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DTH Returns Home to Crimson Peak Not Far From the Further to Purge - 9/19 HHNH Review

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  • DTH Returns Home to Crimson Peak Not Far From the Further to Purge - 9/19 HHNH Review

    In association with DTH316
    HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS
    DTH’s Return Home to Crimson Peak Not Far From the Further to Purge in Triple D
    A Trip Review - September 19th, 2015
    7 PM - 2 AM

    [Prologue]
    Last year, I opted to do SECOND NIGHT instead of opening night and thought it was better overall: I get to game plan based on opening night’s lines, I can leave as early as I want since Fridays sometimes keep me home until 3 or 4 PM, and the event gets to work out its groove a tiny bit better for quality assurance. Luckily, I saw opening night’s new early entry system and was thanking God I wasn’t caught in that mess trying to think on my feet as to what to do next. Basically, the moment the mazes open at 6:30 PM, since people are already in the park, they’re already at the lines, meaning TWD and Insidious jump up to an hour by 6:45 PM. Knowing this, I had a new plan in mind that would help. As for what’s in store this year for me to get excited about… well, not a whole lot. 4/6 of the maze themes we’ve seen before and another one of the six I thought was completely stupid (*coughsThisIsTheEndcoughs*). So, I figured, “eh, just go because you always go and have fun anyway, then judge it later. So judge it I did…
    (Note: Per usual, I have the 10 categories I rate 1-10 to come up with a total of 100/100 points. The rating system no longer has the category of “immersion,” since I feel that’s more subjective, in replacement for the new category of “cast performance!” Also got rid of the sound design category, since that's always on point anyway.)

    [Getting There]
    Hit some traffic, didn’t get to the park until about 4:35, which was about 35 minutes off schedule. We decided to eat before we got into the park, so we looked around City Walk. Checked out the merch and meh, it’s okay. At about 5:20, we decided it was time to head over to Early Entry. Got in the shortest security check and the ladies operating it were being very rude. They forced us to take our belts off, and I noticed none of the other security checks were doing that, they just let people go, let it beep, then scanned them.
    [Early Entry]
    The main point I want to make is to 1) be there by 5 and 2) just head straight for the Walking Dead line because people start lining up anyway. Basically Early Entry is just an hour and a half line that you get to avoid waiting an hour and a half in between 7-2. Anyway, the process is very similar to Early Entry of ages passed. Go to the far right near Waterworld, enter through there, get wrist banded, and head into the park. This time, the park is mostly still open as people funnel out. But as I said, just head straight for the lower lot since that’s where most people are going. Personally, I got in at 5:40 and felt that was a bit too late.

    We arrived to TWD at 6:00 PM and the Transformers Extended Queue was already full of people, even though they said lines open at 6. It was advertised as 30 minutes, with the mazes opening at 6:30, that seemed like a decent trade off. Wrong. It’s 30 minutes from once it hits 6:30, because we didn’t get into TWD until 6:55. I checked the wait times before we walked in the maze and it said TWD was already at a 2 hour wait, and from being in front of the facade and looking at the extended queue, it definitely seemed accurate, with Insidious being an hour and a half. I’ll just tell ya now, this totally ruins any plans you may have of doing Insidious right after.

    Even if you were very first in line for TWD, then ran over to Insidious at 6:35, you wouldn’t be out of that line until 8 PM, which by that time, This Is the End will be an hour while the backlot will be 45ish. My suggestion is to do what I did, which is very tiring but it worked to see all the mazes… hit either Insidious or TWD, then hit TITE, then head to the backlot for one of those mazes, head back up to Terror Tram and Halloween, go all the way back to the backlot to finish the other maze, and save Insidious for very last. I’m almost positive you’re not gonna have time to see Jabbawockeez due to this early entry system (forewarning: I didn’t) and you may only get a ride or two in (I got in 3). Anyway, onto the review…


