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Arsik_22's HHN 25 Review


Arsik_22
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After I attended the event for the first time last year and absolutely loved it, my expectations for HHN 25 were very high. Not only was this an anniversary year, but Jack the clown was making a return. Jack holds a special place in my heart because our 2007 event in Hollywood introduced me to this icon, and that was my first year ever. We bought the Rush of Fear pass with Front of the line, and were lucky enough to experience this phenomenal event 4 nights in a row. 

*My review of the houses will contain spoilers for specific scenes & scares I really enjoyed.*

The Walking Dead 

Season 5 didn't have the best material to work with, but the creative team still did a good job translating most of the scenes from the show. The facade was lazily put together, especially compared to our Terminus facade here in Hollywood. The walker scaring in front of the facade was also doing a poor job acting like a zombie from the show. He seemed too aware of his surroundings and didn't even maneuver like a walker from the series. The rest of the talent inside did a good job with what they were given. Lame facade aside, Orlando's maze gave both my girlfriend and I a few good scares. The first room had explosion sound effects that were very loud and realistic. The flooded food bank scene shouldn't have been touted as something game changing, especially when the walkers in the tubs were seen as soon as you entered the room, making it impossible to effectively scare guests. The forest, barn, and loading dock scenes were all executed fairly well on the other hand. I especially liked the horse prop that would move its head when the walker gnaws at its stomach. Last year's maze was full of energy, scare actors and well designed sets which managed to impress me (fan of the show) and my girlfriend who knew nothing about the show. This year, TWD wasn't terrible but you can tell A&D doesn't want to use this IP anymore. It should've went out with a bang last year, but hopefully the higher ups allow this property to go out with some dignity after this year's event. 

House Count: 4

Rating: 6.5/10 

The Purge

I love the concept of the Purge, but I do not find any of the characters scary or intimidating. Experiencing our terrible Purge Terror Tram this year made me curious, yet hesitant to see what Orlando could do with this property. My curiosity grew as soon as I read about the whole Scream fiasco and how last minute this house was put together. For the amount of time they had, they did a pretty good job. I rarely got startled in this house, but the strobes, gun scares, and loud music created a very distinct, chaotic ambiance that most of the other houses didn't have which added more variety to the line-up. One scene I thought looked cool was the Prom Queen being stabbed in the bedroom with the Purger popping out of the closet. That was a good distraction scare that actually got me. A room that didn't work was the scare by the FFA member who popped out and mouthed the line "We are the FFA," stomps his feet, readies gun, and fires in the air. It took too long and the mouthing of the line didn't look real. With simple sets and a lack of varied scares, I'd say this is the house I liked least this year. That doesn't mean The Purge was a bad maze, it just means most of the other houses were very strong this year. 

House Count: 4

Rating: 5/10 

Run 

The concept of Run is really cool, but I found the maze boring at times. I liked Brazil's gas chamber scene, Canada's chainsaw scare, and America's candy room, but the transition rooms with display boards were identical. To add to the boring transition rooms, there were no scares in them which I thought was a missed opportunity. I also was disappointed Eddie wasn't used in this maze since he is Jack's brother and he was never given the attention he deserved. 

House Count: 4

Rating: 6/10 

Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem 

Wow! There's very little I didn't love about this maze. I YouTubed any maze I could find and researched the backstories in order to further appreciate this house. Seeing the facade and hearing Jack speak about the event pumped me up so much, and the house just got better from there. After the first transition cave with the jack-o-lanterns, the pumpkin man scared the crap out of me! Scene after scene, the intensity continued. The Goldie locks and bear scare, Gothic's stilt walker and statue, the Caretaker's mirror scare, the Cindy scare after the Caretaker's room, the transitional hallways with Jack, the Nightingales air and water gag, Jack's mannequins, and the classic monster segment (especially the Phantom) were all so damn good. The only rooms I disliked were Havoc because the scare actors did absolutely nothing (every single time) and the vampire bedroom scene because there was nothing cool or inventive about it. The Unmasking the Horror tour on our second day made the walkthroughs on night three and four even better since we knew more about the history of this house. 

