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,
WHAT’S UP!?! Ha Ha Ha! Hey there Darlings. Yesterday we had an article on our Top 10 Halloween Horror Nights Mazes. Tonight we have our pick for the Top 10 Scarezones. I’m not going to be wordy with this one. No need! Funny I feel that way because Universal has been trying to 86 Scarezones since 2007. I think they now have the idea of an all-inclusive scarezone down to a science…or so everyone says. Wednesday…we shall see. So without further a due…
Psychotik Top 10: Best Halloween Horror Nights Scarezones
10. The Path of the Wicked- Halloween Horror Nights 18: Reflections of Fear: Scarezone based on a twisted version of Oz. In this land, the witch reigns supreme. Featured Flying Monkeys, Twisted Oz characters, and Wicked Witch way up high insulting the passing traffic.
9. Cemetery Mines- Halloween Horror Nights 15: Tales of Terror: The cemetery mines featured creatures from Terror Mines and Body Collectors. I made a pet here. His name was Spike! Taught him to attack…
8. Streets of Blood- Halloween Horror Nights 18: Reflections of Fear: Scarezone was based on the White Chapel area of London. Tied in to the house The Body Collectors- Collections of the Past. Was based off of Jack the Ripper as well. Populated by Collectors and Victims. Lines with carriage hearses featuring real death certificate of actual Ripper victims.
7. Blood Mascarade- Halloween Horror Nights: Sweet 16: Populated by lots of vampires. Some made to look like statues that would spring to life. Each end of the zone featured an elaborate facade with candles that reacted to the environment. They also each had a vampire that resembled Akasha from Queen of the Damned.
6. Deadtropolis- Halloween Horror Nights: Sweet 16: Nicely done zombie scarezone. Plenty of zombies including one prostitute zombie that dry humped Seras. What made this number 6? ROBOSAURUS! Yeah when a scarezone has a giant transforming robot that eats cars and kills zombies…it earns some massive cred…
5. Zombie Gras- Halloween Horror Nights: 20 Years of Fear: Another Zombie scarezone. Populated by undead themed to Mardi Gras. What made this stand out was the fact it tied directly to the story of the ZombieGeddon maze. Small zone, but effective.
4. Blood Thunder Ally- Halloween horror Nights 15: Tales of Terror: Imagine taking From Dusk Till Dawn and throwing in some Mad Max. Demon Bikers everywhere. Caged Dancer girls lining the street (all demons). Steel and Fire…metal heads dream.
3. Asylum in Wonderland- Halloween Horror Nights 18: Reflections of Fear: How could I not have this up on the list? Populated by various Wonderland characters warped by the looking-glass. Lots of lights, color, and a disturbing musical track. Did I mention a appearing and disappearing Cheshire Cat?
2. 7- Halloween Horror Nights 21: This almost took number 1. Featured the 7 deadly sins. At the beginning of the night the girls representing the sins were very docile and masked. A chorus version of “The Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson played over head. By the end of the night, you say the girls completely consumed by their sin and the actual version of “Beautiful People” blared overhead. The scareactors were very enthusiastic and made the zone what it was.
1. 20 Years of Fear- Halloween Horror Nights: 20 Years of Fear: The level of detail was too good. Each icon featured its own area. Great photo opportunity. Again, the scareactors made it what it was. Everything was accented by the fact all the icons were able to flesh there characters out in a way never imagined. Also the giant FEAR was great.
Well that’s all of that. Stay tuned…tomorrow is our pre-rank for Wednesday!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
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,
Happy October, My Freaky Darlings! It’s that time again! The joyous time of year where all of us freaks, madmen, monsters, and weirdos feel are just a little more accepted (Not that it really matters!) Well, a week ago we made our annual trip to Halloween Horror Nights. I have to say another great year down, was a shaky start at first with lack of website among other things. They really surprised me this year though. Not to say it was perfect, but definately some of my favorite houses. I will warn, this year I didn’t make it to the shows. Funds being what they were, we just couldn’t go Express (Something that will be remedied next year!) The last couple of years though I haven’t been too impressed with Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure anyway…so no big deal. Would have really enjoyed 20 Penny Circus, but alas it wasn’t in the cards. Let’s stop the dilly with the dally and jump into this thing huh?
No Escape…Halloween Horror Nights 22
7) Universal’s House of Horrors– I really wanted to like this house more. I loved the concept, I think there was a lot of room for good scares. I did receives at least two really good scares. I just think it could have been better. What made me have a bad taste about this one? Simple! The house scenes and everything were done in UV paint. I know what they were going for, trying to make you feel as if you were walking into the living film, it just could have been better. In fact, I really feel houses like this are lazy. To top it off, there was no facade. You just walked into the beginning scenes which were very much like the beginning to All Nite DIE-in: Take 2. What was the reason for this house being so thrown together? Again…Simple! Remember a couple of months back when I reported that the seventh house was going in SS44? I have no proof, but it’s my opinion that this house really was thrown together pretty quick. I never did find anybody who posted a building permit for that location. Also looking around, the floats that were supposed to be housed in that area were next to it in a rather temporary storage. Not bad if they did throw it together last minuet…but it had room for improvement.
6) Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare– This house was a lot better than people give it credit! I love Alice Cooper and his style of shock. This house displayed that nicely…Alice’s own personal brand of madness. Why so low on the list then? Well that’s just how good the other houses were! I managed to go through with a real energetic cast. You had twisted nurses, asylum patients, angst teens, and of course Steven and Alice. The theory was you walked through several of his greatest hits showing the personification of the songs themselves. My only real problem was I wanted more! I think the one in Hollywood was better. I know they wanted to make it different, but maybe they should have made it the same. At any rate, don’t miss it…Alice will know! (P.S…Keep an eye to the writing on the walls for a hint to what you are about to see next. If you’re an Alice Cooper Fan…you’ll know.)
