Halloween Horror Nights

Through the Looking Glass…A Look Back at Halloween Horror Nights: Reflections of Fear

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,

Malice Psychotik

P.S. Here is a look at the commercial for that year! Watch and Enjoy!


Welcome to the Show…Recalling Halloween Horror Nights 17: Carnival of Carnage

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,

Malice Psychotik

P.S. Here is an Uncensored version of the commercial! Enjoy…

There’s No Place Like Home…Memories of Halloween Horror Nights: Sweet 16

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,

Malice Psychotik

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!

Once Upon a Time…Remembering Halloween Horror Nights 15

So, I told you that Encyclopedia Psychotika was taking a turn for something different this October. That turn is taking me back to my roots. Back to the core that is Malice. Ladies and Gentleman, Monsters and Ghouls, that very thing that is different is….the one….the only….Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights! I have altogether 4 years experience with the event, and that’s averaging 2-3 visits for those years. That doesn’t even include all of the hours clocked sleuthing the old site The Vault and Wiki for all things Halloween Horror Nights. As you can imagine, I’m quite the self-proclaimed expert. That being said, before we jump into this year, let’s take a look back at HHN of old. As you might have guessed, my first folly into the event was Halloween Horror Nights 15: Tales of Terror. Let’s explore…

2005 was an interesting year for Malice. I graduated, I started out on my own, I met the love of my life, and I went to my first Halloween Horror Nights. I had always wanted to go, but never ended up able to. That year I was my own man, and by God I was going!  HHN 15 was presided over by the ever watchful Storyteller, Elsa Strict. You really never found out much about Elsa that year. You didn’t even find out her real name until the next year. All you really knew is this creepy old lady was going to aid in dragging you into the world of Terra Cruentus. This world was populated by all different flavors of demons, monsters, and madmen. All of which were under the dominion of the ever sadistic Terra Queen. Now if your kind of confused here, this is why. That year the Terra Queen was supposed to be the Icon. She was even featured on some of the shirts. However, there was trouble with the Queens costume, and the idea was scrapped for The Storyteller. Ultimately the confusion could have been cleared up by simply setting the old biddy at the gate reading a book. Giving you the feeling of as she is telling you the story, you are stepping into the world of Terra Cruentus. Also this year was the second year that the event was spread across both parks. It was the first year though that all the areas were tied in. As random as they may seem, the ideas, they were actually all in different service to the Queen to make the blade for the Ultimate Sacrifice. If you were an avid internet hound, you could have played along on the website and with the event and got to go to an exclusive bash on Halloween night were you find the ultimate sacrifice was the Queen herself! The whole storyline was just nicely thought out, and very interesting how they tied it all in.

Now that you are familiar with the event, let us talk about the Scarezones. Each Scarezone was themed to the houses around it. Overall they achieved greatness with this effect, with the exception of one.  Here’s my impression of them.

Terra Guard Run (IOA Port of Entry)- This area was a good mood setter. You entered through the gates and were met by very tall demon-esque creatures on stilts. The Fog was very think, almost giving you the feeling of being transported into the book. As I said before, this area would have been ten times better if the would have added the Storyteller at the beginning of it. This area lead you to the Terra Throne where all the blood sacrifices were made. Like I said, this really set the mood for me.

Blood Thunder Alley (Marvel Island)- My favorite area of the event. An area that looked to be Mad Max and From Dusk Till Dawn’s love child. Vampire Bikers everywhere. Dancing girls in cages. And Chainsaws….oooh the CHAINSAWS!!! Ultimately the best one as far as design.

North Hollow (Toon Lagoon)- This was the coolest area looks wise. An area filled with strange beings that would jump out of the fog at you. The cool part came from the laser light effect cutting through the fog over your head making it look like you were covered in a sheet of green fog. The only thing I would really complain about is the lack of scares in this area.

