Evil Taking Root…Halloween Horror Nights 23 Reviewed
Yes Darlings, it’s that time of year once again. We made it through another great year of HHN and it’s time to tell you what my thoughts were this year round. Over all, not a bad year. The houses were pretty good. The ones that didn’t meet up to snuff, were more than carried by the ones that were over the top. The atmosphere was decent to keep the vibe, but the street scareactors were nowhere near as good as last year for sure. We also managed to visit for the first time ever the Transformers 3D attraction and the Springfield area. I’m going to leave those out though, I think they deserve their very own article. I may do that leading into the Thanksgiving leg of the Holiday season..who knows.
Evil Taking Root…Halloween Horror Nights 23 Reviewed
Anyway, I’m sure you are all chomping at the bit to know what I thought. This years trip was a little late some I’m sure you have heard everyone, but mine (Next year I’m going to try to do two times. Once at opening and once more toward the middle) get the dirty business of Scarezones out of the way first:
So for the last two years I get the feeling they are either trying to phase them out or just make them a bit easier to do…or something. Last year you had the theme of the roaming hoards with no safe zones. I rather liked that idea. I thought that they were going to continue that idea this year. Instead it seemed, they were going to marry the two concepts into one. You were going to have roaming hoards with the added effect of themed areas related to The Walking Dead. Sounds good…on paper. The only areas that really seemed to take your breath away were the area themed after the farm and the one themed after the camp site. All of the others were merely set dressing, I felt, with vehicles strewn about. The Atlanta area could have been a lot better. They can do zombie war zones! They did it in Deadtropolis pretty successfully. Maybe if they had firing weapons or soldiers…I don’t know. Also, every zone could have used more zombies. All of the areas just felt spread too thin. I just think the idea was there, but the execution was lacking. Maybe it’s better on a peak night? I don’t know, but I just felt kind of luke warm and was annoyed with the zombies more than afraid. I liked the idea of having victims though…just wish maybe they would have played that idea better.
Again this year I did NOT attend the shows. I didn’t have enough time and…wasn’t interested. The last 2 times I had seen the Bill and Ted show, it was pretty lacking. I feel like the internet has killed the Bill and Ted show. By the time October rolls around a lot of the pop culture references are either: played out, not relevant, internet did it, or they just did it better. I know most don’t care about that sort of thing and I’m sure if you don’t keep up with the internet it would be hilarious to you. I just don’t find it funny. Before we went I heard from several other people who it was what you have come to expect from the last couple of years….that didn’t make me hopeful. As far as Rocky Horror goes, I like that they add in Rocky Horror to the Halloween season. If I feel like watching it, I’ll watch the movie. 20 minutes seems pretty rushed to me. It sounded good while I was waiting for HAVOC: Derailed. So no shows again…to be fair though…I didn’t see them…So I can’t judge them too harshly.
