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Halloween Horror Nights 2022 (Sep 2 - Oct 31)

Rob562

Well-Known Member
There is currently a pause on sales of all multi-night tickets, presumably because they all include this weekend, which is sold out for single night tickets.

If that's the reason, I'd expect them to go back on sale next week. (At least until next weekend sells out, in which case it's wash, rinse, repeat...)

-Rob
 

JT3000

Well-Known Member
Opening night is done. No time for a review, so I'll just give my initial ranking of this year's houses and some short thoughts for now.

1. Dead Man's Pier -- Gorgeous, feisty, would've liked more length.
That's what she said.
2. Bugs -- Not terribly scary even for someone who hates bugs, but a lot of fun (and unapologetically absurd.)
3. Coven -- A little confusing at times, but still pretty good.
4. Halloween -- It's Halloween. Again. Make of that what you will.
5. Descendants -- Decent execution, ends too quickly & abruptly.
6. Legends Collide -- Not bad, but easily the weakest house of this Universal Monsters trilogy. Needed bigger, more elaborate sets. Maybe even a change of scenery. Basically The Mummy & Friends.
7. Chupacabras -- Good idea, very uneven execution. Also feels like their puppetry has regressed since American Werewolf in London.
8. The Weeknd -- Weird concept that kind of, sort of works, but at the same time not really. The owners of that weed I keep smelling probably enjoyed it more.
9. Hellblock -- I've seen much worse, but you can tell it was a last minute replacement. Lots of random monsters & black walls.
10. Blumhouse -- I've seen neither film, so already not off to a good start, but a lot of missed scares & repetitive set design didn't help. Feels oddly similar to what I see in videos of Hollywood's events.

Other thoughts:

The scarezones are improved but still not matching their former glory. It feels like there's still something missing.

Nightmare Fuel has too much dancing, not enough magic, theatrics or even fire, surprisingly. I'm pretty sure they also reused multiple songs from last year.
 
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Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
Arrived late today, it was insanely busy so I only did four houses. I'll be back, of course.

- Dead Man's Pier - easily one of the best houses they've ever done. It's beautiful and stunning. Agreed that I wish it were slightly longer. The scope of the sets is insane, I'm reminded of the old west ghost town one from a few years back. The soundstage houses allow for really big sets but don't always take advantage of them, but this one definitely does.
- Bugs - fun concept, but I was a little letdown, hoping to see lots of bug monsters but most of the scareactors are people with bugs hatching out of them or something instead. Still pretty good.
- Legends Collide - really forgettable. Only really one memorable setpiece, and the story is stupid. Usually when they take a standard horror setting, they have characters and creatures that subvert what you'd expect to see in a creative way. Here, it's just ancient Egyptian scenes and mummies. In other words, exactly what you'd expect to see if you were told it was a Mummy house. Also, Wolfman and Dracula are in there but it would be better if they weren't.
The Weeknd - I think this would work better as a walkthrough without jumpscares, because they are definitely awkward. I applaud them for trying something different, but I think maybe the problem is it's not different enough. It still tries to fit the mold of a standard HHN house. The queue needs a loop longer than 3 songs.

Random thoughts:
- I've definitely gone to too many events because I'm starting to recognize lots of re-used sets. The Weeknd seemed to be like 75% reused, for instance.
- How come the queue entertainment (projected videos and such) often doesn't appear until later in the event?
- First time I believe that I've seen cameras in the houses, and each house had a tablet showing CCTV footage at the entrance. A good thing, obviously, as it may deter people from starting altercations inside.
- The rockabilly/psychobilly background music is fun but doesn't feel right.
 
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Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The event is advertised as starting at 6:30pm, but people were lining up for houses at 5:30pm.

My dinner reservation is at 5:00pm. I'm starting to worry that by the time I finish the houses will already be 45 min or longer. I also feel like if I chose between Halloween and Dead Man's Pier by the time I'm done with one, the line for the other will be unbearable.
 

JT3000

Well-Known Member
The event is advertised as starting at 6:30pm, but people were lining up for houses at 5:30pm.

My dinner reservation is at 5:00pm. I'm starting to worry that by the time I finish the houses will already be 45 min or longer. I also feel like if I chose between Halloween and Dead Man's Pier by the time I'm done with one, the line for the other will be unbearable.
The soundstage houses would typically be affected by Stay & Scream anyway, with you having to choose which one you want to do without a line, but they had already let much of the crowd at the gate in by the time I got there shortly before 6:30, so even the houses in the back had a wait. Not sure why they keep pushing to open earlier & earlier when the sun doesn't go down 'til just before 8:00.
 

tcool123

Well-Known Member
The event is advertised as starting at 6:30pm, but people were lining up for houses at 5:30pm.

