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DTH316

A Brief History of 3D at HHN (RIP: 2010 - 2015)

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House of 1000 Corpses
With 3D a new element to HHN post-hiatus, there was some excitement as to what that meant and what Universal could bring to the table. At the time, Universal had brought some truly dark and dreadful mazes to life, so the 3D of neon and black lights didn't seem like it would be up their sleeve, especially for the property of House of 1000 Corpses. Subtitled "in Zombievision," I guess you could say that was accurate, as the result felt more like a blurry mess. Given two years to figure it out, this 3D concept mostly done with LED changing lights to make it seem like "the walls were alive," never really found its footing. The only thing that really seemed to pop or push back was at the facade of the maze, and after that, the maze was headache inducing and I felt was more enjoyable with glasses off.

 

Alice Cooper Goes to Hell
The next year, Universal decided to change up their 3D for the more traditional method and it paid off to be much better. Using some tricks learned from HOTC and the old, usual methods done at most Haunts around the world, this maze seemed to use 3D the best out of any of the years. Not only that, it fit the theme and locations the best while still remaining scary. There were plenty of rooms that utilized 3D to its benefit and still also had great sets. The main thing that tends to happen with 3D mazes is set design, props, and scenic fall to the side while they instead just color a bunch of hallways and rooms, which actually happened more often in the 3D mazes after this year.

 

Black Sabbath
Given the advantages of being a soundstage maze, there were expectations this maze couldn't fulfill, and the fact that it was in 3D was another downer. A lot of the scenes just weren't scary, as sound design seemed to be a big problem with songs just blasting through each room. Alice Cooper songs were horror-fied for those mazes, these seemed fairly normal. There wasn't an ounce of dread or suspense in this maze, although it had some good designs, but it mostly was forgettable. There was even talk of a 3D video within the maze, which turned out to be just a washed out screen of a nuke going off and it definitely wasn't in 3D either. The maze also re-used a lot of noticable props that stuck out to even casual guests. The biggest problem was the narrative never allowed itself to be scary like a traditional HHN maze and just seemed like any other maze you could see at a Haunt.

 

Clowns
At this point, 3D seemed like the kiss of death to any maze. Given how generic the name of the maze was, plus lackluster celebrity endorsement (I love Slash, but adding him to a maze derives zero excitement), this maze seemed doomed from the start. However, HHN had made good use of their clowns before, so there was some hope. The narrative made sense and there was potential for scares, but the maze made use of dumb comedy bits instead (the opening mirror scene that was WAY TOO LONG). About half way through, it was clear this maze was just as generic as the title and it wasn't going to get any better. And when it ultimately ends, you just wonder if you were still at HHN as everything about it was a waste.

 

This Is The End
This was labeled as the first comedy maze (which I beg to differ with Universal Monsters Remix and Clowns coming prior) and there were some funny moments, ripped directly from the movie, but making this in 3D was the biggest atrocity. For one, it doesn't fit the property. All the recreated scenes don't even resemble their counterparts because of the new color palette alone. Not to mention, some of the scareactor designs completely altering the looks. But speaking of which, the main monsters in this maze weren't even in the film. The scares don't land because the maze is simply not crafted to be, and the only real comedy is from the soundbytes lifting dialogue from the movie, which doesn't really make it much of a comedy maze either. In the end, the 3D was not only useless but unnecessary, the maze didn't work as either scary or funny, and it left a lot of people wondering, "WHY?" Making this not only to be the worst 3D maze, but the worst maze in post-hiatus HHN history.

 

With that said, thank God 3D is dead. May it never rest in peace, nor it ever return to HHN. It was a fad that stretched on for 3 years too long and never really worked in the first place. It makes the sets look cheaper and the scareactors goofy looking. Those bright colors don't make for a scary maze and its time HHN focuses back on what it does best -- scaring the hell out of people with quality sets and make up. The 3D did the opposite of just that.

Jigsaw voice: GAME OVER.

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I bet if it wasn't for This Is The End being such a flop we probably would've got something stupid like Ghostbusters reboot in 3D this year because John Murdy wanted to test out how horror comedies would play out at hhn! And it's obvious that didn't do so well. 

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Tbh, I think Ghostbusters would be awesome in a black light 3d environment, like a dark ride, and there are tons of cool monsters and ghosts that are actually already glowing and green.

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