HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 8
Written by Radio Heatwave on October 2, 2018
This year marks the eighth year of the ever popular and spookiest event of the year-Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Singapore. With this year’s theme of Infinite Fears, a play on the infinity symbol that is achieved when the number eight is turned on its side, Halloween Horror Nights 8 (HHN8) boasts five thrilling haunted houses and two scare zones with unexpected ghouls and monsters lurking at every corner and turn. This year’s most notable and anticipated haunted house is undeniably the Stranger Things haunted house.
HHN8 will be taking place from 27 September 2018 to 31 October 2018 on select nights. More information on HHN8 can be found on Resorts World Sentosa’s website.
HHN8 is my first ever Halloween Horror Nights that I have participated in, so I had really high hopes from all the years of missing out on this event which all my friends seemed to go to. Most of the houses left me feeling grateful I had brought along a friend to clutch onto. Each of the five houses brought something different to the table, but my top two, the Pagoda of Peril and the Pontianak haunted house definitely had me screaming non-stop.
My partner and I started the HHN8 experience with a trip to our first haunted house, Pagoda of Peril. From outside, the actual pagoda stood at the height of a double story building. The actual set, upon first looks, resembled a real-life pagoda what with all the joss sticks and a particular incense smell, which filled the air (without the actual burning). The house was complete with traditional Chinese items like lanterns and fitted with a lot of red lighting. With realistic looking monsters and demons like the Yin monster, which you’ll encounter right as you enter, Pagoda of Peril ranks number one in my personal haunted houses list based on its very detail- oriented setup and spooky factor. There were moments when the other demons would pop up from the side and I would not even dare take a look (Mind you, I do not scare easy). Not to mention, HHN8 really outdid themselves with all the mechatronics that added to how surreal the whole experience was. The way the demons looked and how the whole house was set up is very reminiscent of the Chinese folklore display that can be found at Haw Par Villa. Definitely a must visit.
Before we move on to my second favourite haunted house of HHN8, here’s a quick summary of the other three haunted houses that are just as frightening as my top two.
It goes without saying that the Stranger Things haunted house, which is the most highly-anticipated and the highlight of this year’s Halloween Horror Nights, is a dream (or nightmare) come true based on how accurately it portrays its show counterpart. While queueing, a bright display of the show’s namesake will keep you company in neon red. The house, comprising 12 different elaborate rooms with a different scene being played out in each room by live actors, will transport you to Hawkins, Indiana circa 1983. The immersive journey is filled with appearances by your favourite characters and iconic scenes from season one of the show. Not forgetting the formidable Demogorgon that literally left me and my partner falling to the ground.
The Killuminati haunted house, in my opinion, is one of the more interesting of the bunch. In a nutshell, the Killuminati is the Chinese secret society of centuries-old vampires. Imagine modern Hong Kong at night but filled with phantom gangsters and humanoid monsters such as a literal “batman”, i.e. an impeccably dressed human body with a bat head. A little inside scoop, this house is marketed as the most interactive house to date and I would have to agree. From rooms that seem to transform into different settings through shifting walls to flying “batmen” above your head, this haunted house by far has the most theatrics. Besides that, you might also get a chance to defeat Killuminati’s leader Lu Xi Fa which really makes you forget that the Killuminati is merely an HHN make-believe. Be warned, you may get separated from your friend group in the gore-filled nightclub and things may get a little risqué when you encounter a ghoulish exotic dancer!
Next was the Haunting of Oiwa. Our guide told us that Oiwa is like the Japanese version of the Pontianak. Oiwa was a woman who got cheated on and subsequently murdered by her unfaithful husband. Her spirit comes back to seek vengeance on those who had wronged her. Right when you enter the house, you will see the scene of Oiwa’s death just as she gets poisoned by her husband. The haunted house was filled with decorations that were very much like those you see in a historical Japanese drama; very authentic. The overall vibe of the room was more eerie than outright terrifying. It reminded me of the deafening silence right before a big jumpscare, like the ones found in horror films. I have to say that the makeup and costumes for this room was very on point and made the whole scaring-up-close less hair-raising because I could at least admire their beautifully- painted faces.
