Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Horror Nights: 20 Years of Fear

As many of you know I am a huge haunted attraction nerd. Last week I went to Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. I was in FL for a horror convention called Spooky Empire (Formally Screamfest). I hadn't been to Halloween Horror Nights in FL since I had worked as a costume dresser in 2007. I was super stoked to go because this year was the big 20 year anniversary.

The theme this year for HHN was 20 years of fear. The icon for this years haunt is supposed to be fear himself. Who is pictured below.

The night started off with my friend Katy, her friends, and I all getting in the park. The line outside the gates were huge but to keep you from not going crazy was a huge screen showing a preview of what awaited us inside. It showed icons of years past all talking about fear. As we made our way inside we went through the first scare zone called Esqueleto Muerto. This scare zone was packed with glowing skeletons and was basically just dio de los muertos themed.

Next on our adventure was the PsychoScareapy: Echoes of Shadybrooks house. This house basically was all the previous years of the PsychoScareapy houses thrown into one. Which kinda worked to it's disadvantage in my opinion and was my least favorite house.

Next up was another house called the Legendary Truth: The Wyandot Estate. It was set up kind of like a Ghost Hunter type crew setting up for an investigation at a haunted bed and breakfast. The description of the house says: Using a machine that gathers ghosts, the spirit seekers are about to get more than they bargained for. Which pretty much sums up the house. What I really loved about this house were the new  technology advances. They had two sections in the house where the halls seemed solid but were in fact slightly transparent. Scare actors dressed up as ghosts went by on a conveyor belt like device on the sides of you and under the floor. They also had a bunch of crazy sheet tricks.

After the Legendary Truth we made it over to the Fear Revealed scare zone. It was basically the new icon this year, Fear and some of his lantern minions around him. After this scare zone was another called The Coven. The Coven's description says beware the Cult of the Raven. Enter this witches realm at your peril, as unbelievers will be condemned to death. Walking through all that surrounded the path was pumpkins. Tons of them. That was it.

Next was Catacombs: Black Death Rising. To be honest this was the scariest house that we went to that night. I won't lie I covered my eyes for a lot of it. The set design for this house was amazing you actually believed you were underground. It went along perfectly with the old dirty smell. The room that freaked me out the most was when it felt like the creatures down there were coughing on me from every direction.  Really nasty stuff.

The last thing I went to was the Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure show. Sure I could have gone to another house but this show brings back memories for me. I used to work in back of it in a trailer while doing costuming.If you aren't familiar with the show I'll explain it to you. The show pokes fun at the year's recent entertainment and pop culture icons.  I thought this year's show was great. It poked fun at Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Jersey Shore, Toy Story 3, The Last Airbender, and Twilight to just name a few. The best part of the show was the intro where they showed a bunch of clips from previous year's shows.

After the show I made my way to leave the park. I walked through one more scare zone as I exited called Zombie Gras which was my favorite in my opinion. It was surrounded by mardi gras floats and had a ton of zombies dressed in mardi gras attire.

Overall I would say this year was pretty good. Not too amazing though. The houses I didn't get to go to were Horror Nights: The Hallow'd Past which I probably would have loved. It included everything from past Halloween Horror Night events. Hovoc: Dogs of War which looked kinda lame. It was supposed to be a soldier program gone wrong. Zombiegeddon  was the more humor based house this year. Orfanage: Ashes to Ashes which was supposed to be about an orphange containing souls of lost children that screamed the name Cindy who if I'm not mistaken was the Caretaker's daughter from a past HHN.  The last house I missed was Hades: The Gates of Ruin and was  all myth and legend underworld themed.

I would have loved to have gone the year Bloody Mary was the icon. I thought they did an amazing job with all the art direction and costuming that year.