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Team Instinct
Jan 12, 2012
in the rear
So with HHN27 fully broken in, I've visited the park on a few occasions to check out their offerings thanks to my Frequent Fear pass. Last year was my first experience with the event and it was definitely a good time. This time, however I've been able to visit more than two times so I've got a better understanding of the mazes and scare zones the park has to offer.

Mazes from worst to first
Blumhouse of Horrors (2/5) - The actors perform ok but the mashup story isn't really executed well. You walk through one scene from Sinister, one scene from the first Purge movie, and the rest of it is Insidious, but even that's confusing. Maybe if the other movies had time to shine (and they scrapped the Purge scene since its kinda unnecessary) this would be so much better.

Saw (3/5) - This maze felt like Krampus last year. Not bad, but not particularly amazing either. Just a middle of the road maze. The traps are pretty cool to look at but the set pieces overall leave a lot to be desired.

Hive (3/5) - Vampire maze, its pretty solid. The set pieces are actually pretty well done but the actors can be hit-miss. Plus the last room is pitch black so its kinda hard to find the exit.

Ash vs. Evil Dead (3.5/5) - The "comedy" maze of this year, I was only familiar with the Evil Dead movies when I first walked through. Even after watching the first season all the way through however, its still not as strong as I hoped. There are a few really well done scenes and some fantastic set pieces but overall its just above average.

American Horror Story (4/5) - This is a major improvement over last year's maze. No dead rooom, really nice set pieces, and pretty good actors. Not to mention this is one of the longer mazes of the event. Because it's AHS, it has a habit of getting stupidly long lines, plus I don't really care for the extra queue in the soundstage. Not as bad as last year's AHS but still kinda annoying.

The Shining (5/5) - I personally prefer Exorcist last year but damn this maze was done really well. The set pieces are phenomenal, the actors are solid, and there's a few fun gimmicks in the maze. This is probably my favorite of the IP mazes at HHN.

Dead Waters (5/5) - Damn this is one of the prettiest mazes I've done. Walking into the sunken steamboat is quite the experience. I just wish this maze was much longer and didn't rely on the standard Universal canned scares.

Scarecrow (5/5) - While the visuals aren't as impressive as some of the other HHN mazes, this one makes up for that in length. Its probably one of the longest walkthroughs in the park, not to mention there are a few gimmicks like the crow room and the ending mirror maze with strobes. I feel Tomb of the Ancients utilized the special effects better though. Universal touts this maze as having all the actors over 6ft but they don't seem to utilize their height very well IMO. Most of the time the actors are hidden behind props and such so you can't really tell how tall they are.

The Fallen (5/5) - Even though the line for this maze takes forever at times, this maze is my definition of a perfect HHN maze. Great gimmicks, great set pieces, long walkthrough, fantastic makeup. There's back to back bungee scares at the end, plus one of the gargoyles flies above you on a zipline. Entering the soundstage, you're immediately transported to an abandoned cathedral taken over by demonic gargoyles. This maze would probably be stronger without the canned Universal scares everywhere but not much can really be done about that anyway.

Scare zones
Festival of the Deadliest (2/5) - stilt walkers are great but other than that, it's basically a HHN themed strip club in the streets. Not very scary, set pieces are just repurposed parade floats. The only advantage this zone has over the others is its size.

Altars of Horror (2/5) - Occasionally an actor will get me in this zone but its basically the photo op scare zone for this year. I liked Chance's zone last year better.

The Purge: Anarchy (3.5/5) - The standard apocalypse scare zone, I preferred last year's zone a lot more. Last year's zone had cool collapsing building projections and Mad Max go karts roving around. They basically pulled all that and gave us a truck and some motorcycles. The Purge appears in Blumhouse, this zone, and Altars of Horror. There's too much Purge at HHN. The Purge wasn't even that scary. At least its a big zone so there's a lot mroe area to work with.

Chainsaw Clowns (4/5) - Not an official scare zone but the chainsaw clowns are pretty effective at freaking people out. A great place to people watch, but no set pieces to look at like the other zones unless you count Fast Food Blvd and Krustyland as set pieces. Maybe you could pretend they're Sideshow Bob's minions.

Invasion! (4.5/5)
Do you like really bad 50s B sci-fi movies?
Do you like really cheesy aliens from those B movies?
Do you like campy acting from the humans?
If you said yes to all those, you'd adore this scare zone. Its really tiny and the actors don't have a lot to work with as a result, but they take advantage of the space really well. The aliens are entertaining as hell and the human soldiers are cheesy.

Trick 'r Treat (5/5)
Probably the best of HHN's scare zones this year. If you're a fan of the movie, you'd love this scare zone. Set pieces are well done, costumes are well done, actors do a great job of scaring, Sam is there, lots of hiding spots, the visuals are awesome, how can you not like this zone? Aside from some crazy bottlenecking this zone gets, its def my personal favorite.

RIP Bill & Ted - still one of my favorite theme park shows ever. They name dropped Dueling Dragons and Great Movie Ride right after both closed. That got tons of awws from the audience for sure. They also took tons of jabs at Disney from Moana to Guardians and definitely sex tail Pandora. Before the Vegas tragedy they also made fun of Epcot's Food & Wine Festival too.

Overall a strong event this year. I don't really care for the constant use of strobe + audio track for the scares and the constant conga lines everywhere but other than that I've had a great time at Uni with each visit I've made. Definitely one of the best theme park haunts around.
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