Cemetery Mines (Jurassic Park)- I feel this one won my vote for the most scares. With the thick jungle atmosphere, it was easy to hide bush men. And the mole people! Don’t get me started. I made a pet of one and named him Spike. All in, I think the scareactors in this area did a good job of reacting to the people (I made my pet attack a flock of blondes…yes I’m that good!). There was a second part to this zone too, although I don’t feel they made it prominent enough. The Body Collectors could be seen marching through the area, after “harvesting” some fresh organs. It kind of made me take a step back at first because they looked like the Silent Gentlemen from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Fire Pits (The Lost Continent)- This area was supposed to be the Medieval aspect of the event. Using the theming of the area, they were able to really nail it on the head. However I was left wondering why this part was so devolved. They were in the middle-ages, and still mastered the craftsmanship to make chainsaws. That part was a bit inconsistent. The trolls were a nice touch, but the stench from the chainsaws and the fumes from the gas torches coupled with entirely too much smoke, I was really never able to enjoy this zone.

South Hollow (Suess Landing)- This area was the problem child. They came up with the excuse about halfway through the event that this area was only to be open on peak nights. I know because I went once earlier in the month and two other times. I only saw them attempt this area once and it sucked. The area was populated with the same characters as the North Hallow. There really was no other theming then that. In fact when I went through, there were no lights, no nothing. I got concerned because I thought the park was closing. They dropped the ball here, that’s for sure.

The Houses that year also hold a special place in my heart. One of my top 5 actually comes from this year.  Here was my impressions:

Demon Cantina (Carnage Warehouse)- I loved this house above all others that year. I’m such a fan of From Dusk Till Dawn, there was no way I COULDN’T love this you. Your setting is in an old out west bar (much like the one in the movie). Before you walk in they had a barfing man animatronic outside, giving you either the gross out factor or simply just to distract you. The whole bar is over run with vampires, from the bartender to the patrons.  A few scenes to note is the exploding toilet in the bathroom scene (which to add to the gross out factor has what seemed to be a dead body sitting on it). The strobe section is really what caught me and my group off guard. The effect the strobes gave make the vampires look like they were moving around the room at blinding speed. Then the whole house ends with the Devil himself (or what seems to be). I just couldn’t get enough of this house.

The Skool (Thunder Falls Terrace)- The Skool left me with mixed feelings. Although I did enjoy the thought of a Skool being taken over by the students, and the little ones in turn making a mess of everything (and everyone!) I just didn’t feel it was executed as well as it could have been. The maze really relied too much on making you jump because of a loud noise rather than trying for an honest to goodness scare. I did enjoy the teacher being hanged at the very end with a bag over her head. The anything I could think of was Alice Coopers “Schools out.” I will give them kudos for making sure all of the Scareactors were pint-sized. (Not midgets, just really short.)

Blood Ruins (Soundstage 22)- Of course the soundstage houses are generally the best. They have the most room, and creative can get an extra head start on them if need be. Blood Ruins really sold the atmosphere that the Fire Pit was going for a hundred fold! Then you walk in, you are met with the facade of an old village ravaged by the plague and death. Bodies strung in front of the gates and this odd burning smell. (That smell get’s stronger later and you find it’s burning flesh…is it bad it made me hungry?) As your walking through, the villagers reach out for help in some cases. Most though are hell-bent on killing you, or hitting you with a side of beef in one instance. There were plenty of little easter eggs through the house. One of which was the Egyptian Book of Life (the gold one from The Mummy). I’m not sure why it was the Book of Life. Maybe it was for irony? At any rate, it was a solid house with solid scares. The only problem was the amount of stuff in some areas. There was one section of the house where I remember people nearly falling over, because some idiot in front knocked a bunch of props over. Props that you almost couldn’t see because of how dark it was.

Where Evil Hides (Soundstages 18 and 19)- Where do I start? This was a fun house. As close as you could come to an icon house that year. Where Evil Hides was an assault on your childhood fears. Whispers, open doors (a whole hallways of them!), the boogeyman, etc… The facade was that of an old house. Much you would expect to see in any neighborhood. A HHN 15 version of Michael Myers could be seen stalking the front yard (After all he is the boogeyman, right?) The most notable scene was a childs room. You walk into the room to see a little girl sitting on the bed and pointing at the wall. Well, when you fell for it and looked, you were met with a werewolf that would roll out from under the bed and pounce for the scare. (Another time it was a Leatherface-esque maniac bursting out of the closet.) It’s also notable that this house was two stories (You can’t face all your childhood fears without a trip to the Attic). The Trip upstairs brings you face to face with the Storyteller in a scene from the commercial (see below).

