…now Regan is hating on HHN!?

Yesterday we told you how JK Rowling supposedly was upset at Universal’s unapproved use of lighting displays at Diagon Alley during Halloween Horror Nights (despite the fact that USJ has a dementor scarezone!).  Which brings us to another alleged celebrity battle at Halloween Horror Nights; one of which has had more of an impact on us fans!

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The Unmasking the Horror Tour has been a mainstay of HHN for years.  Starting more than 15 years ago, this pay extra tour has been allowing diehard HHN fans the opportunity to tour the haunted houses on select days for ‘lights on’ technical tours that allow fans to see how the scares are made.  A popular part of this tour was the ability to take as many photos as you wish in whichever houses you got to tour (selfie with Jason Voorhees from last year anyone?).  This part alone was worth the admission price!

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But not any longer, starting last week, Universal has instigated a new policy to prevent photography of any kind whilst touring these houses.  The one exception to this ruling is that you can still take photos in the non-IP houses, the problem with this ruling is that only Ghost Town is currently offered on the tour (Chance’s house isn’t used as 3D houses never make for interesting lights-on tours and Tomb of the Ancients is believed to be too logistically cramped for tour groups).

So why has this new rule been implemented so quickly?  Well apparently the problem lies with the IP holder of the movie The Exorcist.  Rumor has it that the spate of photos showing the Regan puppets on social media inflamed the production company, others have said that Linda Blair may not have taken too kindly to having scores of photos of her likeness all over the net.  Whatever the reason, we have heard this news from three different unofficial sources attached to Universal.  We queried this rumor and were told simply – “why else do you think the Regan in the store was also removed?”  You’ll find Michael Myers, Twisty, Leatherface etc. in the HHN store but no Regan… (though weirdly you can buy your own Regan doll to take home?)

But why?  Yesterday eve this blogger got a good run through of several houses with Universal and witnessed other internet bloggers, vloggers, and personalities actively being encouraged by Universal to film themselves through these IP houses.  Charles Trippy for example of the enormously popular Youtube channel CTFxC was right in front of us and was allowed by Universal to film various houses with his own handheld lighting rig.  We saw him film his own lights on version of American Horror Story and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (vidcaps below and link here).

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So why do you Universal do this?  Well, Charles for example has got 13,000 views for this video so far (as of 09/25).  So obviously Charles and other professional vloggers attract big viewing figures for the park and it’s a good way of cost-effective marketing.

But is it fair?  Well no, but do the IP holders actually know that this is happening?  Or do they know and they allow it as they’re not taking super detailed photos or selfies with these pea-hurling demons?  We’ll surely never know but it does seem unfair as for years these tours have allowed diehard HHN fans the opportunity to document and then get up close and personal with the scares.  My selfie with the werewolves of American Werewolf in London from last year is actually framed and hangs above my desk!

We at HHNU think it will be very unfair if this is to continue, particularly as the website STILL says that you’ll have “the chance to photograph every gruesome moment.” (See above at top).

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So let us know what you think – do you think this is fair?  Sound off in the comments…

JK Rowling Gets Angry With HHN

Yep that’s right, your favorite fantasy author and our beloved event have come to blows this week.  So at the risk of being sued by both Rowling and Universal we thought we would share with you this interesting story that came across our desk this week

It all started as early as 2000 when Disney were courting Rowling to give them the rights to use her books and movies in their theme parks.  Disney was rumored to offer some basic level of creative control and throw a Harry Potter themed ride in the back of their Animal Kingdom.  Things didn’t go to plan and without going into specifics, the deal was moved to Universal where full creative control was offered and the ability to offer a fully interactive environment created for her franchise.  In 2007 the deal was announced and building work began.

This deal would be manifested into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and would open just three years later in 2010 in Islands of Adventure.  After admission levels had soared, phase two was on the table, so just a year later it was announced that a new land would be built at the Studios Park replacing EVERYBODY’S favorite ride – Jaws (RIP Brucey).  This would open in 2014 as Diagon Alley with the now iconic London riverside facade.

The opening in 2014 was a smash hit and Universal again saw a huge bump in attendance sales, that’s why when 2014’s Halloween Horror Nights came around we all assumed that the new area within the Studios, complete with Escape from Gringotts, would be open for the event, but it didn’t.  Rowling was rumored to be unhappy with the event being near her new land and insisted that the land be closed for the duration with security personnel posted out front to stop any would be trespassers.

