This year, for the first time ever, I was able to visit all of the houses at Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando! (Shoutout to the Frequent Fear pass for that.) I have a ton of opinions about each house, so of course I had to blog about them! I’ve never written a post of my Halloween Horror Nights house rankings before, so this is really exciting for me!
As a preface, I just want to say that this is a very strong year for HHN. Honestly, all of the houses are pretty darn good! Even the ones at the bottom of my list are totally worth checking out! This year’s theme is Festival of the Deadliest, but there’s a notable lack of an event icon. I adored last year’s icon, Chance, but I also think it made sense to nix an icon this year. The houses and scare zones are really diverse, so picking one would probably have been pretty tough!
Alright, without further ado, here’s my ranking of this year’s Halloween Horror Nights houses:
1. Scarecrow: The Reaping
This is by far the scariest house this year. The façade is fantastic, the lighting is just right, and the cast of scareactors is amazing! My favorite thing about a house is when I can’t see the scares coming, and Scarecrow definitely wins in that regard. The sets are so detailed, and the costuming is next level. I’ve been through this house twice so far, and unlike in some of the other houses I visited more than once, it didn’t take away from the scares at all. I honestly can’t hype this house up enough, so just do yourself a favor and check it out.
2. The Shining
This house is ranked so high up on my list because it does an amazing job of paying tribute to its titular film, which happens to be one of my favorite ever! Entering this house truly feels like stepping into the Overlook Hotel, from the hedge maze to Room 237 and everything in between. Seriously, when I wasn’t screaming my head off, I was marveling at the sets and the incredible amount of detail put into them. When I saw the famous elevators were really gushing blood in front of me, I audibly cheered. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, there’s still plenty to love about this house. The wait times have been a little high, but it’s so worth it!
3. Dead Waters
The façade of this house alone is enough to earn a top spot on my list. Walking onto a sinking riverboat surrounded by fog and lurking alligators perfectly sets the tone for what’s to come. The level of detail in every room of the ship is incredible, and the scareactors are fantastic in their roles too! The more I’ve visited this house, the more its grown on me, and that’s why I moved it up on my list from number 5. This is a house that deserves repeat viewings to truly appreciate, and my updating ranking reflects that!
4. Ash vs. Evil Dead
Okay, so I’ve never seen the Evil Dead films or the new TV show that this house is based on, but I still loved it, so that says something! I’m always a fan of the token comedic house at HHN, and this was no exception. Huge kudos to the dudes playing Ash – they were great, along with the rest of the house’s scareactors! Like I said, I don’t have much knowledge of this franchise, but hearing lines like “I’m going to be like a ninja losing his virginity” while being jump-scared is enough to satisfy me. It seemed like there were a lot of easter eggs in this house that someone familiar with the series would appreciate, so that’s else something to keep in mind.
5. The Fallen
You guys, THEY FLY! Seeing winged demons literally fly over my head makes this house a stunner in my book. The use of bungee cords to allow scareactors to lean down from above is beyond cool, and the fact that I didn’t know about it going in made it even more cool to witness! This house reminded me a little of Gothic from 2012 (the first year I attended HHN!), except with more chaos (and scares). I honestly had no idea what to expect when I walked into this house, but I came out cheering about how awesome it is. You don’t want to miss it!
6. The Hive
I’ve walked through The Hive twice so far, and I had very different experiences each time. Round one was packed with scares, and I especially loved seeing the vampires with glowing eyes! However, I entered the house early while the sun was still up, which made it pretty hard for my eyes to adjust to the extreme darkness. As a result, I didn’t really pick up on any details while I was blindly stumbling through. Round two took place later in the evening, so I was actually able to see where I was going and appreciate the well-detailed sets. Unfortunately, I didn’t really get any good scares that time! Bonus points for the synth music in the queue, though.
7. American Horror Story: Volume 2
American Horror Story is another franchise I’m only vaguely familiar with, so I think that definitely took away from my experience in this house. It’s split up into three parts, each based on a different season of the show. Take my opinion with a grain of salt since I haven’t seen the show, but I’d say that the part based on Asylum was by far the strongest, followed by Roanoke, and lastly Coven. Since I don’t really have much to go off of here, I put this house pretty low on my list, but it still has plenty of good scares! I’d imagine a fan of the show would definitely enjoy it.
8. Horrors of Blumhouse
I’ve been reading a lot of opinions that this is the dud house of the year – and yeah, it’s pretty low on my list. But listen: it’s not bad at all! Does it make a lot of sense to have three very different movies in the same house? Not really. But hey, I still screamed my head off, and that’s what counts. Insidious is by far the best part of this house, followed by Sinister, and then The Purge. One thing I noticed about this house is how well the scares are timed to the sound effects! I probably wouldn’t wait more than 15 minutes for this one, but it’s by no means bad.
9. Saw: The Games of Jigsaw
I’ll be the first to admit that I really don’t like the Saw films. For that reason, this is my least favorite house of the year. However, it’s still good in its own right! I’m not a huge fan of gore, so walking past a bunch of torture scenes isn’t my cup of tea, but I’m sure fans of the films would enjoy seeing their favorite traps in action. I definitely want to commend the scareactors in this house – they really sell the whole “I’m literally dying in front of you” thing!
…ta da! That finishes off my first ever Halloween Horror Nights house rankings! I put a lot of thought into this post, so I hope it’s helpful to you! It’s still early October, so hopefully I’ll get to visit HHN a few more times before the event ends. If my opinions change, I’ll make sure to update this post and keep it current! This post is a bit devoid of pictures, but if you’re interested, you can check out my post with my tips for taking photos at Halloween Horror Nights – that one has plenty of scareactor pics!
So, what are your thoughts? Do you have your own Halloween Horror Nights house rankings? Or do you disagree with part (or all) of mine? Comment and let me know! Like I said earlier, I’ll hopefully be able to get out to HHN a couple more times this year, so maybe I’ll write a ranking of the Scare Zones next! Until next time, thanks for reading!