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criticalanalysis

HHN XIV: Video Footage

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Looks pretty terrible. Cheesy costumes, lacking high intensity scares, bland atmosphere, and ultimately unoriginal, uninspired content from what is shown in the video. Sure looks like the "glory days."

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Yep. Growing a cornfield and having a zone that converted into a full parade is bland and uninspired. I'd much rather another dystopian cityscape in New York and photo ops. Maybe you'll get pumpkins hanging in Central Park... Again.

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Arsik_22, in the entry you're not seeing their costumes illuminate (the "balls" on the back nor their hair were glowing in these videos), you were missing the lasers, and the dense fog.

I'm with Legacy, these zones (especially for the time, when they had lower budget) had way more genuine atmosphere than most stuff put out since then.

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I'm joking guys. I'm just messing with you since you normally talk bad about the event's current status. I just felt like doing that out of boredom at work while on lunch. But it definitely does look cool for how long ago it was and the budget. XP

Edited by Arsik_22

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Thank you for that. I collect videos from past events. I had literally nothing from 2004!

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The video doesn't do that year justice. It was my very first Orlando HHN, coming from Los Angeles.

The cornfield had been destroyed by Hurricane Frances, and they had to rebuild it in a couple of weeks time. Still, it was amazing what they pulled off.

The Tesla-coil was flown in from California, having been used for many years at Fright Fair. That electrical discharge pattern was used prominently to represent HHN in the souvenirs as well as the parade coin and cloisonne.

Fright Yard was a great way of handling the dead space between the two parks, and the graffiti on the semi-trailers paid tribute to fans and fansites (like The Vault).

Midway of the Bizarre was really cool, along with the final year of the parade.

And don't forget that 2004 gave birth to the highly immersive HHN websites that thrived for the next few years.

Yeah, the scarezones kicked butt that year - each and every one.

Could it be done today? With the exception of the space needed for Fright Yard, sure.

Have we had anything as immersive since? I think so:

2005 made the entire event into a cohesive immersive experience. While no single scarezone was exactly spectacular, they all played a role in a bigger theme.

Deadtropolis (with special guest Robosaurus) in 2006 was highly immersive.

Acid Assault in 2011 broke new ground with the projections mixed with live actors.

Heck, even 2013's Walking Dead taking over all scarezones was what you would call immersive.

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Could it be done today? With the exception of the space needed for Fright Yard, sure.

Have we had anything as immersive since? I think so:

2005 made the entire event into a cohesive immersive experience. While no single scarezone was exactly spectacular, they all played a role in a bigger theme.

Deadtropolis (with special guest Robosaurus) in 2006 was highly immersive.

Acid Assault in 2011 broke new ground with the projections mixed with live actors.

Heck, even 2013's Walking Dead taking over all scarezones was what you would call immersive.

While they could potentially do something as immersive as the 2004 zones, the issue is that they haven't.

2005 set a standard in theming and story-telling. While that's tangentially connected to zones, a zone (like a house) has to stand on its own. You basically admit they did not. No one talks about the zones or houses (aside from Body Collectors) from 2005, they only talk about a story you could get without actually attending.

Zones in New York (to include Deadtropolis and Acid Assault) are always the same thing: some variation of a dystopian city-scape. That's what has made Acid Assault so disappointing. With projection mapping, they could turn that area into ANYTHING and the one time they use it it comes across as a gimmick that was legitimately unnecessary. The actors had no interaction with the projections, they were all just there. (Personally, I want them to use projection mapping for a time vortex that releases monsters and creatures from different eras into the park.)

The single theme immersiveness of 2013 was a better attempt at 2012's Unearthed hordes. Conceptually, that's probably the most immersive thing Uni has done in the last 5 years. But it doesn't make it creative (Busch did a zombie takeover before) or impressive.

Look at Shrek Alley. Look at Central Park. Those are areas that Universal could turn into inescapable experiences that surround you. Grown Evil was damn close, it just suffered from low energy and cumbersome costumes. THAT'S what Uni needs again. Boasting about technology and numbers of scareactors don't mean anything if you don't use it in a unique, compelling and inescapable way.

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I think you're being overly harsh on Acid Assault. I saw it as a proof of concept. The problem as I see it is that the cost of designing the content is enormous (in my mind) for something that will be used for 30 days of one year. The crumbling buildings is generic enough that it could return, making the investment worthwhile.

So you're envisioning something like the T2 "projection to live actor", but in various areas of the park? That could be cool.

It's interesting. At HHN Hollywood, we have a New York area that is about 1/3 the size of Orlando's and it has never been represented in a dystopian manner.

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Then why have they done nothing else with it? They haven't even reused the projectors for it. If it was intended as a proof of concept then they've failed to build from what they learned and it was a waste of expenses. If it was intended as a one-time thing, then it was wholly unnecessary. They could have conceivably just projected rain without the falling buildings (which can be done with a motion gobo on a single light instead of a projector) and told the story of the zone. Either way, aside from the fact that the projection mapping was there it wasn't used in a very compelling way.

