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Oysterhead00

My half asleep review

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My Oct 4, 5, 6, and 7 review...mostly spoiler free. Any spoilers are intentially vague and shouldn't make sense to anybody who hasn't done the houses yet. After doing HHN for 4 nights and getting between 3-7 hours of sleep each night and getting up at 4:45am this morning to fly home, here is my semi-coherent review.

My Rating Key:

A = Appearance

S = Scares

O = Overall

  1. Gothic - Absolutely beautiful house. The amount of detail and visual "tricks" was just amazing. The scares were a bit lacking and it seemed like the house was relatively empty, but some scares (stilts) were great. The most eye candy ever for a house (and I'm not talking about hot chicks). A=10+ S=6 O=9

  2. Penn & Teller - LOVED this house...and if Gothic wasn't so damn amazing visually, would have easily been my #1. The "light" scares were great...as was the last scare of the house (not going to give a hint to ruin it). The humor was through the roof and the 3D was great except the first night (Wed 10/4) when it POOOOOOOURED all night and my 3D glasses were given to me wet and I tried to wipe them off and that made me a bit sick in the house, everything was crazy. Couldn't hear Penn's commentary that well in some rooms, but his comment to Prince saying "Hey Prince, you wanna know what it sounds like when the doves cry?" followed by a bunch of chocking noises had me laughing hysterically. A=9 S=5 O=8.5

  3. House of Horrors - This house had the single greatest scare I've ever had (started going in 2004). Don't want to spoil it for anybody, but I'll just "big barricaded guy". WOW. Had 7 guys in my group, and every one of us got the ever loving sh*t scared out of us over the 4 nights...even when we already knew what happened there. Whoever the scaractor was working it on Sun around 9pm was friggen amazing. Never saw such ferocity and malice in a scare before. Just incredible. The "ducking scare" also got me really good...didn't even know it was there until my 3rd run through. The "woods scares" the very beginning really got a few of my friends. A=5 S=10 O=7.5

  4. Dead End - I know people are raving about the Gothic facade, but I personally found this one to be the best. Thought it was amazing looking...and 100% REAL looking. LOVED IT. This houses looked amazing inside, but sadly, looked BETTER during the Unmasking the Horror Tour. There was a lot of detail and sublety that I feel like the event overlooked. Not sure if it was the lighting or if it was just the whole aged look that didn't translate well to the darkness. A=8 S=8 O=7.5

  5. Silent Hill - I LOVED the look of this house...and luckily, there weren't many scaractors getting in the way (sarcasm alert). This house was beautiful, but so sparcely populated and, most inexcusable, being that the SIREN wasn't deafening. Going through I wasn't sure if I really heard the siren or not. That's pretty much unforgivable. The falling ash is worth a full point in the appearance rating. 2 out of the 4 times we went through, there was no female cop shooting in the very beginning which was unforgivable. The guy on the gurney was missing at least twice. The nurse room was a total disappointment with only ONE real nurse. Seriously? House of Horrors had like 8 guys in their "signature" room, this house had ONE. A=8 S=3 O=6

  6. The Walking Dead - I think my negative feelings on this will partially be a result of my super high expectations. The house started out great with the "wanderer" outside. The door and fence gags were awesome too, those both made me very happy. But the rest of the house was just...disappointing. I REALLY don't know why Universal didn't just do a generic zombie homage house that was influenced by it called "House of the Dead" or something and saved the money and not made people expect too much. Boring Zombies that gnawed on generic body limbs and dummies. Just disappointing. I guess the masks might have been amazing, but in a dark house, I didn't really notice any detail other than the Well Zombie who was amazing...provided he wasn't wandering a bit too far back in the dark. My friend, who's a HUGE fan of the show, didn't even notice him until I pointed him out...and I couldn't be sure it was him until the second pass. Scares were lacking as well. A huge disappointment. A=5 S=4 O=5

  7. Alice Cooper - Really have nothing to say about this one that's nice other than the one Alice Cooper mask in there (the actor/mask changed locations) was AMAZING...looked great. The other good thing is the stripper stopped wearing the Alice Mask on the 2nd and 3rd pass through the house...so that was a plus. The house did nothing for me, the music was a lot tamer than I thought it would be (my fault for not being a big Alice fan), the facade was pathetic, and there were very few scares. Some disturbing images for sure, but not many scares. A=3 S=3 O=3

