I was invited to Resort World Sentosa‘s Halloween Horror Nights 8 partners’ preview at Universal Studios Singapore on the 25 Sep. This is actually my first Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) because I was usually in China during this period. They had the preview super early this time which works well for my schedule before I fly to Chongqing!
HHN is probably the largest Halloween party / event in Singapore. There are 3 shows, 5 haunted houses, 1 zombie laser tag game (payable at $10) as well as zonal decorations.
- Stranger Things – Based on the new Netflix horror series, the story is about Will Byers who mysteriously disappeared. The small town of Hawkins starts to uncover Stranger Things. The rooms in the house includes Will’s bedroom, campus, Hawkins National Laboratory. The scene is top quality. (What do you expect? This is after all, USS!) I am a sucker for rides with a good storyline, and this house is a winner! This is the only non-Asian theme haunted house for HHN8.
- Haunting of Oiwa – Step back in time to the chilling Edo-era of Japan and come face-to-face with Lady Oiwa; very pretty! Poisoned by her unfaithful husband, she returns from the dead to haunt him and exact her revenge.
- Pontianak – Tread carefully as you step into the Malay Kampong, where the Pontianak died a tragic death. This house brings you back to the 40s in Singapore. One of the most scary parts is the laundry where you have to pull open layers of cloth, not knowing what to expect; nice touch.
- Pagoda of Peril – Guard your souls from the Pagoda of Yin Demon, trapped with malevolent demons and terrifying spirits roaming viciously around the prison. I think I came face to face with the vicious counter of Yang, Yin Demon, but he didn’t yearn for eternal life and power; just waving us on…. Simply put, this house belongs to Chinese themed ghosts la…..
- Killuminati – Enter the world of the Killuminati, the Chinese secret society of vampires that has existed for centuries. Dare to witness the bloody truth behind locked doors as it reveals a world full of mystery, controversy and nightmares. Once you enter, your fate is in their hands, and you no longer have control over your own life. The sets for this house are also very good. There are like sexy ghosts doing pole dancing too! Interesting room!
- Deadtalk is a spoof on Tedtalk where an ‘expert’ on teaches earthly spectators how to scare their fellow earthlings. The 30min show is enjoyable, not too scary, with dance, comedy and a little magic.
- Cannibal is a standing room only show in which an explorer is sacrificed by a strange tribe. The more watchable portion is a fire twirler. The ‘magical’ part is how they manage to cut off someone’s head. This show has lots of potential but they need a magic consultant for this to make the main story impressive.
- Infinite Fear…. I am rather confused because the story seems unfinished. I watched it twice because I thought there was a technical problem with the first one. The story starts with a LED narration talking about fear. A doctor pushed a patient out. Demons appears from empty beds. Demons come out from patient’s tummy. The end. (Disclosure: Resorts World Sentosa did contact me to be their magic consultant but due to my travels schedule, I couldn’t reply in time for their deadline. Hence I do know the original storyline which was very similar a popular act by a famous illusionist. I did advise that perhaps they should use alternative ideas and illusions due to copyright issues.) Overall, the illusions can be better constructed and storyline can be improved. Hopefully, this was just temporary and more content will be added for the actual show.
Hacks on Halloween Horror Nights.
- 6 hours in general is more than enough to cover all the shows and houses so take your time and do not rush through the houses.
- When I entered at 8:30pm, the queues were 40-75min long. I expect shorter queues during normal days, especially weekdays. Luckily I had Express Passes which was a lifesaver. If you don’t want to spend on Express Passes, I suggest you go turn left at the crossroad of Hollywood Boulevard instead of right, (towards New York) which most people will go first.
- There are only 3 showtimes per show so plan your schedule.
- The costumes are fantastic so do take pictures for memories. (Is this even a hack?)
My wishlist for future Halloween Horror Nights
- New scare technology – It seems USS uses the same scare formula frequently to scare: ghosts hidden in corners and popping out unexpectedly. This works! But perhaps other new technologies can be used, eg. projections, mapping, optical illusion, audio (not sure what this technology is called but I tried it in themeparks in China and it is very very old. It scared my friend who is a guy) etc. to add more variety.
- Storylines – The person is scared because of the brain. Haunted houses having a simple story adds to the experience and USS is doing great with that always. Since most of the queues are ad hoc, there isn’t like the usual decor to experience while waiting in queue. I think adding a video intro or a signage with story helps.
- VR – I remember play this VR game with the horror story of elevator at Asian Attractions Expo by IAPAA. A lot of theme parks are riding on the VR bandwagon, I think USS can pioneer a HHN first with VR. This perhaps can be the future of the horror nights.
- Escape rooms – Upsell! Having an escape room in a theme park can provide a different experience; with such a big space at USS, this can provide an ultimate experience for the visitors.
- Photo Booths – I see that the target crowd is like 16-30 years old and photo booths is a great upsell for them! eg. $4-5 to have photos with costumes. Personally, I think the magic mirror photo booth (see the video on how a ghost can be on the screen scaring people) will great work! (Shameless self promotion.)
Overall summary, at around $60 for the tickets, you are getting value-for-money. Most haunted houses in Singapore may costs around $20-30 for one. But with 5 themed houses, coupled with shows, despite the glitches, I will still highly recommend Halloween Horror Nights 8 as the best Halloween experience in Singapore. 8/10.