5) Silent Hill– First house of the night and really set the pace. I love Silent Hill and I love this house. I was in total fanboy overload!! The nurses, the music, the other creepy tidbits…every Silent Hill fans dream. Even managed to catch Pyramid Head, which Seras tried to take home…I think she scared him. The best parts are the opening scene and facade, the janitor scene (which is very disturbing to say the least), and Pyramid Head. Really wish there would have been more of him. You did have a mess load of nurses though…I suppose that made up for it. Room for improvement? Maybe a little more energy on the scareactors part. As far as design wise, Universal possess tech to make it ten fold scarier. Maybe when they optioned the rights, they got a few more years out of it…and this won’t be the last we will see of good ol’ Silent Hill. One could hope! Either way…don’t miss it!
4) Penn & Teller New(Kd) Las Vegas– For a funny house this was higher on the list because A) it was trippy B) it had surprisingly good scares C) the interactive aspect D) Penn and Teller paid my $40 bucks to bump it up! LOL Just Kidding…they gave me $10 and thats why it’s #4! Anyway, this was the best of the typical fun houses I have been though. For years, Psychoscarapy: Home for the Holidays was my favorite…this house dethroned it. In this house you will find everything you love about sin city…everything you love horribly irradiated with nuclear waste. You see, Penn and Teller aren’t the kind of people to let a little thing like nuclear waste get them down…NO!! In fact the see the wonderful opportunity to turn a negative into a positive…and make some cash on the side. My favorite parts in this house is the kitchen scene and then the wedding scene. Both got me good…some more than others…Seras. Would have been higher on the list if we would have went the week before when Penn and Teller were actually there!!! Would have been number one!!!
3) Gothic– You know I almost skipped this house? We were running low on time, and so far all night I hadn’t heard any good things about this one. We ended up lucking out though and hit Gothic and Dead End last minuet…I would have been mad if I had missed it. I was taken away by how cool this house really was. You really felt like you walked onto the site of an old cathedral being renovated. So many good scares…I really lost count! Kudo’s to the Gargoyle that got into the Italian “Eh!” match with me…you made my night. I absolutely loved the candle scene, the catwalk scene, and the nice midnight stroll on the roof. You will be scared in this house and you will be taken away by the beauty at the same time (Pretty much how they get you! Bait and Switch!) This house again proving that Uni doesn’t require fancy movie and TV properties to scare the crap out of you…however…the next house sort of ruins what I just said…
2) The Walking Dead: Dead Inside– This is THE perfect zombie house…never will there be anything more accurate for a zombie house or scarezone. So many emotions felt in one house! Universal was able to bring to life The Walking Dead in a way I never though possible. The scenes that you walk through are every bit as iconic as they are in the show. You really never know when a walker is going to come at you. Could be here…could be there! The very end is my favorite part. Let’s say…i think they were lying when they said House of Horrors had more scareactors in a single scene…wait till you get to the end of this one. Without giving too much away…let’s say your personal bubble is greatly reduced and if you are afraid of zombies…your going to love this. Don’t miss it…as a matter of fact…go through it twice!!!
1) Dead End– Well we are at the end of the count down…may favorite house of the year. Another one I nearly didn’t get too. Boy I’m glad I went. Really wish I could have moved into this old house…it has a certain character…By character I mean it scares the piss right out of you at every turn. By far the most scares in one house all night. This is why it got number one!! Could tell whether it was all the things that weren’t what they seemed…or the glowy white ghost that get’s you at every turn…but this house just got me! And that’s rare!!! Do not…and I repeat…do not miss this house! It will become your White Buffalo. I can’t even peg down a favorite scene it was that good. I suppose the scenes with the glowy white ghost were the best…BEWARE OF THE GLOWY WHITE GHOST!!!
I will touch on this real quick. I wasn’t big fan of the idea of roaming hordes of scareactors. The no scarezone idea had been tried before in 07′ and failed horribly. This year made me a believer. You never know who is going to catch you and where they are just kept moving all night. What I thought was even cooler was the music queue was moving all night. They actually moved the sound track to fit who was in the area…nice touch. I also loved that fact that when I was amongst the vampires…I was mistaken as scareactor…like 20 times! Had three pictures taken of me…(I hope they caught my good side!) I really wish I would have gotten more pictures of them for you, but that night was hectic…little one was sick, no express passes, having to rush whilst being worried…pictures were just not on my mind this year. I will add what I have though to the Encyclopedia Psychotika Facebook page though if you want to have a look. I think my favorites ended up being the Vampires (Real surprise there!)
In closing, this was a good year to go. I definitely felt like it was money well spent. Can’t wait for next year, and wish I could go again this year! As I said i was not able to hit the shows. My dear friend Samhain however was able to hit Bill and Ted, so maybe she will be so kind as to send me a small review. Also!! I will be collecting some reviews from our fellow cast of weirdos that went with us, and post them as well…why just take my opinion on the night…right? (Hee Hee That rhymed) Stay tuned for more madness to come!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
P.S I re-preposed to Seras under the archway to the cemetery….SHE SAID YES!! CONGRATS TO ME!!
Holy Shit on a carbuncle!! It has been ages since I have anything new to say about Halloween Horror Nights! A bit slow to the punchline they’ve been this year! Top that with massive amounts of depression, massive amounts of happiness, total loads of debauchery, and boat load of liquor and what you get is quite possibly the biggest bi-polar orgasm the world has ever seen!!! AT ANY RATE!!! We have some Halloween Horror Nights 22 business to get down to…let’s begin!
Theme and Icon:
This year really doesn’t have one. No icon…No theme. Well I suppose with the list of houses you could say the Theme is AWESOME!! One word with a shit load of exclamation points! What I’m taking from all of this is they are trying to strip the event down to the basics…haunted houses. Maybe they are trying to see if they can survive on the mazes alone. Maybe I’m over thinking it and they were a bit busy. Maybe they spent have the year pulling the pud and threw this stuff together at the last-minute! I DON’T KNOW!! What I do know is, they have a hell of a house line up and this is all I really have to say on this bullet point…moving on!
