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From here on it gets really scary

Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:03 am

When I grew up in Germany there was no such thing as Halloween. The only occasion on which we dressed up was Carnival. Because of Gulf War I that custom was cancelled in 1991 leaving the german costume makers with a massive overstock. In order to solve this problem, the industry started a marketing campaign to introduce Halloween in Germany. 1991 was also the premiere year of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, although the event was called “Fright Nights” then, took place on just three nights in October and featured only one haunted house.

For a German visitor, it’s astonishing how “easy” Americans are when it comes to “blood and gore” (as astonishing as it might be for an American visitor how easy we are concerning nudity). Movies like “The Evil Dead” have been forbidden in Germany until 2016. “Forbidden” means: you may not advertise them, sell them, show them (to anyone) and they will be confiscated if you own them. Everybody has seen the movie on VHS though. The same applies to video games: ”Doom” was banned until 2011, Gears of War until 2016. Strange fact: those games were not banned in other European countries so you could easily (and legally) buy them via mail order. Thank you European Union!

That said, I must say that the Universal Halloween Horror Nights are massive. It’s amazing that the HHN Team builds nine haunted houses from scratch every year. The amount of detail they put into those temporary attractions is just mind-blowing, especially when you consider that you basically rush through them while hundreds of foul creatures are trying to scare the living daylights out of you. Oh yes, those scare actors: amazing costumes, great make-up, and a mean attitude.

And then, there are the “scare zones”: I sort of like those open air places better than the houses because they give you more opportunities to watch and interact (which means: a zombie creeping up from behind while you are distracted).

And they have great shows! Some of them – like Bill & Ted – might be a little bit more enjoyable for Americans, because as a German I get about 50% of the jokes at best.

Universal is doing a really great job on Halloween Horror Nights and the event is growing bigger and bigger and bigger each year. And: more crowded. Even on a slow day lines for popular houses reach up to 3 hours pretty early. So an express pass is a clever investment. But even if you can eliminate the waiting, there is still a lot of walking involved as most of the houses are outside the park, inside the sound stages or in tents in the back of Men in Black. If you’ve been in the parks for the day, this will result in aching feet. I speak from experience.

From a personal point of view, I have to admit: I’m a pussy. When I’m home alone at night, I turn on the lights in the house. It’s super-easy to scare me. So while I really enjoy visiting the event with my friends, I feel they enjoy visiting it with me even more.

But it’s better to fear the zombie around the corner than the tax assessment in the mail, right?

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Nightmare made by H.R. Giger

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French maid ... rotten

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Disney sure puts pumpkins to other use while Halloween

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Haystack monster

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Sometimes they use literature themes for their houses - like this Edgar Allan Poe nightmare

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Now that is a blunt abdominal trauma

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Freezing cold - thanks to air condition

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Closing your eyes won't help either

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She's going to get you

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Now that's a show a fully understand!

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It's Resident Evil - not the Milla Jovovich movie but the video game

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An american Werewolf in London in Florida in a haunted house

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Zombies. Works all the time.

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Lunatic ladies

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One very beautifully designed scare zone

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Armageddon - chicks - gas masks, feels like home

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Zombie cheerleaders with chainsaws. It doesn't get any better than that!

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Wait. It does! Ninja geishas with chainsaws.

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Take you chance!

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And one of her sidekicks

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Guten Appetit, die Dame

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Light and darkness ...

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The director will see you now

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Hollywood, 1939. Amid the glitz and the glitter of a bustling, young movie town at the height of its golden age, The Hollywood Tower Hotel ... wait ... wrong park

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Light and darkness and pumpkin monsters

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Bad Alice

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Bad bunny

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Goodbye for now

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:58 am

Thanks for your perspective on Halloween Horror Nights. I haven't attended the event for a few years because I believe it's become too "mechanical" and dependent on IPs such as the Walking Dead or the Halloween movies. It could be that I've simply gone there a few too many times.

That being said, like you, I'm always impressed with the level of detail in Universal's mazes. The art direction is impressive.

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:04 am

cfc wrote:[...] I believe it's become too [...] dependent on IPs such as the Walking Dead [...]

True, they have a clear "too much Walking Dead" tendency! I personally prefer "odd" themes, like in the Edgar Allan Poe house or the "fairytales gone bad" idea. I'm looking forward to see the "Shining" house this year.

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:02 pm

multimueller wrote:
cfc wrote:[...] I believe it's become too [...] dependent on IPs such as the Walking Dead [...]

True, they have a clear "too much Walking Dead" tendency! I personally prefer "odd" themes, like in the Edgar Allan Poe house or the "fairytales gone bad" idea. I'm looking forward to see the "Shining" house this year.

Same here. They've done some very good "comedy" houses in the past, such as "Leave It to Cleaver." I tend to prefer the non-IP houses, too, although I can appreciated the work that goes into all of them.

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:46 pm

multimueller wrote:
cfc wrote:[...] I believe it's become too [...] dependent on IPs such as the Walking Dead [...]

True, they have a clear "too much Walking Dead" tendency! I personally prefer "odd" themes, like in the Edgar Allan Poe house or the "fairytales gone bad" idea. I'm looking forward to see the "Shining" house this year.