House Count: 7

Rating: 10/10 

Freddy vs Jason 

I've been waiting for a Freddy vs Jason maze ever since I started going to HHN in 2007, and was hoping this would be terrifying. Thankfully, almost every single walk through in this house was truly amazing! Jason is my favorite slasher icon and Freddy is my girlfriend's favorite so we both appreciated how they split the maze into equal segments. Both icons received a fair share of time alone before battling against each other. Our first walk through was one of our best since we were the main target of every single scare. Shout out to the Freddy wearing the Camp Crystal Lake shirt (he would run and pop out of the boo hole extremely fast) and the kid Jason in the underwater scene who got me three times at different parts of the bridge (I screamed... a lot.) The only cons of this house are the projections screens which were very poor quality and the scene where Jason is lifting Freddy because you could see the rig. I'll overlook those minor flaws because of how good all of the scare actors were and how much fan service there was. It was just a really, really fun house with excellent scares that made me realize how much I missed these slasher icons. 

House Count: 9

Rating: 9.8/10

Body Collectors 

I had no idea what to expect with the Body Collectors but from the very few videos I could find from previous years, the tall gentlemen looked creepy and their mysterious backstory intrigued me. I'm a sucker for gruesome mazes with inventive kills so the spine rip scene made me so happy to see. The facade was so beautiful and is definitely my favorite of the year. I loved all of the showy kills that required multiple actors. Some scares that got me really good were the assistant that popped out of the padded walls in the mental patient's room, and the scene with the platform where the collector was wearing the red robe. While this maze wasn't as scary as Freddy vs Jason, 25 Years, or Insidious, it still made me jump a few times and it was just a really creepy, cool maze. 

House Count: 7

Rating: 8.5/10 

Insidious 

I'm a huge fan of all three movies, and thought Hollywood's 2013 & 2015 mazes were phenomenal so I had very high expectations for this maze. Once again, my expectations were met BUT I didn't love it as much as our maze in Hollywood this year. The scare actors in Hollywood were much more intense and almost made me fall to the floor at one point. Regardless, this was still a very well done maze that gave me a ton of good scares. The one room that was better than Hollywoods was the Man Who Can't Breathe's hallway since he would be right in your face, and the air gag would elevate the scare. Our hallway had three scare actors pop out from above (two on either side of you, and one in front before you left the room), but they were too far and high to effectively scare guests. The room right after you left the Red Demon's lair also was very effective since it was packed with three demon scare actors in a very small space. 

House Count: 6

Rating: 9/10 

Asylum in Wonderland 

Down, down, down! After reading multiple reviews on this site about how this wasn't very good, I tempered my expectations. Well, to my surprise I really enjoyed this house for both its visuals and scares. Not only is this my second favorite 3D house (House of 1000 Corpses is #1), but it was leagues better than Hollywood's This is the End 3D which was complete crap. While Asylum in Wonderland didn't have the best sets, I appreciated the fact there were still rooms with elaborate set dressing like the Mad Hatter party room and the mental patient room with Alice on the bed. I've never been through a vortex tunnel, and thought it was a very effective portrayal of going down the rabbit hole while also being a very disorientating effect. Another thing I've never seen in a maze before was the use of a trampoline. The bird jumping distracted me, and the scare actor on the opposite side got me really good. Overall, this was a really fun house that had great visual effects and scares dispersed throughout.  I had a great time going through this maze every night. 

House Count: 5

Rating: 7.5/10

American Werewolf in London 

I know many Orlando attendees who went to Hollywood were disappointed with our version of AWIL, but I loved it and surprisingly, I was disappointed with Orlando's rendition. Hollywood's version had a bartender in the Slaughtered Lamb, and one of the people who killed the wolf would pop out with a gun scare before seeing Jack get attacked. In Orlando, these rooms were completely empty which was pretty lame. The wolf attacking Jack was completely static unlike our version which was moved by the scare actor (this didn't look great but it still was better than a completely still wolf). I liked how this rendition had the city attack at the very end unlike our maze which had two identical rooms with Jack transforming, but even with the poor transitions and repeated room, our maze had much better scares. This was the only maze in Orlando that seemed like the scare actors didn't want to be there. THERE WAS NO ENERGY! We went through this house 6 times during our four nights at HHN trying to see if we were just having bad timing. NOPE. The scare actors just weren't cutting it. It's unfortunate since we did Hollywood's version eight times, and every single time we would run out of certain rooms because of how amazing the scare actors were. The puppets and sets looked great (our facade looked much better though), but it was an unmemorable maze overall. 

