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HHN #30 begins September 3rd 2021

ryan1

Well-Known Member
Managed to do all 10 houses last night without Express!

1. Wicked Growth - Just fantastic set design, character design, and concept. I love when the original non IP houses have one cohesive concept and setting throughout, as opposed to some which are a mixup of themes or ideas. Every year my favorite is an original house. I feel its pretty obvious that they do better work when they are not under obligation to do specific things, like with many IP houses.
2. Puppet Theater - Likewise.
3. Beetlejuice - Although this was the comedy house, it was the only one that had a moment that startled me. Great tribute to the film.
4. Bride of Frankenstein - Was open last year but still really good.
5. Texas Chainsaw Massacre - This IP is overused by HHN but the house was very well done.
6. Icons: Captured - just lots of fun reliving past events.
7. Case Files - This was a really interesting and fresh concept that makes it worth seeing, but it basically wants you to stop and read all the details to appreciate and understand it. Unfortunately, this is not possible, so it makes no sense.

All of the above I felt were worth it and if you don't have time to see them all, I would recommend these.

8. Scarey, Ohio - Look, I've been to this event so many times. It's hard to remember every single house and many of those featured in this were forgettable. So to me, it felt like a disjointed series of "b-roll" houses. Side note, this house location, in my opinion, has never had a good house since it's introduction in 2016.
9. Haunting of Hill House - I don't feel that it captured the feel and tone of the show well at all. In my opinion this should have tried to be more similar to the Stranger Things houses where it's more about setting foot in the show than the scares. I don't recall seeing any of the Crane family characters either, only the ghosts. Maybe I just missed them? I also felt that the sets in this house were sub par for HHN. Lots of bland hallways.
10. Tooth Fairy - didn't like this house last year and same for this year. The little tooth fairy creatures are lame and are the only real scare.

Other thoughts:

- Scare zones - terrible! They're just photo ops/meet & greets now. Not a single one had a good or interesting theme. I used to describe the atmosphere of HHN as feeling like "a theme park in hell", but with these toned-down scare zones, that no longer applies. I'm sure there are several factors behind this change, but I do miss how it used to be.
- Lack of fog - am I remembering it wrong or did there used to be a LOT more fog throughout the park?
- This year's BGM. Not a fan of thrash metal (or whatever that would be classified as) at all. It's obnoxious and overkill hearing it endlessly. Thankfully it wasn't blasting everywhere in the park.
- Lagoon show - also terrible. Heavy metal + colorful water = scary!
- I could not care less about Nightmare Fuel so I didn't bother.

I think I say this every year, but after so many years of attending this event, there are absolutely no surprises left in it for me unless they find some way to do a new approach. I know the house design. I know where the scares will be. I know the signs of a misdirect and can anticipate that too. They won't change anything, of course, because they have a winning formula that makes them a ton of money.
I'm going next week for 2 nights so I don't have an opinion on the event yet but as someone who has gone every year for the last 20 years I can say for the past 4-5 years the scare zones have become basically an afterthought for the event and if it weren't for the awful shows they have put on after Bill and Ted stopped they would be the low point of the event.

The scare zones are either too large of an area or too understaffed. Either shrink them so the actors aren't spread out so much or pack the large area with more actors. You can walk though zones the past couple of years without even seeing actors let alone interact with them. Also, the lack of roaming chainsaw people hurts the atmosphere a lot. You use to walk anywhere in the park and you'd still be able to hear the chainsaws rev and people scream which kept a sense of dread wherever you went. You also aren't remembering it wrong, fog use to be everywhere.

The greatest scare zone they ever did was the foam area when it was held at IoA with the clowns walking around in it (I can't remember the name of it) and I doubt they'd put that much effort into a zone now.
 
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Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
I'm going next week for 2 nights so I don't have an opinion on the event yet but as someone who has gone every year for the last 20 years I can say for the past 4-5 years the scare zones have become basically an afterthought for the event and if it weren't for the awful shows they have put on after Bill and Ted stopped they would be the low point of the event.

The scare zones are either too large of an area or too understaffed. Either shrink them so the actors aren't spread out so much or pack the large area with more actors. You can walk though zones the past couple of years without even seeing actors let alone interact with them. Also, the lack of roaming chainsaw people hurts the atmosphere a lot. You use to walk anywhere in the park and you'd still be able to hear the chainsaws rev and people scream which kept a sense of dread wherever you went. You also aren't remembering it wrong, fog use to be everywhere.

