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P. 602: Universal Holidays & Velocicoaster photo report posted!

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Part:1

 

My Thoughts on Halloween Horror Nights 19: Ripped From The Silver Screen

 

Every year I always look forward to attending Halloween Horror Nights. This year it was a special milestone event for me, it was my 15th event year attending. Over the years the events start to blur into each other. Not that they aren’t good, but it gets hard to remember which house/scare zone went with which year. Over the years some do stand out in my mind, like my first house back in 94’. You always remember your first house, I was 19 and with a bunch of my friends. We went through the Psycho Path Maze. We queued up in front of the old Bates motel and then headed into the house built behind the now gone Psycho House façade where Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster now stands. From the moment walking into the Bates Motel lobby and Norman slamming down a butcher knife on the front desk screaming “GET OUT!” We knew this was going to be a night full of screams.

 

Over the years a few more memories come to mind, like my first scare zone: The Midway of the Bizarre in Amity. The little monster creature biting a eyelid as part of the Frightmares theme in 1997. Bill Clinton, Monica and Hillary and rest of the Bill & Ted cast performing “You’re the One That I Want” from the movie Grease. Trying to find our way out of a room with the walls caving-in, in the Dungeon of Terror. Or when “Neo” from the Matrix flew over the audience in Bill & Ted and then found his “Ted” twin. Running scared sh#tless through the Terror Mines with just one source of light on our leader of the group’s helmet light. Being trapped in a room full of Micheal Myers in the The Director’s All Nite Die Inn at Islands of Adventure. Having Jack spray the boat with a giant firehose in the boathouse on Jaws. Experiencing and being amazed by the bungee effect of a flying vampire in Castle Vampre for the first time. Always being blown away by the massive detail that goes into the sets for the houses. I have experienced the event in the super hot normal Florida mid-90’s weather, through 2 tropical storms and every once in awhile a nice low humidity night when it actually feels like fall! And then there are the memorable icons from The Crypt Keeper, Jack, The Caretaker to the Director. All the events are fun, some years stronger than others but I always have a good time.

 

Last night I had a very special treat: along with Erik and Adam, we were invited to attend the Media Night/Kick off for this year’s event: Halloween Horror Nights: Ripped from the Screen”. Ripped From The Screen places you in some of the most terrifying scenes from motion picture history. The icon for this year is a movie ticket usher who once worked at the Universal Palace Theater. When approaching the entrance plaza for the Studios you immediately notice the theater entrance and marquee. Movie posters that feature characters from this year’s houses are decorated in each of the surrounding arches. We started with a Q&A at the front entrance with Michael Roddy, the show director for HHN. After some trivia, Michael brought out actors John C. Reilly, Chris Massoglia and Josh Hutcherson stars of the upcoming Universal film, “Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant”. It was exciting, I wanted to shout out to “Broc Landers”, Dirk Digler’s wing man, but I resisted. After seeing a sneak peek of the new film (opens October 23rd) and some Q&A, HHN officially kicked off.

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HHN Show Director, Michael Roddy.

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Erik was happy about his free movie poster.

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Yay for "Broc Landers!"

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Actors John C. Reilly, Chris Massoglia and Josh Hutcherson stars of the upcoming Universal film, “Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant”.

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Part 2:

 

We were led to our “RIP” party at the Horror Make Up Show theater lobby. They really rolled out the red carpet for this event. A perfect setting to host in, the lobby features many artifacts from a gazillion classic Universal horror films. The party was great: 4 food stations and 2 open bars were all top notch. Got to meet with some of the creators of the event including Michael Roddy the show director and the creator of Jack, just to name a few. Also spoke with Kim Grommel the creator of past scare zones like “The Skool” and this year’s Horrorwood Drive Inn”. Kim gave us a great tidbit: there is a new small indie movie called “Scare Zone” that will be either in theaters or on DVD soon that was filmed in last year’s “Body Collectors” house. So be on the look out for it. Another little tidbit: did you know it takes over 1,000 cast members make HHN happen? I believe it! After a welcome by Chris Thomas, the VP of Universal Entertainment, we were sent off on our “RIP” private tour of the event. Led by our great tour guide, Ethan, we hit the monster-filled streets of Universal Studios Florida.

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Chris Thomas, the VP of Universal Entertainment.

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Show director, Michael Roddy.

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T.J. Mannarino one of the creators of HHN.

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Tribute to past Halloween Horror Nights.

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Part 3: (MINOR SPOILERS)

 

HOUSES:

 

This year’s 8 haunted houses were all around solid good houses. Many years there are great houses but there always seem to be a clunker. But this year I thoroughly enjoyed them all.

