Pauloween 2013: Prepping for Universal Orlando’s HHN23 Event!

Okay people, it’s officially September. Time to stop messing around with all this summer nonsense and start prepping for the upcoming best time of the year – PAULOWEEN! We’ve attended Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando for multiple years now, providing in-depth coverage every year, and this year will be no different! For our previous year’s coverages,

So, for our fifth year reviewing the event, what goodies do we have in store for us? Click through because, after the jump, we talk about all the houses and scarezones at this year’s massive event!

THE HOUSES

This year, Universal Orlando returns to having eight houses.

Five of the houses, as you can see above, are based on existing media properties, with three based on original ideas, one of which is a transfer from a house that was popular in Universal Hollywood’s HHN event, La Llorona.

Resident Evil: Escape from Raccoon City – Raccoon City is overrun with Umbrella Corporation’s most terrifying experiments, and the only option is complete destruction. You’ll need to duck and dodge Lickers, Hunters, and Nemesis himself if you want any chance of escaping Capcom’s video game terrors before missiles send everything back to hell.

Though I’m typically more into the original ideas that the creative team comes up with, this house just sounds fantastic.  Harkening back to the 2nd and 3rd Resident Evil video games (not the movies), this sounds like a trek through some of the most iconic moments of arguable the best RE games, and is sure to be a blast.  Not only that, supposedly one room is designed to feel like you’re walking through a PAUSED video game. Should be a lot of fun.

Evil Dead – Relive “The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience” as gruesome Deadites try to possess your soul. There is nowhere to hide as every creaking floorboard and tangled vine is just waiting to pull you down, making you one with the Evil Dead.

Based on the recent remake, and not the original, this house could be either fantastic, or a dud.  I enjoyed the hell out of the remake (review here), so I’m curious how they’ll play on some of the aspects of that film, given the confined environment of the cabin.  Will you venture into the cellar? Outside into the red rain?

An American Werewolf in London – Based on the John Landis horror classic, you’ll travel to the Slaughtered Lamb, experience the gruesome wolf attack on the moors and live the chaos of Piccadilly Circus. Beware the moon because tonight it brings only death.

Confession time … I haven’t seen this movie in over 20 years.  I don’t remember much of it, other than the iconic wolf transformation scene.  Might be time to revisit (is it even out on blu-ray?).  Universal would be wise to sell the movie at the event for the newer generation unfamiliar with it.

Walking Dead: No Escape – Walk in the footsteps of the survivors as Season 3 of AMC’s horror hit relentlessly attacks you from all sides. Stay alert—walkers could trap you anywhere along your journey from the town of Woodbury to the claustrophobic confines of the derelict prison.

I’m torn. I’m not the hugest Walking Dead fan, but I know this is HUGE business for Universal, so they definitely made a wise decision including it in this year’s event.  Seems like this will be rather large, exploring both the prison and Woodbury settings of Season 3.

After Life: Death’s Vengeance – Serial killer Bobby “The Blade” is about to meet Ole’ Sparky. 2000 volts are going to send him to a horrific realm of pain. His victims have waited an eternity for vengeance. They’re bound to turn Bobby’s afterlife into an unimaginable, infernal torment.

This appears to be the 3D house of this year’s event and, honestly, I love this kind of stuff.  I’ve seen some pictures of the house online and it seems like it’ll be a lot of fun.  Heck, here are some!

Havoc: Derailed – Hang on tight aboard a militaristic train convoy that’s secretly transporting the “Dogs of War” — a genetically engineered super-soldier outfit. These bloodthirsty maniacs are bent on mayhem and destruction, with their sights set on twisting the metal of a speeding train. This is Havoc!

HHN20 had a house based on the Havoc theme and it was INTENSE.  Lots of screaming and yelling and aggression.  I’ve seen the “train” haunted house concept a couple of times, to varying degrees of effectiveness, but this could be a pretty great house if the special effects are, well, effective.

The Cabin in the Woods – Experience a live recreation of the film that ripped the horror genre inside out. Beneath the cabin’s rustic appearance lies a secret facility that unleashes terrifying beings that you thought only existed in nightmares.

Though the cabin portion of this house may not be anything special (except maybe the basement full of awesome artifacts), where I think this house will shine will be when you enter the secret facility full of all kinds of creatures.  Not only that, the creative team from the movie is involved in the production of the house, so you know some time and effort is going into this one.

Urban Legends: La Llorona – She is known as the weeping woman. Her legend is one of tragedy… and of murder. She drowned her children in the cold, watery depths and now torments all who hear her with icy, mournful cries. Forced to walk the earth for eternity, she seeks others to share her pain and suffering, now and forever.

The house I’m most excited for this year, because it plays to the whole urban legend/folklore obsession I have.  La Llorona has always fascinated me, and Universal’s houses always work best (for me) when they tell a story.  Some pictures (and a video) have been released of this one.

STREET EXPERIENCES

Scarezones are now known at “street experiences,” and this year they are all themed to different scenes from “The Walking Dead” television series.  Atlanta, the Survivor’s Camp, the Farm, and more, you’ll be able to relive the first couple of seasons (I’d imagine all of Season 3 is saved for the house, though).  Clearly a sign that “The Walking Dead” is big business – this is the first time Universal has had a single unifying theme across all their scarezones, to this extent (I know previous year’s have shared some concepts, like HHN20’s FEAR vines running across the park).

THE SHOWS

This year brings back the Rocky Horror Picture Show Tribute, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure shows, the latter updated to spoof this year’s big entertainment (expect twerking).

ATTENDING THE EVENT

Though you may be waiting for our review to decide if you’re going to go, I will say this – for the extra couple of bucks, look into an RIP Tour or, even better, do that AND a BEHIND THE SCREAMS Tour.  The RIP Tour gets you straight into the haunted houses and is just a little bit more than the park admission and an express pass, and actually saves you more time than the express pass does.

The BEHIND THE SCREAMS Tour gives you a lights-on view of some of the houses, and this year they provide even more options and houses to get a look at, including talking to the creative people behind the event.  Absolutely worth every penny.

Buy either of those here.

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights event begins on September 20th and runs select nights THROUGH November 2nd! Avoid Saturday nights if you can – in fact, Thursdays and Sundays are hands down your best bets if you don’t do one of the add-on options I mentioned above.  And of course check out IoM after opening weekend for pictures and a full review!

For more information about HHN, check out the official site!

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