I liked BriMan's grading system, so I just thought I'd throw in my (spoiler free) 2 cents worth as well, based on his system. In my tired stupor last night, I threw them down by favorite (so far)...... but just to elaborate a little more (for anyone who cares ), and to talk a little about the scarezones as well.....
The Wolfman - This house has the best production value (IMO) of any house I've ever been to at HHN (out of 4 years overall). Based on the trailer for the movie, it transcends even the feeling of being on set -- you are in the forest being stalked by the Wolfman! As BriMan mentioned, the lighting and sound effects are spectacular. As I said, I'll keep this spoiler free so as not to ruin any surprises - but there's one scene that presents the most unique position of a scareactor ever. And the final scene in the woods is laid out like a hyper-3D cinematic masterpiece. Walk slowly, you'll want to take it all in and make sure not to miss any timed-out scenes. A+
Frankenstein: Creation of the Damned - Last night I rated this 4th. But after sleeping on it, I have to move it up to #2. The design of this one is both true to Franky and completely new and fresh. If Universal would produce an updated Frankenstein's Monster film based on this design, it would be fantastic. Also to piggy-back on what BriMan said, the actors in this house were top-notch. There are a couple scenes that play out very cinematically and make you want to stop in your tracks to take it in (sorry flashlight nazis!). The entrance of the house, which is outside of the castle, is absolutely beautifully designed. And major kudos to the new Monster design. A
Silver Screams - This house also has some of the best design layout I've seen from the HHN crew. Each scene is introduced perfectly through the theater design, making you feel like you are walking into the Universal Palace Theater entrance and into the film itself. Transitioning between the movies brings you back to the creepy Palace Theater time and again, taking you on both a tour of the movies as well as a tour of the history of the theater. One scene literally takes you "behind the scenes", showing the fate of those who disrespect the theater at the hands of the Usher, just out of view of the unwitting public eye. My only complaint - I was really hoping to see a Psycho scene, and could have used a little more representation of old-school horror to match the history of the theater itself. A-
Leave it to Cleaver - Cleaver revels in wonderful dark humor, much like Creatures last year. Not much of a scary house, but lots of fun as a divergence of theme from the rest of the event. B
Saw - Very true to the Saw film franchise, the scenes of this house feel like living, screaming movie posters for the film series. My only beef with it is it seems the "hot" scenes don't happen quite often enough for you to catch them while being shepherded through the house. You will have to do this one several times to take it all in, which will be difficult considering it consistently had the longest line in the park. But that being said - great design and performances by the "victims". B-
Chucky - Much like the Chucky films, this house is a lot of fun if you don't try to take it too seriously. It's a nightmare of toys-come-to-life, and surprisingly enough the most uncomfortable scene involves simple inflatable clowns . The entrance (spinning tunnel) can be sickening if the line is moving to slow - beware if you've had a few drinks. C+
The Spawning and Dracula - we didn't get a chance to hit these houses on this trip. I'll weigh in on these next time.
Lights, Camera, Hacktion - Chainsaws always equal a good time. The "crew" was great, running in terror. B-
Horrorwood Drive In - Spectacular design, and the clips playing on screen were a blast. I just wish, as Snoman said, there was more going on with the scareactors. His idea with the car horns and lights as scare tactics would have been a great addition. B+
Cirque Du Freak - Great design on both the set and scareactors. One of the better zones for startle factor, even though it's small and brightly lit. Better than expected. B+
Containment - I hate to say it, but...... pretty lame. It needs much more fog to be effective. (In all fairness though, it was a pretty breazy night). A couple scareactors were really cool, but most were just normally dressed people with leper lesions. Lighting was cool, but needs more fog. D+
War of the Living Dead - All I can say is: awesome. The scareactors are the best in the park (IMO), and the lighting in this area is fantastic. Also, the war sound effects are really good. I would only like to see more scareactors and action. A
Apocalypse - This one had great potential...... but completely flopped. A couple cool effects with the busted hydrant, the helicoptor spotlight, and burning bus. But there were maybe 4 scareactors roaming around, and just not enough action at all. D-
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Amazing event. Here's my final review.