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Street Experience: Overall, I really enjoyed it. It sucked when you wanted to "find" a group...and I was a little confused by the beasts...they didn't stick out much. The Warriors were AMAZING when going from section to section, but their "zone" seemed a bit lacking except for something they did in the Barney area a few times that I'm not even going to spoil. LOVED the traditionals...if Universal wants to save some money and try something different in the future, having those creepy bastards fill the entire park would be a good idea. Vampires had some really good scares. Liked the fact that eating at Finnegan's we had at least 6 vampires come in the restaurant and that was awesome. Loved the fact that some "zones" sometimes had music piped in that was great - EDITED TO MAKE SENSE: Some zone areas changed the theme music, had pre-recorded chainsaw noises (unless they were hiding behind buildings or something revving them), and trick-or-treater giggling and stuff like that.

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Overall Ratings

Appearance = 5. While some stuff blew me away, the lack of scare zones and some uninspired houses unfortunately has me lowreing this a bit.

Scares = 8. Felt like the scares were really good this year, especially on the streets. The "blending in" that some have complained about was a highlight for me. Biggest scare, some damn little blond traditional in a sun dress with white pigtails who was just happily walking along ahead of me, walking normally for a good minute or two, suddenly jumped and turned around and scared the sh*t out of me! Third biggest scare I ever got on the streets to "Rock Man" in Island of Adventure and the first appearance of "Tree Man".

Overall = 8. This obviously isn't an average of anything, just how much I enjoyed the event. I found the streets interesting (Except Wed when it POURED and I saw only 2 scareactors) and full of scares, the houses ranged from Beautiful to Boring, Scary as Hell to Empty, and other stuff like that, but as an overall event, I VERY much enjoyed it. Better than the last 2 years in my opinion.

Edited by Oysterhead00
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Appreciate the review, thanks! It is still amazing to me to see another great review of HoH after the reviews it got the first week. I am going this Sat. and literally cant wait to do this house. On the other hand, I am totally disappointed with the reviews on Silent Hill. It seems to be very consistent with everyone else and that bums me out. Hopefully I have a different experience and that damn siren better be heard! Thanks again for the review

Edited by LuitaChris

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you are right and you made me realize,

you know for a company that is advertising and event like crazy, showing billboards and ads on the newspaper of Silent hill and Walking dead, you would think they would have done a better job with those houses, you would expect them to put all their focus and attention on those two houses and make them the best houses of the event, which is clearly not the case, at all ,

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I REALLY don't know why Universal didn't just do a generic zombie homage house that was influenced by it called "House of the Dead" or something and saved the money and not made people expect too much.

Well I think part of the reason is because they wanted to use the brand (AMC's The Walking Dead) as an advantage, to pull in a bigger crowd.

It leaves me to wonder. What would they base the media around. I don't think they could make the event looked like its "zombie themed" if it wasn't some kind of known title (TWD, L4D, DotD).

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do you have a specific time when you walked through the walking dead? Not the queue, but the house itself.

I'm just...curious.

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you are right and you made me realize,

you know for a company that is advertising and event like crazy, showing billboards and ads on the newspaper of Silent hill and Walking dead, you would think they would have done a better job with those houses, you would expect them to put all their focus and attention on those two houses and make them the best houses of the event, which is clearly not the case, at all ,

Yea I agree but I think maybe these properties have restrictions or ways they want their product to be viewed. You are right though, its kind of crazy that the most common top 3 houses (not everyones) is Gothic, Dead End, and House of Horrors which are all origiinal concepts designed by Uni. It kind of makes me happy that it isn't an IP house but I HIGHLY doubt will ever see another year with all original concepts. The dollar talks and the amount of money they have to be bringing in with TWD alone has to be huge.

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do you have a specific time when you walked through the walking dead? Not the queue, but the house itself.

I'm just...curious.

No, I don't...because I don't keep track stuff of like that and we went through 4 times over 4 different nights.

The Thur time it was half empty...and the barn was COMPLETELY empty...but that was during a monsoon so I'm sure that had something to do with it. The costumes would be soaked messes from just a 10 foot walk...so I completely understand that one. It was when the first round of rain nearly stopped and it wasn't too bad...we got in line then and by the time we made it to the corner with our fast pass (that they weren't scanning since they didn't work in the rain), the sky opened up again. So it was about 5min after the second round of rain...whatever time that was.

