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Everything posted by Pandry

  1. I did my first run of this house last week. I liked it. Maybe it's because I had zero expectations. I had been reading about lots of people saying the final scenes with the green hallways were barren. They weren't when we went through. They got us good at one point. I don't know what we were seeing but something popped out of a wall completely unexpected. Never even figured there was a hidden door. I didn't recognize the creature, either. Maybe it's from the next movie? But it caught us by surprise.
  2. After multiple runs now, this house just isn't doing it for me. Probably because The Shining is my all time fave horror movie. I didn't have high hopes going in. But one aspect of the movie is the music and soundtrack. I feel they barely used it. Maybe there are some licensing issues for that. The opening intro which plays in the start of the maze entrance isn't the same as the movie's. If you listen to it closely, it's slightly off. It has a sound to it where they had to change a few notes to get around the copyright. Most probably wouldn't notice. And I feel like more of the movie's high pitched sounds during tense moments were skipped entirely. The 237 old lady laughing was the only sound that was right out of the movie. At least to me, anyway. The Gold Room is phenomenal and I do love that entire scene. I still have fun going through this house but it's not resonating like I thought it might.
  3. I'm battling back and forth between this house and Hive being my favorites so far. The scares in this house are non-stop and in your face! That being said, I am really reaching my limit with the staff inside the houses. Last week when I went through this house, there was a staff member in the crow barn area standing there with a flash light rushing people into the next crow attack room. In addition to that just taking you out of the moment, he then was holding the flaps open and shining his light into that next room so the effect was totally ruined. Not sure if someone tripped which then made that necessary. Last night there wasn't a staff right there but they've added a small flashlight that illuminates the scene transition doorway. Fortunately, it's aimed downward so you see the entryway but it's not lighting up the attack room as it did last week. Though it has added some light. Can't recall the last time where my favorites are both tent houses. And I don't mean that along the lines of the tents don't have good houses, because they do. It's just this year I love both of them. I keep hoping they'll add an outside scare as they've done with these houses in the past. A hive vampire on the exit ramp between the tents popping out would be cool.
  4. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm loving this house! It seems to keep getting better each run through. Had the best last night. The costumes and makeup are so well done. Damn, that one vampire that comes out from behind a wall with the blue face and glowing yellow eyes - who gets right in your face - damn! Salem's Lot type stuff. There was one actor who was along the left side wall in the room where the one vampire is feeding on the two corpses hanging from the ceiling. I don't know how he did it, but he was leaning against the wall upside down and creeping forward while doing it. Hadn't seen that in previous runs. Really freaky look to it.
  5. You can always ask, right? The only reason I could think of for a reason they wouldn't allow it is to prevent a log jam of everyone trying to get a picture there - if they see someone else doing it. Inevitably, someone would try for a selfie.
  6. Let's do it! Whichever way is easiest is fine by me.
  7. What day of the week are you going to attend? I have a FFP so I went opening weekend, last Thursday and then this past Sunday. It's still crowded but I don't feel like it is as crowded last year at the same period. It seems to be a trend the past couple years that Friday and, especially Saturday, have shorter waits than the non-peak nights. AHS and Shining tend to have the higher wait times as they're primarily the first two houses people pass. I've seen their wait times post 60-70 minutes but they're probably less than that. Everything else hovers 30-45, tops. Sunday night, at around 8pm, Hive and Scarecrow each had 20 minute waits posted. Not sure on S&S as I don't have a Universal pass. I'm probably not the best to give a route to use. But, we always go down Hollywood Blvd and work counter clockwise. But sometimes we start with the soundstages. It's just that with S&S, those already have waits as gates open for the GP. Dead Waters has such amazing scenery that it warrants multiple views. The houses are so strong this year that they're all worth multiple trips. The soundstages, to me, all seem to follow previous year queue exits. I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. But Ash vs. Evil Dead in the parade building is a trek with their queue. Probably feels longer as you walk down the back road and can see just how far you have to walk - in a straight line. Then it exits and has you backtrack the entire route again. Whereas in previous years it exited over towards Tent 1 and wasn't nearly as long. Again, I'm sure others can be more specific. Have fun!!
  8. I have only seen the ED movies and never watched the show. But it didn't prevent me from enjoying this house. Loved the sets and there are plenty of hidden scares! My only gripe: this has got to be the new queue of death. The way they rerouted it makes it seem longer than any other queue I can recall, and I've waited in them all. Went in last night around 7pm, 5 minute wait posted. That 5 minute wait felt like it was solely for the length of time to make the walk. What's worse is, unlike past years when exiting the Parade Building, they route you back the way you came. So you walk the full queue twice! Say what you want about HHN, but you are always guaranteed a cardio workout.
