Horror Nights Hollywood and Orlando share the same IPs this year (with the exception of Freddy vs. Jason) and many people are wondering if they are the same, carbon copies of Orlando’s house. The answer is a clear “absolutely not” but the better question is which event did each property better……
5 Shared Intellectual Properties
In the following piece, we will compare the differences of these 4 haunted house at each coast, and tell you which park did it better and why. The differences range from smells used (or lack thereof), amount of characters/actors, overall scariness, and length of the walkthrough. For a full review of Hollywood’s mazes and haunted attractions without comparison to Orlando’a event, click here.
Who did it better? Orlando
This comparison is actually pretty easy. Hollywood’s haunted house version of the famed film uses the same gags over and over between scenes that eventually become tired in its long walkthrough duration. After every single scene, there is a long hallway painted black with holes in the wall that actors pop out of with strobe lights and after about 3 quarters of the way through the house, you can just see these scares coming and they just become annoying rather than scary. The masks the actors wear as sub par and are quite obviously masks. I’m sure you can find these same masks at Party City. All the scenes from the movie are there for the most part, even scenes that Orlando missed like the Pazuzu statue appearing in Regan’s bedroom, with her reaching up to the sky with her head bent backwards, and even Regan sticking her tongue out at you. There are actors portraying Pazuzu just like in Orlando, but again they all use the same dark corridor, pop out of a wall with a strobe light trick. The thing that completely turned me off with this maze in Hollywood was the awful, gag inducing smell of rotting flesh, meat, urine, and vomit all combined through the house. I don’t mean to say you smell the rotting flesh, then the urine, then the rotting meat and so on. It’s all of those smells combined for the entire 4-6 minute walk time. It is sickening.
Orlando’s version however is decorated scene after decorated scene, and actresses wearing make up and prosthetics rather than cheap looking masks. There are no repetitive dark corridors with absolutely no dressing like Hollywood has, and the scenes are diverse enough to make for an entertaining and non-redundant walkthrough with lots to see and scream at. They also did the vomit scene much better, with guests having to shove their way through vomit soaked mattresses that are actually moist to the touch. There is indeed a smell of vomit in this scene, but not nearly as overpowering and in your face as Hollywood’s rendition. On top of this, that is the only smell in the entire house. Orlando also changes the route with which the guest walks through the bedroom every time they do so, whereas in Hollywood, the bed is to the right and windows to the left every time.
Who did it better? Hollywood
Orlando’s take on this IP isn’t terrible per se, but when comparing it to the version in LA, they are world’s apart. Orlando’s house is full to the brim with actors at every corner. This may be the result of guest expectations left by their first Halloween house 2 years ago. Michael Myers is literally everywhere, the scenes are a bit cramped, and the house overall doesn’t give you or your eyes much time to breathe. The scenes from the film are all there, including the woman bleeding out onto the ground on a gurney, the basement scenes, and even the hospital burning down (not included in the Hollywood edition.) But there are so many actors shoved in here that it’s so exhausting and it gets old.
Hollywood’s version uses smells and sights, instead of actors every half foot, to scare you psychologically. There are even times when you walk 10 feet without any Michael’s popping out, making the guest concerned for when he actually will. Some scenes are quite awe inspiring and of larger scale, and the scene where guests walk inside of a pumpkin was really the cherry on top. Although there are less scareactors, the scares themselves are much more effective. Where Orlando’s house scares you just by the guests hesitant to continue simply because he is everywhere, Hollywood takes it much more slowly and deliberately, using distractions and in-your-face moments with Michael in clear view without popping out to startle you. The maze uses smells of death, acetone, and sanitation fluids found in hospitals to stimulate all of your senses. Even the inside of the pumpkin smells like pumpkin guts, reminding you of carving Jack-O-Lanterns during October months.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Who did it better? Difficult decision, but Hollywood wins.
Orlando’s house only focuses on the original 1974 film, and Hollywood combines scenes from the first film as well as it’s sequel. The east coast house scenes only take place in and around the Sawyer Family house, and the west coast maze takes guests through the Lone Star BBQ and Gas station as well as the Sawyer residence and its surrounding backyard and forested areas.