    [The Walking Dead: Wolves Not Far]
    Advertised Wait: 30 minutes
    In Line At: 6:00 (Early Entry)/Line Opened at: 6:30
    Actual Wait: 55 mins (including EE)/25 after maze opened
    In Maze At: 6:55 PM
    I think it’s fair to say I definitely underestimated this maze — because I was surprisingly scared *beep*-less throughout the entire thing! Mostly because this maze is beyond dark. Which is even more surprising because there are details littered throughout these dark scenes, you just can’t see them, but the scare actors can see you! The major thing I loved here is the human element for the first 1/4 of the maze, as it really amps up the scariness. The first scene reminded me of something out of Hostel and it was great, being splattered by a throat gash! I then was trying to survive the horror with every turn being more horrifying then the last. Even during the most mundane, transitional scenes, there is a scare. The cast was huge and they really put them in places that you usually feel safe. I watched the ThemeParkHD video and you can really tell, there is a scareactor in almost every damn corner of this maze and it’s amazing. For example, “oh, just a platform to get me to the next scene, NOPE! Baseball bat in my face.”

    It is apparent that some new blood or new energy was apart of this creation, having a somewhat Knotts-esque approach with the usual set scares and randomly placed/semi-roaming scareactors, keeping the maze at a constant “go-go-go!” In my opinion, this is a maze done RIGHT. This is what I’ve been hoping for when things started to feel repetitive by 2010. Unfortunately, this is the only maze that really does that, so hopefully the praises this maze gets this year, they take it as a cue and keep doing it. By far my favorite part is the Noah scene, infamous on the show, and definitely still pretty gruesome here. I swear, there are some scenes where there must be at least a dozen walkers in one room, or so it feels like because of the use of dummies/mannequins, which is I feel the proper way to use them as oppose to prior years and trying to use them AS the scare, but what makes them good here is they help create the atmosphere WITH the scare (this is also done in Halloween and Insidious, and it shows they’ve taken our concerns seriously with the dummy situation).

    I really loved the church pop out scare, as this section had a lot of double, triple, quadruple teaming in this maze that shows an amazing amount of team work to get these scares right. Then the last half with all the hanging half bodies was a lot of fun! To end this review, I must say, it is in your best interest NOT to skip this maze. It is truly awesome and the best TWD maze since 2012, and one of the best mazes of this year. If not, it is at least worth it to check out for the enormous cast who are all kicking major butt.

    Facade - 10. Great design, walkers scaring, and the smell of human meat cooking!
    Set Design - 10. Even in the dark, I could still make out details of things on the ground or in the distance. That’s how you do dark scenes!
    Scareactor Design - 8. Usual TWD make up, but I noticed there were some masks or facial things that fit oddly over the head.
    Special Props & Design - 8. Throat slit gag was pretty nice, lots of hanging chopped up bodies, usual hoard scare. Concrete walker was missing when I went through though.
    Cast Performance - 9. These guys were rocking it very hard and I was super impressed! It can only get better from here which is all the more exciting. There were a few spots where things could be on quicker intervals, so just keep it up!
    Length - 10. This definitely felt like HHN’s longest maze, aside from the HOH iterations of the past, but only by about 30 seconds or so. It also hit all the major points of the season, as where I felt last year missed a lot of good sequences from season 4, or portrayed them kind of poorly, but this was definitely long and well portrayed.
    Scare Level - 9. They got me good so many times because I had no freakin’ idea where I was half the time! Trying to feel my way out of rooms. I also felt like the dummies were well used, because it amped up the intensity factor, feeling like there was zombies constantly around you.
    Fun Level - 10. For the first maze of the night, this really set the mood right and got my heart pumping!
    Story Comprehension - 8. Unless you watch the show, it’s not exactly clear. Especially if you look at the mazes of the past, you’d be kinda confused how hospital, a prison twice, then this would make any sense.
    Personal Bias Points - 8. Although I am a bit fatigued of TWD, Murdy and team show no signs of slowing on making great mazes based off it. Very well done, I was impressed!
    91 out of 100. ‘A’-

    [This Is The End: 3D]
    Advertised Wait: 30 minutes

    In Line At: 7:02

    Actual Wait: 7 minutes
    In Maze At: 7:09
    The line for Insidious was too long so at this point we decided to skip it and hit it last after hitting everything else that didn’t have that bad of a line at this point. Luckily, the entrance for This is The End is next to the exit of TWD and Transformers, so we just walked right across! It was at this point I started to become suspicious of the wait times as they were advertised because the line was practically a walk on, so how anyone operating it could think it was 30 minutes is beyond me. I also loved being back in this old location because it gave me memories of this maze venue from 2011 and prior.

