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Ringwraith

Ringwraith's HHN29 House Preview Review

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Same rules, different year.

 

1. Opinions can change over the course of the event, since all elements may not have been working, nor cast changes been smooth.

2. These are my OPINIONS. Take them for what their worth. I'm one to focus on the aesthetics and storytelling, more than the scares, so that is a major part of the equation when grading.

3. There may be spoilers, but I will do my best to hide those.

 

Grading is listed from least favorite to favorite with individual grades for 1. Aesthetics 2. Scares 3. "Wow" factor. Sometimes the grades won't add up to what you would think would be an average final grade, but that's because there were other factors involved. First, there before grading there are some superlatives I'd like to hand out:

 

Biggest Disappointment: Nightingales: Blood Pit

Biggest Surprise: House of 1000 Corpses

Best Use of Space: Depths of Fear & Killer Klowns From Outer Space

Most Likely to be a Full Fledged Attraction After HHN: Ghostbusters

Creepiest Atmosphere: Graveyard Games

 

A few notes:

1. You can tell the money went into the houses once again and that's a damn good thing.

2. Lots of reused costumes and props, which is great for saving money, but if you're a fan, it shows.

3. Grandiose set pieces and large puppets are the name of the game this year. They're really starting to go BIG.

4. Facade strength is almost in no way tied to the level of awesomeness of the houses this year. They made an interesting move by showing a lackluster facade on some houses, but then the first scene is fantastic.

 

Without further ado:

 

10 - Nightingales: Blood Pits:

I think this may be one of the biggest disappointments for me, really ever, but only because the anticipation was so high for me and it fell so low. To be fair, this house needs a redo and it needs to be put in a soundstage to provide full potential. Those expecting Roman ruins and a grand atmosphere will be sorely disappointed. This story follows the underbelly of the gladiator arenas and while it states that for the description, it being HHN, I thought we'd get some surprises. There are a few neat scares, but otherwise, it's a dud(so far).

Aesthetics - D

Scares - C-

"Wow" Factor - D 

 

09 - US

This landed on my list, about where I thought. While you think the material might make for a solid house, the scares don't play well and it's just not scary. This would land last on my list if I hadn't had such high hopes for Nightingales. They really should have swapped this house location with Nightingales, because what they did with it, could have easily fit in a tent.

Aesthetics - D

Scares - D

"Wow" Factor - D 

 

08 - Universal Monsters

Universal Monsters was very high on my list as well. The house isn't bad by any means, but it again, did not meet the expectations I had for it. There were some really cool scares and the costumes were great, but since the films are set in sprawling European landscapes, this house didn't feel as big to me as it should have. Also, if you're expecting the classic look for the monsters, you won't get it, save for one.

Aesthetics - C

Scares - C-

"Wow" Factor - C-

 

07 - House of 1000 Corpses

Well, well, well....sometimes going in with zero expectations is a good thing. This house is the best house they've had in that trailer in a long time. I absolutely despise the film, because in my OPINION, it's total torture porn garbage with very little storytelling. However, the house is like walking through the film and it's a lot of fun! This is one of those attractions where it should just be a 3 minute walkthrough instead of a full fledged movie. They stayed true to the movie, the costumes were spot on, the scareactors were great and the sets were fantastic. If you like the source material, you're going to love this one. That being said, me hating the source material, the grade obviously suffers.

Aesthetics - B-

Scares - C

"Wow" Factor - B- 

 

06 - Stranger Things 2

Better than last year, but not by much. I'm going to be totally honest here and say that, completely unexpectedly, the Season 3 portion of this house, saves it from being last on my list.

SPOILER ALERT: The season 2 portion feels like someone complained that there was no sign of the upside down in the first house, so they shoved a bunch of tunnels in this one with horrible puppet dogs to make it feel scary. This part goes on far too long. The rest of Season 2 has a lot of Demodog statues and really bad mannequins...seriously...wtf is this....

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Season 3 completely saves this house and I really hope they pick up where they left off, next year, although they may have showed their hand too soon and raised the expectations too high if they're going to do a full fledged season 3 house. The puppets are big, the sets are big, everything is big. Bravo on the turnaround, but not enough to keep this house from being in the middle of the pack. I'm giving this house two separate grades based on season.

Aesthetics - Season 2 - D- / Season 3 - B+

Scares - Season 2 - D- / Season 3 - C-

"Wow" Factor - Season 2 - D - / Season 3 - B+

 

05 - Yeti: Terror of the Yukon

A&D put a lot of love into this one. It's cold (I was told it wouldn't be) and very atmospheric. That being said, it's not "scary." Some of the Yetis look more like trolls and their heads were facing up when attempting to scare us, so it was kind of silly feeling. Although they did a great job with the aesthetics, I think this house reminds me of what they did with AoV(smaller stage = better). It was great as its own surprise scene in Slaughterhouse Sinema, but a full blown house with a giant budget doesn't necessarily yield a better product. Howeva....this house is beautiful. The snow, the cabins, the forest, caves, it's all very well done and I'm excited to see the house improve over time.

Aesthetics - A-

Scares - C

"Wow" Factor - B- 

 

04 - Graveyard Games

Another beautiful house. Very interesting choices here when it comes to the selfie cameras(I'll say no more) and some of the technology used. This house, to me, is tied with Depths of Fear when it comes to the scariness. I don't usually get scared in these houses, but there were definitely some unsettling scenes in this house. A&D put a lot of love into this one, once again. The only thing I didn't like was that it felt like there were very similar scenes and costumes to Poltergeist, but overall, it was solid!

