UPDATED: HHN 26! Our Initial Thoughts and Review

dscn0064This past weekend, we attended the opening of Halloween Horror Nights 26 on both Friday and Saturday nights and boy what a time we had.  This is an incredibly strong year for the event.  On Friday night, we took our time and only got through four houses and one show. For Saturday, we partook in the early entry AP event and were able to knock out seven houses and the second show before leaving around 11pm.  It was a great and exhausting weekend and we can’t wait to return.  Below are our initial thoughts of everything the event has to offer and we plan to update our thoughts as the event progresses.  This is because it was only opening weekend and the event can and usually does change for better/worse as time goes on.  Actors get more comfortable with their roles.  Scares improve, jokes are added, effects are tweaked, etc.  So while reading, keep in mind, much of this is based on a single experience on opening weekend.  If we have an open mind for improvement, you should too!

As promised, here are our updated reviews on repeated experiences at the event.  Some things have improved, and have even exceeded my previous thoughts.  Others have remained the same.  Any changes will be in red! Read on.

Right off the bat, I want to say we were all genuinely surprised (in a good way) how many gun shot scares there are throughout the event.  I’ve never been one to agree with adjusting pre-planned details after a tragic event has happened.  I’ve read about HHN 11 after the 9/11 attacks with the switch out of blood to green ooze. And while I understand the reasoning for things like this, it just makes me cringe. Removing ‘guns’ when they are relevant to the specific thing, such as merchandise, a musical, or a scare house, due to an act of gun violence never makes sense to me.  So in this case, I applaud Universal for sticking it out and keeping the scares in the houses after the tragedy that was the Pulse club shooting.  Whether they keep them in or not as time goes on, only time will tell.  And as a side note, I heard a rumor the Vamp ’55 scare zone was originally supposed to be a Purge scare zone but was dismissed after the shooting.  Something I believe to be in good taste.  The irony of that, if true, is the entirety of HHN Hollywood is enveloped in one whole Purge scare zone.

Without further ado, here are our reviews listed in alphabetical order!

Chainsaws are everywhere this year. Even more so than last year.

Scare Zones

Scare zones at HHN are rather unique.  Nine times out of ten, I don’t find them scary one bit.  And often, I’m rather annoyed when it is very clear at least one of the scare zones have been made for photo ops instead of scares.  What’s the point, I ask.  This year, Universal has done an excellent job.

A Chance in Hell – B

Last year, Chance won our hearts as Jack’s assistant and this year she’s back running the show.  Not only is she the icon, but she got her own house and scare zone!  You’d think that when there is a scare zone dedicated to the icon of the entire HHN event, it would sort of be a major thing to behold.  That isn’t quite the case for A Chance in Hell. Normally, we see two types of scare zones at HHN.  Ones that are clearly made for photo ops, and ones designed for scares.  This is more the latter with a taste of the former.

Chance is the headliner in this scare zone, as she should be.  She stays in her own vignette and interacts with guests, which is common practice at HHN. The odd part is, there are multiple other vignettes which contain only props.  Normally, these vignettes would contains other actors, maybe for photo ops or guest interaction.  But this year, there is nothing there.  So why even have them?  Sure they add to the theming of Chance murdering people and mutilating their bodies, but that’s it.  The rest of the scare zone consists of scare actors in asylum outfits walking around as different characters.  Besides chance, it’s all pretty standard things you’d expect to see in an area based on this theme.  But all that aside, it’s Chance who really shines here and takes guest interaction to a whole new level.

Theme- 4.0/5

Originality – 3.8/5

Story – 4.3/5

Design – 3.5/5

Scares – 3.2/5

New photos of the scare zone.

