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Posts posted by DTH316

  1. This is true for some mazes, but definitely not all.


    If you want to know which ones do and which don't, without being too specific to ruin any moments, read on:

    The one that was most strict about it is Us. I can't remember a single moment in that maze with a black wall section or a random boo-hole box scare in the dark. FMTW, Creepshow, Corpses, and Holidayz have some portions like that randomly thrown in, but definitely not for their finales. Killer Klowns results to that a bit in the end, but it works in the context of the maze. The worst offenders are Pandora and Ghostbusters, and from what I've seen in videos, Stranger Things. The latter two I imagine it's mainly because those are more puppet heavy and they couldn't figure out how else to do it. While Pandora is just a bunch random haunt imagery with no tact in mind.

  2. Universal Studios Hollywood presents
    in association with Halloween Horror Nights

    9/14 Trip Review
    Saturday, September 14th, 2019
    6 PM - 1 AM


    As always, this is a very detailed review. By its nature, spoilers are abound. This is for people who have already gone and want a refresher, for people who will never be able to go and want perspective outside of just watching walkthroughs, and for people who don't mind spoilers and want to just get more excited.


    This is my first time getting FFP for the event. Not because I’m super excited about the IPs, just because I figured I may end up going a lot. Plus I’m most likely skipping Knotts this year since there isn’t much new there. On the plus side, with the insane crowds, and the new Jurassic World, and the Throwback Thursdays, I wanted to experience this as much as possible and get the most bang for my buck on this year’s offerings. As a forewarning, I did not get to experience Stranger Things. This is the very… VERY first time… since I’ve been going in 2007… that I did not get to go through all the mazes in a single night. This is not for a lack of trying, but with Early Entry ripping away an hour and then ending tonight at 1 AM instead of 2… and taking away Terror Tram which usually dispersed people decently around the park… let’s just say Universal really screwed us over for what seems like no apparent real good reason. Usually I add a lot of detail on times I did things to help people game plan, but truthfully, unless you’re going on a very sparse Thursday or Sunday, I don’t see how you could conceivably do all the mazes, unfortunately. You’re 90% going to need a FOL pass to see all the mazes this year, especially if you’re considering including Jurassic World and Jabba into your night.


    Advertised Wait: 20 minutes
    Time In Line: 6:10
    Actual Wait: Walk On
    In the Maze: 6:20 (was waiting for some friends to catch up)

    Going through, I felt something was very off. It was very dark and there were few scare actors. Watching the maze on Youtube, I almost felt like it was an entirely different maze because of how many more scares there were and effects that were on that lit up the maze in different ways. I won’t go too into detail, since I feel I can’t properly rate this maze without seeing a full on live version. Anyway, I liked good amounts of detail and some of the scares were very aggressive. Naturally, as an anthology maze, stories felt disconnected, but that’s on purpose, so the flow and pace seemed inconsistent in a strange way.

    Now let’s get into 2 things that EVERY-SINGLE-MAZE has this year. An excessive amount of fabric-picture scares and werewolves. Somehow every dang maze this year has a wolf or four footed creature that they could repurpose wolf puppets for. Even with knowing what this maze is like from watching it, there’s a certain grittiness that I wish this maze had. It’s almost live-action cartoony in a way. While I don’t hate it, I don’t necessarily love it either. My personal experience was fine, but I can see from YouTube that it could’ve been much better. I look forward to this improving in the future. And I’ll fully review it with full on scores when I’ve gone through it again. For now —


    Advertised Wait: 75 minutes
    Time in Line: 6:25
    In the Maze: 6:59
    Actual Wait: 34 minutes


    Oy. Where do I begin? I had reservations for this maze and I really wanted to be surprised. This is everything I feared it’d be and worse. The beginning is so goofy, it’s childish. The scares did not hit at all. My friend said, “this is a maze for pre-teens who don’t want to be scared.” I can’t even say I liked the sets all that much. I was even disappointed with Stay Puft. I get it, he’s huge and there’s only so much you can do. But one scene with him and that’s it? No sense of him coming, or rumbling, or anything? I didn’t even like how Slimer looked, I think I would’ve preferred pepperghost. Comedy houses are just not - my - thing. We went through this maze so stone faced and came out very disappointed. I do no foresee this maze getting any better for me, personally. I understand if other people boogie to it, but man, even with my FFP, I don’t want to waste my time with this one again. I just feel like this is the exact opposite of what I come to HHN for. That’s not to say it wasn’t well crafted. When I say I’m not impressed with the sets, I’m just being a hater. Because technically the effects, costumes, and everything is well done. But tonally, I just can not fathom waiting 2 hours for this and getting THAT as the result. I’d run my head into a brick wall. Honestly, I don’t even want to break this down with scores for how I came to my grading. With that said, this is not even my least favorite of the event, but that’s for later.


    Advertised Wait: 35 minutes
    Time in Line: 7:07
    In the Maze: 7:26
    Actual Wait: 19 minutes


    Finally, a GREAT maze this evening! And something I want to fully dive into review-wise. I wasn’t the biggest fan of UCM, so I was apprehensive about this maze a bit. However, this is everything I wanted that maze to have been. It was much more gothic and gritty, the music more horror-y, with the scares coming in closer proximity. That was my biggest issue with UCM is the monsters were always so far away with their pop outs. This fixed that BIG time, sometimes with two popping out RIGHT NEXT to you at once (another huge staple this year, next to the fabric scares and random wolves everywhere).

    Walking in, I loved the smell. The storytelling of knowing Talbot’s story was great before it takes us to the point of where the UCM maze left off. The crypt had great environment and reminded of the graveyard scene in La Lorona. Seeing Fritz at the top of the building was a nice touch. This is where you finally get to see Franky and Wolfie start to be in the same scene with each other and these encounters were great. Both monsters on the table and having to walk between them was SUCH. A. GREAT. MOMENT. I was genuinely scared to go through. And finally getting The Bride close enough to see was great too. I think the only section that fell flat for me was the icy ending and the projector room. But at least the projector room was at the end this time instead of in the middle of the maze, making more sense with a narrative of whether I’m just watching these films or living them.

