Happy Horror Nights! It’s finally my favorite time of year, and although Halloween Horror Nights 2019 has only just begun, I’ve already spent two scream-filled nights there. I also had the chance to go through all 10 haunted houses not once, but twice each. That means… it’s time for my favorite blog post of the year: my house rankings!
Universal advertised that the 80s would be back with a vengeance at Halloween Horror Nights 2019, and they were not exaggerating. All of this year’s houses are amazing in their own right, so I’ll be assigning them all a superlative just like I did in last year’s post. I just don’t think numerical rankings can do this year’s event the justice it deserves—plus, your experience in a haunted house depends a lot on timing and luck. With that sorted out, let’s jump right in!
Most Terrifying: Graveyard Games
I’m anything but a wimp when it comes to haunted houses, so take it from me when I say Graveyard Games is the scariest house of the year. It’s also visually stunning, and it has a compelling storyline. Basically, when teenagers decide to defile a graveyard and the resident spirits fight back, you end up caught in the middle. From ghostly children and decaying corpses to an absolutely terrifying final room, Graveyard Games is one for the books. For maximum scares, try to do this house while the sun is still up before your eyes have had a chance to adjust to the dark!
Most Cinematic: Ghostbusters
This year’s most cinematic house is also my personal favorite (at least for now)! Just like the Poltergeist and The Shining houses from years past, Ghostbusters does an incredible job of transporting you right into the film. You’ll get to walk through the New York Public Library, the Ghostbusters firehouse headquarters, and even the Temple of Gozer. All of your favorite characters—and some classic lines—are there as well! As a huge fan of the movie, this house is an absolute delight to walk through. Don’t let that make you too comfortable though, because there are plenty of scares to be found as well! (Vinz Clortho, I’m talking about you.)
Most Mind-Blowing: Universal Monsters
I honestly had no idea what to expect when Universal Monsters was announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2019, but this house blew me away. Every single room is stunning in its own way, from the watery realm of the Creature from the Black Lagoon to the hellish lair of Dracula. There are some incredible scares in this house too, including a masterful use of a bungee cord that you’ll never see coming. I can’t hype this one up enough! (Bonus points for an incredible scare I received courtesy of the Bride of Frankenstein!)
Most Kooky: Killer Klowns from Outer Space
I knew this house was going to be crazy, but it was even more whimsical than I expected! I really liked the Killer Klowns scare zone from last year, but I think the movie (which I just watched for the first time last week) translates even better to a haunted house. The neon sets and wacky sounds and scents make the whole experience a blast, and there are some great scares as well—and not to mention some awesome puppetry. Just be prepared for a surprise if you press one of those tempting red buttons…
Most Atmospheric: Depths of Fear
Depths of Fear has all of the makings of a fantastic haunted house. I’m talking a creepy story, awesome effects, and great creature design. Unfortunately for me, I was unlucky on both of my walkthroughs and didn’t find myself on the receiving end of many scares. (That might be because of some issues with the costumes, though.) Nonetheless, Depths of Fear is intense and a great original house! The booming countdown that plays throughout is a nice touch that creates a genuine desire to escape. I’ll definitely be back for more underwater terror in the coming weeks.
Update 10/7: Depths of Fear has truly stepped their game up! Although the “mouthbrooder” monsters are now all but absent, the human cast has been nothing short of terrifying during my last few walkthroughs. Seriously, they are picking up the slack and then some. Definitely check this one out!
Most Gory: House of 1000 Corpses
Okay, I know I said that I’m not a wimp, but I also have an admittedly weak stomach. I don’t think it’s just me when I say that House of 1000 Corpses is insanely gory, though. In fact, it’s easily the most grotesque house at Halloween Horror Nights 2019. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, however! Although I haven’t seen the movie, I still found the house to be delightfully scary and boasting some fantastic visuals, which I would assume are even more impressive to a fan. The façade is amazing too!
Most Chilling: Yeti: Terror of the Yukon
I’m going to be 100% honest and say that Yeti: Terror of the Yukon was at the bottom of my Halloween Horror Nights 2019 hype list. I just didn’t think the concept of a killer yeti was that scary or even that interesting. Well, scratch that, because I love this house. The design and details are stunning, and the yetis are… well, they’re huge and plenty scary. There’s so much to see and take in—just don’t let the terrified loggers and trappers distract you from the monsters lurking around every corner! (Freezing air conditioning is a plus in this Orlando heat, too.)
Most Narrative: Us
I would have called this house the most cinematic if Ghostbusters didn’t exist. But don’t worry, because Us is just as true to its source material as you would hope! It truly does a fantastic job of transporting you into the world of the movie. From the Vision Quest funhouse façade to the underground bunker where the Tethered live, all of the sets are incredible. The final scenes that feature the climax of the film are particularly stunning! If you haven’t seen the movie, I definitely recommend watching it so you can fully enjoy this house!
Most Surprising: Nightingales: Blood Pit
I would call Nightingales: Blood Pit the most surprising house of Halloween Horror Nights 2019 for a few reasons. First of all, I was just surprised that a house about gladiators fighting bloodsucking demons in ancient Rome made it into this year’s 80s-themed event. But more notably, the scares themselves surprised me. Although the Nightingales are delightfully creepy, the gladiators were the ones who were pulling off the expert scares—at least during my walkthroughs. If guts and blood are your things, you’ll definitely like this house.
Most Bitchin’: Stranger Things
As one of the most hyped houses of the year, Stranger Things (based on the second and third season this year) had a lot to live up to. I’m a huge fan of the show so I was really looking forward to this one, and I’m happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it! I wish there was a bit more season three, but the scenes that did make it in are a blast—especially the Battle of Starcourt. There might be a few too many mannequins in this house, but there are also some awesome sets and truly stunning puppets. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll definitely walk away with a smile on your face. (And yes, they play “The Neverending Story” in the line!)
There you have it: my house rankings (or superlatives) for Halloween Horror Nights 2019! This is always my favorite blog post of the year, and I had such a blast writing this one. Let me know in the comments what your favorite (or most hyped) houses are this year! I’ll be at Halloween Horror Nights probably every weekend from now until early November, so keep an eye out for a scare zone guide—and of course some scareactor photos! In the meantime, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to keep up with my festive and frightening adventures! Stay spooky, my friends.
P.S. I might update my Halloween Horror Nights house rankings over the weeks, so be sure to check back on this post to see if I’ve made any changes!