Dead Man’s Wharf – A

I knew I would like Dead Man’s Wharf the second I read the description.  It’s such a simple, classic, yet eerie concept for a scare zone.  This year, thanks to the construction walls, the scare zone is very compact, making it feel more tight when you walk through.  The set pieces are among my favorites and the costumes/masks are among the best I’ve seen for a scare zone.  My only complaint would be the very dense fog from the fog machines.  Yes, the zone needs the fog for the theme and effect, but too often, I couldn’t see a foot in front of me.  Hopefully, they tone it down a bit after the first weekend.

The fog machines seemed to have been turned down slightly, which really helped with visibility in this area. Thankfully, it doesn’t change the atmosphere at all and this scare zone is still really great!  I also noticed some better and more attempts at scares.

Theme- 4.8/5

Originality – 4.5/5

Story – 4.0/5

Design – 4.8/5

Scares – 3.5/5 (3.8/5)

New photos of the scare zone.

Lair of the Banshee – A-

For some reason, the scare zones located in this section of the park tend to be among my favorite.  It’s probably because of the tight location and lack of light, but the area just always seems to work.  This year’s Lair of the Banshee has some really neat costumes and great set pieces; very archaic.  I really need to get more photos of the costumes. And the music does an excellent job at setting the atmosphere.  Thanks to the large smoke effects, the actors are able to use the clouds to their advantage and hide within to scare unsuspecting guests walking by.  This is surely going to be a successful zone for the event.

I desperately want to get photos of the costumes in this area.  I spent more time in here last night standing off to the side, enjoying the zone and observing everything within it.  However, due to the continuous fluctuating lighting and fast moving actors, it is very difficult to get any good photos.  (I refused to use my flash on the actors, especially unsuspecting one.  To do so is incredibly ignorant and dangerous.)  So, I’ll just have to return when it is still light outside!

Theme- 4.0/5

Originality – 4.2/5

Story – 3.0/5

Design – 3.8/5

Scares – 4.0/5

Some new atmosphere/area photos

Survive or Die – C

A scare zone with a story line deeply embedded within.  This is tricky for me.  Rarely do I enjoy the scare zones in the NYC area of the park.  Partially because they are in such an open area, but also because they’re just never really scary.  This year’s Survive or Die area comes off as a bit cliche to me.  Something I’d be able to find at any second rate amusement park or scare area.  The projections on the buildings are very neat, but nothing new. And it all just seems like a rip off of Mad Max.  Grant it, there is clearly more of a story worked into this scare zone and I plan to spend more time in the area to learn more about it, but for now, this area is a huge let down for me.  The actors just aren’t scary and there is so much open space because of where they have placed all of the set pieces.

I learned a bit more about this scare zone last night.  I’ve noticed at least two separate areas located within the zone, even though the description lists three gangs.  One gang devotes themselves and worships Mother.  The area and costumes are most definitely influenced/inspired by Mad Max: Fury Road.  So much so that they even play the soundtrack from the film. I am still not a fan of the scare zone, but I will admit I’ve noticed it tends to get the most screams from guests, even if it affects me none whatsoever.  (Probably only because of the chainsaws.)  The interactive aspects are very nice, though.

Theme- 3.5/5

Originality – 3.5/5 (3.0/5)

Story – 3.8/5

Design – 3.7/5

Scares – 2.5/5 (3.2.5)

A few more area photos.

Vamp ’55 – A

Vamp ’55 takes us back to a classic era with a classic horror icon: vampires.  The music is in full swing and the characters are everywhere.  Set on Hollywood Blvd, there isn’t a better location for this scare zone in the park.  There is a really good balance between vampires and humans who have been attacked and because of this, the atmosphere is excellent.  There are two great homecoming floats parked right in the middle of the street signifying the homecoming parade with a few dead people lying on them, but besides that, there aren’t many other set pieces.  I’m sure this is in part because of the classic looking buildings which already surround the area naturally adding to the theming.  However, I feel like they could have at least one more float.   There are also plenty of chances for photo ops thanks to the lighting and the number of actors.

This is definitely among my favorite scare zones this year.  I love everything about it.  Last night, I found the bus I was told about and observed the ice cream man.  I was able to get a great photo of him.  If you get a chance, be sure to ask him about the options inside his ice chest!

