“You’re looking goth,” said Indonesian YouTuber and TV host Kevin Hendrawan as he looked at my all-black outfit.
“Yeah, I figured wearing black would make it easier to hide from the ghosts,” I said. What I didn’t say: “Also, if I’m wearing black and I end up peeing my pants in fear, it wouldn’t be too obvious.”
We were in Resorts World Sentosa for a sneak peek at Universal Studios Singapore’s “Halloween Horror Nights 6” and the truth was, I was really scared.
“Say a prayer for me,” I posted online. “We’re still at dinner and I’m already terrified.”
Resorts World Sentosa was kicking off Halloween season and we were about to be the guinea pigs for its biggest Halloween Horror Nights yet. “You’d be the first to get the full experience. Our scare actors are very excited,” we were told.
The horrors had started the day before, when I unwrapped an HHN6 “first aid kit” in my room at the Hard Rock Hotel and found, hiding under cobwebs and spiders, witch finger cookies, jello eyeballs and a brain cupcake.
But bigger horrors were to happen the next day—five haunted houses (a new record), two scare zones, two live shows, a procession of the dead, and other terrifying surprises.
“Last year, we had over 170,000 in attendance. This year we hope to do more. We have 16 nights this year, two more than last year’s. The demand from people was they want more ways to be scared. They want more things to do,” said Jason Horkin, Resorts World Sentosa senior vice president of attractions.
And they delivered.
The houses are so scary that even the people who work behind the scenes still get a fright from them.
Andrea Teo, Resorts World Sentosa vice president of entertainment, said: “Every time we walk through the houses, most of us still go, “Who’s going first? Who’s going first?” We still get scared. That’s pretty awesome.”
“Each house won’t take more than 15 minutes, but in there you’ll feel like it’s a century,” said Resorts World Sentosa regional marketing manager Celest Quek.
“Maybe I can just close my eyes,” I thought. “But what will I write?”
The night kicked off with a set from a skeleton DJ who started dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
“Look at that,” I told YouTuber Haley Dasovich, pointing to the Mel’s drive-in sign just beside the stage. The letters “R” and “V” had been switched off so that it now read “Mel’s d i e-in.” They were really serious about getting the spook on.
Suddenly things had gone wrong for our skeleton DJ friend who was engulfed in flames. Lady Death had taken over the stage along with her army of spectacular monsters. They summoned us closer and we followed, crowding around the stage, mouths agape.
They were just a few of the 400 scare actors from 15 countries who will come together each night to scare the crap out of the theme park’s visitors.
“I’m so scared,” I texted my friend T. Rex.
His reply was quick: “Your mom didn’t raise a weak bitch.”
I smiled. He was right. I’ve survived all kinds of craziness, a few haunted houses should be a breeze.
Salem Witch House
But just moments before we entered the Salem Witch House, my hands were cold and clammy again. The warning from our guides didn’t help ease my fears. “There are witches inside. Assault them and they will take revenge,” they said. ABS-CBN’s Jelai Salting and I clung to each other as we stepped into the old cabin, a musky smell hitting our noses. I stared at the vintage wallpaper and flickering candles, marveling at how we had been masterfully transported to a different world. I no longer felt like I was in Universal Studios Singapore. I was in a witch’s house in Massachusetts.
Two girls were on the floor, holding hands, their eyes rolling to the back of their skulls as they swayed, immersed in their Wiccan ritual. We stepped around them, slowly, gingerly, knowing more witches were waiting inside.
We stumbled from room to room, shrieking as we came face to face with witches of all kinds. Young witches, old witches, dark witches, white witches. A scary old lady sat on a rocking chair cradling a red-eyed baby, while a man with a knife through his head reached out in a silent cry for help.
“He’s insane!” a pilloried girl screamed, as a cloaked figure tormented her with a scythe.
We walked through an eerily beautiful white forest before seeing a gorgeous witch about to be burned at the stake. “Come with me,” she said, her slender fingers beckoning us. For a hot second, I was tempted to follow. But instead I scrambled after my group, heaving a huge sigh of relief when I realized that we were outside again, away from all the witches.
“One down, four to go!” we shouted. My throat was already sore from screaming and my heart was still pounding.
Hawker Centre Massacre
Our next stop was the Hawker Centre Massacre where diners had been poisoned with radioactive fish, turning them into flesh-eating monsters.
