You know in retrospect I feel I sit on my content a little to long. I apologize for this. The last little bit has been nuts. Trying to find ones place in the world and juggle to many things at once can really kill you if you let it. Fortunate for me, I have people around me constantly that act as muses. Top that off with my special girls that have this really cool ability to center me and make me see what is more important in life. So you may be saying “OK GET WITH IT YOU SLACKER PIECE OF CRAP!!!”…I’m getting to that SO LAY OFF ME WILL YA’!?…
Most of you that were in Florida last month…more acuratly Orlando…Know what was going on. The annual MegaCon convention took the Orange County Convention Center by storm, and turned I-Drive upside down. I’m not usually one to go to MegaCon…not that I haven’t wanted too, I just never end up going. This year was a little different though…This year they had my idol there Stan “The Man” Lee of Marvel Comics Legend. So I just had to do it. There were also a few things I was wanting to cover on Universal Orlando, so it gave me the perfect excuse to pack up the Psychotik clan on a ROAD TRIP!!! Even when things were looking grim, a good friend (Todd) stuck his neck out to help make it happen. I saw a lot of really cool things. Some good, some funny, and some really irritating! But it’s all here, in this review on my March off and on in Orlando…
MegaCon, Mardi Gras, Harry Potter…Oh My!!!
The best way for me to do this, is to break it down into sections. So let’s start at the beginning…
Section 1: Once Upon a Time…At Mardi Gras Universal
This year I had the distinct pleasure of enjoying Universal Mardi Gras twice in one month. This year like my last visit was pretty top-notch. The food as always was good. Now I didn’t try any of the “Authentic Cajun Cusine” for what ever reason I just wasn’t into it. They did however have these really cool twisted potatoes on a stick. I got one dipped in Garlic butter, and it felt like a sin eating it! Speaking of a sin, the drink for this year was Voodoo Juice. You know I really can’t describe it to you other than saying it was a Rum Runner with extra fruit and booze chased with a Full Throttle stinger…Basicly, I could see myself going crazy overboard with the stuff while not being supervised. As sure as I am that most would love to see a rather blitzed, super-charged Malice…Mardi Gras Universal Orlando is not the time or the place.
The band line-up this year wasn’t too terrible. It just seemed we never got to see the one’s we wanted. We were there the night Lynard Skynard played, but we didn’t stay. I only like two songs and one of those they open with the other they end with. I’m not staying for the in-between, I just don’t care enough. The next day we had went that month Blake Shelton was there, and to that I say: HELL NO!! I wouldn’t have minded seeing the B-52’s, OneRepublic, or 30 Seconds to Mars. Things being what they were, the timing was all off. Oh well, I guess there is always next year! It would be really neat if they could get Pat Benetar again. Culture Club is touring next year, so you never know…maybe we will see them…(Leave me alone Culture Club is awesome to chill out to!!)
Lastly while I’m on the subject of Mardi Gras, I will mention the parade. As always it was a sight to see. The Psychotik family has lots of fun, and caught lot’s of beads (The little Psychotik, poor dear, caught some with her face…) This year seemed to not really be a theme but more like the best of the last few years. I had only really went to 2008 before this one, and then they had all of the different Mythological lands. This year had a few of them, but also had some other very interesting ones as well. I have seen pictures of the other ones, so like I said I think it was just a best of kind of thing. I have a video for the parade I will post below. It was from the beginning of the month. I was going to try for a better one the second time around, but it seems I’m always filming the damn thing or taking pictures. I never get to enjoy it, so the second time i said to hell with it and caught me some beads!!!
* Editor Note: Unfortunatly due to a lot of problems I am unable to embed the video of the parade here….HOWEVER…I offer you the link to it on the Encyclopedia Psychotika Facebook page… Enjoy!
Section 2: I Spit on Your Con….MegaCon 2011
In the anime/manga Full Metal Alchemist, they talk about the laws of equivalent exchange. To gain something you must first give something in return. I find this holds true to good times. For every truly awesome time you have, you must first hand over a BIG disappointment. That disappointment was…survay says…MegaCon 2011. If you know anything of the guests that were supposed to appear at MegaCon 2011, you might ask yourself how it was such an utter fail? Well my darlings, let me just say you weren’t there.
The big draw for me this year was going to be meeting my idol in the flesh, Stan “The Man” Lee. It was going to be the peak of greatness for me, the God Father of Marvel comics was going to be in Orlando!! Needless to say, me being there had to freaking happen. So I’m all psyched up! I got the little one (I couldn’t miss letting her meet him too!) We get to the show sign in. There were some awesome costumes I must say. Add that to the giant pirate ship in the middle, and the S.H.E.I.L.D team promoting the hell out of the new Thor movie, it was looking pretty cool. The guest list was top-notch. You had names like Stan Lee (God-Father of Marvel Comics), William Shatner (Capt. Freakin’ Kirk), Lou Ferrigno (The Original Hulk), Doug Jones (Abe Sapien, Silver Surfer, Epic Creature actor), Vic Mignogna (Epic Voice actor for over 100 different Animes), James Marsters (Spike from Buffy and we will just forget about that live action Dragon Ball Z movie nonsense) , Colleen Clickenbeard (Very talented voice actress), Kevin Sorbo (Fucking HERCULES!) , Arthur Suydam (Cover artist for Marvel Zombies)…these are all just to name a few of the massive guest list this con promised to have. But what could possibly wreck this good time? The same thing that can wreck most shows with a guest list this massive…NO FUCKING ORGANIZATION!!!
Honestly it was awful! The lines for some of these guests were an amorphous blob. They had virtually all of these high draw guests in a small area. When I say small, I really mean small! We are talking no bigger than a Hot Topic! Will Shattners ques went right through the center of it all, making things even more chaotic. As they day went on it just got worst. I had to walk out of Vic’s line because it wrapped the room 3 times and was at a stand still because no one would come organize it. Poor guy, I felt bad for him. Wasn’t his fault. And just to give you an idea who Vic is to anime fans, he is like a Shattner or a Lee. The con should have planned for his line. The biggest upset though, I’m going to have to devote a whole other paragraph to…
The big question when I got there was…Where the hell is Stan Lee!? This was a question that stuck with me for nearly three hours. No staff could answer me, hell they couldn’t even find a con guide so I could find it myself. No, I found the con guide (In a food section I might add!) From there it still took me a good 20 minuets to find him off in a separate room away from all the madness. By the time I had got there they had already line capped it. The bald gent that was there did tell me however I could wait in a little line in the back for about 30 minutes and they would tell me whether or not they would let more people in.I waited for 45, and 15 minuets later I saw the people I was in line with walking the walk of shame. You know it might have been a good thing to post on the website that there would be a limited amount of signatures. The did have were to could pre-buy them, but the way they advertised them was like you would be able to no matter what and weren’t limited by the con closing or such. Not that “Hey, you better buy these, because we cap that shit at 11:30 AM…” Needless to say that was a bust…
Moving on to other aspects of the show, they didn’t shine for me either. Most of the vendors were just hocking crap. I didn’t really find anything of interest and when I did it was something with a price jacked way up that I just didn’t need. There was a very cool vendor in the back that had all kinds of picture ops for Star Wars fans. They even built life-sized remote control R2 units. The people there were all very cool (save for a stuck up group of Trekkies, but that was expected!) The costumes I saw were very cool. I’m always fond of cosplayers. Really the best parts of the show were spending time with my little girl who was a champ, and one of my best friends and college Seth (Video Below). It will be rather sketchy as to whether or not Malice Psychotik will go back to this show. I will have to have nothing else going on, and just be going to screw around mostly. In a small defense for the show, I was there on Friday. But to pigeon-hole that defense I was not the only one complaining this was the worst year for organization anyone had ever seen. Moving on…
The Biggest Man at the show:
Section 3: Repairs, Rebuilds, and a Regal Review
Let’s end this little review on a rather high note shall we! Back to Universal Studios Orlando, my home away from home. There was a lot of stuff going on from February to April other than Mardi Gras. Yes, lots of rehabs and rebuilds and let’s not forget that Wizarding World of Harry Potter still drawing record-breaking crowds. I hadn’t really got to go until my little March trips, so I’ll take the time to review it here. Really sorry that most of this info is late. It doesn’t make sense to do the research and not post the article until 2 months later. At least it will be out in time for any summer crowds that may be making USO it’s vacation spot.
First, let’s talk about the Incredible Hulk Coaster’s rehab. For the first time since I think the park was built, the coaster finally got a fresh coat of paint. Even if you are not a regular visitor to the park, it was getting a little hard to deny the ride needed a fresh coat of paint. Especially when you get to the back part of the ride. The track looked very rusty and didn’t encourage much faith that it was kept in repair. Really it surprised me that they let it go this long. Below there is a slide show showing off some spectacular views. I even have a shot of what was the last pieces not painted yet. I’m sure by now the whole thing is done and looking great. It still runs fantastic! Not that a paint job has anything to do with that. Rumor has it that it may go under a little more of update soon, but that is for a future article.
My next ride of interest was Dudley-Doo Rights Ripsaw Falls. The ride under went a massive overhaul because of a fire that damaged a good portion of the ride. It was actually pretty fun going on this one, as I hadn’t really gone on it since the park opened. I can tell you based on that, they did a fantastic job restoring it. It was like nothing had changed in 12 years. The restraint system was a little funky, but ultimately improved on the experience a little (for those of you that avoid log flumes because you hate the “Free Fall” experience). The ride is real laugh riot and trip down memory lane for old school Rocky and Bullwinkle fans. You really have to love that the ride throws in not just one, but multiple false drops. I highly recommend that if you have never checked it out, you really should. Especially with the hot, HOT summer ahead. A good drenching goes a long way in the Florida heat.