Theme- 4.6/5

Originality – 4.5/5

Story – 4.8/5

Design – 4.4/5

Scares – 3.5/5

New characters and area photos

Shows

Halloween Horror Nights may be known for the houses, but they also provide some excellent entertainment through their shows.  Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure is a staple for Halloween Horror Nights and is celebrating its 25th year with the event this year!  In past years, Universal has repeatedly performed a tribute show for The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Last year, we received an exceptional show hosted by Jack the Clown himself. And this year, Universal decided to try something new by bringing in a variety act show.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent HALLOWEEN Adventure – B+

Bill and Ted’s, a staple of HHN.  Don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything here.  This year’s show, for me, was very entertaining because it focused much more on movie and nerd pop culture instead of pop stars and famous people.  Jokes were pretty consistent throughout and thankfully, the show did not focus on politics, which is something we were worried would happen.  (But yes, there are stabs at both Hilary and Trump.)

I still believe the show has begun to rely too heavily on dancing.  It felt like last years show was made up of a third of dancing because they just didn’t have enough story or jokes to tell.  This years show isn’t much different.  Although I did find myself laughing much more.  Even with a few recycled jokes from the past, this years show seemed to lack in plot overall.  I guess it’ll be difficult for them to top 2014’s show which successfully made fun of Disney’s new Magic Bands as the main storyline.  In the end, the show is still incredibly entertaining and a must see, even with mixed reviews among the fans.

Story/Plot – 3.5/5

Jokes – 4.3/5

Design – 4.5/5

Academy of Villains: House of Fear – B

I love America’s Got Talent.  I watch it every summer.  It has effectively ruined shows like this for me…and I’ll explain why later.  Academy of Villains, as I learned post show, is an actual group based out of California who premiered their new show for us here at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 26.  When the show was announced with its description, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but to me, it initially sounded as though it was tied in with this years event icon, Chance, and her house, Lunatic’s Asylum.  I was hoping for a variety show with various acts, sort of like a freak show.  What we were presented with was certainly a variety show, but not the kind I was expecting.  I will say, initially I was disappointed, but that doesn’t mean it was bad.  Academy of Villains is actually full of talented people and entertaining acts with a story line built in.

The show contains many group dance acts, which were done with great skill and looked effortless.  There was also an entire scene in the show of shadow play, which I loved every moment of.  It could have been a little tighter, but incredibly entertaining nonetheless.  The story line was good and fits well with HHN. The rest of the variety acts, however, felt incredibly overshadowed.  These range from uni-cycling, juggling with knives and flames, to even playing a drum set solo (which seemed very random).  Here’s the thing. These variety acts were incredibly short.  One act would be performed for not even 30 seconds and end, then move onto the next.  It makes you question why even have them included in the show.  This isn’t to say they aren’t skillful acts, but they need to be developed more as a whole.

The show is entertaining overall, even with the random variety acts which feel shoehorned in for no reason.  The problem is I found myself thinking to myself, “I’ve seen this countless times on America’s Got Talent,” and I have! This by no means is discrediting the show or the talent of the performers.  It’s merely pointing out how common these types of shows are.  And besides the shadow act in the middle of the show, I found myself struggling to find any excitement for this show.  It’s a good addition for HHN, but not a show I’ll be jumping to return to in the future.  If anything, it makes me yearn for the return of the Rocky Horror Picture Show Tribute because after last years original, impressive, and incredibly eerie/off-putting show, The Carnage Returns, it’s going to be quite the challenge for Universal to top that.

OK, so perhaps I did judge House of Villains a little to hard.  Viewing the show a second time, I will admit I enjoyed it a bit more than the first time. I picked up more of the storyline, which was nice.  However, many of my original statements still stand.  While I understand that the performer who does the many, short variety acts is a multiple personality disorder character, I still find the many, short acts to be jarring.  I wish they would cut the number of his acts in half and double the length of them. 

