Week 2 Halloween Horror Nights HHN25 Recap
The second week of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights is in the books and what a weekend it was. We attended all 4 days of the second week and while our bodies are a little worse for the wear, it was well worth it.
The second week of HHN usually reflects changes that were needed from week one and generally sets the tone for the remainder of the annual event. This year is no different as we noticed many small touches and some rather large improvements from zone to zone and house to house. Let’s break down the highlights and get to our updated scores and rankings for the houses and zones.
Haunted Houses / Mazes Scores & Ranks
- Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem – This house was at the top of the list for week one of the event and managed to outdo itself during week two. The biggest noticeable difference week over week was the arrival of Jack masks/wigs that can be found throughout the house, which gave an identity to the clowns that are found like Easter eggs through the various rooms. We saw marked improvement from the classic monsters section and better timing throughout the house. We also found a couple of new scares, including use of the mirror in the changing room for Jack. This house is a genuine pleasure to walk through and should be at the top of every fan’s list. Of special note, the #HHNBear in the second room was killing it the entire weekend. (5* out of 5*)
- Freddy vs. Jason – The second week for this house continued with a key element – more Freddy. During week one, the initial runs of the house seemed to be heavy on Jason, while Freddy was used a little more sparse through the house. This changed on opening weekend’s Saturday night and has continued through week two. Though the house is limited to 2 characters, they both deliver scares throughout with the final scare being the “winner” of the battle. At press time, our run through score was Jason 7, Freddy 3. (5* out of 5*)
- Body Collectors: Recollections – Already a solid house with some of the most eerie touches during week one, this house stepped up even further in week two. We noticed a couple of new scares in week two, including one actor in the ceiling during one of the last rooms and others around them on both sides. We can also now very easily see a young Jack and Eddie in the room following the spine rip, which is an excellent touch (and hopeful precursor to next year). (5* out of 5*)
- Insidious – Still solid during the second week, we didn’t notice many changes from the first week. This house delivers every time through, despite not catching some scares depending on timing. The hands in the wall seem to always creep folks out and we’ve heard multiple accounts of people swearing that they must be real. Excellent touch here. (4.5* out of 5*)
- An American Werewolf In London – This fan favorite from HHN23 did not seem to be firing on all cylinders during our visits in week one. Things changed during week two in which actors seemed to be in all places that provided even more scares than the first iteration of the house. The wolves look excellent and the house really delivered during our recent visits. (4* out of 5*)
- Run: Blood, Sweat and Fears – During week one, this house just did not deliver for us. While the scareactors all did a wonderful job in their roles, the story was lost a bit and at times the house just didn’t seem to be working cohesively (electronic update signs not working, no actors in place, etc.). We gave this house another shot last night and it delivered big time. The scareactors seemed to be on overdrive and we did not hit one dead (sorry for the pun) spot in the house. We are anxious to see where this house goes for week three. (3 1/2* out of 5*)
- Asylum In Wonderland 3D – While we feel that this house is the best of HHN’s 3D offerings to date, there wasn’t any noticeable changes week over week. The vortex room at the start of the house is a doozy, and everyone would be well served in holding the handrails. Throughout the house, there are a lot of neat effects that play off the glasses as well. (3* out of 5*)
- The Purge – We heard positive reports from folks that The Purge had marked improvement from week one, so we were anxious to give it another spin. Credit should be given to the scareactors in the house as they do a great job at working with what they have. The house itself still doesn’t work for us as it doesn’t tie much into the movies outside of the actors, but the actors compensate as best possible with some nice misdirection scares as well as a scare that works well with an actor portraying a park guest. The overuse of strobe lights is a killer for us though as it is very difficult to even look straight ahead at times. (2* out of 5*)
- The Walking Dead: The Living and the Dead – The biggest improvement in week two over week one is that we could now see some of the props and scenic work that we missed in week one (lighting improvements?) and it does lend to the appreciation of the house. (2* out of 5*)
Scare Zones Scores and Ranks
- Evil’s Roots – This dark horse zone made huge improvements week over week with lighting/fog and amped up scares. Out of every zone this year, this is the one where I am legit nervous about walking through every time I head back and forth to the back section of the park. This zone also looks amazing with ambient lighting and the use of lanterns and jack-o-lanterns for illumination. (5* out of 5*)
- All Nite Die-In Double Feature – This zone saw the addition of legendary characters, Freddy and Jason this week. Both characters are magnets for guests looking for pictures and reside on either end of the scare zone. While Freddy and Jason pull guests in, the other scareactors in the zone make use of the distraction and go in for the kill. Meanwhile, the alternating set of scareactors in the black and white set have seemingly increased energy to 11 as they’ve been flying from one end of the zone to the other for scare opportunities. (5* out of 5*)
- Pyschoscarepy: Unleashed – Week over week, this zone saw the addition of blood, and a lot of it. We noticed that props and costumes all looked like they took a soaking in the red stuff, which provides a more sinister flavor to the unsettling behavior of the scareactors. We also noticed the addition of a human head to the pumpkin carving station, which when worked with by the scareactors, comes off as sheer brilliance. (5* out of 5*)
- HHN Icons – This zone does not disappoint with so much to see and experience. We’ve started to think of this zone as a living museum of HHN relics that provide history and context to where we are today. The kill scenes by the Icons themselves are excellent and the sub-icons in the zone are hitting on all cylinders. The drawback to this zone is the amount of foot traffic and lighting, which at times does not allow for appreciation of the characters that are around you. (4.5* out of 5*)
- Scarytales: Screampunk – Much like Evil’s Roots, this zone made great improvements in bringing the scares week over week. While this zone suffers from not having any hiding spots for scareactors and only one prop to work with, the scareactors do an amazingly effective job at getting folks to scream as they traverse the front section of the park. The costumes and make up are excellent and deserve some appreciation from folks as they pass through. (4* out of 5*)
We are anxiously awaiting week three to kick off to see how things are further fine tuned and will follow up next week in our report. The following is our huge gallery from week two, followed by our ongoing playlist of HHN25 videos that can be found at our YouTube page.