  9. I didn't have the remote last year and got decent shots. But it was only at the latter half of HHN last year that I had purchased the speedlite. Used on eBay for like $80. Oddly enough, I never had any issue with shooting while it was mounted on my camera. I got the remote system for $15 on Amazon right before the start of this year's. And here I already got a complaint. I was there last night and tempered the photo taking. I'd prefer to get shots of the scareactors when they're not looking. I always feel like I'm invading their space if they stop to pose. And now I'm weary of the remote flash method. But I was trying this method, this year, based on the suggestion of other photographers doing it, and I've seen endless images from them. So who knows. I think you can position yourself in decent light in all the zones except Festival. Hollywood Blvd is so dark. It feels much darker than Vamp was last year.
  10. I've been 3 times so far. The only house we've yet to do is Blumhouse. The lineup is so strong this year. Each year houses are usually a mix of awesome and shit. This year feels like amazing, awesome and decent. With the 8 we've been through, I look forward to continue going through them again and again. By now, there'd usually be at least 1-2 houses that I'd cease to go in again. Not this year!! Though we'll see with Blumhouse. But I think I'll be okay with that one, too.
  11. Loved this house! I don't know if I'm the best person to gauge houses seeing as, with all the runs I did last year, I was never a fan of Tomb. But this house is badass! Everything works. It's tight as everyone has mentioned. That really helps to conceal scares with the conga line. The scenery is great. The progression of the scarecrows as you go deeper into the house is so well done. Love the crow room! I'm one of those that never gets scared in the houses or zones. But I can see how it would be for plenty of people going through this house. What I am really getting severely annoyed by, and this goes for all houses, is the staff inside. They've always been annoying and rushing people, shining their flashlights, etc. But it just seems to get worse each year. Sure, I understand the need to keep the lines moving. But there's got to be a better method. They completely take you out of the element and are a buzz kill. You lose all sense of immersion. I don't know why they can't wear hooded cloaks like they do in Hollywood. At least with that, you can tell they're staff, but they don't kill the mood.
  12. This zone is just beautiful! Just an old school HHN pumpkins look. If there was a gripe, at least for these early stages of HHN, the cast in this zone are a bit more subdued than the other zones. The scareactors tend to hang in one spot - as far as their own spot (not all just in one area). Not all of them, mind you, but it just has a different feel to it. I don't think they've found their groove yet. But for me, I have no issues as the scenery is amazing and it's what I've wanted for a while now. It stands on its own.
  13. Thanks man, I really appreciate it! Flickr is a little strange when reading the camera data. So here's the "missing ingredient" which makes those settings work - at least for all save the Lady Liberty image, which did have enough ambient light: I'm utilizing an external flash. I think why it's not showing on the settings readout is because I'm firing it remotely. I have a receiver on it. So I'm holding my camera in my right hand and then I have the flash in my left hand. I keep the flash down low so it shoots upward, giving that sort of flashlight-under-your-chin look when telling ghost stories. You can really notice it on the final image as it was a stilt walker so the upshot of light is particularly noticeable. I keep the flash settings at -1/128 of power so it does it's best to fill the subject but keep the ambient light. And hopefully not blind the scareactors. The Grady Twins, being so short, did NOT like it and actually ratted me out to the coordinator, who simply requested I not use the flash with them. I tried to capture them in a decently lit spot within that tiny zone, but in general, they didn't want their picture taken. As soon as they'd see me, they'd turn the other way. As they did with others trying to get their picture. These were from this past Thursday. As I had previously mentioned, I had my camera on opening night and had crap, all shots. I prefer still images. I haven't shot actual subjects since HHN 26, nor used my flash. Given they're constantly moving, the lighting is ever changing and it's hand held, it's such a unique environment for photography that's also very challenging. For each decent shot I got there are quite a few worthless shots that will never see the light of day.
  14. What time was the outage? I was there last night. But we hit some houses close to when gates opened.
  15. Halloween Horror Nights 27 | Universal Studios Orlando by Mike Buchawiecki, on Flickr Halloween Horror Nights 27 | Universal Studios Orlando by Mike Buchawiecki, on Flickr Halloween Horror Nights 27 | Universal Studios Orlando by Mike Buchawiecki, on Flickr Halloween Horror Nights 27 | Universal Studios Orlando by Mike Buchawiecki, on Flickr Halloween Horror Nights 27 | Universal Studios Orlando by Mike Buchawiecki, on Flickr Halloween Horror Nights 27 | Universal Studios Orlando by Mike Buchawiecki, on Flickr Halloween Horror Nights 27 | Universal Studios Orlando by Mike Buchawiecki, on Flickr
  16. I saw them on Friday night, (1) that is. Dead Waters had a queue stand for the usual - a few bottled beer selections and bottled water. That was the only house we did standby as, for some strange reason, it was legitimately a 15 minute wait around 8pm. I was in Express for other houses after that. The tents had that stand setup near the exit like they have in past years. But I wasn't paying attention to see if it was accessible on entry with the new Tent 1 queue.
  17. Has anyone noticed a marked reduction in the amount of gore shown in the houses? Not just this year but now going back multiple years. I watched HHNH's Saw house walk through and wondered why Orlando's couldn't be like that. Or is it just me?