I look forward to this year in and year out. After one HHN falls I begin the wait for the next…the only thing that tides me over is the website coming active over the summer. So what do I think of the website this year? DAMN PATHETIC!!! No Games…No Extras…And they made us all wait until a month before the event to give us anything!!! Uni this is not your A-Game in this area. As craptastic as 19’s website was, it was still better than a hallow frame-work! Shame on you!!! The lack of website could be explained by the lack of theme…but still…a game or two wouldn’t have killed ya!
As you might have guessed I’m saving the best for last…the houses. However, I’m impressed with the shows (or rather the new show!) Yeah they only ever add one show, and I’m cool with that. As long as it’s not the bad 30 minuet mockery of Rocky Horror Picture Show…or freakin’ Brian Brushwood…I’m cool. The 20 Penny Circus looks like the perfect act to fit in with HHN. Bill and Ted has been hit and miss the last couple of year to be honest. Last year was good, but still not up to snuff from years like 05′-07′. Maybe they will pull out some stops this year. Just look at what has been in pop culture for 2012…and there you have it!
**If you would like to know more about 20 Penny Circus, check out their Facebook page HERE
Not to thrilled to say this but I will. there will be no set zones this year. Yep, all of the barriers are down! If someone wants to chase you from one end of the park to the other…they can! One thing that does have me excited is that supposedly there is going to be no personal space. They can touch you. Now in years past, I’ve had scareactors do this anyway…so I’m curious as to how this will all pan out. The only thing is they tried this back in 07′, and it didn’t work. Maybe this year will be different, It’s anyone’s guess. The different “hordes” of scareactors include: Vampires, Warriors, Prisoners, Traditionals, Beasts, and a new breed The Iniquitus. At least the scareactors sound interesting…
As I am writing this HHN Crypt posted on their Facebook page some photos of the street elements for this years event. I’m a little impressed. They are going to have some sort of set dressing. It appears that the Walking Dead: Dead Inside will spill out onto the street with a walker area. Other areas look to be taken over by cemetery. There was also some pictures of vampire posters posted. I’m a little more hopeful.
The meat an potatoes of this article…the moment you have been waiting for…my pre-ranking for this year’s event!! Now, yesterday was the media preview, and I’ve seen a bit. So far I’m impressed with what I have seen. Thank you to all the websites that were there and spread the word over the internet. So here we go…
7) Gothic- The only reason I’ve ranked this last is I don’t know much about it like I do the rest. The premise is there, to be honest I think it will be cool…I’m just not convinced it will be better than the other ones. I could be very wrong with this house, but hey I’m ready to be proved wrong. Just something doesn’t seem that scary about Gargoyles…not sure what it is.
6) Dead End– I’ve seen very interesting things about this house. However, I can’t rank it that high because this house was done two years ago. I think I will like it, because I liked that house! I love the real hidden scares. Sneaky is good…I just hope I don’t keep getting the feeling of Deja Vu.
5) Penn & Teller New(kd) Vegas- I only put this one here because I know it’s going to be a fun house. I can’t very well put a fun house in a pre-rank above some of the phenomenal looking ones. You never know though, Penn and Teller are who they are. The thought of it being a fun house could prove to be a load of…well…Bull Shit!
4) Alice Cooper- Welcome to My Nightmare- I have seen the walk through of Hollywood’s version of this last year. Damn impressive! HHN meshes so well with Alice Coopers particular brand of rock music. The godfather of shock rock’s HHN maze may prove to be quite…shocking! Alice Cooper said it best with his announcement, “Welcome to my nightmare…I think you’re gonna like it!”
3) The Walking Dead- I’m going out on a limb making this my number 3. I wanted to make it 2 or 1 but the other two have my attention more. At the core of it this house is still a zombie house. I’m not saying it won’t stand out against other zombie houses. Far from it! There are some pretty iconic scenes in this house. My problem is with the fact it’s going to be a walk through of those scenes instead of a linear house. I could be wrong, but that’s the fun of these things…
2) Universal’s House of Horrors- This one…this is one to watch. The news on this house is there will be two firsts. One is a scene in which you have to crawl on your hands and knees while scareactors loom over head. The second achievement comes in the final room of the house. Supposedly it will set a record for the most scareactors in a single scene. It would also appear that the house will be in Black and White, I’m not sure though. Why not number one you ask…well I’ll tell you!
1) Silent Hill- I have been hoping and dreaming for this house since the first time I ever went to a HHN back in 2005. Silent Hill offers so much to a haunted house…it’s like the game was practically made to be put in other mediums just to be awesome! I can wait to feel the ash, to see the foggy scenes, to be nearly sliced to death by a nurse, and have my skin taken off by Pyramid Head. This house just has so much going for it. They didn’t reveal a whole lot media night (and you could tell it!) This makes me one excited Psychopath!
Well this article has taken me a lot longer to write than usual. Lot’s of stuff has been going on lately and to be honest I’m still trying to get back into the routine. At any rate, we will be at Halloween Horror Nights 22 on Sept. 28th doing the Annual Passholder thing. The group will be there with our freak hats on, so you won’t miss us. Everyone from Myself, to Seras, to ArnieFreeze!! We even have some new comers going with! Good friend Samhain and Magic Bob!! So come on out, say hello, get scared, and get your mug posted on a website!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
Special Thanks to all of those that went to the Media Preview night and provided everyone with the awesome video and photo thrills. You help make the wait go a lot less painfully. Encyclopedia Psychotika thanks the following Screamscape, Inside the Magic, HHN Nightmares, Behind the Thrills, Attractions Magazine, and HHN Crypt. You guys get the best info!
