My Cheeky Monkeys I have some very exciting news for you all!!! Hot off the presses!!! Boys bring in the pic!!
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?! AND I CANT MAKE IT!!!!! AGHHHHHH!!!!! Damn ministry of Magic is crafty and casted Anti-Vaporative spells over the parks….must of caught wind…hmmm…Anyway! This is happening and some of the details rolling out are awesome. So far one I’ve seen shows magic shop windows. Yes…now you will be able to use the wands you buy in the park. By finding little medallions around Diagon Ally…you will be able to try out a little magic and see how the other half of your kind does it. I’m just soooooo excited. The only thing better is visiting the Universe those stories take place in.
In other news…not so hot off the presses…some HHN 24 news hit last week. This one is bitter sweet…The Walking Dead will be heading back to HHN for the third year in a row. I’m not happy about this mostly because it appears the deal to get TWD involves AMC’s logo feces spread all over everything. The good part however is this years Walking Dead maze is supposed to be the biggest one in Halloween Horror Nights history. That could be interesting if done right…..Octobers still a long way off my Monkeys…
Until Next Time, My Cheeky Monkeys,
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,
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!