Every year in October, Universal Studios Singapore (USS) has a special event called ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ also known as HHN for short. It’s a night filled with horror, jumpscares, and lots of screaming (both in excitement AND fear ?)! For fans of horror much myself, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be fully immersed in an event that’s meant to scare the daylights out of visitors. So, if you enjoy a scare or two and are wondering if it’s worth a visit, here’s a personal highlight review of USS’ HHN 2022! ?
Warning: Contains spoilers!
Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://bit.ly/3LnFN1F
Back after a two-year long hiatus
If you’ve ever heard or been to HHN in the previous years, you’d know that every year follows a theme. This year, HHN is making it’s long awaited comeback after 2 years and is focusing on various aspects that make up a horror experience as it’s theme, so you can be sure there’s plenty of things to see and every experience differs from the last! ?
I myself am an avid fan of all things horror, from video games (think the Resident Evil and Outlast franchise) to movies, if I see a content warning, I’m hurrying to find out more about it! And fortunately, this year, the HHN series is back and with a lot more in store for their guests. And don’t worry, you won’t immediately be thrusted into the scary scenes and haunted houses upon arrival, you’ll be receiving a warm welcome (if you can call it that) from the scare actors themselves.
Begin The Scare-A-Mony
When the night begun, we were ushered to the main stage area by the entrance of USS. We were told that the Scare-A-Mony (like ceremony, get it? ?) was somewhat of a pre-show to the entire HHN experience. There was an auction of cursed items with scare actors dressed in various ghostly costumes, it was like watching a musical! But this was where we were introduced to the main character of this year’s HHN - the Killustrator, a crazed illustrator with who lives to see his twisted creative work turn to life and torment those brazen enough to enter his territory (spoiler: it’s his house!). ?
I had decided that I was going to enter this with no expectations, but the Scare-A-Mony had given me too many ideas. In fact, I had already begun discussing theories and couldn’t wait to enter the three original haunted houses and two scare zones! And if those sound like a lot of attractions, that’s because it is!
Check in to a deadly staycay
The first of three haunted houses is called the Hospitality of Horror which was the first stop on our very long night. The backstory of this zone was pretty intriguing. We visit a mansion turned hotel built by a tycoon for his beloved sorceress wife. She had a thirst for blood, so she lures unsuspecting guests into her home and turn them into her victims. ?
The staff did great with the design of this zone because the hotel entrance had a welcoming vibe to it! There was a quaint, clean front door with lush greenery decorating the small driveway leading up to it. I was super stoked because as a HHWT writer, I was always writing about beautiful hotels but this was definitely not a family-friendly hotel like the ones we list on our website. ?
Upon entering the hotel, the scene quickly turned dark and there are SO MANY pockets and hidden doors where the ghosts (aka scare actors) appeared from! Truthfully, I jumped a few times because the element of surprise was real in this zone and the air was really chilly inside too! Not to mention, there are dolls in here. So do with that information how you may. ?
? Check in if you dare, I rate it a 6/10 on the fear-o-meter!
The hunter becomes the hunted (and then vice-versa)
We’re all familiar with the Pontianak right? She’s a prominent figure in Southeast Asian horror so of course there would be a scare zone called The Hunt for Pontianak dedicated just for her! ? The story begins in a forest, where the Pontianak had been hunted by a group of influencers looking to capitalise on her capture but in the end, she ruins their plans and traps them in the forest with no escape! The concept was very exciting, and I had a lot of anticipation for this one because the guide told us that they had brought back this zone from previous years due to popular demand.
We had to traverse through a forest which was pretty well set up, there was even dirt and gravel for flooring with bushes and tall trees decorating the path forward. It’s open air too so it really felt like we were lost in a forest! Along the way, an old deranged man infront of a chicken coop warns us in Malay, “Jangan takut, kalau takut, dia lagi dekat.” which translates to “Don’t be scared, the more afraid you are, the closer she comes.” ? I actually felt a chill down my spine at that. There’s just something about an old man infront of a chicken coop speaking in tongues that unnerved me.
Unfortunately, that was the only scary thing in the zone. We were looking for the Pontianak throughout the route but we couldn’t find her! ?It was a real disappointment because this zone was being hyped by the organisers and other attendees but I just didn’t feel the same way. Perhaps we walked through too quickly - we were aggressively told by a bloodied ‘influencer’ scare actor to hurry and leave the forest, which we took too seriously. Now looking back, she wasn’t actually telling us to hurry… Lesson learnt: don’t speedwalk even if you're being yelled at to do so! ?
? Scary or not? I give it a 4/10 on the fear-o-meter!
Lace up for laser tag
Up front, I’ll say that Escape The Breakout was one of my most favourite zones. It takes you deep down into the facility where the world’s deadliest criminals serve out their sentence! Witness a shock theraphy session gone wrong that causes the criminals to break free from their cells and solve puzzles to escape from the facility. ? For an additional price of SGD38, you can rent laser guns to make your escape more exhilirating. Strategise dodging the jumpscares or face them head on like Rambo (we recommend the latter!).
These blood-thirsty villains are relentless and they’ll keep coming at you even after being gunned down, we screamed “wait!” too many times while trying to run away from the villains. ? I loved this zone because there was no time to rest, it was a back-to-back scare and scream session, except I was screaming in excitement. Although the course was relatively short and the queue to play was really long, I think this was one of the best zones at HHN. ? You’re forced to solve puzzles in order to escape while being hunted by criminals on the loose! You’ll realise just how well you work under pressure - maybe film the experience to impress your boss?
? Not scary per se, but definitely thrilling and gets your heart rate up! 9/10 - wish it were longer. ?
P.S. Get the R.I.P Tour ticket to skip the long queues at the attractions! We found that long waits can go two ways - 1. You start to lose interest in the attraction and 2. The anticipation build up makes you tired. ?
Bonus: halal food!
If your tummy is starting to rumble, head over to Mel’s drive-in for some HHN themed food like the Charcoal Bolognese Cheese Bun topped with (wait for it) “maggots”. ?Not to worry though, while the “maggots” look hyper-realistic, they’re actually made of mushrooms! For SGD25, you’ll get the full meal with fries, a side of red-pickled cabbage and a large drink.
Was it tasty or not? I’ll be frank, I didn’t like the bun very much. It was too cold for my liking although they prepared it to order, which was a little strange. ?But hot fries saves everything and so the meal wasn’t too bad! And we were happy to fuel ourselves with some food before the night terrors started.
Trigger warning: Intense opinions
In my honest opinion, as someone who loves horror-related themes the HHN experience this year was underwhelming. I was a little let down by certain attractions because I didn’t think they were scary enough. ?But that being said, I’ll give credit where its due and stepping into each attraction, I can already see how much hard work and thought was placed into the costumes and set designs.
Do take my opinion with a grain of salt! I’d say it wasn’t super scary but it definitely passes the creepy-vibe check. I’d totally visit again! I believe it’s all about the company you have with you above all when visiting HHN because even though I wasn’t afraid, I had a whole lot of fun laughing at my scaredy cat colleague and friend Qistina and her reactions. ?
P.S. Check out a scaredy cat’s guide to surviving HHN here! ??