However, as with many of the aspects of this working relationship where Universal has done everything that the writer has asked (and more sometimes!), they were able to persuade the author to allow the area and the main ride to stay open for 2015’s HHN.  The area would have no Halloween decorations attached, no additional music, no fog, nothing – which Universal duly obliged.  Which brings us up to this year’s event…

Universal supposedly approached Rowling for 2016’s event and the answer was that as long as the conditions placed on it from the previous year were maintained then there would be no problem.  But there was a problem….

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The now ground pointed light effect

Shortly after this year’s HHN began, fans and devotees a-like were posting pictures on social media, namely Twitter, and in the background of a small number of photos was the London facade covered in a weird twisting light effect.  The glowing orange decals were spotted by the protective author and she immediately instructed her team to call Universal.  Thank you social media!  Rowling was alleged to have said that if Universal continues to add unapproved decorations to the area the whole land will be shut forthwith for any future HHNs.  The following night, the lighting display was pointed towards the ground and can still be seen twisting and turning on the pavements outside.

So did you manage to take a picture of these lights before they were changed?  Let us know in the comments!

 

(Disclaimer: we have heard this from two different unofficial Universal sources – all of which was strictly off the record and nothing is proven or presented as fact).

 

HHN Prep Marathon

If you’re a disciple of Halloween Horror Nights, there’s a pretty good bet that you’re anywhere between a moderate-to-hardcore fan of all things horror, particularly of the film variety. Now, if you’re like me – equal parts column A and column B – your ideal HHN experience includes a healthy blend of both original houses and existing IPs. With just over half of this year’s haunts gaining inspiration from the worlds of film and television, there’s no better way to build up anticipation for this year’s (or any year’s) event than by having your very own Pre-HHN Prep Marathon.

Depending on how much time you’ve got to spare and how much viewing you want to do, this marathon list is split into three parts:

  • The Essentials – Obvious picks, but these choices are a must-see before stepping into this year’s event.
  • The Second Tier – Have a few more hours to spare? These are a few more flicks to get you hyped for this year’s HHN.
  • The All-Nighters – Calling in sick on Monday? Well, if you think sleep’s overrated, you can’t go wrong with these picks.

The Essentials

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The Exorcist (1973) – There’s no better place to start our marathon than with what many consider “the scariest movie of all time”. The Exorcist also happens to be the longest movie of the bunch, with the Director’s Cut clocking in at just about 132 minutes. For this viewing, you’ll want to catch the aforementioned Director’s Cut, as this is the only place you’ll see the famous “spider walk”, which is sure to be replicated in this year’s house. Note to first-timers: the opening 45 minutes are a slow crawl, but the payoff is definitely rewarding.

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Halloween II (1981) – Although not officially named after the film, this year’s Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield appears to be a direct adaptation of the sequel to the original Halloween. While the 1978 John Carpenter classic continues to be required viewing for many during the fall season, few are familiar with its sequel. It may not be as ground-breaking as the original, but it’s still a more-than-worthy follow-up and an essential watch before walking into Halloween Horror Nights.

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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) – While there are a number of reboots and sequels in the franchise, this year’s house is based on the 1974 Tobe Hooper original. Therefore, this is the one to watch. Considered at the time as one of the most violent movies ever made, modern audiences will be surprised at just how bloodless and tame the film is by today’s standards.

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Krampus (2015) – How about some Christmas viewing for Halloween? From Michael Dougherty, the director of the underrated Trick-r-Treat (2007), Krampus is required viewing for anyone visiting Halloween Horror Nights this year. It’s a family comedy wrapped in a horror film sprinkled with equal parts Christmas cheer and, well, Halloween horror.

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American Horror Story (Pilot Episodes for Seasons 1, 4, and 5) – While our first (and surely not last) AHS house may possibly include bits from all five (now six) seasons of the FX series, the focus appears to be on the stories and characters seen in seasons one (Murder House), four (Freak Show), and five (Hotel). While viewing of all three full seasons is encouraged, it’s not required. All you need is a taste of the terror and HHN’s haunt will provide the full meal.

