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Ticholas' Excellent HHN Review


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Here we are: fourth consecutive year. After dreaming of going since Islands of Fear, winning passes in 2012, and committing to every year since, Ticholas is finally Horror Nights alum. 

Let's start the show...with the shows!

The Carnage Returns: After all the hype regarding its gory contents, I was looking forward to this one. Was I disappointed? No. Did I love it? No.  The illusions are entertaining, but something about it seemed campy. I'm more into suspense then torture porn, so I didn't necessarily find this scary.  Jack seemed to have the ego and stage presence of a WWE wrestler with cheesy heavy metal entrance music.  I preferred last year's short lived voodoo sacrifice over this. Grade: C

Bill and Ted: I had low expectations going in, which probably made this year's show much better for me. The actress portraying Hilary Clinton was killing it throughout the performance. Seriously, watch her next time you go. Grade: B -


All Night DIE In: Thought this zone was alright.  The Strangers did a good job of creeping us out and I had a few good scares by the classic cast in this area when not paying attention.  The girl playing Carey does a great job of holding her post blood bucket expression. Same goes for the Exorcist girl and her puke face. I think if it had been larger with more cars and objects in the path, it would have been much better.                        Grade: C+

Scary Tales Screampunk:  Cool concept, OK delivery.  The costumes are awesome and some cast members--Pinocchio, Little Bo Peep, and The Wolf--really get into their roles. Again, more set pieces would have helped with the atmosphere.                     Grade: C

Icons: This was my most anticipated zone, which I thought was a complete let down. I spent a good amount of time here and never saw a kill.  I did see the Usher eating a lady's lanyards if that counts for anything.  Also saw Lady Luck helping guests locate The Mummy on the map, proving her worthlessness as an icon. Bummed there weren't any Treaks or Foons up in here.                                         Grade: D+

Evil's Roots: Now we're talking. Great atmosphere, detailed costumes, glowing pumpkins...this scarezone was beautiful. The cast was energetic and took full advantage of the dense fog and dim lighting.  I hope we get more of this in the future.             Grade: A

 Psychoscareapy Unleashed: Loved everything about this zone. From frightened little trick or treaters hiding beyond us, to the inmates shouting out how they killed the trick or treaters' parents, to the window projections, to the mini shows...this is the best scarezone I've ever been through.  If only every scarezone could be on this level.                                            Grade: A+


Before I begin, I'd like to say I attended Thursday Oct 1 and Sunday Oct 4.  I hit each house once per night.  I felt like everything was a bit off Thursday night due to the swampy weather. Also, the crowds were way rowdier on Thursday. Luckily, Sunday felt like an entirely different event firing on all cylinders. 

The Purge: Uh, wtf was this? Oh right, a house that wasn't suppose to exist. I don't know if it's fair to blame A&D for how bad this was, but they could have done anything else with Scream's infrastructure and it would have been better and not overly obnoxious. Shitty metal music and slow strobes don't equal horror. The only scene I enjoyed was the prom queen room. Grade: D-

Insidious: While the facade looks impressive, I don't understand why they left the supports in plain sight. Myers house didn't have this last year. Very lazy to not cover up the windows. Inside the house, my first run was obscured by ops standing in the middle of rooms telling people to hurry along. Awful. Luckily, my second run Sunday was shortly after opening with no line. Friendly tip--the tent is darker inside when the sun is out since the set's lights are not up all the way. This made it a much better and scarier run than the first time through. Being alone in certain rooms was very unnerving.                                       Grade: B

The Walking Dead: Hot tub zombies, anyone? All in all, the cast made up for this house and I thought it was as good as last year's. The first terminus scene and the revolving door were my favorites. The dead horse gag got me good. Still, TWD needs to go and everyone except Universal knows it.  Grade: C

Run: I wanted to like this, and I did during some parts. The candy room, gladiators, Canadian and geisha scenes were very well done. However, I felt this was disjointed and short. The game show aspect didn't feel necessary, nor did the Run or Hellgate themes.                                        Grade C+

Freddy vs. Jason: A lot to like here--massive Jasons, fight scenes, creepy ass elm street girls, in your face energy. Still, this felt sloppy. Multiple Freddy's in eye sight, lame video projections, and the dangling wire Freddy all threw me out of my suspension of disbelief. Also, some scenes were poorly lit. I will say the actors were excellent Sunday evening. One Freddy put his claws around my sister's head while she wasn't looking and got her good.                        Grade: B-

American Werewolf in London: Loved this in 2013, and liked it this year. It's certainly missing the original cast's energy. Also, the extra wolf seemed oddly placed. Hope they don't do this again in the future.                        Grade: B-

25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem: Very, very cool house. I loved all the tributes to the past and am so happy I got to experience old characters I have yet to see.  I nearly lost it when the Caretaker scared the hell out of me. Loved seeing Cindy appear in this one as well. The extra ending outside is so cool! My main gripe is how this felt oddly off pace and didn't give context to all the characters.  I had to do a ton of explaining to my group of friends and family outside the know. I also wish each icon had been featured.                                         Grade: A-

Asylum in Wonderland: All I can say is I had a lot of fun in this house and even received a few good scares.  I think it's one of the better houses this year and deserves more credit than its getting. It's surprisingly violent toward the end, which made it a lot better.  The tunnel is crazy here.  I also really liked the bouncing heads gag. Odd the caterpillar and Cheshire Cat (outside of his smile) are missing...or did I not notice something?                      Grade: B-          

Body Collectors: Hell yes! This quickly became one of my favorite houses ever. First they hit you with a beautiful facade, then immediately throw you into the action. Every scene is incredibly creepy with plenty of scares. I even saw Jack and Eddie. The cast Sunday night was up in our faces. I loved it. So much energy. So much detail. So much gore.         Grade: A+

Overview: I'm going to be honest, I enjoyed last year a lot more. While the scarezones this year were a step in the right direction, I felt as if the houses were a step backwards.  I thought we had 2 true winners out of 9 this time around. Last year it was more like 4 of 8.

I hope next year we see more original content. Even the originals this year were rehashes of past concepts. I'd also like some cohesion in the future. Jack didn't bring any real theme with him. Houses and zones weren't connected to any central story. That's why we had 1800's Shadybrook, modern day Shadybrook, and comic book could have been Shadybrook this year. 

IPs can exist, but let's do them right and stop eating a dead horse. Make them fit into the theme of the year or provide some connection to everything. 

In summary, very fun event, but not even close to what I was expecting for an anniversary year. 


Edited by Tich0las
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