Part the First: Fear and Loathing at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
Hi! This be me--Tor! Chuck, he let Tor talk about Hal'ween Flor'da stuff. He do same for Tor friend Criswell few years go. He kinda weird, but buy Tor beer, so he OK.
You might 'member Tor from Ed Wood movies, like Plan 9 fro' Outer Space an Bride of Monster. I get be star of Beast from Yucca Flats, but that no Ed movie. Me use pro rassle, too.
So, Chuck, he say we talk 'bout Disney Halloween stuff now. Tor little fuzzy 'bout that, but he get lots 'o' candies. Tor like candies. . . .
OK, that's enough for now, Tor. If you're good, maybe I'll let you write a few captions. I apologize, everyone. Mr. Johnson is very enthusiastic about being on TPR, but being dead for, oh, the last 40 years or so has made him a bit . . . befuddled.
Now, where were we? Oh, that's right, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. There are no haunted houses or mazes or scare zones or Jello shots at this event, but there is a parade, fireworks, short lines for major attractions, and, of course, candy. Lots of candy.
TOR LIKE CANDIES! JEL' SHOTS TOO!
Yes, you've already said that, Tor, thank you. This event is always a nice way to kickoff the Florida Halloween season. Why, some members of TPR even dressed up for the occasion--a more than not-so-scary notion in itself.
Let's have a look, shall we?
Me Tor! Me a'prove this caption!
But before we enter the park, here's a shot for Scott. Look! They're moving Monorail Silver from one beam to another! Geeking out yet?
Tor want see candy!
Patience, Tor. Patience.
We're a bit early, so let's enjoy the decorations, OK?
This isn't quite as "not-so-scary" as it gets.
This is a little less "not-so-scary."
OK, now I'm getting a bit scared--and aroused.
Tor like Choc-o-Tacos!
That's nice, Tor.
Yes, I'm here! Hot damn tamale!
Tor t'ink baby scary! Baby scare Tor!
Aghh! Dey all scare Tor!
Have a Twizzler, big guy. You'll feel better.
Tor take dis pitchur!
It is a little blurry, but it does get one idea across . . .
. . . that it's raining.
Rainy days and Mondays a'ways get Tor down.
Well, to pass the time while it rained, Ol' Granpa Taco warmed himself by the fire and told us stories about the old days: "You see, back in my time, we didn't have your fancy blue-corn tortillas and nacho cheese and such. All we had was hamburger, some cheddar cheese, lettuce, and maybe a few chopped tomaters. But we all felt blessed."
Tor sick of rain! Tor want candies!
Not near 'nough! More candy for Tor!
OK, OK Tor--just don't piledrive me or something.
It's Disney--with extra horror!
It's the Castle of Doom!
My camera simply cannot capture the splendor that is Disco Ice Bat.
Ice Bat rock Tor world!
Yes, it's Toontown . . .
. . . only frightening!
Tor morel scairt of giant blue baby! More pitchurs to come.
Erik Johnson wrote:Just to let everyone know, there is no releation between Tor and myself.
Erik no deny destin'y! You mus' be Tor great nephew, or som'thin! NO DENY TOR!
Easy, Tor, easy--there are a lot of people named "Johnson," and they're not all as large as you.
Yeah! Tor BIG Johnson!
Er, yeah, sure. Let's move along to . . .
Halloween Horror Night at Universal Orlando
Yeah! Tor like Hor' Night! Want to write 'bout it, but Tor ha' too many Jello Shots, so little fuzzy ag'in. Chuck write, 'stead.
OK, Tor--if you insist.
HHN 2009, "Ripped from the Silver Screen," was excellent this year--the best of the five HHNs I've attended. I was particularly looking forward to the haunted houses inspired by the classic Universal Monsters--the Wolf Man, Dracula, and Frankenstein. They were all great, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Chucky (Child's Play) and Saw houses, too (never been a big fan of Saw, but it sure made for an good maze).
Here's how I rank the houses, starting with my favorite (it was a pretty tough choice).
Frankenstein: Creation of the Damned: This maze picks up where James Whale's The Bride of Frankenstein leaves off. The good doctor patches and stitches his ruined castle back together to continue his experiements in reanimation; of course, it doesn't go as well as he might have hoped. This is an excellent updating of the old movies, and I liked the "steampunk" look and feel of if. Very, very detailed.
Chucky: Friends till the End: One of the biggest suprises of the night. I've never found the Child's Play movies (outside of the first one) particulalry scary. (Hell, you can easily punt Chucky across the street.) But this maze involving possessed toys is beautifully done--scary and funny (often at the same time). It builds to a great finish, too.
Dracula: Legacy in Blood: Don't look for some guy in a tuxedo here. Universal has taken this legend back to the source that inspired Bram Stoker--the history of Transylvania's nororious Vlad the Impaler. It turns on one key line from Stoker's novel--"I shall turn your women against you." And the good count has been busy, not only turning our women against us, but impaling their men, as well. Again, amazing atmosphere.
The Wolf Man: My fondest memory of the first HHN I ever attended was the old "Monsterama" maze (2000, I think), which featured the "classic" versions of Universal's Monsters--the Wolf Man scared the crap out of everyone in my group when he practically bounded over our heads. This new maze is great, too--a very good expansion of the old Lon Chaney, Jr., flick from the 1940s, complete with a "living" forest.
