Sadly another year for us at Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando has come to an end but what another fabulous event Michael Aiello and his team at Universal has put together for us fans of this scary at times terrifying yearly event – HHN26 is our third straight and we always purchase the Frequent Fear Plus to maximize our nights in the park (this year we visited the event 5 times) – the 2 live shows are always entertaining, the scare actors on the streets and in the houses are mind blowing all acting their particular role with dedication and tireless energy and each year we continue to marvel at the attention to detail on the props, the devilish makeup, the smells and overall appearance in transforming a sound stage into one of our worst nightmares – yes it’s sad that another HHN has come to an end but thankfully my mind is full of lots of cool, disturbing memories that will tide me over for another year – I have posted below my Top 9 Houses of this years event, not purely based on scares but also appearance, all 9 were epic in different ways but the Texas and Halloween houses were just mouth watering, blood curdling fun and for me deserved top marks – we always try to view each house 4 times and this time round in some case we managed 5 so we were able to take more of the scares at different times and admire some of the interior more than if you just visited the house only the once – again a huge thanks to Mike, his creative team and the scare actors and performers at this years Orlando Event – see you all next year….
I wasn’t totally convinced by Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake but his latest the low budget thriller Don’t Breathe is a different animal – I’m sure my heart actually stopped for a brief second whilst being terrified by this darkly intense and at times brutally twisted horror movie – Alvarez really makes use of the house interior, his camerawork adds so much to the scares and along with Stephen Lang’s deranged victim come tormentor this is one creepy ass movie that will scare you senseless – do yourself a favor and don’t miss this on the big screen….
If you enjoyed Jeremy Saulnier’s epic “Blue Ruin” then you will love the grittiness, the uncompromising & at times the shockingly uncomfortable GREEN ROOM – from the time the punk band “The Ain’t Rights” hit the neo-Nazi club and takes to the stage you just know things are going to get downright ugly – Saulnier’s strength as a filmmaker is the weaving of realism into his characters, most are broken individuals (or soon will be) and Saulnier is the master of taking you into their world, a world that’s not pretty or glossed over, a dark unforgiving ferocious world and if you dare Saulnier will take you there – along with a very intriguing, delicious band lineup the movie is jam packed with interesting characters from the white supremacist club owner a creepy individual played by Patrick Stewart, a crowd of badass skinheads that look ready to peel your head from your neck like an orange, a mysterious girl at the scene of a crime, some vicious hungry looking dogs & a bunch of club management ready to spill blood for their leader – Saulnier weaves these characters almost Tarantino-esque in & out of his picture with great style, you just never know whats coming next – Overall: GREEN ROOM may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I loved it – it’s an unpleasent suspenseful and at times dark humoured little gem that nails you to seat and makes you beg for more runtime at its conclusion ★★★★½
There’s something very unsettling about Robert Eggers movie debut THE WITCH a horror film set around the infamous Witch Hysteria’s in the New England Puritan times – it’s slow pace and it’s fine narrative penetrates your soul, the picture entwinines your subconscious and fills your mind with creepy, haunting images some beautiful others terrifying, like Kubrick’s The Shining The Witch plays on your fear of isolation, your darkest thoughts are let loose and the not knowing of what will happen next becomes more relevant, all of this is greatly helped by Mark Korven’s harrowing score that pushes your pulse upwards and gives each haunting scene greater significance – it’s cast that includes Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie both known for work on HBO’s Game of Thrones are remarkable, they both deliver a harsh realism to their roles and you can’t help but be horrified by their circumstance but for me what gives THE WITCH it’s greatness is the young actress Anya Taylor-Joy who’s performance as Thomasin the elder daughter is utterly mesmerizing, her pale complexion & wide eyed innocence is something to behold, there’s a surreal beauty but also a cunning guile about her that Taylor-Joy captures perfectly, the scene where she tormentes her sister is both breathtaking & disturbing – Overall: this is no slasher movie and there’s ceretainly no great body count The Witch is not your mainstream horror movie, it’s masterful cinematography and direction allows the picture to be both unique and disturbing, my advice is don’t watch it alone – The Witch is a GEM in its genre a truly scary piece of work ★★★★½
Although I’m a huge fan of both Hellboy movies, Blade 2 and Pacific Rim for me Guillermo Del Toro is at his best when tackling the genre of the Gothic Horror or Dark Fantasy – in 2001 came his deliciously gripping The Devil’s Backbone and in 2006 the weird and wonderful Pan’s Labyrinth both shot on a relatively low budget and both demonstrating this filmmaker’s eye for detail & his brilliant knack of telling a good story that entwines interesting, peculiar and watchable characters into his narrative – so when the first stills and trailer hit the web for his latest my excitement was at fever pitch – would Del Toro’s Crimson Peak live up to the expectations I had placed upon it? and how would the cast changes effect his way of thinking and the movie in general?