Multimueller, you zeroed in on some excellent "frights." The French Maid's face certainly caused me a shudder or two. Though my favorite HAS to be Bad Bunny. I'm a big fan of psychological horror, and there's something about benign critters 'going bad' that 'speaks' to me. Out-of-context horror! My twin sister and I have this thing going where we email back and forth to each other "Bad Teddy" illustrations - we try to outdo each other with the 'sickest' teddy bear cartoon images. There are many chilling laughs to be had - especially if we send them at bedtime. :shockr:

Thanks for your very interesting info about Germany and its past/present view on horror. I had no idea of the restrictions that have been in place....and the effort, now, to market Halloween. Very informative!


Update: HHN 2017

Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:52 pm

While my favorite travel time in autumn is the end of October, I chose a way earlier date this year. This enables me to share some HHN pictures with you, while the event is still running. I was looking forward to the “Shining” house and it did not disappoint. Overall these Halloween Horror Nights were packed with nine incredible houses and lots of scary street entertainment. A great event, and everyone who has the chance to should really see it, while it’s still running.

He is in a particular bad mood tonight

And she is not really better

It's way easier to snap some pictures while there is still a little daylight left

Cute, isn't it?

Anyone for princess dinner tonight?

Even more wicked princesses

Evil clowns work. All the time.

Nice teeth!

I like those scare zones

The evil lurks around every corner

Impressive stilt walkers

Some voodo

Meet the grady girls

Hello Mr. Alien!

Hello Mr. Alien Overlord!

Hello grandma!

Night starts to fall

What are YOU looking at?


United we purge

Support the purge

A really cool outfit

That guy was really impressive

More evil stilt walkers

Sexy bloody dancers all around

Some atmosphere shots

The classic "die in" joke

UFO crash site

The twins from shining were insanely creepy

Big eye horror

HHN featuring death himself

The "inverse bear trap" from SAW

One lady in red

Good bye HHN. It's been a GREAT event!

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:23 pm

Great pictures, man! So many detailed costumes, it's almost unreal. Those twins from The Shining were absolutely spot on.

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:26 pm

Wow! :shockr: Awesome costumes! Very impressive how varied and intense a lot of them are.

Great shots of them all, thanks! :b

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:13 am

yeah, the best thing about "Purge: Election Year" is that Statue of Liberty outfit.

amazing in the film, stunning to see in person.

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:56 am

Being a seasoned theme park enthusiast it has been quite a while since the last time I was deeply impressed by a new attraction or a themed area. I think the last ride, that really wowed me, was “Revenge of the Mummy” in Universal Orlando and that one opened back in 2004! Don’t get me wrong: I really enjoy new attractions like “Kong – Skull Island” or “Radiator Springs Racers”, but those gave me no feeling like “oh my god, what just happened?” after my first ride. To my surprise not one but two attractions brought back this so much missed feeling in the last couple of months. The first was – of course – Klugheim and Taron at Phantasialand – the best themed rollercoaster and one heck of a ride. The second one is “Avatar – Flight of Passage” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Orlando.

That’s rather astonishing, as I really do not like projection based attractions. And I’m not a fan of the Avatar Movie. I do not know, if it’s the dynamic motion system, the giant screen, the brilliant 3D image quality, the perfect alignment of movie and motion, the breathing seats, the pre-show or the whole package. But when I visited Orlando in November I had to ride “Flight of Passage” six times in two weeks. And apart from the one time I had a FP+ und the other, I was just lucky to have a super-fast moving line, I waited about two hours each time. And it was so worth it.

I think that “Flight of Passage” has the most beautiful queue of all Disney attractions. Actually some of the most amazing vantage points of Pandora are from the outside part of the queue. And although I had to stand in line alone most of the time (as my fellow trip mates did not share my love for the attraction to my extreme extend) I always had some interesting chats with other people waiting in line – again something that would not happen in Europe.

The attraction itself would be just half the fun without the amazing themed area “Pandora”. First of all: it blends perfectly into the rest of the park. Picking “Avatar” instead of a Disney-IP sounded odd first, but was a really clever choice. Secondly: the whole place looks amazing at day and even more impressive at night, when all the artificial flowers and plants start to glow. And although thousands of people flock into the new area Pandora never feels crowded.

I’ve taken some pictures. Care to have a look at “Pandora”?

The whole place has lots of "water features"

Can you see the "Flight of Passage" queue in this picture? You can't - as it's so well hidden

Those floating mountains look even more impressive in reality

Real or fake plant? You decide!

Again: Mother nature or father Rohde?

The amount of detail is astonishing

The bottom of the "big rock" waterfalls

Isn't that amazingly beautiful?

More water

Sunset in Pandora

Pandorian rocks - Floridian sky

And always water, water, water

When night falls, the whole place starts to glow

Well ... those plants ARE artificial

It's an jaw-dropping sight

This picture was taken onboard the Na'vi River Adventure

The best animatronics I've ever seen

That's inside the queue of "Flight of Passage". The blue guy in the tank moves!

Neytiri is guarding the gift shop

Avatar could almost make you forget about the other great new attraction at Animal Kingdom

Rivers of Light

Not the most popular night show in Walt Disney World, but definitly a perfect fit for Animal Kingdom. I watched it two times and really enjoyed it.
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