I read through many reviews before going myself and thought I'd throw my thoughts into the hat. We just got back after going one night with Express on Saturday. We had a group of 5 and I was known for being the easy target/ easily frightened of the group. We've all been to a few years in the past including last year, so my review is off of that. I'll talk about each house then scarezone in order we went to them. I WILL post a few spoilers, so be warned if you haven't been yet.
We hit this 2 times (once right at opening with no line and once later with Express) and overall, its a fun house. No big complains. There is so much to look at it really helped to go through a second time knowing when I had time to look around. The Body Collectors stole the show here as everyone, both times, stopped dead to watch them rip the spine out. My big problem here though- there's 2 perfect holes to pop through and scare the living hell out of people while they're watching the spine and both times, no one was ever there. This house had a lot of dead time to look at things but also a lot of spots people should have been but weren't. The Icons in it were nice but whoever was doing Jack on ours both times was lacking. Just standing in the dark. This house has so much to see though it really was good.
This was easily the scariest house for me. I actually loved this house. There was so many scareactors and all were into their characters both times (We did this twice.) No complains here. It was a really solid, on the ball house. The best part though is the screaming body in the 1st big turn. Both times he got us! Would have loved a musty dead smell in here. That would have been perfect.
This house scared the hell out of our group for the people in front of me. Me, I got nothing. I saw the scared but none we directed to me. Sad to say, this left me without much of an opinion about this house. It was loud, flashy and fairly intense, just would have liked more scares. This was ranked scariest by others in my group though so just hope for good timing.
So many had negative reviews of this and I can't say I totally agree. It was fairly empty of actors and both Cindys we saw were just...standing there. Not waiting to jump, not moving. Just standing. The "fire in a house?" Oh please! That was beyond silly walking by a window and seeing a firebar in front of you spitting out some fire. Too much hype for, well, nothing. There could have been much more of a burnt wood smell. I got a sniff once or so in the early part of the house. Overall, they scared us a few times but this house just kind of fell in the middle for me.
Another house I was looking forward to. Another house no one tried to scare us! I liked the layout, but in too much was there either deadtime or actors just standing there in chains or whatever looking zombielike. The float crash was lost of everyone, myself included and I never got a sense the zombies "broke out" The pacing felt off.
Eh...I thought this would be a blast. I really did. Went in excited and then nothing! There was very few scareactors in our walkthrough and the ones there were just standing there. No jumping at us, nothing. The highlight of this house- the red button- WASN'T WORKING! We got to it all excited and everyone started to hit it but nothing. So there was a long hallway of just quiet, nothingness. This was probably the biggest disappointment for me of the night and I know others on here liked it. I just never saw any scareactors to know one way or another.
This looked nice, I'll give it that. The medusas everyone talked about? Never saw em. This was our rush house with security yelling constantly to keep moving. The empty throne, as everyone else said, was a big letdown. My husband got scared a good few times in here but I didn't get much. This was kind of forgettable too, to be honest.
I was psyched to go in here. The facade- awesome. Once inside I saw the ghost on the floor but it moves consistently slow with what a person walks through in the houses, so my mom up front got to see it beautifully but for me and the rest of us- nothing. The bit I saw walking in looked cool though, just would have liked to see it better myself. The transparent wall was great and the actor behind it got a few of us good. The hall with the actor on a rope flying left to right was probably my favorite effect all night. It was perfect for me time wise and caught everyone off guard to see a guy fling by unexpectedly! I missed the chair. It got the guys in front of us so I got to see him reset to chair mode. The theming of this house was phenomenal. All the rooms, windows, etc were great. I actually liked the light up masks they wore, though others in the group thought they looked cheesy. To whoever compared them to Spectromagic- dead on! This was my favorite house, I just wish I got a few more of the big things when I went through.
20 years of Fear:
Great setup and design. The cryptkeeper got me good when I wasn't paying attention and I really enjoyed the few chainsaw guys blending in with the crowd. They'd turn their chainsaws on and suddenly scare everyone- this was really effective. This felt very sparse in actors though. The few we saw were constantly posing for pictures. It was ridiculous. The treeguy was easily the best one and he couldn't even stand up so many were jumping over to pose for pictures. This was a reoccurring problem all night I saw. The scareactors never got to scare because they had to do pictures.