The Second Tier

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Halloween (1978) – It wouldn’t be Halloween without Halloween. Although it may seem like an obvious pick, make sure to pop this one in before watching Halloween II, as both films are set during the same day, with the sequel beginning exactly where the original ends.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) – This remake surely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, I won’t even go so far as to say the film is “good”, but if this Michael Bay-produced reboot does anything right, it’s upping the ante in terms of gratuitous violence and bloodshed. If this movie doesn’t make you want to immediately go take a shower, I don’t know what will.

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The Walking Dead (Pilot Episode) – Rick without a beard. Pre-pubescent Carl. Remember Shane? Let’s go all the way back to where it all began for the AMC monster hit. All the way back to before we started referring to zombies as “walkers”.

The All-Nighters

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My Bloody Valentine (1981) – This one’s a bit of a stretch, but bear with me. Based on early reactions to HHN 26, the runaway sleeper success of this year’s event appears to be Tomb of the Ancients. Our very own “scottyrif” ranked it as his #1 house of the year. While not based on an existing IP, the first image that came to mind when researching the theme of the house was the killer miner from this 1981 film. In a nutshell, My Bloody Valentine is a slasher flick set in a small mining town featuring a central killer dressed in mining gear. I said it was a stretch.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) – Unlike Halloween II, this film has just about nothing to do with its original. This sequel, also directed by Tobe Hooper, is as disturbing as it is hilarious. Anyone who’s watched this one would probably agree that the less said the better. Anyone who HASN’T watched this should be prepared for a few “WTF” moments. I mean, just look at the poster!

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The Walking Dead (Season 1) – Now that we’ve watched the pilot, why not continue with the remaining five episodes of the first season of the AMC hit? To think, only six episodes were ordered for the first season to gauge whether or not the show would be a success.

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American Horror Story (Seasons 1, 4, and 5) – We’ve come this far, so why not add three more seasons of television to the marathon? I said they weren’t essential viewing, but if you’ve got the time, you can’t go wrong with the basis for this year’s American Horror Story house.

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Jaws (1975) – As one of the greatest movies of all time and the inspiration for one of the greatest theme park rides of all time, there’s no better way to end the night (or weekend, at this point) than with Universal history. With the Dead Man’s Wharf scare zone having a nautical haunted harbor theme, it’s not that far of a stretch to get feelings of nostalgia for the now absent classic Universal Studios ride. Besides, do you really need a reason to re-watch Jaws?

Anything missing from the list? What would you add? Feel free to let us know and happy viewing!

HHN26 Houses and Scarezones Ranked

We have seen it all at Halloween Horror Nights 26, and it’s time for us to let you know what you definitely need to see, and what fell short of expectations….

The Haunted Houses

This year’s event has brought forth 9 solid haunted houses. It was a bit of a task choosing which houses are duds this year, to be honest. It was even harder choosing which were the absolute best as they were all so great. We gave you guys individual reviews of each house throughout the weekend, and we would like to put them all in a list, best to worst, in three categories. For more in depth reviews of each house including why we ranked them as we have, check out our full reviews here (Ghost Town, Tomb of the Ancients, and Lunatics Playground), here (Krampus, American Horror Story, and The Walking Dead), and here (Texas Chainsaw, The Exorcist, and Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield)

Must See Mazes
These are the best of the line up this year. Coming up with the top three wasn’t exactly easy, but these houses took the cake and got the extra fifth star that earned them the top spots on our list.

# 1 Tomb of the Ancients ★★★★★
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If you are to only visit one original content house his year at Halloween Horror Nights, make it the Tomb of the Ancients. Slated to become one of he greatest original content houses UO has ever constructed, this house utilizes claustrophobia and closed quarters to the max. Full of actors every two or three feet, the scares are abundant and relentless. This house has scared us the most out of all the rest of them. You will walk out of this maze shaking, yet wanting to visit again!

#2 Halloween: Hell Comes To Haddonfield ★★★★★
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This house has lived up to its predecessor of two years ago and brings us straight back to the horrors of seeing Michael Myers right in our faces at every turn. From beginning to end, you will fear Michael’s presence every step you take. This house also offers incredible special effects that are seriously a wonder, including the glowing embers of the hospital burning to the ground all around you.

#3 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ★★★★★
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This maze is incredibly detailed, full of actors, and an amazing recreation of the movie. This one really is like walking through a physical representation of the film from beginning to end, and it is full of scares and fantastic effects.