The two houses are so vastly different, it’s difficult to decide which is better. Both coasts are well detailed in its sets, are immersive, and full of scares. Hollywood takes the cake with it’s constant use of varying smells (BBQ, rotting meat, burning flesh, etc), whereas Orlando doesn’t use this additional sense to horrify guests. Hollywood also has a leg up with its additional franchise characters like Chop Top, the decaying mummy of Grandma Sawyer, and Nubbins’ dead corpse sitting in a chair in Chop Top’s bedroom. On top of all of this, Hollywood’s maze is 5-7 minutes in duration, whereas Orlando is a measly 3-5 minutes.
American Horror Story
Who did it better? Orlando
Orlando’s haunted house incarnation of the popular TV series grabs this trophy with is longer length, larger set of characters, and better looking Twisty the clown characters. Their Twisty actors are actually wearing a scalp hat, make up on their faces, and the infamous jaw and snail on the bottom half of their face. Characters in Orlando portrayed by real actors that are not seen in Hollywood include Pepper, and the Tattooed Seal Man. The Orlando haunted house also includes additional scenes from the show like Elsa losing her legs to a snuff film and Edward Mordrake being summoned by someone performing on Halloween night. I know you’re saying “Hey everything you’re mentioning is only in the Freak Show segments.” Yeah well, the scenes from the other two seasons are included on both coasts in their own ways.
Hollywood’s version has mediocre quality Twisty masks (come on, you can’t even use the ones you sell in the gift shop, really? Those are worlds better…..) and has a shorter length. This maze wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t as good as Orlando. The one scene here that wasn’t at Orlando was Magician/Salesman Chester Creb sawing a woman in half. Pepper is a dummy sitting in a chair staring at the ground, and the maid of the Hotel Cortez is no where to be seen. Mr. March’s scenes seemed to have been glossed over, whereas in Orlando he can be seen stabbing people. The mattress demon doesn’t slowly squeeze out of the bed like he does in Orlando, instead he just stays halfway in the mattress moving around and screeching. Matter of fact, he’s a distraction for a picture frame scare.
Who did it better? Hollywood, hands down.
Orlando dropped the ball on this one, and Hollywood gladly picked it up. Orlando’s version is missing the one thing it promises, Krampus himself portrayed by actors. Instead, they have hollow forms of Krampus that don’t move and actors open it’s big Santa suit and scare you that way. Where Orlando really failed with this one is it’s lack of characters, and just placing evil elves all over the place and calling it a day. Yes, the teddy bear and Jack-in-the-box are there, but only once each, and in the same, tiny little scene. The smells of gingerbread and dirt are nice, but it didn’t save it for us. Readers have told us that they have improved the house since opening weekend, but we have noticed no difference. So why do we hate on it so much? That’s because there is a MUCH MUCH better version on the other side of the country.
We salute the designers of the Krampus house in Hollywood. It’s longer, has better and scarier scenes overall, actually uses the fireplaces in a few different ways, and Krampus is portrayed by moving, costumed actors that appears about 6 times. This maze has everything the Orlando house does and more, presented in such a better way. You would wish you had never seen the east coast version after visiting this marvel. The Jack-in-the-box is actually seen eating a woman whole, and the teddy bear is gnawing on a poor mans arm as he struggles to get him off. These characters appear multiple times in an attic scene that is about twice the size as Orlando’s. This house also includes the scene of Krampus’s elves dropping children into the burning fissure as seen in the movie. Of course, the smell of gingerbread makes an appearance. This west coast version is everything the Orlando version promised and failed to deliver.
Take our word for it, or take a trip to LA yourself
However these comparisons make you feel, you won’t know for yourself unless you make your way to California and experience it with your own eyes, ears, and noses (walkthroughs on YouTube don’t count!) Both coasts share 5 houses based on the same properties, and we have found that Hollywood did 3 of them better.