Seth Kubersky Reviews HHN

Here’s Seth’s take on this year’s eight haunted mazes. Match yours?

Dracula: Instead of Lugosi’s campy count, this Dracula is inspired by Vlad the Impaler’s legend, with a big nod to Coppola. The castle has impressive architectural integrity and bursts with a bevy of Eiko Ishioka–esque brides, but I barely glimpsed Drac himself.

Frankenstein: Scent, texture and light fuse to fine atmospheric effect in a steampunk sequel to Mary Shelley’s shocker. I dug the Metropolis-meets-Re-Animator bride, though the Monster is a tad Van Helsing-y. Look up at the “Fly pods” to see the Doctor’s final fate.

The Wolfman: My favorite of the “classic trio,” this maze makes me anticipate the as-yet-unreleased Benicio Del Toro remake. Makeup re-creating Rick Baker’s designs, evocative “outdoor” environments (indoor trees and starscapes) and enthusiastic “scare-actors” build to a howling good finale.

Leave It to Cleaver:
One of two “Fangoria Presents” houses, Cleaver is a faux-tribute to a fake ’50s cult classic featuring the cheerfully cannibalistic Meetz meatpacking plant. A clever combo of kitsch and carnage, the grinning old-timey masks wigged me out more than any modern monster. Sick and silly, this is my pick for a sleeper hit.

Saw: Gorehounds rejoice: The profitable torture-porn franchise comes to life through a “greatest hits” selection of Jigsaw’s sadistic traps, featuring film-faithful re-creations of fan faves like “key in eye socket” and “fat guy in razor wire.” The assault of an ending is definitely not kosher. Beware of the longest line to be found.

The Spawning: Wander the Wyandot County sewer in search of snakelike “Sculders” in a Fangoria mock-movie modeled on the classic X-Files episode “The Host” (featuring “Flukeman”). Low ceilings + hanging strings = disorienting slog (I got lost), so expect slow-moving lines.

Chucky: A puke-inducing spinning tunnel shrinks you down to doll-size for a carnival-colored tour of the “Good Guy” factory where evil toys reign. Etch A Sketches, toy soldiers and clown bop-bags become objects of menace in this creatively creepy (though not especially frightening) Child’s Play tribute.

Silver Screams:
Here’s the home of event icon Julian Browning, the spectral usher who haunts the circa-1922 Universal Palace Theater. A simple yet spectacular lighting effect transforms the facade from splendor to decay; within are well-crafted compact vignettes from a half-dozen horror classics, from the Phantom of the Opera lair to Shaun of the Dead’s Winchester Pub.

Get the new 2010 edition of Universal Orlando: The Ultimate Guide To The Ultimate Theme Park Adventure, which Seth co-wrote.

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