Archive for the Uncategorized Category

You Are Getting Sleepy…

Posted in Demented Human, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 2, 2017 by dtrain1008

get_out

Get Out

Keep your eyes on the screen. You’re getting sleepy.. falling into a comforting rest. Your eyelids are starting to get heavier and heavier… Because you’re back to reading this mostly-boring horror blog again! Also I have now hypnotized you. But seriously, welcome back to the Unholy Cathedral, your not-very-regular-anymore source for horror movie reviews. I am your hypno- I mean.. caretaker, Dvo, and tonight we’ll be talking about the recent box office smash hit, Get Out. I’d seen plenty of trailers for this movie, and was excited to check it out even before the strong reviews came in. But once I saw the high praises from critics and audiences alike, I had to see this movie. So let’s jump in and see if it lives up to the hype.

Get Out is the story of a young couple who take a weekend to introduce the boyfriend to the girlfriend’s parents. But look out, he’s African-American, and she’s Brian Williams’ daughter. Hilarious hijinx are bound to ensue, right? It’s like the opposite of that Ashton Kutchar and Bernie Mac movie, right? Probably. Anyway, they arrive at the parents’ house, but something feels off. The housekeepers seem a little weird, and mom and dad seem like they have something they’re not telling him… White people, I tell you.

Get Out is Jordan Peele’s first foray into the horror genre, and I gotta throw props at him. He nails it with this really strong debut. Admittedly, this is more on the suspense side than gritty, blood-curdling horror. But it’s worthy of this blog, for sure. There are definitely a few parts that are pretty scary, and the acting is great throughout. Here’s to hoping Mr. Peele isn’t done with horror, and brings more to the table.

Let’s go to the place below, and dive in for A Closer Look

Villain: A family with evil intentions

How do I Stop Them?: Well… a few key points. First and foremost, they’re humans at the end of the day. Shoot ’em, stab ’em, run away.. the basics work here. But just don’t fall into their trap. And it helps if you’re not of African-American descent. And before you try to pull out the race card on this blogger, let me just say that’s the movie talking, not this blogger.

Lessons Learned: White people are jerks! For real though,  here are the big lessons. If something seems blatantly and shamelessly strange, just get out of that situation as quickly as you can. Also I’m not sure if hypnotism is real or not, but I’m not jumping in line to try that. Stay out of my brain, you animals.

Who Do I Watch With?: Anyone old enough to see it! It’s not that gory, not that adulterated, and generally an awesome flick. Grab some popcorn and enjoy with a friend.

Movie Trivia: Not too much on here, but I did find it interesting that Jordan Peele used the original Night of the Living Dead as inspiration for this film, since it has a black protagonist, and addresses racial issues in the framework of a horror movie.

Rating the Flick

Villains: 7/10. It’s very simple, but I’d say very strong. While things start expectedly, there’s some pretty crazy revelations along the way that make our villains quite interesting.

Scare Factor: A few chills (5/10)

It’s certainly not a “silly” movie, but also not terrifying. Mr. Peele does a good job of keeping us in a state of discomfort for the majority of the movie, but also provides a small bit of comic relief.

Gore Rating: Barely Bloody Machete (1/5)

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If you’re looking for blood and guts, look elsewhere. There’s a tiny bit of violence, but nothing that’ll make you squirm.

Overall Rating: 4/5 Teacups

teacups

Really strong effort here by Mr. Peele. I thought this was a pretty great movie from start to finish, and showed us a different style of horror that we haven’t seen. The story is very original, and was executed flawlessly. With that said, I think that in terms of pure horror movies, this one is missing something. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s not macabre. I’m giving Get Out the Unholy Stamp of Approval (USA! USA! USA!), but it falls just short of my top echelon. Regardless, if you get a chance, definitely check this one out. It’s worth the ticket price!

So that will wrap up this review. I know I keep making false promises at the ends of these blogs, but I’m gonna try to post more things on here, I promise. And if there’s anything you want me to review, let me know! Preferably movies though.. I’ve accepted that horror video game requests are more of a commitment, and have a lower chance of happening. Anyway, thanks again for reading! Hope to be haunting you again soon.

Until next time, Herbert Herbert.

-Dvo

The Crooked Man Cometh

Posted in Ghost/Demon, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 14, 2016 by dtrain1008

conjuringpostersmall

The Conjuring 2

GREETINGS, friends, and welcome once again to your source for spooky… The Cathedral is back in business, and this time we’re taking a look at a fresh movie on the block. The Conjuring 2 made its terrifying debut this weekend, and after hearing four separate people give positive reviews, I knew I had to see this one.  Now know this… The first Conjuring was one of few movies to get a perfect score on this blog, so needless to say that’s a tough act to follow. And Horror movie sequels in general don’t often succeed, as it were. So I was VERY glad to see this one deliver… Anyway, let’s get into it.

