It just so happens to be my eleventh wedding anniversary with my wife and for our special night we decided to drop the kids off at a friends house and head out to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights! Living in Florida certainly has its benefits. One being that for both September and October, Universal Studios put on a huge display of haunted houses. Along with horror themed sections of the park.
So if you can put up about one hundred and fifty bucks each then you can get an all access vip pass. The VIP passes are a must because off the back, if you don’t have one then you’re a poor piece of crap and the amount of houses you go through will be very limited. I’m kidding you’re not a poor crap person. This is due to the huge lines in the park. Which is actually very common in most seasonal haunted houses. We used to live in Philadelphia and that area goes absolutely ape shit over haunted houses every October. I remember going to the Bates Motel one and the lines were always ridiculous.
Horror Fans HOOO!!!
But horror fans don’t care. We love the lines because we live for the October haunted houses! This is our month to shine baby. We walk through the attractions like we’re bosses ready to fuck shit up! Nothing scares us because we’ve seen the craziest most jacked up stuff in movies and seek it out like a chubby chaser at a fat acceptance seminar. We think that smile on our faces in the house sets us apart. Like the college drop out wearing the werewolf mask is supposed to know “you can’t scare me bitch! Cause I have a tattoo of Jason on my left butt cheek!”
We even love the lines because we’re surrounded by other like-minded asses like ourselves. We stand in line and judge every horror themed shirt we see! Our shirt is special, we purposely wore it so everyone knows horror isn’t a once a year kind of thing. We have hard nips for it all year long and you can tell because I have Jack bloody Nicholson’s creepy face on my shirt! All ye who stand before shall be awe struck in wonder in this line!
All of this is going on through our heads while the annoying white preppy girls who have rich dads talk about the new lip gloss they’re using. Who cares! We all know who rules the season. It’s the stupid looking guy with the dad bod who has a cool shirt! That’s who!
Halloween Horror Nights
For anyone that is as stupid and psychotic like me but also loves haunted houses, then Halloween Horror Nights is something you should check out at least once in your lifetime. Now let me first point out that the attractions they do have are not the best or scariest. In fact they are kind of tame compared to many haunted houses out there. I’m sure many people could comment on a particular house near their home town and declare it better. But this isn’t about you, this is about me and Halloween Horror Nights.
So Much Fun
Universal attractions are fun and can be a delight to any fan. Universal does a great job at offering a broad range of diverse style haunted houses that whatever your interests are, there is something for you to enjoy. Also everything is in the park so the atmosphere has a good feeling to it. They had sections you could walk through that had these interesting themes. One was a horror techno arcade. There were neon villains walking around. Scaring people with chainsaws and building a good environment. They used these huge arcade game cases that lined the street and then fill the place with fog machines. Its fun and they become well populated areas. Others like this include Viking zombies, psycho models and a Rob Zombie rave. Kind of like small scale attractions with no lines. It may not have that awesome northern fall feel. In fact it’s hot! I was sweating even though the sun was down. But that is what you get for being in Florida.
My wife and I were there most of the night but we didn’t get to experience everything. But what we did see (all except for one thing) was very cool and worth the money we did pay. I would guess most haunted attractions run over fifteen bucks a person. That is just an estimated guess. So if you pay one hundred and fifty for one night and go through ten houses plus side shows… then one fifty kind of makes sense. I know there have been times when I have spent well over fifteen bucks for just one haunted attraction. Universal offers so much that you almost feel overwhelmed. Also, I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside the attractions so what you’ll see are outside shots. Sorry, but if you want to see the stuff then get a damn ticket and go.
The park is host to ten major houses and like I said there is a broad range of themes. The main attraction is Stranger Things which makes sense because that show is a massive hit right now. The popularity means a great deal because popularity is what Universal uses to determine the kinds of haunted attractions they do. Stranger Things was a cool house and it had a huge line. Without that vip pass then you’re stuck waiting well over an hour.
Stranger Things Attraction
The house itself features moments of the show from season one where eleven kills the demogorgon. Then goes into season two with scenes like the abandoned bus scene and the death of Bob. Then of course scenes of season three with the hospital scene and the giant mind flayer made up of dead corpses. Which is a pretty impressive prop. The entire place makes you feel like you’re in the Hawkins lab or hidden tunnels under Hawkins and even the star court mall. Universal sticks to the atmosphere as a key to a successful house and only Universal could pull it off.
Popular characters of the show make appearances and pop out of the walls in certain points. So do small demodogs and Hawkins lab meanies. You can tell this house was a repeat for last years and that they just added season three to it. But all in all it is a nice house. Especially for any Stranger Things enthusiast. Which was probably the majority of the crowd. I saw more Stranger Things shirts than ever before and people were singing the never ending story song while waiting in line.
The park also has an awesome Ghostbusters house which I appreciated a great deal. Ghostbusters is a movie that doesn’t get a lot of horror recognition but it is a great film for the Halloween season. The house serves the movie justice. Like Stranger Things, it goes through the most popular movie scenes. Kind of like the actual rides in the park do for movies like Harry Potter or Jurassic Park. Recognition and familiarity is what makes the house fun. You see Slimer in the hotel with Venkman catching him in his beams. I really loved seeing Gozer and Stay Puff. But absolutely laughed my balls off when Louis Tully makes an appearance. He happens to be my favorite character in the movie. But there is a moment when some dude dressed up like Louis just comes out of know where and it’s glorious.