    Now, honestly, I don’t even know what to say about this maze. It is a horrible representation of the movie, as it looks nothing like the sets seen in the movie and there’s really only one scene that I could say was decently portrayed and that’s The Exorcism of Jonah Hill. Everything else was like some weird maze that had sound bytes from the movie. Which is disappointing, as I already had low expectations for this, because my main thing was, if they were gonna do this maze, at least do it right. And in my opinion, they didn’t.

    Even the scareactors didn’t look like they wanted to be there except for a few standouts, such as the Emma Watson and the possessed Jonah Hill on the bed. But all the demons (who are not even in the freakin movie but are overly represented here) up in their holes slowly reached out or didn’t even try at oncoming guests. Best part is the end… I guess. *shrugs* I have no real notes because this maze, as far as I’m concerned, is a lost cause and there aren’t many ways to fix it.

    Facade - 7. Michael Cera is fun and the smoldering house is great, but they could’ve done a bit more. If Michael Cera swung back and forth or down and up, that’d be even better.
    Set Design - 1. Ew. Just ew. What the hell is this? This is not the movie and it is a poorly designed maze in almost every way, even as a 3D maze.
    Scareactor Design - 6. The celebrity stand ins were pretty decent. Some of the scareactors I guess looked okay.
    Special Props & Design - 5. The few things that pop out and I loved the room changing based on the lighting at the end. That is a very neat effect, which is something they’ve done a few times over the last year or two though.
    Cast Performance - 4. Like I said, slow, sluggish and like they didn’t care or were embarrassed to be apart of this maze. I think if the cast at least rocked it, this would’ve been a lot better of an experience, but it was just so “oh hi, I work here.”
    Length - 7. I almost wanted it to be over faster, but in theory, I suppose it hit all the right points.
    Scare Level - 2. I might’ve got a jolt, but no screams or jumps to be had in here.
    Fun Level - 5. I mean, I laughed at points.
    Story Comprehension - 6. They at least tried, so I give them points. The random TVs on display actually don’t make much sense though. Like, why would there be a TV just showing people? However, the story is all over the place. You have possessed Jonah in the first scene, but then have Emma Watson show up which is way before that, and have Danny McBride in the tub even later in the maze, which is way before even that! Like, WHAT?!
    Personal Bias Points - 3. I really disliked this maze. Is it the worst in HHN history? One of them for sure. I felt Clowns at least seemed like a maze, albeit a terrible one, but this didn’t seem like an actual attraction at points. More like a “WTF am I doing here and who’s dumb idea was this?” And why were Danny McBride’s dummy legs in the tub so skinny?! Augh. Sorry, random memory that made me hate this maze even more.
    46 out of 100. ‘F’

    [Jurassic Park in the Dark]
    Advertised Wait: 10 minutes
    Actual Wait: Walk-On
    On Ride At: 7:29 PM
    At this point, we were waiting for a friend and decided to kill some time, so we hit this beauty. We snuck on some ICEEs (I’m sorry, Universal) but one of my friends didn’t successfully keep his. Falling car still doesn’t work. And weird note, the dilophosaurus eating people in the boat wasn’t there. “Welcome to the Jungle” was blasting, but not ear shattering loud like before (which is a good thing). Oh and is it just me or is the drop faster? Gave me the biggest rush of my life.

    [The Purge scarezone]
    Waited for a friend to get out of The Walking Dead for about 5 minutes only to realize later he was actually at Crimson Peak the whole time -_-. Anyway, the ride over to the backlot was annoying, had to wait for two whole trams to go by before we got one and even then we were still separated. Anyway, the tram drivers totally didn’t hype up the scare zone at all, and Guilleremo Del Toro’s introduction really took me out of the mood and reminded me, “oh yeah, I’m at a theme park.” When dropped off, they were like, “oh yeah, and the Purge is happening, bye.” Meh. As for the zone itself, I really dug the way the containers were positioned as it was optimal for hiding places and scaring. These guys were well on their game and my friend nearly got an axe directly to the face. Standing behind him, it looked like he was just murdered haha. We went through this zone twice and both times they kept up the energy. They need to figure out a way to do the Big Daddy effect because a simple light bulb is totally not effective.
    ‘A’-

