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Halloween Horror Nights 2012 at Universal Studios Florida

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17 of 20

Universal's House of Horrors Haunted House Mini Review
The House of Horrors maze at Halloween Horror Nights 2012.
© Arthur Levine, 2012. Licensed to About.com.
About.com rating (out of 5)
Theme: 4
Scares: 4
Overall: 3

Based on Universal's hype, I was expecting more from its House of Horrors maze, which pays homage to the classic monsters that are a vital part of the movie studio's legacy. According to show director Patrick Braillard, designers developed a new "lightning flash" technology that bring icons such as Frankenstein's Monster and Dracula to life in their original black and white glory. It sounds mighty cool.

In practice, though, the effect was just OK. Actors dressed in monochromatic clothes and makeup, along with copious amounts of black-light-sensitive paint, do momentarily glow when the lights flicker on. But there are so many of them, the effect quickly loses its element of surprise and grows a bit stale. Had it been used more judiciously, perhaps it would have worked better.

Having said that, the combined sensory assault of the lunging actors, the lightning flashes, the Day-Glo paint, and the thunderclap booms made for a jumpy and fairly scary experience. And it's always good to see Franky and the gang in the spotlight. The cheesy, old-school movie soundtrack, featuring the stentorian voice of the great Boris Karloff is a nice touch. And some of the sets, such as the lobby of an old movie theater and a room filled with oversized strips of black-and-white celluloid film are inspired.

Next: Going goth- A mini review of the Gothic house.

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