    Before, I think I compared UCM to House of Horrors and liking the HOH more. I think this was a worthy followup to the HOH and a much better followup to UCM. I’m hoping they will continue this series so we can see what happens next. I’d love to see Creature from the Black Lagoon (missing from UCM) or Dracula next. While this is a very great maze, it oddly somehow falls somewhere in the middle this year because the top two mazes are so good. This is another I think will only improve with time and they’re already rocking it in this maze.


    FACADE — 8. Really brings you into where you’ll be in the first scene, I’d like another wagon or so though. The full moon looks cheap, IMO, so I’m docking another point.
    SET DESIGN - 10. Absolutely beautiful sets in here.
    SOUND DESIGN - 10. The sound really sold the story, which is another section later on.
    SCAREACTOR DESIGN - 9. Docking for a few funky looking Frankies.
    CAST PERFORMANCE - 8. For a first weekend, they’re already pretty much on fire, but I think that tad extra bit of aggression will make this maze that much better.
    ATMOSPHERE/TONE/IMMERSION - 10. I was really sold into this world moreso than any other maze at this event.
    LENGTH - 9. I wanted maybe ONE more scene.
    SCARES - 9. Some of the scares didn’t hit as hard as I wanted them to. But again, maybe later when things are ironed out.
    STORY - 10. This was beautifully told and crafted. I always knew where I was in the story by the sound design and things pushed along nicely, just like a movie.
    PERSONAL BIAS POINTS - 10. For coming back so strong, I gotta give this maze props. It made me a firm believer in the UCM getting a solid maze at HHN. While UCM felt unfocused to me, this gave a solid story that was worth following and environment worthy of scares for modern audiences.

    93 out of 100. ‘A’


    This felt like a Knotts maze, it was very strangely streamlined, even with a roof at some points. I enjoyed it but it was understaffed. And honestly, I just feel like you can see the same props/themes so many times before getting used to them.


    No. Stop.


    Advertised Wait: 40 minutes
    Time in Line: 7:50
    In the Maze at: 9:27
    Actual Wait: 97 minutes


    {A very unfortunate side note, operations and line management was absolutely awful once the crowds started pouring in. This said 15 minutes when I walked up to it then jumped up to 40. Then I waited twice as long for it. The line barely moved and it’s because of the amount of VIP/FOL they’re letting in. STOP THIS, Universal. CAP IT.}


    The facade-pre-show felt underwhelming. Such a long scene just for that. While I should’ve known, seeing the movie and all, I just thought more would happen haha. Also, why is the show on the OTHER side from where MOST guests can’t see it?


    I loved this maze instantly when walking in. I know I just blasted Ghostbusters for attempting comedy in a maze but this had a great balance of horror mixed in. The spaceship and cotton candy sections were great. I feel like this really came alive once the clowns got to the streets. The finger show was ridiculous in such a great way. I loved seeing the clowns trying to hide behind things but they’re literally too big. The water squirting was excessive but these were great scenes and gags. The police station part was PERFECT. The guy who did it was so great. He stared me down even AFTER I left the room and just stayed glued on me. It’s impressive how this maze utilized its space as well, as it never felt like there was a weak spot or blank area.


    The energy in this maze is peak HHN. This was taking a well earned risk on a cult classic that was both scary and goofy just enough that it could work as a maze, one of my favorite in HHN history. Also, the fans for this maze came out in droves. I’ve never seen so many Killer Klowns shirts in my life. I felt like every 10 people in line had one. And the popularity shows because the line stayed long all night. Or maybe because people kept stopping in the maze to see the gags. Or maybe because line management sucks. I don’t know. Anyway, great maze.


    FACADE — 9. I’m docking a point for that pointless pre-show. Save some money and give me another hour of early entry instead, how-bou-dat?
    SET DESIGN - 10. Fantastic, they made such great use of the small area and made it work.
    SOUND DESIGN - 10. I felt like I was in the movie with how it strung me along from scene to scene just with audio.
    SCAREACTOR DESIGN - 10. The clowns looked so great come to life. I laughed and they scared me.  
    CAST PERFORMANCE - 10. And that’s because the cast was so on point. They knew how to draw you in with something goofy then strike and be menacing. These guys were doing great with such huge suits on.
    ATMOSPHERE/TONE/IMMERSION - 8. I was really sold on where I was but I did feel reminded a bit on the fact that I was in a maze a bit, and that’s because the gags were very obvious. I suppose in most mazes, the gags are hidden a bit better, but since the gags are literal gags from the clowns, it just felt like back-to-back set up for the next punch-line/scare.
    LENGTH - 10. It ended just at the right time.
    SCARES - 9. It could’ve been scarier, but it made up for any scares with pure entertainment or at least a tone. This is where Ghostbusters fails and KKFOS succeeds in spades.
    STORY - 10. This was so nice and easy to follow.
    PERSONAL BIAS POINTS - 10. Great cult classic has come to HHN and I couldn’t be more proud or happy. And they did the movie pure JUSTICE by going above and beyond. You can tell they genuinely cared to make this one good.

    96 out of 100. ‘A’+


    These guys were pretty intense, I dug ‘em. I think the overall tone didn’t work in this area though and would’ve been much more beneficial in an enclosed space. This and All Hallow’s Evil should’ve swapped.


    Advertised Wait: 35 minutes
    Time in Line: 10:37
    In the Maze: 11:04
    Actual Wait:  27 minutes


    I feel like my cartoony comment about Creepshow applies to this maze as well. There’s a certain grittiness missing. HOWEVER, I enjoyed this more. Each holiday had a great little moment in it. To see this progress from scare zone to maze is a delight. I remember really wishing each section in that zone had it’s own full on room and here we have it. And it completely works. I think my biggest scares in the maze were in the leprechaun section. Guy just kept coming out of nowhere. And the Easter section was surprisingly more demonic than I anticipated, it was so fun. I think the one section that could’ve been a bit better was the 4th of July. The set up and scare here just felt anti-climactic. Halloween was very intense because of the proximity of the pumpkinheads and how many of them there were. The Thanksgiving part was so delightfully disturbing that I’m curious about a whole maze on it. I was surprised to see Christmas considering there was a zone and since the zone is such an obvious continuation, I’ll count it to be apart of the maze. A great surprise in here was Elsa—errr… a snow queen. Funny enough, they throw in another New Year part.