Well, it’s a sad time of year for me. October has ended. My favorite month of the entire year gone just like that. So much has happened this month I can’t begin to tell you everything. Most disappointing is, I wasn’t able to post a quarter of the articles I had planned. INCLUDING my annual review of Halloween Horror Nights 21. This pains me to no end. I feel as though I have failed you all..(All three of my regular readers! Ha Ha!!) So it occurred to me, does the fun really have to stop? I mean, does the horrible fun of Halloween really have to stop because of something as trivial as the month ending? HELL NO!!! If the stores can stock Christmas a week into the Halloween season, I sure as hell can extend my Haunt season! So prepare yourselves…I have every intention of extending my haunt season until Thanksgiving. The review will mark my protest against the end of October. That being said, pull your Jack-O-Lanterns back out…and buy some more candy…this season isn’t over yet. I’ve no idea how this will turn out. To be honest, I’m kind of pulling this all out of my ass! At any rate, let’s take a look back on Halloween Horror Nights 21…
Well, another Halloween Horror Nights has passed…and what a Horror Nights it was! I was absolutely blown away by some of this years houses. This year marks the hardest I’ve ever had to think when ranking them. That’s not to say this year didn’t have room for improvement. It did seem like they put so much attention into the houses and some of the newer aspects of the Scarezones, that they really dropped the ball in the Scarezone department. The easiest way I can paint a picture of this years event is to discuss it one moment at a time. Let’s start with the Houses…In Count Down order!
8) The Forsaken– This house was really the only let down of the night. I don’t think it was because it was bad. More, I just had higher hopes for it. The hype just didn’t hold up. It has a nice story, that is conveyed rather nicely. (Although, one in our group was convinced the Spanish Troops were actually Gladiators…I didn’t thinks so…but still) The Scareactors just weren’t up to par. All of them had masks with glowy green eyes…not the best choice. The ship’s mast room everyone was talking about wasn’t doing it for me. You could tell that there were dummies and actors in the room (Note: This effect was used entirely too much at the event…and it only really worked once…). Like I said though, it wasn’t all bad. In the beginning there was some pretty nice gore. The wind and rain effects were a nice touch. The best room in my opinion was the tilted room. You were kind of forced to be near the Scareactors in a narrow environment that kept you way off base. One of the coolest effects was a bungee Scareactor. Looked cool seeing him look like he was flying from way out to burst in the room. Still, it just wasn’t up to snuff when you consider the rest of the event.
7) Winters Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery- This was another surprise! I picked this for number 2 and it dropped to number 7! This one really wasn’t that bad…It just wasn’t scary.This house had some of the best visuals I have seen. The grand cemetery facade was just breath-taking. Perfect for a HHN wedding. The cold was a nice touch, which would have been more obvious if it hadn’t been cool that night already. My favorite effect was a half zombie pulling itself across the ground. You see they raised the ground to your right and had a well hidden Scareactors top half-dressed to look like a zombie pulling itself over the ground…you had to see it! One of the crypt scenes was noteworthy as well. The mirror effect used to make a skeleton look like he was crawling out of a big hole would have looked a lot better…If it wasn’t for seeing the mirror that made the effect. The Scareactor dressed as a pile of bones was a could throw back to last years Scareactor dressed like a chair (The chair was less obvious!) I didn’t want it so low, but I just can’t rank a house higher based on how pretty it is.
6) The Thing- OK something was definitely strange about my HHN Spidey Sense…I PICKED THIS FOR NUMBER ONE!!! This house was still what I expected. Really nice creature effects, shit your pants gun shots, and cinematic scenes of sweet The Thing goodness! Really, the fact this one was so low should attest to how good the other one’s were! The animatronics were really more disturbing than I expected. It was hard to look, but then again it was hard to look away. The one hanging out of the ceiling and the one at the very end were the things (Pun intended) nightmares are made of. The gun effects were a lot better than I remember from 07′. I wish I would have seen the movie though. It would have let me know exactly how good the story was told. However, from what I know of the original, they managed to tuck a few of the iconic scenes from the original. (To explain what I mean…If you have never seen the original, there is a scene where the team of the American outpost investigates the aftermath of the Norwegian outpost.) The best of those that I hope people caught was the radio room where you see the operator kill himself. If you stayed in the room long enough, you would see him laid back in the chair wrists out, just like the movie. I also want to mention the over head Scareactor in one room. He really just made you feel nervous.
I only had a few issues with the house as a whole. Unlike the previous The Thing house, the protagonists had no interaction with you. Really it was like you were walking through the movie. You almost felt in the way…Seras waited for one of the actors to shoot in one room. I just wish they would have interacted a little better. My next issues was the “scary” Scareactors. Most of them just looked like they had a tumor growing out of their mouth. The ones toward the end did get better, but the beginning ones were a bit silly.
5) H.R. Bloodengutz Presents Holidays of Horror- From number 7 in the prerank…to the number 5 spot…this house did not disappoint. From beginning to end was a constant onslaught of the campiest horror this side of the SyFy channel (Only it was actually good and entertaining!) I wish I would have had time to watch the que video’s outside. The que showed you clips from the H.R. Bloodengutz show. Each clip was featured in the house, but the rate you go through…you don’t have time to see them. The facade to the house was fitting. It was like you were entering through the back of the TV station. The loading dock smelled like a real loading dock (Not that it’s a hard scent to achieve, but a nice touch none the less!) The guy playing H.R. in the opening room was really into it. He kind of set the mood for the whole house. It’s really funny when you notice some of the holidays. Everything was represented from the big holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving all the way to the obscure like Presidents Day and Arbor Day. The funniest one when you noticed it was St. Patrick’s Day. Your kind of caught off guard at first, until you see the pot of gold and all of the shamrocks. The most imaginative was Presidents Day. When you walked into the room, the key effect was a nuclear bomb going off outside. You see the “Football” suitcase counting down on the president’s desk. When it goes off you hear the loud “BOOM” and the room floods with light. That’s when you notice the mutilated president corpse on the couch and the zombie Abe Lincoln and George Washington. The last I have to mention is Christmas. The only thing I can really say to describe the true epic nature of this section is…Crazy Cartoon Elves with Machine guns…with a murdered Mrs. Clause and a Santa with his head blown off.
