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Team Instinct
Jan 12, 2012
in the rear
Attended my first Howl O Scream in Tampa after years of being used to Williamsburg's event. I had an excellent time.

Ranked from worst to first

Zombie Containment Unit - Was pretty weak. An interesting concept (zombie laser tag), but the lines are too long and the scares are running a bit thin. Maybe if they made this the upcharge maze, I'd rank it a little higher.

Unearthed - Its really well decked out but Scarlett (basically the main reason this maze even exists) has been given the boot. She's replaced by generic scares you find in any haunt maze. I noticed that aside from missing a few rooms and a few scares, Unearthed is still the same maze as Williansburg's. Actors were alright.

Circus of Superstition - Its better than Lunatics Asylum, but that's not saying much. I loved the concept but 3D mazes just don't really work well for me. There were a few fun rooms with some neat gags and gimmicks so I'll give the maze credit for that. I just didn't really get a lot of scares out of it.

The Black Spot - Doctor Who reference ^_^. This maze is basically Cut Throat Cove but with a bigger budget. Scares were ok but the set pieces are phenomenal. We went through twice to get the full effect of the sets.

Motel Hell - I loved the decor in this maze. Its really REALLY good. The scenes in the black rooms didn't really tie in with the maze concept very well and I thought the pool area could have some of the water boys in Root to make it a little more memorable. The remaining sets are incredible and the actors do a really good job. You can tell the designers were huge Doctor Who fans as the last bedroom is basically the Silence. I kinda feel No Vacancy is a slightly stronger maze overall. Went through twice.

Zombie Mortuary - This maze had some really interesting scares. Lots of really good set pieces as well. This maze utilized some great gimmicks (people in the ceiling, the incinerator scene). Actors performed really well. If Root of All Evil had a bigger budget, it would definitely be Zombie Mortuary. Did two walkthroughs and it was def better after dark.

Death Water Bayou - This was probably the best themed maze out of all of the mazes I went through. So many stunning sets, so much attention to detail. There are plenty of gimmicks to keep things fresh. We did get stuck in a conga line during the peak of the event after the spinning tunnel. That section of the maze isn't well done (won't work during peak nights especially). Second walkthrough was a lot better.

This year they did away with the roaming hoards and brought back scare zones. I missed out on the entrance zone, but the others were pretty well-done.

Werewolves had some impressive costumes. You had the people in the ghuille suits sitting in the bushes and giant werewolves wandering the area. One bungee scare but he was great. The camo people did an awesome job.

There was a post-apocalyptic scare zone that I found to be better than the one at HHN. Even if HHN has the Mad Max carts moving around. It was really tight and had a really good amount of actors.

The escaped mental patients were a lot of fun, but not too scary.

The playground has a sweet concept, fun set pieces, and some amazing makeup, but didn't get a lot of scares out of it.

Fiends is weaker here than Williamsburg's. I feel they try too had to be Bill & Ted's. I'd rather see something with a little more heart put into it honestly rather than another Bill & Ted clone. They did get some laughs out of me so its not completely bad, but it could be a lot better.

The dance club setup by Gwazi was bad. I preferred the one by Cheetah Hunt.

Cheetah Hunt and Montu at night are amazing. Montu is running especially well. Cheetah wasn't as intense as I remembered.

Falcon's Fury is terrifying. The drop isn't too bad but going up, the weird sounds the vehicle makes at the top, and the whole facing the ground 320 feet in the air put me on edge. Didn't help that I got stuck on my first ride for about 15 minutes 100 feet in the air.

Cobra's Curse is a ton of fun. The queue is fantastic, the theming is great, and the ride broke down on us toward the end of the night so I couldn't get rerides :( We also tried to get a spin but the spinning portion is pretty weak. A great family coaster however. The first drop into the cobra's mouth and the backwards portion are my favorites on the whole ride.

Overall, Tampa's HOS feels lot like Williamsburg's but with a much bigger maze budget. Most of the scares feel largely the same (aside from some of the sound effect scares and some of the actors having microphones). I also expected the pathways to be decked out for Halloween as well like BGW's event, but like HHN and KD, all the decorations are just limited to the scare zones.

Solid event overall. I'd love to check it out later in the season after the scares get a little better.
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