    FACADE — 6. I like the smoke bubbles, but that’s about it. I’m not a fan of flat facades. At least Creepshow has some angles.
    SET DESIGN - 7. Again, I wish there was a bit more realism added at points to make this scarier.
    SOUND DESIGN - 10. Much like the zone, this used all the things we recognize from those holidays to really put you in the environment.
    SCAREACTOR DESIGN - 10. Things I never thought were scary have become scary now, let’s just say that.
    CAST PERFORMANCE - 7. I think this is the maze where I feel like there can be the most room for growth. They hit their marks very well, but I think there can be a bit more aggression each time.
    ATMOSPHERE/TONE/IMMERSION - 7. I think going through everything so quickly, like an anthology maze, gives you almost a reset with every room. In a way, I wish they only stuck to maybe 3 holidays to really expand on some ideas.
    LENGTH - 8. As I said just above, I feel like to really sell it, this needs to be longer so we can fully enjoy certain holidays instead of getting single rooms on things.
    SCARES - 9. I got some of my best scares of the night in here, but they could hit harder.
    STORY - 9. It’s very self explanatory and easy to follow. I think maybe if there was a device though, like seeing it through a child’s lens like in Titans of Terror, this could’ve gelled together in a much more cohesive way other than “here’s some holidays.” Which works fine, but I mean, room for improvement and all.
    PERSONAL BIAS POINTS - 10. I liked it a lot and love the idea quite a bit. It works as a maze in so many ways and I know this will just get even better with time. It’s something that could come back every year and be completely different.

    83 out of 100. ‘B’


    Advertised Wait: 45 minutes
    Time in Line: 10:37
    In the Maze: 11:04
    Actual Wait: 27 minutes




    Okay, maybe I’ll say more. Honestly, I liked this visually more than the 2009-2010 version. It’s more truthful to the scenic of the movie. However, that version had more space to tell a much scarier story that the more you went in, the more depraved it got. This felt like a cliff notes version of that maze. With five times more Spaulding. Okay, I get it, Spaulding is recognizable, but he was used WAY. TOO. MUCH. WTF, WHY? He’s literally half the maze and it ruined it for me.


    That first room was exactly the same as the prior version. Some scenes were just poorer versions of what they were before. It’s like… why bother bringing it back unless you can improve on it? And why add so much Spaulding and his laugh over and over again? He can only pop out from a random curtain so many dang times. The Murder Ride felt endless and pointless. Like, where’s Baby, Tiny,  and Otis? They felt like cameos in comparison to Spaulding. Final scene just seems like they ran out of ideas. While I can’t hate everything about it, I got some decent scares. But it feels so… cheap to do this again for no viable reason. I don’t think it can improve much over the season, it’s flawed by design. Annoying even. But at least it’s the only other maze with a consistently scary tone. Everything else is slightly goofy. It’s like a decent HHN maze from 2011 or 2013. Would’ve been good for the time if the other maze never came out, and disappointing that they haven’t thought of any new tricks.  I’m not going to break this one down, it is what it is.


    Advertised Wait: 70 minutes
    Time in Line: 11:22
    Time in Maze: 12:25
    Actual Wait: 63 minutes


    The line for this was ridiculous and just did not move. It looked smaller than 70 minutes so we figured to chance it, plus the last few lines were shorter than advertised. Nope, just line management at it’s finest, folks. Letting in 60 FOL/RIP people and only letting 5-7 people from the regular line. Without exaggeration, I counted them do that at least 3 times. Anyway, this has no effect on my score for the maze. Not like it matters, because it’s a freakin’ 0.

    WHAT. WAS. THIS? And WHY? The moment I heard UV lit maze, I held my breath. And going through, in the first 10 seconds after that cool moment in the first scene, I knew it wasn’t going to go well. It was all down hill from there. I’ve hated on a lot of mazes in the past, but this was such a jumble of old stuff, it was almost insulting. Before I hate too much, let me get some positives out of the way. I liked the sound design. It was super intense and the maze felt like all action. Now, back to the negatives. There was ZERO tension because it was ALL action. Just scene after scenes of pure attack. Okay, another positive. Every scare actor was super aggressive. Back to my negatives. Every scareactor was so aggressive that none of it landed because it was a constant barrage of insanity. I wasn’t able to focus on anything. What happened in this maze? Who even knows. I just had flashback after flashback of mazes of old and their sets. You know how people complained about a prop or two returning in a maze like in 2014 or 2015? Prepare for entire scenes. If it wasn’t bad enough already, the Medusa puppet head was literally hitting the wall when I went through. Just embarrassing. Was there a climax even? And Pandora herself and the design? This maze just screams laziness around every turn. It’s such a shame such great actors are working it. I’m sure for that reason alone, this maze will have its fans. It sure is intense. But to me, it’s also nonsense. I feel like all skill, tact, and storytelling was thrown out the window for this one. This goes down in history next to TITE, Clowns 3D and First Purge as one of the worst and most headache inducing mazes I’ve ever encountered at HHN.


    Advertised Wait: 120 minutes
    Time in Line: 1232
    In the Maze: 1:02
    Actual Wait: 30 minutes


    Like Creepshow, I felt like there was a lot of stuff missing when I went through and when I watched this after on Youtube, I was assured that was true. However, I feel more apt to judge this one because a lot of the scenes worked how they were intended anyway. This was my most anticipated and it didn’t disappoint. It improved upon the movie in some very fun ways. Getting to live through it was much more scary.


    The overall tone was perfect. The fear level built in every scene. If there wasn’t a scare, it just made the next scene build in dread because now I knew a scare was coming. The soundtrack was phenomenal. I do think the mirror portion in the beginning could be a bit better, but it definitely felt unsettling. Once the family arrives, all hell breaks loose, and in an a way that’s comprehensible. Those playing the leader of the Tethered was fantastic. Those movements were so spot on. The family jumping out in their specific spots to scare were so on point not only for the maze, but it didn’t even stray that far from the movie. I think it’s fantastic they somehow found the perfect way to adapt this without even having to take too many liberties like I thought they would.


