Growing up in Florida I somehow had avoided going to Horror Nights In Universal Studios Orlando for years. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of paying $85+ to get the shit scared out of you, like who would voluntarily put themselves through such torture. So yeah I was scared, but I had been living on campus at UCF when an old high school friend just happened to be driving up to go to the parks with his family and wanted me to tag along. I was curious and scared but mostly excited because he said my hotel room was already paid for which included breakfast. Yay, free stuf – I mean friendship!
On my way to the park I was all in my own head thinking of the worst case scenario, hitting an unsuspecting employee that just jumped out at me. I knew that when it came to fight or flight response I always chose to fight; this was a certainty as I will never forget the time that my mom thought she’d be cute and jump out at me at home and my first reaction in the face of danger was a high kick that went up over her head and came down hard only missing her as she stepped back to avoid the hit.
Turns out though that the night was actually hilarious. See the trick to not getting chased by a bunch of recently escaped prisoners with bloody-loud chainsaws is to mostly remain calm. The ghouls and insane people feed on your fear and the louder you scream or faster you run just causes them to focus on you while others sit and laugh in enjoyment.
Horror Nights was filled with many haunted houses of varying themes, but my favorite had to be the one with the classic movie monsters where everything was black and white and accompanied by strategic strobe lights. It felt like you were in those old school monster flicks like Nosferatu, the Mummy and Frankenstein (Frankenstein is the doctor that animates the monster not the monster itself). After, having crawled under the Mummy’s low hanging crypt I was at the front of the group when we entered a black room at the end of which you could see the Bride of Frankenstein in obvious spotlight. The fact I could see her reassured me that nothing more than her trying to scare me was bound to happen, I was mentally ready for her to attack.
I walked towards her eyes totally fixated and tension rising and I had been forced to the front of the group somehow. As the strobe light intensified and the music rose I saw a huge shadow barreling toward me from my left peripheral. Once, I realized it was too late I felt paralyzed as one part of me wanted me to run away and the other knew there was no point because the lady Frankenstein was blocking my way. I braced for the biggest scare of the night as Frankenstein jumped up before landing in front of me and letting out an extremely loud scream and all I could do was stare at him right in the face and taunt him with a charming kiss and a laugh.