Now for my second favourite one and the last of the five haunted houses in HHN8, the Pontianak haunted house! I am certain that most Singaporeans, especially the Malays, are familiar with this folklore. Growing up, I had always watched films and heard stories about other people’s encounters with the entity, but I have been lucky enough to not have gone through such an experience. As such, I was slightly hesitant to enter the haunted house for fear that it would feel all too real. Screams could be heard numerous times from the group that had entered before us and this further put me on edge. Despite the initial fear I felt before entering the haunted house, I could not help but notice the attention to detail that had gone into constructing the Malay Kampung, from the abundant banana leaf plants to the laundry hanging in the front yard as well as the old appliances found in each kampung house. To bump up the fear factor, the scent of frangipani (the scent associated to the Pontianak) wafted throughout the entire haunted house. While there were many jumpscares from different Pontianak characters at unexpected places, the most notable scare in the house for me came from a Pontianak which swung on a mechatronic swing across our heads. Truly a sight to behold. Other characters include an old man doing the traditional Malay martial art of Silat while saying some prayers as well as hysterical women who’ve had miscarriages. They were accompanied by the banshee-esque laughter and cries from these women which made for a hair-raising experience. The whole journey through the house kept me on my toes and secretly reciting some prayers I had memorised (so much for not scaring easy). I enjoyed this house the most because of how authentic the set was and the fact that the house centred around a Malay ghost I’ve heard so many stories about automatically made it scarier from the start.
The thematic scare zones are located in the open areas of the amusement park which means you can explore them freely or run away much more easily. Monsters go around scaring unexpected guests.
The first scare zone we encountered was Cannibal. As the name suggests, the scare zone consisted of a ferocious cannibalistic tribe which hunted man to survive. There were cages made out of human bones (hopefully not real ones) to keep their victims alive till their next feast. Members of the tribe, clad in skirts made from what I presume to be human skin, completed their look with dreads as well as blood splatters across their faces and bodies. What stood out to me about this scare zone was the fact that the scare actors responded to the guests; they would scare those who seemingly ran away and yelled back, in character, at guests who tried provoking them. It made for a more realistic experience for all those involved. Not to forget the red lighting and scary mood music which added to the suspense of the whole scare zone. An intriguing feature of this scare zone was the pyramid of skulls that could be found scattered in that location. The weirdly aesthetically-pleasing skull pyramid happened to make a great Instagram photo opportunity.
As a matter of fact, the scare zones are perfect for your next Instagram update and to show your followers how much fun you are having at HHN8. Most of the scare actors will stay in character for you to grab that one photo.
Last but certainly not least was Apocalypse: Earth. The scare zone basically shows you what could happen if you keep neglecting our environment, provoking Mother Earth, or Gaia, to exact revenge and unleash terror in order to reclaim what once was hers. Think overgrown moss devouring cars and creepy tree monsters which stalk your every move. Make sure you do not litter, or they will come after you. Though Gaia and her army are not spiritual entities, their zombie-esque movements and thirst for revenge are still a formidable force to be reckoned with. This scare zone definitely takes the cake in terms of how innovative the whole theme was, extrapolating an actual problem (global warming, of course) we are currently facing and showing us the possible albeit exaggerated dire consequences of our irresponsible actions. Who knew HHN8 would be the place to promote such a message?
In conclusion, I found my HHN8 experience to be a thrilling and special one. I have never visited such elaborate haunted houses. I was left mesmerised by how realistic the props and set were and the effort that went into pulling the whole event off really shone through. The scare actors never fail to bring you unexpected scares and endless enjoyment. HHN8 exceeded my expectations. I truly enjoyed myself and I would definitely come back for more.
Written by: Anis