    [AVP: Alien vs. Predator]
    Advertised Wait: 55 minutes
    In Line At: 8:06 PM
    Actual Wait: 40 minutes
    In Maze At: 8:46 PM
    Annoyingly, when we first went to the trams to the backlot, it said the mazes were only a 30 minute wait. When we finally got there, they doubled. Ugh. So we decided to do AVP because it was the longer line and feared it would get longer when the exact opposite happened. Crimson was still in the 40ish zone and figured we could do it right after, but that jumped up to 70 by the time we were out of AVP. Long story short and slightly skipping ahead, after AVP we decided to also come back to Crimson later in the night when we try to finish Insidious. Because I knew if we put off Terror Tram until later in the night, it would also make the Halloween line longer (again, skipping ahead, I was right about that). However, it was at this the point where I got kinda concerned, “holy crap, are we not gonna finish all the mazes?” As for the maze, it’s the same old thing. I still love it and think it’s great. The energy wasn’t as popping though. But if you wanna hear my thoughts on it, go ahead and read my old review from last year. Also, in no way did I notice any of the new music that was spoken of. I also wanna note, Scare Patrol is just at it’s worst here. I know last year I complained about there being go-go dancers for a sci-fi horror maze, but this time it was a Scare Patrol guy dancing and it ruined the line ten times more. He was entertaining, but if you’re gonna have a male dancer, at least objectify him like you do the girl dancers, not have a guy in a bright orange shirt just being silly. As for the trivia, all the questions were related to Crimson Peak… but we were in line for AVP!!! Like wha?! And not only that, the phrase was always fully uttered as “Crimson Peak in IMAX” and it made me cringe every time. Like, I get it, you want me to see the movie, but shoving the IMAX notion down our throats just made the advertising aspect all the more excruciating. And also, how the hell are we supposed to have answers for a movie that’s not even out yet?! The entire line was confused and people guessed, but constantly got the answers wrong.
    ‘B’+ (This A+ maze was a grade lower tonight, sadly).

    [Terror Tram: Survive the Purge]
    Advertised Wait: 55, 45, 50
    In Line At: 9:20 PM
    Actual Wait: 37 minutes
    In Maze At: 9:57
    Ugh, on the lower lot, wait board said TEN MINUTES. Got there and it said 55. Kept walking to the escalator, it then said 45. Get to the bottom, it now said 50. Get your crap straight! We went to the right line as I heard it was quicker but that line was GINORMOUS in comparison to the one on the left. Just saying. As for TT video this year, I just wanna say I hate the beginning of it. The “fabulous” thing was so overdone. The second half with the guy was much better, but at that point, the bad taste was already in my mouth.

    Being dropped off, chainsaw squad wasn’t really in a formation. The Whoville section was lacking after that. Bates Motel section was rocking pretty good though and didn’t see much of a show other than a guy spouting off auction-stuff. This is where the tram came to a halt in momentum and IMO, ruined the entire tram. The entire hill was one giant line. I remember first taking this hill in 2008 and getting the scare of a lifetime from a bushman and the days of going up a quiet hill, practically by yourself as you start to hear growling sounds are gone. It is now a giant line just to see one tiny room that quite honestly wasn’t that good. Although the guy in there did stalk me a bit, so I guess that was nice, but the damn near 10 minute wait just to get there was not worth it. Universal needs to fix this traffic jam and immediately because this type of lull in the middle of an attraction is the worst flow in keeping things scary.

    The second half picked up and I loved how the Purgers blended in with regular people. But that aspect gave me flashbacks of TWD being here for the last 3 years and suddenly I didn’t like it. Major kudos to the guys in the fence scene before WOTW, they were really out for blood! My friend said something to one of them and he got a weapon in the face as he shouted back out, “I was just giving you a compliment!” The guy then kept attacking him and even popped out behind a door at some point. Also, the Big Daddy scene in here (ugh, the repetition) was even worse than the one in the scarezone. Then there was a long line just to get back on the tram. Decent attraction for half of it, but a horrible one on the other half because of operations.