The greatest scare zone they ever did was the foam area when it was held at IoA with the clowns walking around in it (I can't remember the name of it) and I doubt they'd put that much effort into a zone now.

Agreed with all of this. It's not really a "scare zone" if it's only a handful of performers that stay in front of their backdrop waiting for you to take selfies with them with maybe one or two roamers who are also posing for selfies. Although I wonder how much of this was a corporate decision as opposed to just evolving with the times. This + the lack of fog + the lack of the roaming chainsaw gangs has really dulled the atmosphere.
 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
Does anyone know what the typical cost for constructing one house is? Every year I am amazed at how they churn out 10 highly detailed houses that look like they could be year-round installations due to their high quality, highly detailed sets, yet Universal continues to be somewhat scarce with physical theming elements in their permanent attractions. I do understand that a big difference is that the HHN houses are not meant or able to be permanent fixtures so obviously that saves a lot of money.
 

JT3000

Well-Known Member
Agreed with all of this. It's not really a "scare zone" if it's only a handful of performers that stay in front of their backdrop waiting for you to take selfies with them with maybe one or two roamers who are also posing for selfies. Although I wonder how much of this was a corporate decision as opposed to just evolving with the times. This + the lack of fog + the lack of the roaming chainsaw gangs has really dulled the atmosphere.
Generally speaking, the smaller, more mobile scarezone set pieces compared to years prior are a result of the Superstar Parade. It has been common for them to perch an actor on these set pieces, effectively turning them into an accidental photo-op (no one should be posing regardless.) However, the backdrops you speak of for this year specifically are the direct result of Covid measures. They wanted as few actors on the ground as possible.
 

JoeCamel

Well-Known Member
Does anyone know what the typical cost for constructing one house is? Every year I am amazed at how they churn out 10 highly detailed houses that look like they could be year-round installations due to their high quality, highly detailed sets, yet Universal continues to be somewhat scarce with physical theming elements in their permanent attractions. I do understand that a big difference is that the HHN houses are not meant or able to be permanent fixtures so obviously that saves a lot of money.
I don't know the cost but having a huge stock of props to pull from and the skilled set design people inhouse or contracted for is a big advantage to keeping costs down and allowing for incredible detail to be included.
 

jeanericuser001

Well-Known Member
I seriously must thank you guys. I was ready to spend some serious cash to have a premium hhn trip but after hearing about the scare zones, houses, and drop in quality its definitely convinced me that staying with HOS was the better option.
 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
I don't know the cost but having a huge stock of props to pull from and the skilled set design people inhouse or contracted for is a big advantage to keeping costs down and allowing for incredible detail to be included.

That's true. I know there's a handful of large scale sets that I recognize every year, particularly a house staircase and a kitchen.
I seriously must thank you guys. I was ready to spend some serious cash to have a premium hhn trip but after hearing about the scare zones, houses, and drop in quality its definitely convinced me that staying with HOS was the better option.

The houses are as good as always - most people won't be very scared but they're extremely high quality. It's just that if you've done the event many years, there aren't any new surprises. They have a winning formula and probably won't be changing it anytime soon.
 

JT3000

Well-Known Member
I seriously must thank you guys. I was ready to spend some serious cash to have a premium hhn trip but after hearing about the scare zones, houses, and drop in quality its definitely convinced me that staying with HOS was the better option.
I'm not sure where you're hearing about a drop in quality, as there's been only one review posted here so far, but as someone who has already been to HHN and both Florida HOS this year, I can assure you that even with the lackluster scarezones and obnoxious use of protective vinyl in the houses, HHN would still need to decline drastically before reaching their respective levels of showmanship (SeaWorld's especially.) HOS can be a decent, lower-budget alternative if you're just looking for some variety, but it's not a substitute for HHN. The relative lack of content isn't the only reason those events are cheaper (although one could argue they're all still overpriced.)
 
