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cwoolboy

Cwoolboy's HHN 22 Review

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Tonight I bring you my trip report from Scare Central: Halloween Horror Nights. Now, I only got to go one time this year (frowny face), but I'll be fine...nest year I'll have to get another frequent fear pass (really is the way to go, more BOO for your buck). Anyways, last year I predicted that 22 wouldn't be as good as 21 was.....was I right? Could I possibly be psychic? Let's find out.

THEME

Let's start out with the theme this year......there is no theme. Wow, that was easy. Yup, this year HHN decided to forego their usual theme and go themeless for a change. Not the best of choices, but I'll live. There is no over-arching story for this year. I guess if you wanted to be technical you could say that the studios is themed to an unearthed graveyard, but that wasn't all that well done. There was scattered props and graveyard theming throughout, but it just didn't wow. Hey, somethings better than nothing I suppose. Also, There didn't seem to be as much fog as there was in previous years, so I came home smelling signifantly less foggy that I usually do (frowny face again).

ICON

Ok, how was the icon for this year? There wasn't one. The "unofficial" Icons are the Iniquitus this year. They rise from the graveyard bringing a gang of terrible terrors with them to terrorize you. The Iniquitus weren't given much backstory, and the focus of the event was more on The Walking Dead than them. That said, you do see them quite a bit walking around the park...so that was neat.

SCAREZONES

Ok, everybody together now: THERE AREN'T ANY. This year HHN had groups of roaming scarectors. The marketing team promised there would be nowhere you would be safe and scareactors would be more in your face than ever and that they would be allowed to chase you. That would be cool, if only you had a chance of running into them. The raoaming scareactors are quite possibly the worst idea HHN has ever had. This year it's really a case of being in the right place at the right time. The streets feel emptier than ever, and I only ran into maybe 3 roaming haordes (as they're called). Easily the best hoarde is the zombie one outside of Disaster. They are always there, and they actually mingle and blend into the crowd. When I first walked through that area I thought the zombies hadn't come out yet, and then a zombie in a wheelchaor wheeled right past me and another one shambled by. I geeked out at the realization that they had zombies wearing regular clothes, so that it would be harder to tell who was a zombie in a large crowd....very neat scare tactic, and one I definitely hope they carry on into future years.

BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT HALLOWEEN ADVENTURE

I LOVE Bill and Ted, so I always make a point to visit this show each year. This year, the setting is San Dimas High School. Bill and Ted get caught up in the class president elections and turn on each other, each thinking they would be better at the role. The remainder of the show focuses on them going about (seperately) trying to secure votes from this year' s pop culture icons. Naturally, it ends with them realizing that they are both important, and that only together can they save the future. STATION.

The Mayan opening was simply fantastic. Loved the female Mayan outfits (think sexy Mayan bikinis). They open the show talking about the end of the world prophecy, the end of Twilight ("We sure will miss it, said no one ever"). They also do a fantastic, fun, and sexually suggestive dance (what's new?) to Wild One by Sia. One of the best openings for the show I've seen.

The Epic Rap Battles of History: Obama Vs. Romney was pretty cool. Was surprised to see this reference here since I didn't realize those Youtube videos were so popular.

The Gangnam Style portion was fun and cool.

LOVED LOVED LOVED the Chris Farley Chippendales/Magic Mike guy. SO FUNNY. Really enjoyed getting to see the classic Chris Farley routine here, and the guy really got into his role, dancing suggestively with audience members. He pointed to his cheek for a kiss from one of the audience members, and when she went to kiss his cheek he turned so she got his lips instead. He acted shocked and shook his fanger which got a great reaction from the crowd. Fucking hilarious.

LOVED the "Where's Jaws" part, Sharky/Chompy came out with a sign during this part, saying he will chomp for food. Very clever, and good to see BnT acknowledge Uni's massive fuck up.

Love how they fit in the classic "69!!!!" part from the first film.

LOVED how they brought in classic Abe Lincoln from the first film at the end.,

The Finale was pretty cool, even though the dancing resembled something out of high school (I think that was kind of the point though).

Overall, this year's show was certainly better than last year's attempt but it still wasn't one of the best ones. I didn't like the whole Bill Vs. Ted theme this year, I like it better when their working together. I also feel that the show would have benefited from more phone booth (It only appears during the last 7 minutes of the show). While the show could have been better, I still had fun with it and would gladly recommend it.

Rating: 7.5/10

HOUSES

Now we get to the part you've all been waiting for....the houses. Last year had some of the best, strongest houses I've seen. Was this year just as good? Well, I got to hit all seven, so let me preach the truth to you.

PENN AND TELLER NEWK'D LAS VEGAS: In this house, Penn and Teller accidentally detonate a nuclear bomb during one of their shows in Vegas. Seeing this as an opportunity, PnT re-make Las Vegas in their own warped vision. We are invited to tour Newk'd Vegas as they call it, and are given 3D G;asses as protection. The house was extremely lackluster, especially when compared to The Inbetween last year. There are some clever ideas, like a conjoined bride and groom and a mutated Elvis Presley, but for the most part the house isn't all that creative or trippy. The best room is easily the flashing lights room, where the whole room is covered from head to tow in multi-colored flashing lights.

