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Creeper06's Review of Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood 2011

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Hello fellow HHN freaks!!!

So I finally went to the event for the first (only?) time this year on Friday, September 30th! How does it stack up to year's past? Well there was some good (originality! Hooray!) and some bad (a lot of repeated content). See below for how it all pans out for me :)

First the houses, in order of my preferences:

La Llorona: Villa De Almas Perdidas - As one of the lone defenders of the SZ last year (come on people, it wasn't that bad!) I was very excited about this maze. I love that it was something brand new and original and I thought the legend of La Llorona showed a lot of promise. Well, Murdy and team exceeded my expectations and delivered an instant classic that provided amazing show scenes (I think the river room was my favorite), a great variety in monsters/creatures, and some awesome scares. I had my best scare here as I was mesmerized by the bed scene... you know the one ;) Anyway, the grim reaper snuck up behind me and got me so good that I ended up on my knees on the floor. Totally awesome and kudos to that scareactor. This maze proves that a quality maze can be incredibly popular even if it's not based on a film. Take note, Mr. Murdy!

Grade: A

The Thing: Assimilation - My expectation for the The Thing had started to wane after reading some of your less-than-enthusiastic reviews from opening weekend. Maybe I'm crazy but I loved it (and so did my friends)!!! My biggest worry was that most of the scares would come from soldiers/humans instead of The Thing itself. I am happy to report that that is not the case. There still were some humans here but I loved how the different forms of The Thing were ALL OVER this maze! The puppets/costumes were very impressive and scary. I hope they hold up all month long because they deserve to be seen and appreciated. There were a lot of great scares, great theming, and I also liked how long the maze was. The WWW venue constantly proves to be awesome year after year. This maze almost tied La Llorona for me but I give that one the edge because of it's originality. But Murdy has nothing to apologize for here. WELL DONE!

Grade: A

Alice Cooper: Welcome to my Nightmare - This one was a wildcard for me. I love the idea of something new and original (obviously) but I'm completely indifferent to Alice Cooper. Plus, I couldn't help but think of what other mazes we lost in order to get this one (Scream? Trick r Treat? Jeepers Creepers? Something else original?). And in the end I feel the maze's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness: it feels like hodge-podge of random scary things thrown together with no coherent story or overall theme. A rundown old house, dolls, an insane asylum, bugs, a morgue, and the French Revolution. What does all this have in common? I guess that Alice Cooper likes all that stuff? I liked the gore (and was impressed with the level of it) and I liked not knowing what was coming next. It was unpredictable and tons of fun to go through. Plus the Alice masks (I think they were masks anyway) were uncanny and looked just like him! But once I came out the other end, I really had no idea what I just saw. My friend said to me "I don't get it. Is Alice Cooper supposed to be a killer and he's trying to kill us?" I could only respond with "hell if I know". Maybe it makes sense if you know the album but otherwise, it feels like a grab-bag. Still, I enjoyed it for it was and it's definitely better than a repeat.

Grade: B+

The Wolfman: The Curse of Talbot Hall - Yes, it's another HOH overlay (I say overlay very liberally). No, they barely changed anything in it (as usual). So why did I still enjoy myself? A couple reasons. I think the Wolfman theme fit best into the house that was already here. The characters fit the theme and seemed to belong there. I liked the audio of John Talbot echoing through the house. I liked that they changed the shadow gags to Wolfman. I liked that they removed some of the more theme-killing props (Phantom of the Opera, Mother Bates). And I loved the Wolfman costumes. They looked great! Yeah, the Child's Play and Mummy rooms still muck up the theme, but they pass quickly enough. So, it was HOH as always but the theme was a good fit, the SA's did a great job, and there was no line. I had fun with it. Sue me.

Grade: B

Hostel: Hunting Season - Great facade and some really nice rooms (the one with the candelabra stands out as does the bathtub) but, as many others have noted, it really feels like a rewarmed Saw or Saw 2.1. It was like they changed just enough to not get accused of a repeat. The layout was exactly the same which usually wouldn't be too big of a deal, except that this is now our 3rd year that that layout. As Zombieman noted, the horned costume was overused which also reinforces the point that Hostel as a franchise just doesn't have enough iconic imagery to play with in the first place. But the the biggest reason I wasn't impressed with this was the scares (or lack thereof). The SA's were either in plain sight the whole time or had terrible places to hide. There were no real surprises. Overall, this was just ok.

Grade: B-

House of 1000 Corpses - Second verse, same as the first. I liked this maze last year but I was just bored with it this year. It's like pizza that you ordered on Friday and has been sitting out all night long. On Saturday, you can still eat it. It's ok but it's kinda stale, cold, and you'd rather have something else.

Grade: C

Terror Tram: Scream 4 Your Life - Well I liked the two trams at the end with all the Ghostfaces and that we skipped the Mummy tunnel. *Must not go off on rant about how this is the same Terror Tram that it was in 2010, which was the same as 2009, which was the same as 2008, which was the same as 2007 and how it was a complete waste of the Scream license and I don't know why they bothered and how I could now walk this path with my eyes closed by now* Whoops. Sorry bout that.

Grade: C-

Scarezones- Exactly the same as last year. Oh wait, except the swapped out the pig masks with skeleton masks. I guess that counts as "all new". These are now just atmospheric paths to get to the next maze and are no longer attractions unto themselves. I say that with no disrespect to the SAs. You guys are awesome. But these just keep getting rehashed. See Orlando's event to see truly ambitious and unique SZs. Oh, and they manage to create new ones every single year!

