Hello everyone! I’m excited to write this review because I went to HHN for the first time on September 28 after many years of wanting to attend. When HHN falls on your 21st birthday, it’s fate that you have to go Alright, so here is my take on HHN 2017.
**Quick shoutouts to DTH for writing a suggested game plan, it worked great.**
No spoiler version-
Saw: least favorite, strongest smells
Ash vs. Evil Dead: great set designs
American Horror Story: overall solid maze (best on the lower lot)
Insidious: go through at dark, fun ending
The Shining: if you love the movie you will appreciate the details and work put into this one- otherwise, you might be confused
Terror Tram: seems short, Freddy Kruger’s are great
Horrors of Blumhouse: don’t skip this one, Sinister section is worth seeing
Titans of Terror (maze): one of our favorites of the night, sound effects are spot on, good scares
In order of my night:
1. Saw- First maze of the night and ended up being my least favorite. Maybe because I am biased because I don’t care for torture scenes, they aren’t scary - gross at best. Most memorable aspects for me were the smells and the guy whose head was underwater. When I came home I watched some walk throughs of all the mazes on Youtube to refresh my memory. I realized I didn’t see the guy on the “Rack Trap” (dude whose arms and legs are being twisted to shreds) or the saws coming at you through the walls at the end. I wasn’t distracted by actors because the people in front of us got most of the scares, so I think it might be a rookie mistake on my part. You have to look all around in the mazes to appreciate all the detail- lesson learned! But overall this was the least exciting maze for me.
2. Ash vs. Evil Dead- I went in expecting this maze to be more comical than it actually was. Nonetheless I enjoyed it. The masks for Ash looked pretty good in my opinion and the multiple facades within the maze (cabin, Ashy Slashy house) were stunning. We figured out that you need to put a gap between your group and the group in front of you, if possible, to get the scares. (I wish there was better crowd control instead of everyone going in basically at the same time). Since this maze was not busy at all we did that and ended up getting all the scares which contributed to my enjoyment for this maze. The old lady (neighbor I believe) got us pretty good. Good maze, wish Little Lorie was in it though haha
3. American Horror Story- I had no expectations for this maze because I hated Roanoke season, but the maze was solid. By this point in my night I already understood what all the fuss was about “black walls” “black hallways”. At one point I could not see anything so I put my hands out, felt a wall, and started to walk to the side. Bad idea! I walked right up to a scareactor (butcher lady) hiding behind a curtain lol But this maze did have some wonderful set designs- the window was gorgeous, the body parts moving on the walls, dinner table room, all very memorable. We also thought the pig masks were well done, the fur made them look real. The tall trees at the very end of the maze was hilarious! I loved going into rooms like that, where you don’t know who's real and who's not. To me that’s better than just an actor waiting in the boxes.
4. Insidious- This maze was one where I felt the black walls were appropriate. However, I would not recommend going through before dark or else some scare actors may be visible to you. All actors were great, the red face demon got me especially. To this moment I cannot figure out how he reached out so close to my face without hitting me. We did come to a stop in front of the elevator as a group of guys were too scared to walk forward because a boo box was awaiting them. I get that you’re scared, but come on! Don’t back up the maze. The ending was one of my favorites of the night because it was several scares in a row which took me by surprise. Wish more mazes had an ending like this.
5. Shining- To be honest, we came for the Shining. So we made sure to go through twice so we could really soak it all up and catch the details. The Shining is a movie close to my heart as it was one of the first scary movies I watched as a kid. I have probably seen the movie at least 20 times by now so I had very high expectations. I must say it was absolutely wonderful. I could tell that Mr. Murdy and his team probably drove themselves crazy trying to make this thing perfect, and it paid off. I loved how they approached Jack’s writing because seeing the words all over the walls and curtains made you feel as if he was truly mad. I loved the use of the carpets and also the light fixtures that were identical to the film, these were great touches. Favorite scene for me was the bathroom because it truly felt like we had walked on set. The smell of that old woman still lingers with me, it was awful and great at the same time. My one complaint was that at the time we went through there was no cold air in the snowy hedge maze. I heard others experienced this so I’m assuming it just wasn’t working or on when we went. But I could go on an on for how much I enjoyed this one.