It’s the mid-1970’s, and Ed & Lorraine Warren are investigating one of their darkest, most sinister cases ever in Amityville, New York. The aftermath of that event has left psychological scars on Lorraine. Enough to the point that she’s unwilling to take on any new cases. But elsewhere in the world, a struggling mother is witnessing something happening to her daughter. She’s speaking with the voice of an old man. She’s claiming that someone, or something, is intruding on her room in the night. And her house is slowly getting trashed by an evil spirit.  But she’s probably faking it, right? …….. Right?

I’m wondering how long it’ll take for James Wan to be recognized as one of the better horror directors in history. He’s already the director and/or producer of The Conjuring, Insidious, Saw (and sequels), and Dead Silence. And he’s got a strong docket still coming, including Lights Out, and mulitple Insidious sequels. The dude is legit.  And admittedly, there seems like a very similar tone between the Conjuring and Insidious movies, but they have their differences, and at the end of the day, they’re both pretty damn scary. And that’s the bottom line.

Back to business. Say 10 Hail Mary’s and let’s go in for A Closer Look

Villain: A sinister demon. That’s all you get.

How do I Stop It?: As is the case with the first movie, this is a foul, horrible beast. You’ll need some serious help if you’re confronted with this one.

Lessons Learned: Ok. How do I get this to sink in? Spirit boards are generally not a good idea. So making a spirit board… that’s an even worse idea. If there’s a way to communicate with the dead, leave it to the pros, eh? And another thing. Should you have a nightmare of a particularly creepy spirit, you shouldn’t EVER feel the need to make a painting of said spirit, and hang it on your effing wall! EVER. FO RILL.

Who Do I Watch With?: Anyone who’s up for a good, clean, scary movie. I do recommend bringing someone though. This one’s pretty spooky.

Movie Trivia: On the first day of shooting, an actual priest was brought in to bless the set (creepy trivia!). Also, James Wan turned down an unknown (but claimed to be very large) amount of money to direct Fast 8, in order to direct The Conjuring 2. \m/  \m/

Rating the Flick

Villain: 10/10. Wow this thing is nuts. As good as the demon in the first movie was, I think this one was even scarier. Wan really had a great design for the character(s), and I’m sure they’ll certainly be in a lot of upcoming nightmares.

Scare Factor: Palms doth sweateth (9/10)

This is a pretty long movie by horror standards, and while there are a few slow parts here and there, the scares are also there, the whole time. Be warned, this is a very scary movie.

Gore Rating: Barely Bloody Machete (1/5)

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Not much to worry about here. Similar to the first one, basically no gore involved, but as Mr. Wan has shown us, it’s not needed to get you jumping in these films.

Overall Rating: 5/5 Reclinerschairs

….because Chairs! Yes, another perfect score. And I dare say (I dare, I dare!) that The Conjuring 2 is even better than the first movie. It’s just… really really good. The plot development is great, there’s good foreshadowing, subtle references to other films in the saga, and most importantly, straight up scary stuff. Really really solid film here. I don’t really know what else to say, so I think I’m just going to end it on that. If you get a chance, SEE THIS MOVIE IN THEATERS. It’s worth the ticket price.

So that’ll wrap up this review. As it turns out, there’s more horror movies being released in the coming months, so stay tuned. Never know what you might see on here… Oh, and I’ll leave you with this…

Until next time, say your prayers.

-Dvo

IMSCARED….KINDA

Posted in Ghost/Demon, Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 24, 2016 by dtrain1008

imscared

IMSCARED

A strange video game, where cryptic files are placed on your computer while skeletal spirits hunt you in the dark? All while the spirit is seemlingly logged in and guiding you deeper into the terror within the game? That’s exactly what we’re talking about this week, so let’s take a look at IMSCARED, a Pixelated Nightmare.

Greetings, and welcome once again to the Unholy Cathedral! This blog has officially gone off the rails, but in a good way, in my opinion.

This week we’re doing an Unholy first– a review of a horror video game.  This started a few weeks ago when a chicken friend of mine asked me to play this horror game, because it was getting good reviews on Steam, but he this person didn’t want to play it on their own.  So I told him that he was talking to the right crowd, and told him I’d play it, but he wanted me to stream it on the internet so he (and others) could watch.

