming. Those areas were all at the front of the park. I did find the areas closest to Jack’s Carnival of Carnage the most entertaining. But beyond that, I just wasn’t wowed by the complete absence in most areas of the park.
The shows this year were a bit lacking too. Not my favorite year for them, but the Jack’s Carnival of Carnage became my favorite arrival show. Still out of four, one good one wasn’t enough.
The Freakshow- The only reason I say this show was lack luster is, it just didn’t deliver like the hype said. It was supposed to be a real Freakshow (or as close as possible.) The only act I really saw that was like a Freakshow was Enigma. He was out there as usual, not a bad thing. But I noticed about two weeks in the whole Freakshow thing was dropped in favor of Brian Brushwood. Not a bad illusionist, and he sort of fit in to the freakshow aspect, but it still wasn’t as grand as it was supposed to be.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: A Tribute- This was doomed to start. You just can’t condense the masterpiece that is RHPS into a 30 minute slot…you just CAN’T!!! It just felt too rushed. I almost feel they would have done better by just showing clips. I just didn’t feel it at all. In my opinion the worst show in my 4 years.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure- This was my least favorite year. They dwelled too much on the screwed up wannabe divas (Paris Hilton, Lindsy Lohan, and Brittney Spears) There were a few chuckles, but nothing that floored me. You found out more about a lawsuit over the previous years use of Jack Sparrow. So this year they made fun of it and substituted the characters from Blazing Glory. It just left you with a feeling of, ‘eh it’s ok….”
Jack’s Carnival of Carnage- This show was the best show that year, and my all time favorite arrival show. The level of detail that went into this show was insane. They even brought in an illusionist to work with this show. A damn good one I might add. Illusions included: A man being ripped in half, a person’s head being smashed in, climbing through another one’s torso…and that doesn’t even touch the most shocking. So rather than tell you…why don’t I show you! Look below where you will find the Arrival show in all it’s glory!!
With the short comings this one had, what it did have more than made up for it. In my opinion this was the best year for houses. The arrival show was at such a level it really made up for the other three (and the Enigma was there so hey…) This year was home to 2 of my top favorites (Nightmare on Elm Street: Dreamwalkers and The Thing: Assimilation.) As the Carnival died down though, you could feel something more on the horizon…something you could be sure would REFLECT your worst fears….
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
P.S. Here is an Uncensored version of the commercial! Enjoy…
With the book closed on Tales of Terror, the next volume is Halloween Horror Nights: Sweet 16. That year was the sweetest of sixteen’s! It brought all of the icons of the past together for one mega event. Jack the Clown, The Caretaker, The Director, and The Storyteller met for the first time for an all out blood bath. I really felt they kicked it up a notch this year. It was the first year I really got into the website. I’m glad I did, because it explained so much that was going on. There was a section they ran for the longest time that helped me connect with all the other events I had never been to. Dating all the way back to the very first, they set it up as an archive. As the year progressed, the site started getting more interactive content. Most of which helped you to understand the icon houses more, and how they tied in respectively. This year was also the first year the event had traveled back to the original Hacklot since 2001. So what was it like to have Horror Come Home?….
The whole idea of the event, like I said, was to bring all the major icons together for a Super Sweet Sixteen from hell! The Website was what got me the most. Each week peeling back another layer until the full thing was unleashed. I thought the whole icon get together was a fantastic idea! I had only started the event the year before, but had always seen merchandise from the earlier icons that peaked my attention. I was also pleased to see the event coming back to the Studios. Like I said I really felt that some of the scarezones the year before were hurt because of the already detailed, and very specific theming of the Islands of Adventure. Honestly I could go on and on, but I feel you will get a better feeling from the breakdown. So in the words of The Director, On with the Show…
Let’s start with the scarezones. The zones for this year were very detailed, ranging from Zombie Apocalypse to a Vampiric Masquerade. This year tops out as my second favorite for Scarezones. Here is the run down:
Horror Comes Home (Hollywood)- Right as you went through the gates, you were flowed to the right. This took you down a memory lane of all things Horror Nights. Various characters from the past 16 years were brought back to chill you to the bone! There really was no set dressing to the area. More they relied on it being dark and the thick fog creating a sort of venturing through old memories feel. The scareactors didn’t really jump at you (or at least not me). It was more like they were there on display. The scareactor to the left was my favorite in the area. Alice….with a chainsaw! (The Red Queen never saw it coming) This was my least favorite of the year, but I’m not going to lie, it was still pretty cool.