Leave it to Cleaver: Welcome to Meetz Meats, where the choicest cut is prime rib of . . . YOU! (Yeah, I've used this joke in other "Haunt" write ups.) This tour of a 1950s meat-processing plant for cannibals is largely played for laughs, and works nicely (apparently, I'd look "good on the buffet"). The goofy plastic masks worn by most of the scareactors make them look like mutant versions of Bob's Big Boy.
Saw: I'm not a big fan of this series, but this is a very good maze. All the elements and traps from the movie are there, and Billy, the trike-riding puppet, is one of the creepiest little bastards ever.
Silver Screams: This year's "icon" maze comes off a bit weak, mainly because, I think, it tries to do too much. The movies represented here range from Army of Darkness to My Bloody Valentine to Shaun of the Dead, and there really isn't enough space and time to do them all justice. But the Usher is a good character, and the maze does have atmosphere to burn--the Shaun of the Dead section is particulary well done. At any other park haunt, this maze would be a headliner.
The Spawning: This is the most "generic" maze at HHN (mutant lizards on the loose in a city sewer system), but it's still a lot of fun. The "Sculdurs" (Scully/Muldur, anyone) are pretty good monsters.
We enjoyed a great behind-the-scenes tour of the three main houses this year, and Michael Roddy, the creative director of HHN, spent some time with us, too--my thanks to him and the Universal staff for treating us all so well. And seeing the houses lit up did nothing to diminish the scares that night.
I really liked four of the scarezones this year (the freaks, the chainsaw drill tream, the zombie war, and the Horrorwood Drive-In). But zones tend to be a hit or miss, depending on crowds and timing. The only minor bummer was probably this year's Bill and Ted show but I think the problem was the weakness of our pop culture last summer (not a very rich vein to mine there). Fun, but not as good as in past years.
Oh, and Rip Ride Rockit was damn good, too.
My thanks, again, to Universal, and especially to Robb and Elissa for setting up another great day and night at Universal Orlando. Here's a look at it.
Dis how Tor pick up wimmins at Hor' Night! Me look more han'some in color.
Here's the reason we're all here, right, Tor?
Don' forget Jel' shots!
Another sign brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department. Now, did everybody get that? I repeat, did everybody get that? Is the signage clear?
Tor no get it.
"Hell-o-o-o-o, ladies! I was gonna take you on the ride of your life . . .
. . . but the bird broke it!"
Tor kill dumb bird!
Easy, Tor--they'll fix the ride.
And it was good--this element particularly.
Tor too big, no ride. Tor sad! Didn't even get kill dumb bird!
Hmm--unless I miss my guess, this is some sort of "scarezone."
My--that's a big one.
I'm willing to bet that flames will be shooting out of there tonight.
"Oh, goody! I've always wanted to tickle a Dutchman!"
HHN hasn't even started yet, and Jon is already freaked.
"MY GOD! WILLIAM SHATNER! I LOVE HIS PRICELINE ADS!"
"Magnum PI is the greatest show in history! Shakespeare, Moliere, Shaw--their stuff is nothing but crap next to Magnum!"
The "Unmasking the Horror Tour" includes these models.
I so want a "Leave It to Cleaver" bobblehead.
Here's the model theatre they used in their commercials and online.
Very nice work.
Hmm--I think this popcorn has been here a while.
You no want, Tor eat!
This year's affable HHN host.
Time to unmask a little horror.
Hmm--this looks like a very troubled production.
Looks like they're "slashing" the budget.
Look! A Hidden Mickey!
"This is Universal. There are no 'Hidden Mickeys' here. Thank you."
Off to the soundstage mazes.
First stop, Frankenstein.
Hmm--I'm not sure this repair work is up to code. More to come.
Again, I think Dr. F needs to have a word with those contractors.
"Hello. I'm Dr. Herbert West. If you're through with the cat, I'll take it off your hands."
Tor lookin' fer new head. You got spare, maybe? If no head, will settle for pelvis.
"Hoo, hoo! Ha, Ha! . . .
. . . Stoopid Monkey!"
"OK, did somebody here order a new heart?"
"I'll need you to sign for it, buddy--gotta pen?"
Tor want pecs like that!
Tor got craving for Buffalo wings now. Not sure why.
You may recognize this fellow from the last year's "Body Collectors" maze (er, the one on the left, that is). Waste not, want not.
Be worried--these are Dr. F's dental instruments.
Hey! You Swedish! Like Tor!
"Piers, you WILL perform 'Illumigaytions' this week!"
But Elissa hadn't recokoned on the Sister of Frankenstein!
I'm pretty concerned about this wiring. Was your electrician bonded?
Yep--I knew that wiring was dangerous!
Next stop--Castle Dracula. And, buddy, that'll teach you for trying to peek through people's windows!
Looks like the count has quite a bumper crop of corpses this year. Nice to see that he takes such pride in his garden.
This is an actual used coffin. If you have a body creamated, but want a "viewing," you have to pay for a coffin. Such coffins can't be reused, so they're sold cheap. Great for Halloween mazes--or as a cheap spare bed for annoying guests.
My local Home Depot doesn't carry this chandelier--maybe Ikea?
Tor can make one easy--from scratch! One more set pitchurs to come.
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