Now for the meat and potatoes! Countdown begins with:
8. Afterlife Death’s Vengeance– I was disappointed with this house. Everyone played it up so much for me. I’ve grown to get excited when I see a 3D house. I’ve been pretty impressed since HHN 17. The In Between from HHN 21 was the best out of that style of houses. This one seemed like a bad attempt of a repeat. The scares were few and far. The characters weren’t original. I sort of liked the concept of going into a executed murderers personal hell. I just don’t think they delivered on that at all. The torment aspect wasn’t there. It more seemed like you were going through his head or…I was just very confused and didn’t like it. A lot of the 3D effects were very recycled and repeated. I wasn’t wowed at all. Maybe give the 3D thing a break next year…
7. HAVOC: Derailed- I will give them this, it was better than the first HAVOC: Dogs of War. I really didn’t like that house. This one was pretty decent in the last couple of scenes. The first few were very basic and sort of lazy. You really just walked in a straight line down the “Train” as the Dogs of War rattled cages and tried to slip out. The better parts came when the train derailed and you were left outside with them. I got one good scare almost by chance. I walked into the scene and one scareactor stand alone in the darkness. He looks at me and says “Nice Hat.” Before I could answer he gives the command “TARGET!” and before I knew it i was surrounded by about 8 scareactors all with guns trained on me. Pretty intense…That was about it though. I don’t find soldier people scary…sorry
6. The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven- This wasn’t a bad house. It was pretty decent, just the others were better. I think maybe if they would jump away from trying to take you through that seasons events, they could do better. I know at that point though, how would you know it was The Walking Dead? Like I said though, it wasn’t bad. I liked getting to walk through my favorite scenes. Seeing them come to life had a bit of a wow factor. I enjoyed the whole making you crawl down by the ankle bitter zombies. I know what they were going for with multiple versions of the “Penny” zombie, but it ruins the illusion when you see several at the same time. The phone trigger was really cool. I just wish you could hear it better is all. The final scene is the best. Walking the cell block over run by zombie was pretty cool. The scareactors were a bit better there as well. On a final note, I’m a bit tired of The Walking Dead being at HHN. I’ll touch on it more towards the end, but I do hope they give it a break next year.
5. Resident Evil: Escape from Raccoon City- I loved this house! It was a lot better than I thought. I will say it could have been terrifying with a few tweaks or if they would have used the films, but still top-notch job. You had all kinds of nods to game fans. Look for herbs or other items lit up especially for you to find like in the game. The scenes as well as the monsters look very authentic to the game. You do feel like you are dropped into the game. You especially get that feeling once you walk through the type writer room and into the “PAUSE” room. There you are greeted by a falling Leon being attacked by a Tyrant…frozen in mid-air. You get a few good scares from some zombie dogs, some lickers, and Tyrant in the wall. I actually really liked this house. It was all topped off by the “Your Dead” at the end. Would love to see more.
4. Urban Legends: La Llorona- This house came out of left field to surprise me. Most people had been saying how much they disliked this house. I think it was just because they didn’t do any research. The story of Llorona is a very spooky one indeed. Also very emotional and dramatic. The scareactors were the ones that made this what it was. Again i have to say, I was missing some scenes that were absent but present in the Hollywood version. The actors made up for it though. The Lloronas that populated this house had this way of looking menacing a disturbing even when they weren’t actively scaring you. The amount of pain that was conveyed was fantastic. The very first one you see comes out moaning and bends over backwards over a childs coffin…creepsville man! The scene with the children face down in the water was pretty intense. A LOT of misdirection. I enjoyed the whole thing. Don’t miss this house!
3. Evil Dead- I’m usually pretty harsh on the houses that just take you through the motions of a movie. But I have to say, this house does it like no other. You walk through a room that sets you up with the book and pages above your head. Then you walk through the title logo accompanied by the dramatic opening music. From there it’s pretty much the movie summed up and in your face! Pay close attention while the character is reading from the book. They use a projections system to still show you the demon coming through the woods. All of the effects were great. The way you were taken in the cabin out of the cabin, and back in was smooth. Usually houses like this have a rough transition. Wasn’t a problem here. You even get to see the epic final showdown between Mia and the Abomination. Surprisingly had a low wait all night. Don’t miss it!
2. American Werewolf in London- First house of the night and boy did it set the pace! Amazing! Just amazing! I would have never expected to see such craftsmanship in the puppets. The special effects were what get you the most. That and those puppets. Every time you see a wolf whether you see it coming or not, it gets you good. I also like the Police Box…I KNOW IT WASN’T MEANT TO BE THE TARDIS!! BUT WE CAN ALL DREAM RIGHT?! Doctor Who reference aside, you will love this house from beginning to end.
