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Everything posted by BenjaminNicholas

  1. While it doesn't warrant an entire review, this year's HHN felt off to me. It's now fully commercialized and only a couple of the houses go for real scares. There was a sameness to the houses and I didn't get that same level of excitement as I have in the past. The private RIP was fine for speed, but Uni screwed me on my guide. I had been with the same guide for years and they bait/switched me at the last minute with someone new. He was a total dud. His energy was off the whole night and it killed the event for me. It felt like $3500 somewhat wasted. Moreso, when you're charging those rates, the experience suffers when you cram a ton of people into La Bamba. It felt like a Walmart. Bottom line, they're making so much money off this event that it's clear they don't really care about improvements. Perhaps it's time for me to put that cash elsewhere and just retire future HHNs to better past memories.
  2. I'm heading there in early October and it will still be sweltering. Not looking forward to that humidity.
  3. They seem to have actually been creative this year. I hear projection mapping (pixelated green blocks, very '80s) and bright red projected lines on the sidewalks. I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but draw my own line at softening the event due to the outside world. Horror is escape. Horror is also frightening. While I know this isn't Blackout level scare, I don't need HHN to turn into just another money pit that only cares about getting a 15 year old Instagrammer through the gate. As long as a balance remains, I'll be happy to keep going. And I'm sure they'll continue being happy with the money I spend
  4. They risk it because it's an adult event for adults. If snowflakes can't handle that, they should stay home.
  5. I really hope that HHN doesn't mirror current societal trends of toning it down because everyone is offended by everything. If I could tell Aiello one thing for this year, I'd say GO WAY OVER THE TOP.
  6. Let's be frank... 99% of things that have been on both coasts end up better from the Orlando team anyway
  7. It's a lot tougher than you'd think. I work for a well known entertainment company in creative design and as much as I love it, it's a grind. You end up realizing that if you don't take mental health days away from it, what you love quickly becomes what you detest.
  8. The fandom is changing, clearly getting younger. A lot of the discussion I see on the net feels disjointed, not really event detailed and is really much of the same questions asked repeatedly. The young fan of this event ain't reading Chaucer on their downtime, that's for sure. It doesn't help that US marketing is doing near zero to hype the event using well-designed websites and creative social media. They know the event sells itself now and don't need to dump a ton of money into the front-end to push ticket sales. I guess that's good, but it's a lot less fun for those of us who got used to it in the past. The true fear in the event is long gone. Now, it's a push to sell as much as they can and upsell as hard as possible.
  9. Marketing at USO is laughably weak, extending into all of their seasonal events. Quite frankly, for the amount of profit that HHN generates, they should have a specific marketing/social media team for this event, year-round. I'd love to see some of their resume work. I can't imagine they have incredibly diverse backgrounds. This is very basic, lazy campaign 101.
  10. Nice to see them adding intelligent fixtures to the Zombie SZ. A welcome change from the usual lekos. Intelligents will create better atmosphere. They should really be using them all over the park, in every SZ.
  11. At the very least, they need to have the lagoon lit for all of the HHN event using the existing intelligent fixtures. It creates atmosphere. In the few years past, they kept things mostly dark. If you've got the ability, I say use it.
  12. So, this is US attempt at WOC. Gotcha. Perhaps this will keep people busy and space out crowds a bit more. One can hope.
  13. Once again, Marketing for USO really has no clue how to build anticipation or utilize the latest tech to keep it interesting. This year's campaign felt thrown together, but I guess since creative wasn't able to stick to an 80s theme either, I shouldn't be shocked. The Rob Zombie news was no surprise, but it still feels boring and untimely. It's shoehorned in. Meh. Bottom line: US knows they can put any piece of crap into the event and people will still show up. It's become a juggernaut and ultimately, everything like that fails under it's own weight eventually.
