This past Thursday we were invited out to Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood to take in our first full-fledged Halloween event in almost 2 years. In fact, it had been 676 days since the last night of Horror Nights in 2019. I think we can all agree that was far too long. And it was great to be back.
In this review we'll not only share our pics and video from opening night along with our initial maze rankings, but also a bit from our visit on Sunday where we used our Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Survival Guide. Did it work? You'll just have to read on to find out. :)
Written by Gregg Condon
Despite a few returning mazes, a rarity for Halloween Horror Nights, this years line-up of mazes is truly great, with no truly "bad" mazes, and a couple that are destined to be classics.
Bride of Frankenstein LIVES
On both Thursday and Sunday, this was pretty much everybody in our groups favorite maze. The concept of a sequel to one of the classic monster movies is amazing, and the story is fleshed out (pun intended), well told and the talent in here is amazing. Set design is top notch, and the creature/Bride actors are stellar all the way around. Now if we could just get the Slash soundtracks on vinyl.
The Haunting of Hill House
Not a literal retelling of the series, which wouldn't work in a maze, but more being inside Hill House, which is pretty freaky anyway. A rather dark maze with scattered scares, this one isn't about jump scares, but about the creepyness of the entire house. And it works.
I'll admit to being a bit disappointed in The Exorcist when it was a maze in 2016. It was very repetitive, and the room scenes just didn't tell the story well enough. To be fair, this has to be one of the hardest movies to translate to a maze. However, in 2020 the maze has a new location, in a soundstage, which gives them more room to do more. And they have. This years maze tells the story very well and has some great jump scares throughout. Not to be missed.
The Curse of Pandora's Box
Not the 2019 maze we would have picked to come back (give us Killer Klowns or Holidayz in Hell), that said, Pandora's Box is a ton of fun, the talent in here is great and the scenery and lighting is spectacular.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Another returning maze, this one has fixed a few things from the 2019 maze and it definitely works as one of the better "Halloween" mazes in recent years. Still a bit disappointing they didn't go with the new Halloween Kills, but a repeat of Michael Myers is better than no Michael Myers.
Terror Tram: The Ultimate Purge
The Terror Tram is back, with a bit of a new route through the War of the Worlds sets and lots of Purging going on. This has always been about the unique experience of getting to walk through a part of the backlot and see the Bates Motel and Psycho House up close. The Purge is definitely a fun theme this year (if you haven't seen the new Purge movie, check it out, it's the best since the first one and very timely).
That said, I felt that they rushed everybody through this experience a bit too much this year. I realize they need to get people through the experience, but I'd like to actually enjoy it. Especially on Sunday, the tram only had a 5 minute wait most of the night, plenty of time to let people just take their time and enjoy this awesome experience.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
I'll admit to two things here. 1) Texas Chainsaw Massacre is my least favorite Horror Franchise. It just never did anything for me. 2) This maze was MUCH better on Sunday than it was on Thursday. That said, we've seen all of this before. It's still fun, and if you like Leatherface you're going to enjoy this one. But definitely wouldn't mind seeing them give this franchise a break for a few years.
Side Note: Why is it the maze in this location always has the longest lines? Is it a capacity thing? Every year, without fail there's something about this location.
The Walking Dead
Something has to be last, and of course it's The Walking Dead. Nothing really different in here from it's closure in early 2020. Not even the facade has been put back up. But it was nice to go through this attraction again even if there are no changes, and it increases the capacity of the event which is a positive.
Once again, overall we are pleased with this years mazes. And since we have the Frequent Fear we'll be experiencing all of them a few more times, and we may feel differently in another month and a half.
But the mazes aren't all there is at this years event. Let's check out the rest of HHN Hollywood.
Dia De Los Muertos
Typically the Universal Plaza is used as an extended queue for the Parisian Courtyard maze. Not this year, it's been transformed into Dia De Los Muertos. It's lively and fun, there is a bar and food and places to sit and relax. Definitely needed!
There's even some fun animatronics that do a fun show. I think there is more than one, we'll definitely have to check next time we're at HHN.
There's a lot of really great Merchandise this year. Probably more than any other year. We got a few things this weekend, we'll surely be getting more.
Sunday Night Visit
Sunday Night we headed back to visit with our Frequent Fear Passes. This is the second year we've gotten the Frequent Fear Pass after loving it so much in 2019. Universal Hollywood is one of the easier parks for us to get to and it's nice to just pop in for a few hours and not have to feel like we have to do everything in one night.
That said, using our Survival Guide, we did manage to do pretty much everything in one night.
We did a Twitter thread during our visit that you can see below.
Alright, that's going to wrap it up for our opening weekend update and review. We hope you enjoyed! Did you visit HHN this past weekend? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
We'll be back in a couple of weeks for more fun, and of course, we'll be doing a late-night visit at some point for Chainsaw Chaseout!
Thanks for reading! See you in the fog!