Aesthetics - A-

Scares - B-

"Wow" Factor - B-

 

03 - Killer Klowns from Outer Space

They dun done it again. HOW MUCH SPACE DO THEY HAVE TO WORK WITH IN THE SHREK QUEUE?! I mean really? Personally, this felt as big as a soundstage house. I was extremely impressed with what they had to work with. The film is no cinematic masterpiece, and honestly, it is really bad. But this house is so much fun! I didn't think it would be better than the scarezone, but I was very wrong. Nailed it! I'm not scared of clowns, so the scares are not great IMO, but the rest of it is solid. I rate it higher than Graveyard simply because of its "little engine that could" factor.

Aesthetics - A-

Scares - D

"Wow" Factor - B+ 

 

02 - Depths of Fear

Great design, great costumes, great atmosphere...wow. Claustrophobia feels right in a tent house, so unlike its neighbor, this house was perfectly cast in its location. You really feel like you're aboard a sinking mining rig and that you need to escape. Even though the intent is for it to feel claustrophobic, this house still feels very big. The sets are wonderful, the scares are spot on and loud, they did a very good job with this one.

Aesthetics - A

Scares - B

"Wow" Factor - A

 

01 - Ghostbusters

I'm going to do my best to not hype this, but it's just too difficult. Ghostbusters is this year's Poltergeist, American Werewolf In London, Lightning Gulch, whatever you want to call it. My jaw was literally dropped throughout most of it. You feel like you're walking through the scenes of Ghostbusters and it's so much fun!

Spoiler alert: Holy Stay Puffed Marshmellow Man! Holy Zul! HOLY CRAP on capturing Slimer with the Proton Packs!!!!

I can't wait to go through this house again and again. There are so many surprises, it's grandiose, it's everything you would want from a regular daytime attraction that looks like it was created by Universal Creative. In fact, just leave it there as a new walkthrough show. The only gripe I have is that it was entirely too short. I want more!!!

Aesthetics - A+

Scares - C-

"Wow" Factor - A+

 

The scarezones weren't all fully operational when I went through them, so I'll do a separate post at another time.

 

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer in any comments below.

 

 

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Great review!  Considering the casts are still feeling out their roles, I think the scare factors will increase.

 

My thoughts on your review (I won't be there for three more weeks):

 

Was not too surprised to see Nightengales be low on the list.  From first hearing it, it has had a "Fallen" vibe with me.  Immediate high expectations, then surprise to see how it was represented.  I think this one will either be at the top of people's lists or the bottom.  I'm still excited for it.

 

Us: No surprise.  I'll go through it just imagining that the Tooth Fairy is right around the corner.

 

Monsters: Interesting you say not to expect to see the classic looks of the monsters.  Not that Orlando was intending to do what Hollywood did, but Hollywood early on said their intent was to take the classic looks we knew and make them much more visceral (and they did just that). Would you say that Orlando went this route?  That is not to say that every monster was shown as visceral and horrific.  For instance, the Invisible Man in Hollywood was shown as a DJ in a fluorescent set, spinning dubstep.  It was totally out of place with the rest of the house, but strangely still ok.

 

Yeti: lots of comparisons to Slaughter.  This one confuses me.  It's a different setting and not meant to be campy.  Is it supposed to be the same monster?  It sounds like the freshness of Slaughter is hurting the impression of the house.

 

Killer Klowns: So glad to hear the venue is working!  That was the one thing that had me worried about this.

 

Ghostbusters: Wow!  What will I do if this actually tops Poltergeist for me?  Now looking forward to this the most.

 

Did you see AoV?  Wondering if it's closer to House of Fear or last year's atrocity.

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4 hours ago, USHER6998 said:

Overall did you enjoy this year more then previous years?

This is the best overall year since 25 IMHO

4 hours ago, zombieman said:

Great review!  Considering the casts are still feeling out their roles, I think the scare factors will increase.

 

Monsters: Interesting you say not to expect to see the classic looks of the monsters.  Not that Orlando was intending to do what Hollywood did, but Hollywood early on said their intent was to take the classic looks we knew and make them much more visceral (and they did just that). Would you say that Orlando went this route?  That is not to say that every monster was shown as visceral and horrific.  For instance, the Invisible Man in Hollywood was shown as a DJ in a fluorescent set, spinning dubstep.  It was totally out of place with the rest of the house, but strangely still ok.

I was a scareactor in Monster's Remix. It was fun to work in, but relatively trashy as far as the material. I suppose the visceral look is what they were going for, but I was not impressed. The voiceover work was distracting and bad in my opinion, but the sets were purdy to look at. Creature actually looked very much like Creature and I appreciated that.

 

Yeti: lots of comparisons to Slaughter.  This one confuses me.  It's a different setting and not meant to be campy.  Is it supposed to be the same monster?  It sounds like the freshness of Slaughter is hurting the impression of the house.

They were clearly going for scary in this house, but it's not working yet. Ironically, I think there are too many yetis and not enough suspense, so I think that's why it worked in Slaughter. A yeti theoretically lives in the shadows and the fact that they're everywhere, personally, took me out of it.

 

Ghostbusters: Wow!  What will I do if this actually tops Poltergeist for me?  Now looking forward to this the most.

I'm trying to pump the brakes on the hype train, but this thing was tremendously thought out and well executed. If you're a fan of the film, this should hit all of the right notes. I was very surprised.

 

Did you see AoV?  Wondering if it's closer to House of Fear or last year's atrocity.

Didn't want to waste my night of 15min lines to watch this show haha

 

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I think I only agree with you on Ghostbusters.  That should be #1 on everyone's list.  I literally cried after going through it the first time.  It was my childhood in a 5 minute walk through.  I loved it!!!!   I'm going to write a review as well, but I want to attend one more time before doing so.  We went three nights over last weekend.  We will be back a week from Thursday to attend two more nights.. then, it's review time!

 

FYI - aside from Zombieland - the scarezones are one big pile of suck.

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