As this year’s Halloween Horror Nights approaches at Universal Orlando Resort, props for the scare zones have started to appear in the streets of the park.
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Universal Orlando has released an official video giving you a look inside a few of their haunted houses from Halloween Horror Nights 19 including Saw, Chucky, the Wolfman, Dracula, and Frankenstein.
Since our cameras are only allowed to shoot outside the houses, not inside, this video is the closest you’ll get to being there:
To see all of our Halloween Horror Nights videos, visit this playlist on YouTube.
And to read more about what went into making Halloween Horror Nights 2009, pick up a copy of the Fall 2009 issue of Orlando Attractions Magazine.
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.
Universal Studios Orlando has released official descriptions of the haunted houses and scare zones that will be featured in Halloween Horror Nights 19. This year’s icon has also been announced to be Julian Browning, an undead movie usher who welcomes you to the Universal Palace Theater in this video:
The above video is part of a tour of the Universal Palace Theater on the official Halloween Horror Nights web site. Five of the houses are featured on the site so far, each with its own interactive 3D movie poster that comes to life as you drag your mouse through the scene.
Here are the descriptions of this year’s Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses and scare zones with their movie posters below:
SAW – For years you have come to celebrate Halloween and to witness the weakness of others. The only way to gain redemption for this voyeuristic obsession is to truly know what it means to bleed, to feel weak; to experience pain. Jigsaw will give you this experience. Happy Halloween. Let the games begin.
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.
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?
Cirque Du Freak – Inspired by Universal Pictures’ upcoming film “Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant,” which tells the fantasy-adventure tale of a boy who unknowingly breaks a 200-year-old truce between two warring factions of vampires. Pulled into a fantastic life of misunderstood sideshow freaks and grotesque creatures of the night, one teen will vanish from the safety of a boring existence and fulfill his destiny in a place drawn from nightmares.
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.
Plus the Rocky Horror Picture Show tribute and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure will be returning once again. More pictures and posters:
Be sure to visit halloweenhorrornights.com for all the details.
Also look for the upcoming Fall 2009 issue of Orlando Attractions Magazine for a full story on Halloween Horror Nights and Busch Garden’s Howl O’ Scream.