 

Silver Screams – A solid house. Home to this year’s mascot “The Usher” Silver Screams puts you in the middle of a scene from a collection of classic and recent horror movies. Biggest freak out for me is “The Strangers” room, that movie freaked me out and their scene in the house delivered the same reaction. B+

 

Chucky – Friends Till The End – “The funhouse” of this year’s event. Lots of good disorientating effects. You are shrunk down to the size of Chucky. Lots of cool Chucky masks and some “killer” stuffed animals. B

 

The Spawning – You travel through the sewers to come face to face with some type of creature things that have really cool glowing eyes. This house has a lot of nasty things hanging from the ceilings. B-

 

Saw - I think it does the movies proud. Basically you walk through lots of graphic scenes of torture that are featured in the films. Warning: you may get wet in this house. B

 

Leave It To Cleaver – Like Psychoscarapy: Home for the Holidays a few years back, this was a cool and very unique house. The layout of the house was interesting and the masks worn by the actors are freaky. Felt like the most original house this year. A-

 

The Wolfman – Attention to details is all I can say. Universal always does a good job on transporting you into the movies and this is no exception. You really feel like you are outside in the woods – think the E.T. queue but eerie. The Wolfman house wasn’t the scariest but had the best setting. The acting scenes were really great. A-

 

Frankenstein: Creation of the Damned – Another great detailed house. Lots of monsters, body parts, solid house. B+

 

Dracula: Legacy In Blood – I think this was one of my favorite houses of the night. It was more like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which is a movie favorite of mine. Lots of details in the castle and many “killer” brides made this one great. A

 

SCARE ZONES:

 

I feel I can’t really give a good/fair review of any of the scarezones from my visit. When we started the RIP tour it was still daylight so the scare zones aren’t that effective. By the time we went through them, it was the end of the night so I was extremely tired. I will say I liked the overall feel for most of them. The Horrorwood Die-In was good, (be sure to visit the snack bar!) I really enjoyed the Apocalalypse scarezone: The actors were doing a great job there. I think I would need to experience the other scare zones in the dark, first thing coming into the park. I think they would have left a lasting stronger effect on me. Big plus for bringing back the jack-o-lanterns in the trees by Café LaBamba, it is one of my favorite areas from last year and this year.

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Bumped into some old friends, Reed and Stacy!

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The jack-o-lanterns are back. Sorry about the sucky photo. =(

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War of the Living Dead scare zone.

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Part 4:

 

SHOWS:

 

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure – I’m a fan of this show. It’s part of HHN history and a tradition. Usually this a major highlight. But I think maybe this year it just wasn’t the best in my opinion story-wise. All of the performers did a great job dancing. They danced their asses off for the big finale number which I think made up for the rest of the story line. And considering it was like in the low 90’s with agazillion % humidity, I don’t know how they didn’t pass out. I don’t know if it was the audience’s lack of enthusiasm for the show, (usually everyone cheers and is pretty rowdy). Maybe everyone was sober and not drinking as much as in years past. But this year's show just didn’t seem to capture the audience as usual. I did think the MJ tribute was kind of cool. I think I might have finally hit an age where I can’t relate to as much of the pop culture as in past shows. So yes I’m too old!

 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Tribute – This was a gem I experienced last year for the first time. This was so much fun. The performers did a fantastic job singing and dancing. The audience as like if you ever see the movie in theater, was on fire. They really interacted with the stage, and the performers gave it right back! And plus everyone is half naked!

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Part 5:

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

 

I had a great time, the only thing I can complain about was that it was a thousand degrees out! But that's not HHN's fault. The Usher mascot was creepy & all the houses were solid this year. They all gave a good setting and completed the job of being ripped off the screen. You really do feel like you have been transported into the movie. I don’t know if there were as many scares as previous years but the atmosphere was excellent. Which sometimes I enjoy even more than just a cheap scare. For the scare zones, I need to try them again in the dark. Both shows were entertaining, but I have to give it to Rocky as my favorite. I think overall it will be placed in my top half events attended, not as good as last year’s Bloody Mary theme but better than 2007’s Carnival of Carnage. Here is my updated rankings:

 