4) Nightingales: Blood Prey- From here on in was some of the hardest decision making I’ve ever had to make on houses. All of them were top contenders and this one was no slouch. Let me first say, this had a really imaginative concept. I really didn’t know how they would pull off the trench atmosphere. It could have went either way, but they knocked it out of the park. The facade made my jaw drop. I couldn’t belive the grand scale of it all. When you first enter, you only really see German soldiers for a scene. To be honest, the Nightingales are more terrifying. One of the effects that stuck with me was a soldier trying his damnedest to protect you and move you out of the area. As he is telling you to run and stay down, he is grabbed from behind. All that’s left when she pulls him away is his bleeding legs. The rest of the house is full of some of the best gore I’ve seen at HHN. Honorable mention goes to the soldier laying out on a table just spewing “blood” into the air. Made everyone get the creeps. I was really concerned about the masks at first, but you know upclose…they work. I don’t really remember having any real problems with this house. I think I just wish it would have been longer.
3) Saws N Steam: Into the Machine- From right here just let me say, any preconceived notions I may have had this year for a house just because of the location…well now they are right out the window. The location of these top houses usually held the background starters of years past. Now they hold the best ones! I had high hopes for this house. As good as the Scarezone was last year, it had a lot to live up to. If there is one thing this house proved, it’s that you can take a really good Scarezone and turn it into an epic house! I don’t even know where to start. The whole house was done so great. You really felt as though you walked into a giant machine-made for extracting fluids. The story line was told clearly. The effects were top notch. Everything from people being mutilated on a table to canisters of meat being squished to squeeze every last drop out. The further your journey takes you…you see more and more water. One room is lined with what looks like fish tanks on all sides. Closer inspection reveals those aren’t fish in those tanks…but bits and pieces that slipped through. As you make it to the last scenes, your faced with a giant waterfall with a man in an old-fashioned dive suit behind it splashing water at you. It’s at this point you remember…the only way these people have water is to harvest it…THAT’S ALOT OF FREAKIN’ WATER!!! I really hope they use this house as an example of what to do for future years. Maybe we will see a 7 house next year…hmmm….
2) The In Between- This house set a new standard for all 3D houses…HELL..Effect houses in general. I picked this one for dead last and it nearly walked away with number one. One of the easiest ways to describe this house is a bad acid trip…A REALLY, REALLY BAD ACID TRIP!!! From beginning to end, the whole maze became an all out war on your senses. Sight, Touch, Sound, and I believe in one part Smell…It could have been someone crapping themselves come to think of it…anyway…all of these became your worst nightmare. There was one room with laser lights being sprayed everywhere. If you looked down, you felt as if you would drop off the face of the Earth. To top it all off, you had these near invisible black strings hanging down and hitting you. Giving ou the feeling you could feel the laser dot’s. The rooms that had creatures in them…you couldn’t see them until the wall came to life. AND BEFORE I FORGET!!! The spinning walkway was the worst it has ever been. I feel like I’m going to fall down when I walk through this effect when it’s normal. Add 3D and BAM! No Bueno!!! I cam close to naming this my number one. But, their was something the number one house had that this one didn’t…
1) Nevermore: The Madness of Poe- I have been a fan of Edgar Allan Poe since…well…EVER!!! I had to think on this one for a while because I wanted to make sure that it was the house that made this number one and not the little goth kid deep down inside. The whole maze painted a brilliant story and captured the very essence of Poe’s madness. The first scene you are faced with is Poe writing at his table frantically in an alcohol fueled rage. The most I can guess is this is supposed to be when the madness takes him over. As you progress you walk through the incarnations of some of his better stories. If memory serves me right, it was Tell Tale Heart, Pit and the Pendulum, and Black Cat. Tell Tale Heart was the coolest of those three. As you walked in, the same scene of the narrator tearing open the floor boards revealing the heart is recreated on every wall and even the ceiling. My first scare in this house came from the Scareactor hanging out of a hole in the wall. I loved the beating heart noise as well. The second act of this house came when you entered a grand hall. At the top of a stair case you could see Poe swaying back and forth drunk of of his mind. Beware though, the spirits of his late wife haunted the room at every turn. And I do mean EVERY turn! I can’t remember the exact sequence of events after this point but I can tell you this…Masque of the Red Death and Cask of Amontillado were the bomb diggity! Cask was creepy when you looked to the right and say a skeleton chained inside a wall. Even worst was when you looked to the left and saw Poe Bricking YOU in.
The only part I thought was a bit silly, was the giant ravens. Not that they were bad. They were very cool…but all I could think about was the Big Horney Bird from Hell in Little Nicky. I would have just died if they would have started dancing to the tune of “Ladies Night.” That was really the only thing I found off, and even that wasn’t really off. Just more of a humorous observation.
Now that I’ve went through the Houses…it’s time to attack the Scarezones. I still have mixed feelings about the Scarezones. Some of them really weren’t the best, but I still liked some parts. However, my number 1 Scarezone this year is my all time favorite. Let’s examine shall we:
6) Nightmaze– As much as a good idea as this zone sounded on paper…it equally failed to deliver. I just felt like something could have been done to make it better. I liked the thought of a moving zone. The actors had a good idea going with no caring if you were coming or not and closing off sections to make you go back. But the way it was designed just looked sort cheap and last-minute. Really you could recreate this area at your own house if you wanted. One time out of three was decent going through it. It just wasn’t up to par.
5) Your Luck is Up- The new team that has taken over this event since Michael Roddy left has done one thing in both HHN XX and HHN XXI that I have not liked…The Icon of the event has not had a house.With Fear it wasn’t a big deal. The Scarezone was enough. For Lady Luck, we had a nice story line. A story line that was wasted because their was noting to tell it. Consider for a moment, if you will, the zone that was in Sting Ally last year. Saws N’ Steam was a great zone (My personal favorite of all time until this year!) So you can’t blame the area. The set design was OK…but it was the same thing at either end. It was home to 5 Luck Scareactors, 3 Monster and 2 Normal. This made the area very predictable. The whole distraction tactic was easy to see through. It looked cool, but it was just kind of meh…Not what I would expect after seeing last years zones.
