Awesome: Halloween Horror Nights
Many of the awesome moments in Halloween Horror Nights
come from the sheer technical accomplishments, including some things that you rarely or never see in smaller events.
- The puppets in "An American Werewolf in London" in 2013 are so frighteningly realistic (and with such an unusually large range of motion) that they've scared people who were standing in front of them in full light with no sound effects, and some fans initially mistook them for costumed actors.
- The very ability to get An American Werewolf in London as a property is a CMOA for Universal Studios, as they had tried twice before and John Landis rebuffed them each time. Only after he personally attended the event did he trust Universal to do his film justice. From the very beginning of the event, the house has been the top rated one of the entire year.
- The very large set pieces that have appeared in recent years. While large facades for house entrances date back quite some time, 2011's "The Forsaken" included a truly massive "exterior" courtyard about 2/3 of the way through the house that included wind, rain, and flashes of lightning.
- The same house also featured a long bungee stunt, where looking out the window at the end of the house gave the view of a black, fog-shrouded sky.....until one of the Forsaken suddenly flew about 20 yards across the emptiness and landed inside.
- "The In-Between" in 2011 was the first house to use 3D glasses as something more than a cheap funhouse gimmick. Painting three-dimensional props with the unique 3D paint caused them to shimmer, blur, and appear to be moving in multiple directions simultaneously when viewed through the glasses. Setting up actors in suits that blended in with 3D runes painted on the wall caused the viewer's brain to simultaneously view said runes as in front of and behind the demons, as impossible as that should be. Non-3D effects included a room filled with lasers reflecting and refracting off of nearly invisible glass walls (with black string hung from the ceiling to give the feeling of lasers pricking your skin) and a room that used a fogged, reflective floor to the give the appearance of walking on a storm cloud; said room eventually had several black adhesive strips placed at the entrance after too many people refused to move forward, thinking that there was no floor.
- "Saws n' Steam: Into the Machine", also from 2011, was one of the few truly successful houses in the former Jaws queue (a notoriously poor location due to its cramped interior and exposure to the elements). Among the many effects was a full indoor waterfall with a man in a diving suit who would crash through it to soak guests, as well as a steampunk aesthetic that reminded many of BioShock.
- Another 2011 house, "Winter's Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery", was one of the few houses to accurately replicate freezing temperatures indoors. Along with a well-detailed set and lighting and color choices that felt like you had walked into a desaturated Victorian film with a blue filter set over it, it included one of the very few miniature shots used at a horror event, with a forced perspective view of the rest of the cemetery off in the distance viewed through a small hole in a wall.
- Even the scarezones in 2011 got in on the act with "Acid Assault", set in a world where constant acid rain caused the city to crumble to dust. One of the main features of the scarezone was a series of 3D projections that made it appear that the buildings were falling apart. All set to a Nine Inch Nails soundtrack.
- The 2013 "Evil Dead" house recreates the burning cabin from the climax of the film. Only this time, you're walking into it.