1. HHN IV (1994)

2. HHN 13: The Director Will See You (2003)

3. HHN: Reflections of Fear (2008)

4. HHN V: The Curse of the Crypt Keeper (1995)

5. HHN VII: Frightmares (1997)

6. HHN: Islands of Fear (2002)

7. HHN: Sweet 16 Horror Comes Home (2006)

8. HHN: Ripped From The Silver Screen (2009)

9. HHN VI: Journey Into Fear (1996)

10. HHN: Tales of Terror (2005)

11. HHN VIII: Primal Scream (1998)

12. HHN IX: Last Gasp (1999)

13. HHN X: You Don’t Know Jack (2000)

14. HHN: What’s Your Breaking Point? (2004)

15. HHN: Carnival of Carnage (2007)

 

Thanks again to Robb for having us attend this fantastic event. Erik and Adam it was fun hanging out. Thanks to all of the Universal staff for making us feel so welcome and the creators of HHN for giving me a great appreciation of what goes into my favorite event of the year! Another great event, can’t even imagine what next year’s 20th anniversary has in store!

 

Thanks for reading and enjoy the Halloween season!

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Including Doug Jones, known for rolls in the movie Pan's Labyrinth and one of my favorites, as one of the Gentlemen in the classic Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode "Hush".

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We ended the evening watching an interview session with a Fangoria radio station and some of the HHN creators.

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Excellent detailed report, Eric--without giving away too much. I'm looking forward to the updated "classic" monsters, myself. (Yeah, still a sucker for Universal's versions of Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman.)

 

The drive-in scarezone sound particularly cool.

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Great report...I look forward to hopefully checking out HHN 20 next year...Wife and I will be back in Orlando for Harrpy Potter so we were thinking of planning it around HHN...Wonder what they will have in store for their 20th anniversary....Hmmmmm....

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I had the amazing opportunity to be able to attend this year's media event for Universal's Halloween Horror Nights 19. Myself, along with Adam Roth (jedimaster1227) and the "other" Eric Johnson (live2tell75) were invited to represent ThemeParkReview.com this year. The first thing that comes to mind about this year's event is how impressed we were on how excellent every single house was. Previously when I walked out of HHN, I immediately can tell someone which was my favorite to least favorite house of the evening. I can not do it this year.

 

I want to thank Universal for the wonderful media event that they put on this year. It certainly exceeded my expectations. Now, onto the reviews. Be mindful that there are spoilers involved. I did keep the photo section pretty much spoiler-free. If you do not want to know too much about the event, I would suggest that you move on down to the photo section.

 

Again, Spoilers Ahead: Warning!!

 

Haunted Houses:

 

Silver Screams--(Building behind Kid's area)--What a way to start off the evening. This is located in the warehouse were Scary Tales was last year. You walk into the Universal Palace Theater where you come face to face with quite a few monsters that is associated with Universal as well as this year's HHN icon, The Usher. You get to meet with such classic monster such as The Phantom of the Opera (Which is also named Erik in case you did not know). You also get to meet The Thing, Shaun of the Dead, My Bloody Valentine as well as Ash (Which they used the title Medieval Dead which was the original name for Army of Darkness). I thought the classic style artwork for each movie poster before entering its associated room was a very cool touch.

 

Chucky--(Tent Near Barney)--Friends Til the End: As you enter the toy factory you are shrunk down to Chuck's size via a vortex tunnel. Throughout the maze you are attacked by some very convincing Chucky dolls. Some nice theming throughout this maze which includes a shootout between Chucky and several army men. This maze had quiet a few sudden scares with all of the hidden locations scare actors could hide in through the maze.

 

The Spawning--(Tent near Men In Black)--Does anyone remember C.H.U.D.? Basically it is a carnivorous creatures in the sewer movie. Beware of this one if you have poor sight or are really bothered by strobe lights. It was quite disorienting in several sections of the maze, which is probably the point. The glowing eyes of the creatures was a nice touch.

 

Saw--(Jaws Queue)--This was an excellent maze this year. Well, I thought all the mazes were good this year. Saw really is the perfect licence for a HHN house. If you are the slightest fan of these movies you will love this one. Many of the famous traps are re-created throughout this maze. Jigsaw's assistants continue to terrorize you throughout your journey. Do not be too surprised if you actually see people captured in front of you while you are going through the house. Talk about interaction.

 

Leave It To Cleaver--(Earthquake Queue)--This one gets the award for being most creative this year. Just think if you blended early 1960's Americana with Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I really do not want to give too much away on this one but you learn the entire process of meat packing from butcher to the neighborhood store. Amazing theming!

 

Wolfman--(Soundstage)--The movie does not come out until next year which would probably help to explain a few things, but you still understand that the Wolfman wants to eat you. Theming was very detailed, just be careful not to touch the trees in the gypsy camp as well as in the forrest. It is so detailed that you may actually get sap on your hands if you touch the trees. I did get startled several times in the maze. The showstopper would be the final scene that involves the Wolfman and a hunter. Who do you think wins that one?

