Howl-O-Scream has returned for another terrifying year at Busch Gardens. Since the year 2000, this horrific event has haunted select nights of September and October at Busch Gardens Tampa – and this year, the event features two new houses and three new scare zones.
There is no major theme or icon to link or connect all of the houses and scare zones together at this year’s event. Instead, each house and scare zone stands on its own, with its own theming and story. Without a connective tissue linking all of this year’s terror, this experience is full of unexpected horrors that will leave you screaming.
Video recording was not allowed inside the houses but later in this article you can find videos of all of the event’s scare zones. To start off, I will be discussing the two new houses that came to Howl-O-Scream 2017.
This house is where guests can get lost in an infinite dimension inside of an abandoned manor. Here is where unwanted worlds come together, constructed above a vortex of otherworldly energies. Every room and hallway holds a door to a different universe and escape is nearly impossible.
This house is jam packed with scareactors and amazing theming, which left me screaming. As you walk in you immediately enter the abandoned manor, only to be greeted with a fright from a terrifying house guest. Each room of this house takes you to another dimension full of terror and Busch Gardens did not take any short cuts when putting together this house. Each dimension is very well themed and you almost feel like you’re going through multiple houses while walking through just this one.
The Undead Arena is where guests fight to stay alive, this house takes place in a post-apocalyptic world full of survivors of “the Great Conflict,” which has divided “The Worthy” and “The Unworthy.” Immediately, as you enter this house you are given three paths and I must say, not one of them end well.
Doors appear and then disappear, walls and other obstacles come out of nowhere as you fearfully try to maneuver this house. Dark corners make up most of this house and what’s hiding in these corners may make you want to move at a quicker pace in this haunt. Another surprise in this house is the scareactors’ ability to fly in your direction with the help of bungee cords and safety mats. You definitely want to be wary of this house as you never know when something scary might knock you off your path.
During maintenance at the park, an excavation crew uncovered a centuries-old house buried deep beneath the ground. Upon entering the house, a sinister force was Unearthed. This vengeful demon takes her revenge by collecting the eyes of all who enter the house.
This house is a few years old now, but the terror found inside this underground hole will still have you shaking in fear. Upon entering this construction site, you immediately get the feeling that something horribly wrong has taken place. You are taken underground to experience this house’s terror, which involves demons and other viscous creatures. This house is full of scareactors that are ready to jump when you are least expecting it. Each room is fit in theme of a centuries-old house that somehow ended up underground. This house isn’t for those who are put off by gore as it contains a great amount of it, including severed limbs and other bloody scenes to be found throughout the house.
Zombie Containment Unit 15
This house is an interactive zombie-hunting experience where it’s up to guests to hold off an undead mob of ravenous zombies. An undead invasion leads to a containment failure in Z.C.U.15, leaving zombies in search of flesh. Guests are armed with Z.E.D. (Zombie Eradication Device), their only defense to hold off an undead mob.
This interactive house was not only full of terror, but also thrill, which came from being able to fight off zombies. Once entering the debriefing room, guests are outfitted with a Z.E.D. (Zombie Eradication Device, a laser gun like device) which is used to shoot at zombies as you make your way through the house. When guests fire at zombies, a bright white circular light glows on the chests of the undead. There is no score system so it is a little tough to battle with your friends while maneuvering through the house, but this experience is definitely a nice way of immersing oneself in the action, instead of just walking past it.
The Black Spot
In this house guests have to escape from Saw Tooth Silas’ murderous hideaway. When Saw Tooth Silas decides that one should no longer exist, he marks them for death and sends them to The Black Spot. This is where they meet their horrifying end.
This house takes guests aboard The Devil’s Bride, where they face Saw Tooth Silas, an infamous pirate who marks guests of this house for death. The ghosts of lost pirates will scare you at every turn in this house, which transports you to the sea as this ship’s interior was created extremely well. This house is definitely one of the more scenic ones as there are many visuals to take in, of course, while also watching out for scareactors. One interesting and unique part of this house has to be a dark hall where guests walk on a gooey floor while dodging what appears to be hanging severed body parts.
