Southern California’s Halloween haunt event, Knott’s Scary Farm, returns for its 45th season with 13 themed mazes and the return of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark for her last performance at Scary Farm with an all-new show. [Read more…]
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s annual Halloween event, Howl-O-Scream returns this year for 19 terrifying nights with two all-new haunted houses, five scare zones and the chance to ride their thrill rides in the dark – some of which are “infected” with roaming horrors. [Read more…]
Halloween Horror Nights 25 starts this Friday, but we were able to attend their last dress rehearsal for a preview of what to expect inside the five Scare Zones. And if you won’t be able to attend HHN yourself, we also have the full Jack the Clown stage show [Read more…]
Halloween Horror Nights starts this Friday Sept. 19, 2014, but we were able to attend the Team Member Preview on Wednesday to bring you this look inside the four Street Experiences this year. [Read more…]
Busch Gardens launched the 2010 version of Howl-O-Scream this past weekend. The event continues on select nights up to Halloween. We didn’t make it through all the haunted houses yet, but we were able to catch the scare zones and two of the shows. Here’s a look at the fun: [Read more…]
Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) officially kicks off this Friday Sept. 24, 2010, but a special preview was held tonight for Universal team members and their guests. Luckily a friend of a friend works there and brought me as their guest. We’re going to bring you a full report with more photos and videos after the official opening. Consider this a sneak peek. [Read more…]
I took the hour drive from Orlando to Tampa Bay on Saturday to see the KaTonga show before it ended (more on that later). But I was surprised to see how much of their PG-13 Halloween event, Howl-O-Scream, looked ready to go. [Read more…]
Busch Gardens officially kicks off it’s 11th season of scares with more haunted houses than ever before, all new scare zones, a new idea in how to experience a haunted house and live concerts each night by the rock stars of horror – Sylvie and her killer band, My X. [Read more…]
There are only two nights remaining to experience Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. As an added treat, Universal added an all-new scare zone this week. Located within a New York area alley, characters from past Horror Nights events (like Jack the clown pictured above) have emerged to greet guests once again, previewing what’s to come for the event’s 20th anniversary next year, described as a “scrapbook” for Horror Nights fans.
After experiencing the new scarezone, guests have the opportunity to tell Halloween Horror Nights creators what scares them the most. In on-camera interviews or through other surveys, guests are asked to share their favorite moments from the past 19 years of terror and what new fears they’d like to have piqued. This feedback will be used in planning for Halloween Horror Nights 20 next year.
Below are a few images from the new scare zone. The first three (and the photo above) were released by Universal Orlando and the last three were sent to us by Orlando Attractions Magazine reader Michael Gavin.
The new scare zone is quite confining.
The Caretaker from Halloween Horror Nights 12 walks the alley.
Cindy, the Caretaker’s deceased daughter, also roams the new scare zone.
The Caretaker doesn’t appear to enjoy bright lights.
The Usher from this year’s event occasionally shines his flashlight onto guests.
Additional scares can be found around corners.
Here’s our video look at all of the other scare zones from Halloween Horror Nights 19:
Following last week’s scare-by-scare review of this year’s Halloween Horror Nights 19 event at Universal Studios, here is a review of a Howl-O-Scream 10 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Like Horror Nights, Howl-O-Scream is packed with haunted houses, scare zones, and stage shows. However, unlike Horror Nights, you won’t find a lot of well-known characters or movie licenses. Instead, Howl-O-Scream features all original creations throughout the event.
Last year was my first time attending Howl-O-Scream and, as I posted in my 2008 review, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the event that I had anticipated to be mediocre turned out to be extremely fun, original, and full of unexpected scares. So this year, in visiting Howl-O-Scream for its tenth year in existence, I was expecting a whole lot more and, for the most part, the event fulfilled my expectations.
Here’s a quick look at this year’s Howl-O-Scream event from Busch Gardens:
Now, here are my spoiler-free thoughts on the haunted houses, scare zones, and stage shows of Howl-O-Scream 10 (each ranked in order):
Howl-O-Scream 10 Haunted Houses
1. Nightshade Toys
Scare Factor: 8/10
Entertainment Factor: 9/10
By far, the best experience at Howl-O-Scream this year is one of its two all-new houses: Nightshade Toys. The story behind the house is simply that toys in a factory have become possessed. When I first heard this concept from Scott Swenson, creative director for Howl-O-Scream, I immediately thought there would be an obvious comparison between Nightshade Toys and the Chucky house that is featured in this year’s Halloween Horror Nights event at Universal Studios. Still retaining some of my past biases, I assumed that Howl-O-Scream’s version of a creepy toy factory would somehow be inferior to the one found at Horror Nights. But I was dead wrong.