Story/Plot – 3.8/5 (4.0/5)

Acts – 4.0/5

Design – 3.8/5

Houses

The houses, or mazes as they are so often called, are the main reason for the event.  This year, the creative team behind HHN announced they had decided to give us every most requested IP for the event bringing in the most IP houses ever! The line up is quite impressive, including the three original houses.

American Horror Story – B-

dscn0073American Horror Story has easily been one of the most requested houses for HHN since the show began.  Each year, fans were hopeful and each year it didn’t happen until now.  For HHN26, Universal announced the house would not only focus on one season, but three: Murder House, Freakshow, and Hotel.  Because of this, it is rumored to have a two-year contract with Universal and will be returning next year for seasons Asylum, Coven, and Roanoke.

As for the house, anyone who is a fan of the show will be in heaven.  The show has come alive.  The house has an incredible amount of detail and it’s like walking straight onto the sets of the show. I was worried how they were going to clarify the transition between each season; whether it’d be jarring or not.  However, the designers successfully accomplished this with projections making a specific room appear as the opening credits for each season.  I felt it was a very creative idea because it made it seem as though we were entering the show itself.

There were some good attempts at scares, but nothing above average.  Everything we saw scare wise was pretty standard, unfortunately.  There were just no surprises.  After thinking on it for a few days, this house seems to be more focused on putting you within key scenes from each season instead of actually scaring you.  Meaning, more often, you are witnessing the characters performing the terrifying acts instead of having the characters try to scare you.  But don’t get me wrong, there still are scares directed at you.

On the plus side, Freakshow alone makes the house worth it, as I’m sure most fans will agree.  Twisty the Clown fits right in at HHN and proves they could’ve (and maybe should’ve) made an entire house just from the Freakshow season.  But this doesn’t mean Murder House and Hotel don’t have some good rooms to see as well.  Hotel contains some exceptional Lady Gaga scenes.  The house is strong visually and story wise. It just has an ending that makes no sense whatsoever.  Perhaps it’s one they will be switching in and out similar to Freddy vs. Jason. The only way to find out will be more walk-throughs.

Adaptation – 4.8/5

Story – 4.0/5

Design – 4.7/5

Scares – 2/5

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The Exorcist – A-

dscn0150The Exorcist was the final house we did of the nine.  I had high hopes for this house and they were most certainly met.  It was clear Universal took great care to get the adaptation for this film correct and they definitely didn’t falter.  As soon as you enter, you see the home straight from the film.  The house begins with an awesome effect displaying a warning of the demon which lies within.  And if you’re familiar with the film, there is a black & white flash of Regan’s character while possessed on the screen a few times throughout.  This is done throughout the house and is so quick, not everyone picks up on it.  It’s a great subtle detail which can subconsciously make you feel uneasy, just like in the film.

For the most part, Universal did an excellent job telling the story of The Exorcist.  It must have been quite the challenge to expand on a story which mainly takes place in a single bedroom, but they definitely succeeded.  The details were good and the creativity was exceptional.  There were a few rooms in the house I couldn’t quite follow.  It seemed like maybe they took some creative license with their designs because they were a bit hard to follow story wise.  I only wish there had been a few more movie references.  Maybe start in the desert where the ancient totem was found warning the Father of the demon coming back for revenge.  Perhaps a reference or two of the famous stairs which play such a key part in the film.  Regardless, this house is a knock out and one I will walk through multiple times.

The Exorcist was a house I was most looking forward to going through a second time for a few reasons.  I felt I missed details and theming. I also knew I had missed scares and that the house could be scarier.  Now, I can safely say I was correct on both accounts.  Not only did I jump a few more times this time around, but I also noticed more details regarding the story from the film, such as the younger priest jumping out of the window and falling down the stairs at the end, which explains the very end of the house following that segment.  I also must note, however, there were still some effects which weren’t working which I found to be very disappointing.  But I’m happy to see they included more in the house than I originally thought!

