I see some really good reviews already, so I will just add some quick thoughts on the event.
Let's start by saying that this is a really really good year. Solid, strong year (Might be one of the best yearssince 2011) great houses, AMAZING original houses, and really excellent zones. This year got a lot right. Makes me happy for the future.
1) Scarecrow: The Reaping - Awesome entrance. the sets felt very similar to Tomb of the ancients (same vines hanging and everything) . there were times in the house that I felt a "Dejavu" from that house, the claustrophobia definitely feels the same, as well as the darkness. The crow room is really cool
the scarecrows are aggressive and scary. Great creepy skull like costumes. The only problem I kinda had was that it was too dark in some parts and all the hanging ropes made it hard to appreciate the house because i was worried of those hitting my face. I was not a fan of those hanging branches in Tomb of the Ancients and i don't like them this year.
2) Dead Waters - the house is short but to me it kind of made sense that it was short because the budget must have gone to the incredible sets. you get something and take something away, Incredible big sets-shorter house. I noticed the house is basically inhabited by zombies. This is basically a zombie house judging from all the corpse looking costumes (voodoo zombies I guess)
Very strong use of disorienting effects ( from the weird floors to the tilted rooms) I almost fell down the first time i did it. I really like the lighting in the house as well. the house has the right amount of light so you can see everything.
3) The Hive - this was supposed to be The Conjuring, I can honestly fully say i am Happy that conjuring got replaced... very happy actually. I don't think this house would have been as good as the Conjuring. (The house looks like a mansion that has been destroyed by a storm or something) this house is full of all kinds of stuff like books and toys and trash. Really cool sets.
This is one of my favorite uses of vampires at HHN. They look like Nosferatu creatures which I really really loved. (I have never liked when they just have fangs and nothing else) Some look like real bats, Both are really great. There are some really strong scares in this house, The vampire bodies hanging upside down is a really awesome prop to see.
what got me the most about this house was the loud hissing. the speakers are really loud and the hissing is very very creepy. There were a couple of times that it felt like someone was behind me hissing in my ear.
the ending is a dark room full of vampire glowing eyes. While this is a really really stressful and scary kind of ending, there is no actor in the last room (That I know of) if they had an actor in this room it would have been the scariest thing ever.
4) Ash vs Evil Dead - pretty faithful to the show and sets are very well made. The house is not that scary but the great thing for me was the guys playing Ash (I know people say they dont look like Ash) but for me they did a great job and I really liked them. you see the demons from the show and they look pretty good.
I noticed that it has a lot more from season 1 than season 2 which kind of makes sense. I have to say that the house made of the Evil Dead remake was much better for me as a representation of the evil Dead Franchise. That one had much better scares, better sets and better characters (I KNOW that movie had nothing to do with Ash or the older evil dead movies) I am just thinking that it is kind of funny how the remake house felt more true to evil dead than this house.I did not feel the terror or gore that I expected from an evil dead house with this house. I Know the show has humor elements but the show has a lot of gore and scary moments that were not present in the house. The house does well to represent the show but it never gets to the level of fear and terror that the remake house got so well. this house is kind of tame compared to the older movies and show.
5) SAW - this is a hit or miss. if you hit the traps at the correct time then the house is okay but if you miss the traps then the house is not the best. This is for fans only basically. I think they did a good job with using the small space they have in Shrek and some rooms look straight up from the movie and I think the house got some stuff better done than in 2009. The smaller corridors and the fact that sunlight cant go into the building makes it better than 2009. it feels like a slicker version of the 2009 house. I think the bathroom scene was better depicted here than in 2009.
6) The Shining - it is funny how this one has better sets than Exorcist and has more to work with yet I think Exorcist was a much stronger house and a more memorable house. This one has more characters and more variety in the rooms and more ways to scare you (Exorcist just had black hallways and the same bed room over and over) yet I remember being scared of exorcist much more and having better memories of that house. I know the event just started but this house was not the greatest. (I think anticipation and hype hurt this house) the sets looked good but the scares were not as great. Maybe I am just not scared of Jack Nicholson or the twins... I can't recall getting scared in this house actually. (the elevator blood effect was kind of funny, made me feel like a giant lol)
7) The Fallen - I Love this house, I Really Love this house a lot. (Probably one of my favorite houses) And I don't think it needed to have angels added, The house is gory enough on its own. There is enough carnage and tortured bodies that the house works well as Hell itself. Having the mutilated props be angels wouldn't really make the house any better. As Hell it works very well, In Fact I think it works better this way because we are taken on a trip to hell itself and the house becomes a kind of sister to the HELLRAISER movies (some props and some rooms felt taken straight from the hellraiser franchise) This house also reminded me a little bit of the Silent Hill 3 video game, some aspects of this house felt similar to some parts of the game.
