The most fun I had in Orlando for haunt season 2010 was definitely at Busch Gardens Tampa Howl O Scream. If you can go to this one, I highly recommend it. I have already reviewed their Alone house, but here is my review of the regular event.
Click each photo for a larger version!
A giant display of TVs at the front:
BGT impresses me on a few levels. I dig the creative implementation of haunts, the welcoming atmosphere, and the fun things you can do on Twitter and Facebook while you are daydreaming about actually going to the event. It is really a triple dose of fun for my brain. The them this year was a serial killer rocker chick named Sylvie and her band, MyX. I initially wasn’t sold on the concept of a rocker chick serial killer, but later changed my opinion. This concept may not sound like the scariest thing ever, but I thought it it actually worked. It was a very unique angle and a refreshing break from all of the normal cliches of Halloween. How many freaking insane asylums, ghosts, zombies, and thanksgiving turkeys on stilts have you seen? A lot! I welcome a curve ball as long as it has a comprehensive story. If Sylvie didn’t have a sizable story behind her, I would gladly complain about it – but they certainly delivered the goods in terms of an immersive world, fun things to do and cool things to read. This makes me even more excited to see what kind of icon they will dream up for 2011! It’s genuinely unpredictable! How cool is that?!
MyX Revenge Rocks: was a new house for this year.This was Sylvie’s house. I actually didn’t find this one to be very terrifying, but I did find it to be a lot of fun. It was set up like a concert venue. You enter through the side door next to a ticket scalper and get into more than you bargained for when you are chased by the band’s crazed and bloodthirsty fans. The set pieces were AMAZING. AMAZING!!!! Even though it wasn’t very scary it was just..oh my god awesome.
Taste of Blood: A Different Vein: This house was OK – it was better than last year’s version. I don’t know why, but that’s just how it felt to us.
Nightshade Toys: Son of Nightshade: This house was amazing last year and it was just as amazing of not more so. This is clearly one of the strongest houses. A finale where you are chased by fat men in tutus with chainsaws is particularly disturbing. I always love the hallway of besty wetsy dolls that inevitably pee on you..but you don’t know which one will! (This is a benefit to having a haunt in Florida – you can use water!)
Death Row Vengeance: No Escape: This house was another just OK house, but they did something really cool in here. They had a guy mimic a cheap animatronic electric chair prop, but surprise – the prop is not a robot – it’s a REAL GUY!
Trapped in the Walls: Ghostchasers: This house is always pretty cool. They added a part outside of the house where you can see that a paranormal investigator is researching in the house. I love me some atmosphere and storyline so I was totally into it.
DEDer: Extreme Rush: The sorority house is always cute, but it is more of a “look around” house than a “run for your life” house.
Deconstruction: The Doctor is In: This is another one of the strongest houses! A plastic surgeon has gone wild! It was pretty scary and a whole lot of fun.
Most events seem to have cut back on their scarezones. Most events suck for this reason. BGT does not suck. They not only had many well-defined scarezones, but they actually had MORE SCAREZONES than were listed. YES. Scarezones really are the heart of the event. They may not seem super important, but if your scarezones suck it will drag the atmosphere down. Let me tell you about this awesomeness:
Xtreme Fanatics: This was an area of bloody Hot Topic punk people who would chase you about.
Road Trip: Some college students break down and are chased by werewolves. The best thing about this one is that they either ask for help or try to save you ask you get chased .Was immersive and fun!
Crazed Love: I LOVED THIS ONE THEY HAD CHICKS WITH CHAINSAWS THATS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW!
Spiders and Snakes: They had a spider queen sitting on her throne here, giant spiders, and people running around screaming because they were being eaten alive. There was a guy on a slingshot type device. It was fun.
Light of Doom: I actually don’t really remember this one? I think we went through it – it was rather understated.
Bonus Secret Scarezones:
Gravediggers: We happened upon a random area with zombie gravediggers! None of these bonus scarezones were on the map so that made it a big surprise!
Clowns: There was a secret area with insane clowns! One guy here was so funny..walking next to us, “Hey buddy, so DO YA LIKE CLOWNS?!?!?!”
Slider Zombies: BGT has freaking free ranging zombies that are equipped with metal knee and hand pads that will run and drop to their knees -sliding at you while making sparks. THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME OMG.
Stilt monsters: I have no idea what these guys were but they were both adorable and awesome.
If all of these bonus features weren’t enough, they also had a special area where these two fellows would crack jokes at passers by – just like Stadtler and Waldorf form the muppets! This was really fun!
Of course, Sylvie and MyX were performing on the main stage throughout the night.
The concert ends when she finds a victim and kills him:
Here are some shots of the gift shop:
Here is the Blood Relations show:
I found Blood Relations to be very fun – they basically joked on pop culture and had characters like Lady Gaga and Tiger Woods. Gaga kept stealing things from everyone else. I heard that this show was actually written my Michael Roddy this year – he is the person who used to run most of Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights and write their Bill and Ted show.
We did all of the coasters that were running, but did not have time to see the Fiends show or go to Club X (bar and photo op area). Usually 1 day is fine to see all of HoS, but if you are doing the Alone house like we did – it is best to note that you might need more than one day to absolutely see everything.
I’m already ready to go back in 2011! I think I am going to invest in an external speedlite so help my camera work in the darkness.
Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.
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