 

Frankenstein: Creation of the Damned--(Soundstage)--Steampunk meets Body Collectors. I guess that is one way you can explain this one. If anything, I am glad that they made Frankenstein scary again. The theming is top notch for this one. You enter via a huge set of Frankenstein's castle. where you find Frankenstein raging havoc inside. The shadow work was really cool in the front section of the maze. Once inside you will find a group of people decked out in steampunk style costumes gathering up new body parts from unsuspecting victims.

 

Dracula: Legacy In Blood--(Soundstage)--This would probably be my favorite soundstage maze this year. The theming is WAY off the chart. Simply a big Wow! Similar to Frankenstein, you enter through a huge set of Dracula's castle. This one does have some similarities to the 1992 movie in which it is too based off of Vlad the Impaler. Make sure you constantly look above you and you may see a floating bride or two.

 

Scare Zones:

 

We had the opportunity to talk with Kim Grommel who was the lead designer of several of the scare zones this year. He went into detail when it came to the creation of both War of the Living Dead as well as Horrorwood Drive-In. For Horrorwood Drive-In, he noted that you may recognize several things from the original version of the Twister queue (section was removed due to Rip Ride Rockit) such as several vehicles as well as the actual snackbar. Kim is also responsible for the amazing sign for the Rocky Horror Tribute Show as well as my all time favorite section that involves a path lit up with numerous pumpkins right next to Cirque Du Freak (Please keep that every year!)

 

Horrorwood Drive-In. Great Scare Zone, most certainly the best one of the event. It involves a mock up drive-in right next to Mel's Diner in which many famous horror icons come out from the screen to attack unsuspecting HHN visitors. Make sure you check out the snack bar for a surprise.

 

Cirque Du Freak. I have to admit that I kind of rushed through this one a bit too quickly so I did not get to check this one out very well. It did look like many of the characters from the upcoming movie was represented.

 

War Of the Living Dead. Great theming with sound and sets. World War II (America versus Germany) continues on as zombies. It honestly could have used a few more scare actors in this one, but we did do it near closing which could have explained a few things.

 

Lights Camera Hackton. A movie crew tries to film a horror movie with the Chainsaw Brigade....IN 3D! I hope you are not bothered by chainsaws!

 

Containment. Not really too much to this one other than a few contaminated scare actors walking under a huge inflatable archway. This one seemed to be on a tighter budget than the other ones.

 

Apocalypse: City of Cannibals. This one is pretty similar to the other scare zones in this location in the past. Plenty of victims as well as Cannibals roam the streets around here. If you look up in the air you may be blinded by the light from the helicopter. There are many scare actors in this area.

 

Bill and Ted 18: Land of the Lost. This year Bill and Ted take on the ultimate classic Star Trek loving/Twilight hating villain....Fan Boy. I did not get quite as many reference this year as I have in the past, but it was great to see Captain Kirk fight Khan in the flesh. I guess I need to get out more, ride less roller coasters, or watch more MTV. The dance sequences were really top notch this year, especially the Michael Jackson impersonator.

 

Rocky Horror Picture Show: A Tribute: A show really made for Rocky Horror fans. If you love Rocky Horror, you will love this. This version is a full audience participation version, so expect some 'R' rated language as well as getting wet. You have been warned. You can tell that the people that do this show really give it their all. Please keep this one around Universal!

 

Here is a video from the media part of the event which includes a short interview with creative directors T.J. Mannarino and J. Michael Roddy. It also includes a little bit of John C. Riley and the rest of the cast from The Vampire's Assistant, as well as an introduction from Chris Thomas, V.P. of Universal Entertainment.

 

Enjoy!

[coastertube]http://www.themeparkreview.com/coastertube/play.php?vid=HHN19VideoTPR_dc12[/coastertube]

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It seems that the only time that I ever park on the roof is for HHN.

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I knew it would take me to the right place.

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You can compare this car to the White Rabbit. Just follow it.

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You can say that I am a real fan of classic monster movies!

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Let us get a closer look.

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You are greeted by a ticket booth in front of the main gate.

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There was still a couple of hours before the event started, so let us check out a few things while the sun is still up.

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So is Saw.

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Chucky is here this time.

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Is this the first time that a house maze actually comes out before the movie?

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Just like a real movie theater, there were movie posters.

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I want to see that movie!