Adaptation – 4.3/5

Story – 4.0/5 (4.3/5)

Design – 4.4/5 (4.5/5)

Scares – 4.3/5 (4.5/5)

 

Ghost Town: The Curse of Lightning Gulch – A-

dscn0146When Universal announced Ghost Town, I was excited about it because it seemed very classic haunted house.  A haunted western has a lot of potential and I knew Universal would give us movie quality sets and designs.  I’m going to say this now; Ghost Town wasn’t a scary house, but that’s OK because unlike houses which aren’t scary due to failed scares, Ghost Town is more like you are observing the story going on around you.  Think of it like Stephen King’s The Shining where you can see and hear the ghosts in their own world, but they can’t harm you until they grow strong enough.  That’s sort of how this house felt.  We weren’t really getting scares directed at us until near the end of the house.

The design for Ghost Town was perfection and we loved the story.  The sets were absolutely gorgeous with one room especially being impressive.  It was like walking onto a Western movie set with the action going on all around us.  There was so much to look at, we’re sure we missed things and need to go through again. This ended up being one of our favorite houses of the event.

Going through Ghost Town a second time proved to be an excellent choice.  The house has really grown in just a week and I couldn’t be happier.  Scares had improved and they even managed to make me jump once or twice.  The only downside was the house now seemed a bit shorter than before.  Perhaps we walked through faster. I can’t wait to go through again.

Theme- 5/5

Originality – 3.5/5

Story – 3.7/5

Design – 4.8/5

Scares – 2.5/5  (3.5/5)

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Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield – B

dscn0079Michael Myers is my favorite horror icon.  His house two years ago at HHN 24 will probably always be ranked in my top five favorite houses of all time and I went berserk when news broke he was getting a second house based on his sequel! With all this said, the house did not live up to my expectations (scare wise).

As usual, Universal was sure to get every key scene from the film in the house, no matter how small it may seem.  Because of this, it really felt as though we went through the movie in sequential order, which was great.  The details were wonderful for someone like me.  However, the house felt rushed and a bit compact, which is odd considering this is in the same location as last years TWD house and that one felt long as hell.  There were some really good attempts at scares, but not all were as successful as the previous Halloween house was, which I found disappointing.  And the fiery ending was a mixture of interesting effects, confusion story line wise, and disappointment because of the last few (unnecessary) failed attempts of scares.

Adaptation – 5/5

Story – 4.7/5

Design – 4.0/5

Scares – 3.7/5

Krampus – A-

dscn0110A house which was high on my anticipation list.  Hell, the movie was high on my list last year, but I never got a chance to see it until last week and boom! Even more excitement for this house.  The Krampus house is basically the definition of why we come to Halloween Horror Nights now.  Fans of horror want to see their favorite films come alive in person, Universal knows just how to do it, and this house is no exception.

As expected, you get a nice burst of cold air as you enter the Krampus house, located within the Shrek 4D theater.  You are immediately swept into the movie as you enter the home straight from the film.  This house is jam packed with details from the film and if you aren’t paying attention, you may just miss them.  It helped that I watched the film just last week.  The house follows the story of the film very well and we see almost everything from the film.  There are some really great scares located throughout, and like I always say, if you can make me jump, you earn major points in my book.

I really just have a few critique for the Krampus house.  For a scare house about Krampus, it sure was lacking quite a bit of Krampus.  We only see him twice, which is a big shame. One is a statue high on a the roof (great for story) and the other is a scare that isn’t even by him.  (Edit: I’ve heard Krampus will be added into the house this coming weekend.  Universal did not have costumes for him ready in time for opening weekend.)  There are a few more things from the film I would have liked to have seen as well, such as the chimney with the chain pulling the child up, more evil snowmen, and the creepy angel. (If the angel was there, please correct me.  I’ve gone through twice and didn’t see it.)   I also wish we had had lookalike actors representing the characters from the film.  If we can pull of Lady Gaga and Jamie Lee Curtis, surely we can do the parents from Krampus.  It would’ve added just that little bit more and put this house over the top!