Last point of interest I will touch on in…you guessed it…The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. To start out with, all I can really say is there are no words to accurately describe the experience. If you are a fan of the books you’ll love it. If you are a fan of the movie’s, you’ll love it. Hell, if you know nothing about it, it will make you want to learn more…AND you’ll love it!! The shops are overwhelming with all of the props and tiny details that make the whole experiance..pardon the pun…but magical! I was in that part of the park 5 times and still never got to see all it had to offer. Everytime I went through I found a new detail I missed. I know in the future I will have to devote one whole day to doing a comprehensive review. For now though, I offer you this run down:
1. Shops: The shops are an attraction all on their own. From candy to wands you will find all the things you have dreamed of having from the Potter universe. The candy shop was my favorite. Be sure to pay attention to the price tags though. I pretty confident that you could go broke easy in Honeydukes Sweet Shop. I did not get a chance to do Olivander’s because of the massive lines for this attraction. I will say on a down side that you will have to prepare to wait in line to get into many of the shops. Try to hit this part as early as possible.
2. Dinning: I was really disappointed I didn’t get to enjoy a meal at The Three Broomsticks. I will tell you from the reactions that I heard, that there weren’t any displeased customers. Everyone praised the food and loved the atmosphere. I did get to try the infamous Butter Beer. This comes highly recommended and get’s the Encyclopedia Psychotika seal of approval. Make sure to try both frozen and regular to see which you like. I prefered it more as a drink than a slushy.
3. Attractions: Here is where it get’s really fun. there are three rides in the WW. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge, and the Flight of the Hippogriff. The Dragon Challenge is of course the old Dueling Dragons. They did a very cool job re-theming the castle to become the ground of the TriWizard Tournement. The only thing I was confused with was I thought they were re-themng the tracks and the cars. So far, it still appears to be the Fire and Ice even thought they call it the Chinese Fire Ball and the Hungarian Horntail. Maybe that will come later. At any rate it is still as awesome as ever. Flight of the Hippogriff is actually much more fun with it’s new theme. It’s very cool seeing an animatronics Buckbeard bow to you before you take off. Nice touch, and it get’s the little Psychotik’s approval! Last but not least is the amazing Forbidden Journey ride. It goes without saying that walking into Hogwarts pumps you way up for the ride. You might even say the que is an attraction all on its own (I know they do offer you being able to walk through and then just exit the building without riding. My only problem (besides the oversized arachnids!) is the restraints. They really are not that accommodating to the larger masses. I do hope they plan on fixing this. If somebody of my size has trouble riding, your harnesses are WAY to small. It just doesn’t make sense that I can ride The Hulk or even Dragon Challenge no problem, yet this indoor dark ride throws everyone issues. Come on Uni, get it together for your plus size fan boys and girls!
4. Atmosphere: The over all feel of the island is breathtaking. Whether it is being greeted by the Hogwart’s express or standing under the massive Hogwarts castle, you are just stripped of your descriptive vocabulary. Pay attention the shop windows for little extras here and there. Better yet pay attention while you are in the store’s because they are just as rigged up! The street performers and the actors are very good and very dedicated to bringing you the best experience possible. defiantly a must see if you are in Orlando anytime soon.
*Editor Note: I’m not sure if it was done all to recently, but I did notice that the Monster Cafe on the Universal Studio’s side was looking mighty fancy. I do know there was talk of it going under much needed rehab, but I can’t remember when…at anyrate I have some pictures included in the slideshow for it…Enjoy!
Really this was my whole March! I have even more that I will touch on in a week or so. Rumors of new attractions, upgrades, replacements, and hopefully a Halloween Horror Night rumor or two by then. Unfortunately the site I get most of my rumors from is down right now. I’ll leave you all with this small assessment for the month of March: Universal Rocks my world and MegaCon smells like Turd!!!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
For the last Twenty Years, Universal Halloween Horror Nights has terrorized people from all around the world. The event has grown so far from Fright Nights twenty years ago. Even though last year was a low point, this year truly proved why people love HHN. The houses were top notch. The scarezones where the best I have seen yet. Unfortunately this year the shows took a back seat, but we will explore that later. This year I was joined by the lovely Seras Psychotik, and the ever interesting Arnie Freeze! I have so much to touch on, so let’s take the plunge. I had so much fun at the event this year! So it is with great pleasure I bring to you, an Encyclopedia Psychotika Review…
A New Age of Darkness Begins…Halloween Horror Nights XX: Twenty Years of Fear
This years event revolved around the coming of the entity behind the last twenty years of Halloween Horror Nights, FEAR! Fear has ultimately been the one pulling the strings. With all of the icons being meerly his puppets, you really had to wonder what he was going to be like. For weeks they teased with small flashed of him, and pictures of a rather gnarly looking mouth. When he was finally revealed, I have to say it ramped me up for the event ten fold!! Most were ready to write this off as a carbon copy of Sweet 16, but they were proved very wrong. This year wasn’t about the past so much as it was about A New Age of Darkness. If this year is any indication to the direction of the event, I think we will all be very pleased to see what happens.
First I would like to talk about the media for the event this year. That advertisement campaign this year has me with mixed feelings. I have really enjoyed the commercials, and some of the other videos that they have released. However, I was really disappointed with the website this year. They have only really added one point of interactive content. No back stories, no tie in’s. On the other hand though, they have had some other really cool content in exclusive pictures, interviews, video, etc… so I can’t really say that I don’t like it. I guess I would just like to see more story development than what was given. I’ll let you decide though. Below I have collected some rather interesting videos. The first three are the teasers for Fear. Following those is the media teaser video and the commercial. Enjoy:
Starting into the event, I was pretty jazzed up! I didn’t get to go last year, and this time away from HHN was far to long. I was really intrigued, and couldn’t wait to get in the doors. The archway wasn’t as dressed as it could have been. At night it looked better, but let’s face it the majority isn’t going to see it at night. I want it to look good going in the day when I’m going in, and leave me a strange feeling of foreboding (like I’m going to die!) But, I’m not going to hinge the entire event based on whats outside. They did have the video screen in the arch this year. I have it for you below in its original format as it appeared on the website:
Once we got through that arch, (Took a while being heckled by security. I swear I’ll have my annual passes next year!) we were met by the all to familiar clouds of fog and the Chainsaw Drill Team. In the past I generally over look these guys. Never made sense having a “Drill Team” that wasn’t army fatigued. I got my wish this year. They were marched in front ans center and directed to unleash hell right in front of the Universal Store. It was so fun seeing people scatter! I forgot how good it felt seeing the look of terror on other people’s faces once they see a group of twelve chainsaw-weilding-maniacs disperse in a crowd. This was a good beginning to an epic night.
I’m going to get a little less linear now while jumping into the houses and zones. Instead of discussing them in order of experience, I want to give them in order of bottom to best. Now, keep in mind, just because a house or zone is ranked last, doesn’t mean it was bad! Every house and zone this year has a very well designed, and nicely thought out! That being said let’s start with the Scarezones:
6) Esqueleto Muerte- I think my expectations were just to high for this one! All the things I had read leading to our trip told of how much of a cool party type zone this was. Then when I got to it, yeah the glowing effect was cool, and the costumes were great but it wasn’t party at all. Maybe they tried making it scarier and went the wrong direction. I will give the Scareactors credit, I did se them handing out a few jumps and screams. They looked very creepy, but in a cool sort of way. The overall design was amazing with the theme being a black-light Day of the Dead motif (sort of making it a Night of the Dead?) At any rate it was very cool to look at, and with the scares being abundant, it wasn’t the worst ever, I just think it could have been better. ((The design team get’s an extra nod for originality))
5) The Coven– I actually liked this zone more than I thought I would. Most zones in the Shreck Ally have been known to fall short for me (with the Exception of Blood Masquerade in 06′). The main theming was that of a small witch coven. The area was rather simplistic. You had a nice mixture of old-lady-hag witches and eye-candy witches. Each end had a pilgrim tied up and burning at the stake. I really liked this effect. While were passing through you had one that was playing the suffering victim straight forward. Then at the opposite end closer to the Wyndot Estate, you had a rather comedic pilgrim. I wish i could upload our footage, he was a laugh riot. The main scares were from the two little huts they had in the zone. Taking a page from the old Mole people scare back in 05′, you had these little huts. How they catch you is they had a sheet over the front of the hut, making you think it was more a mound than anything. Then at random timing, and old-hag witch would come screaming out of one of those things like a bat out of hell!! I unfortunately was right in front of one when this happened, and had to jump out-of-the-way! The effect got me and like 5 people around me so Ku-Do to them. The whole zone was finished off decoratively wise with a glowey obelisk in the middle of it. (It was glowing green when we walked up on it, Seras thought we were on Krypton!)
4) HHN: 20 Years of Fear- This zone kicked off the night just right! This zone was the perfect dream for any HHN enthusiast. The coolest thing is walking through and trying to pick out where you know certain props from. The Scareactors in the zone were pretty awesome. You had your all-stars from 16 and a few others from other years. They all utilized the area very well. The Chucky darted out between the props for some good scares. The best ones in the area though are the ones next to the HHN15 banners toward Fear Revealed. Neither one will you really see until it’s too late, they blend in that well! I would also like to note the freak out I got in the area. As you walk into the zone there is what looks like a Crypt Keeper mannequin in a chair. Well I thought it was a mannequin until it started walking next to me. I really wish I could have caught him scaring somebody, because he was so convincing he could have un-nerved the manliest of men!!
3) Zombie Gras- When I first read about this zone, I got giddy! I have a short story I have been working on that is pretty close to the sights seen in this area. If you ever been to Mardi Gras and thought, “You know…this event is pretty cool! But you know what? If we only had some zombies…” The Scareactors were very energetic and were in abundance. The main piece in the zone, is a Mardi Gras float with a sole survivor tossing out beads. Beware! While you may think he is tossing you a free prize, realize not all free things come without consequence. Here’s a hint: Zombies like shiny beads! This gave me some pretty good laughs throughout the night. You have no idea how fun it was seeing hapless saps get lulled into a false sense of security by the promise of Mardi Gras beads. Just to run to get them and find themselves face to face with a flesh-eating monster! Definitely the best Zombie zone they have done to date.