1. Cabin in the Woods- Not only is this number one of the year….NUMBER ONE OF ALL TIME! Never before have I seen scenes from a movie replicated so well. Never before have I been actually “Scared” in a house. And never before have those images stuck with me when I’m trying to sleep! This is the house to see. You don’t have to watch the movie, but you will appreciate the terror a bit more if you have seen it. The elevator scene gives you the best “HOLY SHIT!! OMG!! WTF!!!” feeling in the world. Stay in there until it dings…don’t leave until the elevator dings. All of the monsters are recreated with the most epic detail. Don’t miss this house. Hit it early, the wait time is killer. This one WILL be a white buffalo if you miss it. Promise that
After taking everything in. this year was cemented at the top! I will definitely remember this year for years to come. That being said…Can we please NOT have Walking Dead have anything to do with next year? I was so sick of it by the end of this year. The logo was all over everything. The scarezone didn’t execute well, the house was so-so, and it covered the merchandise. Time to grow a pair again Uni. Do your own thing. Don’t ride the fads. The IP houses were pretty good, the best ones this year. But don’t forget you started this shit, and you kept it going for a while doing your own thing. More so your own than with IP houses ((IP= Intellectual properties)) Don’t forget Universals 100 year Legacy of Horror. It means you guys know your shit!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
Psychotik Top 10: Best Halloween Horror Nights Mazes
Hello, Freaky Darlings! 5 Days out from Halloween Horror Nights…so this is our Road to Terror. What better way to pass the time than talk more about Halloween Horror Nights? I kind of wanted to lead out with a prediction list of what we think the best HHN houses this year will be. At the last second though, I decided to take a look back at our picks for the best of the best. The ones that still to this day stand out in our heads the most. These are what this years event has to shoot for. Will one get knocked off the list this year? Who knows! So which mazes made the cut? Let’s start with 10 huh?
Psychotik Top 10: Best Halloween Horror Nights Mazes
10. Screamhouse: Resurrection- Halloween Horror Nights: Sweet 16
Coming in a number 10 is the second incarnation of Screamhouse from HHN 16. What made this house in particular stand out was the atmosphere and smells. The Facade was very well done. I remember it well. The interior just blew me away. All of the Caretakers in this house were awesome. Made sure to swing those blades they had right past your head. I also remember the smell of dirt as you wandered into the crypt area. That smell has stuck with me for years. In fact, I get flash backs every time i walk past the mulch at Walmart…
9. Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Walkers- Halloween Horror Nights 17: Carnival of Carnage
Good old Freddy Kruger finds himself in the number 9 spot. Dream Walkers had so many things done right. Out of all the New Line slasher houses, this one was the best. It had a great story leading into it. Your mind was just turned topsy turvey in this maze. To set up the house you walked through a tent where Freddy had some human puppets pump a sleep drug into it in large doses. From there you are put right in front of the iconic house from the films. As you walk through your very own nightmare come to life, you were brought some pretty epics scenes from the film. Ending the house in the boiler room really clinched it for me. I don’t ever remember a dull moment to be honest. Just a great house all around.
8. H.R Bloodengutz presents Holidays of Horror- Halloween Horror Nights 21
This house was just darling. Some of the most cheesy, campy, and sometimes- very good- horror movies are those based on Holidays. This is what this house was about. An old Horror host at the end of his rope decided to make one last stand of it and show the big wigs what real terror is. While he is doing this to them, he takes you on a tour of Holiday terror. It was great walking through and trying to guess the holiday. Arbor Day was the hardest to guess. I loved the nuclear explosion in Presidents Day with the zombie presidents. That was just great. Definitely an idea you hope to see revisited down the road.
7. Where Evil Hides- Halloween Horror Nights 15: Tales of Terror
Had to look to the back of my vault for this memory. HHN 15 was my first exposure to the event. It was also the last year they did the event across two parks (LOT’S OF WALKING). This year always holds a special place in my chest. This is one of those memories occupying that spot. This house had a grand entrance to an old house. Basicly everything you would be afraid of as a kid, this house took it to the next level. Dark corners, weird noises, half cracked doors, the monster under the bed…anything you can imagine turned to pure nightmare fuel. If you weren’t careful, you could have missed The Storyteller in the attic reading a story to a victim on a bad of spikes…with an anvil hanging over his head…The house was also built so well if you managed to get ahead of your group, you could enjoy scaring them as well (I hate you Andrew!)