    The girl in the mirror was the best part. The way you have to walk around her and towards the guy in the doorway was just so unsettling. This maze has so many moments where you’re being set up for something else and it just worked in so many unnerving ways. The return to the mirror maze was fun, and the underground tunnels were a great creepy touch with tiny little bunnies everywhere. I loved the classroom bit, but from YouTube, I didn’t see the full version. I just got a creepy girl staring at me while moving to the music in a very specific and creepy way, which worked just like that. Another favorite is the final scare, that I won’t even spoil in this spoiler review. It’s the most freaky moment of the entire event and I’m overjoyed this maze got some major TLC to make certain moments work.


    FACADE — 10. You get this facade twice!
    SET DESIGN - 10. There was so much detail, even in something as simple as a living room.
    SOUND DESIGN - 10. The “I Got 5 On It” plays in the whole maze and it’s awesome.
    SCAREACTOR DESIGN - 10. The cast was so perfectly put together, is mostly what I’m thinking of. And the masks were so lifelike, it’s insane. The bulging eyes just made it that much scarier.
    CAST PERFORMANCE - 10. Every one seemed to be on the same page and working towards a unified goal to scare the crap out of us.
    ATMOSPHERE/TONE/IMMERSION - 9. Little moments like the car gag remind me, “oh yeah, I’m in a maze.” However, the tone was top notch and the most scared I felt the entire event. Just dread and feeling creeped out.
    LENGTH - 10. This maze (and Pandora) felt so epically long.
    SCARES - 10. Best scares of the night are here.
    STORY - 10. The story points are brought up in the audio, really making sure the confusing stuff at least is conveyed. Seeing the movie definitely helps though.
    PERSONAL BIAS POINTS - 10. As my most anticipated, I’m glad this worked out so beautifully, as it easily could’ve been a dud. Major props to this team.

    99 out of 100. ‘A’+


    I can’t give my final thoughts until I see Stranger Things. Or Creepshow when it’s fully on. I even would like to see Jabba. With my FFP, I will luckily get to fully absorb this event this year. As far as how good the overall year is, so far, it’s pretty just okay. I wasn’t blown away but I didn’t hate it. It falls down right in the middle for me. While I loved Us and Killer Klownz, all the other mazes are spread pretty decently across the spectrum. And there’s also two mazes I absolutely loathe. While there’s a lot of quantity, I do think quality suffered a bit. And having no Terror Tram really stole the heart and soul from what Hollywood represents. It was the one unique thing HHNH had and they should’ve held onto it as long as they could’ve. Getting rid of it, so far in my eyes, has been a horrible experiment so far. Lines are way longer, it feels like there’s less to do, and adding two more mazes just feels pointless when there’s two crap mazes (maybe even three, if ST is as bad as I hear). While I did heavily enjoy certain mazes, they definitely aren’t created equal. Oddly, my list of most anticipated is almost exact to how it panned out, which usually doesn’t happen for me as things at least swap, but this year it was pretty exact to my expectations of what I would and wouldn’t like. While some of these mazes are going to be great by the end of the run, right now it’s pretty even across the board, which makes this above average, in general, but nothing stand out. Better than 2016? Not by a long shot. Better than 2018? For me, personally, I don’t even know if I could say that yet. I really loved the things people didn’t care for much last year, like TrT, Halloween, Stranger Things (later in the event), and HOB: Vol 2. For me, those were all solid ‘A’s. UCM was good, but not great. With Poltergeist being the only “meh” one of the bunch and First Purge just being trash. For me, Ghostbusters and Pandora are very, very, very strong Fs and are what bring the event down a bit, in my eyes. The odd-numbered year curse hasn’t been broken, at least not for me.



    AMAZING - Us, Killer Klownz from Outer Space
    GREAT - Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman
    GOOD - Holidayz in Hell
    AVERAGE - Creepshow
    OKAY - House of 1000 Corpses
    BAD - N/A
    WTF - Ghostbusters, The Curse of Pandora’s Box


    Christmas in Hell
    All Hallow’s Evil
    Spirits and Demons
    Fallen Angels (I don’t think I even SAW this maze)


    *PERFECT* - 16
    AMAZING - 14, 08, 12, 10
    GREAT - 13, 09, 18
    GOOD - 19, 15, 11
    AVERAGE - 07
    OKAY - 17
    BAD - N/A
    WTF - N/A

  3. Haven't been in here in awhile, wow it's dead!

    It just seems patronage, as someone else stated, for WHATEVER reason is much higher on that other forum.

    I do miss this site quite a bit and wish people would venture back this way.

    I don't know if I've put my thoughts here, but I'm... like Zombieman... skeptical of this year.

    The last 2 years have put a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. While I liked last year quite a bit, it still wasn't up to standard.

    I don't care how many originals, fan nights, cult IPs, or budget increases they're getting from ridding of the tram -- something just seems off.

    From the speculation, House of 1000 Corpses returning? But why?

    Ghostbusters, while fun and inventive, has a lot of potential. But that means it could go either way -- AVP or TITE. And something tells me this will be on the TITE spectrum. I just don't think HHNH does comedy well in their houses.

    Creepshow? Killer Klowns?

    Is Stranger Things and US really the most current things they could get a hold of?

    I know a lot are praising these decisions as the next coming of Jesus, but I think I've just been a bit jaded by HHNH. Plus it being an odd numbered year and it feeling never quite up to quality on those years -- especially if last year wasn't even that good.

    In a way, I wish HHNH would just focus on 3-5 solid great mazes. It was CONSISTENT back than.

    If they wanted to do something risky, it would actually be considered a risk.

    When Alice Cooper announced, I flipped my top but at least the maze was more than decent. They had the time to give it the TLC it needed.

    Maze numbers started to increase and they started doing forgettable mazes like Black Sabbath.

    Now it's like, "eh, 10 mazes, why not do EVERYTHING?"

    They use to be VERY picky about what they wanted to do and they always knocked it out of the park because they had laser focus.

    10 mazes is TOO many for one person to handle, IMO. Knotts has like 3 creative directors over 8-13 mazes and they only have maybe 3-5 new mazes a YEAR, yet Murdy is tackling all of this alone?

    I fear 10 may be spreading it too thin, especially when half of the good IPs are at WB or Fox.

    HHN put itself in a creative corner by being an IP based park (which, admittedly, I used to love), but now the well has run dry.

    Will this make them more creative or default to lazy?

    The First Purge was only LAST YEAR. I don't have high hopes.