Harvest of the Souls (Sunset Blvd.)- This scarezone was a throw back the old Field of Screams scarezone in 2004. They more or less took the idea and made it better. The whole area was themed nicely with pumpkins and hay. The idea was supposed to be these creatures were all there to harvest (you guessed it…) your souls. The fog was very thick in this area, so it played on confusion. There was one point where I lost my whole group in the fog and it took at least 20 minutes to find each other. I got a very nice scare as a result of this. I would also like to add (because of my love for them) that on select nights they had a midget in a miniature creature outfit! This little guys had it going. To top things off, when I did see him he was darting around catching people off guard (and doing a bloody good job of it!) When something happened that to this day makes me smile. I’m not sure what this one particular person said to him, but all I remember seeing is this little monster kicking a dude in the shin and then running into the fog. It was one the most epic things I’ve seen! Still though I rated this third amongst the scarezones for me. The Fog was consistently to freakin thick. It really was a hassle losing your friends like I did. Especially when said incident, caused me to miss a showing of Bill and Ted.
Deadtropolis: Zombie Siege (New York)- I love zombies! Zombies have fascinated me from a wee young Psychotik, and it was cool to see them as a reality. To see a zombocolypse in New York City….was like walking onto the set of one of my favorite films. This zone was a tribute to the old house, Deadtropolis from 2004. They did a phenomenal job setting the mood. From the moment you enter you have military telling you to turn back. Spotlights on the roof tops coupled with sound effects gave you the feeling of helicopters zooming over head. Once you got into the heart of the city, you were met with the undead. The actors did a really great job of blending in to the surroundings. If you weren’t careful who you were walking around, you may find yourself walking right next to one. One of my funniest stories comes from this area. We were walking along the zone, my group and I, when I spotted a zombie hooker coming our way. I thought to myself “Dear God she is going to try to grab me, and Seras is going to deck her…” To my surprise (and hers) she attacked Seras. Now when I say attack, what I’m really trying to say is the zombie “Dry Humped”….I would also like to use the word “grind” and the phrase “Shake her fun bags.” It was too bad I didn’t have the camera! I was almost tempted to ask her to do it again. The area was also home to one of the coolest shows on earth! (But I will get to that later…) Still as great as this zone was, I have to say it was the second favorite of the night.
Blood Masquerade (Shrek Ally)- What is more perfect than a Scarezone with zombies? A Scarezone with Vampires!! Modeled after Castle Vampyr from 2004, (Noticing a pattern…?) this area was the most stunning. Both ends of the area had an alluring display of candles complete with a Queen of the Damned-esq vampire. What was cool is the use of special effects. The vampires would be posing all seductively, then without missing a beat lightning would crash, and a gust of wind would blow from under them! The effect sent many people screaming. There were also smaller pedestals set up with vampires dressed all in white. They would stand there, frozen like a statue. Then by hitting a button with their foot the same would happen, but for some reason it was that much worse! The whole thing was just visually pleasing, and they used the size of the area to their advantage. The Shrek Ally can get pretty narrow the more stuff you shove in it. So you were forced to walk right next to these creatures of the night. I saw the most screams delivered here. Easy choice for the favorite of the night.
This was my number one favorite for Houses. I really liked the idea of bringing back some of the older houses. For a Horror Nights freak like me, it was nice experiencing some of the greats that I had missed. The Houses were:
People Under the Stairs: Under Construction (Sprung Tent)- This house was very lack luster. Every event has at least one bomb, and man this was it. This house had not been seen since Halloween Horror Nights 2 & 3. Although the concept was kind of catchy, (walking through a house in construction that was being terrorized by….well you know who) it just never delivered. It’s like they took the old house, half built it, and then tried to use the failed Miner hats from HHN 15′s Terror Mines. The fog was another killer of this maze. It was so thick, you actually would miss scares because you couldn’t see the actors! The only cool thing I can add is the shot-gun effect. There is a guy in a gimp mask running around with a shot-gun. His gun didn’t fire your average bullets, but it did fire a blast of air that would scare the life out of you…if you could tell what it was. Easily the worst house of the night.
Psycho-Path: Return of Norman Bates (Sprung Tent)- This house was at the bottom of the list for me. Not because it was bad like the last one, but more because it just wasn’t as epic as the others. This house was started in HHN 4 and then again at HHN 9. What separates this maze from the previous two is, instead of going through the Bates Motel and residence, you venture though the twisted mind of Norman Bates. You start out walking through the doors of the Bates Motel, where you are greeted by Norman Bates. Two scenes in, it get’s weird. You walk through a vortex of spinning screaming faces and land in a room full of eyes,. That room I found interesting because they used an effect similar to Cold Blind Terror’s. The people in the room wore all black with the same eyes attached to them. Since it was a black light room, you couldn’t see the silhouette, and they could move around the room and you wouldn’t be able to keep up. Basically, one hell of a throwback house.
