Monday, August 12, 2013

Howl-O-Scream 13- "Evil Comes Out To Play" in Tampa- UPDATE

"Once every century, precisely on the thirteenth year.. Evil Comes Out To Play"

 Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa is ramping up, with all 13 of their 'evils' now announced it's looking like a new and fun theme for the parks 13th annual Halloween event. While not all of the houses are fully annouced we know generally what we've got to work with, so let's take a look at these "13" and what houses we already know about!

Update for 8/16/13- All Haunted Houses and Scarezones Announced, Check the Bottom for info.

1. The Possessed

 Wow, she can bend! Guess it takes a spirit possession to really get into that 'gumby' feeling! At this point, we're unsure if Possessed is going to have a single house of if she'll be tied into another characters haunt. However, her back-story is pleasantly horrible and twisted! 

(From the Website)
"A petite figure paces through a dimly lit room speaking softly to herself, luring you in. Concerned, you inch your way closer to offer help. As you approach her, the pacing stops, but her nonsense words get louder. With her back to you, you call out to her. Suddenly the voice stops and a sinister laugh begins.
With every quick breath, her body begins to bend backwards and she screams at you in an unknown tongue. POSSESSED! As this supernatural power takes control of her body, she twists and turns until she grasps onto you. The only way to regain her freedom is to expel this force out of her and into another life form. And you seem like a good fit.
Evil chose her. And she chooses you."

2. The Torturer

 Well doesn't this person look like a lovely bunch of batshit crazy? Looks like he got into a fight with a nail-gun and a bear trap and liked it from what I can see. The Torturer will be featured in a scare zone called "Pain Lane" and from how the website reads it sounds a lot like 'Jack the Ripper' when they say he stalks his prey in the shadows of a dark alley. 

(From the Website)
"A flickering light bulb and the sound of water draining is your only company in this room. You can’t move. Your hands and legs are bound.
How did you find yourself here? More importantly, how do you escape? Duct tape covers your mouth to prevent you from screaming for help. Would anyone even hear? Is anyone here? Footsteps.
Then, the door opens. As the light flickers on an off you see a large figure, covered in a long black protective coat. His mask, complete with spikes.  Terrified you try everything to scream, to break free. He has you now. You are in his land of pain-inducing devices and this is his art".

3. The Hunter

 Oh Boy, This one is another bit of psycho dipped in crazy sauce. See, this is why spending too much time alone out in the woods with weapons is bad for you!  The Hunter isn't listed for a house or scare zone right now.

(From the Website)
"The unnerving sound of leaves crunching behind you. Something just doesn’t feel right.
Forcing yourself to believe it is your imagination, you continue on. Your heart beats faster as you try to navigate your way through the maze of dead trees. More sounds creep up behind as you begin to run through this twisted nightmare, tripping over fallen branches.
The soundtrack of your heart and heavy breathing is paused when the piercing sound of an arrow speeds past you. Then, another one grazes your leg. As you lay there, startled, you see a figure get closer with a bow and arrow pointed at YOU".

4. The Butcher

 Looks like we've jumped right out of the crazy sauce and into the crazy fire with this winner. Must take his job entirely too serious and besides, a little extra gore never hurt anyone.. at least he looks like he'd agree with that statement! The Butcher will be in a house called "The Basement" which is apparently were a special 'people flavored' sauce is cooked up, family recipe y'know!

(From the Website)
"Momma’s always been proud of her son, the Butcher. He’s always been there to protect her and help with the family business.
But all that chopping has kept him from finding a love of his own. Now he’s looking for someone and he’d love to hack his way into your heart.
Are you ready to meat your fate?"

 5. The Bansee

 We've got a screamer! The banshee looks pleasantly un-real and slightly creepy with those eyes. It's unknown if she'll be featured in a house right now or how she'll manifest in the park. Although she could fit in well with our Possessed chick.

(From the Website)
"It was an evening as ordinary as any. Nightfall is settling in as you make your way home from a simple stroll around the neighborhood lake to disconnect from the day.
A soft voice humming catches your attention. You glance left and right and see nothing and keep walking. Then in in the distance a figure dressed in white with long, pale hair floats by. You’ve never been one to believe much folklore so you shake it off and pick up the pace blaming your imagination.
But again, the voice sings to you. Only louder. Closer. In front of you. The soft voice has changed to a piercing wail and you fall breathless. A visit from #5 The Banshee has sealed your fate.
You’ll hear her scream. Right before yours".