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You are not allowed to buy this until you experience every house.

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For those that are into event shirts. This would be the one to buy.

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This would be the logo.

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It looks like something will be going wrong during a film shoot.

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This would be found in the Lights, Camera, Hacktion scare zone.

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While an awesome looking sign, it does look better at night.

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Just to let you know, at least so far, Rockit is not running during HHN. So make sure you ride it earlier in the day.

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Hey wait, I know her! Say hello to Renee and her brother.

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Horrorwood was one of the best scare zones of the evening.

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This would be over by the War of the Dead scare zone.

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Random Bus #2

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Random Bus #1

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During the day you can only find a few props here and there. I think this is a smoke machine.

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First we have to have an official opening day kick off with the cast of The Vampire's Assistant.

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It looks like God is.

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Ok, are you ready for the event to start?

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If you have a little extra money, you can buy these.

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The Ushers stand in attention.

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To keep people entertained before 6:00, there was Cirque Du Freak trivia.

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People are lining up to get inside.

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Creative Director, J. Michael Roddy, is here to introduce our special guests.

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Here they are to talk about The Vampire's Assistant, which opens October 23.

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There showed us two exculsive clips from the movie, as well as answered questions from the crowd.

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"Are you ready for HHN19?"

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Here is War of the Living Dead, but we shall come back to that later.

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Containment

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This guys warns you about, or makes fun of you, as you enter the Containment scare zone.

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Well, maybe it begins after you get through the metal decectors.

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HHN19 officially begins!

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First things first, let us go fill up on some food and drink.

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How often do you see this fire hydrant in the open position?

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"Grrrrraaargh!" That translates as, "I will eat you, unless you do try some of this wonderful food!"

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There was plenty of liquor at the open bar.

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I guess he decided to take this year off.

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Every HHN park map, except for last year's, was found on this wall.

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Jack is here, to make sure you do not leave hungry or thristy.

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Also say thanks to J. Michael Roddy, Creative Director of HHN19. Also mention to him that is was awesome to bring the classic monsters back this year.

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Say hello to TJ Mannarino, Director of Art and Design for Universal, and thank him how awesome HHN19 is this year.

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Ok, much better.

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Something does not seem right.

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Hmmmm, where to begin?

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The R.I.P Tour really is the most awesome way to take in the event.

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Say hello to Ethan. He did an excellent job of showing us around this year.

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Well, I am not really into beards.

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This is already turning out to be great.

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This would be the Cirque Du Freak scare zone.

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I was very excited that they brought back the lit pumpkin area. Its seriously very cool.

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So many to choose from.

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Way too scary! I want to go home!

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Let us go inside the toy factory.

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Chucky: Friends Til the End was quite enjoyable.

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This year's icon house, Silver Screams, was a great way to start off the evening.

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It is never a complete HHN report without one of these photos.

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The dance sequences were really top notch this year.

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The stage is themed to Land of the Lost.

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They even have their own shirt.

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Oh yes, I always look foward to the Bill and Ted show.

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Thank you for not adding any smells to the sewer themed house this year.

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Fangoria Magazine Presents: The Spawning.

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Wear can I buy those masks?

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I found Leave It to Cleaver to be the most creative house of the evening.

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It should be noted that we never waited more than 3 minutes for a house that evening due to the tour.

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Saw turned out to be excellent. It really is a perfect fit as a HHN house.

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Dracula was my favorite soundstage house of the evening. Make sure you look up!

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Frankenstein was a cross between Body Collectors and Steampunk.

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Wolfman was quite good, just make sure you do not touch the trees unless you like sap on your fingers.

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"Feed Me!"

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"Help Me!"

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Let us check out the Apocalypse: City of Cannibals scare zone.

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Just be reminded that this is a full audience participation version. You may get wet among other things.

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I always need my annual dose of Double Feature.

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Always a fan favorite. I am glad it is out on Hollywood as well this year.

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The cast is always really into it.

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Meet Rocky!

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Beware of the snack bar next to the drive-in.

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See, the sign does look cooler at night.

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Fire? Yes please!

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Back over to War of the Living Dead were you find American and Nazi zombies.

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Containment: The nightime version.

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Looks like the film crew was having a difficult shoot.

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Back on over to Lights Camera Hacktion.

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Brian O'Halloran (Clerks 1 and 2) suggested that there should be a Mallrats themed house next year. Just call it, "Maulrats".

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Michael Roddy was put on the hot seat for a little while.

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We finished off the evening with the Fangoria radio broadcast.