Dungeon of Terror: Retold (JAWS que)- The story behind this attraction was very interesting. Apparently the Dungeon of Terror, a throw back to the original maze from the first few Horror Nights came under new management. Elsa Strict, The Storyteller, purchased the Dungeon and reopened it promising to show passersby a thing or two about discipline. Now that sort of translated in the beginning. As soon as you walked in, Ol’ Storyteller was there to greet you. Then as you walked through, it just became this terribly gone wrong attraction with back woods murderers in pig masks. There were some nice effects. Of which there was one with a guy on a spin wheel being stabbed (which sprayed you with blood!) The back-wood people eating people. Then to put a nice cherry on top, you walk through an open room with bodies all tied to the roof together spinning. I believe they were made to look like brides and grooms. Mixed in with the dead, were a few alive which made for a good scare. It wasn’t my favorite of the icons house, but it was entertaining. The story was solid, and told you a little more about The Storyteller. (Which I thought needed to be done.)
RUN: Hostile Territory (Earthquake que)- This house was pretty damn cool! Although Eddie wasn’t mentioned in the commercials, he is still an icon. His thunder was stolen HHN 11. And although he had a bit part in a house in HHN 14, he has never been used to his potential. RUN was a lot like taking the bloodiest scenes from Saw and Hostel and forced them together for a battle to the death. Apparently Eddie RUN’s (Hee Hee Get it?) a warehouse where people can pay to watch people die. Well, at some point after entering the door, (I think you make it a foot.) YOU become the victim. There were many good scenes in this house. A lot of detailed gore. One was a room with a man swinging a lawnmower back and forth that would spin the blade and shoot “blood” on you. The best effect in the house was the electric chair scene. This scene you walk into and in the middle of the room there is a man strapped into a chair. As you get into the room, a person flips the switch and cooks the unlucky fellow. It was the strongest visual’s in the maze, and they sold it well. On your way out, you were greeted by Eddie and his oversized chainsaw. I’ll mention also, there were all kinds of trap doors around the house that had people drop it and scream “Run!” At one point we became stuck because of scaredy cats. We were told to Run 3 times. Finally we turned to him and said “Would if I could buster!” It was epic.
All Night DrIvE-In: Take 2 (Soundstage 23)- The Director is just an interesting character. Paulo Ravinski’s brand of realism was too much for his country. So he came to the America’s looking for a place to accept his work. This house was his second installment. This house brought you to The Thing, Hellraiser, Scream, Silence of the Lambs, The Ring and much more. I really loved the idea behind this maze. From the opening scenes where you walk through the directors cutting room, till you come face to face at the end. Each of the movies listed above had their best scenes exploited. In the Scream section you pass through the kitchen as Drew Berrymore’s character begs you for help, and Ghost Face springs from two different areas at random. Also in a moment of hilarity they add in the friend that get’s killed in the garage door (and she was still kicking!) The Hellraiser part was very hardcore, and you get dropped into it pretty quickly. The best visual in the house was for The Ring. You enter a busted up hospital room with strobing lights. I’m not really sure how this girl moved so fast, but she achieved the movie feel of appearing, disappearing, and reappearing before your eyes! And still as good as this house was, it still only made number 3!
ScreamHouse: Resurrection (Soundstage 23)- Albert Cain was the Caretaker of souls in 2002′s Islands of Fear. Twice before this house terrified guests. This Third time though, was something you weren’t soon to forget! One of the most massive of all the houses, Universal really pulled out the stops. The Facade outside was the exterior of a massive mortuary. Once you walked through the doors you entered a massive funeral parlor, where The Caretaker and some of his graveyard ghouls were there to greet you. You even have a cameo of his daughter Cindy preserved perfectly in a coffin. One very cool scene was just before you exit to the underground tunnels. There is a massive casket in the center of the room, with one of his fresher victims screaming to get out. The casket rocked and swayed, keeping everyone wondering what was going to jump out of it! The underground of the mortuary was very realistic. They used some kind of musty cedar smell (I think of HHN every time I walk past Garden Center). One of the coolest experiences we had in this house was with The Caretaker himself. As you would pass him, he would swing and snap his embalming scissors over your head. There was one point when he swung over a banister, and just barely missed us. Gave us a good jump, which is hard to do! As much as I loved this house, and as massive as it was, there was still one better…