6. Scary Tales: Once Upon a Nightmare- Halloween Horror Nights 18: Reflections of Fear
You didn’t think I would leave Reflections of Fear out do you? This is the only Scary Tales house I have been through, but damned if it didn’t leave a lasting impression. So many things right with this. What is not to like about fairy tales gone wrong. You had a footless Cinderella, a full mad Alice (She was eating poor March Hare! The nerve!), and all of this mess caused by the Evil Queen. What still sticks out in my mind the most was the Alice in Wonderland Scene and the Oz scene. Like I said the Oz scene you were transported to a mad tea party gone terribly wrong (Poor Hare never saw it coming I’m sure..) The Oz room took you into a corn field with demented versions of the classic characters. Dorthy had been tied up and murdered. Scarecrow was left to pluck at her brain. A very Angry tinsman would either A) swing an Ax at you or B) Squirt you with oil. The Lion would roar as you left the room. You really did have to see the characters for this as they were pure nightmare fuel.
5. Nevermore: The Madness of Poe- Halloween Horror Nights 21
Top 5 people here we go. What a good way to start it off. I was so please this house delivered. I’m a big fan of Poe’s work and it was nice seeing it brought to life. You had a shit ton of scares. Lots of misdirection. I think my favorite scenes were from the Tale Tell Heart”, “The Masque of the Red Death”, and one scene that involved Poe and Virginia. Lot of great effects were used. If you are a Poe fan or not, you could have found enjoyment in the house. Everyone loves a good Madman. Could they do this house again…Quoth the Raven…Eh Maybe…
4. Demon Cantina- Halloween Horror Nights 15: Tales of Terror
Here is the other part of HHN 15 that sticks with me. This was my first year, this house was my first one ever! Demon Cantina is a nice homage to From Dusk Till Dawn. You enter through the front of the bar and travel into hell! Out front they had a very cool puking animatronics. Your greeted with a broken bottle against the bar. Scenes that stand out in my mind…An exploding toilet, a strobe light room with dancing demons, and the end. The end you were greeted by the Devil himself. My friend and I hit the ground ala’ Waynes World, screaming “We’re not worthy! We are worms!” (Just a joke of course, I know Lou…he looks nothing like that and is a terrible Yahtzee player) This will always be so special for me….
3. ZombieGeddon- Halloween Horror Nights 20: 20 Years of Fear
Words can’t accurately describe this house. It had everything going for it. Hands down Universal’s best Zombie house yet. The Walking Dead house this year has a high bar in this house. The story was the US Government re-took America and started these training facilities to help people learn the finer points in putting to rest the undead. You start out kind of light-hearted. Just going through a shooting range no big deal. Then they pull off what could be the best “OH SHIT!” moment in history. You see lights and smoke when a float crashes into power lines, crippling it indefinitely. Now things are real and the undead get their revenge. To add to it, the people who were training you have now joined their ranks as well. From there you exited to Zombie Gras…that is for a different list though…
2. Saws and Steam: Into the Machine- Halloween Horror Nights 21
So, HHN 21 kind of ran all over this list huh. It was a good year…what can I say. This almost squeaked into the number one spot. It was narrowly beaten. I really had never been into a house that told a story better than this. I wish this house could be turned into a movie. This maze was based on the Scarezone of the same name the year before. In the world of Saws and Steam water is almost impossible to find. That is until someone realizes the human body is made up of 70% water…Into the machine shows more of that world. A group known as the Elite ask people to make the sacrifice on their 31st birthday to “Give of their liquid.” so that they may better the cause and feel no more pain. By doing this, they would enter “The Horizon”…or paradise. Obviously it was a load of shit and as you walk through the maze there is nothing that screams paradise (Unless of course you have a hard on for steam punk then…well this will give you quite the chubby) So many good scares, I don’t know where to start. I think they end was really awesome with the guy in the old style Scooba suit splashing a water curtain at you. They must have gotten a lot of water. (Also important to note this was the final house featured at the Jaws location…sad I know)
1. Psychoscarapy: Maximum Madness- Halloween Horror Nights: Sweet 16
Here we are..number one! How can you go wrong with an asylum that has been taken over by the inmates. Guess they should have thought twice before taking in good old Jack the Clown. Story is simple…Jack comes in, drives the crazy insane, and you are there for a full-scale riot. Even the nurses have gone loony! Many scenes stand out in my mind. The empty hallway that when the lights go out and come back on it’s filled with inmates. Or rather was it the room covered in shit! (Smelled real…IT SMELLED REAL!!) Or the hulking juggernaut that followed Seras out telling her he would “eat her babies.” Either way you slice it this house was fun, scary, detailed, and told a fun story. Oh! And it featured the best icon of them all, Jack the Clown.
