Scary clown faces stared at me as I read the warning: “You’re a fool to come!”
At Universal Studios Singapore’s “Halloween Horror Nights 6,” I was so terrified I thought I was going to pee my pants. This year, I gladly returned for even bigger frights at Halloween Horror Nights 7. Maybe I was a fool.
“Every year we try to do more and more. We really beef up the guest experience so they can say, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen that before,’” said Jason Horkin, senior vice president of Attractions for Resorts World Sentosa.
A lot of work goes into creating night after night of horror: 500 scare actors from 15 countries (100 more than last year), 2,000 costumes and the brilliant use of technology, pyrotechnics, animatronics and makeup (they have 120 makeup artists doing 3,360 hours of makeup). Each night, 95 liters of blood are spilled and 29 different scents are used to transport you to nightmares of all kinds.
The seventh incarnation of Halloween Horror Nights—inspired by the seven deadlier sins of modern life: cruelty, deception, malice, manipulation, narcissism, perversion and obsession—features five haunted houses, two scare zones, two killer shows and zombie laser tag. And it was our mission to survive all of them.
After a dinner of eyeballs, slimy brain, broken bones and devil sliders, we headed to the red carpet premiere of the 7 Sinisters. As the stars of the movie posed for photos, the lights flickered and menacing words appeared on the giant screens. KILL. DIE. There were screams, flashes of fire and billowing smoke and then, an otherworldly voice: “Time is up. The Sinisters are here.”
Father Time had taken over the stage along with Midnight Man, Terrorcotta Empress, Raven, Dr. White, Malice and Obsession. Dance music played and the voice announced, “Welcome to Halloween Horror Nights 7!”
People cheered as fireworks lit up the sky.
I found our guides Ruben and Zul. Our group’s first stop? Zombie Laser Tag, an attraction supported by the Singapore Tourism Board.
Zombie Laser Tag
“We have zombies chasing you down as you try to shoot them. It is an incredibly immersive experience,” said Michele Klyne, project director of Entertainment for Resorts World Sentosa. It’s the perfect chance to live out your “ Walking Dead” fantasies.
Four players can play Zombie Laser Tag at a time and because there were five of us, I walked up to a group of Thai journalists and said, “Hi, you guys need to adopt me.”
Our drill sergeant rattled off the rules: Don’t touch a zombie, don’t get bitten, and aim for their sensor.
One game can last between five to 10 minutes. But, we were told, “If you get really scared and run through everything, it will be one minute.”
I wasn’t scared. I was excited. I was so excited that I shot my gun accidentally, wasting bullets before we even started.
But once we entered the arena, my heart started pounding. One zombie, two zombies, three… Holy crap, we were outnumbered. I screamed and screamed, tripping over my own feet.
I was screaming more than I was shooting. You have a gun, stupid, I told myself. And so I started shooting.
In the maze-like arena, there were zombies at every turn. I scrambled after my team, trying to dodge the undead.
Our team leader was wearing a band around his head—he had to use his brainwaves to unlock the gate that would free us. We had to protect him so he could focus. I shot and shot and shot my gun, like I was Rambo on a rampage.
We made it out alive. But the night had barely started and my throat was already sore from screaming.
Make The Cut
Next stop, Make The Cut, where we were auditioning to be the next big thing in Gore-Pop. “It’s K-Pop inspired—but we’ve taken it to another level. It’s extremely gory,” said Markham Gannon, creative director of Entertainment for Resorts World Sentosa.
Loud G-Pop music and lit Korean signs greeted us. As we walked into the office of Kill Entertainment Group, a bloody receptionist shouted at us. “You’re late for your audition!”
Inside, horror after horror—record executives laughing maniacally, wannabe musicians pleading for help, disemboweled victims of extreme makeovers, various scenes of torture—smart social commentary on the price people willingly pay for fame.
I paused in front of a blood-splattered recording booth where a Slit Face Girl with an eye patch was singing. She spotted me and slammed her gloved hand against the glass panel that separated us. “Get out of here! Move!”
I turned and ended up face to face with a Psy look-alike who was eating something disgusting from a Chinese takeout box.
