Hello, and welcome to Dateline Universal Orlando! This week, we are taking a look at three different nights spent at Halloween Horror Nights 27, one of which was the media party that Universal was kind enough to invite us to. Let’s go!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Banners in front of the park detail the IP houses.

The Altars of Horror scare zone highlights all of the houses together in one place.

The mini donuts are a gift from the heavens above.
The Purge scare zone takes place on the New York street sets.
We were lucky enough to attend a media cocktail hour/reception on opening night.
Props and characters from many of the scare zones and haunted houses were on display.

Saw – The Games of Jigsaw
American Horror Story Vol 2

Bill and Ted opened the media presentation in their farewell year.
We then had a presentation from the team that brought the event to life.

Scarecrow – The Reaping.
After getting VIP access on media night, I also attended two more nights to get more photos after an unfortunate hard drive failure.
Festival of the Deadliest is a rock and roll party scare zone in Hollywood.

A little more Purge.

Jigsaw inside the tribute shop.

Trick r Treat happens in the Central Park area, and is a smash hit!

This fella is from AHS season two – Asylum.

Back to the Purge for a little more legal murder.

Invasion! takes place in San Francisco, and while it isn’t the scariest zone, it has a ton of fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Clowns with chainsaws hide throughout the Springfield area.
A little more Trick r Treat, because it’s awesome.

Some more Festival of the Deadliest.

The girls from The Shining come out for Altars of Horror.
As it gets a little darker, the zones take on a new life.

Lastly, let’s talk about the houses.

The Horrors of Blumhouse features Sinister, The Purge, and Insidious, and even features a scene at the end from the upcoming Insidious film. While this wasn’t as good as the original Insidious house from a few years ago, our second run through it was much improved, and had a lot of great scares.

Hive features some really creepy vampires. Not the ones you’re accustomed to from TV and film. This was one of the weaker houses for me so far this year.

Scarecrow – The Reaping is, in my opinion, the best house of the year. Every scare actor is at least 6’2″, and the spaces are very tiny, which creates some great effects and scares. Definitely see this one if you can.

Ash vs Evil Dead is based off of the Starz program. This house was a ton of fun, and has a lot of performer interactions with each other, kind of like Freddy vs Jason from a few years back. Not the scariest house, but very cool.

Saw – The Games of Jigsaw was probably the weakest house for me. It just didn’t resonate. There were a few good scares, and a recognizable IP, but I would have preferred another original house.

American Horror Story Vol 2 features the seasons Asylum, Coven, and Roanoke. It is the mega house again this year, and it delivers. I think it might be better than last year’s if for nothing more than walking through the Asylum from season 2. Hit this one early, as the wait times balloon based off of its proximity to the front of the park.

The Shining was not a terribly scary house, but a fun recreation of the classic film. I love houses like this, last year’s Exorcist, and the year prior’s American Werewolf in London. Lot of love and care put into these.

Fallen is a classic battle of good and evil, and has some really awesome acrobatic scares that come from above, so make sure to look up often when going through here.

Dead Waters, the 9th and final house, was my 2nd favorite so far this year. It has an amazing opening facade, some incredible scares, and a ton of attention to detail. Definitely not to be missed.

Overall, Universal has another hit on their hands, and it should only get better as a few little things get tweaked and the timing is improved. If you’ll be in the area, definitely make sure to check it out! We’ve never had so much fun being scared.

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