This year has not been a very anticipated year for Halloween Horror Nights it would seem. It seems like so many other things has overshadowed it….the Economy, Rockit, Harry Potter. Finally at the last minute everything worked into a frenzy and we were invited into a world “Ripped from the Silver Screen”. The more I write, the more I myself become ripped….on one side of the fence or another. So here are my thoughts on the full and complete Halloween Horror Nights 19: Ripped from The Silver Screen. I will try to make it as spoiler free as possible….BUT CONSIDER THIS A WARNING!
So we were invited to the media preview of the event, always cool, and even better this year we were able to mingle with a few stars. I was in geek heaven while Rach was left scratching her head going….”Who?”
But I’m jumping ahead of myself. We ran late so we missed the whole Q&A with the cast of “Cirque Du Freak: The Vampires Assistant”. We did get a chance to check out the aftermath, and it was flat out insane! Crowds as far as the eye could see! The entrance made a great statement with a marquis and ticket booth setup, with an Usher inside as well as many more roaming the crowds. These guys were incredibly scary looking, and did a great job. Above the crowd we could see an LCD version of Julian Browning and a bunch of the clips from the houses and scare zones.
Once inside we proceeded to the Horror Make Up Building where we were greeted with drinks and the site of several celebs floating around for the later broadcast of Fangoria Radio. I walked in to find several other websites and bloggers floating around, really cool to see a lot of friends geeking out. But the great moment when out of the corner of my, looking at the Horror display in the Make Up Show Lobby, I see Brian O’Halleran from Clerks as well as other films(my personal fav being Vulgar!) taking pics. I didn’t want to see like a complete fan and bother the guy so we go over take a few pics ourselves and wait for him to say something about the exhibit…and in we jump. The guy was amazingly nice and posed for a pic with us, and we talked horror for a few minutes. The guy was a fan….and you could see the giddiness in his eyes as we looked at the HHN display. The guy was stoked.
Jump a few minutes ahead and here is this really tall lanky guy eating a cobb salad out of a martini glass. He walks up next to us and starts talking. My inner geek is FREAKING THE HELL OUT! OMG!! I wanted to reach over and confess my undying fanboyism to him…but I kept it cool. He finished up his salad, making comments about it when I reached over to shake his hand and said “I’m a huge fan”
“Of the salad?”
“No of yours!”
“You know who I am?”
“Of course I know Doug Jones, You’re over in the glass cabinet on the other side of the room!”
“I AM? REALLY?!?” And he really was, you see Doug Jones, among other roles, is Abraham Sapien from Hellboy. SUPER NERDGASM! Again, completely cool guy, and just really into the fact that I knew who he was without the makeup. He went as far as to take one of our business cards and tell us that he was going to check us out…yeah right.
Nerdgasms aside, we started on our tour with our amazing guide Pepper! First stop was Silver Screams…you know what…you don’t want a play by play so screw this.
Silver Screams- This is the backstory of Julian Browning, our Usher. In this house you go through scene after scene of his favorite films. Loads of favorites, including some that were unexpected.
The Good: The set pieces in this house were flat out amazing!From the onset of the movie theater to each individual scene it was great. A lot of detail went into the house, and it really pulled itself together.
The Bad: Not enough actors in some scenes, too many in others. Also some of the scenes were incredibly boring. Without giving ….picking….. anything apart, some of the films just didnt work. I liked the effort and it was a good house, but some of it just didnt happen for me.
Chucky:Friends til the End- Not a real Chucky fan. After three I tuned out of it. This house was the funhouse of the year. You are shrunk down to size and go through Chucky’s world if heran the toy store.
The Good: Ballsacks! Nothing like Ballsacks in your face! The house had a lot of energy, and a lot of great smells and effects. The whole thing had a fun feel to it, and a lot of people were laughing instead of screaming.
The Bad: Lifesize Chucky? Didn’t feel it. They relied too much on the name recognition and not enough on what the character could do. A lot of the gags either worked or didn’t and for me…they didnt a lot. Not a terrible house, but not the best either.
Fangoria Presents:The Spawning– Sewer dwellers inhabit the city and cause havoc. You’re recruited to help the city rid the sewers of these half pint menaces.
The Good:I loved these characters.They reminded me of the glowing eye aliens from the Cantina scene in Star Wars. The sets were pretty decent, and you were in a sewer! It even smelled like a sewer, and you really had a lot of great effects.
The Bad: Pacing pacing pacing. This would be a great house to do first. It was simply too damn crowded in there. Also the creatures were described as two foot tall snake creatures…..yeah….not snake like and definitely not two feet tall. They could have added some more interaction here also with a big bad ass death scene as you destroy them. I’m thinking blood and guts everywhere.
SAW-I want to play a game. You go to HHN every year in search of a scare. Now the question is, how far will you go? Will you watch someone die just to get your cheap thrill? Its your choice. Right from the movie, you play Jigsaw’s game, and with every step you take someone else suffers.
The Good: This is the money house. This is where the budget went. From the moment you walk in you hear Tobin Bell. The traps are there, and they are elaborate. Flawlessly executed and just without a doubt, the fan favorite.
The Bad: While it may be a fan favorite, it definitely wasn’t mine. I liked the house, but this is a house that relies way too much on props instead of great scares and scenery. The bathroom didn’t smell like shit, and it didnt have that grungey feel too it. It felt too clean. Again, the pacing was the issue here. I missed half the scares by about two people and as I was looking backwards to see them try and play it out again, I’d miss the one in front of me. Big cool thing here though, and I won’t spoil it. But I will say pay attention to the person next to you in line.
