The panicked screams behind me showed just how terrified two other reporters were as the Demogorgon popped out of a hidden opening at Netflix’s Stranger Things haunted house.
Given that it was the fifth and final stop in our press tour of Universal Studios Singapore’s annual Halloween Horror Nights event, I’d figured they should’ve been numbed to the tricks by now.
I don’t frighten easily, so I’d been tasked to walk in front, to tank the scares, so to speak, but that obviously hadn’t been working. As we passed into the Upside Down, the ladies got to screaming, no thanks to the Demogorgon popping up from behind some trees, giving them yet another possible heart attack.
From the faithfully re-created Byers home to Hawkins National Laboratory, the Stranger Things house offered everything a fan could want, including a re-creation of the first season’s opening scenes.
My only complaint? The journey through the house was short, especially when compared with the other four spook houses on offer at the theme park. We’d already crept our way through those, and they were a lot more suspenseful and scary, particularly if you’re into Asian horror mythology.
Spanning 18 terror-filled nights from Sept. 27 to Oct. 31, Halloween Horror Nights 8 draws plenty of inspiration from regional superstitions.
The Pontianak haunted house takes its name from a vengeful female ghost popular in Malay folklore (stunt work includes a shrieking ghost who swings by as you walk through a faux Malaysian jungle).
The Killuminati spook house, haunted by a Hong Kong trio of western-ish vampires, features amazing-looking sets, like a corpse-filled nightclub and scenes that appear to be inspired by the Blade movies.
The Pagoda of Peril boasts a Chinese-inspired set, filled with demons from Chinese myths to scare the life out of you. This haunted house scared my newfound friends the most. They screamed out phrases to ward off ghosts while I chuckled away at their plight.
My favorite attraction though, had to be The Haunting of Oiwa, based on the Japanese ghost story about a betrayed wife of a wandering samurai, though you’d hardly pay much attention to the plot as you walk tentatively around the beautiful set, prepared for scares from hidden doors.
Besides the five houses, Halloween Horror Nights also features two outdoor Scare Zones. Apocalypse Earth is a world where Mother Nature is pissed off at humans. Cannibal, as could easily guess, consists of human-eating tribes. The Scare Zones are more for pictures than actual scares, though the actors do try their best to surprise you. If you want to be entertained, there’s also a hilarious motivational talk show called called Dead Talks on how to up your murder game.
Lastly, you get Zombie Laser Tag, a separate ticketed event where you and your teammates run through an obstacle course, with zombies in hot pursuit. Blasting them puts them out for only a little while; them tagging you means game over. It’s a pretty thrilling event, somewhat like a real-life version of a sequence from video game Left 4 Dead, and it leaves you panting.
If you’re keen to experience the whole shebang, there’s still plenty of time to fly down to Singapore. But if you’re only haunting after the Stranger Things experience, it’s also available at Universal Studios in Hollywood, California and Orlando, Florida, though I’m told the setup may be slightly different across the three theme parks.
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