    Regardless, you know I'll be first in line come opening time. Ugh, I'm such a shill.


  4. I feel like the TrT location has been getting shorter wait times since TiTE, with the exception of The Exorcist. The Shining oddly underperformed, imo. I was reading a theory that it basically has to do with crowd flow. Everyone is heading to the backlot mazes, and the exit of the backlot takes you to the stairs, far away from the TrT/Shining entrance. So by that time, people end up skipping it because they've already hit 3 mazes and it's getting late and just wanna do a short line, like the Terror Tram, then get to their most anticipated mazes, like Stranger Things or Halloween. I'd say that spot probably has the lowest conversion rate of the entire park, maybe like 50% at most. While Stranger Things this year is 100%, along with Terror Tram.

    As for the Purge, it was getting low lines the first two weekends until they moved a sign right after Holidayz in Hell directing people to go toward it. Basically, it just came down to "the first thing I see," because before people were heading to the highly anticipated Poltergeist or the real first thing they saw, HOB. Now First Purge hogs up the whole backlot because one sign told people where to go, and naturally, the sheep followed.

    • Like 1
  5. My thing is, I'd definitely go for that price if there were 2-3 more mazes. Even if I didn't like the videos, I'd still be interested. That or the price drops to 40-50, but I'd prefer more mazes. I would maybe even go this year for this price if they had at least double the amount of actors. Pricepoint is such a major thing and a Haunt can live or die by it. I can't convince 10 friends to go to WB if they only have 3 mazes and reviews saying there's low actors or scares for $80. But they will go to HHN to do the same old thing for the 10th year in a row, no matter how bored of it they've become (maybe only one or two of them) simply because the quality, quantity, and stuff to do quotient matches the pricepoint. We're all busy and broke 20-35 year olds, we have no desire to waste our little time and money.

  6. On the micechat poll, Poltergeist is rated number 1. I've seen a lot of good reviews for it in Hollywood threads. I don't quite understand them either, but then again, I'm mostly alone in loving TrT (although clipper liked it and I'm glad since they were looking forward to it!)

  7. 1 hour ago, zombieman said:

    Good review DTH.  It's interesting that you find HHN wait times to be accurate, because in my review I pointed out how random they were for me.  At Knotts I had the Fright Lane, so I wasn't tracking wait times.

    It sounds like if the wait times had been accurate, you would have found this to be a good year for haunt?


    And you didn't happen to bring home any event maps that are in good shape did you?


    I wouldn't say HHN times are accurate either, but traditionally I feel like they overestimate, which is a lesser of the sins. If I get in a line that says 60 minutes and it's only 30, it's a pleasant surprise. Posted as 30 and I wait 85 minutes, this is just cruel. 35 to 50, okay, this is getting annoying. Saying 60 but really a walk on is just poor and lazy to not even try, completely misguiding people into other directions, thus wasting even more time. At this point, I just find it egregious in both directions in overestimation and underestimation. Universal will overestimate 25%, rarely underestimate 15%, and the other 60% be spot on -- I think that's a pretty good track record. I feel like being spot on is very important for game planning your next move. Disney is oddly 90% accurate with their wait times...  [Except for the last hour at Universal and Disney... this I make an exception for because it's harder to determine]... so I literally know my next 3 moves and if anything changes, I can make an audible and come up with a different next 3 moves.


    I definitely would say it's a good haunt year, or at least I had a pretty good run through for me, the talent was consistent and on fire most of the night. I've heard the exact opposite from people who went that same exact day, which is the nature of KSF and why I've always been somewhat negative towards it. I'm just glad and feel lucky that for ONCE in literally maybe a decade that a majority of the mazes I was targeted aside from 1 (Dark Entities because it was low on staff and they seemed bored in general, and Dark Ride just because they seemed low on staff). Downside is I just had to suffer through poor operations to get it. I'm not completely turned off from KSF yet and I imagine I'll be back in 2 years, but if THAT year goes bad again, I might not be going for 5-10 years between visits. Operations can not get lazy, that's my number one thing! I'm spoiled by Disney, clearly. But even SeaWorld and LegoLand are pretty decent with this kind of thing, so I don't know.


    And I actually thought about getting you a map, but nothing stays anywhere near good condition once going through my pockets and my girlfriend didn't have a decent sized purse with her either, so even I have a cruddy map folded down into 4 with wrinkles everywhere.

  8. For what it's worth, TrT is by far my favorite maze this year. I am completely alone in that regard, however, and I usually see it on the lower end of people's charts. I did it twice at opposite ends of the night and it held up extremely well, catching new scares, the old scares hitting just as hard, and I think it's just a beautiful maze albeit broken down into segments by black walls... that have scares in them, so I don't mind too much. I feel like it's getting some weird unnecessary heat for them when other mazes are just as, if not, more guilty this year for the same thing. My whole group had the same opinion so I was shocked to see nobody else on the forums heralding it like we were. Maybe I just got lucky both times with the cast being relentless towards us. I still have to go back in about 2 weeks to see if it'll still be my favorite.

  9. Mini Review on my Trip... 10/14
    Why I F#%!ng Hate KSF With a Passion
    Okay, I don't hate it that much, and it's not even so much a Haunt thing, and more of an operations thing. TBH, I had really great run throughs on most of the mazes, which is a first when more than half usually are dead or lame. Also note: I specifically skipped Red Barn. I walked passed it maybe twice with a walk-on with plenty of time to spare (at those points in the night) and didn't even bother.

    So I got there around 7:45 and parking was oddly packed. I had a feeling I was up for some trouble already as I expected it to be dead (hence why I wasn't in a rush to get there). I've done this before, shown up around even 9 and finished everything, but I gave myself an extra hour because I wanted to hit some rides. I wasn't in a big group or anything, so I figured I could get around pretty quickly, which I was looking forward to. Well, let's just see how Knotts can mess up my plans like always, shall we?! I'm bitter and petty, so I feel like ranting.