2) Saws N’ Steam- I really thought creative dropped the ball by putting this into Sting Ally. I mea, how on earth could you ever hope to have a good scarezone in such a small area. Let be the first to say I was proved wrong! This was the best as far as scares go. From the menacing leader of people of New Yorkshire to the people getting chopped in the ally ways…it just never stopped. Going through the zone really was like going through a gauntlet. Let me also tell you that if you dwell in the area to long, you will get wet! The chainsaw people in the area are pretty aggressive too. Expect more out of them than The Chainsaw Drill Team! It’s almost like going through a short house is the best way to describe it.
1) Fear Revealed- Why did this area get my number one? It was freakin’ awesome that’s why!! I literally spent all together 45 minuets in this area through out the event and could have spent more. The Icons never break character, not even for a second! (Trust me I tried!!) The little picture areas were a nice touch as well. I wish i could have gotten some more pictures of those. You could even walk over and sit down in them for photo-ops. Was it scary? No! Was it so cool that it made me totally geek out and act like a kid in a candy store? Yes Yes Yes YES!!! Fear was also very photogenic. I have to give the guy credit, it is impossible for him to not have an epic picture. I sort of wish there would have been an arrival show, but this area more than made up for the lack of one. If you know anything about the last 10 years of HHN, you will really enjoy this zone. Bring your camera’s. You won’t regret it.
As awesome as the scarezones were this year, (The best yet in my opinion!) they were still just the icing on the cake for the houses! The houses this year were fantastic. Not much wrong with most of them. A real good bounce back from last year (or so I have heard). Let’s dig in…
8) HAVOC: Dogs of War- This was my least favorite of the night for several reasons. First off the story was terrible. If you hadn’t looked in the map description you would really have no clue as to what this house was about. There was experimentation, that much is true apparent! Other than that just a series of roided out, bald freaks screaming at you. I’m afraid of UFC fighters like the next guy, but not something I want in my houses. Next big problem is the amount of hanging wires! It was like being walked though a room of naughty tentacles in about every room leading out of the houses. It was like being in a Japanese porn! I half expected them to spring to life and start having their way with some (It would have been an improvement, and at the very least more entertaining!) The hanging wires are really what ruined it for me. Just as you get into a few good scenes in the house, that’s when they hit you. The worst part is they start getting more frequent as you head for the exit!! Universal typically always has a stinker, this one was doomed to be it! I will say that the facade going in was really cool, and the overall theming of the house was that of a mad science lab gone terribly wrong. The gun turret on top of the house was a nice touch. I couldn’t imagine having to stand there for hours on end to make it in. That thing really does start to grate your nerves. As you get closer though, you realize what a great effect it really is. Point made if you don’t think you can make this house, don’t worry you aren’t missing much. It certainly won’t be your…..White Buffalo….(the one that got away)….
7) The Orfanage: Ashes to Ashes- Our first house of the night came in the form of this one. It was very cool getting to see Cindy get some proper treatment in the form of her own house. I will tell you that there are only a few scenes that will really knock your socks of, but the presence of this house is what gets you. The realistically give you the feeling of trying to escape a burning building all the while being haunted by the ever sadistic Cindy Cain! The story you get the feel for is that some how The Caretakers daughter didn’t die all those years ago. More she was sent to an Orphanage, and things didn’t go well. There is a very cool scene toward the beginning where you see little Cindy writing “Do on to others…” on a chalk board. As you pass there is a black light effect that makes words look like they are bleeding. The other scenes involve other children trapped in beds, or in cages while they slowly roast. It is also noteworthy that in these scenes if you’re not careful you will get a surprise from our little demented orphan! The final scene you walk through gives you a pretty “heated” experience, as you are exposed to some real flame to give you one last jump! The house is definitely a good starter if you want to heat things up…you know light your fire….help you feel the burn…OK I’ll stop!
6) PsychoScareapy: Echoes of Shadybrook- If you have been to HHN any number of years from 13 on up, you might have happened across a PsychoScareapy. The Shadybrook has made itself pretty infamous in its previous three incarnations. If you have been to the others I will tell you it has pieces from the other three. It’s not as intense as the original, or as treacherous as Maximun Madness, and it’s definitely not as fun-loving as Home for the Holidays. However, this one does carve out a pretty interesting legacy on its own. The facade you are met with is of course the iconic Shadybrook Asylum all boarded up and falling apart. As you go through the corridors some rather familiar faces are there to greet you again, only this time they are more twisted, and seem to be more blood thirsty! If you listen carefully through some sections you can hear the oh to familiar calming music playing distorted over the disintegrating PA. Some good scenes include some electro-shock therapy, and a caged corridor with many rows of hands…but which ones are real? It made for a very interesting experience, the only thing I could have asked for was more! It would have been nice to have more, maybe a revisit to the good ol’ poo room! I could have maybe asked for a Jack the Clown reference somewhere, but i sort of get why they didn’t…
5) Legendary Truth: The Wyandot Estate- So have you ever wondered what it would be like to go on a paranormal investigation where your provoking has gone a bit too far? Then this is the house for you! The premise of this house is a new invention for drawing out paranormal activity has been put into action…and you get to try it out! This particular house was home to some rather cool effects. Very ahead of itself this house was! The ghoulish glowy faced ghosts were a nice touch. especially when you realize the face is doing a sort of black light glow…and there are no black lights!! A few things to mention is a floating spectre on a wall (I really just couldn’t figure this effect out!), a hologram of the Storyteller that is über realistic, and living furniture! Man, that living furniture will get you eveytime! The distraction to that room is what get’s you. The room with it in there seems pretty normal except a ghost sitting in the corner. Well while you are busy watching him, a freakin’ chair scares you!! The house just has a very creepy feeling to it, and paints a pretty good story. I really can only hope they move forward with the tech in this house!
4) Catacombs: Black Death Rising- If there was an under-dog of the night, it was this house! I really wasn’t expecting much. Most people already discounted the house, said it wasn’t much to see. I wasn’t going to listen to that though, as I used to have a fascination with the Black Death. The story telling at the beginning was a great mood setter. I also enjoyed the accuracy of the Doctor outfits. It only added to the awesomeness when Arnie Freeze pointed out that they looked like Spy Vs. Spy. The house actually provided me with a couple of scares. The best one out of all of them was a three-way scare in the middle of the house. As you walk through a hallway, there is a archaeologist hung upside down twitching back and forth. As you look up one of the doctors takes the opportunity to catch you as your gaze comes down. Seconds after this a Black Death zombie rushes out of a grave hole, and then to end it all another Doctor comes out at you. This house also get’s awesome points because of the Doctor that tipped his hat to me on the way out (I was wearing my Top Hat).
3) Hades: Gates of Ruin- I will always love all things that have to do with Greek Mythology. That being said, I’m also very particular to the point where things have to be perfect. This was a the perfect Mythology house! You couldn’t take a step without their being a scareactor there to catch you. It was very nice how all of the scareactors were very camouflaged. Very nice effects!! One of the best characters was Medusa. That slippery-slithery Gorgon made even the steeleist of manly men crumble at the sight of her! She even sets a nice little trap. After the first main room, you pass into a room with a cut out section in the wall. In this section, Medusa’s head hangs and you think. “Ha, Perseus got that bitch!!” Well you find out exactly how wrong you are when a red strobe activates, the floor buzzes, and she jumps out of that hole for one last horrah!! My next favorite character was the Minotaur. The atmosphere that thing could set just staring you down, get’s you wired! I also want to add one of the parts that made the three of us jump unexpectedly. One of the last rooms we passed had holes in all of the walls. I kept thinking to myself, “I’ve seen all of the worst things mythology has to offer, must be a repeat or something…” Well apparently the Lizard from Spider-Man was a greek myth, because he jumped out of one of those holes and gave us a good shock!!! The only thing I think we missed in the house was Hades on his throne. I saw it there, I just didn’t catch him. If it was anything like the picture that house painted, I’m sure it was epic!
2) Zombiegeddon– This house almost got my number one spot. It definitely has a secured spot in my top 5 ever! I really went into this thinking it as going to be purely slap stick. I was pleasantly surprised to find a mixture of straight forward fear and goofy slap stick humor. As you enter you are met with the signs for Z.A.P. (Zombie Awareness Program) These guys don’t just kick zombie ass. They teach YOU to kick zombie ass! From there you enter a room with a specimen zombie tied up at a cash register with an arsenal of weapons on the wall. Here on out you enter a survival simulator. First lesson, No Mercy! What would it be like to walk into a nursery with an infected zombie baby? You find out here! I think from there you have about 2 more scenes of humor, then that’s when you here it (and see it!) Something smashes into the complex and causes a big disruption in this places harmony! The Zombies are let loose and are infecting the other survivors. The house takes a dramatic twist at this point, going from happy-go-lucky to pretty damn intense at moments! The first room to remind you of this is a containment room where all the zombies are pulling at chain link fences, letting you know incase you forgot that there are plenty of specimens! Most rooms you have the typical zombie is trapped behind something but bangs on shit to freak you out. One of the best freak out moments is in the room with the vehicle that started all the trouble. It’s a pretty wide open room with at least 5 undead in it, and the way they cam at us! Just Wow!!! I give this house an A for Awesome story telling. Of all the houses I have ever put under my belt, never has a house told a story, and in such perfect detail. From survival to shit storm in 2 seconds! I love it!
1) Horror Nights: The Hallowed Past- At last we have arrived at the best house of the night! Why was this one the best you might ask? This house took everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING I love about HHN and rolled into one big fat house! My only regret was this house wasn’t longer! You enter the madness by walking into the prop warehouse. From here you are allowed to journey through twenty years of props and banners. You could spend all day in these opening scenes and still not see and appreciate everything! Then seamlessly you enter a trip down memory lane. The house takes some of the best scenes from Horror Nights past and puts them into action. They replicate these rooms flawlessly. There were moments I honestly had to double take and wonder what year it was. It’s amazing how somehow they could manage to call up not just all the memories from the house, but the memories from that year!! Scenes used were Alice is Wonderland (Scary Tales III, HHN18), Dead Exposure (HHN18), S.S. Frightanic (HHN8), Body Collectors: Collections of the Past (HHN18), what appeared to be Silver Screams (HHN19), and definitely Horror Nights Nightmares (HHN14). Now could I have picked some better scenes? Yes, I would have traded Dead Exposure for something from The Thing or at something from Sweet 16. But, the way they evoked those memories was still too cool to discount the whole house. It gave you the terrible feeling of trying to remember all of those houses you have ever been in and then thinking “God, what will they do next!!?” Then you end up exiting through the Prop Warehouse, which comes as a perfect end to the perfect storm. If you are worried about not having experienced the houses the scenes are from, don’t fret. They are still really good scenes, and you get a small taste of what you missed. And if that is what you missed, think about whats next in this New Age of Darkness…..