Del Toro’s movie takes us back to the late 1800’s, where personal tragedy sends a young aspiring author into the arms of a mysterious stranger, his loving sister and a new home in England
Crimson Peak is a beautifully crafted horror movie, reminiscent of the classic movies back in the 30’s and 40’s – it’s imaginative sets especially the Gothic mansion really does send shivers down the spine, Del Toro manages to create this living, breathing structure that’s partly open to the elements, devilishly spooky & so atmospheric – the attention to details is impressive and the film submerges you into it’s story almost to the point you actually feel like your living in Allerdale Hall – part of the movies story is Edith’s ability to see ghosts and theses scenes are handled sublimely well, in particular the moment at the beginning of the movie when Edith is visited by her mum and the scene in the corridor of Allerdale both gave me goosebumps, the effect is spine tingling – the movie also contains a pretty graphic and violent death scene that may shock some viewers, and although you can see it coming its delivered with devastating effect – the films backbone though is it’s cast, especially the trio of Wasikowska, Hiddleston & Chastain who’s chemistry unite, making you believe in the scenario’s their characters find themselves in – I wish somebody could have taken a picture of me in the cinema watching the films taut but electrifying finale – the range of emotion from Wasikowska & Chastain’s characters are terrifyingly good – Overall Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak is one hell of movie, it may not be Del Toro’s masterpiece but it’s a fabulous, haunting trip nevertheless and deserves to be hailed as one of the best in it’s genre ★★★★
Sometimes you sit down & watch a movie with zero expectations & have an absolute ball – M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit is one of them movies – Shyamalan who wrote, directed & financed the movie himself has come up trumps, it’s a film that’s refreshingly original, deliciously quirky and creepy as hell – the movie runs on a budget of $5 Million, and centers around siblings who go to visit their grandparents for a week, Aussie Olivia DeJonge plays the role of the older sibling Rebecca, a keen young filmmaker who has decided to document the visit by filming everything – The Visit manages to create an eerie suspense whilst making you laugh at the various strange goings on at the grandparents isolated farmhouse – the film is a true return to form for it’s director Shyamalan & certainly his best film since 2002’s Signs – if you feel a little suffocated (like me) by all these constant remakes & Superhero movies out there and want your faith restored by original, well acted, low budget film making then please check out The Visit its a little gem ★★★★
Once a year Universal Studios in Orlando gets transformed into an exciting, ghoulish Halloween event, one that uniquely allows its victims to get up close & personal with their deepest desires & darkest fears – I mean where else would you get the chance to walk through 9 different houses, each one crafted to scare the life out of you, some even designed to replicate your horror movie nightmares? You will even get so walk through scare zones, each jam packed with a different menace, streets shrouded in fog, monsters of yesteryear roaming freely and psychotic chainsaw wielding maniacs chasing you down if you dare look in their direction – this year HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS celebrates its 25th year, it’s bigger, better and more elaborate and if your a fan of the horror genre and want an evening or two of demented but delicious fun then please visit, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen – it’s an exhausting, Adrenalin fueled ride that will have you screaming at every turn !!
Below I have included some snaps of my Top 3 Girl & Boy scare actors, they all contributed so much to the nights I spent at the event, their mannerisms, makeup, costumes and sheer scare factor deserves a big thank you and my applause for such a great job !!
After visiting this years event on many separate occasions I have listed below My Top 9 Houses
Here’s a couple more snaps of my time at Halloween Horror Nights