* Editors Note: The area that they used to take pictures with Lady Luck served as a better zone for the Icon…
4) Grown Evil- This Scarezone was pretty good. It brought me back to the year they had Harvest of Souls. The creatures were pretty decent. Not sure why the Bat Stilt Walkers all had boobs that were like “Look at me!!” Maybe there are some Furries on the creative team…I don’t know! I’m not complaining about that. My complaint, and this could have just been their direction for the night, I couldn’t get not one damn picture of them! Everytime I went for one, they would cover up or turn their head. It was frustrating to say the least. So for punishment…Your at Number 4!! Ha! Now who get’s the last laugh. Also the actors didn’t try near as hard as they should have to scare Seth or Myself. On another note I did like that they used Silent Hill music in the area. It was a nice touch.
3) Canyon of Dark Souls- From the first pictures I had seen of this area, I didn’t expect much. It really wasn’t that bad in the long run. With wind blowing it made it impossible to see where the Scareactors would come out of. The costumes did a good job of blending in. The music was fierce and the fire effect was great. I also enjoyed the area being lit only by the light of the fire. Seth was dressed as Death the Kid from Soul Eater so he had ton’s of fun with the Scareactors. He kept wondering if they were all members of the Death Family. People were loving it…I don’t think this zone’s actors got it, but believe it or not there was more than once he was noticed. My only problem? This zone could have been a lot bigger.
2) Acid Assault- I liked this area and at the same time felt it had room for improvement. The effects used to make the buildings look like they were falling apart were epic. I can’t wait to see how these effects are used in future years. The music was fitting. The set dressing was spot on, and the Scareactors I did see looked good. My only issue was the lack of Scareactors. The area had next to no scares. It looked great and that’s why it got so high on my list. However, it ended up being Michael Bay…all style…no substance. You might be thinking to yourself, “Malice, it just sounds like the Scarezones this year were all awful!” Well, I still have one more to tell you about…
1) 7- Words can’t accurately describe my love for this Scarezone. This zone was able to do so much with very little. You can honestly say it was the actors that made this area. I loved that it changed as the night progressed too. When you first got there, the ladies that represented the deadly sins were rather tame. The minions still offered scares. I mean, they can’t sacrifice that just for effect. The music playing all around was a choir version of Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People.” As we progressed through the zone, the actors were very responsive, acting out perfectly what their sin was. The Lust guys were my favorites. Before we left, my friends Lenny and Seth were both molested. This spells a good time in my book.
Later on in the night, I decided I should go back through and catch anything I might have missed. I was really interested to see how the 7 zone had progressed. What I walked into was so much better than expected. The music had changed from a choir version to the real version. The girls that once looked to be temptresses, were warpped completely by their sin. The pictures and the video I’m going to include will say it all. It was like you walked into a night club gone terribly wrong. Like you were in a horror movie, and this was the big reveal. It has even inspired me for a short story. I just can’t say enough right now. Hats off to you Uni! Take a bow!
Now I know this review has been rather long, but I still have things to go over. Mostly I want to discuss the shows and the icon. Then I will close this mother, and let you and me have a nice nights sleep…
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure- I’m not going to lie, I get less impressed with this show as the years go by. Last year I nearly gave them an excuse, until I looked back and found they DID have a lot of funny stuff to go off of. This year had even more than last year, so that excuse went WAYYYYY out the window. I will say that it was better than last years…but that’s like saying a you have a higher IQ than the guy with a lead pipe coming out of his head. I just think they get to afraid when it comes to making fun of anything Disney has done. You don’t have to make it the same character, you can get around it and make it just as funny. Which they did do in one instance (El Capitano Mexicano anyone?) One of the funniest things of the whole night was a bit they had using Jeff Bridges’ character from True Grit. All of the things they could have used, they used wrong…I mean…COME THE FUCK ON PEOPLE!!! Man up! Rent Seth McFarland for Christ sake…OR Trey Parker and Matt Stone…SOMETHING!!! I did this one first this year…Next year, you can be sure it will be dead last on my priority list.
OH…and before I forget…Drop some of the music numbers! They add more every year…and they get less impressive every year. If I want to go to a PG-13 strip club…well I wouldn’t go to a PG-13 strip club!! So just…NO!!
Death Drums- I did not get to see this show up close and personal. No, I decided to go to Bill and Ted…*sigh*…BUT, I have seen it via the wonders of the internet. I have to say i was really impressed. It was nice to see Brian Brushwood was gone. I do hope this show comes back for next year. The drummers and dancers were all very talented…I’ll add the video for you below. It speaks louder than my words.
*Editor Note: Video is from Inside the Magic…be sure to give their YouTube channel and show some love…
I have mixed feelings about the Icon this year. Lady Luck was a wonderful Icon…the way she was portrayed in the media and promotions. When you got to the event, all of the Lady Lucks (except the Monster version) were just kind of…there. They didn’t talk…they didn’t elicit a response…you might as well have put a Royal Gaurd in a green dress! I just didn’t get how you go from the one on the advertisements and the one you met. I also really enjoyed the connections between the houses and Luck. She had a great story…the delivery just wasn’t there.
Taking everything into consideration, It wasn’t a bad night. It wasn’t the best HHN ever, but it wasn’t the worst either. I think HHN XX set that bar too high. I still see seeds that were planted this year that I’, sure will blossom into something great next year. I spent HHN with great friends. Some I just met, some I’ve been with before. HHN wouldn’t be the same without you guys. Special thanks to Seth Garner, Lenny Mosco, Amanda Rivera, Cullen Wheeler, and of course my lovely Seras Psychotik! Thank you Amanda and Bo Van Hassel for watching the Demon Seed, you helped a lot in all of this as well.
* Editors Note: I didn’t think about this until later, but I can’t help but wonder why they used so many masks this year. I hope this isn’t a new trend because some of the masks really ruined the realism. Nothing like getting into a performance…and then seeing a blatant mask line…
ALSO!!! Incase you think I forgot about us being at IOA during the day…think again! I remember the pain very well. NEVER AGAIN shall we go to the park for the whole day before doing HHN. NEVERMORE!!! It was fun…just too exhausting. I will give an update on that…but it will be later. November 12th I will be going to one day of the Harry Potter Celebration for a thus far unnamed Q & A session. So, look forward to that!