So a few nights ago, I did an Unholy Live Stream on twitchtv (follow me at dvo_tron on Twitch), where I streamed myself playing this game for a few hours. I went in with basically no knowledge of what this game was about, other than it was a relatively crude game (think commodore computer graphics), and that there was some interface outside of the game.

As I started the game, I was lost within minutes. Admittedly I had some technical issues at first, but I was having difficulty finding my first “key” to advance into the game. I was walking around some rooms and things to no avail, but when I went to the end of the hall, I heard a creepy laugh, almost as if some effing demon clown had flipped a switch of some sort. And as it turns out, the nice, not-scary hallway now had blood dripping from the walls, and this instantly got creepier.

The good part was that I had multiple friends watching me play on Twitch (mad props to those who watched this debaucle) who were providing clues. But there was another user who I didn’t know, under the username “wh1teface.” And this guy helped me find my first key, that opened a door to the next step in this game. It actually didn’t dawn on me for a little bit that “wh1teface” was skeptically familiar with this game… as it turns out, I eventually ran into whiteface himself, in one of the creepier renditions of “Tag” I’ve ever played. I’m sure you’ll laugh, but so be it. Here’s a snapshot of the game in the parking deck area.

imscared2

I told you the graphics weren’t great. But I must say, here’s what the game does well. You can only see about 10 feet in front of you. Everything else is pitch black (with some exceptions), but you really just don’t see things coming. And so while you’re stumbling around through the dark, running into pixelated corners, there’s a lot of scary sounds keeping you on edge.

Now for the bad parts. There’s some really frustrating parts to this game, and even wh1teface himself (who was almost certainly the developer of the game, and was helping guide me through the tough parts) admitted that some parts weren’t exactly well-liked, even from their perspective. For instance, there’s a level where you must navigate a large grid, trying to find some music boxes. But beyond the mono audio getting slightly louder, there’s really nothing guiding you through the seemingly massive maze. Oh, and there’s a ghost in there chasing you around as well.

One of the more interesting things about this game (which I touched on a little earlier) is that it’s very existential. That is, in order to advance through the game, you literally have to exit out of the game at some parts and go back in, but when you do re-enter the game, it’s in a different spot than when you left. And the game drops cryptic text files into a folder on your desktop to serve as clues for your next step(s). It’s a very interesting concept, and I liked it overall. But sometimes it was frustrating, especially as I was streaming the game, and the viewers were subjected to a lot of spinning screens as a result.

After a little over 2 hours into the game, I can say this. This game definitely made me jump a few times, and it definitely had some creepy moments, which is very impressive for how simple the game design is. It’s certainly not a “game of the year” contender, but for the purchase price of $2.99, you can’t complain too much.  And where else are you going to play a game where the developer voluntarily watches your live stream and trolls you along the way?

I’m not going to give the normal rating scale for this iteration, but as an overall rating, I’d give this game a 3/5 shrunken heads. It’s scary in the right spots, and very off the beaten path in terms of normal game design. The crypic clues were good, and wh1teface trolling me multiple times as I got stuck or fell for one of the game’s tricks was pretty funny.

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So that’s going to wrap up this brief review of IMSCARED. If you ever feel the desire to play a shorter PC game that will likely give you a few scares, this is worth the $3.  So with that said, there’s a bunch more horror games out there, and Im not opposed to hosting a twitch stream again. So feel free to throw movie OR game ideas at me! I think the first stream was a success, and can only improve from there.

As the (so far) mild winter is coming to a close, I’m hoping to have some more scary stuff to review shortly. But still feel free to send me recommendations, and don’t miss hte next live stream! Details will be posted on Twitter, but don’t expect anything “that” soon.

And thanks again to everyone who supported this endeavor. It was a blast having you guys help me out! And also thanks to Whiteface, you undead trickster. No matter how many times you fooled me or killed me, you still made it fun.

Until next time, STAYSCARED

-Dvo

Ghosts on TV

Posted in Ghost/Demon, Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 7, 2015 by dtrain1008

poltergeist_poster Poltergeist

Well I successfully took about a month off, but it’s time to re-open the doors to the Cathedral, kids. Welcome back yet again to the Unholy Cathedral, (hopefully) your source for all things that go bump in the night. This week we’re taking a look at Poltergeist, the 2015 re-make of the Craig T. Nelson (of Coach fame) film from the 1980’s.

