Halloween Horror Nights 21 *Review*

This year marks year number 11 that I have been continuing this Halloween tradition. We’ve come a long way from since than, and it always just keeps getting better.

I got the chance to experience opening weekend fun with our Frequent Fear Passes. Of course Florida weather had to intervine and it did BIG! Both nights we had thunderstorms, but only temporarily so the fun resumed after a while. Also, I love to add pictures for you guys, but because of, again, that lovely weather I decided to leave my camera in the car instead of risking water damage.

I did get a chance  to do every single house once, and some of them even twice. Although because of the weather when I went through some of the scare zones there were empty, so there are two that I have yet to experience.

All in all I had a pretty good time. I’m not going to say it was the best Halloween Horror Nights ever, because in reality it wasn’t. It does have a few hiccups, but I wouldn’t call the event a disaster either.

So I’m just going to give a quick rundown of what I thought about each house/scare zone/show. I’m going to try to leave out spoilers of any kind to my best ability. The great thing about an event like this is that everyone can see it in a different light, you have to experience it first hand to completely be able to judge it for yourself. I just want to share with you my personal thoughts on the event itself. But I do hope if you are able to, take the time to go out there, even if it is for a night. or two. In all it’s great fun, especially in a group.

Houses

Nevermore: The Madness of Poe

Description: The madness of Edgar Allen Poe’s greatest works has come to life. Step into the mind of the iconic writer, where every turn of the page takes you closer to the brink of insanity.

Review: I have to say this was one of the best houses. I really like the way it was done. I went through it twice opening weekend and both times I got different experiences that were really great.

Rating:  8 /10

The Forsaken

Description: Four ships began Columbus’s fateful voyage, only three became legend. Condemned to a watery grave, the mutinous and cursed crew of that 4th ship has returned with a vengeance. For within the walls of a Spanish fort, a maelstrom has brought from the depths….death itself.

Review:  I also ran through this house twice and I’m not going to lie. I thought that this was going to be my favorite house. Ships and sea tales have been done before at HHN, and in my mind they have been very successful. This one…literrally SANK. It had a couple of good scares, and a couple of cool effects, but it wasn’t completely there for me.

Rating:   5/10

H.R. Bloodengutz Presents: Holidays of Horror

Description: Join creature feature host, H.R. Bloodengutz, in his final televised broadcast as he presents a SCARE-athon of holiday-based horror that is guaranteed to cleave you screaming for more.

Review: The comic relief house. I thought it was so-so. I got way more laughs then I did scares. Then again, that is the point of these houses (like if you’re familiar with the Psychoscarapy series). So I am gonna kind of rate it against houses of it’s type since it’s “technically” not supposed to be entirely scary.

Rating:  6 /10
The Thing

Description: Paranoia spreads like an epidemic among a group of researchers in an isolated Antarctic outpost as they are infected, one by one, by a horrifying creature from another planet. In a place where there is nothing, they found something.

Review: This one got me. GOOD. It was very different from what I expected really, but I guess I was trying to compare it to The Thing Assimilation house that was done a couple of years ago. All in all, it was a pretty good house in my mind.

Rating:   7/10

Saws N’ Steam: Into the Machine

Description: Spinning blades and massive, crushing pistons await you around every corner as you are forced deeper into the bowels of a mechanical nightmare. Give yourself to “The Machine.”

Review: I didn’t get a whole lot of scares out of this house, but I thought it was pretty damn cool. If you visited the year they did a Saw house, this felt to me very similar to that (and coincidently it is in the same location). It was more of a show house in my opinion. But those chainsaws though, they are a killer…literally.

Rating:   7/10

The In-Between

Description: An ominous portal reveals a 3rd dimension where all is not what it seems: a realm where our world and another collide. Surrounded by fiendish creatures, your eyes will deceive you with every step through this phantasm of terror.

Review: LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! This house was amazing. This is the 3D house that they have been boasting about and let me tell you, I think they did a pretty good job with it. Between the light, the darkness, and the distortion you will have an awesome experience in there. By far my favorite house.

Rating:   9/10

Winter’s Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery

Description: As snow falls on this normally serene gothic cemetery, the deceased souls that occupy its confines have their sights set upon you, insuring that the chill you feel up your spine is more than just the cold of night.

Review: This is my second favorite house. Universal knows how to tell a story. No let me rephrase that, Universal knows how to PUT YOU in the middle of a story. I felt like I was outside in a real cemetery, in the winter time (that air conditioning felt amazing on those muggy humid nights HAHA!!) A lot of great scenes in this house, and both times I went through it was entirely different. Loved it!

