Ever wondered what goes on behind the freak shows and scare acts that terrorise thousands during the yearly spook fest at Universal Studios Singapore?
It’s funny how we set out expecting to be frightened, yet still scream our lungs out when it happens.
If you’re curious to find out, I’ll take you through the whole process from ideation to the fear factor that you just can’t put your finger on how Universal Studios Singapore’s Halloween Horror Nights (HNN) have successfully put us on the edge of our seats each year.
Back for the seventh year and tying the theme to their latest iteration, the geniuses behind HHN have reinvented the seven deadly sins, taking on a modern spin.
We’ll be looking at behind-the-scenes work for one of these new sins – The Midnight Man in his natural habitat, HEX.
The Midnight Man is a vessel for all things black magic, voodoo and hoodoo. A treacherous witch doctor and shaman, he will manipulate all weak minds and feeble hearts.
Once a human, the rituals and black magic have consumed his humanity, turning him into a scheming manipulator. He plays with the desperate, who have come to him in their darkest hour to grant them wishes. In turn, taking their souls as a form of payment.
Ryan Wilson, Show Director for HEX, mentioned that even though HHN has dabbled in the world of black magic before, they have never actually gone deep into that realm. However, this year, the team has decided to go all out.
Skulls as trinkets, feathered embellishments and cruddy garments decorate the whole ensemble of the Midnight Man.
The make-up artists at HHN have their work cut out for them this year — all one hundred and twenty of them have thousands of hours of work ahead of them throughout the upcoming 14 nights.
This particular set-up above took around two hours to complete! Special prosthetic makeup was used to mimic normal human skin. 10 points for realism.
Although it’s fun playing pranks and spooking people in general, at HHN they take things very seriously.
To provide you with a truly blood-curdling experience, the team had to go through tons and tons of applications from hopeful actors/performers from around the world. Acting you ask? Yes, it actually takes a lot of mental fortitude to get into and stay in character. Robin, pictured above, went through a whole routine before getting into character.
She demonstrated a little of what you can expect this year. With prior wire experience, she expertly manoeuvred the ropes, swinging back and forth, screaming like a monster and looking almost possessed.
She will be one of many other actors hidden around the grounds throughout the night who will be there swinging out from the darkness to give you that infamous jump scare. Don’t bother trying to outsmart typical cliches, they’ve next-leveled you… I think I’ve said too much.
Working off the feedback from previous attendees, HHN’s team have created an oasis for scaredy cats like me. Less intense as compared to the haunted houses; scare zones such as the Pilgrimage of Sin, are areas that provide a diverse variety in entertainment.
There’s something for everyone and not just the thrill seekers. Prepare yourself for lots of sick photo opportunities!
I was finally ushered into HEX’s entrance grounds, the main event of the day. Even though it was still under construction, the typical Halloween ornaments were already set up. Crows and skulls have been sporadically placed around the walkways to raise your anticipation.
The entrance was unimposing and that was where I made my first mistake. The cave-like outlook was the gate to a world of curses and spells.
The fog effect and distorted noises that greeted me quickly occupied my senses and I was left scrambling to regain my composure before moving deeper into this eerie lair. It was designed to perfection, and you could really get a feel of the theme within the first few seconds.
We had it a little easier that day since we were hauling equipment around but it was still pretty terrifying. I unwillingly managed to lift my camera and gathered my courage to capture these shots.
Freaky isn’t he? I dare not imagine getting in his way in dim lighting. A prosthetic mask with jagged teeth, and to creep your crawlies, they had “maggots” eat his right eye.
He was moving about randomly, sometimes jumping into me, and it was this unpredictability that had me shuffling my feet into the next section.
The classic hand-in-the-wall scare was really well carried out, and there were many surprises of the sort. So as not to spoil anything for you, I shan’t reveal too much but just know that we only covered a third of the Haunted House and I was genuinely relieved to have gotten out of it.
I thoroughly enjoyed getting a peek into the behind-the-scenes works of HNN 7. The amount of hard work and sheer craftsmanship on display was impeccable. From the special effects makeup to the weeks of training, and let’s not forget the winding mazes that make up the haunted houses; it’s truly the making of world class scares.
This is just a little teaser for what’s to come. Brace yourselves for crazier scare acts at this year’s Universal Studios Singapore Halloween Horror Nights 7. Don’t miss out!
Dates & Times: 7:30 pm – 12:30 am (Event Dates: 29 Sept, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29 Oct 2017), 7:30pm – 1:30am (Event Dates: 30 Sept, 7, 14, 21, 28 Oct 2017)
Prices: Starts From S$68
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