The Close Seconds

These houses could very well be included in the “Must See” category, but didn’t have as much impact in comparison. For one reason or another (lack of diversity of characters, not as many scares, or the house is more of a visual wonder than a total scare fest), they didn’t get that extra fifth star.

#4 American Horror Story ★★★★☆
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Being very faithful to the television show it is based on, this maze has many many details that fans of the show can find. Unfortunately, our first and only walkthrough so far was in the middle of a cast change, so many of the characters were missing! The house seemed like it had a lot of potential, and we can’t wait to give it a second go round, hopefully with a full cast!

#5 The Exorcist ★★★★☆img_9569

Jam packed full of awe inspiring special effects, this haunted house is quite visceral and throws you straight into Regan’s own possession. From narrow corridors with things stretching through the walls and touching you to a room full of vomit (with the smell to boot), you walk through the possession as it happens, and watch Regan herself decompose more and more as she spirals deeper into Pazuzu’s grasp.

#6 Ghost Town: The Curse of Lightning Gulch ★★★★☆
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This house is more of a looker than a screamer, and is decorated to the T with amazing detail. The characters speak with old timey, slightly humorous accents as you walk through this deserted western town of yesteryear.

The “Fall Flats”
These houses, although brimming with potential, fell flat for various reasons. Whether it’s they didn’t deliver on their promises, or they weren’t scary at all, these mazes didn’t quite make the cut against all the houses we have visited throughout the years of Halloween Horror Nights seasons.

#7 Krampus ★★★☆☆
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Many people looked forward to this house, whether it’s because they liked the movie or were looking forward to it being this year’s comedic house with a sense of humor sprinkled throughout. Unfortunately, this is not what was delivered. Instead, we got a house with the same characters over and over and no comedy whatsoever. They could have done a lot more with this house, but it kind of felt like they phoned it in.

#8 The Walking Dead ★★★☆☆
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As we have said before, this was more of a “best of” house from all previous years of Walking Dead mazes. It could have been good, as the idea would be to put all the best scenes from all the previous houses that worked really well when they originally appeared together, but it ended up feeling like a Nickelback “greatest hits album” where you knew all of the overplayed songs already and would rather not hear them again, but you were forced to listen to it anyway.

#9 Lunatics Playground ★★✮☆☆
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Destined to become the biggest disappointment of the year, this house orginally sounded like it was going to be pretty sweet. You have Shadybrook Asylum, the icon of the year, and the promise of multiple brutal murders all throughout. Maybe the mistake was choosing to make this a 3D house, but something went wrong and what we ended up getting was a dull, crude, scarefree walkthrough of Chance killing multiple people on stages.

The Scarezones

This year’s scarezones are rather diverse, ranging from a post-apocalyptic turf war to mythical monsters of the forest. But how do they stack up against each other?

#1 Survive or Die: Apocalypse
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This scarezone is full of some pretty interesting characters, making up two different gangs of survivors of the end of the world. They can be seen fighting with each other throughout the scarezone, battling for turf, precious oxygen, and grapes. In terms of screams on the streets, you will hear the most in this scarezone. This scarezone also has chainsaws.

#2 Roaming Hordes
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Now before you go and tell us “hey, roaming hordes don’t count as scarezones. This is true for the most part, but on the topic of scareactors on the streets, they can’t be ignored. The four different hordes bring their own spices to the table, and make for many screams from guests, and even make some run in terror. These hordes are not to be underestimated just because they aren’t on the map.

#3 Vamp ’55
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With plenty of characters spread out and lots of events that happen throughout this night, this scarezone is diverse enough for multiple visits without seeing the same thing twice. The actors seem to be having fun with their roles and have a decent amount of energy and interaction with guests. The music and wardrobe also give this scarezone a nice aesthetic boost.

#4 Dead Man’s Wharf
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Although not very scary at all, this scarezone is a marvel to look at. The lighting is brilliantly designed, and the attention to detail throughout on the props and costumes is superbly stellar. The soundtrack chosen is also quite sublime. Although you will rarely hear guests’ screams echoing through this scarezone, it is definitely something to behold.

