REVIEW: Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights 2017 promises to be bigger and scarier than ever with 8 Mazes (the most EVER in Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights History) and 3 New Scare Zones. Another new thing for Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights: Alcohol. In years past, this has always been a dry event in Hollywood. This year they are offering 2 alcoholic drinks per person (no hard liquor).

Here are a couple other tips to help you enjoy the incredibly popular event since Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights sells out almost every night.

TIP

Front of the Line Passes are a MUST! However, I understand not everyone can afford the luxury. So, if you don’t want to wait in hour+ lines make sure you get there when doors open, start in the Lower Back Lot, and work your way to the top. Thank me later.

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood may be giving us more Mazes, but the least amount of Scare Zones; there are only 3 this year. Yes parts of the park are under construction, but that’s a terrible excuse; there’s plenty of space by Minions and the French Area (like before) or in the Lower Lot. You can’t give me creepy stilt people? There are Mummy Stilts and Transformer Stilts during the day. If the budget cut rumors are true, the cuts have wreaked havoc onto one of my favorite events. Here are my rating (out of 5 stars).

SCARE ZONES

Ambiance is a HUGE issue for the event this year. The lack of decor, creepy music, fog (I never thought I’d be asking for more fog), and lack of Scare-Actors definitely takes a toll on the immersion scare factor.

Hell-O-Ween (3.5 Stars)

The theming was lacking in this area. The famous flamethrowers were noticeably missing. As the FIRST Scare Zone you walk into, it has to set the tone and boy does it (not in a good way). However, if you’re a people watcher like me, this is the best scare zone to watch people freak out over chainsaws.

Toxic Tunnel (2.5 Stars)

Instead of Trams driving you to the Lower Lot (thank goodness) you enter a “themed transition” walk. It’s kind of like Toxic Avenger dropped MDMA and went to a Rave; not scary, but a dance party fun time (if you turn it into one). Just don’t expect it to actually be scary.

Urban Inferno (4 Stars)

This is the BEST Scare-Zone of the event! I wish this was a house. Can it be a house next year? The theming is fantastic, the Scare-Actors embraced who they were and what was happening to them, and I loved the Stilt Walkers!!

MAZES

Titans of Terror (5 Stars)

Handsdown, the BEST Maze of the entire event; great theming, perfect scares, and fun. This is a winning combination for an outstanding Maze. Titans of Terror immerses you into your favorite horror icon’s world’s starting with my personal favorite, Freddy Kruger. I may be biased, but his section had the top scare of the entire maze! Next, the maze sends you into Camp Crystal Lake where you try and survive Jason Voorhees. I’m sure if you’re a virgin you have nothing to worry about — wink, wink, nod, nod. Finally, enter the home of Leatherface and walk through many iconic scenes! Shout out to Grandpa!

The Horror’s of Blumhouse (4.5 Stars)

For me, this is the 2nd Best House of the event. 2 words: Female Chainsaws!!! The Horror’s of Blum House takes you through 2 of their most popular films franchises starting with The Purge and ending with Sinister. Thrown in the middle is their most recent upcoming release: Happy Death Day. Even though there aren’t a ton of scares in this maze, it’s still a ton of fun.

Insidious: Beyond The Further (1 Star)

Usually the Insidious Maze is my favorite, but this year it is my least. The majority of the maze is dedicated to the fourth film of the franchise, Insidious: The Last Key, which doesn’t even comes out until January 2018. 2018!! As creepy as the demon is, cause trust me it’s terrifying, for me it’s out of place and removes you from the creep factor since it’s 75% of the maze and all the same scare. The mother, Bride, and my favorite, the Lipstick Demon are split along the back ⅓ of the maze…lame.

The Shining (3 Stars)

One of the most anticipated mazes of the event is Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. I wanted this house to be GREAT and unfortunately it was just okay. My biggest issue with this maze is the Masks. I understand not everyone looks like Jack Nicholson, but in years past scare-actors were chosen that looked close enough, given wigs, costumes, and props then sent out to do their best impressions of these iconic people; e.g. Evil Dead (still one of the BEST Houses ever at HHN). Nothing is less scary than a bunch of silicone masks, stretched oddly onto people’s faces, and not being able to see their eyes.

As you enter the Overlook Hotel, you walk through the majority famous scenes from the film – Redrum door, bloody elevator, and the creepy twins to name a few. The best room was the recreation of the “Here’s Johnny!!” scene; the actress was spot on (and she wasn’t wearing a mask…imagine that) and is one of the best-acted scenes at the event.

This maze is heavy on projections, and suffers from a lot of missed scare opportunities; I need more than masked Jack with an Axe. They could’ve done so much more with the twins, the old woman, the bartender, and there was no scene involving the groundskeeper’s death. What?!

Ash vs Evil Dead (3.5 Stars)

This house was really fun. But again, why is Ash wearing a mask?! It doesn’t make any sense. I really don’t want to hear “budget cuts” as an excuse for an event that sells out 99% of the time.

As you enter the maze, you go through Ash Williams’ trailer, which is full of fantastic detail. However, about halfway through the maze, you enter what seems like a long section of black walls where nothing much happens. Why? I need someone to explain this to me.

American Horror Story: Roanoke (say it with me RO-AN-OAK) (1 Star)

What a throw away maze. Unlike last year’s American Horror Story maze that featured three seasons (Murder House, Freak Show, and Hotel) – this year solely focused on season 6’s Roanoke. Was the season really that popular it deserved an entire house?

Saw: The Game’s of Jigsaw – (5 Stars)

If you’re a fan of the Saw Franchise you’ll be a fan of this house. Even though the new film comes out in October, unlike Insidious, the Saw maze was dedicated to the previous films. This maze wins best effects hands down. While walking through Jigsaw’s world, you’re watching the games happen, while almost getting sliced and diced through the walls. Props to the Scare-Actors for selling the crap out of the games! This maze is incredibly entertaining and almost less of a scary maze and more like walking through of Jigsaw’s personal museum.

Titans Terror Tram Starring Chucky (2.5 Stars)

The Terror Tram is back with a new theme, but a familiar (and shorter) experience. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

SHOW

Jabbawockeeze (Not Scored)

Ever since Universal Hollywood gave in to a bully blogger and removed Bill and Ted’s from the event, I’ve boycotted seeing this show. Bring back Bill and Ted! Wyld Stallyns will ride again!

If you want to was the Scareamony make sure to skip the 6:15 Jabbawockeeze show.

 

 

Overall, for the 10+ years I’ve been experiencing Halloween Horror Nights the event always has its ups and downs, but this year is the most disappointing.

Masks does not a makeup-make. It’s very obvious that Boneyard FX is no longer in charge of the makeup for this event. I can’t stand the use of masks when you can easily do a great makeup job on Scare-Actors. The Shining and Ash are the worst offenders in this. Nothing is scary about a melty looking face with no eyes that’s supposed to look like a human being.

The event has a few great mazes and one fantastic Scare Zone, but more mazes doesn’t make up for the lack of Scare-Zones, ambiance, and the attention to detail that this event has been known for in the past. Once you’re out of Hell-O-Ween it’s just noise, people, and the Simpsons. What’s scary about that? And a random tree branch stuck to the wall of a house while you transition in blackness to the next room(s) isn’t enough to justify the wait times and price of admission.

Even though I wasn’t in love with the event this year, Halloween Horror Nights is something I always look forward to. Universal has always been known for their gift of Horror and I hope they bring back the same level of intense horror that I’m accustomed to experiencing.

Leave a Reply