1. Frankenstein: Creation of the Damned [10/10]
- AWESOME house. I got all of the scares. Extremely detailed. Couple really outstanding scenes.
2. Silver Screams [10/10]
- Amazing. I loved the concept, being similar to DIE In. Only this had a greater variety of movies. There were 2 great scenes in this house that were definitely memorable from some of my favorite horror movies of all time.
3. Dracula: Legacy In Blood [9/10]
- Another great house. I got a lot of the scares, and it was spectacularly detailed.
4. The Spawning (Fangoria) [8/10]
- Amazing. Half of the time I had no clue where I was going or where the scares were coming from. Not nearly as detailed as the previous houses, but definitely had its fair share of good scares.
5. The Wolfman [7/10]
- Another great house. Very detailed and stunningly themed, but I didn't get as many scares as in the previous houses.
6. Chucky: Friends Til The End [5/10]
- Fun house. Very enjoyable, but not too scary. I got a few jumps, but it was mostly just fun.
7. Saw [2/10]
- Not as gory as expected, and a huge letdown. I expected much more out of this house.
8. Leave It To Cleaver (Fangoria) [.5/10]
- Sucked out loud. No ifs, ands or butts. The queue video got me super pumped, but the house just sucked. NO scares, NO memorable scenes. Just horrible.
1. War of the Living Dead [5/5]
- NAZI ZOMBIES. Nuff' said.
2. Lights, Camera, Haction [4/5]
- Fun zone, loved the chainsaws.
3. Containment [3/5]
- Loved the blow ups, and got a few good scares.
4. Cirque Du Freak [3/5]
- Very enjoyable. Not too many scares though.
5. Horrorwood D-I-E In [2/5]
- Loved the movie screen, but no big scares.
6. Apocalypse: City of Cannibals [1/5]
- What's with this location? No scares are ever present in NY without the utilization of Sting Alley. This is just getting ridiculous. No scares, no theming.
Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure: [3/5]
Didn't live up to it's hype. Couple of good laughs, but overall it was a letdown.
Rocky Horror Picture Show: A Tribute [?/?]
- Didn't get to see it this year but I've seen it in the past.
Overall it was a very good event. I don't think it was as good as last year, but it was still very good.
Here is my review.
First off this was not as good as Reflections was last year. Still fun, but not last year.
Houses (these are in the order that I did them.)
Chucky: I think that they went more for making nice scenes more than good scares in this one. It was fun to see everything but I wouldn't go through it expecting to get scared to bad.
Silver Screams: My favorite house of the night. The scenes were great, and it was the house that I probably got some of the most scares in.
Saw: I think that I walked into every room after the traps were all set so the house really didn't do much for me.
Spawning: Really good house. If you aren't paying attention the creatures can get you good.
Wolfman: This was the best looking house of them all. The scares really depended on where you were and most of the time you aren't going to be in the right place at the right time.
Frankenstein: This house had a few scares. Not as scary as I expected but they did have a few good team scares.
Dracula: This house was scary. Brides were jumping at me all over this house. I really only saw Dracula once so that was a little disappointing.
Cleaver: It may have been because I was wet and not able to enjoy the house but it was really bad. I'd take Doomsday any day of the week.
Zones. I didn't really spend a lot of time in each of the zones but I was most impressed with Cirque.
Houses seemed brighten than last year. Seemed like there were less actors. If you want to get a shirt check places other than the studios store. Sprung tents do not differ much with light from opening to close. The ending of Silver Screams is better in the light than in the dark.
The Wolfman 2/5: Wow. This House's set was off Da Hizy(Bill and Ted Reference ). No scares in this one really, but really enjoyed looking at the set!
Dracula 4/5: Amazing House I was like Oh shizzy bro when the strobes came on. The lady on the bungee cord was amazing as well. The hot dogish smell at the end was a big WTF though. Amazing house overall.
Frankenstien 5/5: Dang you C_D and Giant you scared the Shanaynay out of me. The way the Franks were hidden was amazing. Also the bride got me good awesome house, maybe the best ever thanks to C_D! C_D you win scareactor of the year from me.