“Go! Go! Get out of here!” a bloody Singaporean teenager warned us.
“Help me, please!” a man crawled toward us, his hair singed, the flesh on his face looking like it had melted.
On the tables were half-eaten bowls of food, body parts strewn about. Bodies flailed, people cried for help and everyone looked so scary that it was hard to tell who was friendly and who was not.
We wandered through food booths, flower stalls, racks of clothing, getting shock after shock from old ladies with pus-filled faces, a man puking into a barrel and more dead bodies on the ground. The level of detail was amazing, it felt like we were in a real hawker center.
As we made our way to the next haunted house, medics arrived to tend to the little scratch Kevin got on his arm. “I don’t want to turn into a zombie!” he said and we all laughed.
Bodies of Work
Our next stop was an exhibit by artist Damien Shipman whose family had died in a fire. His macabre works are his homage, a controversial and twisted tribute to the loved ones he lost too soon. It started innocently enough—with framed pictures, flowers and lit candles and a television that played news clips of the tragic incident. But the further we walked into the house, the stranger it became.
A filthy long-haired man in a tuxedo, strips of flesh that you have to walk through, bloody grimacing heads on shelves, a crying girl chained inside a blood-splattered glass box, people coming out of walls, masked monsters creeping in the dark.
There were sinister clowns including a two-faced one with a big gun and another who chased me until I ended up stumbling onto a moving carousel of creepiness to get away from him. I had no idea I had been screaming so much until singer/actor Marlo Mortel stopped in his tracks to ask if I was okay.
“Yeah!” I said, snapping out of my clown-induced hysteria. “That was the best one yet! I loved that carousel!”
The Suicide Forest—one of two outdoor scare zones also known as “selfie zones” because yes, you can pose for pictures with the scare actors if you’re brave enough—offers a walk through scenes of death and desperation.
Bodies hung from trees and swung on swings, the undead wandered about, some seemingly lost, others determined to make contact.
It was all so eerie but also strangely beautiful.
We emerged from the forest in time to catch The March of the Dead.
The truth is, just walking around the dark theme park was a thrill.
Old Changi Hospital
Then it was time for the house I was dreading the most—the Old Changi Hospital, inspired by Singapore’s most haunted site and one of the 10 scariest places in the world. Narciso Valeriano from Resorts World Sentosa’s communications team had done two walk-throughs and told me that I was right to be worried about it the most.
Even the people who worked on creating the house agree.
“The Changi hospital is the scariest house we’ve ever done,” said Jason Horkin.
Scott Peterson, Resorts World Sentosa director of events and production, agrees. “The house freaks me out,” he said, recalling his visit to the real Changi Hospital when he was a young student and the amount of research it took their team to recreate the horrors at Universal Studios.
It was at the Old Changi Hospital where I realized that if you’re scared enough, you will grab whoever is nearest you and cling hard, no matter if he or she is a total stranger.
They weren’t kidding when they said it was the scariest. YouTuber Wil Dasovich, who bravely stayed in front of the line at each house said, “When it’s misty and there are corners, you know you’re f*cked.”
I wish I can tell you everything I saw at the Old Changi Hospital but it’s a blur of blood and bodies and screams and pounding hearts. The morgue was especially horrifying with its rattling body freezers.
We screamed and jumped and ran. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Hu Li’s Inn
Our last stop was Hu Li’s Inn. Set in old Shanghai, it is home to evil shape-shifting seductresses who lure men to horrible deaths. We walked into the foyer and gasped at how pretty and opulent it was. Onstage, a beautiful lady in a red and gold cheongsam sang and danced before transforming into an evil fanged monster.
We walked through a maze of mirrors and feathers, coming upon one awful scene after the other. A serpent lady attacking her prey. A half-spider half-woman feasting on a man’s guts.
We exited Hu Lin’s Inn and started screaming, this time in jubilation. We had survived our evening of horrors.
And I was hit with the crazy realization that I didn’t just survive “Halloween Horror Nights 6,” I actually want to do it again.
“Halloween Horror Nights” runs on select nights, Sept. 30-Oct. 31. Tickets are available for S$65 and S$69. Big horror fans can avail of the Frequent Fear Pass for unlimited visits to all 16 event nights. A Behind The Screams behind-the-scenes tour is also available for people who have signed up for an R.I.P. tour or daytime VIP tour at Universal Studios Singapore. Visit www.halloweenhorrornights.com.sg.