Death Water Bayou
Here is where guests can descend into the swamps and escape the depths of the Bayou before falling victim to the Voodoo Queen’s spell. In the depths of the Bayou, the Voodoo Queen and her sadistic creatures transform wanderers into evil minions with dark magic.
Before even entering the house, guests are greeted by the Voodoo Queen’s evil minions, who warn of the terror to come within the house. Once entering the first room of the house, you immediately meet the Voodoo queen, where she can be seen levitating on a chair in front of her crystal ball. Then, after making your way through her house, you are taken out in the Death Water Bayou, which is packed with scareactors hidden in trees and other camouflaged areas. This house’s exterior alone is incredibly enticing, but after moving inside you get to really see some awesome theming. One room within the house is set up completely upside down, where all of the room’s furniture and the Voodoo Queen herself can be found hanging from the ceiling.
Where your worst nightmares are inescapable, nightmares become reality at this deserted motel. The paranormal presence of its former owners still lurk on the untouched property, mysteriously preventing the brave who have attempted to tear it down. Guests who dare to enter will find themselves face to face with their worst nightmares and inescapable fate.
As guests walk up to this terrifying motel, a construction worker with no eyes is there to frighten you, before even entering the house. Inside is where the real fun begins. Vicious and vile scenes make up the interior of this house. Each room is more twisted and creepy than the last, with severed arms coming out of toilets and lifeless bodies lying in blood soaked showers. One peculiar room found within this house is pitch black, only lit with white masks that line the entire room. What guests don’t know as they walk through this room is that some of these masks are actually being used by scareactors.
The event also featured five terrifying scare zones, three of which are brand new this year. This section begins with the three new scare zones at Howl-O-Scream 2017.
NEW Class Deceased
This scare zone is what happens when savage school kids punish their cruel head master. In this scare zone guests can expect wild and terrifying school kids walking around while torturing their teachers and visitors to the area. Special lighting effects really make this scare zone pop, while the scareactors will make you want to jump. You may want to watch out when walking through this area, as you may get a ruler to the back of your hand.
NEW Carnie Camp
If you are afraid of clowns then this most certainly is not the scare zone for you, because this area is packed full of them. This scare zone takes guests through the backstage area of an old carnival where they can experience eerie carnival music and erratic behaving clowns that aren’t afraid to get in your face.
NEW Meat Market
This scare zone is full of cannibalistic creatures who feast on the weak. This area contains chainsaws, blood, guts, and everything gory. As you walk through this area you almost can’t take in all of the sights of gore as there really is so much. Busch Gardens went above and beyond when creating this scare zone, as it really is flooded in blood.
This scare zone is where guests can experience the perils of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where scenes of past and present atrocities still linger in an abandoned strip of roadway. Here, you can expect a fright as scareactors are actually hidden in plain sight. When shooting the video below, I was caught off guard a few times and jumped. A great scare zone for those who are looking for more than just a scenic area but actual frights.
Here, guests can experience a paranormal playground with squeaking swings and rusty merry-go-rounds, which are inhabited by hordes of deadly toys and lost children. This scare zone is very reminiscent of the Haunted Mansion as parts of it actually glow in the dark as if they were from another realm of space and time. Also, when walking through this scare zone keep an eye out because you never know when the lost children might sneak up on you.
Fiends is full of captivating creatures of the night, which will infect you with dance fever while keeping your pulse pounding with a deranged dance party at Stanleyville Theater. This show features comedic actors, dancers, lighting effects and upbeat pop music.
This show is full of relevant pop culture jokes that will have you in stitches. Altogether, Fiends is a great show where you can enjoy some great laughs and popular dance music.
WATCH – HIGHLIGHTS OF FIENDS SHOW:
Overall, Howl-O-Scream 2017 is full of great horrors and terrors! All of the haunted houses were put together very well and are full of great scareactors that will give you a nice fright. The scare zones are also nicely designed and will certainly have you shrieking in fear. Fiends show was full of great laughs and the pop music wasn’t too overbearing as the show was more centered around comedy then music. Howl-O-Scream is definitely a great place to take in the scary festivities of the season.
Howl-O-Scream is now running select nights throughout October. To get more information about the event or to purchase tickets, please visit the official website.