House Count: 4

Rating: 7/10 

The Evil's Roots 

I loved everything about this zone. The costumes, lighting, heavy fog, and overall atmosphere. Last year, Blood Bayou had all of that but was lacking energetic scareactors. This year, almost every character was attempting to scare guests, so this was a huge improvement. 

Rating: 8.5/10

Icons

Some people may dislike the fact that this is primarily a photo ops zone, but I loved it. The icons deserve their own zone, and I'm sure most people want pictures of or with them so this was the perfect way to give fans what they want. Face Off didn't have the greatest costumes or scares so the photo op in general was mediocre. This year, not only was it awesome interacting with the icons, but you would see them kill victims throughout the night and their minions would actually try scaring. 

Rating: 9/10

Psychoscarepy Unleashed 

Wow! The energy and talent in this zone was fantastic. I loved the apple bobbing and pumpkin carving stands, and how the scareactors would interact with guests. Everyone here legitimately seemed like mental patients, which made me feel uneasy (in a good way) at times. Also, the Halloween block party theme was a great idea. I could've spent the entire night here because of how entertaining the scareactors were. This is definitely one of the best scarezones I've seen in years. 

Rating: 10/10

All Night Die In 

This was very a very cool zone to watch, and I loved all of the photo opportunities you have.  Being able to take a picture with Jason Voorhees was awesome. The classic monster cast had a great variety of characters, but I didn't think the modern characters were very cool besides Jason. What was up with the Chucky and Tiffany masks ? They looked terrible! I also was bummed I didn't get to see Freddy. He wasn't there any of the 4 nights we went, does anyone know why he was removed? I also didn't know who the cheerleaders or vampires were. I wish we could have seen Michael Myers, Leatherface, Hellraiser, or other more notable icons instead of The Strangers or Purge characters. I understand right's issues but if your gonna do it, at least try to go all out. 

Rating: 7/10

Scarytales: Screampunk

I really liked the costumes in this zone, especially the Tin Man and the Wolf.  Shout out to the wolf dressed in the grandmother's clothing. He was absolutely terrific every single night we went through this area. The way he'd run throughout the area in such an aggressive manner was very impressive. The big prop placed in the center also looked really good, I just wish there were at least one smaller prop in each corner of the area that connected to the prop in the center. 

Rating: 7.5/10

I enjoyed all of the scare zones and thought they were so much better than last year. Overall, the four zones and roaming hoardes were really well done and I'm glad they were improved upon. Yes, some scareactors still just stand and stare but the majority of scarezone monsters actually were scaring. That was my biggest gripe last year. I also like that Orlando's event is lenient about photo opportunities and flash usage outside. It makes for some great photos! 

Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure 

Doc Brown coming out with Bill and Ted in a Delorean?! SOLD! Wow, this show was so much better than last year. Kanye West was an easy target and many of the jokes on both him and Kim landed pretty well. Jabs at Disney about Avatar land were also funny, and it's so true... Who cares about Avatar anymore?! Overall, I got a good amount of laughs and the dancing segments were entertaining as usual. 

Rating: 8.5/10 

The Carnage Returns 

Say hell yeah, Jack! Seriously, stop shouting that out every 3 minutes! Lol Jack and Chance looked great and I loved the interaction between these two twisted clowns. Some of the segments were a little meh, but I thought the kills were very inventive and surprisingly gory (especially "The Big Ass Saw"). The show could've been a very solid 10 minute show, but instead it was an entertaining but slightly boring 15 minute show. 

Rating: 7/10 

Overall 

I've attended Hollywood's event for 9 years and this was one of the most disappointing events I have attended. Orlando's event on the other hand blew my mind. This may be my favorite year I've been to on either coast so far! Not only was Jack's presence amazing, they actually capitalized on this with the merchandise this year. I happily spent my money on the phone case, mug, Did you miss me Jack shirt, keychain, bottle opener, and jack collectible. It was so nice not seeing very much The Walking Dead merchandise like there is in Hollywood the last 3 years. Also, one small complaint that began to annoy me even more on night 3 and 4 were the show control employees inside the mazes. When they tried making us hurry to the next room to catch up with the group in front of us, I purposefully would walk slower because I'm not about to ruin my experience for you to hit an attendance quota per hour. I paid good money to take my time and casually walk through a maze. Overall, I'm really curious to see if they'll be able to come close to this level of perfection next year. 

Event Rating: 9/10

Edited by Arsik_22
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