I should start by saying that while many think of Poltergeist as a classic, I was never a big fan of the original.  I think the original is more silly than scary, so I was hoping that this reboot would bring a modern approach and some legitimate scares… how’d it do? Let’s jump in.

Poltergeist is the story of a down-on-their-luck family who gets a great deal on a new house. Almost too good to be true, one might say.  But they’re trying to get a fresh start with this new home.  The good news? The place is in a nice, modern subdivision. The bad? The parents soon learn about a morbid history of their neighborhood at a dinner party, and when they return home, the kids are in real bad shape.  At least those of them who are still there… Well damn.

Let’s jump behind the screen for A Closer Look

Villain: Evil Spirits trying to lure a young girl to them so they can find new life

How do I Stop Them?: Well… hopefully you’re smart enough to recognize a bad situation when you see it, and therefore can make conscious decisions about when you’re being tricked. But should you fall into this trap… I hope you’ve got a good friend who knows their paranormal stuff.

Lessons Learned: Well, if a house is selling for a price that seems too good to be true, there’s likely a reason for it.  Ask the question, all you home buyers! And for goodness sake, if you have a family of 5 and both parents are unemployed, try just a LITTLE financial responsibility. Not that that has anything to do with being haunted. That’s just sound advice. And finally, if you move into a house that has random clown dolls hidden in a secret room behind a wall? GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE.

Who Do I Watch With?: I’d recommend that if you’re gonna watch this one, it should be with someone who’s seen the original. Or just has a penchant for not-great horror.

Movie Trivia: The movie trivia this week is pretty sad, which I guess is par for the course with this one. But one of the lead actresses admitted in a Q&A that she’d never seen the original film until this one had completed production.

Rating the Flick

Villain: 3/10. Most of you know that I’m more into the paranormal movies than slashers, so this should be an easy win for me. But alas, the evil entity is just not scary whatsoever, and it’s also not very creative.

Scare Factor: 3/10. I had to conceded a few points. The “development” phase of the movie was actually decent, with a few creepy moments. But once the thing is revealed and we see the “other side,” it’s just not scary whatsoever.

Gore Rating: Clean Machete (0/5)

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Not a drop of blood on that thing! Look at it, just glistening over there, waiting to hack up some unfortunate soul.  It’ll have to wait for the next movie.  Poltergeist holds back on the blood, as well as the scares.

Overall Rating: 0.5 Flatscreen Televisions

tvs This one is pretty rough from start to finish. And they tried to put in some subtle “homages” to the original, but they really just invoke lots of headshaking and facepalming. The dad is trying to be a Coach. Sigh. And the school where he’s trying to become the coach? It’s named after the director of the original. Someone stick a fork in this one.

On a COMPLETE side note that is unrelated to this post, something else that needs a fork stuck in it– The Walking Dead.  My crusade against this season is growing stronger. It’s awful.

In any case, tread carefully when it comes to Poltergeist. It’s got about 2 good moments. When you’re trying to market your movie based on a prop that’s used only in a few scenes, you’re doing it wrong.  May I instead recommend Annabelle?

That’s going to wrap up this Unholy review.  On another side note, I watched The Gallows last night, and Adam’s review a few months ago was pretty on-point.  Mildly entertaining for a while, but the end was incredibly cheesy.  I think I enjoyed it better than Poltergeist though. But there are more things scary coming, even in the Christmas season.  So stay tuned for more Unholy Happenings.

Until next time, stay warm.

-Dvo

Maroon Peek?

Posted in Demented Human, Ghost/Demon, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 26, 2015 by dtrain1008

crimson_peak_poster

Crimson Peak

Greetings again, kiddos.  We’re LESS THAN A WEEK from the witching hour! And I’m slacking harder than ever!  Many apologies for the lack of updates this month. Let’s see if we can do better this week.  Last week, I saw the new flick currently in theaters, Crimson Peak, directed by Guillermo Del Toro.  I’m a fan of his.  Pan’s Labyrinth is very cool, and if you haven’t seen The Orphanage, I strongly recommend checking that one out this Halloween season.   But this time we’re talking about his most recent film, so let’s dive right in.

Crimson Peak is the story of a young aspiring author, Edith, who lives in New York with her father.  But when a charming aristocrat from Europe shows up in town looking for investors, she becomes smitten with him. He’s very mysterious, but has a charm to him. Nonetheless, Edith’s father clearly does not approve.  But when his sudden death leaves Edith all alone, she finds comfort in her new love, and goes back to Europe with him… only to find dark secrets in her new home.  We’re not in… New York any more.

Wipe of the blood, and let’s go in for A Closer Look.

