UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD
Halloween Horror Nights 2006
Hollywood, California (Abbreviation: HHN)
Universal Studios Theme Parks
Halloween Horror Nights - (10/18/06) Mark, our West Coast Correspondent , attended the grand opening of Halloween Horror Nights on Friday the 13th and sent in several photos as well as his review of the event. Enjoy the photos to the right and here is Mark’s review:
First off, it was really good having Halloween Horror Nights back at Universal Hollywood. When I walked in through the gates, it was as though they never canceled it for all the past years. There is a certain quality to all of the scenery, makeup and costumes, and environment as a whole that separates both Universal Halloween Horror Nights from their rivals. That being said, it’s not that HHN is better or more fun than the Haunt. They are two very different events, in my opinion.
I had a blast watching the street performers in the scare zones. HHN had 5 scare zones this year: Dawn of the Dead, Old London, Black Death, Deadwood, and Studio Center. All of these scare zones had great interaction with the park guests and drew large crowds of onlookers entertained with what was going on. I think they were all excellent, although at times hard to maneuver through.
Now, on to the mazes…
The most anticipated maze was the Terror Tram. (Lance, I never did the old version that you remember with the riots, so I have nothing to compare it to). First of all, the tram portion is definitely a PG-13 rating, as the jokes are rather dirty at times. During the drive down to the walkout portion, a video is played on the tram of the history of “The Director.” Using a scene inspired by Salvador Dali & Luis Bunuel’s 1929 film Un chien andalou, the Director’s twisted story is told as the tram travels down the dark road to the Psycho house. (To see the entire short film “Un Chien Andalou, go to YouTube) There, the passengers disembark and walk through the haunted Psycho house and War of the Worlds sets. Of the two areas, the Psycho area was more fun, with more of the actors interacting with the people. The War of the Worlds area seemed to have more of them further removed from everyone, with more security and employees keeping the crowd moving. During the return trip the tram parked in a dark area for a long period of time (possibly for clearance), but it would have been nice to have some performers there in the dark messing with the captive audience on the tram.
Atmosfear - 5
Story - 4
Fear Factor – 3
The Asylum had the longest wait in the park (listed at 80 minutes). We probably only waited an hour, regardless, but it was still quite a wait. This reminded me quite a bit of the Asylum maze at Jurassic Park in IOA a few years ago. Overall, the themeing was great, with many twists and turns and great scenery. Apparently, all hell has broken loose and the insane are coming after the park guests. My only complaint (and from what I remember at IOA, it was pretty unpleasant) was that we didn’t get the “smell element” anywhere in this maze, especially as the people wander through the dirty bathroom scene. Yes, it is disgusting, but the effect was pretty convincing.
Atmosfear - 5
Story - 4
Fear Factor – 4
The House of Horrors was housed in the Van Helsing maze building. Really, there were no major changes to the maze other than the characters inside. It is already a pretty amazing looking maze inside, so it was good that it was “modified” for HHN. The monsters inside were some classic, some modern, but not scary at all. There were no moments of scare at all. The Van Helsing maze has always had one or two really good moments, but I didn’t see them here. It was more the look of people acting the parts of the monsters without really making any attempt to scare. Nice to look at, short line, definitely don’t miss it. Just don’t expect to be scared as much as you would expect.
Atmosfear - 5
Story - 2
Fear Factor – 1
As for the shows, the one I was most looking forward to was Slaughter World. I was hoping that with the sets and atmosphere, we would get one heck of a great stunt show. I was thinking it would be somewhere along the lines of The Hanging or Bill & Ted’s. Unfortunately the park had a really early closing time (midnight), so we barely made it to the mazes and we missed the show. My good friend went the next day and reported being very disappointed in the show. It seems that the show is about 85% the same as the daytime Waterworld show with a few extra jokes and a different ending. Hopefully, another show can be developed for future years at this location.
Included in the evening were also special shows of Fear Factor Live: Dead Celebrety Edition, Chucky’s Insult Emporium (much like previous years) and a very entertaining show called The Mutaytor. With different elements to the show and great special effects (the fire effects can be seen from across the park), this is a great show to check out.
Finally, Jurassic Park in the Dark is open, and hasn’t changed from previous years of HHN in Hollywood. Still a lot of fun… gotta love the drop! Also open is The Mummy, with absolutely no changes. It would have been fun to turn off the lighting in the coaster segment of the ride and leave us in complete darkness. Maybe something else can be planned for next year. We’ll see what next year has in store for us.
Really, this was such a fun event. Again, it is a whole different experience than the Haunt. Knott’s has the quantity of mazes and attractions, with so many scares around every bend; it’s enough to give you an ulcer. Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights has such talent and quality, it’s like walking through the actual movie sets that they’re so famous for. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire night. With a few more mazes and attractions and slightly longer hours to help with the crowds, this will be one of the premiere Halloween attractions in the country. Keep it up, Universal, and don’t take this amazingly fun event away form us again in the future!