That is all for now Darlings! Stay tuned tomorrow when we look at the best Scarezones!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
Possible Houses? A Good Guess at Halloween Horror Nights 21…
Hello Freaky Darlings! I hope you all enjoyed my last update for Halloween Horror Nights 21…I’m sure it should keep all of your mouths wet until the 31st. This update is not really an update…but more an after thought to the last one. I rushed the last update out, so there was no time to discuss possible house themes for this year. I’ve done some searching, and I’ve found what others have suggested. Taking what they have said into consideration I do have my own notes as well. The way I will break it down is by the game on the site with corresponding color…Here’s what I think:
Red Card- The Horizon- When you start this game you are given an unfinished questionnaire. The questionnaire is asking you about a new utopian society known as The Horizon. At the end your asked a True or False question…if you answer True, you are allowed to play the game. The game is a steam punk matching game. You have to pull the levers, it will reveal a picture and you match it. Standard matching game…however you have a count down clock on the left and on the right you have a tube of water that moves down the more levers you pull…so you have two things working against you.
I think this game points to the rumors of a Saws and Steam house. Last year that was one of the best Scarezones and it really deserves a proper house. Everything about it points to that. The background throws you off with an air of a school house…and the fact it looks like you are sitting at a school desk. However the art for the play card has a saw…and if you look closely…there is a saw drawn on the table…My vote is for Saws and Steam….
Orange Card- Loose Cannon- To get into this game you have a coin toss. Select heads and it will take you to the game. This game focuses around stopping a cannon from rolling all the way to either side of the ship. As the ship moves back and forth you have to move your cutlass in the opposite direction…while you do this…you have to focus on cutting a line on either side. You have two chances to get the right ones to balance it out…prepare to pull your hair out trying to win this one…
As far as the theme goes…this is hard. Most think it is going to have to do with a Pirate Ship…more specifically…Screamscape seems to think a Spanish Pirate Ghost Ship. I actually think that this is a sound theory. There is really nothing to throw you off. It is a pirate ship…and if you pay attention the coin you flip is a Spanish gold coin. My Vote? Spanish Pirate Ghost Ship it is!
Pink Card- You’re Toast- The choice you have to make to get into this game revolves around landing a helicopter. You have two choices…left takes you to a Norwegian base the right takes you….OK I don’t know where just don’t go right….When you get to the game you have a flame thrower and 5 dark figures are coming closer to you. Three of the are “Things”, Two are human…don’t shoot the humans…
Obviously this house points to The Thing. The Thing has already been released as a house..so there really is no guessing here. Like I said, it’s very obvious….
