By Dawn Teo
I used to look at the façade of Universal Studios Singapore and wonder how many versions of Halloween Horror Nights can take place within such a confined space. Changing the themes and horrifying influences every year in order to extend the hype; to keep the monsters lurking in dark corners refreshingly terrifying for those who dare.
How scary can it be? Haven’t we pretty much seen it all?
Well, having experienced the lineup of this year’s horror fest, I must admit that the scare team and actors have outdone themselves. This year’s Halloween Horror Nights 5 brings us back to our Asian roots and childhood fears – think empty yet occupied playgrounds and an MRT train after hours. In pitch-black darkness.
Inspired by stories that have been passed down through generations and the all-too-familiar black books of local horror hero Russell Lee, the 2015 edition is possibly creepier only because the stories brought to life are so eerily familiar and disturbing. The fear strikes the hardest when you go to the sets that are so close to home. Arm yourself with your talismans, garlic or holy water and brace your brave soul for all that’s behind those hallowed gates.
Scare tactics aside, the sets were authentic and costumes well-designed; so believable that if you allow your mind to wander, you might feel as if you’ve teleported to that spot. Halloween Horror Nights has always been popular because of the effort that goes into creating the right scare environment, not just within each scare zone but the entire park – soundscapes included. You can hear shrieking laughter that seems to be quite a distance away. But wait, or is that laughter coming from that dark corner untouched by the eerie red light. Or is there someone there?
If you’re up for more than one experience to take away aside from reliving your childhood ghost stories, there are a variety of futuristic-themed scare zones.
The haunted house that is a must-go is Siloso Gateway Block 50. Yes, the HDB-inspired scare zone. Run from residents-turned-zombies, and as you realise you’re part of a failed rescue mission. You’ll want to get out as fast as you came in. From void-deck to various units, there’s a different story to tell. HDB-dwellers, this may make you wander how well you know your neighbours, or show you what might happen in an apocalypse.
Then, there are the Tunnel People. Dark, wet, cold and on uneven ground, it’s a place put together with everything you hate to encounter. The scare actors blend into the tunnels and when you encounter something with no face, it could be too late. With pockets of spaces unlit, walls that move and cave in as well as scares coming from all directions, this is what it means to be quite literally out of your comfort zone.
Most of the twists and turns in the scare houses are pretty tight, and you’ll have to entertain a good scream or two right in your ear (my ears rang a little after a while). So if you’re claustrophobic, you might want to think twice. Go with someone who doesn’t scare easily or friends who love being scared, at least they’ll be able to watch your back. Anyway, for everyone’s safety, there will always be staff members inside the houses to make sure nothing goes wrong.
For an even better high, get jello syringe shots, or sip on fruit punch in blood bags to quench your thirst.
I’ll give my experience a thumbs-up though I always regret scaring myself and declaring that I’ll never visit Halloween Horror Nights again, year after year. But I always find myself inching back for more of those skin-crawling feels.
So what are you waiting for?
E V E N T D E T A I L S
Halloween Horror Nights 5
Date: 2 – 31 October 2015 (Selected nights)
Time: From 7.30pm
Venue: Universal Studios Singapore
Tickets: S$68 (but PoachedMag readers get it for S$65!)