#5 Lair of the Banshees
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With a decent amount of actors throughout, this scarezone provides for a good night time walkthrough. This zone is not nearly as effective when the sun is out. The neat effects inside the prop pieces really reach their full potential in the dead of night. The stilt walkers work as a great distraction to the actors on the ground, and the shaker cans make their return.

#6 Chance In Hell
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Chance once again makes her unfortunate and disappointing way to the bottom of the list with this scarezone. Although the escaped Shadybrook patients have some pretty cool outfits (especially the syringe crowns), this zone’s tiny footprint and lack of scares cause it to fall short. The only thing this scarezone really has going for it is it’s gory set pieces. The main issue with this scarezone is the fact that Chance is on the middle stage, and it causes a huge traffic jam right at the entrance of the park! Tens of people just stand there and take photos of Chance and film her as she tells knock knock jokes and talks to herself, causing a big roadblock. This is most definitely a scarezone that one will walk through and not pay much mind to.

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House Reviews: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Exorcist, and Halloween 2

The opening weekend of HHN26 has come to a close, and the last remaining houses were a blast! Let’s get right to it….

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ★★★★★

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With an incredible amount of detail and faithfulness to the movie itself, this haunted house was one of the best of the year. There were various moments and quotes taken directly from the film, along with a much wider cast than just Leatherface himself.

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The cast of characters included Nubbins, Grandpa Sawyer, Dayton Sawyer (the father), as well as both Sally and Franklin Hardesty.

The house starts in the Sawyer’s living room covered in chicken feathers and the infamous couch constructed out of bones. There are human remains all over the place, but it’s a bit dark to be able to see everything. You can also hear their chicken clucking in the background. You progress further into the Sawyer’s house, passing the staircase, the stainless steel door, and more. Than its into the kitchen to watch Leatherface chop up a body. Through a narrow hallway lined with windows on the left side, you eventually make it into the dining room, where you can see Grandpa Sawyer sitting at the head of the table, awaiting his next meal. Turning left you actually pass by the staircase a second time.

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The following scene is one I really liked with some great lighting effects (the entire scene is lit up by a camera flash!), and it’s further into the Sawyer’s house you go. The path you follow, going through the house, than outside, and back inside again, is the same path that the characters in the film took on that fateful night.

Once you’re outside of the tent that houses the maze, it is still not over as there is more stuff to see and more actors to get scared by, so don’t relax yet just because you have made it back outside. A keen observer will also see Franklin’s dead body still sitting in his wheelchair as well as a motorcycle used in the scarezones during “The Carnival Of Carnage” within the outdoor decorations which make up the Sawyer’s backyard.

I give this house a full 5/5 due to it’s attention to detail, great scares, effects, and faithfulness to the original source.

The Exorcist ★★★★☆

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This haunted house was overall pretty great. There are some awesome special effects scattered throughout the house, and the movie’s original soundtrack and dialogue shine.

The effect in the first scene really is something to behold, as the walls of the house disappear and the demon Pazuzu’a statue is everywhere outside. Pazuzu appears in the house in various other ways, including flashes of his face in lights on the walls, to his statue here and there, and even his head is enlarged at one point and pops out through the wall.

The maze follows the possession of Regan, and the actresses who play her throughout the house get more and more decomposed and demonic as the house progresses, which was really neat.

A notable scene, which lasted a little longer than I was comfortable with, was two narrow corridors, with stuff moving and touching either sides of your body. It was much like a similar corridor in the Insidious house of last year’s HHN25 that also had objects stretching through the wall and touching you. But this one was about double the length of that.

The vomit scene had a particular odor of partially digested food, but it wasn’t super overpowering and gross. What was more gross than the smell was walking through the vomit soaked mattresses.

Scenes in the movie that were not included in this haunted house were Regan peeing on the carpet, stabbing herself in the nether-regions with a crucifix, and the infamous “Your mother sucks…….” quote. Also, at no point does Regan stick out and wiggle her long demon tongue at you. But you can expect to see her freaking out on her bed, her head spinning around, floating on top of the bed, and killing the old priest, amongst other things.

I give this house 4 stars for its awesome special effects, sound effects and soundtrack, and it’s unique way that it shows you the same room 6 times without getting boring.

Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield ★★★★★

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Just as the original Halloween house was back in HHN24, this house was one of the scariest of the year (if not the scariest!)

