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Faces of Fear: Exploring the Scariest Scarezones at Halloween Horror Nights Orlando


Review by Dawn Ferchak

Photos by Ellie Logan


Welcome to part 2 of our Halloween Horror Night Orlando Review. We talked about the icon and the houses here. Now it’s time for scarezones, the live show, and some surprisingly delicious food and drinks.

If you want to avoid scareactors on your way to or from the houses (or if you just don’t like being freaked out by ghouls and ghosties), stick to the sidewalks. They’re considered a “safe zone.”

Scarezones


If you’re new to HHN, you probably don’t know what a scare zone is. Basically, scare zones are areas of the park where there are roaming scareactors just waiting to freak you out or join you in a Spooky Season selfie. This year, all of the scarezones are marked with the sign of Dr. Oddfellow, this year’s icon. Be on the lookout for them. Make it a fun little scavenger hunt for your group. Last one to find them all buys the next round!

Dr. Oddfellow’s Collection of Horrors (Production Central): This is your introduction to the doctor’s world. He and his creatures roam, offering immortality. This is the best zone for scareactor pics and selfies. The other zones are much foggier.

Jungle of Doom: Expedition Horror (Central Park): This scarezone is the beginning of Dr. Oddfellow’s story. It’s the smallest zone, but it packs a good punch. It features creepy and sometimes icky ambient sounds, glowing eyes all around you, and scareactors who know when to blend in and when to lunge. Nobody will touch you, of course, but they do know how to give a good scare. Watch for the creature on stilts – it’s a highlight.

Shipyard 32: Horrors Unhinged (San Francisco): It’s the 1940s and there seem to be an awful lot of strangely marked crates and cages littering the street. The oddities have escaped and they’re coming for anybody they can find. This zone amps the creep factor to near gross-out levels, with some of the best scareactor costuming in the entire park. It does get very foggy – it’s meant to be seaside, after all – which makes pictures rough but adds to the atmosphere. My advice is to save the pics for a different zone and just enjoy the horrors.

Vamp ’69: Summer of Blood (New York): What would happen if you combined Woodstock with vampires? This scare zone. Confused hippies – if you get what I meant by confused – wander aimlessly, no doubt wondering, “what’s going on with all the blood, man?” while sexy vamps to the music and the let’s-call-it-fortified blood. This is the place where the scareactors look like they’re having the most fun. You probably will too. Plus, there’s a constant soundtrack of late 1960s to early 1970s rock and soul, making this the perfect place to chill out with snacks and cocktails.

Dark Zodiac (Hollywood): Fog allowing, this is another great scarezone for selfies. You’ve entered the zodiac realm, where Dr. Oddfellow has harnessed his powers to the fullest. Brush up on your zodiac symbols and see if you can spot the scareactor who represents your sign. They’ll be happy to take a picture with you. Watch out for the chainsaw brigade. They’re amazing when walking together and even better when they scatter into the crowd.

Diagon Alley (Wizarding World of Harry Potter): OK, so this isn’t technically a scarezone, but go with me on this. This is the first year ever that something Halloween-specific is happening in the Orlando version of Harry’s London – Death Eaters. Voldemort’s most devoted followers are slinking through the dark alley, looking for those who are ready to show their loyalty to the Dark Lord. Death Eater Encounters aren’t constant, like scareactors in the other scarezones, and there isn’t a set schedule either. Rumor has it they appear on the hour and the half hour, but don’t quote me on that. If you can see it, it’s pretty rad.

And then there are the M3GANs. They’re not attached to any particular place – they wander the park and appear randomly. Keep your eyes peeled. If you see one M3GAN beginning to do her robotic moves, stay put. Eventually there will be six of them, performing a flash mob-style choreography that includes some of the dance moves from the film. It’s expertly done and delightfully unnerving.


Live Show: Nightmare Fuel Revenge Dream (Fear Factor Live stage): There’s only one live show this year, and it’s a good one. Fan fave Fuel Girls return to bring fire, acrobatics, illusions, and dancing. It’s a great show – the dancers clearly have real training and the soundtrack is banging. Look it up on Spotify to prep for the show or to relive the memories.

Tribute Store: End your HHN evening with a visit to this year’s Tribute Store, located in New York behind the Macy’s façade. This year, the immersive retail experience is a creepy comic book shop where guests step into the pages of Tribute to Terror. Each room is a different story from the comic, with the ghoulish Curator guiding you along the way. It owes a lot to Stephen King’s Creepshow and classic horror comics, so fans of those will find more to love in the theme. While all of the rooms are creepy and almost campy fun, the standout is False Idols – it’s completely monochromatic except for the deep red eyes of the creature. It also has an effect to mimic comic book rain. Think Sin City, but horror.


Merch available includes Chucky, Stranger Things, Universal Monsters, and The Last of Us, and a lot of it is pretty cool. Remember to save some money for the sweet treats at the “Pay Up” station so you can munch on house-themed snacks.


HHN 32 offers a lot this year, so be sure to plan your visit – or visits – appropriately. Like we said in Part 1, RIP is the best option to see it all in one night. If you’ve got the cash, it will save you a lot of time.


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