Blue Card- Don’t Judge a Book- To get into this house you have the choice to ship off to Boston.(Like the Drop Kick Murphy Song) or take a ship to Baltimore. Pick the land of the Raven…Baltimore and you enter a game where you have to choose 5 books. Be careful though, bugs have eaten two of them…and if you find thse…it’s game over. Choose carefully…
Rumors say this one points to a Edgar Alan Poe house. Strange thing is, HOS was rumored to have one of those as well…could it all be a rouse? Uni has been known to mess with us around this time of year…But the evidence is there…You take a trip to Baltimore…All of the books you find are from around Poe’s time period…What does this psycho think? I actually am going to go against the popular rumors here! As much fun as I think it would be to have a Poe house…I almost think they are screwing with us…Maybe a possibility would be a more classical literary version of Scary Tales? Well, we only have a couple more days untill we find out…I vote Classic Literary Scary Tales….But I’m not ruling out Poe…
Dark Purple- Enlist- To gain access to this game you are presented with two posters. The one on the left that says “Fight” is the one you want. The object of the game is to pick the boxes that don’t explode. If you hit three explosions…your done…
This seems to point to a World War II house, and the rumor mill points to the same. Old WWII posters, the game looks like a the car is 1940’s military, it’s in a trench. It doesn’t really point to anything else. Now I did have some theory’s as to what type of WWII scene it would be. Two films had scenes dealing with that very same war this year. One was Captain America: First Avenger. The other was in Sucker Punch, (There is a scene that seems to be a steam punk version of either WWII or WWI…And i have to say Steam driven zombies would be cool…but it would be a gross over use of Steam this year)…So my vote for this will have to stick with the World War II theme…I’m just curious as to the execution of it…
Yellow Card- Channel Surfing- To access this game, you have to choose the right line on the telephone. Line 2 is a Taxidermist…ad Line 10 is the cable company…Pick Line 10! This game you are faced with nine TV’s…of these three are bad…pick the good 6 and you win.
I belive rumor mill is a bit off on this one. Some are saying they have pictures to prove this one. They say this one should be a holiday haunt…but I don’t know. Using what you have, you seem to be more in a security office. BUT all the TV’s are playing old black and white horror movies. To me this suggests maybe a house dealing with old movies coming to life? Maybe I’m not looking far enough into it, and the security office is in a mall and it will be set around the holidays…I think that would be stretching. Then again, the whole thing could be irrelevant! Seras seems to have a gut feeling (or more a fan girl want) for there to be another Psychoscarapy…maybe it’s a psyche ward security room…Hmmm I kind of vote against the norm on this and say Old Monster Movie House….
Turquoise Card- The Key- To get into this game you are presented with 3 graves. The one on the far right is the one you’ll need. From there, you are taken to a game where you have 3 crypts and 5 doors. Get all three and the lanterns light and you win…get them wrong and you sacrifice tokens…
This one everyone says leads to a graveyard house. I’m not real sure about to tell you the truth. They don’t give you a lot to go off of…maybe if I knew more about famous cemetaries…I don’t know. Some think the name on the right tombstone may be Lady Luck’s real name…thus hinting that one to be the Icon house and thus have nothing to do with a graveyard…Only time will tell. As far as a vote, I really don’t have one so I will just go with the Graveyard theory I suppose…
Green Card- Certain Rune- This one is a thinker…and the answer key is right in front of you. Select the block of runes to start the game. When you get there, you have a board you have to place the rune pieces on. Simple…right? WRONG!! Supposedly you can write down the runes and put them into that position…the catch is which way is going to follow….clockwise or counter clockwise…either way the odds are stacked against you.
What do I think this game represents? I think it’s the Icon House! Rumor mill will simply tell you that this house is just something about Runes. I beg to differ…it may have something to do with Runes…if that ties into the Icon! If you look on the shell in the lower right hand corner there is a sphere that looks like a weird crystal ball. If you look closely you will see Lady Luck’s reflection in it. I was looking at it today after seeing all of the Lady Luck Pictures and noticed it First her hair…then her Ace of Spades card…it fits…so you know what my vote is! Let’s see if I’m right….
Well, those are my guesses. We will see how right I was (or Wrong) August 31, 2011…I can’t wait!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,