  14. The leak from the Ghostbusters house looks promising
  15. We're acting like they're on a baloney and white bread budget here. They've got the cash... They can shell out for a decent front gate without it eating into their bottom line too badly. Just throw up three more alcohol tents. BAM. SOLVED. Bottom line, I want the whole event to remain immersive. Sure, it probably won't happen because Joe Six-Pack probably doesn't care about what a front gate looks like, but I'm still putting it out there. I don't put it in a signature or my profile, but I've been doing HHN since it was simply Fright Nights. I'm an OG. And in being an old codger, I am ridiculously opinionated on what I want to see and how the event has changed (and continues to change).
  16. I've worked A/V for a long time and they wouldn't need to put up huge towers to facilitate projection mapping. New projectors are no longer water-cooled and don't need a ton of space to park. I've worked with this company's products before. HHN could easily integrate these: https://lumitrix.eu/ It's a matter of budget, I know, but for the amount of cash this event rakes in (and don't fool yourself, it's insane), they need to constantly be upping their game along with their ticket price. I remember the year they did the crumbling/melting wall with projection mapping on the street. Cool effect, but I also noticed it was relatively dim and the image definition was muddy. Took a look at the projector they were using: It was ancient considering what they could have probably gotten their hands on being USO.
  17. They've done screens before. They can spend a little and jazz it up again. What they can do with intelligent lighting and projection mapping could make the front gate look incredible. Daytime show wouldn't be affected.
  18. On another topic, I'd love to see them get away from such an antiseptic/standardized front gate facade. It's the first thing you see when you're walking into the event... It needs to pop. I believe the last decent year of front gate design was with Bloody Mary.
  19. I understand totally that 'horror' is subjective... And I certainly never said that it only encompasses slashers and gore. I'm all for IPs... As long as they can provide an adequate event atmosphere and true scare. While I get that 'bringing tv shows to life' brings in an incredible amount of money to the event, I don't want them to stray too far from their roots. Seeds was brilliant. And yes, it was unsettling and that made it scary. I'm all for oddball concepts... As long as the execution is pristine (as Seeds was).
  20. As much as Aiello talks about this being his dream house, the event seems to be getting away from actual horror. Gigantic latex masks of clowns don't scare me. Unless they can jury-rig some animatronic masks to give the clowns some detail, this will end up as boring as the scarezone was last year. Let's just hope they have a ton of jump-scares planned. At least Ghostbusters can rely on great sets, effects and, if done well, some nice puppets. I'm down for that.
  21. The longer HHN goes, the more it's getting away from attempting to be truly scary. While I love Ghostbusters, I question their place at the event as a house. It's the same way I'd feel about GOT. It's just not a right fit. Granted, I can't expect Uni to be like going to Blackout, but damn if it doesn't feel like they're just selling out and going for the easy buck at times.
  22. Reading through the last few weeks, some observations... IT ain't happening. WB won't let that go for all the tea in China. GOT has no place at HHN. It's popular, but it's not Halloween. I'm depressed at remembering how ramshackle the 'Scream' house looked that year. Such a waste. I may be the only one, but I'd love to see NOES back in the mix. I mean, it's quintessential '80s. Dawn Of The Dead/Day Of The Dead/Return Of The Living Dead. Who has the rights and why aren't they included? Beetlejuice would be interesting, especially since the new Broadway show has reinvigorated the character. I've been to every HHN event since inception. Excited as always, but as the crowds get larger and the conga lines grow slower and longer, it's more work that it used to be. I agree, but it's the only way to keep it under control. Disney does it and they still hit capacity in their parks. HHN needs to keep finding ways to control the crowds that attend. The price jump this year was considerable for private RIPs. Last year I paid $2300(ish). This year topped out at $3100.
  23. The term is 'cast' not casted. Sorry... I'm pedantic and from a theater background.
  24. I agree with raising prices and thinning out the crowds a bit (hopefully) HHN keeps getting more popular and the event does shortfall because of the intense crowds.
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