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Jack's Back to Celebrate the 25th Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando

September 19, 2015, 7:18 PM · Jack IS back, and he is scarier than ever. At 25 years and still going strong, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) returns this year with nine haunted houses, five scare zones, and two live shows. This is by far the most entertaining horror event anyone can attend.

Halloween Horror Nights

First things first, the haunted houses. Each house has multiple rooms to display different scenes to scare you senseless. Keep hydrated as some houses – Run Blood Sweat Tears – are as hot, if not hotter, than the outside temperature. Not to mention long lines getting into them (Express passes are available, but lines can still be long).

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead: The Living and the Dead · I’m a big fan of Walking Dead, so having this great show come back from the dead for the 4th year in a row was a real treat. Based on Season 5, you walk through iconic scenes such as Terminus and the flooded food pantry basement. Gregg Nicotero, the show’s special effects master and co-executive producer, has helped put together some of the most fantastic makeup and set designs I have ever seen in a haunted house. The question now becomes, will we see Fear the Walking Dead as a haunted house next year? Maybe.


Freddy vs. Jason

Freddy vs. Jason · The classic horror films are back and together again at this house. You will be walking through Camp Crystal Lake and then to 1428 Elm Street. All the Jason scareactors (Universal employees dressed up to scare) seem to be super tall and absolutely menacing. Finally, see Freddy and Jason battle it out, some of which are played on video screens which I think adds a nice element not found in other houses. Jason or Freddy winning is random, so be sure to check out the house again if you have the time. The house operates with a cast of shift A or B members, so the winner of Freddy vs. Jason is based on the shift schedule when you enter the house.

Insidious

Insidious · For the first time at Universal this year, the maze takes you through the scariest scenes from all three movies and makes you want find the closest exit. This was by far the scariest house for me, and most every guest based on the volume of screams heard inside and out. It was dark, it was narrow, it had flashing lights, and the scareactors seemed to be jumping out of every nook and cranny. Universal successfully created this house to traumatize anyone who dares enter.

The Purge · This was such a popular scare zone for the past two years, they made it into a house this year blending in scenes from the two movies. My friend found this house to be the scariest because according to him, it was so realistic. Gun and machete wielding scareactors are all over along with booming heavy metal music. Be careful of the strobe lights toward the end, it may disorient you. The strobe light effect causes you to wonder whether what you saw was real or not as the scareactors disappear as quickly as they appear.

An American Werewolf In London

An American Werewolf In London · John Landis’ 1981 horror classic returns this year and significantly improved through his input. During the media session, he demanded that Universal produce a better werewolf than ever before, which used the original Werewolf in London molds. Landis was an active participant, providing insight on how to recreate his masterpiece. Get ready for lots of werewolves and an occasional charging giant bear.

Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem · Universal has put some of their best characters and sets in this house to make it the longest house you will experience. A truly scary house where psychotic clowns are just waiting to entertain you. Your host, Jack, makes several appearances throughout your journey. I also love some of the classic characters returning such as Frankenstein and the Werewolf. By the way, when you think it’s over, it’s not. So, keep on running.

Run

Run: Blood, Sweat, and Fears · Universal’s original take on the Running Man movie, you will be hunted down in every area you run through. Run takes place in the old Disaster! – A Major Motion Picture Ride…Starring YOU, which utilizes indoor and outdoor elements while avoiding the assassins called Reapers. Be prepared to be tracked in Canada, Japan, and other countries. The different environments at each country inside the house make it a unique house and experience.

Asylum In Wonderland 3D

Asylum In Wonderland 3D · This particular house uses 3D glasses that you will either hate or love. I loved it, but I know people who don’t like 3D should definitely avoid this house because it will be like walking through a 3D movie. The house takes advantage of the way different colors have different effects on the glasses as reds will jump out more than yellows. The first room can be intimidating, but overall it was not too scary compared to the other houses. The walking bride may cause you stumble.

Body Collectors

Body Collectors-Recollections · Another Universal original. This house is not for the faint of heart, I mean, just look at the title. Enter through a cold wintery Asylum to see a crazed doctor rip out a spine out of a live person. Excellent makeup and special effects in this house. I didn’t know if I wanted to regurgitate my 2-for-1 churros or just keep running away screaming.

Now for the scarezones, or themed areas where scareactors are roaming about from all sides. There are five of them:

All Nite Die-In

Psychoscareapy, where a bus for the criminally insane has crashed and now the insane roam the streets.

Icons, where Universal’s scariest characters are alive again haunting the area;

Scary Tales, where horror meets steam punk to be called “screampunk.”

Evil's Roots, where you face evil fairies, humanoid bats, and scarecrows that will just jump out of nowhere. By far the scariest zone I’ve been in because its super dark and scareactors are waiting by the crates.

All Nite Die-In, where Carrie and other characters roam the streets. (Photo above)

All the scarezones were fantastic. Universal has a way of making guests feel immersed in their respective atmospheres. The scareactors were excellent as they were lively and always in character. Be prepared to be scared from all sides. I must mention chainsaw carriers are not just limited to the scare zones, you can be scared through the entire park!

As for the shows...

Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure · This is the most entertaining show I have seen at any theme park. This show lasts for around 30 minutes and blends humor and horror live. The choreographed dances are amazing and have a pretty good story. Be prepared to see your favorite pop culture references vaporized.

The Carnage Returns · Jack the Clown has returned with friends to have his own show. Watch he and others torture victims with lots of knives and other devices. A show that is pure horror and carnage. This show, like Bill and Ted, goes on multiple times a night.

Overall, Universal Studios Florida has done one amazing job to get scares and thrills alike. Although I would not recommend this show for the younger crowd, I would recommend it for anyone who likes a good scare once in a while. Bring a date, a group of friends, or just go yourself and not be able to sleep at night. You choose. Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 25 does not disappoint!

I must also mention there are food and drinks (including mixed drinks) scattered around the park too. Duff brewery just released a new seasonal amber beer so be sure to check that out.

Replies (7)

September 19, 2015 at 8:16 PM · I know opening weekend is always one of the more "traffic" heavy day, but what was the least wait time and which house and vice versa?
September 20, 2015 at 5:07 AM · Great article, Jeff. Love the pictures and video.
September 20, 2015 at 5:19 AM · The longest wait times were for Insidious (100), Freddy vs Jason (90), and TWD and Purge around 75 mins. Shortest was Asylum and Run. These were Friday night times.
September 20, 2015 at 5:23 AM · This looks so scary. I'm not sure I can brave the event but thank you for the review.
September 20, 2015 at 6:19 AM · Thank you so much for the review. I go ever year and from what you wrote it only got better. I can not wait to go on a few weeks. Again thank you for such a informative and detailed review
September 20, 2015 at 6:20 AM · I have been going to HHN for the past 16 years. We are going on 10/3 of this year. This article is the most comprehensive article on HHN that I've seen in a long time! Absolutely tremendous!
September 20, 2015 at 6:33 AM · The 25th anniversary house too seemed have long wait times, even at the end of the night. I can never see the 3D Asylum having long wait times for the aforementioned reason. Expect wait times to be even longer when October comes around. There is also a guided RIP tour option starting at $139. Guaranteed 1 entry into each haunted house and some other perks. Yes a costly option, but if you're a real fan of this event, it might be your best bet to see it all.

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