Fri was probably about 75% of what scaractors we saw on Sun.

Sat I think we must have caught a shift change as it was really empty. The barn had 1 person other than the Well Zombie that I saw. The department store had 2 zombies (other passes it had 3). The elevator zombie wasn't there.

Sun was the by far the best run through. For example, the "extended" part of the house had 3 people (since you can see behind the fence at one point) and each other night there was either nobody or just one person there.

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Well I think part of the reason is because they wanted to use the brand (AMC's The Walking Dead) as an advantage, to pull in a bigger crowd.

It leaves me to wonder. What would they base the media around. I don't think they could make the event looked like its "zombie themed" if it wasn't some kind of known title (TWD, L4D, DotD).

Oh, trust me, I work in Marketing...so I know about why they'd market it and understand that it's drawing a TON of new people to the event so whatever it cost them to acquire the rights, they're more than making up for that with increased attendance and merchandise revenue.

However, I think they might be hurting themselves in the long run because I think MANY people, new and us obsessed freaks alike, are finding it a major letdown. Hyping up a concept to get people excited is a great idea...if you deliver on that hype. Otherwise, it's like seeing a preview for Prometheus on TV right now for the Blu/DVD release...they make it look like a non-stop action movie that is 100% related to Aliens...and it's not...at all. I LOVE the movie, and can't believe how much they give away in the new promos and how misleading they are. That's a good way to upset your customers...and I feel like TWD did just that and making it generic or inspired by, would have removed some of the restraints of trying to get key set pieces into the house and then just throwing in whatever they could fit into each room.

SPOILER ALERT for rest of the post (since I can't figure out how to get the spoiler tag in here):

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The RV looked awesome, but until our last run through, we didn't see a SINGLE zombie there (on Sunday we saw ONE scaractor just shambling around not even trying to scare anybody). That part of the show had the RV being flooded by zombies (I guess from the other side) and that was a HUGE let down. The RV had windows and a Door...which could have been used for scares and weren't.

The Well Zombie was by far the best looking/most accurately recreated, but he was in near total darkness IN THE BARN...which never happened in the show. Should have just had a well prop off to the side with him in it and he stands up and scares you. At least that would have been semi faithful to the show. Would have been an awesome scare...but instead, he's just standing in the darkest part of the barn doing nothing. (in their defense, his suit/costume probably GREATLY limited his mobility)

The hospital really had no scares...and again, the ones it did, other than the Dead Inside door were made up since he didn't come face-to-face with any of the zombies in the hospital.

Taking characters and scenes from the show and making them not match up will probably just turn off the hardcore fans. And the lack of scares will probably turn off non-fans. Also, I thought the queue line would have previews for Season 3 and it didn't, just scenes from the past episodes (at least it did the 4 times I went through). And the scenes it showed were mostly ones NOT in the house...I think that was a huge missed opportunity to let non-fans see the scenes and then be able to "recognize" them when they went through. Again, I had an express pass, so maybe they did a montage of the scenes or something every 15min or something and I just happened to miss them.

Edited by Oysterhead00

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Yea I agree but I think maybe these properties have restrictions or ways they want their product to be viewed. You are right though, its kind of crazy that the most common top 3 houses (not everyones) is Gothic, Dead End, and House of Horrors which are all origiinal concepts designed by Uni. It kind of makes me happy that it isn't an IP house but I HIGHLY doubt will ever see another year with all original concepts. The dollar talks and the amount of money they have to be bringing in with TWD alone has to be huge.

I don't know about the restrictions because Hollywood's version of Silent hill is kinda what I was expecting here, they got a better house in some aspects,

kinda the same with Walking Dead, I mean I am not just being a hater or negative or whatever, I was just really disappointed with those two, and then to see them every single place I look it kinda burns a little, it is like those billboards are saying "HEY! We have these Awesome Silent Hill and Walking Dead houses that Are not what you expect to see from us BWfl8.gif !"

I did not get that feeling in 2007 or 2009, the houses those years were at least decent enough, but this year I see the Billboards and they just make me a little mad about it

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The hospital really had no scares...and again, the ones it did, other than the Dead Inside door were made up since he didn't come face-to-face with any of the zombies in the hospital.