The maze actually begins at the end of the original Halloween film, with guests immediately walking through the closet with clothes hanging that you have to walk through. The group in front of us actually got lost and didn’t realize we were supposed to turn left and instead kept walking straight and ending up in a boo hole. I have to admit though, there’s no gap in the clothing to help you figure out you need to turn left. Dr. Loomis in the next scene actually had to wave us in the right direction, my wife could see him through the clothing telling us “this way” with his hand.

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Anyhow, you go through a few scenes at the end of the first movie to lead you into the hospital in which the movie takes place. Michael Myers is pretty much everywhere (as he should be) and will pop out for a scare at every corner. Some of them don’t even have lighting effects when they pop out, and hide and scare in the shadows.

A noteable scene is that from the movie where a women is seen on a hospital bed bleeding out from her arm all over the ground. There’s the shadow of Michael Myers behind some privacy screens, but of course that’s not where he actually pops out for the scare! Not to mention, the finale of the house is something not to miss, as the hospital burns to the ground all around you while you’re still in it, with a charred Michael still chasing after you!

I give this maze a full 5 star rating for how scary it was throughout, the amount of actors, variety of characters, and great set dressing and decoration. This haunted house definitely lived up to it’s predecessor of two years ago, if not improved on it.

Opening Weekend Summary

Without getting into ranking the houses best to worst (that’s for another article altogether), HHN26 is a pretty great year overall. The houses are all very solid, each having their own merits. The only maze I could say that fell flat this year is Lunatics Playground, which comes with the dissapointment of many, as it is the house of this year’s icon. We haven’t gotten much time in the scarezones thus far as we were focusing on the houses first, but we can say that from what we have seen, they aren’t the best scarezones we have ever seen, but they’re also not completely terrible. We haven’t heard a huge amount of screams coming from the streets so far, but it has only been one weekend. Give the actors another weekend to get used to their characters and effective methods of scaring guests and these scarezones have a lot of potential.

Keep following the page for a more in depth summary of this year’s horror nights event in the coming days. We sign off today with a photo of our senior writer with a Geisha and one of Chance’s crazy minions! Happy screaming!

 

House Reviews: Krampus, American Horror Story, and The Walking Dead

HHNU has now seen 6 out of the total nine houses. Check out what we thought of the three we saw last night, and come check us out again tomorrow for the final three remaining mazes; Texas Chainsaw, Halloween 2, and The Exorcist…

Krampus ★★★☆☆

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With great use of holiday smells, sights, and sounds, Krampus is the holiday juxtapose most guests are looking for. It is based on the horror comedy film released last year of the same name.

The hype surrounding this house had many HHN fans looking forward to it as being this year’s comedic horror house, with some sense of humor sprinkled into the frights. Unfortunately, we did not find that this was the case.

Nay, not only were there no parts of the house that we found to be funny, but the diversity of characters was also lacking. All we saw were these short, evil elf characters throughout the house. They have very large, almost bobble-head like craniums with symbols on their foreheads. Apparently they appear in the movie a few times, but not enough for me to remember too well, and definitely not as many times as they did in this haunted house.

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The house didn’t exactly follow the plot of the film, but rather had us walking through about 3 or 4 houses within the neighborhood that the movie takes place, observing the destruction and killings that happened within them. One scene, with the smell of gingerbread pumped into it, was inside someone’s kitchen with static evil gingerbread men spread troughout the scene. We got excited at this moment because we thought we would see some cool effect with gingerbread men puppets being hurled at our faces, but no. It was just another short evil elf. Disappointing.

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Were you hoping to see evil gingerbread men flying at your face for a good scare? Nope….not happening…..sorry

We did not see the evil teddy bear either (even though we have heard that he was in there, perhaps that scene didn’t activate as we walked through), and there was only ONE snowman throughout the entire house. What we did see was the evil Jack in the box monster clown…….thing. He was in the attic scene across from a woman being hung by a noose.

The Krampus characters themselves are actually large, hollow, immobile constructs of his body, which a scareactor crawls into the back of and sticks their face into the hole where Krampus’s face would be. We thought maybe they would be large puppets or actors in costumes, but nope.