Villain: **SPOILER ALERT** Devious siblings looking to bring a lovely lady back to their home…

How Do I Stop Them?: Well, for one don’t be completely naive. It’s very rare that two life-changing things happen at the same time, so maybe stop to consider that maybe those two things are related… Maybe this should be a lesson learned. But if you do fall victim to this, find a way to either get some help, or just get the hell out of there.

Lessons Learned: See above. This chick is dumb. Fo real.

Who Do I Watch With?: This one’s pretty tame overall A little bit of blood, but overall not too intense.  It’s got a creepy feel, and Del Toro makes a decent film, so bring a date and enjoy this one.

Movie Trivia: The house in this film was built in its entirety, and all of the parts used to make it were obtained specifically for the house.. nothing was re-used or salvaged. Also, Neither of the two leading actors were the first selections for their respective roles. The first choices were Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Stone.

Rating the Flick

Villain: 6/10. Del Toro does a good job of keeping the sinister side of the siblings subtle.  Ultra alliteration combo achieved!  But the characters have a very good mystique about them, and Jessica Chastain delivers a very strong performance as Lucille.

Scare Factor: 5/10. It’s not a walk in the park, as there are certainly some really cool, creepy visuals throughout.  And a few “gotchas” along the way.  But in terms of truly scary, Crimson Peak doesn’t hit the mark.

Gore Rating: Slightly Bloody Machete (2/5)

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Like I said earlier, there’s not a ton of blood and guts here. But there is some very good use of color throughout the movie, as I’m sure you can guess, based on the film’s title.  Not much that should make you nauseous though.

Overall Rating: 3/5 Bloody Womenwomen

Because British puns! I dare say that’s one of the creepier ratings scales I’ve used, and just in time for Halloween.  Anyway, overall I enjoyed the movie.  It’s got a pretty interesting story, some very beautiful sets and costume work, a lot of really cool color schemes, and pretty strong acting all around.  Oh and did I mention the creepy spirits? Del Toro is a pretty imaginative guy, and it shows once again in Crimson Peak.  I do think it could be a little scarier, and the latest trailers made it seem like we were in for a pretty scary time.  Also, I was a tad disappointed at the ending, but it wasn’t a bad one by any stretch.  The long story short is, this is a pretty cool movie if you’re looking for a dark flick.  But if you’re looking for the scare-a-thon for Halloween week, this might not be what you’re looking for.

So that’ll wrap up this review.  I hope you’re all getting your fill of horror this season, but if not, there may still be more to come here… and there’s an #Unholy party taking place in Aurora this weekend!  The house is looking scary, and maybe I’ll put some pictures on here when it’s all said and done.

Until next time, keep the scares strong.

-Dvo

Take a Look into the Mirror…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 13, 2015 by dtrain1008

The_Broken_poster

The Broken

Well well… here we are in mid-October, and things are getting busy!  I have a lot that I should blog about, including the rest of the Florida trip, a trip to a local haunt here in Chicago, and a visit to Six Flags’ Fright Fest!  But this one is back to our roots… a nice scary movie to celebrate the Halloween season.  I kind of took a chance on this one.  I’d never heard of it before stumbling across a trailer for it a while back, and I saw Lena Headey (of Game of Thrones and The Purge fame) as the lead actress.  Throw in what looked like potential for a pretty scary flick, and I was down to party on this one.  So let’s get under the covers and take a look at this surprising film.

The Broken is the story of a young woman named Gina, who’s in a pretty good place in life. She has a new boyfriend, a loving father and brother, and works as a radiologist in London.  But one night at a dinner with her family, something strange happens.  A mirror seemingly breaks from the inside, all on its own.  Thinking nothing about it, Gina and her family move on.  But as the days pass, more mirrors are breaking, and that’s not all… her family is beginning to act strange; she’s seeing a woman who looks identical to her on the streets.  And after a terrible car accident, Gina’s life is thrown into a deep spiral where nothing seems as it is, and her closest friends don’t seem very close any more…

Not scared yet? Let’s go in for A Closer Look

Villain: Sinister reflections that escape mirrors and assume the identity of their human counterparts

How Do I Stop Them?: Very tricky one here.. these things are tricky, and are certainly up to no good. Best bet is to keep an eye out for another “you” walking the streets, and if you do see him or her, KILL THEM.

Lessons Learned: Normally this is where I rag on the protagonist for being an idiot.  And there’s certainly a joke about women drivers in this movie.  But overall, Gina gets caught up very quickly in a bad situation, and understandably panics. So I guess the lesson is just this: if shit starts going haywire, seek help fast, rather than waiting for it to go further south.

