Halloween Horror Nights 29 Is the Ultimate Fright Fest

Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 29 is back and scarier than ever. (Photo Credit: Keenan McClelland)

A dark and terrifying presence has rolled into Florida as Universal Orlando Resorts premiere seasonal attraction, Halloween Horror Nights returns to take over the theme park for its twenty-ninth year running. This time around, the park is filled with haunted houses and scare-zones that are themed after many insanely anticipated film franchises like Ghostbusters and House of 1000 Corpses, as well as some of the best original work done in house. 

Universal invited us out to the opening night event where we rated this years haunted houses and scare zones to find out which houses have the best shrieks, compared to the ones that are simply dying, bloody coughs. Join us, won’t you? 

ZOMBIELAND: Double Tap (Scare Zone) 3.2 out of 5 Our first scare-zone of the night is based on the 2009 comedy classic starring Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin. The streets of New York have been turned into Pacific Playland as our heroes from the film fight to stay alive in this humorous apocalyptic take over. There are fun sight gags here and there that will keep guests laughing, like the very wet porta potty area. Almost nowhere around here is safe. I even had one of these zombies scare the crap out of me coming out of a house! The area has a few campy characters and is going for more fun, than terror and fits into the event pretty well. Sadly the ride from the end of the film is built, but is simply just a prop to look at. Maybe something interactive will come if/when the park takes a swing at Zombieland: Double Tap

Photo Credit: Universal Studios

GHOSTBUSTERS (Haunted House) 5 out of 5 Universal Orlando has a long running history with the Ghostbusters. This is the first time we have been able to re-enter the Ghostbusters fire station since The Ghostbusters Spooktacular show opened alongside the park in 1990, until it shut down operations in 1996. With Ghostbusters 3 releasing in theaters next year, this is the perfect time to get fans excited to bust Ghosts once again. This house explores all the events of the first film. Janine answers the call and sends you on your way through the haunted New York library, into the Biltmore hotel where Slimer is running amuck. Then finally coming face to face with Gozer the Gozerian and the one, the only; The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man! It is all here and looks incredible. This house has some of the coolest effects I have seen done with projectors in a long time. This is one of the number one houses of the event, so make sure to get in line early. 

YETI: Terror of the Yukon (Haunted House) 3.5 out of 5 The Swamp Yeti in last year’s Slaughter Sinema house was such a hit that the creative team decided to really tell a Yeti story with Terror of the Yukon. This house takes place in a lodging camp in a remote part of Canada that’s all but uninhabitable. Yeti’s rip through it as you try and flee to freedom. There Yeti’s are huge and come from all angles of the house. Giant arms swinging from above you, through walls and bashing unsuspecting hunters. This house is a lot of fun if you can time it just right. 

US (Haunted House) 2.8 out of 5 Based on Jordan Peele’s latest horror picture, US walks you through all the unnerving scenes from the movie. You follow the Wilson families descent into terror as they face off against their deranged doppelgangers. This house definitely has a mood, something a lot of other houses lack. The Tethered in this house doesn’t necessarily frighten you, as much as they do make you feel uncomfortable, which also can be scary in of itself. Set pieces in this house look spot on to the film, sadly there was not much in the films third act to really replicate other than dark dirty halls that look like they were pulled out of a dirty dmv. The Santa Cruz Pier is truly where this house shines. 

Photo Credit: Universal Studios

STRANGER THINGS (Haunted House) 3 out of 5 It’s back to Hawkins and the Upside Down as you move through some of the most terrifying moments and events from seasons two and three of the popular Netflix series. This house includes snarling Demodogs, cute ’80s kids, and the best version of Hopper the show has ever seen. It’s really fun walking through the Starcourt Mall and to the end events of Season 3. This one isn’t too scary, but it is a lot of fun and visually pleasing for fans of the series. Scoops Ahoy; anyone? 

ROB ZOMBIE’S HELLYBILLY DELUXE (Scare Zone) 4 out of 5 I’ve been a Rob Zombie fan since “Thunder Kiss ‘65” and have been saying for years that Universal should have Rob Zombie play at Halloween Horror Nights. Even though now I completely understand how physically unfeasible that is, it’s great that we at least got this! This is a metal fans dream come true. Multiple Sheri Moon Zombie’s dancing on high risers shooting flames, sinister robots, Living Dead Girl, Rob’s tombstone throne, the dancing robot from his videos and shows and yes, you can even take a seat in Dragula. It’s all here while Rob Zombie’s tracks and music videos blast all around San Francisco. I will say this zone also isn’t very scary, but it’s one hell of a good time! 

DEPTHS OF FEAR (Haunted House) 2.8 out of 5 Thousands of feet below, inside a deep-sea mining facility lies something terribly sinister. Parasitic Mouthbrooders who spit acidic flesh-eating eggs upon unsuspecting humans have infested the facility and have begun turning them into crazed hosts. Pressure is building as you walk through this haunt. Will you make it out alive? Or have you just entered your own watery tomb. I loved the look of this one. The humidity combined with trickling water running throughout the house makes you feel like you are completely submerged underwater. The Mouthbrooder costumes are a tad on the cheesy side, but can really get you with the right effect. The best way to sum Depths up is that it feels a lot like the game Dead Space, but underwater. 

