Last year I headed off to Orlando to face my fears at the 14th Halloween Horror Nights. I was successful. I made it through every haunted house and scare zone without completely freaking out. However, I keep my eyes closed or averted for a lot of it. It was my coping mechanism!
This year I headed back for the epic 25th anniversary of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights, with the goal in mind to keep my eyes open and see it all. I was fortunate enough to have my husband at my side this time and was comforted by the fact that I was certain he would freak out at least once. Because it’s fun to see your spouse freak out once in awhile.
With the following list of haunted houses, I was sure he would get scared at least once. I wasn’t so sure I could do it with my eyes open.
The most houses yet:
• Witness the ultimate battle of evil vs. evil in “Freddy vs. Jason”
• Relive atrocities from the fifth season of AMC’s “The Walking Dead”
• Step inside the most sinister scenes from the “Insidious” film series
• Face masked vigilantes who purge as they are entitled in “The Purge”
• Fend off ferocious werewolves in “An American Werewolf In London” – one of the top-rated haunted houses in Horror Nights history
• Risk survival in four original haunted houses, including Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem; Body Collectors: Recollections; RUN: Blood, Sweat and Fears; and Asylum in Wonderland – 3D.
If you think you are safe once you leave the houses, you’re wrong. There are five unique scare zones throughout Universal Studios Florida, where you find scareactors like the ones shown below.
Clowns, monsters, vampires, chainsaw-wielding lunatics… they were all there. You never knew when one would pop up behind you or right in your face. I spotted a woman with a chainsaw at one point and casually veered around my husband, only to have her move in my direction with a not so subtle “What’s the matter, sweetheart?”.
I didn’t really like her. My husband seemed to think she was funny.
He didn’t get frightened the way I hoped he would in the houses. Instead, he was my shield we made our way through. I did keep my eyes open for all of it, and only really screamed once. To me, the fun part of the haunted houses is seeing how you and others react when making their way through. Some people scream, others laugh, while others repeat things like “Stop it!” or “Oh dear!” over and over again. By the end I was walking through the houses and not even flinching when targeted by a scareactor. Well, that’s how I’m telling it anyway.
My favourite house was the Walking Dead house. I love the show and it’s a little surreal to walk through a set that recreates the last season. I pretended to stab the walkers in the head, because I totally know how to deal with those guys, and made it through fine.
The house that scared me the most was Insidious. I haven’t seen the movie because even the commercials scared me, and the haunted house was no different. I tried to move quickly through that one.
The Purge was more frightening as a scarezone last year, than it was as a haunted house this year, in my opinion. I think there is less predictability on the streets, so I could handle it better in a house.
Every detail is well thought out and prepared in the haunted houses, the scare zones and with the scareactors. You can also get a daytime tour of some of the houses so you can see it all without the fear of someone or something jumping out at you.
You can experience the horror at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights until Nov. 1. For more information, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Orlando.