Who Do I Watch With?: Well this is certainly an R-rated movie for some sexuality.  But beyond that, this is a REALLY cool, pretty creepy movie.  Grab an adult friend who’s down for a scary movie and enjoy the ride.

Movie Trivia: IMDB is slacking on this one! The movie’s actual title is spelled The Brøken, using a broken letter from the Norwegian and Danish languages.  Also, the phones in the movie all have American rings, despite being set in London.

Rating the Flick

Villain: 10/10. I think what I like a lot about this movie is that the scariest part about the villains is that they’re just people.  But not just normal people… they’re “us.” Somehow Sean Ellis is able to take what we originally see as friendly faces, and turn those same faces into pure terror.  It’s very well done.

Scare Factor: 8/10. I definitely got creeped out a few times during this movie. There’s some really great suspense throughout, and some very creative camera shots make this a pretty disturbing film.

Gore Rating: Mildly Bloody Machete (2/5)

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It’s really not too bad in terms of gore.  There’s a moderately violent scene, but it’s not a head-turner.  If violence makes you squeamish, you should be okay to see this one.  But understand it’s not the gore that’ll get you…

Overall Rating: 4/5Creepy Mirrors

mirrors

Yep, really really liked this one. The Broken premiered at Sundance Film Festival, and also won first choice at Horrorfest 2009, and I can understand why.  This movie had just about everything you want in a good horror movie.  It’s got really creepy bad guys, great suspense, and a pretty crazy plot twist at the end.  The acting was pretty good for the most part, and as I said, some of the camera shots are just downright scary. This is an indie flick that didn’t get a lot of attention, but it’s making me want to try more of these underground movies.  Very cool stuff.  So if you’re looking for a scary movie this season and you’re able to get your hands on this one, it’s worth a spin.

That’ll wrap up this review, but again, there’s probably a bunch more to come, assuming I can get to work on decorating my house at some point! I’m playing catch-up at this point, but don’t worry… the Cathedral’s doors will be opening again soon. So stay tuned.

Until next time, take a look in the mirror.

-Dvo

HORROR NIGHTS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 30, 2015 by dtrain1008

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Florida Trip 2015: Halloween Horror Nights @ Universal Studios

Greetings one and all, and welcome back to The Unholy Cathedral.  If you’ve been keeping up, or following on Twitter, you’ve seen that we’ve been very busy lately.  The Unholy duo (and our friend Jeff) all took a trip to the deep south, to the HOTTER part of the world, for some scary happenings. Buckle in, kids, because this is going to be a big update. ***I recommend viewing this one on the actual site, since there’s some media content involved!*** Let’s get it going… This. Is. Horror Nights.

If you’re new to the blog, or if you just don’t remember, Halloween Horror Nights is the Creme de la Creme in terms of halloween events.  It’s pure adulterated terror, and it takes place at both Universal Studios parks (Orlando and Hollywood).  This year, the Orlando event is celebrating their 25th anniversary of terror, and they’re doing so in big form.  For many of the years, Halloween Horror Nights has introduced “Icons,” basically main characters around which the event for that year is centralized.  And while there have been many fan favorites, none draw the following like Jack, the demented clown.  So he’s back, as the key character for Horror Nights 25.  And I can certainly understand the appeal.  It’s a really cool character. Let’s take a look at some media, starting with a fun ad for the event.

And here’s a short vine I took at the beginning of his show at Horror Nights.

The show itself was very well put together.  Lots of pyro effects, plenty of killings (including a dude being blended to death in a human-sized blender), and some hot clown women, if there was such a thing. But enough with the introductions… let’s get into the haunts! This year featured NINE mazes… I still struggle to wrap my head around that.  Nine complete mazes in one park, and not a single one of them was bad.  So I’ll go through them in the order we hit them on the first night.

Maze 1: The Walking Dead: The Living and the Dead

We started with The Walking Dead, as that’s generally a house that draws long lines at Horror Nights.  We were able to get into the house in just a few minutes to start off the night, and it quickly brought back the realization of where we’re at. This isn’t your “mom & pop” kind of place. When you go through the mazes at Universal, you’re going through essentially a movie set.  The detail is incredible, and in terms of Walking Dead haunts, this is probably my favorite to date.  There are a lot of cool scenes from the show, including the “trough” scene at Terminus, the water-filled food run room, and even the revolving door with zombies in it.  Admittedly not the scariest haunt at HHN, but it definitely set the tone for the night.

