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matthhn

Disappointing year review

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I've attended every HHN from 1996 with the exception of the past 3 years. So I've been going when the houses and streets were more extreme and when they still broke up the lines for the houses. This may affect my opinion from someone who has only been recently attending HHN.

I have to say that I think the event has really gone downhill and has been tamed and watered down from the past. I'm not going to sugar coat this review just because I'm a fan. Despite that, I'll try to be fair from my own personal experience.

First of all, I went on a Thursday night on Oct 11th. Don't even think of going without buying an express pass. In the later hours, the park was so packed that you could barely move or see the scareactors, the streets were literally a sea of people. I guess this could be because so many of the park areas were closed off including Amity. I'd hate to see the park on a weekend.

I went with my girlfriend and since we were staying at the hotels we were able to get into the park at 6. Even then it seemed like large crowds were pouring in and they were all heading left towards the soundstages so I decided to take us to the right.

The first 3 houses we were able to go through with no conga lines:

House of Horrors - Despite many of the bad reviews of this house this one was actually my favorite of the night, not based off how elaborate it was or the set, but just off scares and fun. Perhaps us walking through it by ourselves contributed to it. This house was DARK and I like dark houses (Pitch Black from 2001). For a few moments I couldn't even see where I was walking at all. Then out of nowhere a light would flash and the scareactors were right in our faces. This was pretty awesome. I give credit to the great scareactors in this house, my girlfriend was screaming the whole way through. There was also a really interesting part that I never seen in a house before

where you have to duck down while walking

. 9/10

Alice Cooper - Not much to say here, barely any scares, and the concept didn't seem to work out. The music was there and some of the effects but it didn't come together. 3/10

Penn and Teller Nuked - I was excited about this one because I like "fun" houses. The 3D effect did not work at all. The house seemed poorly put together. No good scares. Seemed cheap and cheesy. I understand that it was going for a fun and entertaining feel but it didn't seem to pull it off. 2/10

After that the lines started getting really long (1 hour+ wait for regular lines). Good thing we had Express or I think we would have only been to see the rest of the houses.

Bill and Teds - My hopes were up since I read some reviews on here saying how the show has really improved and was so much better than previous years. Maybe that was for the Hollywood show. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case in Orlando. I've disliked all of the Bill & Ted shows ever since they changed it from a stunt/comedy show to a dance show with pop music. This year was just terrible. Also the portrayal of the political candidates was very awkward. They had a chance to really make that a funny part of the show and make fun of both candidates like past years and blew it. Overall, the jokes fell flat, the "conflict" was weird, no real good pop culture icons and the show was all over the place. This was absolutely the worst one I could remember. 1/10

Walking Dead - I thought the house design was awesome but that's where this house ends. It felt short, didn't flow together, and anti-climatic. Was expecting a lot more for this year's flagship house. A lot of others on here seem to express disappointment too. 5/10

Dead End - The feel, look, and the effects were great. I think this one has a lot of potential but maybe we didn't have the timing right in the line since we didn't get a lot of scares. The video effects were really neat though. 7/10

Silent Hill - This house was BRIGHT. You could see everything. Combined with the slow moving conga line we didn't get one scare since you could see where all the scareactors were at ahead of us. Also the last 1/3rd of the house has no scareactors, maybe because of a rotation, but it was very anti-climatic. The positives: the design and feel of the house was very well done, I liked the siren sound effects, and the detail. If they would darken the house a bit and have some better scares I think it would be a lot better. 4.5/10

Gothic - I had high expectations from this one from reading the reviews for this house. It fell flat immediately though. All I got from this was a "pretty" set design. There was no immersion. It wasn't scary (probably the least scariest house of the night). It was bright in a lot of parts. The scareactors didn't seem to be putting in much effort on this night either. 4/10

All in all, the prices have gone up ($230 for my girlfriend and I with express passes and discount), crowds have gone up, houses have been toned down, there was barely any street scenery, and it just doesn't hold that feel of some of the previous years. It was as if they were working with a much smaller budget when creating this event. I don't think I'll be going next year unless they make some serious improvement, but when something becomes too commercialized and popular, the opposite usually happens. It's as if they cut their budget and tried to squeeze as much profit as they could this year. I still had fun but the event just seems to have lost its magic.

Edited by matthhn
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He probably just missed all the scares/it could've been the other cast and they were a little tired and weren't trying AS much. He obviously didn't experience the house that way and is entitled to his opinion. it could happen to anyone in any house.

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I think we have all had bad walk throughs in houses. It's hard when some of us can only go once a year. I could only go once and that's it...which is what most of the gp do. I had a horrible time through Dead End even though mostly everyone likes it. It happens. I'm sure you put in 110% every night. This is a place for everyone to express their opinions. He wasn't trying to be malicious in any way. Like most of us, he has been attending this event for a long time and is simply stating his thoughts on the event.

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I don't think I'll be going next year unless they make some serious improvement, but when something becomes too commercialized and popular, the opposite usually happens.

Very true statement. As soon as whatever piece of entertainment you can think of hits it big, the powers that be dumb down the material (or in this case neuter it) for a general audience in an attempt to make the proceedings as inoffensive as possible. I can recall the event in the 90's and though it was a much smaller venue then... it was much more aggressive. On the streets and in the houses.