So, with the meat and the potatoes discussed, let’s get to the slim pickings…the shows. The last 3 years the shows have sort of taken a back seat. The only two shows they have this year are Bill and Ted and Brian Brushwood. I won’t be able to review Brian Brushwood for you, but I can tell you I saw his act back in 07′ and it wasn’t impressive. From what I understood from other guests walking around the park that night, he hasn’t gotten any better. If you have to choose between a house or even Bill and Ted over Menace or Malice…don’t choose him! (By the way how dare he use Malice! There is only one Malice worth seeing and that is me baby!!) That being said here is my thoughts on Bill and Ted…
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure- First I have to say there wasn’t much to work with this year as far as hit movies go and other pop culture. (There was more than what they used, but I’m guessing that there were some other legalities) But to their credit they did good with what they had. The stage was totally redesigned for the event. Some topics you see parodied include: Iron Man 2, Doctor Who, Twilight: Eclipse, Jersey Shore, Justin Beiber, Lady Gaga, The Last Airbender, Toy Story 3, Katy Perry, Seaseme Street (not what your thinking, funnier), Lost, Sorcerers Apprentice, BP Oil Spill, and even Antione Dodson!!!! I’m sure there are a few more that I’m overlooking, but hey be surprised. There is even an old villain revisited (A villain that this show has beaten to DEATH!!!) Not the worst show, but definitely not the best. It’s worth seeing if you have time…
Where do I stand on HHNXX? It is defiantly one of the best years I have been to! If you haven’t gone this year, you need to. The event was crazy funny, and a nice homecoming for me and my group. I could have went back at least 3 more times and been happy. I hope you have all enjoyed the review, and if you go I hope you find it helpful! That’s all for tonight Darlings….stay tuned for more to come this month…Hint: Mr. Hush Weekend of Fear is right around the corner…
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
So today is the day. I can hardly contain myself! Halloween Horror Nights: Twenty Years of Fear. It’s been far to long, but I’m more than ready. I hope you all enjoyed my retro reviews. The next review is going to be all-inclusive and super detailed, so get ready for it. Right now I would like to make my predictions for houses and scarezones. This way everyone can see the comparison…
1) Gates of Hades
2) Horror Nights: Hollowed Past
3) Psychoscarepy: Echoes of the Past
5) The Orphanage: Ashes to Ashes
6) Catacombs: Black Death Rising
7) Legendary Truth: The Wyndot Estate
8) Havoc: Dogs of War
1) Zombie Gras
2) 20 Years of Fear
3) Saw’s N Steam
4) Esqueleto Muerte
5) The Coven
6) Fear Revealed XX
So that’s my predictions. We will see how on I am! I hope HHN is ready for Malice Psychotik. FEAR asks who will face him….I WILL FACE YOU FEAR!! I AM READY!! BUT IS FEAR READY TO FACE MALICE!!! TOMORROW WILL TELL!! MALICE VS. FEAR…..PLACE YOUR BETS!!!
If there ever was a year that I think Universal could have made a script out of the event story, this would have been the one. Reflections of Fear set a new precedent in the event as far as story telling went. Once they started the website, they would slowly peel back the layers of the Legend that is Bloody Mary. To take something as iconic as the Urban Legend of Bloody Mary and make it their own is just…well legendary!! The creative team also kicked it up another notch by having a fully interactive game go on at the same time of the event, The Legendary Truth. Never had Universal went into such detail over one of their characters! Never had they an icon that had been so omnipresent. Belive me when I say she was EVERYWHERE! So, My Freaky Darlings, hold on to your freak hats! It’s going to be a bumpy ride as i take you back…Back through the Looking Glass….
To fully appreciate this event, you have to know what went into it. The website started giving you diary pages of one Dr. Mary Agana. The good doctor was trying a new experimental way of curing fear. Her thesis was, to make her patient confront their fear head on. To put them in an inescapable situation where they either face their fear or die! I’m sure you can imagine what ultimate ends they met. As the journal pressed, you start to see Dr. Agana’s mind unhinge. She actually starts to enjoy seeing her patients suffer. She enjoys seeing them die, and relish in the fear they experience. The journals feature an audio, so that you can really see this take effect. Depending on how into the website you were, you could read into the side story of a Private Investigator, Boris Shuster. It was all just a fully immersive experience that painted such an interesting picture. Thanks to a website HorrorNights.be I’m able to post a link below to not just the Halloween Horror Nights 18 website, but also the Legendary Truth Website. For The Reflections of Fear site click here. If you want to see the Legendary Truth click here. That year they also did a very cool arrival. unfortunately, they didn’t do this for the public. It was a press night only event. Thanks to YouTube though, your able to see it below.
I’m going to start you off with atmosphere first. The whole event was about you being drawn through the mirror and into her world. Bloody Mary made her presence known everywhere. Universal even replaced the medallion that hangs in the archway with a giant LED mirror. In this mirror, Mary would talk to you. It added so much to the event seeing her up there, spreading her message of terror. I’ve taken the liberty of embing this video for you below:
A big part of this atmosphere was the Scarezones. Here’s what you had to expect:
Asylum in Wonderland- This zone took one of my favorite childhood stories in a direction I rather fancied. I loved this whole area! From the foul-mouthed Caterpillar to the demented White Rabbit, this area was some naughty good fun. They had these huge screens all around as you went though that projected various pictures. If you looked closely you might even see the Cheshire Cat. Most of the actors here were on skates. What did this mean? Only that they could sneak in and out of those screens to scare you that much more quickly. there were also a few mirrors in the zone. I wondered if they were just scene decoration or what they would do. My question was answered when a light flashed in it, and you see Bloody Mary. It was like Disney turned on its head!
The Skoolhouse- A very creepy atmosphere this one had. It took the idea that The Skool had in HHN 15 and made it better. They put so much detail into this area it was insane! They had a bus parked to one side, and even had a little walk through School House you could go into for a quick scare. There really is nothing like a group of scary demented kids plotting your demise. Seras assisted in a scare here too! I was filming the school and dropped my guard. The Teacher walked up behind me and just stood there. Of course Seras says nothing, and when I turn around all I can see in my LCD screen is the face of the teacher. This image has to be every paranormal investigators nightmare. I give him credit, but most of it goes to my loving Seras!There was also a very cool attachment to the area where the tree canopy was filled with glowing Jack-O-Lanturns. A very cool visual indeed! Made even better when they would all go out at once to the audio of Bloody Mary being said three times…
Fractured Tales- Another favorite of the night! This was Mother Goose off her meds! It was cool to see how they would take this and run. I belive they even had Mother Goose walking around (with a goose on her head). The had Little Miss Muffit with a giant spider on her, the Pied Pipper with a rat hanging out of his mouth, Little Red Ridding Hood with the Big Bad Wolf’s head in her basket, and many more. It was a laugh riot to see some of them. I kept calling the ogre a pissed off Shrek. He didn’t like that too much.
Streets of Blood- The idea here was really good. Taking history, and turning in the fashion of The Body Collectors. The area was supposed to make you feel like you have been transported to White Chapel where the Ripper murders took place. The story they paint is that it wasn’t Jack the Ripper that did the murders. Rather it wasn’t one person at all. That it was the Body Collectors harvesting organs. The street was populated by the Collectors and by a different Collector you hadn’t seen before. They looked like something out of an insane asylum, and acted almost like a dog. They even had an added element of hookers walking around, and without a seconds notice one of the Body Collectors would attack them in the street. The way this zone looked was very authentic. Even using street candles to illuminate the area in l00 of conventional lighting.
American Gothic- Surprising enough i didn’t spend much time here. I did like it! The dress was very cool, and the Scareactors did a good job. But to be honest I just wasn’t feeling it. I think the concept was great, they just limited themselves to much. Lizzie Borden was the only one mentioned, and best I could tell all the others were civil war soldiers. So if there were more there, I didn’t catch them. I will say the girl playing Lizzie gave quite the few people a good startle. It just wasn’t my thing.
Path of the Wicked- I’m not going to lie, I was giddy when i first heard this announced. The Wizard of Oz is such a cool movie, and the thought of seeing twisted characters from it (and Flying Monkeys) was too much. My only disappointment in this area, was the artistic freedom they took with the Flying Monkeys. They didn’t look like monkeys, nor did they have wings! The were more like demented flying squirrels. The effect that they had though was cool enough. As you walked through, they did have “Monkeys” Flying over head back and forth on a safety line. The Witch up in her tower chastising the passerby was pretty cool too. I loved what they did with The Scarecrow, The Tin-Man and the Lion. It added a very nice touch.
With the Scarezones being what they were this year, you had to figure they would deliver on the houses, right? well deliver they did! Maybe not as hard as I thought they could on some, but still a pretty good line up none the less. Now all of these houses were based off of a victim of Bloody Mary (See her journals on the web page.) To add an extra easter egg to each house as well, there is a hidden Bloody Mary in each. This was a fun little game to play as you went through the houses. Here’s what they had:
Scary Tales: Once Upon a Nightmare- This was the third in a series of these houses. So with a name like this, everyone had very high expectations. It delivered and then some! This was my favorite house of the night. I even had to do it twice one of the nights. In this house you went through Rapunzel, Goldie Locks, Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz…and that’s just to mention a few! My personal favorite scenes was the Mad Tea Party, (Alice, Mad Hatter, and Door Mouse all dance an rejoice over a disemboweled March Hair…intestine strung across the room) The Scarecrows corn field, (With Dorthy mutilated hanging from his post, and a Tin-Man that would squirt you with his Oil Can) and Goldie Locks and the Three Bears (Where you come face to face with a pissed off Papa Bear!) The Secret Mary sighting in this house was good one too. When you are walking through the Alice in Wonderland section, you walk through a hallway filled with mirrors. The only thing that pops out of the mirrors is the Red Queen screaming “Off with your head!”…all except one. When you least expect it, Mary jumps out of this one for the win!