    ‘C’+

    [Exterminatorz]
    This zone just wasn’t doing it for me. Probably the worst entry zone they’ve done. Cool masks, but energy and concept just wasn’t selling it to be absolutely scary.
    ‘C’-

    [Halloween: Michael Myers Returns Home]
    Advertised Wait: 55 minutes
    In Line At: 10:40 PM
    Actual Wait: 40 minutes
    In Maze At: 11:20 PM
    As I said before, we did this maze at the right time, because after we got out of it, the line jumped up to 100 and stayed in that zone for the rest of the night, so I knew I made a good call not holding it off until later. It means we had to do double the amount of walking, but we also got to slash our waiting in half. [And is that really Murdy doing Loomis’ voice? Because he did a SPOT ON job if he did.] Anyway, I was hoping for a scare in the first room and didn’t receive one. Love the scare in the hallway right after that. Which is one of the best parts about this maze, is Michael pops out of places that you wouldn’t figure a scareactor to pop out of, which is what made the maze in 09 really well done also, and “Kill, Jason, Kill” effective in 2010. So good news is we have that kind of innovation back.

    However, it was by the “hedge portion” that I knew this maze just wasn’t going to live up to the 09 maze. I mean, design wise, because the scareactors were all awesome and doing their damn best to get you, but something about this maze doesn’t FEEL like the movie like the 09 maze did, even though that maze deterred from the story quite a bit. The Halloween 3 homage was fine until it interfered with the Bob impaled onto the wall. It does not belong in that scene and felt very off. Plus, perspective wise, it didn’t look the way it looked in the movie and should’ve been on the other side of the room. There was a point in this maze where I started to notice a new effect this year, which is projections/mapping on walls to really sell effects like shadows (also done in Insidious and Crimson Peak). The silhouette of Michael on the wall was pretty creepy and had a “did I just really see that” element to it. I think they could’ve done more with the supernatural aspect to this maze as well.

    And ya know the phone strangulation scene was honestly perfect the way they did it in 09 by lending a scare to it but this time you just watch her get strangled over and over again and it’s pretty boring. She also doesn’t get lift into the air like before, which is what made that scene so impressive. A fun section was the curtains, as I just ran out of there because I was genuinely scared haha. SCARE OF THE NIGHT goes to RIGHT AFTER that though in some bushes where Myers came UNEXPECTEDLY from behind a corner (such a perfect boo-hole position) and scared the crap out of my friend in front of me to the point he turned around and grabbed onto my chest. Michael got so scary close on that scare and its stuff like that that is why I loved HHN in 07-09, because they always broke your comfort level in a pop-out fashion. The ending Loomis looked pretty good, but the shooting scene could’ve used a little something extra to it. Now the “you can’t kill the Boogeyman” scene is pretty great and a great use of the dummies/mannequins as I mentioned before. It was pretty terrifying not knowing what was real in here.

    So some great scares are to be had in here, as my heart stopped at least twice from pure fright, which is FANTASTIC work and is a hard feat to accomplish. I mean, I hate to say it and compare, but this maze is a good mile off from being as good as the 09 one. This one is missing a certain feel to make it as scary. I think this one has the lighting perfect as it LOOKS like the movie from a cinematic lens stand point, and maybe even the sets are more true to the movie but they’re positioned in a way that the camera in the movie didn’t see it, so it feels askew and doesn’t sell the “I’m in the movie” feel. This wouldn’t be such a problem, as no maze particularly does that, but this maze specifically makes you navigate through scenes almost completely backwards from the way the film portrays them. Either way, definitely one of the best of this year, just not one of the best ever.

    Facade - 9. I kinda just hate the way the projection has that 3D feel. And the house doesn’t seem as ominous, sorry again, as it did in 09.
    Set Design - 7. Something just constantly seemed off in each scene. The hedge sequence was completely flat and bad though, from a design stand point.
    Scareactor Design - 10. They got the mask and others characters right, so that’s a major bonus.
    Special Props & Design - 10. There’s a lot of ghostly type of effects, although I think they could’ve pushed it a bit more, but for all intents and purposes, they did what they had well.
    Cast Performance - 10. Really aggressive cast and I loved it!
    Length - 9. I wouldn’t say it’s too short, I’d just say it’s poorly designed to not feel like enough scenes. The hedge scene and the mirrors scene are just too long for their own good considering they’re not in the movie, as oppose to the 09 maze, which had extended sequences not in the movie but they FELT in place and more in spirit of the movie.
    Scare Level - 10. Like I said, my heart stopped one or two times because of how good the scares were. Great scares in here.
    Fun Level - 10. Loved it and I love Halloween, so this was a lot of fun.
    Story Comprehension - 7. Ya know, here’s my gripe: why are we doing supernatural Myers in the first place? If this is a memory or a haunted flashback of sorts, I felt like the supernatural element could’ve been pushed harder. Instead, it’s like “ghost Myers and now some scenes from the movie, oh look, ghost Myers again.” Some of this works in a teleportation way, but that wasn’t much of the idea. So I dock it a few points for not making complete sense, like how This Is The End was just oddly out of order, this one’s concept isn’t well defined.
    Personal Bias Points - 10. I love Halloween, I love they brought it back, I love that it was actually pretty scary and I loved this maze. Was it as good as before? Not by a long shot, but it was still a worthy effort and addition to this year.
    92 out of 100. ‘A’-

