The Hits and the Not Quite Hits of Halloween Horror Nights 27

You might think of pumpkins, crisp leaves, and fresh apples when you think of the fall season, but just like they have for the last 27 years, the Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights creative team definitely takes a darker twist on the season. This year, as they step away from more traditional icons like last year’s Chance or 2015’s Jack the Clown, the show itself and all the horror within are the true icons of Halloween Horror Nights 27.

Halloween Horror Nights 27

This year, we’re breaking the houses down into three categories for your viewing and visiting ease. If you’ve attended Halloween Horror Nights before, you know the lines for houses can be long – sometimes going as long as three hours for popular houses, once peak season hits. Our goal is to let you know what’s worth seeing and why, so you can maximize your time.

Halloween Horror Nights 27 Top Rate Scares

The Shining – Perhaps one of the most iconic horror stories of all time, this maze draws inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 movie adaptation of Stephen King’s story. While it took some begging and pleading for the Halloween Horror Nights team to gain the rights to The Shining, their devotion to getting the story right is so evident throughout the house. You enter the maze through The Overlook Hotel’s hedge maze as a light snow begins to fall. The house begins to mess with your mind immediately, walls seemingly closing in on you, mirrors reflecting or hiding what is or isn’t there – much like The Overlook itself haunts the Torrances. For anyone who loves the book or the movie, this house is not to be missed.

Halloween Horror Nights 27Halloween Horror Nights 27

Dead Waters – This maze is an original property from Universal and builds off a previous scare zone from 2014 – Bayou of Blood. In this house, you are transported to a sunken riverboat filled with people transformed into zombies by a voodoo queen. The scenery of the house itself is magnificent – the riverboat rendered in gigantic detail looms over you as you enter. But perhaps even better is how the scenes have been constructed to keep you off balance – literally. The floors of the sunken riverboat slope, seeming to push you forward towards the awaiting zombies as you try to get your footing. Suddenly it becomes less about getting out alive as it does getting out all together. One additional delightful Easter Egg in this house is a very famous American author who has been zombified as well.

Halloween Horror Nights 27

Ash vs. Evil Dead – Halloween Horror Nights isn’t just about being terrified out of your wits – there’s definitely some humor to it as well, and the Ash vs. Evil Dead house is a prime aspect of that. Inspired by the Starz series of the same name, Ash vs. Evil Dead is part of the Evil Dead family of films – telling the story of Ash Williams who must protect earth from a Deadite plague. Filled with funny moments, quippy one-liners and plenty of Bruce Campbell look-alikes, this house is just a joy to make your way through.

Halloween Horror Nights 27

The Purge – This scare zone, playing out in the park’s New York section, features the major details from all three Purge films. While in previous years The Purge had been featured as a house, including it as a scare zone really emphasizes the terror of being caught outside of your safe home on purge night, as roving groups of prom queens with machetes and masked-men approach you wielding their weapons. Experiencing The Purge scare zone is very much a trip into the terrifying movie.

Halloween Horror Nights 27 Worth the Wait

American Horror Story – This maze is this years’s biggest, featuring 14 different scenes directly based on the series’ Asylum, Coven and Roanoke story lines. Even as someone who wasn’t familiar with the show, it was still a scary experience with screaming victims and other horrors behind every corner. A very popular show and therefore house, the line was quite long and part of the line happens inside of the maze with little to see and loud noises that make it impossible to talk.

Halloween Horror Nights 27

Trick ‘r Treat – Based on a cult hit film from 2007, this scare zone is a faithful retelling of the story. More importantly, this zone is Halloween personified – featuring an overhead canopy of hand-carved pumpkins. Passing through, it feels deceptively calming, until you realize you’re beng stalked by the demonic Sam.

Hive – Vampires on their own are scary and this house multiplies that factor tenfold. Hive tells the story of a house filled with a collection of vampires who are there to claim your soul. These are not the handsome, ravishing vampires from films like Twilight, instead they are twisted, gnarled and thirsty for your blood.

Invasion – At home in the San Francisco area of the park, this scare zone pays homage to classic alien films of the 1960’s. Given that this area of the park can often create a traffic bottleneck, the scares are maximized by the alien’s abilities to blend in with the crowds. It’s also fantastic to see Universal’s attention to detail in the alien’s costuming.

The Fallen – In the this house, another of Universal’s originals this year, a battle for your soul is being waged between good and evil. Perhaps one of the best things about this house is that it doesn’t just limit itself to jump scares – no they also employ fly scares, as the fallen zoom over you and descend on you.

Festival of the Deadliest – This year’s signature scare zone, drawing on some iconic horror icons. As the sun sets, the evil forces awake and are seeking you to become their next victim.

Halloween Horror Nights 27

Halloween Horror Nights 27 Hit or Miss

Scarecrow the Reaping – Here it’s not the house or the storyline that makes the experience hit or miss, but instead part of the way the house is staged. Scarecrow tells the story of an abandoned house in Nebraska where Scarecrows take revenge on farmers. As you enter, you are immediately hit with the dusty smell of a root cellar, just another example of the creative team’s attention to detail. However, in his overgrown root cellar and house, you have dangling vines and trees – both of which are constantly hitting you in the face or getting caught in your hair as you walk through. After the first few minutes, these became more distracting and took away from the enjoyment of the house.

The Horrors of Blumhouse – Highlighting several of Jason Blum’s films, this maze pays homage to the new age of horror. However the main issue is there’s no unifying theme among the houses and it loses something as you go from scene to scene. That said, this house does feature some of the most iconic moments from Blum’s movies such as The Purge and the Insidious series.

Halloween Horror Nights 27

SAW – If you love movies like SAW and you especially want a sneak preview of upcoming SAW films, this is the house for you. In this house, Jigsaw’s twisted revenge plays out in murder and torture that you must witness. However, if torture isn’t your thing, then the SAW house might prove less interesting to you.

Bill and Ted’s Farewell Tour – Given that this is the last year for Bill and Ted, a mainstay of Halloween Horror Nights, we had great expectations for how they would be sent off. Of course, the show features commentary on pop culture and scantily dancers of both genders, but it’s not the extravaganza we’d expected. We wanted more for Bill and Ted’s last big blow out. The jokes fall a little flat, as does the story. However, Disney doesn’t escape without a few notable jokes at their expense.

Halloween Horror Nights 27

No matter what houses you hit, you definitely won’t want to miss this year’s Halloween Horror Nights. Overall, the houses are true to Universal’s excellence in storytelling, theming and design. This year Halloween Horror Nights 27 runs for more nights than ever from September 15th – November 4th; click here for more info and to purchase tickets.

Halloween Horror Nights 27

DISCLOSURE: Adventures by Daddy received complimentary admission to Halloween Horror Nights 27 for the purposes of this review.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagramtwitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Cristen Curley-Edwards