Nightshade Toys is one of the best haunted houses I have visited this year and far more interesting and unique than the Chucky maze. Every scene throughout Nightshade is different from the previous ones, but still well within the toy factory theme. I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises, but among the usual assortment of slamming wall panels are plenty of unexpected elements that have the potential of startling and scaring you from all angles. Nightshade Toys is sure to entertain anyone who has ever owned a doll, stuffed animal or any plastic toy.
2. Death Row Vengeance
Scare Factor: 6/10
Entertainment Factor: 8/10
Last year, Death Row Vengeance topped my ranking of the Howl-O-Scream houses and it remains near the top of this year’s list for all the same reasons. I’m a sucker for a good ghost story and this house is packed with inmates-turned-spooks. While not a whole lot has changed in this house since last year, I still thoroughly enjoyed having a chance to wander through the house that continues to use common effects and techniques in creative ways. Even though I had been through this house before and knew what to expect, I still got a startle or two.
Halloween Horror Nights 19 started last night (Sept. 25, 2009) at Universal Studios Orlando. For the second year in a row, I bring you my scare-by-scare review of the event, taking you on a spoiler-free journey through the night’s haunted houses, scare zones and shows.
Before we get to the review, here’s a video look at this year’s scare zones:
As with the past couple of years, the thoughts below are based on what I saw on opening night of the event and it’s entirely likely that many of the issues presented here will be corrected within a matter of days. I have ranked the houses and scare zones in order from best to worst (in my opinion).
Halloween Horror Nights 19 Haunted Houses
1. Frankenstein: Creation of the Damned
Scare Factor: 7/10
Entertainment Factor: 9/10
While the Frankenstein house may not have been the scariest of the night, it was definitely the winner in visuals and theatrics. From the moment you enter the sound stage that houses this maze, you step into the world of Frankenstein which doesn’t let up until you exit. This was the only house that we took a full lights-on tour of while preparing for an article on Halloween Horror Nights in our Fall 2009 issue. Despite the fact that I had already walked through the entire house (still under construction) and knew its basic layout, I was still thoroughly impressed by the scenes that unfolded within. There are plenty of startle-scares when Frankenstein’s monster pops out of unexpected places, with one especially inventive use of misdirection near the beginning, but what makes this house fantastic is that it is filled with scenes that bring you deeper and deeper into the strange world of Dr. Frankenstein and his creations. There are quite a few scenes completely void of activity, but they still add to the overall ambience of the experience. It’s a rather lengthy maze too with a fantastic final scene.
Actor John C. Reilly (above left), Chris Massoglia (above right), and Josh Hutcherson will be appearing tonight near the Universal Studios arch at 6 p.m. in promotion of their upcoming film, “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant.”
The movie has inspired its own scare zone at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights 19 which also begins tonight. “Cirque du Freak” tells the fantasy-adventure tale of a boy who unknowingly breaks a 200-year-old truce between two warring factions of vampires. Here’s a trailer for the film, which hits theaters on Oct. 23.
Tonight is the first night of Halloween Horror Nights 19 at Universal Studios. Below is a quick rundown of the haunted houses, scare zones, and shows you can expect to see at the event. We’ll be posting photos and video after we return tonight.
The Wolfman – Pure. Animalistic. Rage. Take a journey through England’s countryside and come face to fangs with one of the most terrifying creatures to ever explode from the silver screen. Forget everything you thought you knew, and prepare yourself for the sights and sounds of the newest addition to Universal Pictures’ legacy of horror.
Chucky: Friends to the End – Ever wonder what happens when good toys go bad? Chucky has been hard at work, tinkering with your favorite childhood playthings. Nothing is what it seems as you step inside and experience what its like to live in Chucky’s world. This is no Child’s Play.