The Spawning 5/5: Maybe got the most scares in history out of this house. The sculders really made me crap myself. The strobes in this house were awesome, and so was the beginning entrance office. WOOT for Cast B doing such a great Job!
Silver Screams 3/5: Ehh this house was ok. Jullian dying though really shocked me. Ash Cast A was maybe the best scareactor in the house he got me gooood! I was shocked though how someone had stolen a poster out of the house though
I saved the 3 worst houses for last
Leave it to Cleaver 1/5: So bad. I don't know what it is about this house, but it was God awful. None of the scare tactics worked for me, and the scareactors didn't seem like they wanted to be there. Samuel Meetz, and the pet shop were what got the 1/5 for me.
Chucky Friends 'Til the End 1/5: Really. This house was a joke. A chucky on a chain gun? For real? I see what they we're going for in this house but it was more of a fun house then a scary house. I enjoyed going through it just got no scares.
Saw 0/5.(really): I never pondered the thought of there being a house as bad as Maximum Carnage. But I found it! Sorry for being so hard on this house, but this is just one of those that has a real Cast to Cast difference. I missed Jake's cast, and wow was the other one bad. They all put .5% into scaring anybody. The only part that remotely got me was the billy doll, and that was because I was paying attention to someone behind me. Hopefully, the other cast get's their act together soon.
I'm not rating anything yet because last night was not the best and I don't think I got to experience this year's HHN fully.
So, my friends and I got to the entrance around 5:10pm yesterday (9/26) and we had to wait a bit because they were still were getting the daytime people out of the park. So we got our wrist bands and headed in.
We went straight to Chucky and did that first. I don't think my eyes had time to adjust to the dark of the house from being in the sun and everything seemed so dark that I couldn't appreciate much of the detail and even one of the plastic plant things hanging from the ceiling scratched my face pretty bad. I enjoyed the "fun" aspect of this house and got moderate scares, but it's not one of my favorites.
Next we headed into Silver Screams which was very cool. Except for the overwhelming butter-popcorn smell at the beginning, I loved all of the scenes and got a lot of the scares except in the Strangers where the scareactors were just standing around staring at you . We had literally no wait for these two houses, so that was awesome.
Then we had to wait a bit because the other houses were not open, so we headed into a restaurant and had to wait there too because they weren't open, but it wasn't too long... we had something to eat and then hit Leave it to Cleaver since it was right by the restaurant. Here we had to wait a bit in line. This house was fun, but we didn't get many scares.
We took a break after Cleaver to wait for it to get darker and so we rode the Mummy. I love that the rides have practically no wait during HHN Next we went on Frankenstein which was awesome! Loved the atmosphere and we got all the scares. One of the brides got me so good! I thought she was a dummy and did a double take, but when I decided it was definitely a dummy she jumped up and scared the crap out of me haha!
Then we decided to go to Saw so we headed that way and went through the Apocalypse: City of Cannibals scarezone, which sucked big time; I think there were like 5 actors and no real scares going on. So we got to Saw, but since it had a 50 minute wait, we chose to ride MiB to waste a couple of minutes and then we got in line for Bill & Ted's 8:45 show. This was my first time seeing Bill & Ted and I really liked it! It was pretty funny and the SFX were cool, but I wouldn't see it more than once a year. So, when we came out of B&T we learned that some of what we thought were sound effects weren't part of the show, but actual thunder! because it was POURING! With the mobs outside of the theater it took us a while to get to a place with a roof and even then we were soaked.
We stayed outside the restrooms by MiB for a bit, waiting for the rain to stop, but when we figured it wasn't going to stop we just headed to The Spawning. We had a pretty long wait here and we got completely drenched, but we laughed it off and the house was pretty cool. We got some good scares and we loved the creatures with the glow in the dark eyes. I liked how in this house there were scares coming from above as well, which was unexpected.