The costumes are very creepy, the actors are doing a great job as demons. the sets are really dark and immersive (This house reminds me of the Hades HHN house as well) the lighting on this house is great too, the house is dark but lit enough that you can see everything. The flying demons were awesome.
the ending of the house is really creepy and tense, the lights dim and you can't see the actors but then they go bright again and the actors get you really good.
8) American Horror Story - not much to say really, it has really big sets. they pay a lot of attention to the show and it translates very well to the house, But I feel like the house last year was much more scary and it had cooler characters. The house last year scared me a lot more and had some really awesome rooms, I really loved the one last year but I dont love this one as much.
Asylum is pretty cool and scary, and has the best scares. Coven was not as good and the characters in here are not that cool or scary. Roanoke just feels like a rehash of the Roanoke HHN house from before (ironically enough) and it wasn't that interesting or scary. So the only part that I really loved was Asylum and that was the part with the coolest characters and also the scariest.
9) Blumhouse - kinda lame, a lot of wasted opportunity and space. The house feels like nothing but hallways and more hallways. Sinister gets one cool room but like two hallways. Purge gets more hallways. Most of insidious is black hallways. it just wasn't that good. this was nowhere near as great as the Insidious house from before. even the Insidious parts were kinda bad. The house ends with more hallways lol (in green for some reason)
1) The Purge - Awesome as always. actors are doing great, set pieces are really cool. There is an actor on top of a car that has a hose that throws water at people (I really liked that) the motorcycles are back, the truck is back, I really really loved that the Christmas light car and the Candy bar girls are in this zone, that was the highlight of purge 3 and I am very happy it made it to the zone. I love the fact that they have the bear lol. For some reason it doesn't feel like it has as many actors as the previous zone had but it is still great
2) Trick 'r Treat- it kinda makes me sad that this movie was not a house instead. The zone is great of course, but the movie had SO much that would have translated so well into a great house.
I would have preferred a Trick R treat house instead of SAW of Blumhouse any day. The movie is just filled with things that would translate perfectly to HHN as a house. Don't get me wrong i am very happy that we get a zone, but i just really hope next year they make it a house.
The zone is beautiful, the doors are really cool to see and almost every character from the movie is in the zone. I LOVE that we get to see Sam as a prop 4 times and we get to see 2 actors playing sam, I was afraid there would only be props alone. Seeing sam walking around the one was one of the highlights of the night. This also might be the best use of the jack o lanterns in the trees. the zone is so great.
Invasion - pretty funky zone, the spaceship set is incredible (You can get some amazing pics here ) and the alien costumes are pretty cool. has a nice retro vibe. the aliens are not too aggressive but that's okay. They act more like curious scientists. It is a different kind of zone in that regard. has more of a sci fi event kind of vibe so I don't mind that it is not an aggressive zone.
Altars of Horror - kind of a bare zone, I expected some stages like last year or better props. I really don't understand why they didn't try to add a theater screen like zones in the past. could have just been a white sheet and a projector... didn't need to be big or anything. they could have made this into a little version of All Night Die In...
The banners kind of make me think of six flags or something. the actors are doing a good job and the characters look cool, but this zone is missing stuff (I know the zone cannot have a lot but it feels too bare) I think the idea to have the movie characters in the street is cool but i wish Ash from Evil dead was outside. I also wish more characters from Insidious were in the street instead of purge characters. I wish the Lipstick-Face Demon and the key finger demon were in the street. I would have LOVED to see the Lipstick-Face Demon in the street actually.
I wish some of the other characters from Evil dead show were in the street as well, the street feels kinda bare of characters as well. this is a pretty weird zone, almost feels like a horde zone (like the clowns) to be honest. This is basically just a "horde" zone because Honestly those banners for me don't count as real set pieces.
Festival of the deadliest - This zone is basically a metalhead's wildest dream come true. This zone is just basically an iron maiden album cover come to life. The props, the skulls, the horns, the fire, the red light, the music... even the demon girls dancing on poles. Literally Metal head heaven lol. The zone is better at night with the red lighting. much more effective in what they were trying to do. (more than the other zones, the other zones work well in daylight as well) This zone is long but it feels like they used the space well with the smaller stages and the actors spaced out, feels like a more complete zone than previous zones done in this area. I really really love the music in this zone and love the costumes. probably my favorite zone of the year.
this zone is so much better than the vampire one last year.
Clown zone Springfield - these guys are really great, i am always happy when i see them scaring people. They are really wild and play around a lot. There is never a dull moment in this area.
they are funny and scary, I also love how they play around with people. These guys are a lot of fun to watch. Im really glad they are back
Even with some of the shortcomings I mentioned in the review, this is one of the strongest years HHN has had in the past 7 years. I can't believe there is not one house or one zone that i really disliked. everything seems great this year.