We planned our route well, and the exit of Walking Dead emptied us out right at the exit of our next Maze…

Maze 2: The Purge

As most of you know, I’m a fan of The Purge series. But this is the first actual maze they’ve done based on the movies.  So I was intrigued to see how it would lay out.  Essentially you’re traveling through the urban setting of The Purge, with all of the bad guys from the two movies out to get you.  Where the Walking Dead was more based on the perfect sets, The Purge really dropped the hammer in terms of intensity.  There’s non-stop noise blaring in your ears, from the hard rock music, to the sounds of chainsaws, guns, and crashing objects. The maze really puts you on edge as you walk through, and really delivers in terms of pure chaos. This was a slight step up from Walking Dead I think, but the night was still young…

Maze 3: Insidious

Are you starting to see why I love this place? As a pre-cursor, we went to HHN in Hollywood 2 years ago, where the Insidious maze was one of the most terrifying mazes I’ve ever been through.  So if we weren’t kicked into high gear yet, I was thinking this might just be the one to do it. After all, they literally built the house from the movie!  By this point, the lines were starting to develop, so after about a 30-minute wait, we were in.  And this was really frustrating, the first time.  The group ahead of us kept stopping in the house, so there was really no chance for us to get scared, as we kept seeing the actors going back to their hiding places.  It’s never fun to go through a bad haunted house. But it’s even worse when the patrons ruin a good one.  Fortunately we went through again on our second night, but the Hollywood house this is not.  This version of Insidious was decent, but nowhere near the terror we experienced in California.

Maze 4: Run: Blood, Sweat, and Fears

This was our first “Non-IP (Intellectual Property)” House, essentially saying it’s not tied to any movies or shows.  Run has some parallels to the 80’s movie Running Man, in that you’re put into a game show set in a prison, where skilled assassins are trying to kill you.  And to keep the 80’s theme, they had some 80’s hard rock playing in the queue line. I liked that all of the assassins had “countries” from which they were supposed to hail, and there were some really cool characters in here.  Some really big guys dressed similar to Legion of Doom, for instance.  And also a smoking hot chick with a chainsaw.  But other than the cool characters, this one didn’t scare me too much.  Great idea on paper, but in terms of scares, this was a little lower on my list.

By this point, it was starting to get dark, and the scare zones started to get more exciting.  Here’s another vine I took while walking through one of the zones.

After getting some food, we saw the Jack show, and afterward we attempted to get a picture taken with the man himself.  As it turns out, Adam KNOWS the guy behind the mask, and got to meet him for a few brief seconds. Here’s a picture of Adam with the clown himself.

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After the show, it was back to the haunts. We headed to our next destination, and along the way we got to see one of the other Icons (The Storyteller) disposing of another poor soul…

Maze 5: Asylum in Wonderland 3D

I think my stance on 3D mazes is pretty well known, but if not, I’ll say it again. Enough.  They’re never scary.  They’re just silly.  This one is probably one of the best ones I’ve been through, as it’s themed to a demented Alice in Wonderland setting. There are some very cool costume designs in here, with some messed up fairies, a creepy mad hatter, and of course the Cheshire cat.  There are also some wildly-lit rooms that are kind of disorienting with the 3D glasses, but beyond that, the scares are just not there.  Not a terrible maze, but definitely the weakest one at Horror Nights.  After this, we needed something to bring us back down to the true fears of Horror Nights, and boy did we get it…

Maze 6: Body Collectors-Recollections

Okay.  This is another Non-IP House, which is themed to a wintery asylum, where the inhabitants aren’t exactly friendly. They’re harvesting body parts.  And they’re also ULTRA creepy looking.  I must say, in terms of entrances to the mazes, this one takes the cake.  It looks like the front of a large stone building, covered in snow from the wintery landscape.  And once we got in, Body Collectors just takes over.  This maze is just incredible.  The Collectors’ masks alone are enough to drive nightmares into you, and once you throw in the amazing execution of this maze, it’s nothing short of terrifying. Room after horrifying room of these guys jumping out of what seems like nowhere.  There’s also probably the goriest room of all of the mazes, where a girl has her spine ripped out of her back for an audience of Collectors, and you, to see.  All things said, this is one of my favorites at the event this year.  Really, really, scary stuff.  And I was able to find a decent picture of some Collectors in front of the facade of this maze, so enjoy!

