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Halloween Horror Nights 25 Complete Review

Universal Orlando is celebrating their 25th year of monsters and mayhem at Halloween Horror Nights. The event officially began September 18th and runs on select nights through November 1st. This year’s event brings back famous Halloween Horror Nights icons and past Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses. With 25 years of horror and scares, fans of the event had high expectations and Universal Orlando took the challenge and presented themselves well. Halloween Horror Nights 25 features 9 terrifying houses, 5 scare zones, and 2 outrageous shows. Continue reading for my complete review of Halloween Horror Nights 25 at Universal Orlando.

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers.

Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem (house)
Scare ranking: 5 out of 5
Must-see ranking: 5 out of 5
Overall rating: 5 out of 5
Review: Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem was phenomenally executed. The house combines 25 years of Halloween Horror Nights history, making it a crazy and astonishing experience. Throughout the house, you’ll find recognizing scenes as well as characters from House of Horrors, Scary Tales, The Forsaken, and more. 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem is an obvious tribute to Halloween Horror Nights fans and is highly recommended to all, especially hardcore HHN fans. The house has amazing transitions, fantastic scares, and breathtaking sets.
Body Collectors – Recollections (house)
Scare ranking: 4 out of 5
Must-see ranking: 5 out of 5
Overall rating: 5 out of 5
Review: Body Collectors has returned for the third time with a mashup of Psychoscareapy. This year, the Body Collectors descend upon Shadybrook Asylum to collect body parts. The facade to the entrance of the house was fantastically done – the asylum is frosted and you are welcomed with falling snow, a winter setting, and sinister music that produces a grand plot. The Body Collectors pop out throughout the house but do not come out to intentionally frighten you… in a way. Rather than descending upon you and frightening you with a scream or a sudden pop-up, the Body Collectors appear while they are collecting body parts from “living” humans – they are still “in the moment”, which creates a natural scare.
Insidious (house)
Scare ranking: 5 out of 5
Must-see ranking: 5 out of 5
Overall rating: 5 out of 5
Review: The Insidious haunted house takes you into “The Further,” where you’ll come across the Lipstick-faced demon, the Bride in Black, and The Man Who Can’t Breathe. The victorian house facade featured in Insidious: Chapter 2 was phenomenally constructed near the entrance to the haunted house. The Insidious haunted house has amazing sets, eerie music, and terrific scares that make Insidious an extraordinary haunted house. Unlike a majority of Halloween Horror Nights houses, Insidious is based upon paranormal activity, which outright creates a pervasive creepiness. Insidious is definitely at the top of my list!
The Purge (house)
Scare ranking: 4 out of 5
Must-see ranking: 5 out of 5
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
Review: It is quite apparent that The Purge was a cover up for another property due to the lack of detailed scenes and the selection of a Universal film, which was most likely chosen to quickly construct a house that would still be popular but wouldn’t need the approval of another corporation. Despite this, The Purge was overall a well-done house. The scare actors offered a plentiful amount of scares in unexpected quarters.
Freddy vs. Jason (house)
Scare ranking: 3 out of 5
Must-see ranking: 5 out of 5
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
Review: Freddy Kreuger and Jason Voorhees are two top horror icons that have taken the stage at this year’s event. Personally, the haunted house doesn’t offer many unalarmed scares but does fantastically recreate film locations like Camp Crystal Lake and 1428 Elm Street. Fans of all kinds are immersed in the environments and scares though only extreme fans will recognize the hidden Easter Eggs throughout the house. Overall, Freddy vs. Jason was a fairly good house but didn’t exactly meet my expectations. In my opinion, the two horror icons worked more efficiently when they each had their own separate house.
An American Werewolf in London (house)
Scare ranking: 1 out of 5
Must-see ranking: 3 out of 5
Overall rating: 3 out of 5
Review: An American Werewolf in London was first introduced to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando in 2013; the house was by far the best during that period. This year, An American Werewolf in London was reintroduced with werewolves more identical to the film. While the house was astonishing in 2013, so far it has a bit of a disappointment this year. The scare actors and wolves offered little to no scares; it felt as if the actors and puppeteers operating the wolves were not as immersed into the experience and opportunity to scare guests as they were in 2013. If the house was brought back at a later time, perhaps it would be more enjoyable.
The Walking Dead: The Living and the Dead (house)
Scare ranking: 1 out of 5
Must-see ranking: 2 out of 5
Overall rating: 1 out of 5
Review: The Walking Dead is back at Halloween Horror Nights… once again. The house last year had much to offer, however, this year’s house was rather uninteresting. Because the latest season of AMC’s The Walking Dead was slow crawling, the haunted house had little to offer. There were no memorable locations, very little scares, and poorly created sets, but I wouldn’t necessarily blame it on the Halloween Horror Nights team. The Walking Dead has been overused at Halloween Horror Nights, making it overly repetitive.
RUN: Blood, Sweat and Fears (house)
Scare ranking: 1 out of 5
