This past weekend, we finally got a second chance to use our Killer Deal pass and returned to HHN at Universal Studios Hollywood. We decided to dismiss the bad feelings we had after the disastrous opening night and act as if this were our first time going this season. This time, we didn’t bother with trying to eat at one of the City Walk restaurants and were in line before the gates opened. We also didn’t have to waste time getting our passes processed, so it was a much less stressful event getting in, which kept us in better spirits. This time around, we wanted to first see all the mazes we missed on opening night and then go through the Friday the 13th and House of 1000 Corpses mazes again (yes, we got in only three mazes in five hours on opening night). This time, we actually made it through all the mazes in less than three hours (sans Vampyre, which we intentionally skipped). We also took some time to slowly wander through the scare zones. Now we feel that we can provide our haunt stalkers with a thorough and complete review of HHN 2010.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Never Sleep Again
This time around, we enter the reincarnated world of Freddy Kruguer based on the 2010 version of the movie. Once again, the Freddy theme was on point. The detailed sets accomplished the illusion of being in a constant nightmare state. There was the use of black light effects, fog, music, and animatronic props, which amplified the terrors we all dreamed off. The maze actually works backwards in reference to the movie timeline, with the opening scene being the Badham preschool, where Freddy allegedly began his sinister deeds, and concluding in his boiler room. Universal does a great job of building suspense in the first room with scratching sounds, Freddy chuckles, and shadows, letting us know that he’s lurking about but uncertain as to when he’s going to strike. From this point, the scares quickly get cranked up, and we were assaulted by Freddy from every direction throughout the rest of the maze. The scareactors had high energy (it was early in the night), and even if we saw the people in front of us get scared, they still were able to startle us. They also had many rooms with more than one scareactor, which allowed for them to ambush both the front and back of the group. The highlight in this maze was the stretching walls (which really surprised us) and the live body in the room of hanging body bags. Usually the hanging body bags are always dummies…not this time. While there is some familiarity between this maze and the 2007/08 versions, the maze was effective at finding new ways to use Freddy to scare us!
Our rating: 4 skulls
House of 1,000 Corpses
This was our second time through this maze, and we waited only 25 minutes (the sign said 10 minutes) as opposed to the 80 minutes we waited the last time. We still didn’t see any special effects from the 3D. We did notice that they switched back and forth between red and blue lighting, which accents those colors in each scene, but it seems that the glasses are just good for blocking our peripheral vision so it’s easier for the scareactors to “get us.” The first quarter of the maze still lacked enough scareactors, making the first few rooms though “Dr. Satan’s murder ride” fairly dull. The maze feels as if it really gets going once you enter the house itself. Instead of sudden scares, this maze mainly relies on the sets and the scareactors acting out various scenes to create the horror. For the sudden scares, they rely a lot on a loud noise effects, in which a scareactor triggers a loud sound and flash of light when they suddenly enter the scene. This is effective the first couple of times but gets predictable by the end of the maze. The underground tunnels in the end offer the best scares. This maze does a great job at telling a story that is easy to follow, even if you haven’t seen the movie. It also has great talent that is able to accurately portray the full essence of the movie’s characters.
It’s also fun to note that this is actually the second time they’ve done a version of this maze. In 2000, they also had a version of HOTC, which we remember as being more terrifying. At that time, Rob Zombie was working to get his movie distributed by Universal.
Our rating: 3.5 Skulls