In a rare OFF TMSM moment, I braved a night on the “dark side” of theme parks and decided to check out Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights 28 (HHN 28). This year HHN 28 was an 80s-dream come true, mostly because of the Netflix breakout hit, Stranger Things, which takes place in the 80s. No spoilers here, but if you have Netflix and haven’t had a chance to watch Stranger Things, I highly recommend the show, it’s not scary per say, but it’s fantastic and has a talented cast that will keep you on your toes.
This year HHN 28 had an unprecedented 10 haunted houses, 5 elaborate scare zones, plus one incredible show; the Academy of Villains (AOV) dance troupe presenting Cyberpunk. If you’re a fan of horror movies, especially cult classics, this year’s lineup is not to be missed. The houses include:
- Stranger Things
- Halloween 4
- Trick R Treat
- The Horrors of Blumhouse
- Carnival Graveyard – Rust in Pieces
- Dead Exposure – Patient Zero
- Scary Tales – Deadly Ever After
- Seeds of Extinction
- Slaughter Sinema
With so many houses and limited time in the park, you’ll have to pick and choose where you want to go and what you want to experience. Luckily, I went early into the seasonal event and on a day where the longest line was 65 minutes. That line was for Stranger Things; no surprise there. Still, I walked through all the scare zones, sat through a portion of AOV, made my way through 5 houses, and rode one ride. Not too shabby for a few hours.
The key to getting the most scares out of your time in the park is to start with the houses to the right of the entrance and work your way “backwards” until you return to the entrance. If you follow that method, you’ll get to the first two houses, Trick ‘R Treat and Seeds of Extinction.
The Trick R Treat house is based on the movie of the same name, with a cute little trick or treater by the name of Sam who wears orange footie pajamas and a burlap sack over his head. Don’t let Sam’s cuteness fool you, he will punish anyone who breaks Halloween traditions. Last year Trick R Treat was only a scare zone, but it was loved so much by event goers that it was parlayed into a haunted house this year. The house features Halloween traditions totally gone wrong and the ever watchful Sam is present. In total, I waited about 10 minutes to get in most of which I walked the queue line, and it takes 3-5 minutes to get through the house. I think my favorite part of it has to be the light scent of candy, and pumpkins throughout the scenes. As a connoisseur of creepy – I would rate this house a 4 of 10 on the scare scale.
The next house I visited was Seeds of Extinction, the house right next to Trick R Treat. This scare set is decorated in what looks like a lush green tropical nightmare. The origin story of this experience is that a catastrophic meteor has brought killer plants to wipe out humanity, and they have succeeded, but now they are hungry again, and you are fresh meat. As you travel through the house, the plants are out to get you, and you must navigate through what is a world overrun by foliage after destruction from a meteor. There is one section of the house that has you walking on a tilted floor element, but is poorly lit, like much of the house, so if you aren’t careful you stand the chance to trip. Truthfully in terms of scares and story, I give this house a 2 of 10. It wasn’t particularly exciting, but it was refreshing as far as being well air conditioned.
Next week, I will cover and rate the next two houses I visited during HHN 28, and rest assured this ain’t no Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I’ll get into the thrills and chills.
Until next week.
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