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From left to right, Debbie Rochon, Brian O'Halloran, Fangoria editor Tony Timpone.

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Doug Jones (Hellboy 1 and 2, Pan's Labyrinth, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Voltaire.

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I am such a movie geek that I have my own poster lightbox. This is what the Vampire's Assistant poster looks like all lit up!

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As Erik and Eric have mentioned in their great reports, I was fortunate enough to join them last night for the opening night and media event covering Halloween Horror Nights' opening. This year's theme, Ripped from the Silver Screen had had me skeptical for quite some time in fear that the houses would be formulaic and possibly too light for the subject matter they covered--I couldn't have been more wrong. In terms of theme, this year is a true success in every way. In years previous, the shows, houses and scare zones would often split off into different thematic tangents, but thanks to the broad variety of the horror film library, every aspect of this year's event fits its movie theme. The creators of this year's events have focused heavily on detail in ways I'd never experienced before in an extra ticket event such as this. Every house had at least one (if not many) moment or detail that left my jaw hanging on the floor in awe. Every house had plenty of moments that scared the color out of my cheeks and both shows successfully held my attention and then some.

 

So lets break it down by specific houses, shows and scarezones here...

 

Silver Screams: This was our first house of the night, and it certainly set an amazing tone for what we were about to experience during our night. Built in the parade building backstage, this house is innovative and focused to point where every room couldn't help but make sense. Walking through different films divided by elaborate theater hallways complete with marquee posters defining each film (the old style images brought the newer films featured like The Strangers, My Bloody Valentine and Shaun of the Dead into a realm of time that seemed all-too-appropriate when aligned with The Thing, Phantom of the Opera and Army of the Dead [referred to as Medieval Army]) helped to create a charming and engaging flow from scene to scene--a continuity that would seem nonsensical in any other context. Each room featured an accurate representation of the film in question and each offered up some wonderful scares. Typically my first house doesn't top my list, but this year I am proud to say that Silver Screams has become one of my favorite houses I've been in over the last three years.

 

Chucky: As a childhood fear of mine, Chucky was a house that I truly dreaded having to walk into. This house not surprisingly very twisted, shrinking you to the size of a toy in Chucky's factory of evil. The walls are adorned with symbols of this murderer's psychosis and the rooms challenge your mettle thanks to specifically distracting obstacles that line the walls, roof and paths. There was one amazing scare involving a giant green army man and a corner that had me screaming quite loudly, so I was definitely satisfied with the visit.

 

The Spawning: Knowing nothing about B-movies or Fangoria, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect of this house besides the obvious sewer theme. The elaborate yet subtly uniform walls of the Ohio sewage system provide a surprisingly effective backdrop. An added plus--the costumes fit the B-movie title but have a special glow in the eyes that brings an added realism to the creatures that hunt you as you seemingly hunt them.

 

Saw: This was the true house that had me worried before the event. I am terrified of the Saw films and not particularly a fan of extreme gore, but the house certainly was worth the scares. The developers of Halloween Horror Nights have pushed the limits of story immersion by putting guests into the Saw scenarios. Guests footsteps trigger traps seen from the first five films, most of which can be seen as they kill individuals in horribly gruesome ways. The jaw trap that Amanda wore, the knife-to-the-face chair and more show up in this house and no effect was able to disappoint. Of the three years that I've come to Horror Nights, this has been the best house to take up residency in the Jaws queue.

 

Leave it to Cleaver: While this was my least favorite house, this shouldn't be considered an insult, knowing how strong the house itself was. I loved all eight houses this year, so to pick a "worst" just isn't easy. The house itself was gruesome, sickening and well executed. While I don't have much to say about the house itself, it has scarred me to the point where I will never look at Big Boy the same again.

 

Dracula: One word: Greatness. This year's studio houses were extraordinary in their use of space, elaborate sets and superior scare actors. The entrance to the castle is gigantic, removing the feeling of a studio and initiating an immersion within the world of Vlad the Impaler. Some new effects have been tested in this house, including an amazing "flight system" that makes the legend's wives hover over you as if by magic in smooth, almost ghostly fashion. The house has a great length, amazing detail and wonderful scares. Nothing whatsoever to complain about here.

 

Frankenstein: It became quite apparent that the three Horror Legends would truly get the spotlight this year, with their three respective houses being ridiculously strong in every way. Like Dracula, Frankenstein features an amazing set, wonderful storyline (that can be understood from scene to scene with little trouble), amazing scare opportunities and some expert effects that bring this old characters into the new age. Nearly getting trampled by Frankestein to the point where I could see his glowing heart-piece within inches of my face was enough for me. Another great experience to be had with this creature.