*Note: If you haven’t seen footage of Orlando’s Shining, I highly recommend doing so. The masks, set, and audio are different and made me truly appreciate Hollywood’s version- just my opinion.
6. Terror Tram- If someone is still reading this I would really like to know if the terror tram was shorter this year than in years prior. We did this at around 8:30 and got through in roughly 20 minutes, minus the time we spent in line for the Bates Motel photo. Favorite section was Freddy because these actors were the most interactive. I was pushing my mom in a wheelchair and one Freddy came over, put his hand near mine, and started pushing her. If only I had my phone out to record it, it was hilarious. Poor mom.
--At this point we took a break and went into Starbucks on the upper lot. While we were sitting we got to experience the Hell-O-Ween scare zone.
Hell-O-Ween Scare Zone: This was the only scare zone we went through and it did not disappoint. My mom refers to this as the “monsters on the loose” section which quote “Really was a hit for me”. (Btw, We did pass by Urban Inferno before it opened and all the props looked great). In fact, some of the funniest moments of our night occured while sitting in starbucks and watching the scare actors come up to the glass and roaming up and down scaring the bejesus out of people! The werewolf on stilts ran his nails down the glass, and a pumpkin faced guy made eye contact with me and acted like he was licking something. Not sure if his intention behind that was dirty haha Music was great as well. Almost wish there were more actors in this area so you couldn’t escape them.
7. The Walking Dead- I know most of you on here are veterans so I will suffice it to say that I found this scarier than expected. This was partially because one zombie came up to me and I couldn’t tell if I should go right or left and ended up just not going anywhere until some man yelled at me. My apologies if you were in line behind me.
8. Blumhouse of Horrors- We almost skipped this entirely because of all the bad reviews I heard about it. Besides the Happy Death Day section I thought this was one of the better mazes! I do wish that Sinister was it’s own maze because it felt less like a walk through maze and more of a haunted house. My favorite scene was the people stuck on/in the table, not sure why but I just found this area to be memorable and creepy. Or maybe because the blonde guy on the table was attractive, I don’t know haha The purge was also fun though, we had a guy that hid out and sprinted across right in front of you. I couldn’t help but admire his athletic abilities, that takes a lot of energy. Props to you sir! (If I can I’ll post a video clip of him)
9. Last of the night: Titans of Terror- From what I understand this maze was supposed to be the conjuring and then the creative team had to put together something in its’ place. Regardless if this is true or not, the maze was a hit. My mom said this was her favorite of the night. The facade was cool, loved the vibes. I almost wish the kids bedroom was smaller because the bed felt really far away when you walked by and I wanted to take a better look. I know that the lights were reused from a prior year but I thought they were a great transition. They made us feel like we were going from one nightmare to the next, no escape. Not sure if anyone else experienced this but towards the end, where a lady was being sawed in half, we had blood/water misted at us. Great effect! I wish that we could have ended up back in the bedroom scene though, with Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface maybe coming up from under the bed or out of the closet. Something that would leave you thinking that it wasn’t a dream after all.
Chainsaw Chaseout- I would literally pay the admission cost just to experience this. It was so intense with the music, the sound and smell of chainsaws, and the high energy from the actors. Wow! I was in awe. It also didn’t hurt that we got a spot to watch right next to John Murdy, who kindly took a photo with me and asked about our experience.
Note for wheelchair/handicapped: If you or someone you will be attending with has a mobility issue, fear not! All the staff is very helpful and everything is accessible. There is a steep hill during the terror tram, but they provide a van that you can get in that will drive you up if needed. All mazes are easy to push a wheelchair through (ok maybe not through the hanging body sections) and you do not have to use the escalators!! For reference, I am a petite little lady, 5’3, who was physically able to push my mother around the entire night. They have an “alternate transport vehicle” that can drive you to each section and guide you to necessary elevators (it was actually kind of fun because they drove past the offices and a set where I swear I saw Debra Messing standing outside). And don’t be afraid that the actors will leave you out. The ways they interact with folks in wheelchairs is awesome (yes, they will squat down and hold chainsaws in front of your knees. Again, poor mom).
Overall we had a great time. I agree with many of you that this year has a lot of room for improvements. However, I would not discourage someone from attending because it is not a total bust. You can still have an enjoyable time. I am excited to see what the future of HHN looks like as I will definitely be back!