    Hit Dark Ride first. I had a better run through than I did last year. If I recall, nobody tried to scare me last year, even semi-staffed. Tonight, it was minimally staffed, but I was more of a target. I liked it more than last year, but I still don't think all that highly of this maze. And I love dark rides in general, I feel like this maze should basically be my thing. The only way to flick my nerd geewiz-spot even harder is if this was a dark ride themed to Universal Monsters. I think it just comes down to the set and lighting... just doesn't look realistic to me, even during the backstage segments.
    RANK: Average

    I wanted to hit HangTime early in the night since I've never done it. Boy was that a friggin mistake. App said 35 minutes. Sign out front said 35 minutes. It was running 2 trains. I figured what's the worst that could happen? Brand new ride with this short of a wait?! Apparently they were letting in FOL people without a single bit of mercy. If there was even one person in that line, they went first without any delegation or deliberation. There was often 2 or 3 seats not filled, and they weren't calling for groups of 1, 2 or 3, just sent the train running. I got to the stairs to get on after an hour and 5 minutes of waiting. Double the wait. Alright, pretty bad, I'm pretty peeved but my night isn't ruined. Then the ride breaks down for 20 minutes right as I'm going up the steps. It's nearly 10 PM and all I've done is one maze. I waited it out even longer because I figured it's already been this long. The ride was just only okay, too... I'd rather have Boomerang, but that's just me.

    Walked over to Shadowlands and it said 30 minutes but it looked pretty long, maybe even longer. WHAT?! Yeah right, I'm out of here, no way I'm waiting for that. I then figured I had very little time and I need to only hit the essentials because tonight is oddly packed. So I ran over to Pumpkin Eater. 30 miunute wait on the sign, but it looked way shorter -- was only a 14 minute wait. I'm already sensing these new signs are worthless, and line ops aren't being given info majority of the time. Anyway, best maze of the night for me. It was also my favorite last year. The overall tone and design is just creepy, with some great hiding spots, plus it was filled with talent all giving their best.
    RANK: Great

    Headed over to the Ghost Town backlot to hit The Depths. Advertised as a 30 minute line... was 50 minutes. What's even more infuriating is while I was stopped in line for a solid 10 minutes without moving a single inch, I was watching droves of people walk on to Trick or Treat as a WALK ON when that maze was advertised as an hour wait. W... T... F?!?!?! I figure okay... MUST hit that next while nobody is there because usually that thing is slammed. Fast forward to 20 minutes later and it's a 20 minute wait all of a sudden. Then... as I walk out of that maze... it's a WALK ON again. I have the WORST luck at Knotts. I am so done with this place it's not even funny. Anyway... back to the maze...
    I liked it, didn't love it. It was FILLED with talent, which was a plus. I thought the best part was the giant shark, I wish I could've got a Jaws-esque photo-op with that thing. I feel like this maze truly utilized all of their available elements and scare tactics, plus new ones... I think the only thing missing would be a swirling vortex tunnel and a bungee man.
    RANK: Above Average

    For anyone who doesn't know, Dark Entities is hiding in the back corner of the event and it's not after Paranormal like that maze spot used to do. It was sporting a 5 minute wait but luckily was a walk on. Man, it was dead in here. Entire minutes walking through and not seeing anyone. Which sucks, because I was most excited to see this maze. I still love the set, I still think all the potential in the world is there. Bungee/cable cord scare was completely missing also. Having no line, hidden in the back corner, with no monsters in this maze, it already feels old and worn out, sadly. Like Knotts has given up on it, that we'll see a small re-theme next year that'll also fail and the year after that, it'll already be gone. It's a shame, the video I saw before was great, but from the reviews I've seen, it's never been consistent to live up to it's potential.
    RANK: Below Average

    I already said what happened about the line to Trick or Treat, so let's get to the maze itself. Man, this maze is so old, it blows my mind. I still kinda love it, and the flashlight gimmick is cool in some regard, but please replace this maze. Monsters were pretty great and were pretty consistent with revealing themselves in the light. I also was pointing the light every where to see if anything would react and I got some stuff to move, which is almost too subtle and would be scary if I was in there absolutely alone, but oh well, at least they're trying. I like the black light segment and when the light started flickering at the end, but it almost came too late. Plus it vibrated only twice, one of which was corresponding to a good Witch scare. I think there's so much they could do with this gimmick, but I also wonder what it'd be like to go in there completely in the dark and practically alone. Anyone ever try it?
    RANK: Above Average


    By this point, I only had an hour left. I figure I see Paranormal since it was right there. I was also noticing the park thin out a bit in crowd at this point, so that was nice, just too late. It said 45 minutes, was really only 20. At this point, everything prior felt like hell, so I was glad to catch a break with the lines. As everyone has said, opening video makes no friggin sense anymore. Is it me or does the maze in general feel shorter? I went through this without anyone behind me, which was really unnerving. I was on the left side and didn't notice a merge point either, so I felt like I was just heading through the abyss on my own here. Best scare is the electricity box scare, still, after all these years. Something primal in that one just makes you jump. There weren't any nurses in the new scene. The ending scrim effect was very cool though, probably some of the best scrim work I've seen.
    RANK: Above Average

    With little time left and after hitting all the main goodies, I decided to give Log Ride a quick ride. Luckily it was only a 13ish minute wait. I really do love this ride, my favorite flume. The Halloween decorations just make it even better. Although I do miss the monsters, I found myself thinking this was a highlight regardless. It's just a great atmosphere.

    Ran over to Shadowlands to see how it was now... said 15. Was a walk on. I had limited time left, so this was a lifesaver. Truly, I wish I could've done Supreme Scream, Xcelerator, Mine Ride, Jaguar, Montezumas, Silver Bullet, and maybe even Ghost Rider like I intended, but oh well -- HangTime had to screw me over. Not like I would've done all of those with a real 35 min wait it said, but I could've done half because they were mostly walk ons aside from Xcelerator (20) and Silver Bullet (15) and obvi Ghost Rider (2 hours). Anyway, this is probably the best I've seen this maze, personally. The set seems to be wearing thin, but the monsters were relentless. It seemed jammed packed with someone, sometimes even 2 or 3 people, around every single corner and they were all targeting us the whole way through. Giant creepy girl scared me good at the end too because I almost walked into it thinking it was the way out. Each year this maze has done great, but I always expect it to go or think that it should. Maybe it has one year left in it if talent is always this strong...
    RANK: Above Average

    Ran over to Special Ops for the last treat of the night. It is what it is. Hasn't changed much. I still love it, but they really need to give it something new to give more appeal.
    RANK: Average