  18. Decent review. So far I only went Friday and for whatever reason, we did just 3 houses. We were busy Sat and Sun so I'm looking forward to getting back this Thursday. Now I'm ever so curious on The Shining. I'm like you, it's my fave horror movie. Loved the book, and the book sequel. More importantly, I thought Kubrick's adaptation was phenomenal. I think I posted last week that my plan was to go in with low expectations, on purpose. What did you think of the soundtrack. Did they utilize the movie's high pitched shriek when transitioning scenes or those deep flat ones - for example, when they'd show "Tuesday" on the screen in the movie? I've read that they play the opening score from the movie at the beginning of the house. That sounds cool.
  19. Oyster lays out an excellent description! Think of the aperture as the size of the hole in your camera light is allowed to enter when your shutter opens. The larger the whole, the faster you can keep your shutter speed as that much more light will enter when the shutter is open. That's why it's confusing with f-stop numbers. f/1.4 is considered a "large" aperture value because it's letting in so much more light versus, say, f/20. That being said, the only item I might add is that instead of aperture priority mode, use shutter priority (TV). This way you can dial in your lowest numerical aperture value (wide open) and then while in TV mode just thumb your exposure wheel with ease, between shots, to determine if you need a slower shutter speed to let in more light, or a faster one if you have enough light and want to capture better movement. Check your images after each shot to see if your exposing correctly. Also check the environment before you shoot. Position yourself in a spot that has some good light. If you see a spot with good light that scareactors constantly cross through, setup right by there and use the good natural lighting (assuming you don't have a decent external flash). I haven't done photography for that long either, but I mainly shoot stills. You can see some of my photos on Instagram at @Pandry65. Not a self-promo as I don't sell images, just hobby stuff. It's just more to show that HHN is its own creature. I had my camera with me on Friday night when we went. I haven't taken pictures with the purpose of having people in them since HHN 26 and I absolutely shit a brick on Friday with my photos. I might as well have been using a camera for the first time. Last year was my first real tryout with a DSLR during HHN and I did okay. But this year I feel like I have to relearn what the hell I was doing. HHN is very unique photography, for anyone, with all the moving subjects and various lighting you get.
  20. Is it true that Hollywood IS selling alcohol this year?? I always like to read your coast to coast comparisons. I keep trying to wrap my head around Orlando's alcohol decision. Part of me thinks it's the usual corporate BS and a way for them to peddle overpriced mixed drinks with just a drip of alcohol in them. But with the decision supposedly being last minute, it's strange. Legacy made an interesting, and very plausible, suggestion: the County asked them to reign it in for a bit. Due to the hurricane and so many homes still without power as of Friday, there's a real strain on local law enforcement right now. They likely don't have the usual manpower to not only work the event, but to handle all the drinking related incidents. Just to echo other comments as well: I've been doing HHN since 2004. I've also been a Disney AP holder for many years. I can honestly say that at Epcot, especially during Food & Wine, there are more rowdy drunks (though mainly limited to the World Showcase area) than I've ever seen at HHN. People literally go with t-shirts advertising "drinking around the world." They're not there to ride Spaceship Earth. They're there to specifically get drunk.
  21. I didn't think there was much of an outcry for having The Exorcist top billed last year. Halloween, sort of, is all about embracing your inner demon. I purposely go to the event to see death and carnage. That being said, I didn't get to visit this house on Friday. I'll check 'er on out Thursday. Your description sounds pretty cool!
  22. Beautiful job on these, they're fantastic!!
  23. I was raised Catholic and I'm offended with how big of a pussy Universal is. Enough of the political correctness. It's Halloween. Suck it up.
  24. Good review and I mirror most of your remarks. I thought Hive was pretty badass. It felt cramped like Scarecrow and I absolutely loved the look of the vampires. The Scarecrow actors were everywhere and it felt like a constant onslaught. Loved it. I didn't even have a chance to pay attention to the sets. Trick R Treat was visually stunning. Old school pumpkins back. I didn't notice a whole lot of scareactors but it didn't matter as it was just such a great Halloween themed area. Purge seems the same as two years ago. But I liked how they had more live victims running around that would be randomly chased down and accosted. I only went through Alters early and it was a waste. Wouldn't have known it was a scarezone. Just seemed like an advertisement area. Invasion was very small and felt like just two character types - and not many at that. Chainsaw clowns in Springfield were great and really giving it their all. Walked through Festival on the way out and it was meh. However, it's opening night and it's clear the storm still has an impact. I know they'll all improve. They always do.
  25. I had my camera bag with 3 lenses, a flash and a Gorillapod. It went through the X-ray machine and they never said a word. Zero issues. I'd go as far to say that security was the most efficient part of my evening. Maybe it's hit or miss? Maybe the bag type may factor in depending on how well insulated it is and what they can see on the scan? Based on a few others I know that brought their gear, too, just the one I mentioned above was questioned. So it appears they have no issue bringing camera and gear in. Seems like it depends on either how it's packed or the security staff you happen to get. It may be hit or miss all season.
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