That’s all for now Freaky Darlings, stay tuned for more to come. Here’s to HHN past and looking to HHN future…
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
Hello, Freaky Darlings! As some may or may not know, Halloween Horror Nights released all info on the 31st. I’ve waited a bit to post this, if not only for the fact I wanted to see what else the website was going to do. The wait was worth it, because the site still has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. I’ll get to all of that in due time. For now, I want to talk about the houses and zones. This is the first year I’ve gotten around to doing so much with HHN before the event, so I think now will be the time to make my predictions for how I’m going to rank the houses and zones. I feel this early in the game with knowing only what the website says will make my opinion a little less biased. This year is going to be hard. I have like 4 houses tied for the number one spot! Alas, I will try to be fair….
(Editor’s Note: I broke my own rule in the process of doing this article. Opening night came and went and I had to sneak a peek at the scarezones. So far no videos for the houses…so it’s only a little cheat…DON’T JUDGE ME!!!)
(I’ll start in reverse. Kind of like a count down…)
8. The In-Between- This one rounds out my bottom. Not because I don’t think it will be a good house, but because I don’t think it will be near as awesome as the others. I could be wrong! This house is another 3D house, which is not really a bad thing. I believe the last I was in that was 3D was in 07′ (Jacks Funhouse in Clown-O-Vision). Even then, that house wasn’t bad, it was just more a trippy thrill ride. I tend to rank this type of house more like a fun house. The description, however, tells a different tale. According to the website, this house is supposed to be in your face terror as you step into a third dimension with terrible creatures around every corner. So you never know, this one could push its way up the list!
Using the website as a tool to imagine what we will be dealing with, I can’t tell much. On the HHN Facebook page, they have released a picture from inside the house. It didn’t seem really “scary”…more it looked like something out of a black light painting. This house was represented by the Green Card in the backroom (“Certain Rune”). There really isn’t much that you can figure out from that game. Although now the Carnival of Carnage ferris wheel makes a lot more sense! Maybe when the second game goes active and I can unlock the special pages, I will have more to add to this article. I will note that this house is in the newer Parade building, and that spot does have a tendency to yield very pleasing houses.
(Editor Note: Since I have started writing this, a few things have been said about this house. Uni is claiming that this house will be like no other 3D house to date. They also promise there is a scene in this house so epic, they need not tell you what it is. You will know it when you see it. And when you see it, you will talk about it for years to come…)
7. H.R Bloodengutz presents Holidays of Horror- This one pulls into my number 7 only because I know this one is going to be a hilarious house, not a frightening one. Not to say that it is bad, but again I just don’t think it will hold up to the others. Keep in mind, the funny house from last year nearly took the number 1 spot. Don’t count it out! The story is of a horror host at the end of his career, and he is going to make sure you never forget him. The house boasts that it will be a collage of various B rated holiday horror films. (Home for the Holidays ala 2007 anyone?)
From what I have unlocked on the site, the story behind the house is pretty tight. H.R Bloodengutz is a failed theatrical actor that had to turn to Horror Hosting to stay in the biz. Now, years later, he finds himself canceled and out the door. This doesn’t sit well with him. After delivering so many years of faithful service, he deserves a grand exit…and he’s going to give it to you. There is a piece of a police report detailing an assault on the station manager. Also, there is a recording from H.R’s answering machine. You really get the feeling that this is something he didn’t want to do, Horror Hosting. He wanted a position in a more theatrical environment. I’m not sure if it will be important that his uncle was a taxidermist, and he was going to work with him…but it was mentioned. Incase you want to know how to unlock it, you will have to play both Yellow card games. Last, I will mention this house is going to be in the Disaster que. Houses in this area have been pretty good, but so far I belive there has only been one that really blew me away. We will see.
6. The Forsaken- I picked this as my number 6. I do believe that this house has potential to move further along up the list. The concept is really cool and I enjoy any house that is mixed with real history. Gives it a bit of a realistic element. Also, this house is firmly planted in the parade building. So far, I have yet to see a sour house come out of that building. INFACT…the last two years Encyclopedia Psychotika has went to HHN (2008 and 2010) that building has housed my favorite house for that year. Not that the location really matters, but if it did, that would set the bar pretty high.
The story follows the fate of the doomed 4th ship of Columbus’ Voyage. With the flip of a coin, the captain and crews fate was sealed. Years later, the crew still haunts their final resting place. Filled with rage from a terrible death, you will feel their wrath. Looking to the website for clues, their isn’t a whole lot more than what I’ve mentioned. The back of a picture frame on the desk establishes the ship as a member of Columbus’ fleet. A piece of parchment shows you a decree by the Queen. This decree says the leader of the voyage should be decided by a coin toss. The last piece of paper is a decree, seems to be written in blood, that states that 4th ship should be erased from history. That no one is to ever speak of the captain or the crew ever again. I’m guessing this has pissed them off. I’m curious to see what the actual house will tell us.
5. Saws N’ Steam: Into the Machine- I toiled over this one. The next houses in this series are very hard to rank. Mostly because they all look awesome. This is the first year I have had this big of a tie for number one!! Usually it’s only between 2, but this year…just wow. Back to the maze, this is the first time HHN has ever taken a past Scarezone and turned it into a house. Last year Saws N’ Steam got my number 1 for Scarezones. The only reason it is further down on the list is because of the sheer number of great looking houses. I have extremely high hopes for this one. The only check I see so far, is the location. The house is located in the Jaws que. Not that every house that comes out of this area is bad…I’ve just not had a favorite yet. The area is limited with what you can do. I’m just hoping the area doesn’t clash with the Steam Punk atmosphere.
From what I can tell from the info available, it seems this houses back story involves a fake cult. The people who were featured in Saws N’ Steam the zone need people to take water from. I’m guessing that they have created a cult or some sort of community that promises a better life if you give everything to them. So as you might have guessed, once you get in…your not leaving. At least not with all of your bodily fluids. Last I checked, water in your body was a good thing.
