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Arsik's HHN 24 Review


Arsik_22
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Oh man. I don't even know where to begin. Let me just say right off the bat, HHN 24 was AMAZING! I've been going to Hollywood's event since 2007, with it being my favorite event....until now. Without a doubt, HHNO takes the crown as the best halloween event I've experienced so far.

As I was looking over all of the different ticket options, the Rush of Fear with express caught my eye. Being able to experience the event 3 nights while I was in Orlando, with express for only $180 was completely worth it. We also decided to take the Afternoon Abomination lights on tour through The Walking Dead, Alien Vs Predator, and Roanake. Even after seeing the sets and some of the boo holes, the actual walk throughs were still scary. It just made me appreciate the detail a lot more. Hopefully, Hollywood adds this type of tour one day because it was really cool experience.

I've rambled on long enough, let's get to the review! Fair warning for anyone that hasn't gone yet, there may be some spoilers. I'll review the mazes and scarezones in the order I did them on my first night, and then share my thoughts on the event as a whole.

Roanoke: Cannibal Colony

After the maze was announced, I researched Roanoke and found the mystery behind the missing colony very interesting. I love the creative liberties taken which made the colonists turn out to be cannibals, and was even more pleased to find out Wendigos were involved. While walking through the express line, I overheard multiple groups talking about this maze, not really knowing what the story behind this was. This is where some simple signage explaining the story could have been placed, especially since it's a fairly long walk to the soundstage. While the facade and majority of the sets were not as elaborate as the other mazes because of the time period, it was still very detailed and grand in scale. Most of the colonist scareactors were all very aggresive, with the one hiding in the corn husks getting our group every time. I also really loved that there was a scare from above. It scared the crap out of me, especially since this was the first maze that I've gone through utilizing this scare tactic. Why don't more events do scares from above?! (I'm looking at you Hollywood.) The only thing I was disappointed in was the lack of Wendigos, which could have made this maze even better.

Rating: 7.5 / 10

Dollhouse of the Damned

So CREEPY! I've always hated dolls and after experiencing this maze, that's not changing anytime soon. I loved that there was a variety of dolls, and all of the designs looked very cool and disturbing. I tried avoiding spoilers when I read some reviews, but I did read everyone mentioning a crib room and now I know why! It was so weird, and the use of a mirror to give the illusion that the crib was empty got me really good. While this maze was really creepy, I didn't find myself getting startled very often because the scareactors were not as aggressive as the other maze actors. If the original mazes you guys have had in previous years have been as good as this, I can see why some people are upset over the lack of original content.

Rating: 8 / 10

Halloween

Hollywood's Halloween maze is in my top 10, so I was really looking forward to seeing Orlando's take on the property. While this maze focused primarily on the Myers house compared to Hollywood's inclusion of the asylum, Orlando's execution was flawless with the exception of the facade. While the house looked great, passing the front porch and entering the side showed the house was incomplete which ruined the immersion. It's not a big deal, but I still feel it's worth mentioning. My first walkthrough was perfect since our group was targeted in each room and we saw all of the scares. One thing I appreciated was the varied audio during the strobe light scares. A lot of the scares we had in Hollywood relied on the exact same audio and each strobe light went off for the same amount of time. Here, some scares with a strobe lasted a second, while others went on for 5-6 seconds, as Michael attempted to stab you 2-3 times with the actor syncing the stabbing motion perfectly to the audio. It's the little things that count, so I thought that was really cool. There were a lot of scare actors in this maze, more so than most, besides The Walking Dead. The claustrophic and narrow hallways probably contributed to making it feel like Michael Myers was everywhere. After we exited the maze, I was talking to my girlfriend about how great I thought the maze was and all of a sudden, Myers lunges right at me. I wasn't expecting a scare right after exiting, which is right about when I needed a change of underwear.

Rating: 9 / 10

Giggles and Gore Inc.

What a disappointment! The story had so much potential, especially with the description mentioning some of the produced clowns having their own containment area because they were too evil. The factory environments were boring, the scareactors were lacking intensity, and the costumes/masks were not scary or cool to look at. The interactive buttons were a nice touch, but unfortunately these guest activated triggers can't improve the uninspired design. The containment area for the evil clowns turned out to just be plain brick hallways with booholes that were visible a mile away. I expected those clowns to look more demented, but the masks looked cheap. The static clown prop strapped down on a chair being forced to watch Woody the Woodpecker was the only room I thought was interesting. The potential was there, but it just didn't hit the mark.

Rating: 3 / 10

Dracula Untold

I had very low expectations for this maze since the trailer for the movie made it out to be more action orientated. I know it wasn't fair of me to judge the movie based off of 3 minutes of footage, but it didn't hype me up at all. To my surprise, it was a fairly enjoyable maze. The sets looked good, and the scareactors were on point. The interaction between the vampires and the village victims was executed well, especially since the actors were so into their role. This is another maze that could have benefited from some basic storytelling in the queue line. Either that or the movie should have come out a few weeks earlier. Even without fully knowing what was going on, the scareactors and detailed sets made this a fun experience.

Rating: 6.5 / 10

AVP: Alien Vs Predator

WOW! This is one of the most impressive mazes I have ever walked through. I absolutely loved the alien puppets and how realistic they looked. The predators were also doing an incredible job making me feel the need to run into the following room, every single time! The inclusion of colonial marines made everything even more intense. When our Unmasking the Horror tour guide showed us the final crouching hallway, I was really curious how it would play out since I've never seen that done in a large scale event before. Even though I knew about the final alien puppet in the final hallway, I still jumped because of the audio and how close it was to my face. I would rate this maze a 10, but the poorly executed face hugger scares lowers it slightly. Even then, this is without a doubt one of my favorite mazes of all time!

