As I’m bored waiting for my flight back to Blighty, thought I’d add my thoughts on this years event.
Please comment, discuss, and argue against my rankings. I love the banter and discussion!
Overall I feel houses were great with no proper duds, scarezones were ok (but I feel scarezones no longer work at HHN due to crowds), and the lagoon show was fantastic.
In summary, overall rankings for me are as follows:
1. Universal Monsters
2. Graveyard Games
4. Yeti Terror of the Yukon
5. Nightingales Blood Pit
6. House of 1000 Corpses
7. Depths of Fear
8. Stranger Things
9. Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Very true to the film, and a couple of fun scares, but after doing this once it just fell flat on its face for me. Love the film, but for me this was boring. They may have been better doing half film, half original to ramp up the scares. Didn’t work for me, but sets were great and some good ideas means it wasn’t a total flop.
9. Killer Klowns
I’ll be honest. I hate the film, and didn’t have much hope for this house. However it did grow on me during the event and having a few fun interactions with the scareactors really made it for me. The second Klownzilla puppet never worked for me which is such a shame, as the first was incredible! Overall a fun feel good house with plenty laughs and gags, just not my thing.
8. stranger things
only had one decent run through out of 4, which is a shame as some of this house is fantastic (the large, larger, and even larger mindflayer puppets are stunning and brilliantly done). Suffers from season 2 being light on scares/iconic scenes, but season 3 is represented really well. Was always going to be tough to pull off and make it an incredible house, but I feel they did a great job. Other years this would have placed much higher but the overall house quality was fantastic this year.
Was really looking forward to this one, and was very disappointed with the creatures. Very bulky costumes, and bit cartoony. However, the crew were aggressive, and this does have the best scare of the event (hand puppet from above got me every time, and I did see two people fall over on their arses because of it). Great concept, gorgeous sets, and I think a little better creature design would have propelled this much higher in the list.
Again not a fan of the film, but could see the HHN potential (Fun fact - this was a house in Hollywood BEFORE it was turned into a film). It’s a very true representation of the film, and some of the scareactor interactions were the best I’ve ever had (yes Captain Spaulding, I promise to take some chicken home to Mama, I don’t want your boot up my ass!). The catacombs were brilliantly done, and the scareactors here were mean and wouldn’t let me go. Loved it! Watch out for Thunder in the “who’s your Daddy” room! Scary, fun, and plenty of guest interaction makes this house much much better than I thought.
This house STUNK. And was aggressive, claustrophobic, dark, and unfortunately inconsistent. When it was on point, it was incredible. When it was off it was dull and smelly. Big points to the scareactor who swings out to get you. He/she seemed to be in my face pretty much every time and such a great scare that seemed reluctant to let me pass. Also loved the lion with gladiator puppeteer. The last night I swear the lion almost kept off the platform and I nearly sh!t myself. It was also fairly historically accurate which shows the amount of research and dedication that goes into the original houses. I wanted this to be Scarecrow level, and while it has potential it’s inconsistent performances means it won’t reach that level.
Love this house and wish I had more chances to do it again. The yeti outfits are great, and the scenic elements are stunning. It’s the dark comedy house of the year for sure, with comedic deaths which are some of my fave scares this year (“door”, and “Alien” hand). Gorgeous sets, fun set ups for Yeti encounters, and again the final yeti scare with the full swing out like nightingales is a personal fave of mine. Great scareactor interactions, but I’m sick of being shot in this house. I must have a big target on my back as I seem to be shot by everyone, and the air blasts are powerful! Definitely did not expect this house to be as fun or as good as it is.
I cannot do this house without a goofy smile on my face. It is everything I wanted and more, even if I missed the props reacting to Janine every time. I mean yes, it’s not scary, but it’s just fun and makes everyone smile. It’s the only house I’ve ever seen where the staff working it are still smiling and dancing to the same song playing over and over again for 8 hours a night throughout the run. Great effects, great scareactor interactions (special call out to Dan Ackroyd in the Slimer hallway, and Bill Murray at the end - high five!), and reminds me so much of the Ghostbusters show Universal used to have back in the day. Also nice nods to Ghostbusters II, and a sneak peak at next years Ghostbusters film too.
2. Graveyard Games
This house is gorgeous. The most immersive, well designed, and stunning house I think I’ve ever seen in my 3 years going to HHN. The backstory is brilliant, and sets the scene for a very creepy, scary, and inventive house. There’s so many great scenes here, from the hallway with the candles being blown out, to the playground scene (creepy ghost kids), and the pitch black, soundproof room which is my fave effect this year. There’s so much in this house to see and follow it needs multiple run throughs. My fave original this year, and probably fave original I’ve ever done. Just do it. Then do it again. You won’t regret it.
1. Universal monsters
Wow. Just WOW. This house is gorgeous, and coupled with incredible scareactor interactions this is my absolute fave this year. I thought this would be a good house, but never did I dare hope it would be as good as it is. It’s scary, aggressive, beautiful, surprising, fun, and allows for fantastic scareactor interactions (special kudos to creature, the mummy’s, and Frankenstein’s monster who is this years MVP). It is missing the invisible man (or is it?), but that is a minor criticism. I really hope they come back next year bigger and better.
Not much to say - they’re ok. I don’t think scarezones work in the current format due to crowds. Either do away with them or do something new and unique with them. Stop them becoming selfie zones!
Lagoon show is amazing. Please see it and make sure it’s back next year!
AoV - good at what they do, one and done for me