True Horror Awaits at Universal

Abbey Brannock, Managing Editor

Fright Nights step aside for the real king of fear; Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) 24 brings back some old tactics and creates new ones to give visitors a truly terrifying experience.

This year there’s eight houses – Giggles and Gore Inc., Alien vs. Predator, Dollhouse of the Damned, Roanoke Cannibal Colony, The Walking Dead, From Dusk Till Dawn, Dracula Untold, and Halloween.

While they may be extremely expensive, express passes will save your life. Paying for them is extremely worth it because lines that may last for two hours or more are shortened to just ten minutes. As someone who suffered through the regular admission lines for two years, I can’t express enough how worth it express passes are. When I used to get to the park early, I’d only manage to finish half the houses when I was sitting in the general admission line, when this year we came an hour late and we were finished by every house by 11:30.

Unlike the last two years, HHN 24 brings back scare zones, where actors in the streets of Universal are restricted to four areas. This may be a setback, but Universal makes the experience more interesting by giving each zone a theme – one puts visitors in the atmosphere of the Purge, one shows off incredible visual effects in FaceOff,  one takes a trip to Louisiana in Bayou of Blood, and one is a whimsical yet horrifying dance through MASKerade: Unstitched.

A complaint that many had was the dwindling numbers of actors in the streets with chainsaws, but that all changes this year. In the Purge, a large number of actors are chasing visitors down the streets and even ambushing groups who are relaxing by tables and benches.

The Walking Dead returns for its third year in its house, End of the Line. Even though zombies are starting to get old, Universal still manages to make it one of the best houses in the entire event; it seems much longer than the others and is the only house that uses a maze-like design in the end.

Roanoke Cannibal Colony was one of the best, and everything about it was fantastic. This was one of the only houses that had actors on stilts and they knew how to use that to their advantage. Actors would cut groups in half or make pairs walk one by one, which surprisingly is a lot more terrifying than it seems, when you’re surrounded by bloodthirsty cannibals.

Some houses aren’t so much as scary, but just very creepy. Dollhouse was an area that left a haunted feeling in your stomach – not by the actual scares but by the design and the concept. Alien vs. Predator’s layout was one of my favorites (I always have a soft spot for sci-fi haunted houses), but the house itself wasn’t as scary as the others.

Halloween Horror Nights 24 takes place on select nights until November 1st.