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Maze 7: An American Werewolf in London

This is another one I was looking forward to.  Orlando had this maze two years ago, and it was the highest-rated maze they’d ever had, so they brought it back for the 25th Anniversary.  And American Werewolf was just plain fun.  You start in The Slaughtered Lamb pub, and slowly work your way through London where werewolves are abundantly terrorizing you, both in mid- and full transformation.  The wolves themselves are gigantic, and are really well-used to deliver the scares.  A very solid haunt, but it falls just outside my top 3.  Yes that’s a hint… these last two were something else.

Maze 8: Jack Presents 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem

Wow. Talk about a maze that only Horror Nights can pull off. This is by far the longest HHN maze I’ve ever seen.  The premise is pretty simple… Jack is back, and he’s bringing back highlights of all of the previous years’ mazes to haunt you once again.  As we were walking through this maze, Adam and I were reveling in all of the rooms that we recognized from our previous trip(s), and in one of the rooms it resulted in Adam getting the living hell scared out of him.  That was entertaining.  But it’s so well done. Obviously the rooms didn’t “transition” to a theme, as they’re all different themes.  So how did they bridge the gap? By having tons of “Jacks” jumping out at you in each of the transition areas, of course.  It’s just one terrifying homage after another, with tons of horrifying clowns flying at you in between.  For those keeping track at home, I remember seeing rooms from The Forsaken, H.R. BloodenGutz, Winter’s Night, and Nightingales: Blood Prey. If you’re interested in reading up on those, check out my last report in October 2011.  But to sum it up, this maze is by far the longest, and one of the most intense haunts I’ve been through at HHN.  They really nailed their headliner.

After that, we figured nothing could top that.  But we still had ONE MORE haunt to go…

Maze 9: Freddy vs. Jason

Is the movie a pile of crap? Perhaps. But this isn’t a direct tie-in to the movie.  This is just the scariest parts of Friday the 13th combined with the scariest parts of Nightmare on Elm Street, and then a combination of the two into the final fight. The result? This maze… blew me away.  We entered the maze into a cabin at Camp Crystal Lake. As in, a legitimate cabin that was built for the event. And as we went through the camp, the MASSIVE “Jasons” were popping out of (once again) seemingly nowhere, and delivering really well-timed scares.  But soon we found ourself on Elm Street, where we encountered the little girls with no eyes, playing jump rope and singing the Freddy song.  If ever there was a creepier thing in a haunt, I can’t think of it. From there, we went into the house from Nightmare, and it was Freddy’s turn to terrorize us.  Again, strong scares. As we continued through the end, the two films came together into the Freddy vs. Jason fight scenes, but they were still continuing to scare us the whole time.  I think the size of the Jason characters really made them that much scarier, but the effect was certain. It scared the crap out of me.  We also got a chance to encounter Jason on the streets, and I got an Unholy Selfie with the guy himself.

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I know, it’s a marathon.  And let me just say, walking around Universal for 2 days, as well as Busch Gardens for another day, was quite the marathon in itself.  By Saturday night, we were all dead tired.  Apologies for the pun.  So with that said, there’s still a LOT of stuff I haven’t covered, including our ridiculous day at some small carnie-ish parks, as well as our trip to Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens.  That’ll come at a later date.  But I’m going to cap this off with my personal ranking of the HHN haunts, from worst to first.  Keep in mind that basically all of these haunts were a blast, but a few stand-outs really stole the show.  So here we go.

9: Asylum in Wonderland 3D

8: Run: Blood, Sweat, and Fears

7: The Walking Dead: The Living and the Dead

6: The Purge

5: Insidious

4: An American Werewolf in London

3: Body Collectors – Recollection

2: Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem

1: Freddy vs. Jason

The top 3 could honestly go any way for me, but that’s what I was thinking at the event, so I’m sticking with it.  I think Monsters and Mayhem is probably the most detailed maze there, and it was most of my friends’ favorite haunt.  But for me, Freddy vs. Jason had incredible sets, and really just scared the crap out of me both times I went through, so I gave it the edge.  But you can’t go wrong in either of those mazes, nor in Body Collectors. Truly fantastic mazes all around.

So that’s going to end this update… as I said, more to come from this trip! But Halloween Horror Nights proved to me once again that it’s the premier Halloween party. There’s really nothing like it in terms of quality haunts and just a complete Halloween Park.  Stay tuned for the update on Busch Gardens, as well as some horror movies. October starts tomorrow, kids! Let the haunting season begin… >:)

One final shout-out to my friends who joined on this journey to hell and back.. Thanks for the good times Jeff and Adam!

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Until next time, rest those legs.

-Dvo