The Hallow- here you take a journey into the heart of what Halloween is all about. Samhain runs free as he shows you the true traditions that forged this holiday. Now to some this could have been confusing. You have to know a lot of the lore to get some of the references. But they manged to still making it interesting enough, to where even if you didn’t know, you weren’t left out. One scare in the maze that got me was a room filled with little statue holding out a Trick R Treat bag. I’m just going through expecting them all to be statues (they are really tiny.) When one of the statues lunges at me. Little person Scareactor For the Win!! I also took the liberty to make goat noises at Samhain. Like most of the Scareactors I mocked that night, he didn’t like it. The Mary Sighting in here was possibly the coolest. They had a see through screen hung in front of you. What this allowed them to do, was project a ghostly image onto it of her walking into frame, smiling, then disappearing. It was very cool!
Dead Exposure- When I heard what this house was actually about, I got disappointed. Se rumors where it was going to be spirit photography. What it actually was is a black light filled house where all the zombies could only be seen when the black light flash goes off. I was surprised to find as campy as this one was, it was pretty damn good! There were quite the many moments where you would get surrounded, and because of the flashes you could see them until it was too late. There was one room in particular that got everyone. The whole room was filled with fake black paint zombies. There was still about five real ones though, and you couldn’t tell until it was too late. The story behind this one wasn’t bad either. Charlie McPherson was supposed to be the reporter covering this mass infection. The journey you take is actually supposed to be a journey through his pictures. This all of corse ends when you get to the last scene to see him being eaten. Great concept, I just wish there wasn’t so much empty space at the end.As for the secret Mary, I didn’t catch her in this one. From what I understand it was very hard trying to.
Reflections Of Fear- In a un explainable move, creative put the icon house in the Jaws que. I didn’t think it belonged here, and was dreading it. To my surprise it worked! It worked so well I couldn’t have pictured it elsewhere. This maze took you through Dr. Mary Agana’s clinic. If you followed Legendary Truth, it was supposed to be like a paranormal investigation gone horribly wrong! Mary drags you into her world, where she shows you exactly what happened there. There was a moment that got Seras and me in this house. One of the last rooms you walk into, there is a Dr. Mary Agana’s standing in the corner. as she gets your attention, a Bloody Mary bursts out of the glass next to you. You got to hate the wonders of misdirection. For an icon house it did wonderfully. I just still have to imagine what could have been better had it been in a Soundstage…
Doomsday- I swear to you I was the only person in the world excited for that house! (Well, Seras too!) I had never seen so many people against a house like this. The concept was great. It just brought you back to enough scenes in the movie to go “Hey, i remember that…” But, for the most part it was a stand alone house. I loved the music in the house, and they way they dressed. I even loved the smell of the Bar-B-Qed man in one room (Offered to stay and help cook) The Scareactors here were as light-hearted as Psychoscareapy the year before. I just really enjoyed this house for what it was. They were my kind of people!
Body Collectors: Collections of the Past- I may have missed the first Body Collectors…my White Buffalo (the one that got away), but i wasn’t missing this one. This became my second favorite of the night! The story takes you back to White Chapel London during the time of the Jack the Ripper Murders. You quickly find out there is no Jack, only the Collectors. You get a chance to walk all the way into their lair, and see a hole room littered with past victims. I loved the buildings in this one. You could really see how hard the design team worked to make this a success.
“Creatures!”- This house had the potential to be the most terrifying one of them all, and dropped the ball!! I can not tell you how disappointed I was. It was set up to be sort of like Stephen King’s The Mist, and fell short about a Green Mile! There was nothing really scary about it. The facade was perfect, there was even a few tentacles taking over the bar from outside, but once you got in there was nothing to be afraid of. You were really confused as to whether you should be afraid of the towns folk or the non-existent creatures. The only scare I remember is a hallway where you are under shot-gun fire. They achieve this with sound effect and air mortar, but it just wasn’t enough.
Interstellar Terror- This pulled in as my third favorite of the night, but honestly the best detail wise. They built a freakin’ scale spaceship facade…you don’t get more detailed than that! Welcome aboard the MSO Columbus, where a strange artifact has turned the crew into maniacs!! Personally, I was more concerned with the crew hurting themselves then me. They were a self mutilating bunch. Carving strange symbols into their skin, blowing themselves out of air locks, and one that just couldn’t get enough of shocking himself (really cool effect.) there was an awesome effect in this maze where they made you feel like you were walking across a cat walk that could drop you hundreds of feet! It was also nifty to find out the artifact was made from an old model of the E.T. Spaceship. Mary was easy to spot in this house as she came of one of the warning monitors toward the middle of the chaos. A good pick me up after the disappointment that was “Creatures!”
So the shows this year weren’t fantastic. In fact there was only one good one worth seeing, and that was Bill and Ted. I don’t really feel that I have to break these down as I can sum up the other two rather easy. The Rocky Horror Picture Show- A Tribute was even worst than the year before. While the Brian Brushwood show was the same as the year before. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure I was really worried about. With rumors flying around about a rather inappropriate Heath Ledger joke, and the election being that year it had the recipe for disaster. But, I was proven wrong for doubting the Wyld Stallions. They pulled together a rather entertaining show. They touched on the political race, just enough to say they addressed it. There was no inappropriate HL joke, and really it went business as usual. I will dare say I enjoyed it better than HHN 17. Sorry I can’t post you a video, but unfortunately Universal Orlando has gotten pretty tight-lipped about video taping the show since 2006. I can tell you it had a few really good Miley Cyrus jokes. She get’s turned into Two-Face (big surprise there!) Altogether though, it was pretty well-rounded show.
My feeling on the whole event was one of wow! Never had I seen such a tight-knit story like this one. Like I said it set a rather high bar in that area! They found out exactly how high the next year for Halloween Horror Nights 19: Ripped From the Silver Screen. That year got some of the worst reviews I have seen in the last 5 years of the event. Fortunately for all of you, you won’t have to hear about it more than this. I did not go, so i can’t give you an honest shot on the event. All I can tell you is that judging from the website and the story I did see, it had nothing on Reflections of Fear. This year’s story will always live on in infamy, and we can only hope that they will met that bar this year with Twenty Years of Fear.
With the finishing of this review, we will start living in the present. Halloween Horror Nights XX: Twenty Years of Fear was unleashed last night and just finished hours ago. I’m curious to see what kind of FEAR was kicked up at the event…
Until Next Time, Mt Freaky Darlings,
P.S. Here is a look at the commercial for that year! Watch and Enjoy!
In 2007, Jack was let back out of his box. What he brought with him, was The Carnival of Carnage! He also brought with him the New Line Cinema slashers Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface. It was a first in Halloween Horror Nights history with 8 mazes, 4 shows, and 1 scarezone that encompassed the whole park!! I won’t lie, it had its problems, but I do believe the scenery that came through and the houses they had more than made up for it. Not one house that year was a loser in my book, stealing my number one vote for houses. The parts that they did manage to dress came out wonderfully as well. It was like you really were walking into this massive Carnival. It even had a ferris wheel. The Website was also kicked up another notch, adding games to unlock content about the houses. They kept Horror Night fans glued to the computer every week in hopes a new game would go active. It was nuts, and the anticipation was off the chains and out of the straight jacket. So, without wasting anymore words, kick back, relax, and let me take you back….to Jack’s Carnival of Carnage!
The main story of the event was Jack taking over his old stomping ground, Oddfellow’s Dark Carnival and Emporium. Becoming the new Ringmaster of this Carnival, Jack felt it necessary to bring his own brand of mayhem to the show. He traveled long and far across the globe, gathering up acts along the way. Among these acts were the like of Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface. You soon found out though, that wasn’t all that was up Ringmaster’s sleeve. He was going to give everyone a show they wouldn’t soon forget…
I want to shake it up a little, lets start with the houses. The houses this year were nearly flawless. Even the one I did have problems with, I found later it was more a timing error (and not any where as bad as People Under the Stairs: Under Construction.) This is what the Carnival had in store for you:
Dead Silence: The Curse of Mary Shaw- I was one of a select few that really liked this movie. So when I heard it was being made into a house, I was just excited! This was an amazing trip through the movie. You go from the mortuary all the way to the Theater where Mary Shaw was murdered. The effects in this house were all-consuming. From the moment you walked into the mortuary, you were blasted with the smell of embalming fluid! Giving it that extra feel of realism. As you journey through the scenes, you have to beware of not just Mary Shaw, but her victims. Whether it be them coming out of a picture or springing from a trap door, those mutilated beings were sure to catch you off guard. One of the coolest effects I had seen at the time was in this house. There is one scene where you are walking across the rafters of the theater (really you are only about 2 feet off the ground.) Using mirrors they make you feel like you are 50 feet in the air with Mary Shaw staring up at you, just waiting for you to fall! The one scare that got me in the house was pretty sneaky. Using a play on the walls, you see Mary Shaw ahead of you coming toward you, in a blink of the eye she’s gone! So when you start looking around, BAM!! She’s right next to you! I thought this was a very cool use of a very old mirror trick. There was even a funny easter egg in the form of a picture of Elsa Strict, the Storyteller on her parlor wall. It was a very fun experience.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dreamwalkers- My favorite house of the night, Dreamwalkers was a trip through one of my favorite childhood horror flicks. The main story was you being exposed to an experimental drug called Sleepwell. Exposed is an understatement as you walk though a freakin’ fogged out tent of it. Thats when you are “transported” right smack in front of 1428 Elm Street. The House facade was every fanboys dream. Just like walking onto the set of the movie. You walk through a torn sheet, when you realize you are actually walking through Johnny Depp’s character’s bed (yes the room is on its side.) From here you are taken through some of the worst Nightmares in the series history. Complete with a trip deep down to the Boiler Room. One of the cooler scenes in the house is in the Boiler Room. You enter a section like a mirror fun house. If you hit it just right, you see three of you in front. The lights flicker, and one of them is replaced with Freddy. The guy is everywhere, around every turn, giving you no escape! There was a funny moment in particular in this house. When we were walking through the second scene, a Freddy got behind me. Now mind you I’m a fanboy walking in a dream world here, so I’m not paying any attention (although my friends behind me were glued to the action.) He took my pony tail up in his claws and said “How about a hair cut girly?” In retrospect that would have made my night, however I didn’t know what was going on until Seras tells me, “You going to let him talk to you like that?” Freddy if you are reading this, you are going to have to do better than that to get this Psychotik! Still my number one of the night.