So next we headed to Saw for the second time, and this time we didn't get in either but because it was closed... and so was Dracula... I understand that it was for safety reasons, but it sucked nonetheless. Also, the rain was coming down hard and there were no scareactors in any of the zones, so I only got to see Apocalypse this night. We waited for a while outside of Dracula and it didn't open, so I asked one of the staff members if all the houses were all closed, and she said she didn't know and she also didn't know how long it would take for the houses to open again. I insisted that she ask through her walkie-talkie if Wolfman was open, so she gave in and confirmed that it was actually open.
We had a pretty long wait outside of Wolfman even though the sign said 5 minutes... liars... lol! I LOVED this house's atmosphere! It looked AMAZING! but... I got no scares zero, nil, nada. It seemed as if the scareactors were not there! I saw a lady at the very start but she was just walking around and then I only saw 2 wolves, one which just howled at the moon and didn't even look at us. It was pretty amusing though, how the guys in front of us went "Ahh! a vine!" "Ahh! A staircase!" "OMG! A chair!"
So, after Wolfman it was around 11pm and most of my friends wanted to leave. Overall, I had a lot of fun, but I didn't really get to experience this year’s event... with only seeing 6 out of 8 houses, 1 show and only 1 scarezone... I'm definitely anxious to go again. I'm really glad I got the FFP Once I go again and get to see ALL of it I'll give ratings
PS: I forgot my camera at home, so I didn't get any pictures, but I'm glad I didn't have my camera or it would've gotten soaked, just like my cell phone, wallet and ticket did even though they were inside my pant's pocket.
* Through out the house, you can see the designs took some influence from early German horror films. You can also see that the designers try to give the house some character as you can find some areas mimic the Monsters's famous scar and stitches.
* The story is set a few months after "Bride of Frankenstein". Dr. Frankenstein is back to continue his work, and the Monster wants revenge for his bride. The smell being pumped is to give the effect of embers still lit throughout the rubble.
* Since projections have to have a certain amount of distance for the effect to have the proper dimensions, the silhouette of Frankenstein's Monster is actually reflected off a mirror, instead of placing as far back behind the screen as possible. The actor playing the monster in that scene is none other then J. Michael Roddy.
* Frankenstein's Monster is known as "Alpha" in this house. His bride is "Beta". The other creations go down the "phonetic alphabet". (ie Gamma, Delta)
* In the past, the infamous "cutting the leg" scene used rebar to give the effect of the blade cutting through the bone. The problem though, is that after every few days, they would have to replace it since the blade would actually cut through the rebar. This year, the fixed it by using reinforced steel so they won't be having that issue anymore.
* The pipes at the end of the house is actually the same pipes that were used in the "Hansel & Gretel" scene from last year's Scary Tales III.
* Cindy Caine's coffin is in the "Coffin Room". It's the small, white coffin. Interesting to note that is actually against the law to have living, or dead people inside a coffin. That's why you'll never find an actor in there. Another FYI, all of those coffins are used.
* The entrance of the house is obviously a reference to "Vlad the Impaler". The scene is supposed to play out that "Dracula" is feasting at the table amongst his dead enemies when he hears you (the guest) approaching and he leaves into the castle to prepare for the encounter. You'll notice the bloody napkin on the table.
* For those unfamiliar to the story, the "pretty" brides are the women who accepted Dracula's invite of "The Calling". The ugly ones, better known as "Feral Brides", are those who reject his offer. The entrance littered with all the heads on spears are the men who decided to try and rescue their women from their ultimate fate.
* Renfield makes an appearance during the middle of the house. You can find him playing with his dead animals, keeping true to the story. You can also find a pig in this scene without a head. The head is located in a scene in Frankenstein.
* Yes, the statue in the beginning is from Screamhouse.
* The gypsy recites a poem in the beginning of the house. See if it sounds familiar:
Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night / May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms, and the autumn moon is bright.
* That poem will show up again later in the "Tomb Scene". Only this time, it's in latin.
* In the same scene, you can find a reference to "An American Werewolf in London".
Stay on the road. Keep clear of the moors.
* A lot of the stuffed animal heads you see actually come from some of the HHN Creative team who also happen to be hunters.
* The trees are real. It's not recommended that you touch them since they do have sap, and that can be a bit sticky.
* The end scene was supposed play out a lot differently then what you see now: