Review of Halloween Horror Nights 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

For my first  off topic post, I thought I would post a review of this year's Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios (in Orlando). This is only the second year that I've attended, but it was so much fun and I wanted to write about it. First, a disclaimer: I won't have the most detailed reviews of each house because I spent a large majority of the time focusing on the upcoming corners, doorways, and curtains, bracing for whatever/whoever was going to jump out at me. We did make it to all eight houses this year which I was super excited about, especially with it being a Saturday night three weeks before Halloween. Really felt like I made full use of my money for the night!

The Houses
The Walking Dead
I knew ahead of time that the two most popular houses would probably be The Walking Dead house and the Halloween house. TWD was in the front of the park and Halloween the back so we decided to just hop in line for TWD since it was only a 45 minute wait when we got there. We were there with our best couple friend(s) and with it being the first house of the night, the wait felt super quick. All I really remember is we heard lots of screaming in this house as we were waiting. This was advertised as the biggest house they've ever had, and it was definitely long. There were zombies jumping out all over the place, on both sides. I screamed and laughed my way through this as I squeezed quickly to the right and then to the left over and over again. They repeated a scene similar to last year's with the jail and the jail cell's being open. There was another scary part with strobe lights and zombies EVERYWHERE. We all loved this one. But I'm also in the camp of people who love TWD house and wouldn't mind at all if they continue to include this one next year again. Vs. Predator
I've only partially seen any of these movies so I wasn't sure what to expect. This was an interesting one in terms of the set design, but there weren't necessarily too many scares. I did scream out loud which my friend laughed about since at the moment I did nothing had jumped out. But I looked to my right and saw this masked thing just standing there and it freaked me out. - Cannibal Colony
After the AvP house, and after we'd done a couple of other rides, we moved closer to the back of the park to get to this house, because the wait was only, I believe, 5 minutes at the time! This house was based off the real life mystery about the group of colonists in the 16th century who disappeared... one of the theories is that because they had no food or resources they became cannibals and... well... you know. This house freaked me out! In a completely different way than TWD did. The costumes and sets were amazing in this one. I remember seeing one girl sitting there savagely eating part of another person (his intestines, maybe?) I think this might be the one where in a couple places the scare actors were walking around in the line of people instead of just jumping out from somewhere. This was a good one.

Dollhouse of the Damned
This one was right across from Roanoke, and the wait was only 15 minutes when we got out of that one, so we went straight into this one. As you walk up, you see a cartoon-y looking house and the sound of little laughs coming out of it. This house was CREEPY!! I mean, yeah, I figured the dolls would be creepy, but this caught me off guard. There was this one especially creepy part where I was looking up at a creepy looking doll, and I might have even said out loud "are these real or..." and all of a sudden the super creepy looking one jumped at me.  This one was surprisingly... you guessed it... creepy!!! Untold  
This one is based off the new movie. Honestly, I don't remember this one. It wasn't the most remarkable in set design or scares. I mean, I did jump and scream, but as I sit here and write this I literally cannot remember anything about it! Sorry Dracula Untold people. :( Dusk Till Dawn
Right after the first vampire one we went to this one. I know nothing at all about this show or movie. This one wasn't really scary either. It was more about the set I guess as well. But since I hadn't seen the movie or anything it didn't mean a whole lot to me. This one felt more like watching a show.
Giggles and Gore
Okay, so by this time of the night we had done all the rides we wanted to do and spent plenty of time in the Simpsons area so the guys could get some Duff beer. (We girls chose to go for Starbucks instead earlier in the night). I've had a fear of clowns ever since I watched Poltergeist at the age of 3... that scene... with the clown that comes to life! But I will say I reigned in the fear significantly after reading then watching It last year... I just had to remind myself that Pennywise was Tim Curry, and then I wasn't afraid anymore. BUT, I was still super apprehensive about walking into a "haunted" house full of clowns jumping out at me. But really, this one wasn't bad at all. I was super proud of myself. It was scary and fun. Some of the clowns were freaky looking, but some weren't. The ending of this one was awesome. Lots of fun.

Halloween last house of the night. This was one that I was most looking forward to, but the line was so long all night.. getting up to 75 minutes at one point that we saw so we kept putting it off. By the time this was the only house left, the wait was 60 minutes. It was 12:40 am. Our friends decided they were done for the night and left. Jason and I hemmed and hawed and then finally decided we just must do this one. For almost the entire wait we were looking at a house in the middle of nowhere, with the Halloween theme music playing loudly over the speakers. Scary! And we were so lucky that the wait time of 60 minutes was incorrect, and we ended up waiting only 25 minutes! We are so glad we did. Like they said, this one was like walking through the movie, Halloween. Michael Myers jumped out from everywhere with his knife raised in the air. I had seen a video of a girl going through this house alone so I had an idea what to expect. I was terrified of what I knew was coming - the hallway full of Michael Myers on each side! I won't tell you if one was real or not... you can go and see for yourself! ;) There was also a "scene" from the movie with a girl sitting on the couch and Michael Myers jumps out and attacks her as you walk by. And the ending of this was awesome as well. I screamed and laughed a lot with this one!! I happened to find a video of this one online if you are interested... looks like it is an official video so hopefully I'm not doing anything wrong linking to this one: Halloween House Video

The Scare Zones
Okay, I just wanted to add something little about the scare zones. First there was The Purge. I've seen both the Purge movies which have such an awful premise but, well, I still watched them. Basically, in a future world the government allows all crime to take place on one night of the year, including murder. In the second one, a couple's car breaks down as they are on the way home, so they are essentially stuck outside downtown in the middle of the Purge. So I was super scared of this one, but was by far the weakest scare zone. I think I only saw two of the Purge characters total (plus a couple chain saw people) in the few times we walked through there. Another one was the Bayou of Blood which was set in Louisiana with the voodoo culture. There was a thick green fog that made that one creepy. There was supposedly a human sacrifice show every so often but I didn't see it. There was Face Off which was definitely the best one. This is based off the show of the same name on SyFy where contestants create scary and gruesome masks. (I haven't actually watched the show but that's what I understand). The characters were amazing, and the scare actors in this one were super active and totally got into their role. And the last one was actually the first one when you walk in the park... Masquerade. I only saw this one while it was still light out so it wasn't as scary. Some of these actors were alright, but there was one girl that was creeping me out even in the light.

So that's it! I had so much fun and would definitely recommend this event!

The Sunday Salon

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Looks as though I got myself in a little over my head with my reading "commitments" this past month after doing so well the month before! Somehow I ended up committing to the read-a-long for Something Wicked This Way Comes which I did start... to Frankenstein with my husband which I did start... to Cartwheel with my sister which I did start... any one recognize a pattern? Not to mention I had been slowly making may way still through The Stand but haven't looked at that one in a while. Really, I haven't done much reading at all lately. All the same reasons. Yesterday, I finally picked a couple books back up again and got a lot of reading done. I've been sick (again) so I spent all day Saturday at home.

As for Frankenstein, up until yesterday I'd only read a couple chapters and was really not into it. My husband felt the same way. And does it seem like every book written in the 1800's is in the format of someone writing a letter to someone else about the narrative of someone they met and that's what the actual book is? Seems like I've seen a lot of that! But yesterday I did get a lot further and it's picked up a little.That being said, it is a ridiculous story in many ways and you have to be willing to suspend disbelief. I'll explain more when I'm done reading it!

Something Wicked This Way Comes I am also not far in at all, but the story itself was reminding me every so slightly of Stephen King ONLY because of the theme with the two young boys... cue It or Stand By Me. I will get back to this later, but probably not one the read-a-long schedule.

Cartwheel, based off of the Amanda Knox story, is one I have been wanting to read for a while. I happened to be with my sister recently at Barnes and Noble and she decided she wanted to read it and that we should each read it together. Plus we get extra points for it on our family reading challenge... (have I mentioned that before)? As part of that we each identified five books we wanted to be sure to read this year and we all get extra points if we read any off the entire list and that's on there. Again, I'm only shortly into this one, but wow, the main girl (the one who would be the Amanda Knox of the story) is very difficult to like!

On the blog front, has anyone else with blogger had issues renewing the payment for their domain? I initially had a whole paragraph about this but decided better of it... don't want to insult the owner of the blogger platform I'm using! Suffice it to say, my balance is paid and I am good to go, but it was not easy!

On another blog related note, I've always felt pretty strongly about keeping this blog strictly about the books, but I decided that I'm going to post about other things every now and then... it's ridiculous that I feel a weird sort of guilt or unease about this!! But the other things I plan on posting about, so far anyway, are all still related to the theme of "taking me away" and being an escape from the often harsh realities of every day life! Tomorrow I will be posting my review of Halloween Horror Nights which I attended last weekend!