Psychoscareapy: Home For the Holidays- This was hands down the most fun house of the night. Not scary, but FUN! Kind of like my perfect Christmas. The story here was the transport from the Shady Brook crashes in the suburbs. Letting loose all of the patients on an unsuspecting neighborhood of rich people during Christmas. The path the maze took was following the chaos they left behind. Memorable moments include a kitchen with a crazy baking cookies…made from skin! A workshop that took a terrible turn for the worse. Even a snowman…with an actually human head….a severed human head. It was funny to see Seras go through this house when she had a few in her. Dropped her guard terribly poor girl. We are walking through this house, and she is just wandering around enjoying the scenery. What she didn’t see was that the room filled with six patients, all circling around her. Needless to say she got had! They got her! Another fond memory of the night was walking through the workshop. I was really getting into it at this point. I started singing “Deck the halls with lower intestine…” When out of no where two maniacs drop from the ceiling upside down while another jumps from behind a box singing, “Falalala la! La La La La!!” That memory to this day still make me smile!
Vampyr: Blood Bath: This house was a vampire junkie delight. Instead of a dessert bar, you are given a Vampire night club (boy do those vamps like to party!) Universal really picked an awesome location for this house, as they landed it in Nazermans or what some may call Sting Ally. It gave the house an awesome indoor/outdoor thing. They even had a door man, and for the facade all they needed was a neon business sign. The entrance already looked like an alleyway. Made for a unique time. I will say though, the female vampires looked like they were trying to turn you on more than scare you. I actually turned to Seras when we first got in and said, “I’ll take the one with the Black hair. You take the Brunette!” In a awkward moment, there was one of the vampires that jumped out to scare Seras, only to stop short and apologize. Why? Well he thought we were two Scareactors. We’ve been mistaken by regular people, but never have we been mistaken by an actual Scareactor. Not really a lot of effects in this one. Although there was a scene with a vampire eating a poodle, and I swear it was animatronics because it moved. Other than that, the realism came from the natural setting.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Flesh Wounds- I went in to this house with pretty low expectations. Boy was I ever wrong! You couldn’t have told that from the facade. It was just a little weak for my taste. But once you got inside, it WAS the Hewitt residence. Complete with the sliding doors that could slide open at any minute. It was really cool to see this effect spring. Usually he had a victim in hand, dragging them back in! There was a scene that stopped a dude in front of us. He even threw his girlfriend in front of him! Leatherface was cutting through a wall with his chainsaw (complete with sparks from the wiring and beams.) When you walked through the kitchen there was a person chained inside the freezer. It was also a nice touch having the smell of soup beans in this area too. Like I’ve said, the smells are what sell you on the atmosphere. Even when you thought you were out of the woods, you still got snuck in for one more scare. As you exit, there is an all too familiar scene with sheets hung up on clothes lines. Well as you are trying to make it through, all of a sudden you hear a chainsaw rev up, and then here comes Leatherface! It made for a nice send off to say the least. I also can’t tell you how incredibly epic it was to turn around and look at him, just to see him spinning in place swinging his chainsaw.
Friday the 13th: Camp Blood- This house was a flop the first time through. The first time I hit it, it was still light out. Being in since it was in the Jaws que, you still see a lot of light coming in. Making a lot of the special effects not work. That being said, there were quite a few that relied heavily on the dark. The main story is, Camp Crystal lake is being reopened under new management. The new counselors, however, give you a proper hazing in the old barn where it is said Jason lives. Big mistake as the prank turns real, and Jason does start murdering people. You are met with several visuals from the series that would make any F13 fan grin ear to ear. this experience even comes complete with the shrine to Pamela Voorhees (how that head is still around, I’ll never know. One of the greatest effects they pull in the house is the one that relied a lot of you not seeing how it was done. The way it was supposed to go is, you walk into a room and Jason is on the upper level. A bright light comes on as he hurls a pulley hook at you, when the light goes out you don’t se it travel safely over head. When the light comes on Jason is no longer there, until you look down and he is right in front of you. THAT is how it was supposed to play out like the second time I saw it. The first time I saw it (with light) I walked into a room to see two Jasons standing there. In which one of the dumb goons tossed a rope at me that was tied to another line pulling it out-of-the-way. It was lame. The second time I went through the house though, when it was dark, I thought it was great.
Jack’s Funhouse: In Clown-O-Vision- You ever wanted to see what it was like to live in a psychedelic acid trip? Or an Andy Worhol taken over by twisted clowns? This was the house for you! This was the first 3-D house I had ever experienced. I really didn’t know what to expect. So I strolled up to it, put on my special Clown-O-Vision glasses and hoped for the best. There wasn’t really what you could call scenes, more like a series of rooms that looked like black light painting come to life. The floors were off set in some rooms, they used mirror tricks, trap doors. Everything you could expect in a fun house. Paintings jumped right off the wall! And then to some peoples surprise, the painting jumped of the wall and ran toward you! It was a real fun time. It definitely kept you off-balance, and I would have hated to do that one drunk! I did this one last on one of the nights, and I have to say it made a perfect end to your night. This house would have been a pretty good opener too, as it sets the whole circus atmosphere.
The Thing: Assimilation- There is nothing like stumbling into one of your favorite movies from the early 80’s. The story behind this house was the tightest of them all. It was sort of like a sequel. An expedition to Antarctica yielded the bodies of MacReady and Childs…but was it really them? What they did bring back to the Florida research facility was the same THING that caused the chaos so many years ago. When you walk into the facility, there are alarms going off and Marines trying to get you to follow them. You walk into the first room and see MacReady and Childs in stasis. However there is another chamber busted open. As you get further in, a lot of THING’s begin to take shape. Many of your favorite creatures from the movie are brought to life using animatronics. It’s really awe-inspiring the level of detail put into this house. During the middle of your escape you start to notice instead of the Marines helping you to an exit, they are SHOOTING at you! There is even a stomach churning part where the Thing is all around you and you feel something drip on to you from above. I was surprised when they decided to do this house (and thankful!)
Now as far as Scarezones go this year, there weren’t many. There wasn’t many because the whole event was one giant Scarezone! This is where the problem came. As good as an idea as this seems, it becomes problematic making sure that the whole park is dressed and there are enough Scareactors. So really it ended up turning into zones anyway. Creative really dropped the ball on this one. The only saving area where the one’s that were able to get the theming. Those areas were all at the front of the park. I did find the areas closest to Jack’s Carnival of Carnage the most entertaining. But beyond that, I just wasn’t wowed by the complete absence in most areas of the park.
The shows this year were a bit lacking too. Not my favorite year for them, but the Jack’s Carnival of Carnage became my favorite arrival show. Still out of four, one good one wasn’t enough.
The Freakshow- The only reason I say this show was lack luster is, it just didn’t deliver like the hype said. It was supposed to be a real Freakshow (or as close as possible.) The only act I really saw that was like a Freakshow was Enigma. He was out there as usual, not a bad thing. But I noticed about two weeks in the whole Freakshow thing was dropped in favor of Brian Brushwood. Not a bad illusionist, and he sort of fit in to the freakshow aspect, but it still wasn’t as grand as it was supposed to be.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: A Tribute- This was doomed to start. You just can’t condense the masterpiece that is RHPS into a 30 minute slot…you just CAN’T!!! It just felt too rushed. I almost feel they would have done better by just showing clips. I just didn’t feel it at all. In my opinion the worst show in my 4 years.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure- This was my least favorite year. They dwelled too much on the screwed up wannabe divas (Paris Hilton, Lindsy Lohan, and Brittney Spears) There were a few chuckles, but nothing that floored me. You found out more about a lawsuit over the previous years use of Jack Sparrow. So this year they made fun of it and substituted the characters from Blazing Glory. It just left you with a feeling of, ‘eh it’s ok….”
Jack’s Carnival of Carnage- This show was the best show that year, and my all time favorite arrival show. The level of detail that went into this show was insane. They even brought in an illusionist to work with this show. A damn good one I might add. Illusions included: A man being ripped in half, a person’s head being smashed in, climbing through another one’s torso…and that doesn’t even touch the most shocking. So rather than tell you…why don’t I show you! Look below where you will find the Arrival show in all it’s glory!!
With the short comings this one had, what it did have more than made up for it. In my opinion this was the best year for houses. The arrival show was at such a level it really made up for the other three (and the Enigma was there so hey…) This year was home to 2 of my top favorites (Nightmare on Elm Street: Dreamwalkers and The Thing: Assimilation.) As the Carnival died down though, you could feel something more on the horizon…something you could be sure would REFLECT your worst fears….
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
P.S. Here is an Uncensored version of the commercial! Enjoy…
With the book closed on Tales of Terror, the next volume is Halloween Horror Nights: Sweet 16. That year was the sweetest of sixteen’s! It brought all of the icons of the past together for one mega event. Jack the Clown, The Caretaker, The Director, and The Storyteller met for the first time for an all out blood bath. I really felt they kicked it up a notch this year. It was the first year I really got into the website. I’m glad I did, because it explained so much that was going on. There was a section they ran for the longest time that helped me connect with all the other events I had never been to. Dating all the way back to the very first, they set it up as an archive. As the year progressed, the site started getting more interactive content. Most of which helped you to understand the icon houses more, and how they tied in respectively. This year was also the first year the event had traveled back to the original Hacklot since 2001. So what was it like to have Horror Come Home?….
