Hi, I have posted on here before but haven't been active in a long time, but I feel compelled to write a detailed review of this year's event. I attended the event this past Friday, September 23rd,with General Admission and was able to do every HHN-exclusive attraction twice except for TCM, Exorcist, Terror Tram, and Jabbawockeez (did not see it once). I will be reviewing everything in the order I did them, and will be rating them on a scale of 1-10 in the categories of: Scares, Sets, Personal Experience, Effects, and Overall.
I arrived at about 6:20 and was able to get through security and the gates in only 5 minutes. Upon entering, we were handed blue wristbands for early entry, but we opted to watch the scare-a-monies instead. We were corralled in front of TCM, and then guided to were the opening would happen. Being in the very front row was so awesome, and I really liked the opening this year.
Purge: Gauntlet of Fear
I will rate this like a maze even though it really wasn't, but regardless, I still really liked this. The first section was a little tame, but the next section on French Street was insane. The fog was so thick, and there must have been about 20 scare actors in this section alone. I also really liked the section in the courtyard that was supposed to be like the "hunting grounds" from anarchy, and I love the bushmen, they always get me good. I really like this set up of an outdoor maze/pulsed scare zone, and I think it should be kept because the courtyard is just too awkward of a venue for a proper maze, but worked perfectly for this. I would love to see this set-up in future years slighly more expanded in the plaza area and with a different IP.
Personal Experience: 9/10
The Walking Dead Attraction
We decided to just get this over with since it had no wait, and the entrance was right where the exit of the Gauntlet was. I had been in this over the summer, and while the added scare actors help, this is still a very lukewarm attraction that is just way too short. Sets and effects are pretty cool though.
Personal Experience: 5/10
Eli Roth presents Terror Tram: Klowntasm
Despite having nothing to do with Eli Roth, this was by far the best terror tram I have experienced since attending since 2011. This was mostly due to the fact that we were placed in the first cart, and led the pack, getting all the scares. The image of pulling up to the drop off with the one clown with the balloons was SO creepy and a nice change from all the chainsaw guys just being out in the open. I also loved the more maze-like sets in the shipping containers, and the scare actors were AGGRESSIVE - they were swinging their "weapons" SO close to everyone's face. Someone who is a scare actor please reply telling me how you train to do this without injuring people its genuinely very impressive.
Personal Experience: 9.5/10
Halloween II: Hell Comes to Haddonfield
We then made it down the starway and went straight to Halloween. The entrance claimed a 30 minute wait but it was more like 10. I have to be honest here, I was SO excited for the 2015 maze based off of the original and it was very disappointing. This maze however, was amazing. I loved how we got to see the ending of the first maze revisited before going to the hospital. The scares were great in here, all the Michaels were on fire, and I really liked the murder scenes despite the victims all being dummies. The final "real-life" scene was very well executed as well: the girl looked very similar to Jamie Lee, and the Michael swinging the scalpel while blinded was awesome. However the highlight of this maze comes in the last 3 rooms. First you enter a pitch-black hallway while a very cool slowed, and dream-like rendition of Mr. Sandman plays while a blue-lit Michael waits for you at the end of the hallway. Is he a dummy, is he an actor? Well he was an actor and I have no idea how they stay that still but wow. The jack-o-lantern room was hauntingly beautiful - not something I would ever think to call a temporary maze at a halloween event. It was such a creative and bizarre ending, I loved it SO much. This maze was also equally good both runs we did it.
Personal Experience: 10/10 (huge Halloween fan)
Wait time said 80, but was more like 20. We must have gotten very lucky. The facade on this one was SO perfect, even with the priest dummy. I really liked the first room with the ouija board, and then the spider crawl looked surprisingly good. This does get pretty obviously repetitive but the scares in the dark hallways are pretty good. The priest masks are laughable, but the Reagan's all looked good. I was especially impressed by the levitation scene. I do wish our version went a little bit more like Orlando's did with the hallway of mattresses covered in vomit, but this was overall not bad, just a little disappointing. Also the last Pazuzu scene was more funny than scary and this deserved a much better finale. Highlight of this maze was the priest splashing holy water on me. This maze also suffered from something which many mazes did, which was that way too many people were being let in at a time.
