Friday, November 11, 2011

Halloween Horror Nights After Event Review

This is a review of USS's Halloween Horror Nights, an upcharge after hours Halloween event that happens in October.

After a year of false promises, Resorts World at Sentosa finally introduced Halloween Horror Nights to a eager Singaporean audience. The Halloween market has been in rapid development in the past years, with local events such as Sentosa Spooktacular and 13 cells.

General Feelings
I was there for the opening weekend of Halloween Horror Nights. The place was relatively packed for a 60 dollars upcharge event. The majority of the audience was clearly teens and young adults. This event is clearly not suited for kids below age of 12. The atmosphere there was really good, and the Halloween vibe was definitely there. Although it rained during my visit, much of the scare zones are covered and hence my visit was relatively not affected. The production quality was excellent, so were the scare actors. This is a solid event with lots of potential. The scarezones at this event is wicked, and they are really big budget productions. Though the mazes may lack the details of HHN's overseas counterparts, it is still groundbreaking in the Asia scene. However, it is clearly evident that the scale is very small and that they will definitely have to expand for future Halloween Horror Nights. This was a great start, and we hope to see it flourish in the future.

Entrance Plaza
Although Universal Studios Singapore belongs to a much large propoerty, Resorts World Sentosa, the Halloween action is very much concentrated in the park itself. Therefore, the entrance plaza and the surrounding areas are pretty much left untouched, with no decoration or fog. The only apparent Halloween touch is the creepy background music played in place of the usual welcome score.

The lines can usually get very long during event opening. Be sure to look out for turnstiles will shorter lines, especially those closer to the VIP entrance. The lines also move relatively fast, so don't get impatient. The event usually opens slightly earlier than the stated timing, so be sure to get in line early.

This is were the madness begins. In place of the usual cheerful ticket checkers clad in vintage usher uniforms are zombie ticket checkers in aged and worn uniforms. The make up on their faces in superb, rich with details. Some of the ticket checkers may just have a scar make-up, while others have entire prosthetic skull faces in rich details. They also stay in character, and greet the guests with a silent stare instead of the usual cheerful greeting.

For the following segments, I will rate each scare zone according to its scare factor, production quality and overall show design.

Scare factor 2/5
Production quality 3/5
Overall show 3/5
The overall most unique and exotic scare zone is definitely Carn-evil. A play off the recurring themes of clowns and scary sideshows, Carn-evil creates a great ambiance and serves as a great introductory zone to the event. It is highly visually stunning, and is heavily fogged, adding to the overall mood. As the zone is covered, the creative team is able to install many theatrical lights onto the covered structure, adding to the production quality of the zone.

This zone starts with the entrance area, with many sinister clowns, some carrying animatronic jack-in-a box props. The clowns are definitely spooky, and adds to the atmosphere. However, they are not aggressive in their scares, and tend to keep mainly to themselves.

Walking down the street, we will see the lady with her mirror, inviting you to take a look at the reflection. This character is definitely twisted, but there is no outright scares here too. Following that are the two sideshow pavilions, one with a tattoo lady and one with a fortune teller. These pavilions/ tents are great photo ops, and the character will definitely interact with you if you are willing (though most people just stop for a photo). There is also a fire-breather and a stilt walking clown. Their performance is a joy to watch, and adds to the sinister, twisted feel of Carn-evil.

Overall, this is a solid scare zone, that is high on atmosphere and mood, but lacks the scares. Great eye candy, and a great place to sit down and people watch.

To be continued...

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