Bill and Ted- I can't help but wonder if Universal got into some legal trouble over this show last year because the amount of characters spoofed this year was considerably less. In year's past, they would trot out one parody after another for the length of the show but here, they seemed to do it very sparingly. Overall, it was decent. I was entertained but there were some cheap shots in there (a Mexicans at Home Depot joke?!?!? Really?!??! Hasn't every hack comedian already covered that one enough by now?!?!?). But the big dance number at the end is always fun and high energy. It still seems so odd to me that the audience here in LA still doesn't quite know what to make of this show. In FL, they go nuts! They laugh, applaud, and go crazy. Here, everyone just sits there and quietly watches. It's so strange.

Closing thoughts- Well, here we are with another year of HHN. Overall I think it's quite solid. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's the "best year ever" but we've seen some growth and improvements. Here's the final breakdown!


-One more maze this year! That brings us a grand total of 6! Well, 5 1/2... ;)

-New and original content with La Llorona and WTMN!!!

-Huge improvements in facades for ALL mazes!

-Level of maze theming is still the best in town

-I was still able to do everything in one night, with minimal rushing, without paying extra for FOTL or RIP.


-Too much repeated content! The Terror Tram and SZs really need some work! And will we ever have a year with ALL new mazes? I kind of doubt it.

-Murdy needs to stop worrying about which mazes give him the most quality time with celebrities and start focusing on which will just make great experiences -cough- Hostel -ahem-

-No more multi-night pass!!! WTF guys! Well, I can guarantee you're losing money on me and my friends. Bad idea and way to stick it to the fans! :angry:

Despite my gripes, I still had a great time. I always do!!! It's a blast of an event and, as everyone else here, I just provide some contructive criticism to help it constantly improve. We know what Murdy and co. are capable of and I just want to see the event continually raise the bar.

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood 2011 Overall Grade: B+

Thanks for reading and Happy Haunting! :D

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Great review. Switch Hostel into third place instead of 5th and we'd have nearly identical reviews!

And everyone I was with enjoyed the hell out of Alice Cooper too... they just didn't know what was going on either.

At the end of the night, they finally all came forward and said (once we were out of ear reach of anyone else in the park), "okay, so who's Alice Cooper?"

We're a group of 18-25 year olds, the event's main demo and sure we all had fun but it's also good to note that we like to know what the hell is going on as well (which is why we all loved La Llorona a bit more)

I listened to the album about 3 days before going and STILL didn't fully understand the maze.

I don't know, it was fun but it could've been better with something a bit more OUR generation and something with a more coherent story or at least a story that told itself and informed people of what we're not knowledgeable about.

Anywho, great review!

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Thanks man! I appreciate it!

Glad I'm not the only one who was confused by what was going on in WTMN. I imagine they had a brainstorming session that went like this:

Murdy: "So Alice. I'm a huge fan. What are you thinking we should put in this maze that's all based on you and how awesome you are. Because you are totally awesome. I had a poster of you on my wall for my whole life."

Alice: "Ummm, thanks. Well, I like creepy old houses. And dolls. Dolls can be scary."

Murdy: "Yeah, Alice! That's brilliant. Perfect. You amaze me!"

AC: "Ummm ok. Well, what about guillotines? Those are crazy! And an asylum!"

Murdy: "Anything you say AC. Can I call you AC? You're the master!"

AC: "Huh? Anyway, that way we could an electric chair. And bugs! People are scared of bugs."

Murdy: "I love you"

AC: "Uh, I think I've got to get going"

Murdy: "Do you want to hang out sometime?"

AC: "Sorry, I really have to run."

Murdy: "I'll call you!!! Ok guys. you heard Alice. Do exactly what he said!"


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nice review creeper. I'm glad to see im not the only one who believes are SZ are beginning to just look average while New York street is basically the only SZ up to par with orlandos expectations. The rest are just there to entertain the guest i guess. The SA's always do a awesome job but it doesnt even feel like a way to keep you in the atmoshere anymore. IDK thats just me. Also im not sure how you guys were confused with the overall theme of Alice Cooper. It was actually #1 on my list with la llorona as a exception for matching up with 1st place. Anywho its just as freddys nightmare but a different persons perspective. Theres not much to know besides its just one big nightmare from the mind of alice cooper. Also i dont feel as Hostel was a repeat of saw. Def. similar layouts but i found hostel to actually be better than saw. Saw was just basically a walk through of the movie and watching victims getting tortured. didnt do much on the scare factor for me. Hostel kind of played both parts which is probably what i liked about it. Anyways, great review though. Im thinking about making a closing statement thread for myself on the event rather than a review.

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Thanks for reading!

Yes, the SZs have gotten very stale. They just feel the same old thing every year. They're nice to have at this point because of the mood they create but they're hard to get excited about.

I get the WTMN is being in a nightmare. But everything in it just feels very random, so that's why I put it below La Llorona and The Thing which both have stronger unifying themes and story. Don't get me wrong, it's still fun!

Edited by Creeper06

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ugh tell me about it. how long will it be before murdy finds out the old regular SZ themes wont work any longer ? ugh it be nice if they took the fire cannons and through it down on the lower lot so they can at least have something down there. theres so many SZ effects and different scares they can try out. It was exciting when WTH was announced and now its just getting old. Im not saying to get rid of the fire cannons but they can use it else where. Also WTMN is a nightmare lol it doesnt have to be structured.(randoms better in this case) Everything seen is capable of being in a nightmare.

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I think even a good nightmare should have structure. Not having any coherency because it's a nightmare almost sounds like an excuse. All three iterations of NOES made sense.

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