Rating: 9.8 / 10

From Dusk Till Dawn

The doorman in front of the facade made me laugh everytime, he seemed to be having a fun time playing the role. All of the Culebra stripper scareactors were doing a great job, a few managed to make me jump because of how surprisingly quick they popped out of their booholes. One thing I did notice was the lack of prosthetics used in here, with all of the Culebras lacking the snake-like form. They all just had sharp teeth and thats about it, unless I missed it somewhere in the maze? The bar finale room was executed perfectly! It was awesome to see the Gecko brothers shooting at the vampires, having Santanico in her final form on stage, the daughter scaring with the chainsaw, and multiple vampires popping out all in the same room.

Rating: 7/10

The Walking Dead

I've read many of the reviews this year and I've seen a lot of hate towards this house, but I loved it! The facade was epic, with all of the audio and lighting making it seem like the firefight from season 4 was happening. Seeing Hershel's head as we walked by the prison was also an awesome addition. All of the environments were huge, the attention to detail was impeccable, and the scares were consistent every single time I went through. Our first walkthrough seemed too good to be true, with almost every single zombie lunging towards us like it was going to be their last time scaring. There was only one flaw I found in this maze, and it was the static prop horde scare. It was poorly done compared to how Hollywood does it. This moved very slowly and looked really cheesy but that's my only complaint.Each night, all of the scareactors' intensity stayed just as high, so BRAVO to everyone in this maze! Hands down, this is one of the funnest experiences I've had going through a maze.

Rating: 9.5 / 10

Scarezones

Face Off

I didn't have the chance to spend enough time in this zone, but from what I saw it seemed more like a photo opportunity. None of the minions were attempting to scare, and their costumes weren't very memorable. However the main creatures on the platforms looked cool and it was nice to be able to take pictures with these actors.

Rating : No score because I didn't stick around long enough to fairly rate the zone

The Purge

The atmosphere the creative team created in this zone was fantastic! All of the destruction and props placed in NY street made it look like the Purge really was happening. Another cool aspect of this zone was the auction that took place, with motorcycles and a van holding victims made this area really stand out compared to the other 3 zones. While the zone looked very good and belieavble, the scare actors were not very energetic. I saw many of the actors just walk around, with some even taking pictures with guests which was disappointing to see. All in all, good looking zone with very little scares.

Rating: 6/10

Blood Bayou

This zone is very similar to the purge in terms of it looking fantastic, but the scares were nowhere to be found. Once again, most of the actors were just walking around staring at guests. I loved the voodoo priestess and how she was interacting with guests, but I didn't get to see the sacrifice (apparently it's not being done anymore.) Even though the scares were lacking, I enjoyed this zone more than the Purge because of the voodoo theme and the props/sets used.

Rating: 7 / 10

Masquerade

This was a very bare bones scarezone. I liked the wax candles with faces on them, but there really wasn't anything else besides that and a simple chandelier. The masks and costumes were too simple to be scary, but I did like how energetic all of the scareactors were. The stilt walkers were doing a very good job moving around and catching guests by surprise. If the masks were scarier, I think this zone would have been really effective but to me it was just "meh."

Rating: 6.5 / 10

Shows

Bill and Ted

Besides the frozen jokes, I didn't find the show very funny and the dance numbers were alright. I'm glad Orlando at least has shows, but of course I wish it could've been better.

Rating: 6 / 10

RHPS

I've never seen the movie, but I've seen parts of it and I know the general plot. I thought a few of the songs were catchy but I don't think the shows for me. I have to admit though it was more entertaining than this year's Bill and Ted show.

Rating: 6.5 / 10

Overall Thoughts

I absolutely loved the event as a whole, even though there is some room for improvement. 7 out of the 8 mazes were really good, with 3 of them being some of my favorite mazes I've ever experienced. AVP, Halloween and TWD were amazing, and I know from now on I'll be making a trip to Orlando each year for HHN.

The two aspects I think the event can improve on is making their scarezones scarier, and increasing the amount of prosthetics used. In the Walking Dead maze, most zombies looked very good with the make up, but it would be cool to see more prosthetics like ours in Hollywood. Same goes for FDTD, with the Culebra make up not making an appearance at all. Also, Giggles and Gore inc. masks looked cheap compared to all of the other mazes. Shows were just okay, but like I said already I'm just glad there were shows.

I can't get over how varied the scare tactics were. For this being my first year, I was extremely impressed and I cannot wait for next year even though this haunt season isn't even done yet!

Edited by Arsik_22
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Some Culebras did have slight makeup on their foreheads, I believe.

But either way, cool to hear opinions from someone from the West Coast. Makes me wish I could visit Hollywood. Only thing I don't agree with is that I personally liked Giggles a lot. But hey, different cups of tea. If you liked the originals this year besides Giggles, hopefully next year will be a return to the "all original" formula, if even just for the 25th.

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Some Culebras did have slight makeup on their foreheads, I believe.

But either way, cool to hear opinions from someone from the West Coast. Makes me wish I could visit Hollywood. Only thing I don't agree with is that I personally liked Giggles a lot. But hey, different cups of tea. If you liked the originals this year besides Giggles, hopefully next year will be a return to the "all original" formula, if even just for the 25th.

Oh okay guess I just missed that in FDTD!

I know a lot of people really liked Giggles, and I wish I did. :/ but I the two other originals were so creative, I hope there are more originals next year! =] since it is the anniversary, what do you think the ip to original ratio could possibly be?

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That's actually a pretty tough question. I think that they will have only a couple originals and one IP, but that's just my guess. It's hard to tell since we've never had a big anniversary year before, and universal is still universal, so they will probably want the best IP's they can. I can basically guarantee that TWD will return, however, based on this year's wait times lol

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