A noteworthy scene is near the end when you end up in Krampus’s lair, where it smells like dirt and there are snowglobes all over the walls. A keen observer would notice a lot of iconic horror houses inside of these snowglobes (The Myers’s house, Shadybrook Asylum, the house in Insidious, AHS Murder House, and even the caretaker’s ScreamHouse)

I give this house 3 stars because it’s lack of characters, no comedic elements, and overall lack of connection to the movie it’s representing. I can see why they made the decisions they made when designing this house, but I really feel like they could have done a lot more to really give the guest a feeling like they were walking through the movie, not walking through a mediocre haunted house loosely based off the movie.

American Horror Story ★★★★☆

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This year’s “uber house” (longest house of the year/in HHN history) as we have mentioned before, covers three seasons of the ever popular “American Horror Story” TV series.

Murder House seemed rather glossed over, with about three or four scenes from the season, mostly focusing on the basement. We saw Tate once, as well as Doctor Montgomery, and Moira O’Hara (both young with both eyes in tact and old with her ghost eye) We apparently missed the scene with the burnt man, Larry Harvey. Guess the scareactor just kept hiding as we passed. We also walked into the bathroom scene where a man said “Here piggy, pig, pig” into his mirror and a pig man in overalls appeared in his shower tub. There was also a scene with a bunch of rubber men, some being actors and standing still and some mannequins, there were even some floating above us and some climbing out of the walls. One of those “I’m not sure which one is real!” type scares we have seen many times in the past.

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Freak Show seemed to be the main event in this house, with a large bulk of the middle section of the house dedicated to it. We saw plenty of characters from the season, including Pepper, The Tall Woman, Twisty the Clown (he pops up the most of all the characters), The Bearded Lady, The Two Headed Lady, Meep, and Dandy, as well as his mother. We did not see The Tattooed Seal Man, Mon Petit, magician Chester Creb, or Lobster Boy.

A noteworthy scene during the Freak Show segment, which I was really hoping to see, was the scene where Elsa Mars loses her legs to a chainsaw when she was unwillingly casted in a snuff film.

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After Freak Show of course was Hotel, which essentially showed us some highlight scenes throughout the season until about the 6th episode. Scenes like James Patrick March stabbing someone on a bed, and the maid popping out to freshen the linens. As well as the countess in multiple scenes, including one with her baby in it’s crib. There was a demon guy squeezing out of a mattress as well.

We also saw the sarcophagi that the children of the hotel slept in, as well as the cages with neon lights on them that they kept the captives in to feed the children with.

You see Twisty the clown one last time in a room full of crazy strobe lights before exiting the house. One last detail we would like to point out is that Orlando did way better than Hollywood did when it comes to the Twisty characters make up job. As we have mentioned before, the Hollywood AHS house has Twisty characters wearing full face masks including the hair, eyes, and nose. But in Orlando, they made them look much better with make up on their face and the bottom jaw piece covering the bottom half of their face. It looks much, much better than the Twisty characters in Hollywood. Thanks for that, Orlando team.

I give this house 4 stars for its length, attention to detail, amount of actors, faithfulness to its original source, and some good scares.

The Walking Dead ★★★☆☆

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Finally, the last time I’m walking through one of these monotonous placeholders. There’s not much to say about this house other than it’s honestly just a highlights house that accumulates all of the best scenes from the Walking Dead houses over the last 5 years. It’s a whole bunch of stuff we have already seen, presented as a compilation of sorts to service the die hard fans of the series one last time.

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I give this house 3 stars mainly because it’s a whole bunch of decent scenes strung into one zombie collage, so to speak. It was one of the better walking dead houses over the years, but I’m still glad this IP will finally be laid to rest after this year. It’s gotten very old and sour over the past few years. This dead horse is finally getting it’s last beating.

Three Houses Remain

We have saved what we think will be the best houses of the year for last; The Exorcist, Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield, and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Check out the site tomorrow for reviews of these houses and an overall best and worst piece to give you guys an overall idea of what’s great and what is totally skippable if you’re pressed for time.

House Reviews: Ghost Town, Tomb of the Ancients, and Lunatics Playground + Bill and Ted

HHNU was at opening night yesterday and we’re ready to roll out our first reviews of the event, starting with three houses and a show….

Ghost Town ★★★★☆

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With beautiful scenery throughout, Ghost Town: The Curse of Lightning Gulch is a sight to behold. There are plenty of actors throughout the whole house, and great lighting effects. It’a also raining in some of the scenes, so beware: You will get wet.