I may be misinterpreting what you mean here - if so, please forgive me. However, in defense of the hospital (since it's my favorite room), there is a really good scare that takes advantage of the distraction provided by that wonderful Dead Inside door. Like any house, though, not everyone gets every scare (trust me, I invented bad timing).

That said, thank you for your review and thoughts about your experience! :)

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First off, just want to reiterate the fact that I LOVED this year. Not trying to bad mouth it at all.

My two most anticipated houses were TWD and Silent Hill and I found them both to be quite underwhelming. Silent Hill looked amazing, but lacked the scares. TWD was just a let down.

As a zombie house, it wasn't too bad. As a Walking Dead "centerpiece" house, it was really lacking.

Regarding my complaint about the lack of scares...I'm basing that (and all my houses minus Alice Cooper) on 4 run throughs on 4 different nights. However, I saw elsewhere, that Silent Hill is going to have a sword for Pyramidhead. That's a big plus...and if they were to replace some nurse mannequins with REAL actresses, that would probably bump up my score a whole point or two. Add in the additional scares by the nurses and maybe another "boo scare" or two, and that house would probably move up a couple notches. On the UMTH tour of Dead End they showed us a boo hole that was deemed "too costly" to maintain so it was abandoned. If they had a couple of them in either of these houses and decided to re-activate them based on the feedback about lack of scares, that could REALLY help to improve the houses.

TWD, on the other hand, feels like a collection of square pegs thrown into a house made up of round holes. It just feels wrong plus lacks scares. I was really disappointed. Regarding the Door misdirection, I DEFINITELY missed that on all four passthroughs. That's part of what makes the event so great, different scares...that after 15 times, you can still get a new scare. So I guess I should have prefaced my review by stating that while I went 4 nights, in the overall scheme of things, that it was a very small sampling.

I'm really trying to give "constructive criticism" and not just say "THIS SUCKED". And again, I really enjoyed the year as a whole.

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nah man, it's all good. It's your opinion and you have valid arguments behind it, which is more than most. I usually see "it was teh suck."

I very rarely get scared at HHN, so when people go "it wasn't scary", I usualy don't take that to value for my opinion. I go to have fun and appreciate everything. Usually I walk through with a giant smile on my face and when somebody managed to get a little jump or reaction out of me, I'll usually get a thumbs up or a "you got me!" towards the actor. I go for the production value and all of the amazing scareactors out there.

Edited by armyofrobots
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I just honestly think the houses were set up weird and differently than before, Maybe I am completely mistaken and maybe they were done exactly the same, but to me I feel a change, houses feel kinda empty and spread out, halls in houses feel wide, scares feel far from the person walking, other houses the actors come close to you, even Zombiegeddon the actors felt close to you, closer than Walking Dead, Besides the barn at the end and some of the nurses in Silent Hill this year I don't have the same feeling of having the actors coming to scare me right next to me, and smaller corridors, Again, this is how I feel and maybe the set ups are the same, but I do feel a change, specially when you have a zombie house there Zombiegeddon, and Walking Dead, and zombiegeddon felt more in your face, not the actors' work, but how close they were to you, this year I don't feel that, it has nothing to do with the actors but with the way the scares were set up, I don't know, it almost feels like the houses were designed by someone else this time.

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I very rarely get scared at HHN, so when people go "it wasn't scary", I usualy don't take that to value for my opinion.

I'm the same way...which is why I enjoyed the Roaming Hordes this year that most seem not to enjoy! I usually wasn't even startled, let alone scared, by a chainsaw when there were ones reving all around me...but this year, with straglers and whatever, I got a few REALLY good scares. Pass a concentration of traditionals and think you're out of the zone just to have someone else, a minute later, shake a can of bolts in your face really does scare you. You think you're out of there and subconciously let your guard down and the roaming scaractors REALLY seemed to take advantage of that this year!

Also, for the houses, I make myself a "rube" and attractive target. I will purposely stop to look at props and stuff partially because I like it, and partially because I know it will make me a "mark" and the scareactors may target me. Going with 6 other 35+ guys, you seem to get skipped over for the girls in front and behind you (though, I must admit, as a group we got a LOT more scares in houses this year!). Looking oblivious can work wonders...and it can distract to you let your guard down and result in real scares.

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