#20. Dead Silence: The Curse of Mary Shaw
Event Year: HHN 17
Location: Soundstage 22
Best Feature: Facade/Graveyard
Best Scene: The Walkway
Brian: One of 2 houses (the other being Home for the Holidays) that I missed that year due to unforeseen circumstances and a little bit of poor planning on my part. I almost had a chance to experience the house, but with 5 min before closing time, the team member manning the front of the line said I couldn’t go through because it was closed. Thank the heavens for YouTube, but it’s not the same. Either way, word of mouth and multiple YouTube viewings allowed me to not have any problem with it’s placement on our Top 25.
Drew: Heading into a year that was overshadowed by the New Line big 3 and the first year of the IP era of Halloween Horror Nights, Dead Silence was sort of an afterthought. Based on the film that didn’t really receive much praise, many people including myself weren’t sure what to expect. It was a very well done old school haunt. The facade/entrance of the house was wonderful. Truly felt like you were outdoors. Wonderfully done all around.
Hate: This was the house that shocked me at HHN 17. With all the publicity of the New Line Characters this one was kind of an after thought so to speak; which couldn’t be further from the truth. The house was had an awesome facade, outstanding set design, and was an actual haunt that would scare me each and every time I went through. That damn mirror at the end in the bedroom…
#19. Body Collectors: Collections of the Past
Event Year: HHN 18
Location: Soundstage 20
Best Feature: The Gentlemen
Best Scene: Spine Rip
Brian: To this day, I still feel that the Gentlemen are some of the most creepiest characters introduced to Horror Nights. The house was my personal favorite from that year, and was perfect from a storytelling standpoint to the execution of scares and settings. Everyone knows about the Spine Rip scene, but another standout was when the hooker is grabbed by one of the gentlemen and gets her throat sliced. Brutal! Random Fun Fact: The Gentlemen are actually inspired by an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Drew: I wish I could say I remember more from this house. This house was SO dark when you went in during the early hours of the event. The sets were incredible and you’ve gotta love the nod to Sweeney Todd. What’s a Body Collectors house without the spine rip? One of the most iconic scenes in Horror Nights history.
Hate: This was a great house that expanded upon the original Body Collectors perfectly. The amazing spine rip scene was back along with the Sweeney Todd homage. My personal favorite was the Theater viewing, which conjured up some great scares on multiple runs.
#18. Scary Tales II
Event Year: HHN 12
Location: Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges
Best Feature: The Black & White Hall
Best Scene: Cornfield
Brian: The second house I ever did at Halloween Horror Nights, it really embodied what I’ve come to love about the event; taking simple fears and expanding upon it into a sick, twisted house. The creative minds also did a fantastic job utilizing the Popeye and Bluto’s queue, especially with it being the first time it was done.
Drew: The house was before my time, however as someone who watched the Art of the Scare show on Travel Channel countless times, I feel like I’ve been. Always a fan of taking our childhood stories and turning them upside down. To this day we still see some of the costumes used like the Pumpkin head scareactor.
Hate: This was my very first house ever at HHN way back in 2002 so I may be a little biased but I loved this house. From childhood nursery to childhood nightmare this house delivered evil transitions of your favorite nursery rhymes. Everything from the Headless Horseman to chainsaw wielding 3 little pigs were featured. Scary Tales 2 was also one of the first houses to utilize the camouflage suits for scare actors with matching wall paint to better hide them; a trait carried over to numerous future events.
Event Year: HHN 22
Location: Soundstage 20
Best Feature: Extremely Elaborate Sets
Best Scene: Flying Gargoyles
Brian: I liked it, but didn’t love it. The sets were definitely spectacular and is one of Horror Night’s best ever – and the costumes were great; but the 2 times I went through the house, I seemed to have missed the scares. I will say however, the flying gargoyles were the best use of the zip-line feature that has been used in houses in the past. I had the house lower on my Top 25, while the other 2 guys had it higher.
Drew: One of the most gorgeous houses I’ve ever had the pleasure of walking through. Mind blowing sets mixed with scares. While not terrifying they took advantage of your eyes looking elsewhere. Featuring flying gargoyles, mirror tricks, bungee tricks, and a zip-lining gargoyle; Gothic was one of my favorite houses in Horror Nights history.
Hate: The one bright spot to a so-so year, Gothic was the only house I really enjoyed. I loved the facade, the gargoyle costumes, and wicked sets. I also loved how Universal reused those large Gargoyle statues from the old arch entrance into Gothics facade. In a year that was IP heavy, Universal’s best house was an original concept.
#16. Scary Tales: Once Upon a Nightmare
Event Year: HHN 18
Location: Parade Building
Best Feature: Evil Queen’s room, with her high above you
Best Scene: Red Riding Hood
Brian: Unlike the other 2, I had this house higher because it amplified what I loved about my first experience with Scary Tales (2 in 2002). A bigger budget, a bigger setting, and a more twisted tale. I personally loved the dungeon room of the Witch’s Gingerbread House; filled with ovens and the sounds of the children begging for help was truly chilling.
Drew: I’m not sure how I feel about this house. In general, I think it’s pretty overrated and in my mind, was rather unmemorable. It was fun to walk through but all I really remember was the Alice in Wonderland scene. The best thing about this house is that it introduced a new house location to the event as it was the first house to utilize the parade building.
Hate: Scary Tales 3 was a great house and really showcased the Parade Building as a ideal house location on property. While I did enjoy the house, I had it right behind Scary Tales 2 in the house series. Sure it was more elaborate but I felt like it missed the mark on scariness. Give me the 3 little pigs chasing me out of the house over the Mad Tea Party disco any day.