So this past Wednesday, I was lucky enough to score a couple passes to Halloween Horror Nights 22 at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida and…?
I had a freaking blast.
HHN22 is putting a whole new spin on horror this year – no theme, no scare zones, and no holds barred in several of their houses.
From the time you walk into the gates (which can take a while trust me – so get there early), you start choking on fog – it seems like they upped the number of machines pumping the eye-burning gas us haunt-lovers pine for each fall, and despite the crap visibility, it really added that extra eerie to the experience this year.
And notice how I said no scare zones? The street actors this year aren’t confined to simple “zones“. They have free range of the park. And the restaurants. And the bathrooms. Yep.
So be super careful when you go to pick up that burger and fries – you may spin around and have a screaming vampire in your face. Apparently no one taught them manners.
It seemed like the street actors weren’t as creepy as they had been in prior events – but they gave it a good go. If I can make one suggestion, avoid the trick-or-treat scare actors. They’re the ones with the chicken masks and/or giant pumpkin heads. They’re not really scary – and honestly border on annoying. If one more freaking giant pumpkin man shook a can of beans in my face trying to be frightening I may have had to kick him in the beans.
But I did spot of a few Nosferatu’s. They were pretty bitchin’.
But the whole reason any of us go to HHN (other than for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure) is for the houses. And from what I saw this year, a few of them are worth the wait. The Silent Hill house at HHN22 was the first one I hit – and it was worth the wait. It was freaking gorgeous inside – and the nurses had that creep walk down perfectly. But even better? The Walking Dead House. The costumes weren’t as spectacular as I would expect (we had a horde of actor zombies walk into the house while we waited in line) – but the set up worked well for multiple unexpected scares this year.
Now as a Classic Universal Monster fan I may be a little biased – but I really enjoyed the Universal House of Horrors House. From Phantom of the Opera to Frankenstein’s Monster, all the classic Universal hits were romping around in the black and white glow in the dark homage to ages past. It wasn’t the least bit scary (although the screaming chicks in front of me would disagree), but the costumes and sets were amazing. I kind of fan-girled over the Creature from the Black Lagoon suit. My only complaint was that the actress playing the Bride of Frankenstein was all of like 4 foot tall. But hey – minor details.
And if you’re a rock fan I would recommend Alice Cooper’s Welcome To My Nightmare House more than anything. Also not very scary – but FILLED to the brim with pretty dead chicks. I wasn’t complaining.
All in all, it appears to be a pretty good year. As good as last year in my opinion? No. But the new no scare zone approach is pretty cool – and the houses got me several times. I look forward to going back again and hitting others like Gothika that I missed and indulging in a few more hours of running from chicks with chainsaws.
If you plan on hitting it up over the next few weeks, we’d love to hear your thoughts.