With the first night of HHN completed (for team members), and my first night coming up, I figured I drop my final Hype Rankings. While pictures are available and easy for those to come around, I have done my best to stay away from the spoilers. While some have been possible, others have not. Regardless, let’s see how we do, as I’ll be posting an update after we’ve done the event.
5. Horrors of Halloween
Ultimately, my ranking is down to location. The idea of a combo scarezone is always great, and the design of the scarezone seems to maximize that fact. However, the street is skinny; adding set pieces makes it more crowded, and we get to dive into more unique scarezones deeper into the event.
4. Conjure the Dark
The production design of this scarezone is absolutely electrifying. Seriously, I cannot imagine a cooler version of this zone. I’m very interested to see what the stage show will look like, but Celtic traditions are my jam. However, this is also a very tight location that only gets worse when the shows are let out.
3. Graveyard: Deadly Unrest
Ghosts are dope. The cemetery looks incredible. This would be number one in most cases, and if the other two were not so immersive, this would be the must-see scarezone. With dozens of set pieces spread throughout Hollywood, this could very much be the zone we spend the most time revisiting.
2. Scarecrow: Cursed Soil
One of the best houses of the last five years makes a return as a scare zone. To be frank, I’ve seen way too much of this zone in the park to not laud it for its technical and production brilliance. To return to this lore would already be exciting, but Universal Creative really swung for the fences in an area that often has the best scare zones.
1. Sweet Revenge
I love the idea of a fall festival. What is HHN if not a niche fall festival? Now let’s let it go very awry with trick-or-treaters running amuck. I cannot wait to see the survivors running from the children and want pure madness unfolding on the streets. My favorite scarezone of all time remains PsychoScareapy: Unleashed, and this looks like it will match that chaos.
10. Hellblock Horror
Production rumors make this seem like a quick fix house. Whether that turns out to be true or not, a prison-based house does not exactly inspire confidence.
9. The Horrors of Blumhouse: Freaky and Black Phone
My biggest questions come down to the way in which the sets are built. The “monsters” and villains of this house are top-tier. The double villain from Freaky allows for unique setups and dozens of variations in terms of weapons. The mask, worn early in the film, is terrifying. However, The Grabber’s mask is even more so. The villains are instantly iconic among Blumhouse’s catalog, so if this house can figure out the interior design, this could rise very quickly.
8. Halloween (1978)
Michael Myers is my guy, but we’ve seen him at the event twice in the last five years. This drops him down, though I loved American Werewolf when I missed its original run. Perhaps I’ll feel similarly once I’ve done the house, and my hype dies down for the other houses.
7. Descendants of Destruction
For a couple weeks, this ranked as high as 2 on my list. However, I rewatched C.H.U.D., which bears the strongest resemblance to the house. This dropped my excitement a little, but when the race to the top was so close, it ends up devastating my Hype rankings. I still have high hopes.
6. Spirits of the Coven
I am very excited for Spirits of the Coven, but I am concerned about the storyline. I think the 1920s flapper witches side of the house has a ton of potential, but may be light on scares. As we go deeper into the coven, will I appreciate the design as much? Time will tell, and I fully expect this to be a very good, if not excellent house.
5. Fiesta De Chupacabra
The swaying factor on this house has been the very vocal social media and press rollout. With Latino creatives helping to shape the house, this gives me legitimate hope that this can be a culturally sensitive house. Additionally, the victims are tourists, which hopefully cuts back on the use of tropes.
4. Bugs Eaten Alive
Bugs are gross. I hate bugs. Yet, I feel like the images and ideas I’ve seen floating about the house are undeniably interesting. If this turns into a camp house, as many suggest, then I will be very excited. However, it can also stand to drop the furthest, so this is my high-ceiling, low-floor house.
3. Universal Monsters: Legends Collide
Monsters will always be my jam, and the one aspect that blocks this from a number 1 ranking is the dual coast idea. The HHN team has talked this aspect up a lot, but as someone who will be unable to do both coasts this year, this is a flaw I cannot get around. I’ll be there on opening night wearing a t-shirt with my number one guy on it, but I’ll let that be a surprise.
2. The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare
To say I’m excited about this house would be an understatement. The Weeknd took my number one spot on Spotify in 2020 and helped me get through the Covid Pandemic with his unique, vaporware and synth style. He appeals to my musical taste, and the theatrics are nearly impossible to ignore. When you have an artist as visually and audibly unique as Abel, you know the HHN creatives will do their best to bring that vision to life. This is as much a vote of confidence in the team because while they’re basing it on his visuals, this is essentially an original house.
1. Dead Man’s Pier: Winters Wake
The Fog is one of the top-tier John Carpenter movies. In fact, my Twitter Avatar has been Hal Holbrook from this movie since we lost him. As someone with a strong affinity for the Northeast in terms of small fishing villages, creepy witchcraft (Salem), and harbor towns (Boston), I am very excited for what this house will bring. If we get the spectacle of Dead Waters, this will be my number one for the year.