Halloween Horror Nights 26 is entering it’s first full run of the season this week, after a massively successful first weekend. This year all eyes are on Chance, or at least she hopes they are. She leads a twisted line up that includes American Horror Story, Krampus, and three huge legends of horror. We had the…CHANCE to check out this year’s event during the opening night media preview.
YOU DON’T STAND A CHANCE!
There’s been a ton of catchy little slogans about this year’s Icon. Chance first made her debut as a sidekick to Jack the Clown almost ten years ago now during the Carnival of Carnage show. Since then she’s grown in popularity, and even returned in last year’s Carnage Returns along side the Clown Prince of Pain. This year the Halloween Horror Nights story picks up right where last year left off. It’s a first for the event. Jack was locked back in his box, leaving a trail of bodies behind him. He also left Chance to pay the cost, and she was carted away to Shadybrooke Asylum in Carey, Ohio. Both of which are staples of Halloween Horror Nights lore.
Instead of waiting for Jack to come save her, she’s taken matters into her own, very capable hands. She’s a few cards short of a full deck, and has the same violent tendencies that Jack has. In the cool opening moment she declares that she’s here to hurt everyone…and we really believe it.
Chance gets plenty of time to shine, with an all new house, and scare zone based around her. She didn’t get a show, but that might be pushing it a bit. We’ll get back to Chance in a minute.
Universal Creative Patrick Braillard was also on hand to talk about not only the decision to use Chance, but also all of the great new content for this year.
Also it wouldn’t be a modern Halloween Horror Nights without The Walking Dead. The show is absolutely huge, and looking towards a new season in which a major cliffhanger will get answered, whether you want it to or not. Show runner Greg Nicotero stopped by to talk about The Walking Dead at Halloween Horror Nights, as well as the future of the show and the maze at the event.
This year’s Walking Dead maze is the best one to date. It’s huge, and full of Walkers and iconic moments. The franchise gets a lot of hate from the fans, but the show is a MASSIVE pull for Universal. This year, the Walking Dead is in it’s fifth year at Halloween Horror Nights and it feels fresh, despite the fact that it’s a “greatest hits” maze. We see every iconic moment, and end with last season’s tangle with Nagens’ crew. If the hype around the new seasons is any indication, the franchise isn’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future.
Scare zones at Halloween Horror Nights are meant to be haunted houses without a roof. The streets become filled with props, actors and tons of screams. This year features all original content in the streets, with everything ranging from Vampires, to an Apocalyptic nightmare, to ghosts, mythical creatures and…Chance.
Chance kicks off things with a scare zone that takes you in and out of her psychosis. She’s unleashed hell on the asylum, as well as the patients. However, she’s haunted by that little voice inside her head.
The Scare Zone is set up with several different stages, each one looks like you could see a different presentation as Chance goes deeper and deeper into her mind. Instead, there’s one Chance who tells knock knock jokes, and takes pictures with people. It’s what the crowd wants, as there is always people gathered around her, but it would have been cool to see other things. Still, the lunatics in the streets more than make up for it, and the entire area is played for fun, more than scares.
Next up is Vamp 55. This idea is pretty cool, and kind of disturbing. Way back in good ole 1955, during a high school homecoming parade…Vampires attacked. Only, these vampires weren’t your average Draculas. They were a sign of the times, and were Greasers. They’ve turned the entire school into Vampires, and preyed on everyone.
Vamp 55 is a lot of fun, and possibly one of the best in recent memories. It’s cheesy, there’s lots of room to play in, and it just has tons of great gags and fun. Of course, the actors here make everything happen, and it’s all up to them to pull it off. My favorites are the greasers who spend half their time fixing their hair, and the other half sucking necks.
Lair of the Banshees uses the darkness to their advantage in telling the tale of the one place that you don’t want to find yourself. The Banshees moan loudest when they are about to steal a soul, and there’s lot of soul stealing happening here.
From masks, and make up and even stilts this is one fun scare zone. They use old school parlor tricks, and great little cheap props to great effect. The only thing that is missing is a line of jack o lanterns, and people zipping by on the trees above.
Possibly the shortest scare zone in HHN history, this is also one of the most effective. The dead crew of the Annabelle Lee have made port and they are looking for vengeance on the living.
Very short, too short…but man is packed with details. The construction near Disaster has everything bottlenecked down, which makes it hard to navigate, but it is really a great chance to get scares as the tight confines leave you with very few ways out.
Survive or Die gives you a glimpse of an apocalyptic world ruled by factions fighting for the last bit of clean air. Will you join or die?
The New York scare zone is too big. It uses projection mapping, chainsaws, fire, fog…you name it. There’s lots going on, including several recruiting events on either side of the area. It’s really hard to say exactly what’s going on in here, but it really has some great scares waiting for you.
Bill and Ted once again return for the 25th year in a row. That’s a long time for a show as irreverent as Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure. This year there are a lot of political jokes, which like the candidates…pretty much fall flat. Hillary Clinton getting naked and covering herself with hot sauce though…that’s classic stuff right there. The final ten minutes, however, is simply some of the best that the show has ever been. There’s some great jabs at Disney, including the whole “Shocker” scandal, and you’d never guess it, but…THEY HAVE SEX WITH THEIR TAILS! If you’ve seen the show in the past three years, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. If not…
Knockknockwho’stheretailsexBOOP. You’re welcome.