The whole idea of the event, like I said, was to bring all the major icons together for a Super Sweet Sixteen from hell! The Website was what got me the most. Each week peeling back another layer until the full thing was unleashed. I thought the whole icon get together was a fantastic idea! I had only started the event the year before, but had always seen merchandise from the earlier icons that peaked my attention. I was also pleased to see the event coming back to the Studios. Like I said I really felt that some of the scarezones the year before were hurt because of the already detailed, and very specific theming of the Islands of Adventure. Honestly I could go on and on, but I feel you will get a better feeling from the breakdown. So in the words of The Director, On with the Show…
Let’s start with the scarezones. The zones for this year were very detailed, ranging from Zombie Apocalypse to a Vampiric Masquerade. This year tops out as my second favorite for Scarezones. Here is the run down:
Horror Comes Home (Hollywood)- Right as you went through the gates, you were flowed to the right. This took you down a memory lane of all things Horror Nights. Various characters from the past 16 years were brought back to chill you to the bone! There really was no set dressing to the area. More they relied on it being dark and the thick fog creating a sort of venturing through old memories feel. The scareactors didn’t really jump at you (or at least not me). It was more like they were there on display. The scareactor to the left was my favorite in the area. Alice….with a chainsaw! (The Red Queen never saw it coming) This was my least favorite of the year, but I’m not going to lie, it was still pretty cool.
Harvest of the Souls (Sunset Blvd.)- This scarezone was a throw back the old Field of Screams scarezone in 2004. They more or less took the idea and made it better. The whole area was themed nicely with pumpkins and hay. The idea was supposed to be these creatures were all there to harvest (you guessed it…) your souls. The fog was very thick in this area, so it played on confusion. There was one point where I lost my whole group in the fog and it took at least 20 minutes to find each other. I got a very nice scare as a result of this. I would also like to add (because of my love for them) that on select nights they had a midget in a miniature creature outfit! This little guys had it going. To top things off, when I did see him he was darting around catching people off guard (and doing a bloody good job of it!) When something happened that to this day makes me smile. I’m not sure what this one particular person said to him, but all I remember seeing is this little monster kicking a dude in the shin and then running into the fog. It was one the most epic things I’ve seen! Still though I rated this third amongst the scarezones for me. The Fog was consistently to freakin thick. It really was a hassle losing your friends like I did. Especially when said incident, caused me to miss a showing of Bill and Ted.
Deadtropolis: Zombie Siege (New York)- I love zombies! Zombies have fascinated me from a wee young Psychotik, and it was cool to see them as a reality. To see a zombocolypse in New York City….was like walking onto the set of one of my favorite films. This zone was a tribute to the old house, Deadtropolis from 2004. They did a phenomenal job setting the mood. From the moment you enter you have military telling you to turn back. Spotlights on the roof tops coupled with sound effects gave you the feeling of helicopters zooming over head. Once you got into the heart of the city, you were met with the undead. The actors did a really great job of blending in to the surroundings. If you weren’t careful who you were walking around, you may find yourself walking right next to one. One of my funniest stories comes from this area. We were walking along the zone, my group and I, when I spotted a zombie hooker coming our way. I thought to myself “Dear God she is going to try to grab me, and Seras is going to deck her…” To my surprise (and hers) she attacked Seras. Now when I say attack, what I’m really trying to say is the zombie “Dry Humped”….I would also like to use the word “grind” and the phrase “Shake her fun bags.” It was too bad I didn’t have the camera! I was almost tempted to ask her to do it again. The area was also home to one of the coolest shows on earth! (But I will get to that later…) Still as great as this zone was, I have to say it was the second favorite of the night.
Blood Masquerade (Shrek Ally)- What is more perfect than a Scarezone with zombies? A Scarezone with Vampires!! Modeled after Castle Vampyr from 2004, (Noticing a pattern…?) this area was the most stunning. Both ends of the area had an alluring display of candles complete with a Queen of the Damned-esq vampire. What was cool is the use of special effects. The vampires would be posing all seductively, then without missing a beat lightning would crash, and a gust of wind would blow from under them! The effect sent many people screaming. There were also smaller pedestals set up with vampires dressed all in white. They would stand there, frozen like a statue. Then by hitting a button with their foot the same would happen, but for some reason it was that much worse! The whole thing was just visually pleasing, and they used the size of the area to their advantage. The Shrek Ally can get pretty narrow the more stuff you shove in it. So you were forced to walk right next to these creatures of the night. I saw the most screams delivered here. Easy choice for the favorite of the night.
This was my number one favorite for Houses. I really liked the idea of bringing back some of the older houses. For a Horror Nights freak like me, it was nice experiencing some of the greats that I had missed. The Houses were:
People Under the Stairs: Under Construction (Sprung Tent)- This house was very lack luster. Every event has at least one bomb, and man this was it. This house had not been seen since Halloween Horror Nights 2 & 3. Although the concept was kind of catchy, (walking through a house in construction that was being terrorized by….well you know who) it just never delivered. It’s like they took the old house, half built it, and then tried to use the failed Miner hats from HHN 15’s Terror Mines. The fog was another killer of this maze. It was so thick, you actually would miss scares because you couldn’t see the actors! The only cool thing I can add is the shot-gun effect. There is a guy in a gimp mask running around with a shot-gun. His gun didn’t fire your average bullets, but it did fire a blast of air that would scare the life out of you…if you could tell what it was. Easily the worst house of the night.
Psycho-Path: Return of Norman Bates (Sprung Tent)- This house was at the bottom of the list for me. Not because it was bad like the last one, but more because it just wasn’t as epic as the others. This house was started in HHN 4 and then again at HHN 9. What separates this maze from the previous two is, instead of going through the Bates Motel and residence, you venture though the twisted mind of Norman Bates. You start out walking through the doors of the Bates Motel, where you are greeted by Norman Bates. Two scenes in, it get’s weird. You walk through a vortex of spinning screaming faces and land in a room full of eyes,. That room I found interesting because they used an effect similar to Cold Blind Terror’s. The people in the room wore all black with the same eyes attached to them. Since it was a black light room, you couldn’t see the silhouette, and they could move around the room and you wouldn’t be able to keep up. Basically, one hell of a throwback house.
Dungeon of Terror: Retold (JAWS que)- The story behind this attraction was very interesting. Apparently the Dungeon of Terror, a throw back to the original maze from the first few Horror Nights came under new management. Elsa Strict, The Storyteller, purchased the Dungeon and reopened it promising to show passersby a thing or two about discipline. Now that sort of translated in the beginning. As soon as you walked in, Ol’ Storyteller was there to greet you. Then as you walked through, it just became this terribly gone wrong attraction with back woods murderers in pig masks. There were some nice effects. Of which there was one with a guy on a spin wheel being stabbed (which sprayed you with blood!) The back-wood people eating people. Then to put a nice cherry on top, you walk through an open room with bodies all tied to the roof together spinning. I believe they were made to look like brides and grooms. Mixed in with the dead, were a few alive which made for a good scare. It wasn’t my favorite of the icons house, but it was entertaining. The story was solid, and told you a little more about The Storyteller. (Which I thought needed to be done.)
RUN: Hostile Territory (Earthquake que)- This house was pretty damn cool! Although Eddie wasn’t mentioned in the commercials, he is still an icon. His thunder was stolen HHN 11. And although he had a bit part in a house in HHN 14, he has never been used to his potential. RUN was a lot like taking the bloodiest scenes from Saw and Hostel and forced them together for a battle to the death. Apparently Eddie RUN’s (Hee Hee Get it?) a warehouse where people can pay to watch people die. Well, at some point after entering the door, (I think you make it a foot.) YOU become the victim. There were many good scenes in this house. A lot of detailed gore. One was a room with a man swinging a lawnmower back and forth that would spin the blade and shoot “blood” on you. The best effect in the house was the electric chair scene. This scene you walk into and in the middle of the room there is a man strapped into a chair. As you get into the room, a person flips the switch and cooks the unlucky fellow. It was the strongest visual’s in the maze, and they sold it well. On your way out, you were greeted by Eddie and his oversized chainsaw. I’ll mention also, there were all kinds of trap doors around the house that had people drop it and scream “Run!” At one point we became stuck because of scaredy cats. We were told to Run 3 times. Finally we turned to him and said “Would if I could buster!” It was epic.
All Night DrIvE-In: Take 2 (Soundstage 23)- The Director is just an interesting character. Paulo Ravinski’s brand of realism was too much for his country. So he came to the America’s looking for a place to accept his work. This house was his second installment. This house brought you to The Thing, Hellraiser, Scream, Silence of the Lambs, The Ring and much more. I really loved the idea behind this maze. From the opening scenes where you walk through the directors cutting room, till you come face to face at the end. Each of the movies listed above had their best scenes exploited. In the Scream section you pass through the kitchen as Drew Berrymore’s character begs you for help, and Ghost Face springs from two different areas at random. Also in a moment of hilarity they add in the friend that get’s killed in the garage door (and she was still kicking!) The Hellraiser part was very hardcore, and you get dropped into it pretty quickly. The best visual in the house was for The Ring. You enter a busted up hospital room with strobing lights. I’m not really sure how this girl moved so fast, but she achieved the movie feel of appearing, disappearing, and reappearing before your eyes! And still as good as this house was, it still only made number 3!