Fangoria Presents: Leave it To Cleaver- In a small Ohio Town Meetz Meats is the greatest food market in town! But they hide a dirty little secret. They use only the choicest cuts of meat, and everyone in the town helps out!
The Good: This house was fun shit! It was such a crazy idea, and it worked! From the fake plastic masks, to the queue video to just the cheesyness of it all, this house was just pure unadulterated fun.
The Bad: Pacing, again the big problem. Also, a lot of boo doors. I know it’s an industry standard, but this place had a lot…and the actors didnt really seem to know what to do. It was also hot as hell…a problem for this location. But overall fun.
Wolfman-Ripped from the Silver Screen of the upcoming Wolfman remake, this house takes us into the world of Lawrence Talbot.
The Good: SOUNDSTAGE! They did this one right. I can’t really say anything bad about it. I loved the make up they used, it wasn’t just a mask…it was a combination of it all. It takes you through the transformation process and while you don’t see the transformation all at once, you work through it. The guy even shouts “I WILL KILL ALL OF YOU!!!” Naturally the legendary ChainsawWolf is in this house, and it fits him perfectly….I wont’ tell you where, but it’s inspired casting. The ending of this house is to die for. And it will still just stop the line.
The Bad: If I had to pick something about it, I would say that the lights at the end look cheesey….but other than that. I love it
Dracula:Legacy in Blood-Dracula is looking for brides to carry on his line. And he chooses from a plethora of women. The ones he picks are granted immortality, the rest suffer.
The Good:SOUNDSTAGE! I’m really happy they decided to bring the Classics back. The set pieces are amazing on this one, and it’s just really well done from the costumes to the set to the actors.
The Bad:Everyone was expecting less classic Drac and more sexed up Buffy style like Castle Vampyre. We were promised bats and creatures, and I didnt see neither…of course it was very foggy so I didnt see much. I also didnt see Dracula one time.
Frankenstein:Creation of the Damned-The Good Doctor Frankenstein is back at work after the failure of his previous creations. The creature is also back and he’s looking for revenge. As he said…We Belong Dead.
The Good:SOUNDSTAGE! Again, right location, great choice. Great pieces and make up. The monster has a contemporary look to him and it’s pretty decent. The use of the different experiements were good, and the bride….sexy and scary..does that make her..Scexyary? Yeah I dont know either. Love that the classic look of her is gone. The Monster is scary again.
The Bad:The set pieces look like they were directly ripped off from Iron Man. Not enough time with the classic monster, and not enough animatronics. There is is one scene with an ape…and you’ll know it….but is it a wolfman or an ape? Little things Igor…little things.
Overall Houses: They were all really good and detailed. They used way too much “boo door” stuff and not enough in your face. The ones that were great were really great, and even the bad ones werent all that bad. They spent too much time with SAW and you can tell they didnt spend enough time or money on some of the other houses…but then again, it boils down to the Actors. My pick for House of the year? You guessed it. Wolfman! This was just too cool for school.
Of the six scare zones, they were all slacking in one way or another. The majority of them were size. I liked alot of what I saw, and disliked a lot more. I wont break it down too much, but I will go brief.
Lights Camera Hacktion-Too short and not enough set pieces. The actors were putting their hearts and souls into it though which made all the difference.
Horrorwood Die In-Too much emphasis on the movie screen and the cars and not anything else. The actors were great, and it was fun trying to tell which movie they were from.
Cirque Du Freak-Absolutely perfect in every way but one….you guessed it. Too short. I loved the imagination of this one, and if the zone is any indication…the movie is going to rock.
War of the Dead-Too short too short. The greatest thing about this was the set pieces and the way the actors used them.
City of Cannibals-Captain Caveman anyone? Is scaring so easy a caveman could do it? Sorry…but there was absolutely no point to this zone, I know what they were trying to do…it just failed.
Containment-WTF?!? Inflatables. All I’m going to say. They tried, but not hard enough. I like the effort put forth by the actors but this was one of the least convincing zones ever.
Two shows this year. Bill and Ted and Rocky. I heard Rocky didn’t change much except for the cast. So we opted out of that one for Bill and Ted. The show was brilliant. With the whole story revolving around a world without pop culture and one geek who controls it all. I was pissing myself from laughing so hard for most of the show. It drug here and there, but for the most part….another excellent halloween adventure!
Overall the event was a decent attempt. I just didn’t get as into it as last year. It’s still early and things can change. I don’t like the fact that most of the characters were using masks this year…and masks that were obviously rubber masks. For the zombies, why could we not see the great make-up that the event has become known for? A lot of the movie characters could have been done with make up as well, and while it would have been more time consuming, you might have gotten better responses from your actors. I’m tired of boo doors, and pop outs. Maybe I’m just becoming a little jaded but I didnt jump but a few times and I was saddened by that. The lack of a third show, or even a street show…and SAW would have been great here….made for huge crowds. Add in the fact that Rockit was not open and you have a lot of pissed off people. Overall great event, but I still long for the great original characters that Universal Creative is definitely capable of. Bloody Mary, while a well known legend, was Universal’s own creation with Dr. Mary Agana. Julien should have been the focus instead of the movies, but hey, the movies sell….and they spent loads of money on SAW. We are going to try and be back in a few weeks, and I would love to get back for the final night. It is definitely worth seeing, and worth fighting the crowds.Without further adieu…pictures! If you don’t want to be spoiled, then don’t view:
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