My dinner reservation is at 5:00pm. I'm starting to worry that by the time I finish the houses will already be 45 min or longer. I also feel like if I chose between Halloween and Dead Man's Pier by the time I'm done with one, the line for the other will be unbearable.
Stay and Scream got let in earlier than usual yesterday, and the gates opened at about 5:50 for general public. If you’re able to tough it out to close you should be fine. Honestly Bugs had one of the consistently longest lines of rhe night and quickly shot up to 90 and fluctuated between 60 to 100 minutes all night. After 11 PM houses started to die down and Monsters, Coven and Cellblock all started to be under thirty minutes consistently.

Going there tonight hoping to see the four houses I didn’t get too yesterday.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Stay and Scream got let in earlier than usual yesterday, and the gates opened at about 5:50 for general public. If you’re able to tough it out to close you should be fine.

That's good to know. It's a self serve buffet and I have the earliest seating time, so I can't imagine it taking longer than 45-60 minutes.
 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
Couple more thoughts so far:

- Hellblock Horror is a really bad house. Allegedly it was a last minute replacement, and it shows. Much of it looks like your typical local haunted house sets, the creatures make no sense, it's just really, really bad.

- The rockabilly/psychobilly soundtrack is really fun. My first thought was that it doesn't quite fit, but it grew on me quickly. I really liked the change up with Synthwave in 2018 and 2019 (IIRC), so the thrash metal of 2021 was a disappointment. "This is a spooky event so obviously we should be playing loud metal" is so played out.

- I noticed the house attendants are no longer rushing you through the house and this is MUCH appreciated. I've always disliked not being able to take in the details because they expect me to practically jog through it.

- In The Weeknd and Dead Man's Pier, the jumpscares actually detract from the experience. I wish they would consider not jampacking every house with jumpscares. They've clearly evolved beyond trying to make every house scary and many are more like high quality walk-through dark rides now. There's nothing wrong with that.
 
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tcool123

Well-Known Member
So after doing everything sans Nightmare Fuel this weekend here are my thoughts on the overall event.

- This year’s HHN soundtrack is vastly different from what I’m used to given Ive only been to 2019 and 2021. It’s giving me haunted Mardi Gras, and is nice albeit I prefer the sounds of the last few years. That said the music does tie in really well to the various scare zones and Ghoulish as it all feels very cohesive.

- The scare zones as a whole are much stronger than last year’s, and to me they all have a loose overarching connection where each expands on the themes from Wicked Growth which works great given the Pumpkin Lord is this year’s icon. This connection is evident in the Horrors of Halloween where the costumes are pulled from the four other scare zones. When looking beyond that connection there is no weak scare zone as each excel in what they set off to do.

- Ghoulish was a delightful show, and well worth a watch for the 9 PM or 10 PM showings when the waits are at their peaks. The retro home made Halloween aesthetic elevates the visuals in the show, and the music syncs amazingly with the lasers, spotlights, projections and water. Blinding Lights in particular is a standout; this is one of two things I’ve done every night (outside of Scare Zones).

Now for the ranking of the houses:

- What the actual f*** is happening in Hellblock Horror. As @Tom Morrow this was a last minute house and man does it show. I’m not reslly syre what’s happening cause we have aliens and Bigfoot looking monsters running rampant throughout a prison, and it really does feel hodgepodge. If you’re seeking out this house try to hit it when it’s a 25 minute wait or lower. Keep in mind you will have to walk around Minions and Rip Ride before entering the queue within the soundstage.

- Spirits of the Coven is another house that you can tell was more rushed than the others. The house does attempt something interesting, and the visuals where intriguing however overall the house just falls on its face as the execution was somewhat lacking especially when it comes to the more witchy elements. Is it bad? Not really just somewhat mediocre, but the concept had potential! Much like Hellblock try to do this house when it has a posted 25 minutes or lower wait time, and it’s pretty easy to gauge the wait thanks to most of it being visible.

- Let me start off by saying I’m not a huge fan of the Weeknd so as is I came in with low expectations. There are some cool moments such as the beginning and the Blinding Lights mirror hallway, but beyond that I don’t really understand much of the house. It may be because I lack knowledge on the Weeknd’s music videos, but certain elements left me scratching my head like the giant ball of organs, the Weeknd have a long snakelike tongue, and the Frog human hybrids. Again this may just be a disconnect due to my lack of knowledge, but yea this house wasn’t for me. I often see this house go as low as 45, and personally that’s much too long for me to really enjoy it however its not a terrible wait.

- Halloween was fine, and is clearly one of the more popular houses given its consistently long lines. It follows the plot of the original film fine. Solid house.

- Horrors of Blumhouse was a great time as I’m personally a fan of Black Phone and Freaky. I was a big fan of seeing the Freaky scenes and their creative kills recreated in person, but the general vibe I’m getting from others isn’t as positive as I felt. Finished watching the Black Phone the hour before I did this house in my dorm, and honestly I think the house did a great job interpreting the film which I thought would be difficult to accomplish, but honestly was pretty successful to me. The multiple dark hallways aid in disorienting guests, and add to the scares present. A solid house, and towards the end of the night a lower wait so try to stave it off till then.

- I had low expectations going into Descendants of Destruction, but boy was I wrong! The designs for the various scareactors were very creative with some of them appearing mutant like, and the traversal deeper and deeper below the subways of New York was a great way for the sets to evolve in an enjoyable way. The psychedelics at the end of the house with all the glowing mushrooms and flashing lights was a great way to cap off an excellent house.

- I was nervous about Fiesta de Chupacabra mainly because I’ve seen how the Florida parks have treated Latin cultures, and wasn’t sure if Universal would handle it well. Honestly, though they did an impressive job with respecting the mythos surrounding the Chupacabra and they get bonus points for having the house in Spanish alongside small details like the game of dominoes in one of the homes that add to the authenticity. Try to hold off till the end of the night as this hound is a walk on around that time. I definitely want to do this house a few more times as I feel like there’s a lot of details I missed that would bring me more enjoyment.

- Dead Man’s Pier: Winter’s Wake straight up the theme of this house did not compel me to experience it whatsoever, but my friends dragged me into it. The set design is phenomenal, and just feels grand something unexpected from a HHN house but welcome. The ship scene with the ghostly violinist in particular is one of the stand out moments in HHN, and one of the most memorable in recent years imho. However, the theme just doesn’t connect with me personally so it does lower my enjoyment a bit. That said I get why it’s so many peoples top house.

- Bugs: Eaten Alive was the house I was the most excited for since the early rumor stage of HHN. For me it mostly lived up to the hype. It has a neat soundtrack outside the house that sets the tone for a Sci-Fi B film from the 50’s which matches the cutesy exterior on the outside. The house itself delivers on my expectations with plenty of cool bug designs and scares throughout, and elements that make it feel like something is crawling on you. It also smells like pinetrees at points so bonus points for that!

- Universal Monsters: Legends Collide is, as of right now, my favorite house of the season. I’m a huge fan of the lavish set design that the Monster houses continue to receive, and the Egyptian setting hits home for me as I’m a big fan of Egyptian mythology. The entrance scene is wonderful, and takes full advantage of the space and the various scenes after that is a fun romp with the various monsters. It wasn’t until Sunday that the “flying” mechanic for Dracula was fully functional, but once it was it was a great sight to see all three monsters come out at once to scare. Also bonus points for having different winners each night!

Overall a solid HHN, and an improvement over last year’s HHN.
 

JT3000

Well-Known Member
Not much has changed for me after week 2, but I will say Legends Collide is easily my most improved house, thanks largely to an aggressive cast. I went through twice this week and they were both my two best run-throughs of any house so far this year. I still think this house really could've used another larger scene or two in its second half, to break up the monotony of all the narrow passageways, but the scares are there & people who enjoy more claustrophobic houses will probably appreciate the smaller scale of this one. And while it still feels distinctly like a Mummy house guest starring Dracula & the Wolf Man, I definitely saw more of the other monsters this time around, particularly Dracula, making it feel a bit more balanced.

I'm not sure what's going on with the chupacabras, but they're still looking pretty janky, and this is an element they need to get right if this house is ever going to improve. We know they can do better.

I'm already starting to see some holes in various places. Hopefully they can keep everything properly staffed.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
If nothing else, HHN gives Universal a chance to show it can create original, non-IP, not screen based attractions.

But that's also what kind of makes it frustrating. Imagine if Dead Man's Pier was an indoor boat ride at IoA with AAs instead of live actors. It would be outstanding, possibly better than the Florida Pirates and a good fit thematically for the park. Maybe it could even be part of a larger creepy New England seaport area with a new Jaws ride too.

You'd think the popularity of these houses would show the potential to upper management for original dark rides, but alas...
 

JoeCamel

Well-Known Member
If nothing else, HHN gives Universal a chance to show it can create original, non-IP, not screen based attractions.

But that's also what kind of makes it frustrating. Imagine if Dead Man's Pier was an indoor boat ride at IoA with AAs instead of live actors. It would be outstanding, possibly better than the Florida Pirates and a good fit thematically for the park. Maybe it could even be part of a larger creepy New England seaport area with a new Jaws ride too.

You'd think the popularity of these houses would show the potential to upper management for original dark rides, but alas...
Are you drunk? You must be drunk to dream like that
 

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