    Now, I had some GREAT run throughs tonight, like truly extraordinary ones. Haven't had that many scares at KSF in yeaaaaars and I'll fully admit -- more scares than HHN by a large margin. Operations drove me crazy-bananas-bonkers, but I got my scaresworth for the money I paid. Only ran into two mazes low on people, which I think is a huge improvement from what I'm used to. Regardless... I still love HHN more. Even with less scares. Scenic, lighting, total immersion just sells me more. I know not everyone agrees with that, some will just yell black walls, but I remember virtually nothing about most KSF mazes. It all meshes. I can hardly tell you which scare I got from which maze. Or even if I got scared in that maze in general, sometimes. There's a certain scene-by-scene distinctiveness missing. And I feel like all of it is just one long maze. KSF truly might as well be entirely black walls. I want to give props to certain scares or point out rooms, but half the time I can't because who knows when tf or where that happened or by what monster. It comes down to design and this aesthetic just isn't for me.

    On top of that, I'm starting to hate Knotts like I hate Six Flags (not the haunts, just in general). I feel like I barely hit all the mazes (sans one that I purposely avoided), but it shouldn't have been that way. I can plan my night great if they just GAVE ME ACCURATE WAIT TIMES. And put them on the dang app. It's not that freakin' hard. And it's a major time waster to go back and forth physically if something isn't a wait time you don't like. Or to check a line board that says 60 minutes but is actually A WALK ON. They have the technology and they have enough employees to make it work. I felt like every employee had another employee hanging by them doing nothing. Like what, they need a spotter to do their job or something? They're all just talking, gossiping, cussing up a storm and not being helpful anyway, go order them to deliver out wait time cards or something. Man, this place is gonna end up on my no-fly list at some point... it'll go from "every other year" to "once a decade" and I don't want it to be this way... KSF was one of my first loves... they just need to get with the freakin' technology to make operations SMOOTHER for guests to have a more seamless experience.

    Anyway... I had a great time in the mazes but a horrible time with the theme parks operations. But I can't wait to get back to HHN. That's my takeaway from this trip. That maybe I am just a bias HHN Fanboy. And I'll gladly wait in their 90 minute lines... because at least I know going into it, it's going to actually be 90 minutes.

  10. I know I won't be able to convince you to swap ST for Halloween because the hype for ST is the main reason everyone is there, but I've seen consistently ST on the lower half of rankings while Hween is on the upper half. I wasn't a fan of Poltergeist but everyone loved it. Definitely skip Purge if you have to though haha

  11. Tickets not bought from the official Universal website are excluded. I asked them on Facebook a month or so ago because when trying to buy a ticket from a discount college site, it said: "NOT valid for Early Entry." I had a friend who somehow didn't get the memo and bought from the college site and they initially didn't let him in. Basically, they're reading the top of the ticket to see if it's 1) from the official website 2) it will literally say "NOT valid for Early Entry" right on it. When I explained he's the only one out of 9 of us with that kind of ticket, they were nice enough to let him through. I also heard from someone else who just cut out the barcode and put it in a lanyard because they have FFP, they wouldn't let him in at all because they need to see the whole ticket to see where it came from and if it allowed Early Entry.

  12. I'm glad you wrote a sensible review for Universal Monsters! While being your favorite of the event, you still mentioned a lot of its major downsides that keep it from being a perfect score. I feel like a lot of people just went OH MY FAVORITE MONSTERS and loved it regardless, naming it an all-time favorite even though they claim they hate black walls although I'd argue it's just as guilty, if not one of the most guilty, this year. Nothing wrong with them being bias, but I feel like that's a key element from reviews that's not being stated, along with many shortcomings. I love the OG Monsters just as much as anybody, but there's a lot of things I can't forgive in that maze, which I think (admittedly) makes me even more disappointed it didn't meet my anticipation level and lowers the grade more than I probably should because it failed my personal expectations. Maybe I've been too hard on it. Or maybe the maze/property deserves better instead of succumbing to the HHN-of-new, black-walls-and-pop-outs edition. I still like the House of Horrors better.

    Great review all around!

    • Like 1
  13. Oh, with the Losers Club, you should be a lot better! I heard the Conjuring maze got up to 90 minutes last night with an advertised wait of 30 because they let in VIP whenever they came up instead of switching back and forth with the standby line. Honestly, with only 4 attractions, Exorcist, and Devil's Drop, I definitely see you being able to finish in 2 hours with VIP. I also heard there's an Exorcist showing at 6:45, so that could have you ready to go by 7 and save you a good 10-15 minutes from those 2 hours. I'd suggest do Exorcist 1st at 6:45, then Conjuring right at 7. Arkham has a photo op and kind of a pre-show, so maybe that'll be best to do second. Next I'd hit the tour, as the exit is the Exhibit, which lets you out right in front of IT. You may even be done by 8:30 at that rate haha.

  14. I feel like this plan has potential to go very very wrong with any tiny misstep. And as close as WB is to Universal, there's still possibility of traffic on the streets and a long line for parking, and a long line to get into the park's entrance. So doing WB from 7-10, you realistically have to get back to your car (I'll say 7 mins), drive up Forest Lawn then up Barham, then into Universal (on a clear day, maybe 7 minutes tops, but in weird unpredictable LA streets traffic, up to 25 minutes) [32]. Then line of cars for parking and finding a parking spot (10-20 minutes - 15) [47]. Walk from City Walk through security line then through security (5-10 mins - 7)  [54], then go through an entrance line filled with late coming Angelinos (4-9 mins - 6) [60]. So it'd actually be around 11 by the time you get in, so you'd only have 3 hours. You'd have to hit Terror Tram first since that closes 11:15 or 11:45. You'd be off by around 11:30-11:45, so now you really only have 2 hours and 15 minutes to death march the mazes... I mean... it may be possible... maybe... walking time is a huge factor though, so you may want to run.

  15. NOEL?

    I think there were some black walls at the end of The Thing, now that I think about it, also the same year as La Llorona. I remember there being a lot of "plain" walls in there and that's when I started to suspect scenic may have gotten a budget slash or wearing thin.