Universal kind of impressed me with the Killer Klowns From Outer Space house. I mean, it was basically another best scenes kind of thing like the others but the fact that they did Killer Klowns is kind of cool. The Klowns looked phenomenal and it does a great job at impressing any die hard fan. What I like about Killer Klowns and Ghostbusters is that they aren’t too scary, so you could potentially bring younger kids with you. Killer Klowns is a movie that I let my small kids watch as I deem it an entry-level horror flick. The best about Killer Klowns was we got to take a picture with Shorty (yes that is his actual name) and they had a Terenzi brothers ice cream truck as well. This might have been my most favorite moment of the night. As you can tell while I suck my dad bod gut in for the picture.
So the entire park is full of other attractions. There is a real nice house called Yeti: Terror Of The Yukon and it does stand out as a great spectacle because it’s so different. I don’t think I have ever gone into an attraction that has a winter theme. Usually it’s always graveyards and scary houses. But this one was an outdoor woods in the frozen tundra. A Yeti (big foot) appears all over and it’s real sweet. I love how Universal has the major houses like Stranger Things and Ghostbusters, but you can find these more obscure themes that are just a good time. Another one is Graveyard Games, which has this real well done graveyard/crypt atmosphere.
A house called Depths of Fear which was an underwater lab gone to hell and was a personal favorite of mine. There are giant fish monsters all around and dead people with underwater style boils. This was a wonderful house because I have an eternal boner for all things underwater horror related. I kept thinking of movies like Leviathan or Deepstar Six. I actually gave my wife a history lesson on under water horror films and why there were so many in the late 80’s. She kissed me and said I needed to get out more. Any who, at the end I couldn’t help but hope Hollywood brings back some more of these kinds of films. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for 2020’s Underwater.
Simply The Best
My most favorite house of all ten had to be the Universal Monsters! Simply put, it’s an amazing feature that should be a must for any history of horror buff. It features a walk through with most of the well known Universal monster characters like Dracula, the Wolf Man, Frankenstein, the Gill Man, the Phantom, the Mummy and even the Hunchback. I don’t think the Invisible Man was there, but I guess I could see why. Maybe that would be hard to present in a quick walk through kind of system. However, each area where you see the characters is very… and I stress very… well designed. The sets are beautiful and the monsters are amazing. They aren’t the Lugosi or Karloff style but they are the depictions of the monsters we all have come to love. I actually had to go through this again because I loved it that much.
Just seeing how Universal still honors the classic golden age monsters that brought them so much fame means a great deal to me. Although the movies are way before my time, I still love them and cherish them as amazing works of craftsmanship and art. The monsters like the Wolf Man are held close to my heart and it makes a pussy horror fan like myself kind of emotional to see them given such respect. Universal may have bombed in the Dark Universe thing but seriously, just remake the movies and keep up the gore like this haunted attraction did. It will work!
Here is a video I took outside the Universal Monsters attraction. I thought this was real cool.
The Only Thing I Didn’t Like
At one point we walked past a section where a performance was going on. I think it was being held in the Fear Factor theater. It was called Academy of Villains: Altered States and so we went in to sit down. We were actually getting real tired from all the walking and standing throughout the night and felt like a rest was in order. But when we went in we noticed this performance was a dance crew kind of show. Now, I have shared my opinions on theater people before… you all freak me out. I just don’t like the theater face and over exaggerated emotions. But dance crew folks are on that same level, if not more! Plus I really hate dance crews. I don’t see the point and sure, it looks talented but it doesn’t get to me. I’m not saying your lives suck and what you do is mental. I just don’t like it. But dance crew people freak me out as well. They get so into it and have these real intense faces. All I see is Michael Jackson in zombie form from Thriller looking at me and staring me down… possibly wanting me to be a young boy. But I can’t take them seriously. Am I supposed to be rocking out to this douchey dance routine? Because I won’t! Also, they played music that they deemed “Halloweenish.” Which meant a lot of Disturbed and Marilyn Manson. So as a death metal fan, that just kills me cause they both suck. Sorry goths but you listen to pansy rock and Disturbed fans are on the same level as Resident Evil fans.
Dance crews like this, especially ones with a horror theme make me think of Disney. Everything is plastic and fake. I’m sorry if it offends people but I don’t like it.
But that was really the only thing that got to me. I mean, there are other little factors that I thought could be better. For instance, the entry to the houses aren’t controlled so people are just walking through one after another. Like a big centipede of people. This creates an uneven flow where monsters jump out at people before you get there. But you’ve seen it from a distance so there isn’t much surprise. Or you miss the monster because they just scared some group four seconds ago. Its not like the monsters are trying to get everyone. But if it was like a group then it could be better. It’s not a major issue but one that could be worked on. It would be nice if they did ten people… wait ten seconds… and then let another ten people through. But then again, they have lines of a couple thousand people waiting and only six or seven hours to get people through. But this is probably a major issue with all haunted houses and one I think we’ve come to expect.
So all in all, I had a wonderful time at Universals Halloween Horror Nights. It was a blast to be in my element of horror. Something feels so awesome when the horror season starts coming around and this park was a great intro to the events. It refuels my love for horror and makes me feel like an angsty teenager once more. But mostly I love see the details of the attractions. Universal puts great deal of effort into their set designs and you feel soaked into the environments. The lights in the park are all off and its at night so you aren’t cooking from the blistering sun.
So if you have a chance to come down to Florida or if you have an awesome wife like me, then by all means; get a VIP ticket and check out Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. You’ll have a good time I swear it!