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The actors are covered in blue and grey tones of paint to look like ghosts. Most of the walls and furnishings are also these same tones, so they tend to blend into the surroundings. When walking through this maze, also take the time to look up and around, as there are some cool things to see up there as well.

The characters all speak in the way you would expect prospects of the olden times to speak, saying phrases like “That’s me gold!” or “Don’t be touchin’ mah riches!” in mildly humorous accents.

I give this haunted house 4 stars for its incredible attention to detail, density of props and decorations, and lighting design and effects. A really great house to look at if not get a scare or two.

Tomb of the Ancients ★★★★★

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Jam packed full of incredibly effective scares, this very enclosed space of a haunted house is HHN original content at it’s finest. The house is frightening from the get go, when you are immediately presented with a claustrophobic hallway with multiple windows on either side full of scary stuff and a dropping effect in the floor that also makes a very very loud noise.

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The house is full of various characters from Egyptian history, as well as mummies and some monsters. The story behind the house is that an expedition into an Egyptian tomb went wrong and released the wrath of “The Ancient Ones,” an evil group of monsters from hell. Expect to see many Egyptian characters, as well as some things you wouldn’t expect to see in an ancient tomb. Without spoiling anything, there is a scare right near the end of the house that is so unexpected and out of place that it is super terrifying. It scared the bejesus out of me!

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I give this house a full 5 stars for its incredible amount of scares, actors, stuff to look at, length, and the overall close proximity of it all. This is definitely a house you can visit multiple times and still get scared.

Lunatics Playground ★★✮☆☆

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This house is a direct sequel to the events that took place during last year’s show “The Carnage Returns.” The queue video displayed on the house’s facade shows that Chance gets arrested in a backstage area of Horror Nights for the murder of Amanda at the end of the show. You can tell it takes place at Horror Nights because the physical confrontation that ensues is on a chain link fence with green tarp, same kind as seen at many of the house queue lines. She is also wearing the same outfit from last year, implying it was right after the show.

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Chance and Amanda at HHN25’s “The Carnage Returns”

She gets arrested by the police officers and then admitted to Shadybrook Asylum. Jack’s box is seen throughout the video. She gets interviewed by the Asylum’s psychiatrist and is asked “tell me about what happened at the end of the show?” and Chance answered by saying “That was just the beginning.”

 

The house itself was lacking in real scares, but I feel this is a trend with 3D houses. It was essentially a series of scenes of Chance killing orderlies and security officers of the ShadyBrook Asylum in various ways. Some of them are in real life colors and others are in bright fluorescent colors that create the 3D effects. The scenes in reality versus scenes “in Chance’s mind” are differentiated by the sounds within them; alarms in the reality scenes and music box tunes in the “mind” scenes.

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I give this house 2 and a half stars for lack of scares and the 3D effects are minimal. I would rather go through the house without the glasses on. It was just overall a bit crude and kinda lame. I would prefer Asylum In Wonderland over this one.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure ★★★☆☆

This year’s Bill and Ted show was rather decent. It wasn’t the barrel of laughs that we have seen in previous years, but I can definitely confidentially say it is an improvement over the last few years. It takes place around a Red Box machine and Kylo Ren. The stand out joke for me was what the Warcraft character said as he ran off stage, but unfortunately not all audience members got that. Nothing was too offensive or off the charts this time around, but the Avatar Nahvi character made their return for the third year in a row.

I give the show 3 stars because it wasn’t a constant laugh as we have seen in previous years, but I feel there have been years that fell more flat than this year.

BONUS PHOTOS OF SOME ROAMING HORDE ACTORS!

We encountered all four of the roaming hordes in the park last night, and took some photos of the cheerleaders and the scarecrows. Keep following our site for more photos of these hordes as the event progresses.

The “Demented Cheerleaders” are wearing HHN shirts, apparently cheering on the event itself, and are very mean girls. They call guests idiots and to shut up when spoken to, especially when they are barked at or cat called to.

Some of the Scarecrows walk around and some of them stand completely still and strike with their chainsaws at random. Their costumes are varying, but they all have a scarecrow feel to them one way or another.

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Keep following our site for more house reviews throughout this weekend, and we will see you tonight at HHN26 night two!