The Halloween Season is officially here. On the west coast we're starting off with Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood. Over the weekend we enjoyed two evenings at the event, the first during media/fan preview night and the second on Sunday night using our Frequent Fear Passes.
We'll start off with saying that in our opinion, this is a VERY strong year for the event. One of the main reasons is that it seems they've actually learned how to have fun. More on that below. Let's get to it.
Written by Gregg Condon
Our media night started right at park opening as we made our way all the way from the entry plaza to the backlot.
On Sunday we used our Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Survival Guide utilizing early entry and no express passes with some success. Make sure you check it out prior to heading to the event.
We stopped by the Universal Store to check out some of the amazing merchandise. They've really upgraded their merchandise game this year.
Slideshow of some of the awesome merchandise
The amount of mazes available for Early Entry is kind of insane, and is all of them except 2 (and Walking Dead)
Quickly pointed out that Ghostbusters is not on this, but still some amazing artwork.
Let's go to the mall!!! Today!!!
Scoops Ahoy, wouldn't mind if this was a permanent addition
These Universal Monster murals by Tristan Eaton are seriously amazing. We love, love, love them so much.
So let's get on with our maze reviews. We'll preface with this ... we think that overall this is one of the best line-up's of mazes in HHN Hollywood history, if not the best ever. There is a great mix of horror, comedy, pop culture, IP's and great scenery.
We'd been considering getting the frequent fear for years and are very glad this is the year we finally did.
Let's head into the mazes!!
We are huge fans of the show, in fact, after Season 3 we re-watched all 3 seasons again. And even enjoyed Season 2 (that this maze is based off of) more than the first time. So we were pretty excited about this maze.
Unfortunately the maze didn't really translate from screen to maze.
The maze suffered from a lot of duplication of scares, with Demigorgon's, Demidogs at pretty much every turn surrounded by a lot of black walls.
The maze started off strong however.
One of our biggest concerns was the scene depicted in the artwork for the maze not being included in the maze itself. Not sure if the budget was smaller this year due to all of the other IP and extra mazes.
We're very much hoping this one improves over the next few weeks as it's a great IP, a popular IP and we'd love to see it back in the years to come. But with it being a very strong year, something has to be last, and sadly it's this one.
House of 1000 Corpses
House of 1000 Corpses sufferers from being compared to the amazing 3D maze that was at HHN previously, and it's really not fair. Because this maze is great fun.
The talent in here is fantastic and really understands the source material.
Curse of Pandora's Box
The first of the original mazes for 2019 this maze has some amazing scenes, amazing talent and a great score. Also, probably our favorite opening scene of any maze at the event.
Lots of props from last years Universal Monsters and House of Horrors in here, which we absolutely don't have an issue with. Just a fun maze that has a high repeat factor.
I'll be honest, I didn't really find Us, the movie, to be scary. Disturbing, absolutely. Interesting story, for sure. Amazing directing and acting, without a doubt!!
The maze however, probably had the most amount of "scares" and creepiness. We absolutely loved this. Not only did it tell the story of the film, not only did it capture without flaw the feel of the film, but the talent really seemed to enjoy bringing these characters to life. It was just great.
Frankenstein meets the Wolfman
A continuation of last years amazing Universal Monsters maze, this one definitely takes a more Gothic feel than last years maze, but is still just as great on the characters, talent, scenes and scares.
The music definitely sets this one apart and is just such a part of the legacy of these two characters.
Holidayz in Hell
Our absolute favorite scare zone at this event last year, and maybe one of our favorite of the entire year, this year it was brought to life as a maze. And it didn't disappoint AT ALL.
So much so, somebody (me) forgot to hit record when we got in the maze, so sadly no video. But seriously, check this one out. The line has been very manageable during our first two visits. Not to be missed.
I'm a HUGE fan of the original two Creepshow movies, they were kind of my first foray into horror when I was growing up. So I had really high expectations for this maze. And I absolutely LOVED it.
It really is kind of a love letter to the films with a bit from the upcoming series thrown in. And if the walk-through is any indication, the new series will definitely capture the look and feel of the source material. Can't wait to see the show and go through this maze again.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Remember when I said at the beginning that Universal finally figured out how to have "fun" with their mazes? Well they did. It's no coincidence that our top two mazes of this year are based on 80's horror comedy movies (and one pure comedy if we're being honest).
Are you going to get huge scares in this maze? Probably not. But you're going to have fun. And the talent in the maze knows it. You always know when the scare-actors at any event know they've got a good time going on, and it definitely shows in this one.