Here... just imagine a scarezone with this sort of visual going on with the buildings:



And the zone I envision is almost a "World's Fair" exhibit gone awry. There's a stage with a time machine that is "shooting" time portals at the buildings. There's flashes of damage as glimpses to the era as the building falls into a vortex. Throughout the zone is a hodgepodge of creatures to include:

Dinosaurs
Knights
Soldiers (from Roman Centurions to Revolutionary fighters)
Plague Victims
Cyborgs

And New York, aside from the no zone years and 2008 (Body Collectors) has basically been nothing but dystopia since 2006.

(2006) Deadtropolis - Zombies

(2009) Apocalypse: City of Cannibals
(2010) Saws N' Steam - Dystopian Steampunk
(2011) Acid Assault
(2013) TWD

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2005 was their most "immersive year" to the point where the lack of a notably "high budget" scare zone STILL worked better than many since. In retrospect some of the zones' costumes were cheesy and the sets were not developed, but I still enjoyed it a lot.

Any "dystopian" zone never works for me. Give me American Gothic's feel all day.

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2004 was a pretty spectacular year, a really solid line up of houses and scare zones. Sure it had Disorientorium in the bunch, but houses like Castle Vampyr, Hellgate Prison and Ghost Town made up for it in spades.

2005 did set a standard for storytelling and having a very cohesive event, however that was the strongest aspect of the event since to be brutally honest...house-wise it unfortunately paled compared to 2004. Body Collectors was a "no-duh" standout, but besides that? The only house that comes to mind for me is Demon Cantina. As for the rest...Terror Mines get's points for trying something new and using special effects from Posideons Fury, but it really was a hit or miss depending if you got the helmet or not. Where Evil Hides had potential, but was mediocre. Then you got Blood Ruins, The Skool and Cold Blind Terror which usually ended up in most bottom lists.

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I must've gone during "hell week" (if such a term had been coined back then) because the crowds were unbearable. They over sold the event that night so you saw more vomit puddles (sometimes you had to tread carefully in lines) than scares. 80% of the time I traversed through the two parks I was part of a literal herd of people, packed-in like sardines,  greatly diminishing my enjoyment to the point where I regard this oft-lauded year as a disappointment. 


Just barely managed 4 houses that year. Two were flops and the others were good.

Disorientorium wasn't as egregious as Hellgate Prison (Prison and asylum houses just don't do it for me) but it was still a middling affair. The only thing I remember from Hellgate Prison is that electric chair animatronic they wheel out every other year and what I thought looked like a scareactor holding a rubber dick that poked out between the cell bars (try pulling that off today).

 

Ghost Town and that recycle house were the only redeeming factors for me that year and I'm totally aware I missed out on Vampyr but I was over vampires at the time (much like I reached my saturation point with zombies over a decade ago) so I didn't want to wait an additional 3 hours like we did for Hellgate Prison.

Missed Horror In Wax by a hair. I still remember seeing the soundstage doors closing in front of me from a distance, signaling the end of the event. I still regret not going in there.

Edit: Oh yes, and I went to Deadtropolis as well, in the Earthquake building. I can recall cornered barrel drums covering zombie scareactors. Not exactly what one would call memorable. Once HHN gets done with their Walking Dead fixation (I wonder if it will be replaced with another lazy horror series starting next year?) they should really retire zombie houses for at least five events. 
 

The best enjoyment was going off the grid and heading into parts of Islands that were blacked out on the event guide. The Jurassic Park area was open to the public without having any attractions available to go into, which meant I found myself out there totally alone and lo and behold there were actual scareactors (bush creatures or something) there waiting for me. Very atmospheric. 
The scare zones were tops that year as well but there were just too many people in them to actually be enjoyable. 

Edited by YourPallbearer

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I have a lot of cam footage of that year with some of the scare zones before it gets really dark. Maybe i should post it to give a better idea how they looked. And I have  like 15 mins of the borg people. Those guys where great with their witty comments. I really wish they would bring them back. 

Edited by JunoSynth
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19 hours ago, YourPallbearer said:

Absolutely. Post away.

 

Cool I just pulled the cam out of the closet and I have like 1 hour and half footage of it. Including

All of bill and ted show

All of the parade

Like 30 mins of borg people

All of the scare zones.

A few minutes of Queue lines from some of the houses.

 

I need to figure out best way to transfer it though so may take a few weeks.

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1 hour ago, JunoSynth said:

Cool I just pulled the cam out of the closet and I have like 1 hour and half footage of it. Including

All of bill and ted show

All of the parade

Like 30 mins of borg people

All of the scare zones.

A few minutes of Queue lines from some of the houses.

 

I need to figure out best way to transfer it though so may take a few weeks.

Please tell me you have some footage of freight yard.

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8 minutes ago, marmoset said:

Please tell me you have some footage of freight yard.

 

Oh yeah. Right before it gets dark too so you can see some detail in there.

 

Edit: I will add though its not perfect due to It's my first time recording with a cam so its sometimes shaky and some parts out of focus. But I guess I've seen worse.

Edited by JunoSynth
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45 minutes ago, YourPallbearer said:

If there is a Costco near you, you might be able to get the tape(s?) transferred there for a reasonable price.

 

So its a Cannon Elura 65. They can do that? I guess a camera store could do it too.

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Didn't get around to it yet and I leave next week to HHN. I'll try to drop them off at Costco though before I leave so they can be ready soon after I come back.

 

 

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