Halloween 2020 Halloween Horror Nights Orlando 2013 Review

“HHN strikes again with one of its best performances in years”

Back to 8 houses and streets packed with zombies, Halloween Horror Nights Orlando 2013 packs a punch that they have been lacking for the past few years. Last year was pretty lackluster, and I won’t even go into how horrible the Bill & Ted show was. This year started off pretty well when our food runner at T-Rex in Downtown Disney told us about how every person that went to HHN was raving about it. I’ve heard this in recent years, but man do I love going in with high expectations. I mean, isn’t that what we should expect of an event that charges us an arm and a leg (start getting used to my dumb zombie jokes)? Well, this year, it is worth the price of admission and will definitely be proclaimed the best Halloween event of 2013.

As this is the first annual review of Halloween Horror Nights, let’s go over the rules of how we rank the houses based on our two factors. They each receive a score of Ehh, Sub-par, Mediocre, Good, Great, or Amazing.

  1. Scream Generator: How many scares did each house produce?
  2. Mind Blower: How cool and interesting are the visuals and sets in each house.

Of course, there are the occasional ROFL houses and total BUSTS. We’ll identify these each year to keep your expectations at a good level. Get a hold of all your body parts, cause it’s time to start the review!

#1 – Evil Dead

Scream Generator: Amazing

Mind Blower: Amazing

Wow, what a house! Visually stunning from the moment you see the Evil Dead sign, this house will blow you away. They did some nice creative work with the Book of the Dead (won’t spoil it all here), and you’ll know what I’m talking about when you go through this house. There are plenty of scares in this house, including many misdirection scares (my favorite kind!). Pretty much all of the actors look straight out of the movie. They look scary and they get screams in glorious ways. Make sure to stay a little bit behind the group in front of you to maximize your scare opportunities in this house. It makes it scarier for you and well worth it for the screams.

#2 – An American Werewolf in London

Scream Generator: Great

Mind Blower: Amazing

One of the scares in this house literally had one of my friends stop dead in their tracks and refuse to move forward. While it was the single best scare of the night, the house did not have as much quality scares as Evil Dead to rank #1 on our list this year. This house features scenes straight out of the movie, Nazi Werewolves and all! This was the most mind blowing house because of the level of detail put into the werewolf throughout the house. These were new effects and even knowing they were there did not stop them from terrifying the crap out of me. They look so realistic that they will just give you the goosebumps. Make time for this house and you won’t be disappointed.

#3 – Cabin in the Woods

Scream Generator: Good

Mind Blower: Amazing

This was probably the house I was looking forward to the most based on how crazy the movie was. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the visuals in this house were absolutely stunning. They completely recreated some of the amazing characters that were seen in the movie. The final area you walk through is pure magic and will give you the jeepers creepers (where’d you get those peepers?). While the visuals alone gave this house #3 on our review, the scares themselves were scarcer than I’d like. It was especially perplexing that the elevator scene from the movie (recreated here) only had a clown and a zombie in it, with only one other monster coming out of an elevator door. This area should have been complete chaos with monsters jumping out everywhere. Oh well, at least they had Merman!

#4 – La Llorona

Scream Generator: Great

Mind Blower: Great

La Llorona is an original house based on the Mexican legend of the weeping woman forced to search the earth for the children she murdered. The details in this house are pretty cool and La Llorona continually gets more twisted and scary as you go throughout the house. There are some amazing misdirection scares here (some involving mirrors!) and you really don’t know where scares are going to come from at times. While I really enjoyed this house, it did not pack that extra something to make it a top 3 pick.

#5 – Walking Dead: No Safe Haven

Scream Generator: Great

Mind Blower: Great

I’m a huge Walking Dead fan, so I was thrilled that this house was in the sound stage that typically produces the best house each year. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case this year and it fell to number 5 on our list. For some strange reason, the house starts off in Woodbury and ends in the main cell block of the prison. As a fan of the show, this is completely backwards from the series and you actually had to turn around at the end of the house to even see the full cell block. The visuals could have been way better, although the zombies were awesome. There was a good amount of scares, but at times they seemed to obvious and there weren’t enough sound effects to really speed up the heart. My expectations definitely weren’t satisfied in this year’s main house.

#6 – Havoc 2: Derailed

Scream Generator: Good

Mind Blower: Good

Havoc 2 is a sequel to one of Halloween Horror Nights’ original creations a few years back. Basically, a train of super-soldier ninkumpoots gets derailed and they are just looking to murder a few good folk. While there are some good scares here, they come from actors that all look the same. The visuals aren’t anything to salivate over and you don’t really know what is going on or why these maniacs are after you. The story and the essence of what makes a house scary just aren’t there in this house.

#7 – Afterlife: Death’s Vengeance

Scream Generator: Good

Mind Blower: Good

The 3D houses are always cool visually, but there is never anything really memorable that comes from them. The same goes for Afterlife, which takes us into the Hell of Bobby “The Blade” from Carey, Ohio. Most of the time I thought I was on acid, and there were some really cool effects when you look up in the house. I guess the story is that his victims are finally able to take their revenge on him, but it’s not really clear throughout the house. There were a few decent scares, but nothing new or exciting.

#8 – Resident Evil

Scream Generator: Sub-par

Mind Blower: Good

Resident Evil was the most disappointing house of the bunch. Still, this year had some really good houses and was far more impressive than the previous two years. The Resident Evil house puts you right into the game and anyone who has played it or the arcade game will recognize the main characters throughout. There is a cool part where the game is paused and there are some nice visuals there. The girls in our group actually liked that room better than the guys lol. The worst part of the house was nemesis, who did not appear as scary as the werewolves in the American Werewolf in London house. Sunk this house down to the worst of the 8 on this year’s list.

Scare Zones

The scare zones are all based on The Walking Dead this year. They are a welcome return from having no scare zones at all last year. The scenery is always great and it’s good to have a lot of scareactors in set places throughout the night. They truly packed the streets with walkers this year and I definitely felt like they hoarded us at times, multiple walkers suddenly appearing around us out of nowhere. Here’s a list of the best scare zones:

#1 – The Farm

This was the coolest just because it was a mini haunted house. It’s always nice when Universal gives us little treats throughout the night. The well zombie at the end is a great picture stop and there are surprisingly some good scares here if you go in with your group alone.

#2 – The Camp Site

The RV was a nice setup and there is a lot of nice scenery here that Walking Dead fans will appreciate. Be sure to explore this area for some surprises. The walkers here are pretty aggressive and really try to get some scares.

#3 – Fall of Atlanta

The tank is the main feature here, but the crowds are what make it awesome. There are tons of walkers scattered throughout the crowd, but because this is the most populated area of the park, you can’t tell where the walkers are in the crowd. I literally thought a few regular people were zombies because of the way they were walking!

#4 – Clear

This area is deceiving because it is really bland and boring during the day, but the projections at night make it worth it. If you visited here first when walking into the park, definitely go back through this area.

#5 – Woodlands

This was the weakest area of the scare zones and doesn’t really impress. No visuals other than a walker eating a deer that sprays water on you. Just ehhh…

The Shows

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure

Spoiler Alert: Taylor Swift is the main villain! Friggin’ marvelous. I’ve never really enjoyed Bill & Ted’s or found it all that funny, but this year kicked it out of the park. This show is always better when they avoid politics (especially their one-sided bias). I may actually see this show again it was so good!

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