Dracula: Legacy of Blood – Welcome to Castle Dracula on the night of “The Calling.” Vlad Dracul bids you welcome – be you one of the chosen women who has been called or merely a mortal man. Those who have been chosen must decide whether to join the Dark Prince in everlasting life as his brides, or reject his offer and suffer for all eternity. The blood must be renewed. The fate of the legacy hangs in the balance – Dracula’s legacy of blood.
Frankenstein: Creation of the Damned – It has been a fortnight since his creation caused the castle to be engulfed in flames. Doctor Frankenstein now continues his work to perfect the art of resurrection and regeneration, surrounded by his creations. The Creature has also returned, to make the Doctor pay for the pain and suffering he has had to endure. The Creature will destroy everything in his path to gain redemption, and you are now caught in the middle of this epic battle.
The Spawning – Something “different” has moved in among the sewers of Wyandot County, Ohio. The locals claim that these creatures, these “Sculders,” are two feet tall, with the body of a snake. As a volunteer member of the local water district, it is your civic duty to venture into these pipes and restore the flow. But beware, the locals are wrong about the “Sculders” and the only thing that will be flowing is your blood as it leaves your lifeless body.
Leave it to Cleaver – Samuel Meetz works for the people of Carey, Ohio as a butcher, bringing them the freshest meat possible. With a steady livestock of transients and town lawbreakers with which to serve, and a staff of volunteers who will preserve their towns deadly secret by any means necessary, there is truly no end in sight for Samuel or his family business. As Sam always says: Meet Me at Meetz…The Z stands for cannibal.
Silver Screams – Julian Browning has been the usher in the Universal Palace since it opened in 1922, of course, he’s been dead since 1940, but he still commands respect for his most beloved films from every patron. Buy a ticket to the Universal Palace, and let Julian usher you into a realm where the horror on the screen is ripped away to reveal a world that is truly terrifying. Features “Shaun of the Dead,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “My Bloody Valentine 3D” and other popular horror films.
Lights, Camera, Hacktion!!! – Hollywood Boulevard is being used as a location for the filming of the next big horror movie to be released in October 2010: The CHAINSAW DRILL TEAM MASSACRE in 3-D. Lights, Camera, Hacktion! Our director, Mas Imair, noted horror film aficionado, is bringing the massacre to life in blood-red terrorcolor. But the actors seem to be taking their direction literally and are “hacking” through the cast and crew. It’s a close encounter of the worst kind as the backlot becomes a hacklot and the streets run red with blood. Are you ready for your close-up?
Horrorwood Die-In – The Hollywood Drive-in has been closed for years, and some say the abandoned grounds are haunted, where late at night the dim flickering images of carnage and chaos, monsters and madmen leave the screen and enter the real world looking for fresh victims to star in their latest horrors.
Apocalypse: City of Cannibals – A whole civilization of war-like carnivorous humanoids emerges from the sewers and underground tunnels of New York, looking for fresh food. Half-humanoid, half-beast and ravenous, these tribal cannibals invade the streets of Manhattan. No one is safe!
Containment – When an experimental bio-nerve gas is accidentally released into the atmosphere, the streets are filled with a toxic green mist that turns anyone that comes in contact with it into an infected, melting glob of flesh and blood.
War of the Living Dead – On a remote island in the Pacific during the last days of World War II, German military attempted to create the unthinkable – a new breed of super-soldier made from the reanimated corpses of the dead. American forces quickly seized the island compound, but not before the reanimate agent was released. The island was quarantined and has remained a secret until now. Fifty years later, the two opposing dead forces are still locked in immortal combat with you caught in the crosshairs.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: A Tribute – Mad scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Rocky Horror and other famous Rocky Horror Picture Show characters return, bringing the musical mayhem of the classic horror spoof to life on-screen and on-stage with live performers singing and dancing in outrageous costumes. The tribute will be interactive with audience participation and on-stage guest involvement.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure – Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted Theodore Logan return with an all new, especially excellent Halloween adventure featuring a who’s who of notorious celebrity guests stars.
Here’s a look at several of the haunted houses and scare zones in Howl-O-Scream 10 for 2009 at Busch Gardens Tampa. This video was officially released by Busch Gardens.
For much more about Howl-O-Scream, pick up a copy of the Fall 2009 issue of Orlando Attractions Magazine and keep watching this blog.