Personal Experience: 6/10
This is probably the best facade HHNH has ever had for a maze. Period. It is so cool, combined with the smell of cinnamon coming from the maze, and the Christmas music playing. The sets were all incredible in here, and the scares were on fire for the most part. The first room is so foggy, and the mailman outside of the maze was an incredible actor. The attic scene was very well done except the first run of this maze, there was no victim in the Jack-In-The-Boxe's mouth, but the second time there was. I must say I love this effect. The angel scare was also highly effective.
Personal Experience: 7/10
American Horror Story
This is where we got extremely lucky. A woman with a small child had 5 of those one-time use FOL coupons, and gave them to us because she was going to leave with her son because he was too scared. Yep, that really happened. So we then used one for AHS which was posted at having a 90 minute wait. This was by far my most anticipated maze, and while the facade was very underwhelming, everything else was very well done. This was a long maze, which worked favorably for it. The scares were all very aggressive, especially in the FreakShow section. I really liked the transitions between seasons, and the audio queues throughout the maze. The Twisty scare actors were all great, they really mastered his mannerisms. I also got the best scare of the entire night in here from the last scare in the FreakShow section, the monkey with the cymbals. He got me so bad, I fell to the floor. I really liked how they used characters from the opening credits like that. Freakshow Facade looked insanely awesome too. Also another shoutout to the gimp suit man in one of the hallway scares for coming right for me. Also shout out to the people at the entrance of this maze, you did a great job of pulsing the line, seriously.
Personal Experience: 10/10
Freddy Vs. Jason
My expectations were pretty high for this since I love both Freddy and Jason and heard great things about the Orlando maze last year. However this maze suffered from the worst backup all night. In the first hallway with the rapture lighting, we were stopped for a solid 3 minutes. That should not happen. The second time was better in terms of pulsing the line. Regardless the sets were awesome and the scares were pretty great too. I loved that there was a clear story here, and the use of the Freddy snake. I wish I could have seen both endings, but both times I went through this, Jason won.
Personal Experience: 6/10
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Blood Brothers
I could tell this would have been a great maze if there weren't way too many people being let in at a time. The scares would have been great had we gotten them. I remember the 2012 maze being great in terms of scares, but lacking in sets. The sets are better here. Also, I tried to follow the story Murdy was trying to convey, but I just couldn't get it. I hope to return and experience this maze in its full glory with a better experience, because I really want to like it.
Personal Experience: 6/10
I really liked the Gauntlet and the Backlot Scarezone, but I wish there would have been more actors in the main entrance scare zone. Also while the Purge worked, I wish we could have had a variety of themes.
Overall Review of the Event
This is such a great year, definitely the best that I have been too. There is not one maze that is a dud, everything is pretty strong, even terror tram. Didn't see Jabbawockeez, but I really don't care to be honest. However, even though this is a great year content-wise, there are some things that could be better. The rapture lighting effect was cool, but it seemed it wasn't used to its full potential. This would be a GREAT opputunity for scares since the guests are literally blinded. Also I wish that the scare zones were a little more elaborate, but I loved the gauntlet. Another thing I miss is a barker at the entrance scare zone, that was always a highlight, and a missed opputunity this year to not have the Candy Bar Girl/Kiss Me mask girl as the barker. The biggest problem this year is the amount of people they let in to the mazes at once. The only maze that was really good about this was AHS, but for a few others we got lucky. I understand wanting to keep the line moving, but the maze just isn't scary if there are too many people in it at once. One thing I wish they would do is maybe taking from Knott's a little and using the Skeleton Key room idea a little. Like letting about 15 people into a room at a time with a little preshow kinda thing for each maze to keep a gap. I think that would help, but it may make lines move slower. Still, the event this year is amazing, and not to be missed. I would rate the overall event a 10/10, Murdy really outdid himself this year. I would like to go on record on saying that Halloween II and AHS are not only the best mazes this year, but some of the best mazes I've ever been through at this event, or any Halloween event anywhere.