ScreamHouse: Resurrection (Soundstage 23)- Albert Cain was the Caretaker of souls in 2002’s Islands of Fear. Twice before this house terrified guests. This Third time though, was something you weren’t soon to forget! One of the most massive of all the houses, Universal really pulled out the stops. The Facade outside was the exterior of a massive mortuary. Once you walked through the doors you entered a massive funeral parlor, where The Caretaker and some of his graveyard ghouls were there to greet you. You even have a cameo of his daughter Cindy preserved perfectly in a coffin. One very cool scene was just before you exit to the underground tunnels. There is a massive casket in the center of the room, with one of his fresher victims screaming to get out. The casket rocked and swayed, keeping everyone wondering what was going to jump out of it! The underground of the mortuary was very realistic. They used some kind of musty cedar smell (I think of HHN every time I walk past Garden Center). One of the coolest experiences we had in this house was with The Caretaker himself. As you would pass him, he would swing and snap his embalming scissors over your head. There was one point when he swung over a banister, and just barely missed us. Gave us a good jump, which is hard to do! As much as I loved this house, and as massive as it was, there was still one better…
PsychoScarepy: Maximum Madness (Soundstage 22)- Welcome to Shady Brook, were the patients are taken over and further warped by the sinister Jack “The Clown” Schmidt. This house was absolutely huge. I swear it took like 8 minutes to get through. This one, like Screamhouse, had a giant facade to help set the mood. You really felt like you were walking into an Asylum. When you walked in, you were greeted by a very disturbed nurse. From there it is a series of corridors and encounters with patients that have started worshipping Jack the Clown. My favorite scenes from this house were the main corridor, the poo room, and final room. The main corridor had a very cool effect. It was just after you met the nurse (who got you with her version of “Pop goes the Weasel”). As you walk down the hallway, you see all the cells are open and empty. As you get about halfway, the music over head dies out, and the lights fail. After a few seconds, you hear the end to pop goes the weasel, the lights come on, and a once empty hallway is filled with patients laughing hysterically. Towards the middle you come to the poo room (wonder why it’s called that?) This room is smeared in feces, and smells like it too! The most disturbing part was the “yum” written on the wall in it. Funny story, my friend Seth went through the house with us. As we got to the room, and smelled what it had to offer, the scareactors started in. He proceeds to lick the wall, where he then goes into a tangent about how it really is shit! I don’t know who was more disturbed us or the Scareactors. The Final scene with Jack the Clown was the most epic! The padded walls were all shredded and there were straight jackets strung across the ceiling. I was wearing my Jack the Clown shirt that night, so when Jack saw it he started pointing and giving me the devil horns. He even gave me a high-five, which was the most epic part of my night. This house has been on my number one for years. What was even better was when the guy behind me tried to give him one and he and three others jumped at him and scared the shit out of the guy! Wonder if someone collected that for the poo room later? Hmm…
So as good as the houses were, don’t you wonder how good the shows are? Well I can tell you they were refreshingly different. From a car-eating robot to a custom Cinesphere Spectacular directed by who else but The Director! This was the best year for shows, they were:
The Arrival- The Arrival show this year was my second favorite. The show was brought to you by Legend‘s Darkness (see left). Darkness would summon up the four icons from the ashes of horror nights past. When they would come forth they would each get a shot at a victim in a way that only that icon could. My favorite involved Jack the Clown…and an oversized blender (See video below). I give the show it’s props I really do. Especially the guy that played The Darkness. This guy had awesome presence and was a trooper walking around on stilts with giant horns on his head! I would like to describe more, but I assure you the video will do more justice.
Sweet 16: The Director’s Cut- This show was a first for Halloween Horror Nights. The year before, Universal added the Cinesphere Spectacular to the Lagoon. Four large movie spheres that they would edit together footage with fireworks for a completely unique experience that is absolutely breathtaking. So they let The Director in the editing room, and the result? A Cinesphere Spectacular with all your favorite scenes of horror, from Universal’s Legacy of Horror. altogether it was an experience like no other! Easily my favorite show in my Horror Nights history.
Robosaurus- There really is nothing like seeing a giant robot dinosaur eat a few cars and breathe fire. Especially when this robot is also eradicating a zombie horde! Robosaurus was a must see event! I really didn’t expect as much from this show. I mean how cool can a Robot Dinosaur be? Well, not only was he a robot Dinosaur, but he had a vehicle form! He was a freaking Transformer!! Anyway, when I saw where the show was on the map, I was curious as to how it was going to incorporate into Deadtropolis. It fit very well actually, and was themed to music from George Romero’s Land of the Dead. Just another epic show to round out a night full of them!
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure- The pentacle of everyone’s night, the slammers of all things pop-culture did again! The night was full of laughter in what was my second favorite Bill and Ted. There were so many YTMND references. Everything from Snakes on a Plane to “I’m the Juggernaught Bitch!” was represented. Universal even landed themselves in an axable position with their version of Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swan. (See Video’s Below. But Beware….you will laugh so hard it will change your world!)
The year was also home to some rather cool roaming attractions. The Chainsaw Drill Team was brought back to terrify guests. They were a group of militantly trained chainsaw weilding maniacs. They would be marched around by their drill sargent, and at his whim, would scatter and terrify those around them! The Rat Lady, was also brought back in a different way. She was carted around in a glass casket filled with her rats. But this time around she was followed by a ghoulish small marching band. Those two roaming shows really added to what became an awesome-dirty fun trip down Horror Nights Memory lane.
I loved this year, and it always gets my number one vote. Generally I tie it between HHN18 and this one. But as far as well rounded year, this one is full of win! Mtv “Super Sweet Sixteen” eat your heart out, because you got NOTHING on this one. So if you watched the Arrival video, you heard the mention of who would reign supreme. The answer to your question, may lie in next years event…
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
P.S. Be sure to check out the commercials for that year below. The first is the original, the one most everybody saw on their TV and on the internet. The second is a fan made commercial that quickly became a favorite in the Horror Nights community. I wish the song in it was my theme song!! Enjoy!
Well it has been a long time coming, but I have finally gotten around to seeing this movie. I have to say that I am very impressed. Out of the original Universal Monsters, The Wolfman is only ever seconded by Dracula. So as you can imagine I had my reservations from the start. I wasn’t really sure if I liked Universal revisioning the old classics. With amount of revisions and remakes out there though, it was only a matter of time before these screen gems were dusted off. It wasn’t until I saw the first bit of advertisement for the movie that my hopes were lifted.
Let me start with the story first. The story fallows Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) who ventures back to his home town of Blackmoor to investigate the disappearance of his brother. Upon arriving he finds out that his brother has been killed by what seems to be an animal or a lunatic. Once he sees the state of the body, he is then compelled to stay and investigate what happened to his brother. While investigating at a gypsy camp he comes face to face with his brothers killer. While in a struggle with the beast he is bit, and thus cursed. Now there is also a plot with his father (Anthony Hopkins) and a small side love story with his brothers fiance’ (Emily Blunt), but I really don’t want to give too much away at this part in the review. I really hate spoilers in the middle of a review, so I will reserve any and all comments that spoil the movie at a labeled spot at the bottom. Now on with my thoughts. I really feel that they delivered on the story. They kept enough of it intact that you can still call it The Wolfman, yet added enough to make it stand on its own. The original story I don’t feel would have stood up very well in this day and age. So that added dramatics were really a must to bring people into the story. Again the only problems I had with the story were toward the end, and as promised, I will not discuss them in this portion.
I would also like to touch on the visual dynamics of the film. The director really did a fantastic job visually in this piece. From English country side to the streets of London, each brings its own touch to the movie. Mt favorite of them being the scenes in the forest. That was always a scene that stuck out for me in the original, was the Wolfman stalking around in the foggy forest. They take that visual and tweak it in just the right matter to make those scenes just epic. It also goes without saying that Rick Baker did an awesome job with the make-up effects. I know a lot of people were very disappointed with the use of CGI in the transformations scenes. This is where my opinion differs. I feel that this is the CGI age in movies, I really don’t feel that a practical make up effect could have pulled off what needed to be done in the film. I was just happy enough that the Wolfman wasn’t going to be all CGI, and feel you should just be grateful that they still use a man in make up. I was really starting to get disillusioned with werewolf movies. I mean with all of the CGI werewolves and bad puppets to boot, it’s been a while since I have seen a decent werewolf in a movie. All in all, I feel Rick did a very good job updating the old Wolfman to the 21st century, yet still maintaining some semblance of the old look.
One last thing i would like to touch on before i move to the spoiler section is the acting. The cast really seemed to mesh in this movie wonderfully. Benicio played an awesome Lawrence Talbot. When i saw the first pictures of him in the role, I really didn’t think he was going to do the role justice. Thankfully, I was wrong and he delivered a very strong performance from beginning to end. Anthony Hopkins does as Anthony Hopkins always does. He takes the role of Sir John Talbot and delivers in full. Can you really expect anything else from the man? Also in fine form was my man Hugo Weaving is the role of Inspector Abberline. I am always impressed with Hugo’s work. He can take a character that is really only meant as a supporting part and play it with such greatness. Overall, I don’t think they could have picked a better cast then they did. The movie wouldn’t have been the same with out them.
So what do i rate the movie? I give it 4 out of 5 Top Hats. I highly recommend if you haven’t seen it to watch it. Then when you do, proceed further to my spoiler section. I know some of you are going to do it anyway, and i will now take the time to tell you, you are a naughty little cheater! I bet you read the last two pages of a book don’t you?
If you have not watched the movie, I implore you to go do that THEN read further!!
So here is the only problem that I had with the movie. The only problem that i felt it necessary they lose a full hat rating. What was the deal with making the father a werewolf too? Was it really that necessary? I mean I sort of enjoyed, but then I was like “No, they could have done without that.” Don’t get me wrong they couldn’t have picked a better actor to play that part. That role has Hopkins written all over it! Some how I just can’t stop thinking that they could have taken it a different route, and the movie wouldn’t have suffered. I think a big thing that kept me from enjoying that aspect was the fight scene between the two wolfed out Talbots. The only thing i kept thinking was “So this is what ir would have looked like to see Michael J. Fox and James Hampton slug it out! (If you haven’t seen Teen Wolf to get the reference, go see it) Anthony Hopkins werewolf even had grey hair to boot! It was hilarious to watch once you get that image in your head. My only other regret in the movie is that you will never get to see Abberline wolf out. I don’t discount the movie for that though. I will if they make a sequel, but for now it’s just awesome to think of a werewolf Hugo Weaving.