PsychoScarepy: Maximum Madness (Soundstage 22)- Welcome to Shady Brook, were the patients are taken over and further warped by the sinister Jack “The Clown” Schmidt. This house was absolutely huge. I swear it took like 8 minutes to get through. This one, like Screamhouse, had a giant facade to help set the mood. You really felt like you were walking into an Asylum. When you walked in, you were greeted by a very disturbed nurse. From there it is a series of corridors and encounters with patients that have started worshipping Jack the Clown. My favorite scenes from this house were the main corridor, the poo room, and final room. The main corridor had a very cool effect. It was just after you met the nurse (who got you with her version of “Pop goes the Weasel”). As you walk down the hallway, you see all the cells are open and empty. As you get about halfway, the music over head dies out, and the lights fail. After a few seconds, you hear the end to pop goes the weasel, the lights come on, and a once empty hallway is filled with patients laughing hysterically. Towards the middle you come to the poo room (wonder why it’s called that?) This room is smeared in feces, and smells like it too! The most disturbing part was the “yum” written on the wall in it. Funny story, my friend Seth went through the house with us. As we got to the room, and smelled what it had to offer, the scareactors started in. He proceeds to lick the wall, where he then goes into a tangent about how it really is shit! I don’t know who was more disturbed us or the Scareactors. The Final scene with Jack the Clown was the most epic! The padded walls were all shredded and there were straight jackets strung across the ceiling. I was wearing my Jack the Clown shirt that night, so when Jack saw it he started pointing and giving me the devil horns. He even gave me a high-five, which was the most epic part of my night. This house has been on my number one for years. What was even better was when the guy behind me tried to give him one and he and three others jumped at him and scared the shit out of the guy! Wonder if someone collected that for the poo room later? Hmm…
So as good as the houses were, don’t you wonder how good the shows are? Well I can tell you they were refreshingly different. From a car-eating robot to a custom Cinesphere Spectacular directed by who else but The Director! This was the best year for shows, they were:
The Arrival- The Arrival show this year was my second favorite. The show was brought to you by Legend‘s Darkness (see left). Darkness would summon up the four icons from the ashes of horror nights past. When they would come forth they would each get a shot at a victim in a way that only that icon could. My favorite involved Jack the Clown…and an oversized blender (See video below). I give the show it’s props I really do. Especially the guy that played The Darkness. This guy had awesome presence and was a trooper walking around on stilts with giant horns on his head! I would like to describe more, but I assure you the video will do more justice.
Sweet 16: The Director’s Cut- This show was a first for Halloween Horror Nights. The year before, Universal added the Cinesphere Spectacular to the Lagoon. Four large movie spheres that they would edit together footage with fireworks for a completely unique experience that is absolutely breathtaking. So they let The Director in the editing room, and the result? A Cinesphere Spectacular with all your favorite scenes of horror, from Universal’s Legacy of Horror. altogether it was an experience like no other! Easily my favorite show in my Horror Nights history.
Robosaurus- There really is nothing like seeing a giant robot dinosaur eat a few cars and breathe fire. Especially when this robot is also eradicating a zombie horde! Robosaurus was a must see event! I really didn’t expect as much from this show. I mean how cool can a Robot Dinosaur be? Well, not only was he a robot Dinosaur, but he had a vehicle form! He was a freaking Transformer!! Anyway, when I saw where the show was on the map, I was curious as to how it was going to incorporate into Deadtropolis. It fit very well actually, and was themed to music from George Romero’s Land of the Dead. Just another epic show to round out a night full of them!
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure- The pentacle of everyone’s night, the slammers of all things pop-culture did again! The night was full of laughter in what was my second favorite Bill and Ted. There were so many YTMND references. Everything from Snakes on a Plane to “I’m the Juggernaught Bitch!” was represented. Universal even landed themselves in an axable position with their version of Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swan. (See Video’s Below. But Beware….you will laugh so hard it will change your world!)
The year was also home to some rather cool roaming attractions. The Chainsaw Drill Team was brought back to terrify guests. They were a group of militantly trained chainsaw weilding maniacs. They would be marched around by their drill sargent, and at his whim, would scatter and terrify those around them! The Rat Lady, was also brought back in a different way. She was carted around in a glass casket filled with her rats. But this time around she was followed by a ghoulish small marching band. Those two roaming shows really added to what became an awesome-dirty fun trip down Horror Nights Memory lane.
I loved this year, and it always gets my number one vote. Generally I tie it between HHN18 and this one. But as far as well rounded year, this one is full of win! Mtv “Super Sweet Sixteen” eat your heart out, because you got NOTHING on this one. So if you watched the Arrival video, you heard the mention of who would reign supreme. The answer to your question, may lie in next years event…
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
P.S. Be sure to check out the commercials for that year below. The first is the original, the one most everybody saw on their TV and on the internet. The second is a fan made commercial that quickly became a favorite in the Horror Nights community. I wish the song in it was my theme song!! Enjoy!