 

Wolfman: I have to admit that I had low expectations for this one, but that was quickly turned around. I'm not going to ruin anything for this house because I found it to be the most unique and well thought out... It ends up that the house itself features locales and details ripped directly from the upcoming film--walking through the house is literally a preview of the film to come. And if the film is anything like the house, this will be an amazing re-imagining of a classic monster. I loved this house and consider it my second favorite for the night.

 

Bill & Ted: Always a fun show, I don't have too much to say about the show without spoiling it. There are some great moments that really take stabs at the year's great pop culture faux pas and such, many of which caught the audience by surprise. The show was entertaining as always but I will say that last year's iteration remains my favorite of the three.

 

Rocky Horror Picture Show: I'm not a Rocky Horror fan per-say, but I do enjoy the show itself. Last year was my first time seeing the show and seeing it again this year was a great experience. I feel like I have grown to appreciate it more thanks to my repeated visit, so that's a plus. This year's show is almost exactly the same as last year's, though I noticed that the talent this year seemed to be even better than that of the show I had seen previously. Some returned from the last cast (and their familiar faces made it easier to enjoy the show) and some were completely new faces, so I was definitely happy with the stars themselves.

 

When it comes to the scarezones, I'm just going to sum it up because my memory of the zones themselves is less than sufficient (for now) to write reviews on such. The park's six scare zones are definitely a different take on the zones that we've grown accustomed to in the previous years. I noticed that in many cases, the storyline of each section was more heavily based on the actors than on the scenery with some zones having a substantial amount of scenery as opposed to the more minimalistic spreads of some. Costume design and character appearance is certainly strong, but I also noticed a large decrease in the number of active actors per zone as opposed to last year. What were once crowded pathways in previous years seemed far more open (and safe) as a result of the lessened cast. That being said, the three standout zones for me would have to be Cirque du Freak, Horrorwood Die-In and War of the Living Dead.

 

Overall, the media event and Halloween Horror Nights were excellent once again. As Erik mentioned earlier, with an event this strong, its hard to pick favorites and less favorites. The bar has been raised to a new level in terms of quality thanks to the extraordinary studio houses and the line between reality and nightmare has been blurred thanks to the immersive houses like Saw. There was nothing I didn't enjoy about this year's event and will gladly return with my Frequent Fear Pass over the course of the next month.

 

To the team responsible for this year's Halloween Horror Nights, I thank you for putting together another amazing event and look forward to all that you have to offer in this and future events under the Halloween Horror Nights label.

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Among the guests for the radio presentation were Brian O'Halloran (of Clerks fame) and Doug Jones (Hellboy, Buffy and much more). Michael Roddy and Michael Aiello also appeared during the night to share information with listeners.

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I didn't even know Fangoria had a radio station... But then again, I don't really listen to XM Radio...

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I found Box Man's wife: Grassy Box Girl!

 

You know the deal, so just stay away from her grassy box.

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"Hao Ald Awr Yoo?"

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This thing nearly bit me... From what I could tell, he's a vampiric version of Mini-Me.

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Cirque du Freak had an impressive setup for a scarezone.

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It isn't Horror Nights without blood bag jello shots...

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"Yo. I'mma let you finish, but Asylum in Wonderland was one of the best scarezones of all time! Yeah. Sorry!"

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This screen played a nice compilation of footage from previous years of Horror Nights. It was definitely nice to see some highlights from the year's I've missed.

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I like my cheesecake with a side of worms... Don't you?

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I promise you that the placement of the stop light was hardly intentional...

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This form of public transportation is known as a "party bus."

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Now that Rockit is complete, the midway games have returned...

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A truly extraordinary house that debuts long before the movie on which it is based will make its way to theaters. Based on the house alone, I'll definitely be seeing this one!

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I believe standard war attire has been adjusted to include jean shorts, odd gaits and fanny packs.

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"No I don't want a Coke! I'm a mutant! I want to eat your feet! Stop filling my deformed brain with images of demand-filling teens and some strange niche web show!"

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"To give you an idea, this compares to how I felt at the end of I Am Legend. I can show you my happy expression next if you'd like... I've been practicing with the help of Emotion Eric."

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"I am Box Man! This is my realm of boxes. Don't enter my box or I'll box you straight in the face. This is my personal box space, so don't box it up by stepping in the box. Box. Box. Box. "

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"Is there something on my face? I knew loading my sandwich with extra spicy mustard was a bad idea!"