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jeanericuser001

Well-Known Member
You all are probably wondering why I said those things. Well lets be honest. Scare zones that are more like the meet and greet photo ops is not my bag. Houses where the scare actors seem to all be behind a faux glass wall would sound great if it was just one house themed to a museum or a house of mirrors but for all them.....it sort of ruins the illusion. Sure they can try to use puppets or animatronics for scares but zoo boo does that far better. If it were bg I might understand having a few houses reused as they typically modify the house enough to make it different but if the same houses are reused multiple times then it sort of makes it less enjoyable not to mention I have been to hhn for 20 years so texas chainsaw massacre and icon medley houses are something I have seen quite a few times. Then there is the little things like use of fog which always makes it more interesting but if they plan to cut back on something that simple what else will they cut back on. Then there is the price. Its just not worth it to me this year with all these things considered into the equation. Maybe next year when covid is less of a concern as well. Till then I got an alternative that may not but perfect but its cheaper and unlike the other places they are doing things old school with proper roaming scare actors in zones and houses that feel genuinely scary instead of a presetup scare spots where someone is supposed to scare me from behind a shiny faux glass wall.
 

disneygeek90

Premium Member
Even with the COVID drawbacks, NOTHING in the industry compares to HHN. Nothing. Not even close.

The updated (elevated) pricing of private RIPs is a tougher pill to swallow this year, but my traditions must be followed.
I have watched a few HOS walkthroughs and no offense but they just seem… bad. The poor actors in the houses get very limited effects to work with. A person just screaming and talking from their own voice with no enhancements or sound levels increased is just weird to me.

I’ve been to HHN 8 nights so far with express and I absolutely love it. I recognize the scare zones aren’t all that scary but I really enjoy most of them. I’ve now “submitted” to the controller twice.
 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
In my review post I complained about the background music this year. It seems I wasn't the only one because it seems to have changed and been turned down? The new stuff is much more ambient and I only heard the thrash metal at the entrance scare zone.
 

71jason

Well-Known Member
I seriously must thank you guys. I was ready to spend some serious cash to have a premium hhn trip but after hearing about the scare zones, houses, and drop in quality its definitely convinced me that staying with HOS was the better option.

Houses at HHN are still top-notch. No one else in the industry close. HoS has better zones and a more fun, chill atmosphere. Ultimately two different events, like trying to compare Haunted Mansion to Mako.

That said you have to do premium to have an unrushed, enjoyable night at HHN (at least Express, which doubles the price). But the basic $35 ticket is fine for HoS. If you have the time, not that much extra money to do both.
 

jeanericuser001

Well-Known Member
Houses at HHN are still top-notch. No one else in the industry close. HoS has better zones and a more fun, chill atmosphere. Ultimately two different events, like trying to compare Haunted Mansion to Mako.

That said you have to do premium to have an unrushed, enjoyable night at HHN (at least Express, which doubles the price). But the basic $35 ticket is fine for HoS. If you have the time, not that much extra money to do both.
As far as monetary goes, HOS can be insanely cheap if you do it wisely. With annual pass, HOS in advance was 25 and an unlimited ticket for both parks went for 135. Then there is the express pass. BG price rarely goes above 100 and SW price is barely above 75 on most nights.
 

Benjamin_Nicholas

Premium Member
While it was nice to have HHN back, it did feel a little lacking this year.

Scarezones feel empty. Not nearly enough actors, set pieces, lighting or fog.

The houses had some impressive scenic elements, but the scares just weren't there and a lot of it felt like they needed another 5-10 actors per house.... That, and a lack of very noticeable plastic covering all of the jump spots.

This was not a banner year by any means. Prices went up. Quality went down.

I expected it based on the situation, but it's still a bit of a bummer.
 

JoeCamel

Well-Known Member
While it was nice to have HHN back, it did feel a little lacking this year.

Scarezones feel empty. Not nearly enough actors, set pieces, lighting or fog.

The houses had some impressive scenic elements, but the scares just weren't there and a lot of it felt like they needed another 5-10 actors per house.... That, and a lack of very noticeable plastic covering all of the jump spots.

This was not a banner year by any means. Prices went up. Quality went down.

I expected it based on the situation, but it's still a bit of a bummer.
I would have gone if this was all I got but it is so much more. Alas this year none for me

 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
This can happen anywhere.

Besides, I wouldn't make disparaging generalizations about a demographic that includes myself, but maybe that's just me. 🤷‍♂️

It's a rare occurrence at Disney but a nightly occurrence at HHN. This is well known. They have to increase security like tenfold on HHN nights and have actual police everywhere because it's so prevalent.

I might attend HHN but I am not in the same group of people that goes to be loud, disrespectful, and belligerent.
 

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