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Asylum SB's "AVP versus AWIL Slobberknocker and Puppetry Spectacular"

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Asylum SB's "AVP versus AWIL Slobberknocker and Puppetry Spectacular"

Review of Halloween Horror Nights 2014

Scareactors, Werewolves, and Go-Go's, Oh My!

Scareactors, Werewolves, and Go-Go's, Oh My!

 

**NOTE:  AsylumSB has neglected his duties of reporting out on previous events (in particular 2014 and 2016).  Oddly, the 2014 review was almost completely written.  The anticipation of the upcoming 2017 event has re-energized AsylumSB and his 2014 report is now available for human (or monster) consumption....enjoy!

 

Back from HHN 2014 and happy to announce that this has been one of the most enjoyable events since I started attending in 2009.  The whole event felt a bit more organized and the VIP continued to live up to its standard.  I was lukewarm towards the backlot mazes last year, which felt a bit awkward, but seemed more cohesive with the addition of the third attraction and beefed up lighting and atmosphere.  Additionally, there was the added "attraction" of walking through the "scenic" service roads to the backlot-- Hee Hee!  Some of my observations for this year:

 

  • It was a toss-up between Aliens vs. Predator and American Werewolf in London for who would take the top maze.  Flip-flopped throughout the night, even after repeats of each maze.
  • VIP was great and probably a tighter, more organized experience than in years past.
  • Best year for HHN Go-Go's!  I find them very entertaining and add to the overall ambiance (especially in the mazes).
  • Scareactors make this event what it is...always impressed and worked hard even as the night progressed.  Some of the guests were very annoying and disrespectful towards the   scareactors.  I was a bit cranky towards these individuals.

 

After a trouble-free flight to wonderful Burbank, we checked into the Sheraton Universal, then visited City Walk before going to the event.   Even though the Sheraton is older than the Hilton, it was a great place to stay and within walking distance to the park (even better after getting a great rate through Hotwire!).  We started to see folks filter towards the security lines and decided to line up around 615pm.   There was already a fairly lengthy line for the VIP check-in and we had a chance to view the (mostly happy) people lined-up and head towards early entry.  I was surprised how many were offered that chance and hope it worked in their favor for a chance to see several attractions with minimal wait times.  Also, I did not plan to see the opening ceremony but, by chance, ended up close to the show after the VIP check-in.  While not the biggest fan of The Purge, the scaremony was a fun way to start the evening.

 

Our VIP dinner check-in was for 8pm so we decided to go down to the lower lot to check out Clowns 3-D and AWIL, then back up for Dracula and Minion Mayhem.  Even though the backlot is the way to go at the beginning of the event, Lower Lot mazes and rides were a walk-on for those wanting to do something quickly without marching to the backlot "Triple Threat".

 

I loved VIP this year! Best overall experience since 2011. I never thought VIP was designed to fly through the event at record pace, nor did I find having more "things" to do was a plus. After attending this year, I realized that doing the backlot tour bogged down a significant part of the event. Yes, Insidious VIP from 2013 was fun and much different from VIP in the past, but this year, we found ourselves using the unlimited FOL more than before.  I loved repeating mazes as it helped me retain memories for what I experienced and provided a second look for details I may have missed or differences in cast.

 

Since the lounge and scarezone were connected, this part of VIP felt refined, tighter and efficient. It was organized well, the food was great, and our tour was about an hour after the dinner.  The scarezone was fun, the scareactors were both interactive and scary, and the graveyard decorations were plentiful. The lighting and fog added a moody atmosphere.

 

Well, it is once again time for AsylumSB's 4th annual "Slobberknocker" awards for 2014.  You might laugh, you might cry, you may even find your life redeemed after reading (or, probably fall asleep-it's all good).

 

Battle of the Behemoths Award:  Aliens vs. Predator (winner by a protruding alien jaw).  It was AVP vs AWIL for most of the night. However, I was impressed with the scenic work in AVP as there was emphasis on the smallest of details.  The Predator's laser guide, the simple yet effective facehugger scares, and beauty of the Queen alien made this a "must-do" maze.  For those of you who were impressed by the finale, we were able to get a special surprise during our second walk-through – a human sized Xenomorph!

 

The “Give Credit to the Next Best Maze” Runner-up Award:  American Werewolf in London.  I first entered AWIL early in the evening and thought the transition scenes were a little strange.  For some reason, the Jack character was laying in the middle of the path then jumped back into the werewolf setup and acted like he was getting attacked.  Hmmm.  The subway scare that was so effective in the previous Thing maze felt a little flat and I could not hear Blue Moon (or much of the audio).  However, the transformation scenes were great and the animatronic werewolves got me good (even during repeats of the maze).  What added to the atmosphere was the maze was very dark and I had a bit of trouble navigating through until "Roarrr!" those wolves scared the life out of me (almost).  Mind you, these things of beauty were only inches away from you, not feet.  On a few occasions, I could barely see the wolf and noticed its head appeared to be following me as I walked by.  Whoever was puppeteering these things had their timing down and lashed out at me just as I was leaving the scene.  Best scares of the night. 

 

The award for the category “Walking Dead Was Actually Great This Year” goes to….Orlando, Florida!  Had the chance to see what all the hubbub was at our east coast sister park.  If you have not been there, I highly recommend going at least once to experience this event.  Yes, Walking Dead was considered a “mega-house” and it felt like it.  The house was energetic and the scareactors were incredible in their scares and interactivity with the guests.  Unbelievably detailed scenes and energy made this a far better WD (or quite possibly any property) experience than Hollywood’s counterpart.

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