6. The Voodoo Queen

 Okay, this has to be one of the coolest 'themed characters' for a haunt I've seen in a long time. She looks spooky, not someone you want to mess with when you're on your swamp-boat tour! I wouldn't even pick up a camera to catch her image if I were you. The Voodoo Queen will have her own house called "Death Water Bayou" in the park which will feature her and her zombie-like minions of darkness. It sounds delightfully twisted and spooky!

(From the Website)
"Desiree Yanes came home one night and found her husband with another woman. Enraged, she ran off and disappeared inside the dark swamplands of Louisiana. There, she crafted voodoo dolls and swore then to torment them…with unspeakably sadistic tortures. The Voodoo Queen continues to hide in the swamps of the bayou and perform her twisted Voodoo rituals for others seeking revenge".

 7. The Surgeon

 Wow. Proof that Med School and those late night, all night shifts can make a person crazy. The Surgeon is the nightmare we all think of when going to the hospital, some twisted soul who just likes cutting you up for fun.  Right now the Surgeon isn't listed for a house, so her status is currently unknown.

(From the Website)
"It was supposed to be a simple procedure. She can fix you with every slow, slice of her scalpel. Don’t let her good looks fool you. Behind that mask is woman out for blood.
Unfortunately, you aren’t the one she wanted and she doesn’t have time for you. It’s already too late when you realize the anesthesia hasn’t kicked in. Accident? We don’t think so.
She’s ready to operate, even if you aren’t".

8. The Demon

Okay Kids, THIS is why you don't play with Ouija boards at sleepovers. Things like this will pop out of your closet! Demon's are part of Halloween and haunted houses, kind of like peanut-butter and jelly. They just work, while perhaps a bit over-done we'll have to see what's in store for this crazy looking dude! The Demon currently isn't listed in a house, but his character could easily work along side several others (Possessed or Banshee).

(From the Website)
"You are awakened from your deep sleep to realize that the nightmare you thought you would leave is no nightmare at all. It is all very real.
The evil spirit grows and roars from the ground in front of you, preventing your escape as he taunts your every motion. His dark, growling voice tempts you.
He has an insatiable drive to join the dark side with him. As he gets closer you continue to pretend this is a dream but we all know you’ve done wrong one too many times. This is your last chance.
Can you conquer #8 The Demon? He’d like to take you back to his place. In hell".

  9. The Zombie

Oh Zombies, who doesn't love your shuffling, drippy, nasty goodness? Your just looking for love.. and brains. Zombies much like the Demon are a Halloween staple and even though over-done (and badly most of the time) they just have to be included. This one looks pleasantly well preserved, remember to protect your brains! The Zombie will have it's own house called "Zombie Mortuary" which is where him and his zombie buddies took over a small town mortuary for their own fun. This house is a return from last year.

(From the Website)
"The epidemic is among us and is quickly spreading. The undead are slowly infesting every major city and small town. Could this be the Zombie Apocalypse?
You’ve managed to defend and defeat hordes of zombies as you venture to your next safety spot. In an attempt to hide from a group of undead, you sneak into a cracked door of a building, watching every inch around you. You’ve found yourself in a mortuary, Zombie Mortuary to be exact, where #9 The Zombie and his friends are eager to feed on your fresh flesh.
Can you survive? One bite is all it takes".

10. The Cannibal 

People, the next great diet craze! This one has taken that to the extreme after a vacation-gone-wrong.  Guess you should worry about more then those warnings about "Don't drink the water" from this guys story!  The Cannibal currently isn't listed in a house or scare zone.

(From the Website)
"When Herbert Jeffries visited Fiji, he explored the lush highlands, met some hospitable tribesmen and unknowingly sat for a meal with a unique menu. 
He walked away with an insatiable hunger…Upon returning to the states, he walked away from his architecture practice and became a night watchman at a small New Hampshire morgue - allowing him wholesale access for dining.
But his tastes have become more refined and he requires ever fresher flesh – sashimi grade, tartar quality. You".

 11. The Psychopath

What good is a Halloween event without an 'out-of-the-closet, mixed-bag-of-nuts" crazy person? At least we know Howl-O-Scream is sticking with tradition and giving us one special looking nutcase! Right now it's unknown if the Psychopath will be in a house or scare zone.

