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HHN Trip Report 9/26 & 9/27

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  • HHN Trip Report 9/26 & 9/27

    I was lucky enough to experience Halloween Horror Nights twice last weekend. It was blast! I figured I would write up a quick trip report and break down what I thought of each maze and scare zone. I am also going to steal DTH's grading scale from their trip report (which was great, BTW!).

    Both nights we had Front of Line passes, which is the only way I'll go now (aside from VIP). Friday was fairly busy. It was easy to navigate around, even with the construction and we got to do some things twice. Saturday was another story, and crowds were way worse. I've never been so thankful to have the FoL pass. Some of those lines were insane!

    First things first. My rankings are based on how much I enjoyed the maze overall. The stats at the bottom don't necessarily effect the final placement. Below is how I chalked up the mazes and the scare zones.

    Maze Ranking:

    1) Alien VS Predator
    2) An American Werewolf in London
    3) From Dusk till Dawn
    4) Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood
    5) The Walking Dead: End of the Line
    6) Clowns 3D: Music by Slash
    7) FaceOff: In the Flesh

    Scare Zones:

    1) Dark Christmas
    2) Mask-A-Raid
    3) The Walking Dead: Welcome to Terminus
    4) The Purge: Anarchy
    5) Skullz

    Mazes:

    Alien VS Predator:

    If you ask anyone who has been to HHN this year what the best dressed maze was, the answer would be Alien VS Predator. The sets alone are incredible. For me, this was the one that was the most like stepping into a movie. The setup, the sounds, the costumes, EVERYTHING. I am not joking when I say that this maze does not have a weak spot. When you weren't gawking at the design, you were having the crap scared out of you - and that is why this maze is in the top spot for me.

    Facade - 10.
    Set Design - 10.
    Sound Design - 10.
    Scareactor Design - 10.
    Special Props & Design - 10.
    Immersion - 10.
    Length - 9.
    Scare Level - 9.5
    Fun Level - 10.
    Story Comprehension - 10.
    Personal Bias Points - 9. I cannot say enough great things about this maze.


    An American Werewolf in London:

    I think that everyone's top 2 would probably be about the same as mine. This maze obviously does not disappoint. The scareactors did a great job and again, the set pieces were amazing. Both nights I had quite a few scares - specifically in the movie theater scene, and with some of the puppets. My only issue with this one was that the last couple of rooms weren't quite as detailed as the rest. Overall though, a great maze. AVP beat it by just a sliver, but this was a close second. This is one of those mazes that you want to do again and again and I am glad that we were finally able to get it this year.

    Facade - 9.5
    Set Design - 9.5
    Sound Design - 10.
    Scareactor Design - 9.
    Special Props & Design - 10.
    Immersion - 10.
    Length - 9.
    Scare Level - 9.
    Fun Level - 10.
    Story Comprehension - 9.
    Personal Bias Points - 8. Being able to 'be a part of' anything John Landis created is amazing!

    From Dusk till Dawn:

    Let me preface this summary by saying that I love the original movie. I was excited about this one from the start, and I was pleased with what the end result was. Upon walking into the Twister, you are greeted by the Gecko brothers and the doorman. I thought that this was a great touch. The interactions they were having with the fans was awesome and definitely knocked this one up a few notches for me from the get go. Speaking of the Twister - the dance room scenes were AWESOME. Specifically the post-battle one - it looked great! I thought that the scareactors brought it here too. It wasn't quite as in your face as some of the other mazes (more on that later), but I really enjoyed myself here!

    Facade - 10.
    Set Design - 9.5
    Sound Design - 8.
    Scareactor Design - 9.
    Special Props & Design - 9.
    Immersion - 8. (9 for the dance room scenes)
    Length - 9.
    Scare Level - 8.5
    Fun Level - 9.
    Story Comprehension - 7. I feel like if you hadn't seen the movie/TV show, you would be pretty lost.
    Personal Bias Points - 9.

    Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood:

    When this maze was announced, I wasn't very excited. In fact, it was probably the one maze that I was not really looking forward to at all. The movie trailer didn't draw me in, and it felt like Universal pushed Murdy and the crew to do it. Even walking up the maze entrance, which is just a cave with some d skeletons around it, I wasn't nearly as apprehensive as I had been for the other mazes that night. It was probably a good thing I wasn't, because this maze scared the crap out of me both times I went through it. From a set standpoint - there wasn't much here. Actually, it was mostly dark the whole way though. A few lit scenes here and there, and then dark again...BUT the difference here is that it was a non stop scare almost all the way through for me. I'm talking several scares per scene - including the pitch black areas. It really caught me by surprise, which is why it's resting in the number 4 spot on my list. I guess you really can't judge a book by it's cover!

    Facade - 7.5
    Set Design - 7.5 (where applicable)
    Sound Design - 7.
    Scareactor Design - 8.
    Special Props & Design - 7.
    Immersion - 6.5
    Length - 8.
    Scare Level - 9.
    Fun Level - 8.5
    Story Comprehension - 7.
    Personal Bias Points - 0. I had no dog in this fight. I thought this maze would be a dud - I was mistaken!

    The Walking Dead: End of the Line:

    I have been reading the Walking Dead comics for quite some time, and have watched the show as long as it has been on the air. Two years ago at HHN, the first year that the Walking Dead was introduced, it was my Alien VS Predator. I remember coming out of the maze tensed up and loving it. The year after that, still a blast. This year though, it felt a little tired. There really wasn't that big of a difference from 2013 to 2014 I thought. With that being said, I still had fun. It was still amazing aesthetically, and totally immersive. The tunnel gave me some really good scares and I enjoyed the whole thing overall. It's nice that they can do something a little different each year, but this sort of felt like a repeat maze to me.

    (I know that the stats are higher for this than Dracula, but I have to give it to the Dracula Untold guys! They really brought the scares!)

    Facade - 10. That tank!
    Set Design - 10.
    Sound Design - 9.
    Scareactor Design - 8.5
    Special Props & Design - 8.
    Immersion - 9.
    Length - 8.5
    Scare Level - 8.5
    Fun Level - 8.5
    Story Comprehension - 8.5
    Personal Bias Points - 9.5

    Clowns 3D: Music by Slash:

    Holding down the 6 spot tightly is Clowns 3D. Nestled in the lower lot, Clowns is definitely fun. Visually it's pretty stunning..the 'funhouse effect' is in full swing here. I like the mirror tricks in the beginning, and I liked the wackiness of it all the way though. The character consistency was nice too. All in all a well done, fun maze. It didn't really deliver to me in the scare department so much, but I still walked away both times laughing. A good original maze! (I do wish the name was something a little more creative - won't hold it against them though).

    Facade - 8.
    Set Design - 8.5.
    Sound Design - 9.5 Yeah! Slash!
    Scareactor Design - 8.5
    Special Props & Design - 8.
    Immersion - 8.5
    Length - 8.
    Scare Level - 7.5
    Fun Level - 8.
    Story Comprehension - 8.
    Personal Bias Points - 7. Love me some crazy clowns!

    FaceOff: In the Flesh:

    Last, but not least in the maze category we have FaceOff: In the Flesh. As most of you probably know, this is the last hurrah for the House of Horrors at Universal so it was a little bittersweet. The maze itself wasn't too far off from previous years, or even the HoH during the off season. There isn't a whole lot you can do with something that is already a maze like this, but they did a good job. The costumes were great, and I really liked the spin on Alice in Wonderland in the main scene downstairs. It wasn't my favorite maze overall, but still a good time with a decent amount of scares. My only complaint about this one was that that it felt like the strobe effects in each room were on overdrive. I know that maze relies on strobes anyway, but this time it seemed more intense.

    I also made sure to sit out by the exit door both nights and watch the chainsaw character terrorize the patrons. Easily my favorite part of the whole maze each year. It will be missed!

