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First review of Halloween Horror Nights 16

Written by
Published: September 29, 2006 at 11:18 PM

OK, I just got back from Halloween Horror Nights 16 at Universal Studios Florida. This is what I have to say: What happened Universal?

This was my second year, last year being my first.
Last year was superb, Islands of Adventure (last year's setting for HHN) made a great setting -- plenty of space, it's dark, loads of areas for scare zones and lots of scaretaters! Bill & Ted was "Excellent" and the houses were prety good too.

This year? It was light, so scaretators couldn't hide! Three scare zones, that's all. Something much better could have been done with Amity; where was the smoke? The theme's there already, you just need to act on it!

The houses that I did tonight were laughable. In particular the Psycho House. Considering Psycho 4 was filmed there you think they might have put a bit more effort into it, maybe use some props from storage!

Anyway, I will return another night to see if they improve on it and add a bit more. I know I wasn't alone in my comments as people leaving as early as 10pm were grumbling.

Readers' Opinions

From Erik Yates on September 30, 2006 at 7:00 AM
It will be better. Opening weekend is notoriously scarce on the scareactors and thrills. In the coming weeks, as things get busier, you will see more things going on. The ratlady will return, so will the chainsaw drill team, and ROBOSAURUS.....but on busier peak nights. I'm going in two weeks, so I cant wait to see what they have going on then. I'm also going to HOS tonight. Make sure to check out ioacentralradio.libsyn.com for a HHN spectacular including interviews with TJ Mannarino, Midnight Syndicate and more.. Also next week I'll have a live report from HOS.
From David Renteria on September 30, 2006 at 7:16 AM
I went there for about 3 hours last night and I was disappointed.

The house that sounded the most fun to us based on all of the information that we had read was "The People Under The Stairs." Supposedly you were divided into groups and one person would be randomly designated the "leader" and this person would lead the group to try to find the way out of the house.

So we waited in line and what do you know, I was randomly selected as the "leader" and given one of those helmets with a light. As we entered the house we saw that we were not in any kind of group, everyone was in a single file line like in any other haunted house with someone wearing a helmet approximately every 10 people. The house was not a maze or anything, you just followed the path like any other haunted house.

It got to the point that I even thought the helmet light was an annoyance since I would look somewhere and the light would of course shine in that direction and it would often "reveal" one of the actors ruining their hiding place. Finally I just took my helmet off and covered the light with my hand. Then it was a tad darker and people got a few better scares.

The "Dungeon of Terror" involved actors just standing around and staring at you. I didn't get it.

The Halloween 360 show was about 10 minutes, mostly a collection of movie clips with a couple randomly shot fireworks and people didn't even know when it was over. Everyone stood there and I kept hearing "that was it?"

The scare zones were pretty decent, but short. There was so much wasted space all over the park.

We ended up leaving hoping that they'll improve it. We have the Frequent Fear Pass so we didn't feel we had to do every haunted house that night. We'll return and hopefully have a better time.

From Gareth H on September 30, 2006 at 4:21 PM
Thanks for making this a Blug Flume Robert.

I would like to add that Bill & Ted was "Excellent" (Queue Guitar rift). Nice little video before the show with previous years clips.
This for me was the highlight of the evening.

Superb acting, sexy women, great spoofs and Tom "I love her Oprah" Cruise. Well worth the mad rush to grab a seat.

Anyway, back there tonight so any changes will be reported right here, at themeparkinsider.com

From Danny Bernard on September 30, 2006 at 10:43 PM
Well, I've never been to Florida and probably won't in the near future so I can only hope the USH version is better.
From Luis Diaz on October 1, 2006 at 9:01 AM
Oh no, I dont want to hear that... this year looks like its supposed to be so good. Last year was good but not as good as the year before (HHN 14) I hope this is just universal getting the kinks out and seeing what works and what doesnt. my crew and i will be heading out on the 20th so hopefully it shapes up by then. We always have a good time when we go but let's hope they turn the lights off when we go and give us a chance to get scared... well, only time will tell.
From shock absorber on October 1, 2006 at 8:47 PM
Just wanted to share a few comments about the opening weekend. We did Friday and Saturday night. Overall, I would say it was above average, but not spectacular. First,we were routed to the left down Rodeo Drive. Everyone had to go that way. I am sure it's to control the crowds. Unfortunately, we didn't want to go that way Saturday night because we had done all four
houses on that side of the park Friday night (Psycopath,People Under the Stairs,Dungeon of Terror, and Run). So we doubled back around Mel's and headed to Psychoscareapy, All Nite Die-In and Screamhouse.

I would rate Psychoscareapy as the best, but we missed its debut a few years back so it was all new for us. In fact, it seemed that the three houses we did on Saturday were just far better than the four we did Friday. In People Under the Stairs, I was the lucky guy in our group to wear the lighted hard hat. And I have to say they actually adjusted it to fit my head like a vice. I found it quite amusing considering I am 6'2 and I had to stoop down to get the guy to put it on my head. The scarezones were adequate (liked the Harvest of Souls the best), the Bill and Ted Show was quite funny and Sweet 16: The Director's Cut Lagoon show...well, let's just say I could take it or leave it.

We did enjoy the event and had fun but I liked last year's much more. I think Universal,not IOA, is the place for HHN but the Festival of the Dead Parade was sorely missed.

The one truly surprising thing we noticed was the staggering number of people with Express Passes. For the past three years we've bought them we've never had to wait at all; we just walked right up and went in. Of course we have always gone mid-October and paid premium price for them, so that may have something to do with it. We did not buy them this year and I am glad because it was quite a shock to see the length of the lines for Express holders. Granted, they were getting to the houses faster than us, but they were waiting far longer than I would have liked and we overheard some who seemed a bit peeved about it.

Overall, we had a couple of fun nights and I know it was opening weekend but I have to say I don't like the "working out the kinks" defense that I read about when the event seems to be lacking. Universal has had 15 years to perfect HHN and I know it's different each year but whether it's opening night or Halloween, the experience should be the same. It just did not seem to be as inspired as it has been in past years.
Of course this is all just opinion and I will be interested to see how others rate their experience. Hope everyone has a great time and gets some good jolts.

From Therese F on October 2, 2006 at 5:14 PM
hi there--

just wanted to add my two cents about HHN16. I have been going for the past 5 years and was recently there Friday and Saturday night. Overall I think that they did a nice job of mixing up the past with the present and it brought back some good memories. Bill and Ted show was excellent as usual. I thought that Psychoscareapy and All Nite Die-in were by far the best. A little dissapointed in the scare zones--especially deadtropolis. Harvest of the Souls was really creative and had good atmosphere. The Arrival area really left me wanting more. I had the Express pass and didn't seem to wait that long --at best maybe 10 minutes. The chainsaw brigade was there and the rat lady in the casket roamed through near MIB, accompanied by a "dead man band". The Directors cut was interesting but I also agree that I was left saying to my frineds "That was it?". I did enjoy myself as I always do but feel that the atmosphere at IOA is better. It was pretty packed so even though having it in both parks seems like you walk forever it really spreads the crowds out and makes the scare zones not seem like you are a shooping cart line at WalMart 'shudder'. Anyway---hope you all have a great time--enjoy the moment!!

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