Photo Credit: Universal Studios

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS (Haunted House) 4.3 out of 5 The legacy that built Universal has finally come back home! The Universal Monsters have had their moments here and there with Halloween Horror Nights, but this time they are coming back a lot more scarier and visceral than ever. These classic monsters are ready to scare the crap out of you! The Bride of Frankenstein’s screams will send a bolt of fear through the room as you. 

Try and escape Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory. Dracula looks like a nosferatu in his final form waiting to feast and The Wolfman, Creature, and Mummy all don’t go down without one final scare. Each room of this house looks like it could be part of a new cinematic universe. Wishful thinking? 

Photo Credit: Universal Studios

ANARCH-CADE (Scare Zone) 3 out of 5 At the entrance of the park, guests enter an ’80s inspired arcade where they only get one life. Neon gaming cabinets litter the streets as some of the coolest looking synth-wave concepts take over. From neon slashers to nunchuck wielding bad asses, this area is probably the best place to get a photo in the park. 

HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (Haunted House) 4.5 out of 5 This house is based off Rob Zombie’s first feature film. The movie itself was made on the Universal Hollywood backlots and then quickly shelved due to sensitive executives. Many years later after its long running success, Universal has licensed the property for a house here in Orlando. But it would not be the first time Corpses has been a haunted house. Hollywood did their 3-D rendition in 2010 and The Great American Nightmare did theirs in 2013. Now it was time for Universal Orlando to really shine. Boy-howdy did they not disappoint. The outside facade looks exactly like Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Mad Men/gas station. For us horror fans, it’s simply gorgeous. The house is broken into multiple segments from the film with very interesting Rob Zombie like music video transitions in-between. All your favorites are here from Otis to Baby, and of course Doctor Satan! I could nit pick a few things, but honestly this is the best house this location has had in years. One of Horror Nights best! 

VANITY BALL (Scare Zone) 2 out of 5 This scare zone in Hollywood could be made to look better, just like the human face. Where it has a strong stage presence, it lacks in fear. The beautiful and confident strut their stuff, showing off their new and improved looks of terror. Surgeons who are proud of their new works of art show them off with glee and eagerly await a new canvases. Will you be their next muse? 

Photo Credit: Universal Studios

KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (Haunted House) 3 out of 5 The Killer Klowns from Outer Space scare zone was so popular last year that the event dedicated an entire house to the cult ’80s film. Guests are lured in by the sweet smells of cotton candy, only to find other onlookers have been sealed in cotton candy cocoons! Race to escape as these otherworldly clowns reenact famous scenes from the film, including some amazing sight gags and one of the biggest clowns you will ever see in your life! This house is loads of fun and I will personally be sad when these Klowns leave the park and go back to outer space. Can we just make this one a permanent part of the park? 

Photo Credit: Universal Studios

VIKINGS UNDEAD (Scare Zone) 3.8 out of 5 This is one for all the folks saying HHN has gotten too family friendly. Watch as horn-helmeted warriors rise from the grave and take control of central park. Guests become victims of these skeletal fighters and draugr, gruesome reanimated corpses channel their vindictive rage into an endless onslaught of gore. This area is no Trick r’ Treat, but man, are the flayed bodies and sound effects in this area intense! This is some of the goriest stuff I’ve seen come out of HHN in a long time. I think it would even make Clive Barker blush. 

GRAVEYARD GAMES (Haunted House) 4 out of 5 Ghastly apparitions rise from their graves, looking for anyone who walks through the grounds after the moon has set. First off, this is one of the most gorgeous houses of the event. It reminds me a lot of a Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark tale. You’ll find other teens who have disobeyed the “No entrance after dark” rule, clinging to their almost dead cell phones as their parents Facetime in hopes of their loved ones return. There are a lot of unique scares here that I haven’t seen Universal try in replicate. This is one you’ll want to return to once more before leaving, if you find a way out, that is. 

NIGHTINGALES: BLOOD PIT (Haunted House) 4 out of 5 Not only do we have Vikings stalking the streets this year, but just past that scare zone we have gladiators fighting for their lives in this house of horror as the bloodthirsty nightingales try to consume anyone who crosses their path. You are drenched in the smells of cooked meat as you walk through a town ablaze where everyone is screaming for a way out. This house is right next to Graveyard Games as one of the best originals in a while. 

Photo Credit: Universal Studios

So all in all, this is a solid year for the nations #1 Halloween event. We sadly did not have time to see the Academy of Villains: Altered States show or the Halloween Marathon of Mayhem lagoon show, but I hear both are equally as great as the houses. The streets are filled with neon lights, dark synth-wave music, and scares lurk around every corner. Retro glassware and Killer Klown from Outer Space toys have become the hot must have merchandise items of 2019. There are lots of laughs, screams and blinking drink cup about. It must be that wonderful time of year again, Halloween Horror Nights is back!

Get your tickets for Halloween Horror Nights 29 here!

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