In another room, chainsaw- and bat-wielding Slit Face Girls had left people decapitated and brutally beaten. “Get out!” they screamed.
We did just that, breathing in the evening air and the sudden silence.
We had more terrible things to face. The power-hungry Empress Qing was waiting for us at the Terrorcotta haunted house. “She uses mental and physical torture to bend her subjects to her will,” said Zul.
In the cruel ruler’s lair, there was gold everywhere, ornate furniture, fine silk, terrorcotta soldiers and, in the center of it all, Empress Qing. She was beautiful but her crazy laughter was terrifying. The things I saw there made me scream like I was on a roller coaster.
Outside, Ruben and Zul told us, “We’re running out of time. We may have to skip some houses.”
“Noooo! We can’t! We have to do all of them,” I pleaded. Wow, I was actually begging to get into more haunted houses? Miss Pee Her Pants in Fright had officially transformed into Haunted House Geek.
“In Hex, you’ll see the consequences of asking for a curse,” Michele said.
Creepy trees and lurking shadows lined the entrance. “I don’t like this outdoor thing,” I said nervously.
“I want her heart to belong to me,” a curse on a wall read.
We ran into voodoo creatures, scary shamans, witch doctors, skeletons, monsters with axes and a really creepy bird-like creature feeding on a pregnant woman’s belly. We jumped, we shrieked, we shouted, we laughed.
“Whoa, that was awesome! Best one so far!” we said as we exited.
And the houses just got better and better.
We crossed the Pilgrimage of Sins, seeing fanatics who had come to pay penance being tormented.
Pilgrimage of Sins is one of two scare zones at Halloween Horror Nights 7. The other, Happy Horror Days, gives you a twisted look at your favorite holidays.
There are two live shows, too: Laboratorium, an oddball look at experiments done during the time of the Black Plague, and another dose of Gore Pop—the Slit Face Girls’ Slice of Life Tour.
Inside The Mind
Next stop, my favorite, Inside The Mind. Markham said, “It tracks the thought process of a serial killer. You go into different areas of the mind… It’s really different. We’ve pushed the boundaries again.”
A doctor was interviewing a serial killer in a room.
“Why did you kill them?”
“He tells me to.”
He slammed himself against the glass panel, making us jump. I chortled. “This is awesome!”
Cobwebs covered what looked like a card catalogue from hell, with boxes marked “Kill Number 28,” “Kill Number 15,” “blood,” “trauma.” I assumed this was the part of the brain that holds memories.
As we met more creepy creatures, we walked through curtains of bloody flesh, traverse laser rooms, push aside shrink-wrapped bodies. It was fascinating.
“So cool!” I kept saying. I loved the research that went into creating the house. I wished I could stay longer to understand everything I was seeing.
Only one haunted house was left: Death Mall. “We decided to erect a shopping mall and of course something tragic and horrible happens to it. On opening day, the second story falls, killing everyone. This is ‘shop ’til you drop’ brought to life,” said Michele.
Death Mall felt like wandering onto a movie set. The carnage began outside—bodies trapped in cars, corpses in body bags, a soot-covered first responder warning us of the horrors coming.
We stepped over fallen pillars and more bodies and walked into a clothing store where creepy mannequins attacked.
The supermarket wasn’t spared. “Help!” victims of the mall collapse screamed while a bloody butcher threatened with her knife.
The cinema had been destroyed. Over the loudspeakers you can hear a calm voice saying, “We are currently experiencing an emergency situation,” a contrast to the havoc we were witnessing.
Jason said, “When we scare you in an environment that feels natural to you, that makes it even scarier.”
And it was.
Halloween Horror Nights 7 was terrifying, exhilarating and so much fun. It completely unleashed the scare junkie in me.
“We’re already talking about ideas for next year,” said Jason.
I can’t wait.
Halloween Horror Nights 7 starts at 7:30 p.m. and runs for 14 select nights across five weekends until Oct. 29. Tickets are available at www.halloweenhorrornights.com.sg and at Universal Studios Singapore ticket booths.