Rating The Fear Factor of Halloween Horror Nights!

Orlando , Universal Studios , Halloween Horror Nights , Halloween in Orlando , Universal Orlando 2014 , Halloween Horror Nights 2014
Rating The Fear Factor of Halloween Horror Nights!
By ATD’s Florida experts Susan & Simon Veness
Universal Orlando’s annual fright-fest Halloween Horror Nights is firmly established as one of the great events here in Central Florida, but this year promised to be their most horrifying to date, with a huge array of big-name film and TV icons being given a run out.
And, with that in mind, we joined the high-profile media opening of this year’s Horror Nights programme last weekend to see just how scary – and fun! – it could be. Here’s how we rated the big event at the Universal Studios park, with Fear Factor marks out of 10 for each of the eight haunted houses.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead Halloween Horror Nights
This is the largest ever house at Halloween Horror Nights at 670 linear feet (in terms of the overall length you walk), almost twice that of the other houses, and it makes for a really extended journey in this zombie-strewn scenario.
The story is taken from series four of the hugely popular TV programme, with the journey to seek sanctuary in Terminus. Visitors have to run the gauntlet of a long series of menacing corridors and meandering landscapes, filled with strobe lighting and lurking flesh-eaters. The smell of barbecued meat is another grisly special effect!
Top Fear – Look out for the maze-like chain-link fence section, where the zombies are penned in. Or are they!
Fear Factor: 8 out of 10.
Alien Vs Predator
Alien vs Predator
Simon was most intrigued to see how Universal’s creative team handled this iconic monster maze, and he wasn’t disappointed. Here, visitors have to enter a secret weapons facility where things have gone seriously wrong and both Aliens and Predators are on the loose.
This is a real sensory overload as the mix of clever puppetry, video, giant scare-actors and other special effects – including animatronic face-huggers, alien eggs, screeching alarms and soldiers with realistic pulse rifles – combines to challenge just about every scare tactic in the book!
Top Fear – Universal had to seek out actors in the 6ft 5 to 6ft 9 height range to play the hulking Predators, who really loom over guests with extra menace.
Fear Factor: 10 out of 10.
Dracula Untold
Dracula Untold
It’s unusual for Universal to showcase a forthcoming film before it has gone on general release but this is the case here as a re-telling of the 15th century Vlad The Impaler story is given a gruesome new twist.
Here, you enter an eerie Gothic-style castle and need to navigate the ruinous interior with its blood-soaked warriors and intense vampire menace. Dracula himself is hard to distinguish but that doesn’t stop the experience being full-on fearful.
Top Fear – The Castle entryway is one of the most moody and atmospheric of all the haunted houses and sets the scene perfectly for the ominous interior
Fear Factor: 9 out of 10.
From Dusk Till Dawn
From Dusk till Dawn
For fans of the cult TV horror series, which followed from the hit Robert Rodriguez film starring George Clooney in 1996, this is probably heady territory, but we think you’ve really got to know the story to understand what is going on here.
The mix of sexy and macabre feels all a bit haphazard, though, as the scenes go from twisted strip club, blood bath, Mayan temple and back again with all kinds of incomprehensible mayhem in between. The signature vampires are still pretty intimidating, though!
Top Fear – Just when you least expect it, the scare-actors let rip with some chainsaw havoc that really ups the fear ante.
Fear Factor: 7 out of 10.
Dollhouse Of The Damned
Dollhouse Damned
This is one of Universal’s own original creations and it really hits all the right notes for the beautifully gruesome. It features a morgue taken over by a sinister doll-loving maniac who has destroyed and re-created all the inhabitants in her own grisly fashion.
As an exercise in the twisted and unexpected, it introduces a series of toy-like creations and makes them truly grotesque, and the lurking scare-actors seem to have an extra chilling overtone here.
Top Fear – While some may not find it out-and-out scary, the creepy feeling of these twisted ‘dolls’ is seriously eerie and will stick in your memory for a LONG time!
Fear Factor: 8 out of 10. 
Giggles & Gore Inc.
Giggles and Gore
Get ready for a journey into another fabulously twisted world, this time of evil clowns that have been ‘manufactured’ into a series of ghastly set-pieces that include several seriously gory ideas and special effects.
Simon is not usually creeped out by clowns, but this definitely had the right horror elements with some wonderfully disorientating touches as you try to navigate your way through this weird world. The final scene of strobe-lit clowns – some mannequins and some scare-actors – is another one that will hang around in the back of your mind in disturbing fashion.
Top Fear  – Watch out for the ‘clown’ that seems to be safely screened behind a two-way mirror – until he leaps out from the side!
Fear Factor: 9 out of 10.
Halloween Horror Nights - Halloween
John Carpenter’s classic film series is given real super-sized scares in this house, as the threat of Michael Myers is multiplied dozens of times and there is simply no escape from his chilling masked menace.
Fans of the movies will find a LOT of detail to enjoy (the staircase in the opening hallway is a clever replica of the first film) and there are two superb set-pieces that replicate scenes involving some of Myers’ most memorable moments, including the six-shot bedroom sequence that seems to spell the end for him. Until the next film.
Top Fear – There’s no denying the spine-tingling peril of having to run the gauntlet of multiple Michael Myers’ in a strobe-lit passageway.
Fear Factor: 10 out of 10.
Roanoke: Cannibal Colony
For the final house, Universal have again come up with one of their own interpretations of a mock-horror story from the 16th century, with the disappearance of the fabled Roanoke colony that mysteriously lost all its inhabitants.
This is probably the most grisly and blood-thirsty of all eight houses and is absolutely chock-full of classic elements that give it a slightly retro, even rustic feel. The basic idea, of course, is that the people of the colony have all been eaten – and the evidence is here in black and white (and red!).
Top Fear – Try NOT to jump out of your skin when the bloody, headless ‘corpse’ suddenly leaps at you from its sitting position.
Fear Factor: 9 out of 10.
Of course, there is more to Halloween Horror Nights than the haunted houses, with four additional ‘scare zones’ (including a brilliant area dedicated to TV series Face/Off with some amazing make-up effects, and an extensive opening area of The Purge: Anarchy from the recent film) and two shows. Many of the park’s rides are open, too (although not the new Diagon Alley area).
The Purge Halloween Horror Nights
The roving scare-actors are some of the best in the business and this year’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure is one of the most riotous – and downright funny – shows ever, with a huge collection of celebrity satires and other comedy moments. It is definitely NOT PG-rated (as is most of HHN) but the humour is undeniable and we’d even say it is worth coming in for on its own.
You have been warned!
If you dare to find out just how horrific Halloween at Universal Studios Florida can really be, get your hands on a Frequent Fear Pass for your Halloween Horror Nights experience with Attraction Tickets Direct and prepare to face hell on earth! 
Orlando , Universal Studios , Halloween Horror Nights , Halloween in Orlando , Universal Orlando 2014 , Halloween Horror Nights 2014