    Facade - 8.
    Set Design - 8.
    Sound Design - 9. Figure kills it!
    Scareactor Design - 8.5
    Special Props & Design - 7.5
    Immersion - 8.
    Length - 8.5
    Scare Level - 8.
    Fun Level - 8.
    Story Comprehension - N/A. If you're a fan of FaceOff, you'll recognize some of the characters for sure.
    Personal Bias Points - 9. I love the House of Horrors. Sad to see it go!

    Scare Zones:

    Dark Christmas:


    This scare zone easily trumps them all this year. A great horror twist on a cheerful holiday! Anything involving the Krampus I am generally a fan of. Don't miss this one!

    Overall Grade - A+
    Sound Design - 9.5 Christmas music made creepy? Yes!
    Scareactor Design - 9.
    Special Props & Design - 8.5

    Mask-A-Raid:

    I voted for this one, and I'm sure glad it won. It was definitely creepy and the scareactors were really on it! I just wish it were a little longer, and that there were more scareactors out!

    Overall Grade - A
    Sound Design - 9.5
    Scareactor Design - 9.
    Special Props & Design - 8.

    The Walking Dead: Welcome to Terminus:The Walking Dead and the Metro Sets - two great tastes that taste great together. They really do a good job on this scare zone, and with the new (I think they are new?) additions of the screens in the windows showing people getting taken down by zombies it's completely immersive. Not a whole lot different from last year's scare zone, but still a very cool intro the 3 mazes down there.

    Overall Grade - A
    Sound Design - 9.
    Scareactor Design - 9.
    Special Props & Design - 10.

    The Purge: Anarchy:

    If you were at HHN last year, you've pretty much seen this scare zone. The opening scaremonies are totally awesome, and with the pyro and and auctioneer in that area, it's still pretty cool.

    Overall Grade - B+
    Sound Design - 8. (9.5 for opening).
    Scareactor Design - 9. They look great!
    Special Props & Design - 9.


    Skullz:

    First off, I understand that having a scare zone in the lower lot is hard. It is a total cluster muck down there at just about all times. Skullz is alright (better than last year in this poster's opinion), and I would much rather have something there than nothing. I have also got to give it up to those scareactors on the stilts. The coordination those guys have is amazing!

    Overall Grade - C
    Sound Design - 7.5
    Scareactor Design - 8.5
    Special Props & Design - N/A

    Terror Tram: Invaded by The Walking Dead:

    The Terror Tram is the Terror Tram. It's always going to be fun to romp around the backlot. It's not drastically different than the previous two years, aside from a few little shacks you walk through. It's a great fit, but I wouldn't mind seeing something a little bit different next year. All in all it's a good time and a must do if you're attending the event.

    Set Design - 10
    Sound Design - 9.5
    Scareactor Design - 9.
    Special Props & Design - 9.
    Immersion - 10.
    Length - 9.
    Scare Level - 8.5
    Fun Level - 9.5
    Story Comprehension - 10. It's literally explained to you on the tram!
    Personal Bias Points - 9.5

    Final Thoughts:

    I did have one issue this year however, and it was the *long* walk to the Metro Sets and back. Previously, you would hop on a tram and it would take you all the way down, and then you would do the same for the return. This year it's quite a trek down (with inclines on the way back) as well. If I had to guess, I am sure that it just was a financial cut - no trams/fuel/drivers/guides/etc. but having to make that walk is kind of a bummer.

    Other than that I had a great time! Personally, I would have to say that this years Horror Nights is the most fun I've had at an event like this in quite some time. I even got the chance to say hi and thank John Murdy, who was strolling around on Friday evening.

    I already can't wait for next year!
    Last edited by explodingboy; 09-29-2014, 10:35 AM.



  • #2
    Re: HHN Trip Report 9/26 & 9/27

    Thanks for this! This is my first year going and even as a Knott's veteran I have no idea what to expect.

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