#10. Catacombs: Black Death Rising
Event Year: HHN 20
Location: Sprung Tent
Best Feature: The Plague Doctors Costume
Best Scene: Museum Finale
Brian: To me, the outfits and mask that the Plague Doctors utilized during the epidemic is creepy; so now we had to go through a house full of them and experience it ourselves. It took a real event, with a real setting, with real characters and just threw them in your face. The sounds of coughing throughout the maze was a subtle, yet awesome addition to the atmosphere. Also, “Cats’n’Combs”.
Drew: I loved the concept of this house. To me there’s nothing scarier than houses/movies based on actual events/settings. The house provided some intense moments. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a sequel for this one down the road.
Hate: This house is one of the greatest tent houses ever created. It was highly detailed, carried a great theme, utilized unique character design, and offered some great scares with one hell of a finale. Speaking of that finale, I still remember walking just a little bit faster as that plastic was being whipped around by the wind as you were blinded by fog and strobe bursts.
#9. Hellgate Prison
Event Year: HHN 14
Location: Soundstage 20
Best Feature: The end forced your party to split up
Best Scene: The Visitation Room
Brian: Robert L. Strickland is one of the best characters ever created that wasn’t featured as an icon, or secondary character. The queue video set the tone as to what was to come in the house, and that was pandemonium. Hellgate truly pushed to the limits with adult content, and we haven’t seen a house this intense since. One of the few houses that truly deserves a sequel.
Drew: Houses like this are hard for me. I’ve never been through Hellgate. I remember when it was announced being totally intrigued by the idea of a prison house. Last year’s Walking Dead gave me a small taste and it was done very well in the cell block. I’d LOVE to see Hellgate make a return or have a few spin-offs much like Psychoscareapy has had.
Hate: Probably one of the most politically incorrect houses ever created here. The house itself was a well themed prison that lost control and featured inmates who not only tried to scare you, but also insult and creep you out. They went as far as calling women names and hitting on the men, I mean it was straight out of a real jail. This house also marked the first appearance of the electric chair and was one of the few houses ever that forced groups to split up at the end to take different routes out. Overall this is one of the most underrated houses of all-time and often overlooked by many in the community.
#8. Body Collectors
Event Year: HHN 15
Location: Jurassic Park Discovery Center
Best Feature: The Gentleman (again)
Best Scene: The Spine Rip (again)
Brian: This was by far the stand-out house of Horror Nights 15. What I loved about the event is that each house had a part in the story to tie it all together to the Terra Queen. Of course featuring the uber-creepy Gentlemen, this house was brutal. I loved the industrial feel of it, and essentially seeing the Gentlemen treating the sacrificed bodies like it was nothing was just grotesque.
Drew: From everything I’ve heard, and from what I’ve experienced of the Body Collectors (Collections from the Past, Streets of Blood, Hallow’d Past) they are by far some of my favorite characters to grace the event. I wish I had been going to the event longer!
Hate: What can you say here, a true home grown winner. This house had everything you wanted and more. Creepy and detailed sets mixed with outstanding character development led to great scares and some of the greatest gore laden scenes to ever come to Horror Nights. Hello SPINE RIP! I still remember going through that scene and being like “That’s so freaking cool!!” This was the dominant house of the Body Collectors franchise. If you were a fan of the other Collector house, this one would have blown you away.
Event Year: HHN 24
Location: Sprung Tent
Best Feature: Sound FX and Music
Best Scene: The Closets/Hallways
Brian: It’s amazing that some of the best houses in Horror Nights history take place in a stand-alone tented structure. Sound Stages offers so much more for atmosphere, being that Universal has a lot more “control”. With Halloween, they created the atmosphere of one of the most popular horror franchises “to a T”. The music and sound FX were perfect accents to a confined maze that allowed Myers to get up close and personal. The facade was beautifully done, and was great to see projections on it as you waited to enter it.
Drew: Halloween captures what so many good IPs have done before it, and completely immerse you in the experience. However, it ups the ante even more. The close quarters feel of the sprung tent sets really made this house special as it felt that there was truly no escape from Michael throughout the entire house. From the second you see the facade with John Carpenter’s score playing, you know you’re in for a treat. Amazing sets, great scares and an amazing cast makes this house a total home run.
Hate: Halloween is one of my all time favorite horror movies, so when I found out it was coming to Horror Nights – I was ecstatic! The house itself delivered on every level; providing authentic and in-depth themeing, close-encounter scare tactics, and reenactments of some of the movie’s greatest scenes. The cast was incredible and provided some very intense in-your-face scares. Easily one of the Top Ten greatest houses of Horror Nights history!
Event Year: HHN 13
Location: Jurassic Park Discovery Center
Best Feature: The Calming, Ironic Music of A Theme from A Summer Place
Best Scene: Bathroom Scene
Brian: After 11 years, if I still hear “A Theme from a Summer Place”, my memory automatically jumps to this house and reminds me of the great scares and that awful smell. I remember walking by Burger Digs an hour before the event began and the smell started to pump through. I knew I was in for a Horror treat. The actors brought their A-game and were so over-the-top, in-your-face that it ramped up the already creepy atmosphere.
Drew: You guys are killing me, here. Another one that’s before my time. I think I can speak on behalf of this one. After going through 2 spinoff/sequels and watching the POV of this house many times… and hearing so much about “the smell”… there’s a lot of aspects to this house that make me long for it. The location of the Burger Digs is also REALLY intriguing. Can we have a “best of” year and remake all these houses? Cool.
Hate: POOP! There I said it… Seriously though, Universal’s take on an asylum of crazies was an instant classic. It was so good it sparked not one, but 3 more sequels to the franchise. While Home for the Holidays was an amazing house, the originality and creative take on this house was second to none. From start to finish you experienced singing, mutes, jokes, pooping on the walls, and guards being slaughtered in a multitude of ways. Insanity is the word that best describes what was Shadybrook Rest Home and Sanitarium at HHN 13.