(From the Website)
"After months of testing and diagnosis, solitary confinement in a mental institution was the only option for him. But the institution had different plans for this special patient. He would now become their test subject. What harm could it do? He was already crazy and all they wanted to do was find out why.
Upon observation you feel his eyes staring at you. Into you. Bursting wide and never blinking. He murmurs and then screams out and smashes into the walls. You can’t stop staring at him. Your eyes get wider. Never blinking. You murmur to yourself and let out a piercing scream.
Has he already gotten into your head? Is it #11 The Psychopath or is it YOU? Never in his right mind. Always after yours"/

12. The Hangman

Here's another special snowflake who get's to hang around the "Pain Lane" scare zone with our other buddy, The Torturer. Seems like the right kind of area for a crowd that seems to come out of the darker depths of history.

(From the Website)
"You’ve heard the rumors of this sinister street. People have disappeared and those who made it out are said to have told tales of torture and torment, dangling from hooks, piercing into their skin.
And because of a few wrong turns, you have now found yourself here. Dark. Silent. Alone.
You begin to quickly walk back the way you believe you stumbled upon this lane. Two figures appear. You look around for a way out. You run in fear, losing your sense of direction as you dodge objects preventing your exit.
In this game, there is only one chance. #12 The Hangman is right behind you. Will you escape before he takes you to his playground? He has one job and does it especially well".

 13. The Clown

"Of course, it had to be a clown"- Zombieland

Okay, I get it. Clowns are weird and freaky but they are so over cooked and over done. Enough of the clowns, come up with something else but what do I know? Apparently clowns are scary enough that they keep coming back, like some kind of Halloween transmitted syphilis. Seems like we get a whole returning house based on these red-nose circus dwelling lunatics also called "Circus of Superstition- 3D'.

 I'm just gonna put this out here: No More Clowns! No More Clowns in 3D! Just Say NO To Clowns!

(From the Website)
"Taunted by others as being a freak and shunned by others, he relied on his toys to keep him company. 
With no human contact, he became paranoid and very superstitious. As time passed, he began to resent his only companions and thrived on his individuality. Soon, he would take his aggression out on his toys he once dearly loved. And then, on you.
But how much harm could he do? Aren’t all clowns here to bring you laughter and joy? Not #13 The Clown. This time, you won’t be laughing.
In fact, he finds it funny how incredibly terrified you are".

UPDATE 8/16/13
All Haunted Houses and Scarezones Announced

Haunted Houses:
 All of the 2013 Haunted Houses for Howl-O-Scream 13 have been announced and we see several returning from previous years. The new haunts are 
-"Death Water Bayou" which features the Voodoo Queen. 
-"The Basement" which features The Butcher.
-"The Experiment" which is the 'alone' house, which is replacing "Alone". 

Everything else for this season is a returning haunt or an update from previous seasons.

"The Experiment" is the newest up-charge ticket where you can go through for an additional fee in groups of 1-4. It seems to be themed with "you become part of the experiment in ultimate fear" which I have no problem with, the price and some of their props bother me.  Experiment will cost you $50 for one person and another $10 for each additional person to experience. This is a huge increase from last years "Alone" house which was $25 online or $35 at the park.

 Now my issues isn't with alone houses, which is where you go through as a single person or in a small group. I love the idea of these houses, where you interact and become the focus of the scares. My problem is most of them are simple just "Gross-Out" factors or as my friend Onizumi calls it "Fear Factor TV show in a haunt".  Honestly, if I wanted to play with both roaches and needles, which are said to be big features in this years "The Basement" haunt, I'd go crawl in a sewer.  All I can think is "Seriously, Roach's? That is SO unsanitary!"in the back of my head. Plus I've got a very strict rule of "waver or not, you touch me anyplace I consider 'for husband/doctors only' I will break your face".  It's not that I'm scared, I've worked entirely too many haunted houses in my time to get scared anymore (although I issue that challenge to every haunt we review).

So frankly, I don't will be bothering to pay the up-charge when we attend Howl-O-Scream Tampa this season.  I just don't see a point in it.

The new scarezones for this season are "Pain Lane" which will feature both The Torturer and The Hangman. 
Also new for this season we've got "The 13" which is themed around the 13 evils that have been unleashed. This is where we will see all those other figures which didn't warrant their own houses.  This also seems to be the entry scarezone of the park which will probably be very near the gates.

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