It’s safe to say that I am not a brave man. As a result, Halloween is my least favourite night of the year (loud noises) and when threatened I have been known to curl into a tight ball for safety.
For this reason, my colleagues at Comedy Central thought it'd be hilarious to send me to Universal Orlando's terrifying Halloween event: Halloween Horror Nights.
Here were my thoughts from the harrowing (but pretty amazing) experience.
At one point I thought my heart may explode with fear
Thanks to a snazzy new watch, I was able to keep tabs on my heart-rate before and after the haunted houses. At one point it went up by 30 beats per minute and I needed a little sit down.
The constant scary music being played throughout the parks does NOT help you relax
The constant, dread-filled, plinky-plonk of the Halloween soundtrack was being played constantly throughout the parks, making sure that I was always in a state of total panic.
You get weirdly used to the sound of revving chainsaws
After a couple of hours of bloodstained hillbillies chasing after people with chainsaws, you'll become weirdly at peace with the whole thing.
Diagon Alley is the perfect place to calm down
With all the horror fans busy being chased with chainsaws, Diagon Alley is relatively quiet, and gives HP fans (and let's face it, who isn't one?) a chance to poke around the shops in relative peace.
The attention to detail is incredible
With lots of "scare zones" (i.e. areas of the park that people will jump out at you) and nine bespoke "houses" which are basically terrifying mazes based on everything from American Horror Story to The Walking Dead, the level of detail is incredible. If I hadn't been so scared I'd have stopped to appreciate the insane quality of the designs, but I'd probably have wee-ed myself, so...
You get to play the game of “is that a statue or a human?”
And the only way to find out is when he jumps out at you.
The scare actors pounce on you the second you let your guard down
The one moment you lower your vigilance, perhaps to tell your companion that you've already wee-d yourself a little... THAT is when a man dressed as an evil fisherman will jump out at you with a sythe.
It's worth trying to slow down and take it all in
Seriously, if you're able to slow down to a walk and NOT peg it through any scare-zones, it's worth taking your time to take in just how epic the event is. Dozens of actors and lots of incredible sets make this a must-see for any horror fan.
Express passes are worth it
It goes without saying that on busy nights the queues (especially for the haunted houses) are HUGE. Express passes add to the overall cost, but you get to miss out the least fun scare of the night - seeing the queue for the Walking Dead haunted house.
Do as many Houses as possible
I may be a huge scaredy-cat, but Halloween Horror Night's haunted houses are incredible. Of the nine, we managed to get round six (again, this is where Express Passes come in handy!) and the American Horror Story house was a favourite. Close behind were the Krampus, Walking Dead and Halloween houses which, though causing me to soil myself on numerous occasions, were incredibly well done.
Cal King - @mynameiscal