    [Corpz]
    Meh, whatever. Felt like the absolute most basic scare zone they’ve ever done. Design of the actors look cool, but I think more could’ve been done with the location.
    C-

    [Crimson Peak: Maze of Madness]
    Advertised Wait: 40 minutes
    In Line At: 12:08 AM
    Actual Wait: 34 minutes
    In Maze At: 12:42 AM
    I wanted to see Jabbawockeez at 11:15 but I just missed it and at this point, it didn’t seem like that was gonna happen anyway. Grabbed some tacos in Springfield along with my souvenir sipper and made our way back down the escalators. Unfortunately, these tacos were very dry and aren’t as spicy. If you want tacos, I recommend just going to one of those taco trucks on the backlot. This time walked right onto the trams with no delay and headed back through the Purge zone (still rocking it!).

    Entering this maze, something about it already seemed soft. There was no hype or energy around it. The music outside just seemed very moody and less scary. Ghostly, but not creepy. Entering, I was already reminded of the Haunted Mansion. There’s a few rooms where there’s just no scares and that’s kind of sad. Although there are a lot of effects and stuff to look at, there’s not enough of a cast to really make this maze bring it. This is the type of maze that would be scary if you were absolutely alone and walked super slow through it. But since this is HHN, for mazes to work, they have to feel like super charged horror climaxes to really be any scary. What made La Llorona work with a more “slow” feel is when the scares hit, they hit hard. There are points where this maze’s agenda just doesn’t seem like it wants to be scary, but more or less just be showy of it’s gothic/romance roots. It’s funny because if you watch the ThemeParkHD walkthrough, they’re just casually walking through it, too. Wow, I almost thought it was just me.

    Nice try, but um… I think with more effort, HHN & Del Toro can pull it off some other year, but this year, sadly Crimson Peak is almost a dud. Although it is worth seeing since it’s the only brand new theme that’s not stupid and 3D. Fortunately, the maze’s line won’t be too long and you can experience it… casually. SURVEY PEOPLE hang out at the tram back to the lower lot, if you want to find them this year!

    Facade - 6. This facade was super underwhelming and there isn’t much special about it. Boo.
    Set Design - 9. Yes, it’s a gorgeous maze, but for some reason, I expected better from Guillermo Del Toro. Like Pan’s Labyrinth style sets, just almost out of this world. Felt like a very upscaled basic haunted/supernatural house maze. I also don’t think it’s anywhere as well designed as La Llorona either, like some people have been saying.
    Scareactor Design - 8. Again, I expected more. Maybe the movie will be a bit underwhelming too in this department as well.
    Special Props & Design - 10. There was a lot of cool effects in this maze, at least.
    Cast Performance - 6. I mean, they tried, they just weren’t aggressive.
    Length - 9. I felt like this had a pretty decent length. I kinda wanted to understand more of the story and wanted an extra scene, and it ends prematurely.
    Scare Level - 5. The softest scares in here. The trigger audio was super low and none of the scares landed. It didn’t help I was getting the tail-end of scares, but the people in front of me and behind me weren’t screaming, so not much was going right in this department.
    Fun Level - 6. Half way through, it felt like I was going through it out of purpose to finish all the mazes rather than wanting to. I was way more excited before going in, and before I was even half way through, I just felt pretty let down.
    Story Comprehension - 8. It’s a basic haunted house, for the most part, so it makes sense, but I wanted to fully understand things a bit more. I guess that’s where the movie comes in.
    Personal Bias Points - 7. I wanted to love this maze, it was my most anticipated, but it didn’t live up to any of the standards. A lot of good Knotts mazes are even better than this (Trick or Treat, for example). Del Toro just didn’t deliver and I think it’s because they were restrained to a movie that isn’t completely horror (from what Del Toro has said himself). Hopefully next year he comes back and blows us away with something original.
    74 out of 100. ‘C’