That leaves our absolute favorite maze of Halloween Horror Nights 2019. And that's Ghostbusters. To say that we were all looking forward to this maze would be an understatement. And that's usually when a maze doesn't live up to expectations. That's not the case with this one at all.
This maze isn't exactly a literal retelling of the film, and has some typical HHN effects, but it has so much more than that. It has a lot of dedicated talent, some really cool effects and again, just a lot of fun.
Well that wraps it up for this HHN Hollywood update. Since we have Frequent Fear so we'll be back a few more times including one night for the amazing Chainsaw Chaseout.
Be sure to share your thoughts on the event below. We'd love to hear what your rankings are.
There's always something new to check out at Universal Studios Hollywood. And this time it's some awesome new food options available at Three Broomsticks as well as some awesome new spells that we were able to check out in Wizarding World (check out the video below).
We also took a look at Halloween Horror Nights Construction and the De-Construction of the Glob Theater.
Written by Gregg Condon
No visit to Universal Studios is complete without some Butterbeer
We got to try out the Potted Cream, Butterbeer Fudge and Butterbeer Ice Cream
Maze construction on the upper lot ... the park also announced The Purge today , but this doesn't look like that.
The Globe Theater is being demolished, the rumor is for a Secret Life of Pets ride, but obviously until something is announced there is a lot of speculation going on.
It's walled off all the way down the road
Sound like The Walking Dead Helicopter will be on it's way out as well.
Looks like there will be a maze at Waterworld this year as well
That's it for this quick update from Universal Hollywood, we'll be back soon I'm sure to spend a full day in the park. We hope you enjoyed!! Be sure to go check out all of the new food options.
Yesterday Universal Studios Hollywood announced the on-sale information and prices for Halloween Horror Nights. And prices have gone up, pretty much across the board.
But what really seemed to stick out in people's minds was the price of the R.I.P. Tour. And yes, it's a SIGNIFICANT investment, for our family, 1 night would be an investment of about $1200. That's a LOT for us, a lot for pretty much anybody.
But once we began to break down the price a bit there is actually value there, yes, value in a $299 ticket.
Written by Gregg Condon
I sense a similar situation at Halloween Horror Nights to what Disney is going through with APs. The event is packed EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. If you don't have Front of the Line passes you are going to spend probably 75% of your night in line, and there is absolutely no guarantee that you'll see everything, especially if you don't plan ahead. (don't worry, we'll have our Survival Guide up soon).
So what's one to do? Get the Front of the Line Pass of course. But wait, that's either $169 or $199 depending on the night. And I only get to do each maze once? And I have to pay for parking, and dinner, and all kinds of other things.
So what's the next step up, well of course I'm talking about the return of the R.I.P. Tour. The cost: $269 on nights that the front of the line pass is $169 (or weeknights) or $299 on nights that the front of the line pass is $199. There are a few nights where the R.I.P. tour is $329 as well.
So basically $100 more than a standard Front of the Line pass.
And what do you get (we're going to use Friday September 29 as an example)
Right off the top if you include Admission, Front of the Line, Parking (Standard rate only) and dinner we're up to $274. So essentially for $25 you're paying for a VIP Entrance, Unlimited Front of the Line, Guided HHN Tour and VIP Seating. That's a LOT of extras.
And of course, there is no price associated with the Unlimited Front of the Line or Walking Tour as those aren't available a la carte.
Sure, you CAN just do the regular admission, and that's fine. We'll help you plan ahead with our upcoming survival guide, it CAN be done. There are so many Halloween events each and every year it's hard to fit them all in. Trust us, we know. We're trying to figure out days off, half days, budgets and all kinds of other things for the next 3 months. It's not easy. But with a bit of homework it's possible.
What the R.I.P. pass does is take away the need for all that homework. And for a lot of people, that's worth the price.
What the R.I.P. pass isn't is a R.I.P.-Off. Our Hobby isn't cheap. Theme Parks aren't cheap to build, run or maintain. Most of us have Annual Passes which significantly cut down the cost. Unfortunately Halloween is the one time of year those investments don't typically come into play.
Halloween has become big business, and it's getting bigger each and every year.
As always, do what works best for you. If general admission on a Saturday night in mid-October is all you can do Halloween Horror Nights, then do it. We wouldn't recommend it, but again, we'll help you figure out the best plan of attack as we do every year.
If the R.I.P. Tour works best for you, then do it. And if you want to write a report about your experience, then let us know. We'd be more than happy to post it. =)