Cold Blind Terror (Soundstage 20)- If you have ever dropped acid and been on a bad trip, you’ve experienced this house. Modeled after the Disorientorium from the year before, this maze brought you through a total onslaught to your senses. Unfortunately, at that point in the night, me and my goofy troop put my darling Seras to the front of the line. (We gave the house too much credit!) There were a few scenes that impressed me. One was a black and white patterned room with strobes and people dressed just like the walls. Made the walls look like they were moving. My favorite room had one of the coolest effects in the world. You walk into a solid white room with 2 statues in the middle. On the wall there is a cluster of those really bright 3 million watt flood lights. When those go off, you can’t see because of your eyes being so used to the light. When they come back on the statues are gone and two men dressed like the statues are in the room. This is the part I couldn’t explain. Somehow, one managed to get in between Seras and me, and one in front of Seras. They got right in my face without touching me or Seras, and we were less than 3 inches apart when the lights went out. Other than that room you went through a series of lame scenes (backlight room with scareactors on skates, room filled with bubbles…and nothing else, and a room where I swear the scareactors forgot about, because nobody was there!) I will say it made me laugh though.

Unfortunately, I was unable to hit 2 of the houses. I don’t know how I managed to miss them, I think because my time management skills were not as they are today! I can however tell you what they were about:

Body Collectors (Jurassic Park Discovery Center)- I heard this house was the favorite. It really killed me to miss this one. I think I missed it because I could never find the entrance. The only entrance I ever found was the express, and I kept getting lost finding the other. The story here was about a group of sadistic madmen that call themselves The Body Collectors. (Guess what they did?) These psychos would harvest organs, blood, and bone to aid in making the Terra Throne Blade. I’ve seen pictures, and have gone to the second version of this house (I will get to that later!) That being said I can tell you it must have been super impressive. This house is my White Buffalo (…the one that got away…)

Terror Mines (Poseidon’s Fury)-The rumors of this house is what kept me cautious . The hype however was better than what I’ve heard from others. The hype was you were going through the mines with the only source of light being a miner’s helmet (A light source that would go out in intervals). This didn’t translate well. Only every fifth person got a hat, and it didn’t work all the time. The mole people as cool as they were, never really popped in this house. From what I’ve heard the concept was there, they just didn’t pull it off. Maybe because they had to theme around the ride Poseidon’s Fury? At any rate, this was voted everyone’s least favorite.

I would also like to mention the shows. This was back when there wasn’t a whole lot of emphasis on them. There were only two, and one was more of an arrival show than anything.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure- There is no HHN without this show. It has become as integral as the houses themselves. This year was one of the best. In some aspects I consider it the best.  If you have never been, this show is an assault on anything and everything po culture (NOTHING IS SACRED!!) 2005 gave them plenty of ammo (Star Wars, Batman, Willy Wonka, Dukes of Hazzard, The Ring, Family Guy, etc… and even the Fast Food Icons!!) It was definitely a you had to be there moment. Trust me if you find it on YouTube….it’s worth a watch!

The Terra Throne- Every HHN has an Arrival show. For this year you were welcomed to the world of Terra Cruentus by the Terra Throne. This was where they made nightly (OK Hourly) blood sacrifice to the Terra Queen. The ceremonies were presided over by the Queens lacky Eel Mouth. He would wander through the crowd spouting off his speeches of praise for the Queen. Planted actors were then taken to the altar for sacrifice by different mutilation ranging from knife to chainsaw!

The only thing I have really left out was the Rat Run. It was a large chain link fence area that really had no point. There were air blowers throughout it so people passing by could offer their own little scare. Or sometimes they were on the reverse, and you could get them! The whole thing was built around a tower where Jack the Clown would taunt and harass you. There wasn’t a whole lot of point to it, but it was fun for a laugh.

My overall opinion of the event was one of awe. It has been the last event to be over in Islands of Adventure. I’m kind of glad they stopped the two park thing. It made it very difficult to get from one end to the other. I also feel that you are limited in your scarezones in IOA because of the different island themes. Universal is a little more neutral in that respect. I have fond memories of that year, and as they say you never forget your first. Make sure you check out the commercial below for the event. This is the end of this tale….but only the prelude to the next chapter….

Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,

Malice Psychotik