    [Transformers]
    Advertised Wait: 20 minutes
    In Line At: 1:02 AM
    Actual Wait: 8 minutes
    On Ride At: 1:10 AM
    After that very… mellow experience, we all agreed we needed an adrenaline booster. Plus, with an hour left, we decided to hit Insidious RIGHT before closing and do some rides first. We hit Transformers, a blast as always. And then we did JP one more time. THIS TIME the Dilophosaurus was back and eating people on the boat. Like, what? At some point during the night, someone just put back in an animatronic dinosaur? haha

    [Insidious: Return to the Further]
    Advertised Wait: 80 minutes
    In Line At: 1:46 AM
    Actual Wait: 22 minutes
    In Maze At: 2:08 AM
    After JP, we headed towards The Mummy, but didn’t want to risk missing Insidious since it was a 35 minute wait. And then funny enough, we ran into Jennette McCurdy along the way (Sam from iCarly and Sam & Cat). She was also with Michael Eric Reid (Sinjin on Victorious) and I didn’t recognize him at the time, but apparently Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Maze Runner, Love Actually, Ferb from Phineas & Ferb) was also in their squad. We headed back around so I could get a refill on my sipper and again, Jennette McCurdy was right in front of me in line to get a churro while her squad sat down and waited for her. I tried to be low-key in telling my friends, but ya know how that goes. After getting my refill, we headed in line, which honestly looked pretty short. I think they may just be overselling how long these waits are just to redirect you somewhere else because I don’t think I ever saw the line for this maze go down the stairs like I have seen it in the past.

    Anyhow, we entered into the house and I love the gust of fog that hits. As soon as you turn the corner, the maze is already different from it’s 2013 version. It’s now like a mash-up “best of” moments from all three movies, much like the mazes of old (Saw, Friday 07, Nightmare 08, etc) and I think it was really effective. You even get a room with all of the main monsters from the movies at once in the finale and that made me super giddy as a fan of the franchise. The very first picture scare got me really good for some reason, I just wasn’t expecting it. No fog in the Further though, but that was still a very scary scene. I love the lady in black choking the woman, which was effective without a major scare in that scene. And they finally did the main scare i wanted from Insidious 2 where you have to walk through the covered boddies sitting and standing. Very unsettling! And as silly as it was in the movie, the “he’s got your baby” guy was in here and it was pretty damn freaky. Stupid on screen, scary in real life. Go figure.

    Now there’s one part that really scared the hell out of me and it was The Man Who Couldn’t Breath hanging upside down in the middle of some clothes that you have to walk through. It’s a dummy, but in the moment, I was terrified and didn’t wanna be anywhere near that thing. After that, there’s a great hallway of just constant scares and then you’re thrusted into the Further, again which is my favorite part. Much like Halloween, the scares really got me here, and had that “my heart just stopped” feeling, but at least 3 - 4 times this time. I was jumping and screaming “oh *bleep*” at nearly every turn. MY ONE MAJOR GRIPE that needs to be immediately fixed though, is the sound was glitching/skipping on ALL the audio triggers. I think this is better than the 2013 Insidious maze and is easily THE MAZE OF THE YEAR.

    Facade - 9. Basic *** house, whatever, haha but I do love the music.
    Set Design - 10. Yes, absolutely recreated the movie and each set got increasingly more scary to walk through.
    Scareactor Design - 10. Spot on recreations of the monsters and other characters.
    Special Props & Design - 10. A lot of great effects in here!
    Cast Performance - 10. They were absolutely on fire and bringing it all night!
    Length - 10. Takes you through all three movies and it’s awesome! Hits all the right points.
    Scare Level - 10. Terrifying!
    Fun Level - 10. A blast as everyone just ran through running for their lives.
    Story Comprehension - 8. Technically, shouldn’t Insidious 3 have been shown first? Either way, other than that, it made sense. But concrete CONCEPT and STORY drive is SEVERELY lacking this year.
    Personal Bias Points - 10. Loved having this back and out doing it’s original maze! That’s the way to do it!
    97 out of 100 ‘A’+