Must-see ranking: 2 out of 5
Overall rating: 1 out of 5
Review: The idea of “RUN: Blood, Sweat and Fears” is to make you a part of a TV show where you’ll have to avoid skilled assassins and make your way through death obstacles. While the concept does indeed sound interesting, the house was sadly not the best. The intriguing plot may seem easy to understand, but it is actually quite confusing when you’re physically in the house. Because of this, you are offered with very little scares, despite the random pop-up scares.
Asylum in Wonderland 3D (house)
Scare ranking: 0 out of 5
Must-see ranking: 1 out of 5
Overall rating: 1 out of 5
Review: Although Asylum in Wonderland 3D has been rated surprisingly high by most HHN fans and guests, I found the house to be confusing and visually irritating; the colorful and constant flashing lights in the house caused extreme confusion. The house offered no scares; the house’s bright and vibrant atmosphere didn’t aid it. While the scenes were very well done, I didn’t find it amusing. I did, however, enjoy the moving tunnel illusion at the beginning of the house.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure (show)
Must-see ranking: 5 out of 5
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
Review: As always, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure was great! The show is based upon the adventures of two simple-minded dudes, Bill and Ted, who present the audience with an awesome Halloween party that includes music, dancing, and comedic jokes about pop culture, politics, and more. The show doesn’t exactly have a true plot, but it’s not intended to; the idea of the show is to make guests laugh. This year’s show includes jokes about Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Justin Bieber, and more. You’ll recognize some famous props and characters featured in this year’s show like the DeLoreon and The Doctor. The beginning of the show was well started off, the middle was slower paced but still very much enjoyable, and the end was excellent.
The Carnage Returns (show)
Must-see ranking: 5 out of 5
Overall rating: 5 out of 5
Review: Watch Jack and his companion in carnage do what they do best — kill. Jack is a popular original Halloween Horror Nights icon who finds enjoyment in killing innocent beings; he presents himself well when he does so. The Carnage Returns puts Jack back on stage and allows you to witness him and his companion, Chance, kill innocent victims in gruesome ways. The show is gory, but it’s all unreal, obviously. The stunts used to perform the killings in The Carnage Returns are excellently executed, creating realistic appearances. This show is highly recommended to HHN fans and guests who truly want to know who Jack the Clown is.
HHN – Icons (scare zone)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
Review: This scare zone is more of a photo-op scare zone and if you miss the short shows that the HHN icons perform at random times, the scare zone is tedious. During the quick shows, you can see icons like The Usher killing a victim in the movie theater ticket booth and The Storyteller participating in cutting off a victim’s tongue. This zone is excellent and provides guests with a good look at past Halloween Horror Nights icons.
Evil’s Roots (scare zone)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
Review: Evil’s Roots is located in the narrow path along the Garden of Allah. Personally, I find this area to be the perfect location for scare zones because of the narrow path that can offer a mysterious environment and an abundant amount of scares. Evil’s Roots is definitely mysterious and because of the thick fog that is released, it is very difficult to spot the scare actors in this location. At any moment, a creature could appear right in your face. Evil’s Roots has wonderful props, stunning creatures, and a well-created atmosphere.
Pyschoscareapy – Unleashed (scare zone)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
Review: The decorations, props, and music really set the mood for the Physchoscareapy scare zone — and the scare actors complete the experience. Pyschoscareapy – Unleashed is the largest scare zone at the event this year, taking up just about the entire New York area of the park. This scare zone honestly puts you into the Halloween spirit for one reason: the fun traditional Halloween decorations, which fit perfectly with the invading inmates. This is a scare zone that you can practically walk through several times and still see something new every time.
All Night Die-In – Double Feature (scare zone)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
Review: The All Night Die-In brings out today’s horror monsters like Freddy Kreuger and Jason Voorhees and past monsters like Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. The storyline for the scare zone is strong and the characters perform their parts well. This is a great scare zone for everyone, especially for die-hard horror fans. The only downside I find to the All Night Die-In scare zone is its small size.
Scary Tales – ScreamPunk (scare zone)
Overall rating: 2 out of 5
Review: The scare zones in between Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Shrek 4-D have some of the best characters but because of its small proximity these scare zones tend to be tamer and less intriguing. While the Scary Tales scare zone is indeed sterling, it lacks the size to wholly immerse guests into the story the scare zone is telling. The only prop in the area is a massive balloon mechanism that doesn’t add much to the story of the zone.

About the author

John Sala

John is an avid theme park fan who has a passion for journalism, photography, videography, digital art, and website designing. His goal is to provide in-depth information about topics that universally matter in entertainment and travel.

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