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Concert Report: Halloween Horror Nights 26
Universal Studios, Orlando FL

By Eric Compton.
Published: October 13, 2016

I kicked off in grand style with my iPod buzzing an assortment of quality Amorphis cuts
while I waited for the park sirens to signal the beginning of the end.

You know Halloween is around the corner when Universal Studios starts closing their park at 5PM each day. The reason? It gets all of the normal people out of the area so it can re-open at 6 for all of the freaks like yours truly. Out go the thirtysomethings pushing their strollers--in comes the skinny jeans, converse high tops and Slayer t-shirts. It's a little rite of passage that occurs on the sidewalks and parking lots. It would be fitting to cue Pantera's "Cowboys from Hell" and its "We're taking over this town" mentality while the exchange is made.

"This is why the stroller people exit the park. It is sick and gore intensified."

Annually, the event runs from mid-September through Halloween and features haunted houses, scare zones, scantily clad women, festive shows and lots of booze. This is my fourth time partaking in the festivities and it's a whole lot of fun each and every visit. I paid extra as always and purchased the coveted express pass. By 8 or 9PM the houses can have wait times at nearly an hour. I prefer to just bypass those slackers and coast right up to the front. Hop in and hop out.

I kicked off in grand style with my iPod buzzing an assortment of quality Amorphis cuts while I waited for the park sirens to signal the beginning of the end. As the sirens wailed their invitations I made my way to "The Exorcist" house first. The opening scene had me walking up to the house as "Tubular Bells" played. I got chills staring up at Regan's window with the faux moonlight casting shadows. Once inside various scenes from the movie played out complete with a spinning head Regan and a loop of "The power of Christ compels you". To top it off the spider-scene was there with Regan bent at a sickening angle on the stairway. Compelling to say the least. The exit led right over to the next terror.

"American Horror Story" featured select scenes from the television series in chronological order. The first scene was the basement where all of those disgusting jars are on dusty shelves. From there the ghostly maid seduced visitors while some creepy bondage guy in black garb attempted to grab the audience. I'm not terribly familiar with the show but there was a sickening scene of a pig headed monstrosity in bibs standing in a blood soaked shower. That one left a mark.

At the end of that street was "The Walking Dead" house and, like AMH, consisted of various scenes from the television show in chronological order. Dale's RV, the camp invasion and the "Don't Open the Door--Dead Inside" scenes highlighted season one. That big juicy slob walker in the well was featured from season two along with prison scenes from season three. Terminus was featured shortly with the guys over the big water trough getting their heads bashed out. This is why the stroller people exit the park. It is sick and gore intensified.

After three in a row in quick succession I headed for the beer cart and chugged a Blue Moon with Iced Earth's "Dystopia" as the backdrop. Around this time is when I caught up with Rich Lee, the representative from Mighty Music out of Denmark. We did some catching up and I received some tidbits on the new Sea record, the last Mike Tramp release and a cool new band that Rich is promoting called Black Water Swamp.

Rich and I tackled "The Walking Dead" again before hitting a holiday themed version of "Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure". This half hour parody-show featured lots of dancing women and some mock ups including Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Avatar, Ghostbusters, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian and John Cena. The second half of the night featured two of my favorite houses, "Halloween" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre". The "Halloween" version was based on the original "Halloween 2" film and had some famous scenes that were pleasing to a fan like myself. The house opened with Loomis shooting Myers at the balcony. Then I navigated through Haddonfield alleys to arrive at a couple hospital murders. The hot tub drowning and the guard getting the clawhammer were on wicked display. There was a robotic Myers stabbing a nurse and lifting her off the ground that was followed by the big explosion scene and a burning Myers walking from the rubble. I had to go back and do that one again.

"Texas Chainsaw Massacre" had a great feel to it and incorporated elements of the first and second original films. The white house in the country was the opening scenes and featured that sliding steel door with Leatherface standing in the frame. Most of this house featured the TCM 2 version of Leatherface sporting the black hair and suit. There were a couple of table mutilations and I thought I saw one scene that seemed to be lifted from Viggo Mortenson's character in "Leatherface: TCM 3". Needless to say I am a fanboy of that franchise as well.

In between the houses are some pretty cool character actors and props designed to be scare zones. One of my favorites was a spin on John Carpenter's "The Fog" called "Dead Man's Wharf". Zombie-like sailors have crashed their boat on the rocks and walk onto shore to terrorize spectators. Another scare zone featured a high school parade that turned violent and...well...vampiric.

I finished my night with a house called "Krampus" based off of the recent film. Nothing says "To all a goodnight" like troll creatures devouring kids on Christmas.

Overall another solid Halloween Horror Nights. Bring on 27...only this time let's give out some free chicken wings to King Fowley and the boys and let them play a set of Deceased greatest hits.

Up the tombstones for life!





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