Written and reported by: Jen Juneau
“No, no, no, don’t eat her – you don’t know where she’s been!” Truer words were never spoken, Zombiegeddon “scareactor” guy.
After six annual visits as a mere mortal Orlando resident, I had the pleasure of attending an RIP Tour (which is a fancy name for being led by Universal employees to the front of every line) for Universal Studios™ Halloween Horror Nights XX: Twenty Years of Fear. As a huge horror fan and seasoned Horror Nights attendee, I was psyched to attend my first exclusive tour, and expected the 20th year to have something original and mind-blowing in store.
Maybe it was because I’d been so many times before, but Horror Nights didnâ€™t live up to my expectations this year. Usually, there’s a stand-out icon (Bloody Mary, Jack the Clown, The Director, etc.) to build scarezone and haunted-house themes around, but this year the icon (“Fear”) was a little underwhelming. I think Universal spent more time digging into vaults of years past and selling tickets than they did trying to develop originality. Many houses, for example, Psychoscarepy: Echoes of Shadybrook, were re-booted versions of previous ones. Even the Bill & Ted show (which is usually more than worth waiting half an hour early to get into) was unusually flat. It seems like its writers wrote out a list of pop-culture icons to make fun of first, then pieced a story around it (although I have to admit that the girl who played Justin Bieber was spot on).
The lines were outrageous for a Sunday early in the month. Two hours to get into a house that takes three minutes to walk through would be bit much for me, seeing as the event is only six hours long. However, there were highlights, most notably the Zombie Gras scarezone. Even though Universal used what they had on hand (props from their annual Mardi Gras event) and simply added zombies, it was still bright and fun, yet creepy. I’m from New Orleans, though, so I could be biased.
If you must attend this year, go with a fun, easily scared group of friends. And unless you want to spend your life savings on passes to get you to the front of the lines, go early on in the month next year.
Don’t miss: Zombie Gras (scarezone), Escuelto Muerte (scarezone), The Orfanage: Ashes to Ashes (house), Horror Nights: The Hallow’d Past (house), Zombiegeddon (house)