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I'm not exactly sure what the inflatables were supposed to represent, but they were certainly different.

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"Bear with me here... I'm just waiting for Jeff Goldblum to make his way out of the telepods in Castle Frankenstein..."

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To help recoup the damages of the recent issues on Isla Sorna, InGen has loaned its Jurassic trappers to the military for use in an undisclosed "aerosol testing."

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What have we here?

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Reilly soon announced that he has an obsession with clowns. I'm sure he'll love Chucky's house...

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Despite the lack of references to the almighty Ricky Bobby, the 30 minute session was extremely fun to watch.

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Much to my dismay neither words "shake" or "bake" were uttered during the presentation.

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Roddy explains the work that was done to bring Cirque du Freak to life at Halloween Horror Nights 19...

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Michael Roddy is truly an entertainer as well as an innovator, and his presence on stage received a well-deserved ovation.

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"We've been spotted!"

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Two excellent houses that scared the fear straight out of my bones...

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Would it ever be an "Roth Report" if it didn't have a "sun shot?"

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"Mine just says Participant..."

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Two guests do the bump in hope of winning prizes not related to Twilight.

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Matching the theme of this year's event, we will be acting out roles of our film-ready counterparts. In this epic, Erik Johnson will be playing the role of Robb Alvey. Adam Roth and Eric Johnson will share the role of Guest. I swear, we thought of it before Dr. Parnassus did.

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Theme Park Review received several shout outs throughout the night from guests in transit--we appreciate the support! As three teal lanyard-wearing horror fans, it means quite a lot to be recognized as such.

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Just so you know, John C. Reilly will be visiting today.

 

Just so you know.

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The cool kids stand in front of the stage almost two hours before a guest appears.

 

That's how we do it here in Orlando.

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People are lining up just to experience the terror that is the turnstile security!

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It is all about the Hallowen Orror Nihts!

 

In't his col?

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Much like what was done with the Carnival of Carnage, posters hang over each arch, announcing a different house within the year's catalogue.

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Another great entrance setup adorns the Universal gates for this year's event.

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As a passholder myself, I am certainly glad that I didn't have to wait in this line...

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Doubling the signs. Doubling the goodness.

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And so it begins...

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Another great end to another fantastic year of Halloween Horror Nights--this won't be the last time I visit during this year...

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And then I thought of Tyler.

 

She's performing just for you my friend...

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And an appearance by Michael Jackson received much applause and excitement from the audience.

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The original Kirk helps kick off the "I'm on a ship" song...

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Love at first Twilight.

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Billy Mays returns from the grave to share a new product with you...

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You knew this was coming...

 

And yes, he actually did take the tunnel!

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It is time for Shatner!

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The creature from Land of the Lost becomes a pet/sidekick to the ultimate fanboy.

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Megan Fox seems far less tempting in this scenario...

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The boys are back in town!

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Pop culture characters ripped from the silver screen into Bill & Ted in the Land of the Lost.

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We were told that flash photography was not allowed, so the following photos are both flash-free and stability-free...

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One of the best ways to go about enjoying Halloween Horror Nights!

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This year's event brought forth another installment of Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure. For me, the show was definitely funny, but of the three that I have seen, last year's was definitely the best.

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Erik channels his "Robbness" by holding his badge. You ask what "Robbness is? Its Robb's name plus -ness.

 

You've obviously not watched You, Me and Dupree. Lucky you.

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Here's a fact I didn't know before yesterday: Michael Roddy not only created Jack, but played him (at least in image) for the first year that he was featured at Halloween Horror Nights. Take a look at the first image of Jack and you'll notice how close their "wicked smiles" look...

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We even got a chance to interview Michael Roddy before our tour began!

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What I've heard is that they will be opening it up for the event, as soon as nets get installed in the areas above where the queue lines for the soundstage houses are.

 

Net's weren't installed there originally since that area is backstage.

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Absolutely astounding. I'm a really jumpy guy and usually don't like being scared, but HHN just looks WAY too good 'n themed to pass up. This is the first year I'll even have an opportunity to go, plus I get a free non-peak night ticket thanks to the Premier Pass. Thanks to all of the photo/video contributors!

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Some new effects have been tested in this house, including an amazing "flight system" that makes the legend's wives hover over you as if by magic in smooth, almost ghostly fashion.

Havent they been doing that since, castle vampyr??

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I dunno...hulk, on the other hand, didnt really effect the scarezones in a since since it was right before you walked into it but this is smack dab by NY so I dont know if it would have an effect on the scarezones near it...unless the lights are turned off.

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