In later years the only house I can recall that had the feel of an earlier haunt was FRIDAY THE 13TH from 2007. I'm not a fan of the series at all. As such I didn't expect much from the house but man oh man(!) were the cast members viscous!

All the Jasons invaded your personal space more than once so I refuse to believe that it was a mistake when one of them pressed his mask against my face and yelled something inaudible (out of character but who cares!?).

With that exception, yes, the past decade or so has changed scare wise. Nowadays, there seems to be an invisible, impenetrable bubble around you that the scareactors cannot enter. This is Universal's attempt at not trying to be sued. I guess one can't blame them for that but it has hurt the event.

Edited by YourPallbearer
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Very true statement. As soon as whatever piece of entertainment you can think of hits it big, the powers that be dumb down the material for a general audience in an attempt to make the proceedings as inoffensive as possible. I can recall the event in the 90's and though it was a much smaller venue then... it was much more aggressive. On the streets and in the houses.

In later years the only house I can recall that had the feel of an earlier haunt was FRIDAY THE 13TH from 2007. I'm not a fan of the series at all. As such I didn't expect much from the house but man oh man(!) were the cast members viscous!

All the Jason's invaded your personal space more than once so I refuse to believe that it was a mistake when one of them pressed his mask against my face and yelled something inaudible (out of character but who cares!?).

With that exception, yes, the past decade or so has changed scare wise. Nowadays, there seems to be an invisible, impenetrable bubble around you at all times that the scareactors cannot enter. This is Universal's attempt at not trying to be sued. I guess one can't blame them for that but it has hurt the event.

It definitely was a much darker, vicious event in the 90s. It was gorier, scarier, the scareactors were allowed to be much more aggressive, the houses generally had queue videos which set the mood, and the crowds were under control allowing them to split up people in the houses like I mentioned.

Unfortunately because of our newly sue-happy society and the popularity of the event they had to tone everything down and try not to offend anyone. Like I said, I still like HHN but I'm sad the direction it has gone. It doesn't have the same feel that it once did, and at $220 for two people for one night it's not worth it for me anymore.

In 2001 they had the RUN house which was an actual chain linked fence maze filled with chainsaws. Try doing that these days.

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I respect the hard work that all of the scareactors put in but I was just telling it as it was and what I experienced that night for that particular house. I'm sure they were just having an off night

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To give people an idea of how aggressive things got at the event during its first decade I'll share at least two memories. I remember having a scareactor threaten me by looping his prop sickle around my neck in the MIDWAY OF THE BIZARRE and I witnessed a guest being pulled from the line of HOTEL HELL to be faux- eviscerated by the chainsaw drill team. The guy could have been a plant but I doubt it seeing as he re-joined his group in line after the demonstration.

I can't see any one of these things happening today or ever again.

You have any stories Matt?

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To give people an idea of how aggressive things got at the event during its first decade I'll share at least two memories. I remember having a scareactor threaten me by looping his prop sickle around my neck in the MIDWAY OF THE BIZARRE and I witnessed a guest being pulled from the line of HOTEL HELL to be faux- eviscerated by the chainsaw drill team. The guy could have been a plant but I doubt it seeing as he re-joined his group in line after the demonstration.

I can't see any one of these things happening today or ever again.

You have any stories Matt?

That's pretty cool. I don't remember anything specifically but I do remember them pulling people out and putting them in mock torture situations like you described. I also remember they would really chase down people with the chainsaws, like people full on sprinting

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I also remember they would really chase down people with the chainsaws, like people full on sprinting

Yeah, that was the beauty of that era. Crowds weren't too much of an issue and those sort of activities could happen. Now they pack every one in like sardines.

Edited by YourPallbearer

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While I can't back up his opinion (I personally enjoyed Gothic), I'm in the same boat where I tell it like it is. If I go through a house and I see scareactors doing weak lunges at most or failing to hide themselves or even just standing around and staring as person after person passes by without any reaction, I'm going to talk about that experience. Scareactors act for everyone, not just whoever they happen to do a good job for at the time. If you do a bad job when I come through, I will say so. Hopefully the actors in question would take that as a reason to improve instead of going "You don't do what I do!" Because I DO do what you do, and I do some pretty big and fast things out on the streets. I understand exactly how it is to be a scareactor, which means that I'm going to be more critical of a performance.

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While I can't back up his opinion (I personally enjoyed Gothic), I'm in the same boat where I tell it like it is. If I go through a house and I see scareactors doing weak lunges at most or failing to hide themselves or even just standing around and staring as person after person passes by without any reaction, I'm going to talk about that experience. Scareactors act for everyone, not just whoever they happen to do a good job for at the time. If you do a bad job when I come through, I will say so. Hopefully the actors in question would take that as a reason to improve instead of going "You don't do what I do!" Because I DO do what you do, and I do some pretty big and fast things out on the streets. I understand exactly how it is to be a scareactor, which means that I'm going to be more critical of a performance.

Oh my GLOB. Shut up.

Edited by armyofrobots
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