We didn’t get a chance to go into the Krampus house a third time, however, I have heard reports they switched out a few scares for the second weekend.  I was also told the reason Krampus himself was missing quite a bit in his own house on opening weekend was due to the costumes merely not being ready in time and he was in there for the second weekend. This is something I really wanted to check out for myself, but unfortunately we just ran out of time.  We’ll keep you posted.

Adaptation – 4.3/5

Story – 4.4/5

Design – 4.5/5

Scares – 4.4/5

 

Lunatics Playground 3D: You Won’t Stand a Chance – D

dscn0126If you’ve never been in a 3D haunted house, it’s like walking into the back of a Spencer’s Gifts store back in the late 90s with special glasses to make the florescent colors pop.  I’ve been familiar with this gimmick for a number of years and there’s one scene in a house I walked through up in PA I’m not sure anyone will ever be able to top.  Lunatics Playground is my third Universal 3D house and easily the worst one I’ve been in.  Last year’s Asylum in Wonderland 3D was very fun because it was chock full of details in its story and the more times you went through, the more you picked things up.  This house felt like it was thrown together as a last second thought.

It was a very standard 3D house and I don’t think one thing in the house tried to scare us.  I understand the story, sure, but it all seemed mediocre at best.  This is a house I feel I need to walk through one or two more times to get a better feel for because I may have just had an off experience.  I have more faith in Universal than this, but for now here are the ratings.

Theme- 3.3/5

Originality – 2.5/5

Story – 3.0/5

Design – 2.5/5

Scares – 1.0/5

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – C+

dscn0124Look out, a chainsaw.  Oh no, a chainsaw.  Wait!  Another chainsaw.  OK, I jest.  Of course this house contained a lot of chainsaws but there was so much more repetition than needed…And I’m not just talking chainsaws. But I digress.  It’s a little difficult for me to judge this house because I A) Find the original movie severely lacking in scares and shock unlike so many others, and B) Quite frankly, find it to just be out right boring. I did when I saw it fifteen years ago and I still did when I watched it again just last week.  (Truth be told, I prefer the remake. Much more suspense.) But it’s a horror classic and was still exciting to see come alive nonetheless.  There was only one problem, we see the same thing too many times over and over in the house.  And what that is is Leatherface’s ‘house.’

We enter from one way, then we enter from another, and then another.  It got way to repetitive.  There is more from the movie they could’ve used to help tell the story, but instead, all we see is Leatherface coming at us with a chainsaw from down the hallway, and then from around the corner, or from behind a curtain.  What about the gas station where his dad works?  Or the forest he chases two of the characters through?  Don’t get me wrong, there were details galore.  And just about everything you’d expect from the movie too. But the house needed so much more.  Perhaps I’m being overly harsh, perhaps not.  Either way, I plan to give it a few more chances.

Adaptation – 3.8/5

Story – 3.7/5

Design – 4.0/5

Scares – 3.0/5

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Tomb of the Ancients – A+

dscn0080It’s quite the challenge to impress me in a haunted house. Usually, I know what to look for when it comes to scares.  And it is very difficult to scare me, so if the house succeeds even once, it gets a good rating in my book. Last year’s An American Werewolf in London was that for me.  This year, Tomb of the Ancients has topped the charts and I think will definitely be a fan favorite for many!

I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so impressed with a haunted house.  From the moment we walked into this house, we felt a sense of suspense.  The walkways are consistently narrow throughout and (with your eyes properly adjusted) so much of the house seemed like a potential scare.  In fact, there is a specific moment near the beginning which initially didn’t scare me, but then what I expected to happen didn’t and I no longer knew what to expect.  Because of this, I was on edge for the rest of the house.

