For ten years Busch Gardens Tampa has transformed into a nightmarish landscape of ghouls, ghosts and altogether nasty creatures that you can't find at any other time of the year. With every year the event has grown, and though some favorites stay while others go to make room for new favorites each year has it's own unique persona and life all it's own. Over the next several days we are going to take a look at how Howl O Scream has grown over the years and the different things that have made it unique. As we draw towards the present we'll take a look at this year's event and see if Sylvie, My X and Revenge Rocks lives up to the years gone by, or if it hits a sour note.
2008: The Raven Twins-Bad Twin, Worse Twin
2008 marked the beginning of a radical departure from the normal event by taking the focus away from the houses and scare zones and putting them instead on the Icons of the event. This year's Icons, the Raven Twins, had a backstory deeper and more complicated than any of the houses to this point. The Raven Twins were two beautiful girls who had been born joined at the face. The two separated themselves with a piece of broken glass and therefore became hideously scarred. Most men who would see them would shrink away from disgust. So they began kidnapping and killing the men who would judge them on the outside rather than see the beauty that lay within.
Small homages and hints of the Raven Twins laid all around the park in the form of two ravens. The twins also had a small stage show at the front of the park where they would bring a man on stage from the "audience" another victim scare as we had seen in The Hunted, pretend to seduce him and then "kill" him. It was a fun show, but the lack of gore made it more of a photo opportunity than anything else. The Twins in the park were played by actors at the event while the twins who were in the commercials and billboard ads were professional hired models.
There were only two new houses this year, but a lot of detail and attention was paid to favorite house "After Hours" as it was the "Last Call".
- Trapped in the Walls-The ghosts of a family murdered still haunt this seemingly innocent house, only this year we learn that the Raven Twins might have been the murderers. Not a lot had changed about this house besides the direction they ran the traffic flow.
- Taste of Blood-The once regal Vampires are forced to live in the Subways and feast on those who venture down.
- 13-Eat Your Heart Out-Those wacky messengers are at it again, searching for their 13th victim, this year reverting to Cannabalism
- After Hours-Last Call-The party is over as the demented artists infict pain one last time. This year was changed by adding a disorienting tunnel, and "suffocation walls".
- Death Row Vengeance-The spirits of those who died on death row at Grey Echo Penitentiary still haunt the prison looking for vengeance on those who wouldn't help them, mostly appeal lawyers.
- Reconstruction-The Dr. is in-The crazy plastic surgeon Dr. Von Angst rips his patients apart before fixing them with new bones, and steel.
- One Wild Night-The demons of Halloween "Trick and Treat" kidnap two teens who break into a wax museum to steal costumes. The show was filled with sexy cheerleaders and half naked Disney Princesses. A very impressive show
- Killer Klownz-A fun small show filled with demented clowns who take victims from the audience and make them over into twisted demented creations
- Fiends-The mad scientist Dr. Freakenstein was back, again, with his humpy companion Igor to invite all the wacky disco dancing, pop singing monsters. The show had not changed since previous years.
2008 would mark the last year for the next few years that scare zones would be reused, as 2009 would mark all new scare zones. It would also mark the smallest amount of scare zones since 2001.
- Wicked Woods-Fairy tale creatures come to life to terrorize everyone who comes on their path
- Eternal Midnight-As the clock chimed midnight, forever, mourners and lost souls came back to stalk the living.
- Zombie Junction-Corncob Junction was once again plagued with zombies who feasted on the flesh of anyone coming into town.
One other feature the park utilized was roaming hoardes. Zombies, clowns and normal people (equipped with demented things like babies, and strollers that popped up) strolled through the different parts of the park that weren't occupied with scare zones. This was wildly successful in filling in the "dead" space.