Went through 2 times and only once was Fear there. Fear looked...dumb. Up close the skin and things wasn't bad, but its just a dude on stilts guys. This scarezone put a bad taste in all of our mouths. Jack couldn't even walk out his tent and was just sitting there with chance while a zillion cameras pointed at him. It felt like a weird version of a zoo watching animals in cages while the hoards take pictures. The storyteller walked up to us and proceeded to TALK TO US! Not in a scary way, mind you. She was just talking like we were buddies. I was on edge convinced she was going to do something. Nope. She never left either. I finally said thank, have a good night and we left. No clue what that was about. The other icons were trolling around doing pictures. Fears minions were too busy doing their little weird interpretive dances to scare too. Overall this just felt sad. Cindy was the only redeeming factor. She chased everyone down full speed. Halfway down the pumpkin walk, we turned and she was still following us. Go Cindy!
Another photo-op! What the hell guys. Put the cameras away and enjoy yourself! Not enough actors here. A few were funny though. NONE tried to scare, just wandering like zombies. He wasn't scary, but the best guy there is the one human on the float scared throwing beads to zombies. He kept yelling to us and got us to laugh a few times.
Saws n steam-
Coolest looking. The guy on the tall part yelling to the crowds was nice but this suffered from again, just not enough scareactors. With mroe people in it, it would have been fun but we just walked through and saw 3 guys in the corners. Cool costumes though.
If I had to summarize this scarezone in a sentence: Busty witches trying to look pouty in the dark. This I was excited for actually having read many good (and bad) reviews. The witches huts, no one was ever in to try and scare with. The witches were just bleached blonde bimbos standing around taking pictures with drunk guys. There was one in a hag mask walking around but never scaring. The puritans on the fires were not there the 3 times we checked that night. Nothing! I saw the wires above and heard people say in reviews witches were flying overhead- not on our night. This was more photos and more nothingness.
Looked cool, but more pictures. Everyone wanted a picture (with flash, idiots) of the scareactors. There wasn't many of them there either.
Overall, the houses had a lot of actors so scare possibility was high. I had a few duds but chauk that up more to bad timing than anything. These were not the best houses weve seen of HHN though, in fact they felt uninspired compared to years past. The scarezones, all of them, were a joke. The pictures have to stop. It ruined the entire night and actors can't do their thing. They need to grow a pair and not pose for every picture. Oh, and there was a Jack photo area! If they want to offer pictures taking, thats the way to do it. Not in the zones itself. The zones were completely uninspired short of 20 years of fear. On top of that, the majority of the park was empty. Huge chunks of land had nothing and the park felt incredibly underutilized. For spending a year coming up with this stuff, I gotta wonder how much of that time A&D spends with their fingers up their noses talking about how great they are. This year did NOT feel like the caliber of event people have come to expect.
I didn't do the shows. No desire. I didn't encounter many drunks either. Lots of line smokers and douche bag kids trying to scare people in line, but thats to be expected. The alcohol was silly showing ID to get a wristband but then still having to show ID each time you got a drink? Why? The only bad drunk I saw was a 15 year old or so girl sitting across 2 stalls in a bathroom crying because she couldn't puke. A cop came to get her out ha! The glowy flashy things were a bit excessive this year. A few houses they were asked to turn them off but no one seemed to listen.
The wedding thing we narrowly missed and went saturday but this is just a thought- we all pay a lot of money to go to these events. I don't know about you (because this wedding launched the new HHN themed wedding packages universal is starting!) but I'm not too keep on every year now having a house or area where a couple goth kids a night want to get hitched at HHN and holding up houses and things so they can do so. This just feels like the cash cow is about to keel over from being overmilked. I love HHN but we all said it, having been years prior and having wonderful experiences each time, if things keep up like this, we might just not make the trip to come back.