    I've said it on another forum, but it's very strange to see the dichotomy of what we think of the black walls and what GP think. On a few Yelp reviews, I've seen a few comments about how they love "the dark rooms."  Goes to show why it sticks around and has been prevalent... they don't see it so much as a lazy cheap no-effort, they see it as a play on their fears of the dark.

    Hope to see that OvsH post soon!

  16. 7 hours ago, bggrenville813 said:

    So does Hollywood lol

    Now this is just a bold face lie. Unless, again, they weren't ready for opening weekend (or worst case scenario, scareactors didn't know how to operate their costumes).

    But in my own personal walkthrus, every report I've heard from someone who has gone (including after opening weekend) and every video I've seen of the maze, these are absolutely not in the maze.

    Now I don't know if I can quite believe you on anything...

  17. Oh man, I make sure to do the secret VIP mazes every year, didn't know we could talk about them here ;)

    Alright everyone, be on the lookout for the secret mazes. There's 3-5 of them most years and only for those willing to seek them out. You gotta 1) find them 2) know the secret password.

    The Canoe maze, the Yeti maze, and the Pirate maze are the longest running "VIP mazes." You won't see them on Youtube. Granted they are short, but probably the scariest 2 or 3 rooms you'll go through at KSF.

    Let us know if you find them!

    • Like 2
  18. Oh wow, just realized nobody posted in here. Sorry that y'all were left hanging. Here's my non-spoiler thoughts I left in another forum:


    Decided to give the videos a watch since I'm not going this year, will only comment on the new things. Again, these are on the videos and not based on actually being there:

    - The Depths looks like your typical KSF maze. The set design is elaborate and detailed BUT doesn't look realistic. Has all those round edges like you're walking through a cartoon instead of a real place. I don't know what that's called, as I'm not an artist, but this is the one thing that takes me out of the element in every KSF maze. [Disney does these on purpose in something like ToonTown, but can also provide a realism aesthetic for their more grown up fare, while Universal mostly employs this, even on stuff like the Despicable Me zone.] Also, it seems low on scares, but provides a great environment and mood. I guess that's the shame, for me, is they have all this dread and dark tone to work with and it's simply just people shouting in corners or in very noticeable hiding spots slamming their hands against the wall. A couple cool puppets but again, like every KSF maze, gets super random and far beyond unrealistic by the time you reach the climax of the maze. I just feel like the creators have no restraint, which is a good thing or a bad thing, depending how far they go.

    - Dark Entities looks AMAZING, definitely one of the absolute best mazes they've ever done, probably in the top 5 for me, I just love aliens and stuff like that. The sets look far more in the tone of realism and there's freakin' robots, man, what's not to love? The lighting in this house is bar none the best work they've ever done, that's for sure, and fully immerses you into the scare. The monsters look a little stupid, but oh well, what are ya gonna do, at least they finally got some realistic dead mannequins. Also looks like there's a lot of interactive elements that play on your senses and some creative scares. Everyone in the maze seems to be providing something towards the story and the finale doesn't go too overboard. However, I do wish the finale room and climax had a bigger "oh crap" moment. I gotta say I'm very impressed with that one and can't wait to go through it next year.

    - Paranormal Inc's new ending looks like it starts off promising but then it does nothing with that premise at all and just resorts to the ending it always had. I think I prefer the old ending from a scary standpoint, BUT I do like this one more from a storytelling standpoint. It's a toss up. I do want to comment that this maze is still rocking after all these years and I find that to be pretty amazing. Usually there's a lot of stuff broken or getting lazy with by now, but they're still all playing their part to make this a great maze. Maybe they could be more aggressive, it also was the first night, so who knows, but this is still way better at this many years in than it has any right to be! I think this has one more year left in it.

    - Shadowlands' new opening scene is preferable, in my opinion. I never thought the pre-shows worked and I'd rather it just get started and I think the new room is pretty beautiful. The rest of the maze still looks in top form, although I think this should probably be it's last year as something about it seems a bit more tired than usual. It's not something they could easily rebrand, like Paranormal Inc could easily be something different, but this will always be Shadowlands.

    - The Red Barn... *sigh*, ya know I do like the new barker out front, good idea. It doesn't add much, but at least it's something. The rest... WHY OH WHY is this still around? It was garbage the first year and still is. Didn't see much that was new. Heard a few reports saying it looked unfinished... uh, no, this is how this maze has always been, just pure junk. Boring, bland, derivative, unscary and tiresome with an annoying soundtrack and annoying characters. Nobody has liked this maze, ever. So how has it even lasted 3 years? They should've buried it deep after year one and pretended it never happened like a few other KSF mazes. It's so sad that they keep this up, too, each year trying to give it new life of some sort. JUST STOP!

    - Special Ops' new ending is pretty underwhelming. There isn't much to get excited about, unfortunately. However, the experience as a whole is still pretty cool and novel. I still say this is the most fun you'll probably ever have at a Haunt. And it looks like there's more zombies than ever. This needs to be rebranded completely. I definitely want the idea to stay, but the maze needs to go next year.

    - Trick or Treat was supposed to have new scares triggered by the light? Didn't see any. Look, I loved this maze when it debuted so many years ago, but this is now ridiculous. It's the same maze, and the flashlight gimmick is fun and all, but just end it. I feel like every year it just gets further and further away from it's original point of the whole Green Witch and Tricksters stuff also. I'll be sad to see it go, but it's time.

    From what I can tell, they have better maze signs this year to tell you where the line starts AND how long the line is. How accurate that is is probably a whole different story but I'm glad to see they're trying.

    Overall, I'm not too sad not to go this year. Looks like the same thing. One really good new maze, one super overrated new maze, last year's new mazes still good but not quite as good as before, some great classics, some old classics dwindling into sadness, and some old crappy mazes that just keep coming back -- this is the same thing year after year. For $42, you'll definitely get your money's worth especially if you hit some rides, but man, KSF sure needs to change things up."

  19. On the show, they're enhanced with CGI. They also have the benefit, when it is practical, of lighting, color grading, and angles.

    And I wonder who makes the costumes for Orlando's ST, because they look WAY better. Not to be mean to anyone who works on the mazes, but that's just what I've deduced and my opinion. Regardless, everyone who works at HHN works hard and should be commended for bringing us this event year after year for our entertainment.

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