Rating: 6/10

Rank: #7

UNIVERSAL'S HOUSE OF HORRORS: I had high hopes for this one. The story is that we are getting to travel through the classic Universal Monster movies, the twist is that we are doing so during a freak storm and everything shall be illuminated by lightning strikes. Sounds pretty cool, huh? Oh, if only it were...if only it were. The house starts out with a walk through a theater lobby that has a seriously cool Silver Screams vibe, it's once we enter the first film that everything falls to shit. Every room is blacklight (which I've never been a fan of). The costumes are poorly detailed, and blacklight as well. Yes, this house was a serious disappointment. Best room was one where they actually made you crawl under a netting, I've never had to do this in a haunted house before so that was a nice switch up....unfortuntely everything else sucked. The year round haunt at Universal Hollywood (which bears the same name as this one) is mounds better than this.

Rating: 6.5/10

Rank: #6

THE WALKING DEAD: I count myself a fan of the ridiculously popular tv show. I've seen every episode, and I need to get caught up on my season 3 episodes. I also had pretty high hopes for this one, and unlike House of Horror it did not disappoint. the zombie costumes and makeup effects were superb, resembling the zombies you would see in the show. The rooms were pretty cool as well, although it didn't exactly feel like you were in the show it was still close enough for me. Highlights include the dead inside door (which would occasionally push outwards), a chain link fence (that also had the push outwards effect, pretty cool). Best room is where you get to walk through the burning barn complete with copious amounts of smoke and a burning smell....super cool.

Rating: 7/10

Rank: #5

WELCOME TO SILENT HILL: I've never been a fan of Silent Hill. I've never played any of the games, I have seen the first film though (it didn;t impress me, the sequel is getting even worse reviews which I didn't think was possible). I had heard a lot about this house, and just thinking about going through it gave me the serious willies (I know enough about some of the creatures and setting to be afraid)...so naturally I HAD to hit it up. In this house we get to take a tour of Silent Hill and meet some of it's infamous inhabitants along the way. We get some up close and personal encounters with the nurses, pyamid head, gas mask dude, and many other freakish inhabitants. yes, this is the stuff nightmares are made of. Best scene is the opening one where there is a falling ash effect, sirens, the smell of ash, serious amounts of fog, and a parked white Ford Expedition....very cool stuff. I would easily say this was the scariest house of the night. it had fantastic settings throughout and the costume designs were superb. Definitely a DO NOT MISS.

Rating: 8/10

Rank: #4

GOTHIC: This was my most anticipated house of the year. The story here is that we are traveling through a cathedral that is under going some renovations. At night, it's stony inhabitants come to life to keep guard over it. The house has some magnificent settings inside, from it's cathedral facade, to a pipe organ room complete with candles that light up and are blown out by wind, to the bell room (with some hunchbacks protecting the bells), to a complete church room we get to walk above (with pews, an altar, and candles....absolutely breathtaking), to a beautiful starry night we get to view by walking on the roof (with a gargoyle flying past). This house wasn't as scary as others (still scary enough), but it's got some of the most beautifully realized settings you can see in a haunted house. The best rooms were the one where you get to walk over the main church room and the pipe organ room (which had an air blast scare....I HATE the air blast scares). Another DO NOT MISS.

Rating: 8/10

Rank: #3

ALICE COOPER: In this house we get to travel through Alice Cooper's warped mind as we re-visit some of his classic songs. This was my first house of the night, and it was also one of the best houses there this year. The lead-up to the entrance is great with Alice Cooper's 'I Gotta get Outta Here' blaring (really pumped me up). We start out in an insane asylum, where Cooper's protagonist Steven is apparently being held. From there we get to travel though different scenes set to classic Cooper songs including a classic 50's style kitchen, a 50's style high school (complete with freakish jocks) and other rad settings. We also get to see Cooper in the house, usually stuck in a straight jacket...there is also the classic guillotine routine that Cooper would use in his live shows. It was an insanely creative, fun house that I am seriously disappointed I did not get to hit more than once. Another MUST SEE.

Rating: 9/10

Rank: #2

DEAD END: This house is themed to that creepy, dilapidated house on the hill. Over the years, the kids of the town have created ghost stories about the house and what happened inside it. We are essentially double dared to take a stroll through the house on a Halloween night, unfortunately we learn the gruesome truth of what actually occurred there, which is far worse than anything the neighborhood kids have dreamed up. The house is beautifully themed and structured. We enter up through some stairs and into the front door, stroll through the living room, into a hallway, down into the cellar, explore the greenery, up into the attic, etc etc etc. It really does feel like you are traveling through this house and everything feels connected from room to room. It's spectacular. Dead End also has some really great scares (including a new effect which includes ghostly floating mannequins). This is one of the best houses I've seen at HHN, and it's definitely a DO NOT MISS. I wish i could have hi it up several more times.

Rating: 10/10

Rank: #1

OVERALL

This year's Halloween Horror Nights was essentially controlled by Hollywood's creative and marketing team, and it shows. The event just doesn't feel connected like it should. The lack of an overarching theme or an icon hurts the event, and the lack of any scarezones or scareactors in the streets makes the event feel emptier than usual. While I did enjoy most of the houses, they still weren't as strong as last year's (also didn't like the upped amount of air cannons used in the houses). This would be my least favorite year so far. I still had fun while I was there, and I definitely enjoyed myself.....I just wish it could have been stronger overall. Let's hope HHN 23 can right this year's mistakes.

Rating: 4/5

Edited by cwoolboy
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