Oct 4, 2007

Halloween Horror Nights

TEDWRD and I hit a preview of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios last night.

Now, TEDWRD's a big guy and the various performers running around with chainsaws and bloody knives were, every single one of em, dwarfed by him. Some of the smaller performers were cleverer than others, and used TEDWRD as a screen, jumping out at the next people down the line after hiding behind him. It was pretty funny to see guys playing Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th or Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre kind of just look at him. You could tell they were thinking, "Yeah, I'll scare the next bunch, thanks."

Generally speaking, it is a pretty fun experience. Since it was free, I'd say it was totally worth it. For the $60 or so you poor bastards would have to pay ($30 if you know a certain person who works there), maybe not so much. It depends on how much you like being screamed at by horrifically-bloody victims or menaced with chainsaws, or ... kind of glared at menacingly by Jason and Freddie Kruger (of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise).

Speaking of Jason, Freddie, and Leatherface, there was something odd about the presentation of these characters. Each had their own themed maze, which, to say the very least, featured the character prominently.

So prominently were they featured, in fact, that the characters lost almost all of their impact. I mean, how scary is Jason when every room has a Jason in it? The answer, of course, is "not very." We were literally having Jason brandish a machete at us, taking two steps into another room, and watching another Jason gesture hatefully at us with a pair of pinking shears.*

Jason's maze was the weakest of the three because not only was Jason an army of one, but there was also a recurring "Crazy Old Man" character warning us not to go here, not to go there, and to generally run for our lives. He even identified himself as "Crazy Old Man" as we were leaving the maze:
Nobody ever listens! Nobody listens to the Crazy Old Man!
In my opinion, he should really avoid self-identifying as insane if he's hoping for credibility.

*Okay, not pinking shears literally.

1 comment:

Ixtlilton said...

The first "Nightmare on Elm Street" film was great, but with each installment the series became more ridiculous and mired in 80s pop culture as time went by.

The "Friday the 13th" series started fine, but quickly became cr@p. Then something wonderful happened. The films became self-referential. This made the films fun to watch as smarter characters actually were able to try to save themselves by using their knowledge of how Jason "worked". Ultimately, they were killed, sure, but at least they had a better chance.

The original "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" may have been brilliant, but I hated it. I didn't really like any of the characters, good or evil, and I certainly wasn't rooting for any of them. The sequels did something interesting though, they started to make Leatherface into a mythic creature, like Grendel. "The saw is family" etched on an unholy chainsaw became as important as excalibur in the Arthurian legends. Great epic storytelling. Unfortunately, the series has been reborn in the current Torture Porn motif that I hope will die its own violent death.

As for the mass amounts of these villains in their own labyrinth, it works well for Freddy since he often appears in multiple guises at once. Unfortunately, you should only see Leatherface and Jason three times. You should see them killing something at the beginning. You should then run for a bit and see them just when you've gone far enough that you think you've escaped. Then you run again ... until you slow down because you finally see the exit. At that point they should step out and...bye byes.