Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Universal Studio's Halloween Horror Nights Part 2

The Good (continued)

* Krampus

The outside of the maze puts you in the winter/Christmas spirit. The house is covered in ice and surrounded by menacing snowmen with Krampus sitting on the roof. Krampus chases you through the icy, ruined house. One of my favorite parts of the film is an adorable tableau of deranged gingerbread men taking over the kitchen. The kid eating clown jack in the box looks insane full sized. The snowmen were really creepy. It's so simple to push them forward towards the audience, but it's so unexpected. The ending could have been a little better in regard to replicating the film, but the final Krampus freaked me out. It's an enjoyable maze.

* The Purge: Gauntlet of Fear Zone

I'm a fan of The Purge films, but it doesn't really work as an extended attraction like the Terror Tram. These scare zones are perfect for it with deranged and elaborate tableaux, masked killers, tortured victims, dead bodies, and disturbing graffiti. The guys in the camouflage gilly suits scared me the most because I never knew they were there. I especially love the recording of a group of people reciting the new Pledge of Allegiance to the New Founding Fathers. The ending gets a little too rave like for me, but it's fun overall.

* Eli Roth Presents Terror Tram

Eli Roth capitalizes on all the scary clown appearances lately. In case you haven't heard, people all over the US are dressing up as clowns and standing around, scaring people. Hysteria over this has risen and given rise to rumors of these clowns attacking people, being attacked, or trying to lure children away. I figure the phenomenon is due to viral It marketing or people looking to freak people out. Anyway, Roth creates a whole history that ties into this.

Koodles the Klown, the original mascot of Universal Studios was beloved and revered for years. Things hit rock bottom after he was involuntarily retired and he's been living in the backlot ever since. Now, clowns are uprising at an alarming rate and joining him on the backlot to exact their revenge. The video in the tram is well done with a detailed history of Koodles AKA Hollywood Harry. Then we get to experience the madness of these murderous clowns. It's a vast improvement over the Purge tram of last year and I loved it. The childlike, jingly music served as a creepy backdrop for the horrific sights these clowns have in store.

The Bad

* The Exorcist

I make no secret that I'm not the biggest fan of The Exorcist, but it's not a bad film by any means. The maze unfortunately is bad. It starts out pretty strong with the spider walk scene, but there's no hiding when they reset the animatronic. If you walk in at the wrong moment, the effect is completely ruined. Afterwards, you walk through the iconic scenes of the film which are always with Reagan and the exorcists. They start to seem the same after a while: Reagan spewing pea soup vomit, Reagan with an obscenely long tongue, Reagan levitating, etc. The most effective scare is when Reagan comes rushing at you on a cross.

In between these tableaux are the demon face that's used in flashes in the film as standalone jump scares in different colors. The first couple were scary, but as they stayed exactly the same, it grew dull. There are numerous light up pictures of Reagan's face with the demon face superimposed over it that was cool one time. The big finale of the maze is a life size version of the Pazazu statue. It has all the same trappings as other scares to help it along, but it looked adorable. It was even more adorable that the scare actor in the costume tried to be scary. I expected a lot more from the maze of such an iconic film.

* Other Purge Scare Zones

One sort of scare zone is a tunnel leading 3 of the mazes. It features disorienting strobe lights and deafening dubstep music along with random people trying to scare. I just want to get to the mazes and back and this area was an annoyance to and from those mazes.

* Go Go Dancers

I complain about this every year. If they want to have go go dancers, it would be wonderful to also have some hot male ones. This event isn't just for men and it would be nice to have equal opportunity eye candy if they insist on having it.

Overall, Universal's Halloween Horror Nights is a huge success with me. It's by far my favorite horror attraction of the year and I eagerly await to return next year.

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