4. Nevermore: The Madness of Poe- This spot nearly went to Saw N’ Steam: Into the Machine. However the little goth kid in me would have slashed my insides until I bled out! I love Edgar Alan Poe and am thrilled to see a house built around him and his books. I especially love the tie in to Lady Luck, and can’t wait to know more. I’ll get to that in a minute, for now allow me to get giddie. Some of you may ask yourselves in a Canadian accent, “Why didn’t he put this at number one if like’s it so much, eh?’ Well, from here on out, these houses are all tied for number one!!!They are just all so damn good! The only thing I find disappointing about this house is it is in a Sprung Tent. I would have loved to see this house get the Soundstage treatment.
Now…about the house. The Madness of Poe is supposed to be a trip into one of the darkest literary minds known to man! From the website you can see there was a choice that Lady Luck had influence over. He was on the wrong end of that choice, thus giving a reason to his mysterious death (I love you Universal Creative!!). Not much is clickable on the hints for this house. There is a news article establishing the winner of the game of chance gone wrong. There is also a nifty poem written by Poe about Lady Luck. I’m assuming there will be more of a story told within the house. I might also add that a preview video spread around online revealed a few books used as scenes in the house. I was able to pick out: “Tale Tell Heart,” “The Raven,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “Fall of the House of Usher,” “Pit Pendulum,” and “Masque of the Red Death.” I can only hope there will be more! Moving on…
3. Nightingales: Blood Prey- I love that Universal has elected to add so many real-world elements into some of these houses. This is the third I have mentioned so far that is actually based in history. Might I also add how cool it is they chose WWI instead of WWII. I always love what they do with soundstage houses. Even if they aren’t great, they look fantastic. The house setting win’s me over as well. Trench warfare is terrifying to think about in general. So many hiding places…I’m giddy with delight!
The story behind this follows a victim of Lady Luck that decided to go overseas instead of helping his family business back home, (See kid’s…Family First…they keep you from being mauled to death by fanged blood-sucking freaks!!) Following the hints given, you can tell the soldier in question has become injured. His crossing of paths with Nightingales comes from his stay in the military hospital. You see by night the nurses have a deadly secret…they aren’t nurses at all (I wonder if his HMO knows this?!) You see the Nightingales stalk their prey when they are injured until they are at their weakest. Unfortunately for our soldier, I think he is at that point…and what do you know….He’s just in time for supper. Fortunatly…so are we…or unfortunatly depending on how adventurous you are!
2. Winter’s Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery– Seras and Myself have very high expectations for this house. It has an interesting back story, it’s in an old style graveyard, it’s winter time, AND it’s in a soundstage. A few F/X have been released. Of course there is a cold effect. To top that off there is supposed to be real snow! I’m curious as to whether they are going to handle the scareactors as zombies or ghosts. I’m hoping both!! I want the type of ghost F/X they used in Wyndott Estate from last year.
Lady Luck sinks her teeth into a victim here with a choice. That choice was as simple as where a newly wed couple wanted to pick the land for their new home. Apparently, Mr. Hawthorn chose wrong, because his wife died of mysterious circumstance. After her death, he turned the land into a cemetery. Now there is a legend saying that the dead come back to life once every hundred years…and what do you know…Happy Anniversary!
1. The Thing- One of my favorite houses from 2007 is back with a vengence…sort of. This one is based off of the new prequal coming out soon and this time it get’s the soundstage treatment. So what happens when one of Malice’s all time favorite movies get’s the treatment it deserves? It makes me bounce of the walls with excitement! They also manage to tie it in pretty well to the Lady Luck theme.
Apparently one of the characters from the movie (or so I am guessing) is flying a Helicopter and needs some gas. She has the choice, either land in a village close by and take longer to get back in the air or land at a research facility and barely make it. You guessed it…that research base is the one with the copycat alien running amok. Judging off of the last Thing house, Uni knows what they are doing. Taking what they already know they should be able to kick it up another notch. Keep in mind this house is tied with three others, so you never know it may end up lower down. Time will tell.
Okay, when ranking these, I’m not going to go to far into the description. More I’ll give you a short summary as to what I’m looking forward to from what I have seen online.
6. Canyon of Dark Souls- I put this one last only because there wasn’t anything that really blew me away in the videos I have seen. Then again, camera angles are everything. In person it could be completely different.
5. 7- I would like to put 7 higher, but the main draw is going to be the outfit changes. There are three outfit changes through the night. Seeing all of them together may paint a better picture and make me love this one more.
4. Nightmaze- As much as I would love to put this higher, you really can’t see much here. Yes, I’m aware that’s the point…but still. I didn’t see any scareactors in the area, but then again you really just couldn’t see much! It could be really good in person.
3. Grown Evil- Every picture I’ve seen from this zone intrigues me. The characters look very cool and the scenery looks even better. I must add, I also gave it kudos because they use a main theme from Silent Hill in the area! It’s just one of those themes that add an extra air of eerieness.
2. Your Luck Has Run Out- I have to put the Icon Scarezone high up. I love this years Icon and her back story. I love the 20’s speak easy feel and am expecting a lot out of this zone. Maybe I’m setting myself up for disappointment? I don’t know…
1. Acid Assault- From everything I have seen, this Scarezone looks like hands down the best. The effects in the zone look top-notch. My only concern is lack of scareactors. It’s still to early to tell though. That zone is really open, and the opening nights rained out. Taking that into account, the scareactors may have not been so active. Still, the acid damaged building falling apart look great.
That’s pretty much all I can say at this time. The website looks really nice in all of its entirety. This year looks like it’s going to be legendary. It just seems like the 19th isn’t coming soon enough…THAT REMINDS ME!!!!
ATTENTION ALL FREAKY DARLINGS!!!
Enyclopedia Psychotika will be at Halloween Horror Nights October, 19th 2011! We will be there all day. I’m currently planning a few things to tell you all where we will be and when. If you are going to be in the area, come out and say hi! Anybody I see that day will have their picture taken and used on the review for the event! DETAILS COMING SOON!!!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
Hello 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,