The scenic work was spot on and really looked and felt like we were in ancient caverns.  And the theme could not have been more fun. Explorer beware, this is one of the darkest houses I’ve been in.  Entering at night was fine.  The next day, we did it first and half of our group could not see the entire walk through, with me being almost blinded for the first third.  Something to keep in mind.  This house is a win on so many levels and will remain high on my list for a long time.

What can I say, I am just so in love with this house.  We went through this a third time on Sunday and noticed even more improvements to the house.  There were more effects working.  Air pressure effects representing blow darts.  Moving floors like you’d find in a fun house, but they really can take you off guard.  Tomb of the Ancients just does an excellent job keeping you off guard and uneasy from beginning to end.

Theme- 5.0/5

Originality – 4.7/5

Story – 4.0/5

Design – 5.0/5

Scares – 4.8/5

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The Walking Dead – C

dscn0143I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I hate zombies.  I find them dull, overused, and overrated.  And no, I don’t watch TWD show.  However, I will say, two years ago at HHN24, I thoroughly enjoyed TWD house.  I thought the story and details/sets were great, and it even had a couple good scares.  Then last years house came and sucked a big one.  Once again, zombies were boring and silly.  The house lacked in so many things and was one of my least favorites of HHN25.  This year’s house interested me because of the fact they were no longer going to be doing just one season, but all of the seasons combined.  I had hopes for this house, but I exited saying, ‘At least it was better than last years.’

This years TWD house truly was better than last years, but still not as good as the Terminus house from two years ago.  The house just wasn’t scary.  I at least could follow along story wise a bit thanks to the last two houses, but boy does it jump to those houses quickly.  If anything, it felt like the designers snoozed on this house and just threw together a lot of the old set pieces from the previous two houses because they predominantly made up the layout.  On the plus side, the fan of the show in our group really appreciated the details and thought the house was very cool for the same reasons American Horror Story is a fun house to walk through.  But for me, this house just isn’t cutting it.  Here’s to hoping it’s the final year of TWD and the zombies will finally be put to rest.

Adaptation – 4.0/5

Story – 3.5/5

Design – 4.0/5

Scares – 2.0/5

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My Personal Ranking

  1. Dead Man’s Wharf
  2. Lair of the Banshee
  3. Vamp ’55
  4. A Chance in Hell
  5. Survive or Die
  1. Tomb of the Ancients
  2. Krampus
  3. The Exorcist
  4. Ghost Town: The Curse of Lightning Gulch
  5. American Horror Story
  6. Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield
  7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  8. The Walking Dead
  9. Lunatics Playground 3D: You Won’t Stand a Chance

As a Whole

Overall, this year’s Halloween Horror Nights is incredibly strong!  In past years, there have been houses which I’d been very excited for and then disappointed with, or vice versa, and it seemed as though the line up for the houses was about 50% good and 50% weak.  That’s not the case this year.  Most of the houses this year excel in design, scares, or both.  There is room for improvement on a few, but I’m also keeping in mind not every walk through of the same house is the same.  For instance, during our first walk of The Exorcist, I noticed a few effects not working.  And for our second walk of Krampus, the scares were a bit less enthusiastic.  So there is definitely room for improvement because it was opening weekend.  Both shows are very entertaining, with a few weak spots here and there. And all of the scare zones genuinely add something extra to this years event.  This is a great year for HHN and I can’t wait to return for some more scares.

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About Chris DiPaula

Creator of DiPaula on Disney: entertainment website dedicated to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, other Florida parks and activities, and other adventures. Co-creator and producer of Parks, Brews, and Geek News: an entertainment website dedicated to the Florida theme parks including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, movie & geek news, and food and brews. Chris DiPaula has been an avid theme park and amusement park goer since childhood and a die hard Disney fan for as long as he can remember. He is currently an active concierge Cast Member at Walt Disney World Resort and has worked for The Walt Disney Company since 2011. Previously, he worked for Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando in the entertainment technician field as well.

Posted on September 22, 2016, in Universal Orlando and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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