My thoughts on this years HHN....
Keep this in mind while reading - I attend every year so these opinions might be a bit biased - and if it is your fist experience at the event you are bound to have a drastically different experience. It is also the first night and things change and the scaractors get more practice. With that being said - here are a few of my thoughts....
First of all - as always - GET AN EXPRESS PASS. Even if you are going on an off night you will not be able to get through all the houses and see all the shows without one. If you chose not to do that route than get a frequent fear pass and attend a couple of off-peak nights in order to see everything.
If you go on a peak night without an express pass you deserve the 2+ hour waits for the houses that you are going to get.
The movie theme worked well - although the icon was not very well integrated into the event. I think they wanted to promo the licensed movies a bit more and that kept them from using the Usher character that much in the park.
Lights Camera Haction - Located in Hollywood in front of T2-3D, this had the chainsaw guys hacking up some of the production people on a film set. Simple yet it was funny and had some great scares. The best scare zone in the park that I experienced.
Horrorwood Drive In - Right in front of Mels drive in - very effective use of cars and distractions on the screen. Well themed and very compact.
Cirque Du Freak - Feels like an afterthought. Located in a very small circular area in front of the Animal Actors Stage it basically is a meet and greet with the characters where they try and scare you. Pretty poorly conceived.
Containment - OMG. Worst. Scarezone. EVER. Like - I can't think of a worse one in the last 10 years bad. Basically inflatable "things" that make an arch over the walkway and there are a few scaractors and smoke machines.... wow. Unfortunatly the first scarezone most folks in the park walk through and not a good first impression.
Apocolypse and War of the Living Dead - Didn't really walk through them enough to give an accurate opinion.
Silver Screams - This is the icons house and he takes you though some of his favorite movies. This one is located in the "shed" type building behind barney that was built a few years ago. Fun concept that was OK in execution. It didn't really give you enough time to enjoy any of the scenes so it felt a bit disjointed.
Chucky - Not bad..the full size chuckys were a bit impressive but the house lacked any real scares since it was SO bright inside.
Saw - By far one of the best houses of the night. VERY true to the movies, great FX and a few good scares. Wait is out of control since it is in the Jaws queue which is a low capacity house anyways. Hit this one early in the night unless you want a 75 minute wait.
Leave it to Cleaver - Surprisingly pretty friggin cool! I love how deep the backstory is on this (the queue film sets it up perfectly) and it is just creepy enough with the masks to be perfect without being overly distracting. The only bad part - Earthquake Queue = No A/C
Frankenstein - VERY cool and pretty inside this soundstage house. This is a much darker version of Frankenstein than we are used to. Lots of scares and some tight quarters - very steampunk looking.
Dracula - Probably the best house of the night - even though I think we missed some of the scares due to a set change out. Perfectly gothic with perfectly timed scares throughout. Jumped quite a few times!
The Wolfman - UGH. What a waste! Perhaps it would make sense if the movie had come out and folks had seen it. Right now it seems like a very confusing mix of rooms and stories with no apparent thing to tie them together besides an occasional wolf jumping out. No real scares... lame lame lame.
Bill and Ted
It starts of a bit slow with an oddly chosen land of the lost theme but it picks up steam pretty rapidly and the star trek segment near the end is one of the best the show has ever had.
You can tell they cut some corners this year - only 3 rides open (mib, mummy and simpsons) and not many scareactors on the streets. Overall though the houses were quite fun and continued the great tradition of detailed set design, amazing costumes and great lighting and f/x. It really is the best Halloween event in the country.
Except no RRR... LAME.