Rating:   9/10

Nightingales: Blood Prey

Description: Within every war, the Nightingales have appeared. Able to transform themselves to fit any setting, these savage banshees feed on the weak and the helpless. Patrolling WWI era trenches, you discover that you are more than just at war…you’re being hunted.

Review: I kind of got it, but I didn’t like it a whole lot. I only got to go through this house opening night so I’ll have to give it another go. I was expecting something else entirely so I guess in a way that made me disappointed in the end.

Rating:   5/10

Scarezones

Acid Assault

Description: For decades now the city has been degrading from the effects of Acid Rain that still falls today, caused by factories which sprung up on the city’s edges during the 20th century. Those that have lived and survived the blistering decay are all alone in the city. Survivors have stripped the city of all life to sustain their own…dare to enter the ACID ASSAULT.

Review: I’m only going to tell you for sure, check out ALL the buildings in this area. I’m not going to say anything else about that. AMAZING. Also this scare zone did a pretty good job with scares. Just by overlooking the area you couldn’t really pick out exactly everyone who is a scareactor. So in it’s defense it works great for the element of surprise. Overall great job.

Rating:   6/10

Canyon of Dark Souls

Description: Upon entering into the Canyon of Dark Souls, you will feel like a small spec of humanity as the overwhelming sense of death surrounds you. Creatures that dwell within the Canyon are not welcoming so walk slowly as to not disturb them.

Review: Okay, I know I said I was going to avoid spoilers, but if you are anyone thats familiar with the Harry Potter series you will notice that these guys sort of look like Death Eaters. Although I probably would’ve been more intimidated by actual Death Eaters than these guys. I didn’t like it.

Rating:   1/10

Grown Evil

Description: Enter, if you dare, into our garden where Evil grows. Nature has taken this once well manicured sanctuary back from the humans who once kept it. Now the creatures that inhabit the garden are making any human that enters their prey.

Review: This area was so-so. There is lots of fog and it’s very dark, so it is really kind of creepy going through it, and it limits your vision.

Rating:  5 /10

NightMaze

Description: Journey through the ever changing maze of darkness. This all black maze will morph and change as you walk through it. You will not be scared the same way twice.

Review: I really really really really really wish that Universal would just do this as a house. I believe there was something similar to this a long time ago. But this was pretty cool after I went through a couple of times. Each time was different. And it definitely scared the crap out of me!

Rating:   7/10

7

Description: As daylight shines upon our Temptresses, their appearance, though evil, allows you the spectacle of beauty. As night falls, these 7 temptresses will show their true colors and take on their true Fatal Evil forms. Beware of your own temptations.

Review: I think this has become my favorite scarezone. You have to run through it twice though. Once in the beginning of the night, and again near the end of the night. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you, but there are significant differences between the two times!

Rating:   7/10

Your Luck Has Run Out

Description: Enter if you dare into the lair of the LUCKY! Your choices will determine if you make it out alive. Witness lucks deadly wrath, will she choose you to be her next victim?

Review: The only reason this scare zone got more than Canyon of Dark Souls if because of some other people that are in the zone and NOT Lady Luck. I won’t spoil it for you…but in this case there IS such a thing as too much. You’ll understand.

Rating:   3/10

Shows

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure

Description: Party on as those two most excellent dudes return to skewer the biggest names in entertainment and pop culture.

Review: Kinda excellent! While not the best Bill & Ted’s. It was better than last years in my opinion. It also kind of got me thinking that this year lacked in the pop culture department. But the one’s that they did get, they did do a pretty good job with. Take the time out to catch a show for sure. You’ll enjoy a couple of good laughs.

Rating:   7/10

Death Drums

Description: A seductive, hard-hitting and raw extreme drumming experience.

Review: *Didn’t get to it yet*

Rating:   /10

Other

Another thing that I also did try was the drink that they change every year to match the theme. This year it’s called the “Ante Up.” It looks very similar to whatever it was called last year, but it tasted very different to me. Actually I really didn’t like it too much. What did it taste like? Imagine cherry Robitussin and a Four Loko had a baby…that, ladies and gents, is the Ante Up. Oh well, I got the blinking red cup to add to my collection!

So that about wraps it up for my review of Halloween Horror Nights 21. Like I said before, I hope you get to go out an enjoy the event for yourself. In all Universal does a great job with this, and I really enjoy it every year.

-Sakina

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