Is it perfect? No, it’s Bill and Ted. And it’s just not Halloween without Bill and Ted.
Academy of Villains is the main show in front of Mel’s Die In this year. Is it good? HOLY CRAP! It’s amazing! We’re going to get into it a lot more in another article, but this is the future of where Halloween Horror Nights is going.
You old timers (and those who KEEP the candles for old HHN stuff) will most likely not like it. Academy of Villains is very fast paced, very in tune to current music, and catches your attention for just a few minutes. I’d love to see a longer show, but this is perfect for the current HHN crowd. It’s a great party show, and it is just AMPED UP.
Check out highlights of the amazing show:
American Horror Story is the house to beat this year. It hits all the high notes of seasons 1, 4, and 5 in order. It has some of the biggest and most elaborate sets ever, and it is scary as hell. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll melt into a million pieces. If you’re not, you’ll still love the sets and scares. All your favorite characters are there, and yes…Twisty is insane.
See highlights in our walkthrough video below!
American Horror Story needs to be your first stop, because the line gets huge for it very quickly. There’s good reason, as it is possibly the best house of the year.
Lunatics Asylum in 3D is Chance’s time to shine. Our beloved Chance is taken to the ever famous Shadybrooke Asylum where she just raises hell. Check out highlights in the awesome walkthrough video below!
3D houses are either hit or miss, and this one is more hit than miss. It’s a lot of fun, and a lot of Chance as well. She’s everywhere! The house also blends the line between the real world where she’s wreaking havoc, and Chance’s mind where she’s just gone bye bye! Definitely one of the better 3D houses, and a real crowd pleaser.
Up next is Krampus. Oh lord Krampus. The only problem with the maze, based on the film of the same name, is that it’s too damn short! The house has some amazing details, including a one on one with the evil old elf himself. The premise of the movie and maze is simple. Santa Claus brings you presents if you’re good. But if you’re bad…I mean really bad, and you’ve lost the entire spirit of Christmas, you get a visit from Krampus. This house has demonic gingerbread men, evil toys and a huge Jack in the Box. Pretty much the most fun and favorite of the event this year. One other problem is that there is no final showdown with Krampus. We see him a few times, but he’s not a massive puppet, or animatronic. That would have been way too cool. Still, an amazing house.
It’s a sequel! Halloween 2 picked up in the movie right where the first one left off. Naturally, that’s where the maze picks up. I think this is a first for any HHN house, but the maze uses the exact same scene from the first maze and brings it back. It is very fitting, and a great way to start what is just a non stop assault. There’s more mayhem, a big fiery finale, and more Michael Myers.
Leatherface and company return in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as the film is completely recreated in maze form. It’s a house with timing, and you have to be in the right place for some of it, but it’s what every fan wants. Non-stop Leatherface action. The guys playing Leatherface are HUGE!
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again. BEST YEAR OF WALKING DEAD EVER! The greatest hits route worked, and everything just seemed to be on point. There have been years where The Walking Dead is good, but this year it’s better than it’s ever been. All your favorites are here, from every season. Well Walker, The Bicycle Walker, everything. Yes, even Wolves and Nagans’ gang.
The Exorcist is an interest take for a house. This year it’s being done at three HHN’s across the world. We’re going to have an article about each one, but in Orlando it’s kind of a very mixed bag. The house starts off strong, and ends strong…but the middle is just kind of odd. It’s got great scares, and if you love the movie you’re going to love the maze. There’s even a nod to the ridiculous second film. The effects are amazing, and the puke scene…bleh…it had me gagging. A must see for fans.
Tomb of the Ancients is a great idea. It’s very claustrophobic, very tight, and shit is in your face the whole time. There are some good uses of different textures and floors, and the story is really kind of inspired. We see these tombs all over the world, but what if they weren’t tombs at all, but rather gates to the hell? HHN puts you right into one of these gates and sets the demons and gods out on you. There’s a scene with a giant beast that will scare the hell out of you, plus there’s nothing like seeing a giant God like creature stomping towards you in fury.
A requel-Ghost Town: The Curse of Lightning Gulch tells the tale of a mining town that was consumed by greed. The ghosts of those who went looking for gold still consume the town, and they are restless. It feels like there could have been more happening here, but it certainly is a very good looking house. You are transported into an actual Ghost Town, and you are assaulted on all ends. There is a scene that involves a canon that could have been BIGGER, but it’s definitely fun.
This year had the dubious position of trying to outdo last year. That’s a big chore, because last year was a big year. Still, the minds at HHN did a great job scaring the hell out of us. The event is always great, and this year uses some really surprising features. Some years you get stronger scare zones, some years you get stronger houses, or even shows. This year feels about even all the way around. The event is turning into a huge party, which is what we really seem to want this year (especially with all the tragedy) and Chance is the perfect person to lead that party full throttle, with no care of what gets broken.
The creative team isn’t done yet, however, as the latest innovation from Halloween Horror Nights is about to take hold. The Repository will start on the 29th and will take you into a world of VR, and Truth that is Legendary. We will have much more about it in the coming weeks, and we really can’t wait to dive in!
Slideshow-check out even more pictures from HHN 26!