    [Dark Christmas]
    As we left and after closing, I realized we never went through here and decided to walk through and take pictures. Tell me how even without scareactors, this is still an amazing zone?! Keep bringing it back and get it to maze level already!!!
    ‘A’

    [Outro]
    So, my consensus is this year is pretty… basic. With 3 stand out mazes, everything else is pretty lacking. It just didn’t seem like they gave it their all on this go around, but it’s still a good year and worth checking out. Just go on a cheap night and you’ll be satisfied. The new Early Entry system is complete crap and I highly urge they change it back to it’s old way or alter it so people literally cannot get in line for the mazes until 6:30, otherwise, the whole thing is pointless. It’s also insanely unfair to those arriving relatively on time at 7 who will and can not in anyway whatsoever see all the mazes because 2 of them are already 2 hours long and stay that length all night. FOL is not a solution because not everyone can get FOL, and Early Entry is no longer a solution either because as you can see, I BARELY made it and completely missed Jabbawockeez.

    If 4 out of 6 mazes are 100 minute waits at all times through out the night, Universal has to ask themselves, “uh, WTF did we do wrong?” More and more people are going to leave complaining and they’ll be the victim of their own success that leads to their destruction. Just managing a way to find when each of those mazes to hit aren’t 100 minute waits is the trick. Halloween is 30-60 minutes between 9:30-11 and that is the ONLY window to get that maze that short of a line. Crimson and AVP just randomly fluctuate, so that one is kind of just luck, but even the longest line there is 70 at the most, so even that isn’t that bad. TWD or Insidious has to be split up, one of them has to be first and the other has to be last. That’s just what I think. As you can see, I got a great wait time on Insidious. Keep in mind, like Disneyland’s Fastpass, FOL stops entering the maze when park closes, so once the park closes, the regular line just filters through super fast without interference. So keep in mind, the game plan this year is VERY tricky, but as always, have fun screaming in the fog! I’ll see Universal again sometime toward the end of October! Kick it up a notch!

    ‘B’+

    RANKINGS —
    Mazes:
    AMAZING - Insidious: Return to the Further
    GREAT - Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home
    GOOD - The Walking Dead: Wolves Not Far
    AVERAGE - AVP: Alien vs. Predator
    OKAY - Crimson Peak: Maze of Madness
    WTF - This Is The End: 3D

    Scarezones:
    GREAT - The Purge, Dark Christmas
    OKAY - Exterminatorz
    BAD - Corpz

    TT (through the years):
    AMAZING - 08, 09, 13, 12
    GOOD - 14
    OKAY - 07, 15
    BAD - 11
    WTF - 10

    Overall Years:
    AMAZING - 14, 08, 12, 10, 13, 09
    GREAT - 15
    GOOD - 11
    OKAY - 07

    This is when I entered every attraction (to help with your game planning and for scareactors/Universal to know when I went through):
    Early Entry - 5:40 PM
    TWD - 6:55 PM
    TITE - 7:09 PM
    JP - 7:29 PM
    AVP - 8:46 PM
    TT - 9:57 PM
    HWEEN - 11:20 PM
    CP - 12:42 AM
    TRANS - 1:10 AM
    JP2 - 1:30 AM
    INSID - 2:08 AM
    Last edited by dth316; 09-20-2015, 10:21 PM.

  • #2
    Awesome review as always--wish I hadn't gone the same time you did so I could've relied on your tips, which was really needed this year. Only got through 5/6 and, of course, the maze we skip just happens to be the one you called the Maze of the Year LOL Was way too tired at 1 AM to even try going back down to the LL for what seemed to be an 80 min line. Agree with everything you said for the most part, although when our tram arrived at the Purge scare zone after the video, the whole tram went crazy when they saw the masked guy and his demented girlfriend just standing there waiting for us. Nice touch!

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    • #3
      Awesome report as always. Thank you!!!! I am still deciding on taking the trip south to check out the even this year. If we do it's FOL obviously for us.
      These are some of my favorite TRs I have posted

      DL 55th BDAY trip report
      My company had a special night at the park
      WdW trip report with WWoHP
      NYE 2011 trip report
      Mice Chat 7th anniversary
      Leap year 24 hour report
      New DCA trip report
      NYE 2012
      HKDL trip report

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      • #4
        Thank you for sharing that, DTH316!

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