Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Universal Studio Japan Horror Night 2016

I recently took a day off work to check out the Halloween Horror Night at Universal Studios Japan and while it wasn't Resident Evil themed this year I thought I'd still say a few words on the thing.  I would just like to point out before I start talking about the Halloween night is that the true winners for scariest park attraction were the roller coasters.  I have a fear of heights so while these things weren't making me lose any sleep, those roller coasters more than made up for my yearly dose of Halloween Horror.

The first event that I went to as part of the evening was the Chucky Horror Factory.  This was a sort of standard walk through horror house, lots of jump scares and dudes in costumes screaming at you as you turn around corners.  Nothing special, not particularly freaky but I thought that, and this is true for all the horror houses, the props and effects were pretty well done.

After that we checked out the Japanese horror house which was called Tatari

This was a another haunted house which was apparently cursed and full of evil dolls that wanted you dead.  We were organized into groups of six and made to hold a rope as we proceeded through the area with a bunch of randoms.  The person at the front of the queue was given a little piece of paper at the start and we were told to place it on a thing to get rid of the curse in the house.  From there there was lots of spooky rooms filled with dolls and people jumping out and begging for their lives before they got dragged back into the set to be killed off.  I feel like I've already seen this kind of thing before playing Fatal Frame but it wasn't bad by any means.

From there we we went into the Exorcist and Nightmare on Elm Street houses which were similar to Tatari in the way you had a hold a rope with a bunch of randoms and walk through the area only this time they were themed on their respective movies.  Out of those 2 the Exorcist attraction was significantly better because the set was a bit creepier, the scares were more efficiently set up and there was a little bit of interactivity with the visitors as one guy had to flick water on the girl in the bed.

What's weird is that all these attractions are given a sort of scariness rating.  Tatari was rated 5/5 and Elm Street/Exorcist was given a 4/5.  However, in my opinion the best attraction they had was the Sadako (The Ring) horror show which was only rated 1/5.

This took place in the building they use for the Terminator 2 show and starts out much the same with with a representative from Cyberdyne trying to give a presentation about how cool all their futuristic shit is.  Of course the presentation gets taken over by Sadako and things start to get all fucked up.  What made this superior to the horror houses, at least in my opinion, is because it's a sort of sit down show type thing there's less of a reliance on jump scares and a bit more work was spent on building atmosphere.  After Sadako there was a similar performance based on a series of books/movies called School Horror Stories or 学校の怪談

This was a "4D" thing where the chairs go up and down and the seat in front of you spits water at you when someone gets their shit wrecked on screen.  Not incredibly scary but still pretty entertaining to watch although the horror in this series seems to be a lot more in your face than Japanese horror usually is.  There was one other event that we missed in the Harry Potter area called Death Eater Attack which we missed but according to a friend of mine who caught it said it was highly entertaining.

If you're looking for a genuinely scary experience then Universal is probably not the best place to go but it's still an entertaining day out.  From my experience of living in Japan for a while, the Japanese are a little sensitive to horror themes and I was having more fun at the reaction of the people in the attractions with us than actually being scared of anything myself.  Still, it was a lot of fun and I'd probably do it again next year!






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