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Halloween Horror Nights 5 Final Cut – part two

Bid farewell to the lingering spirits of Hungry Ghosts in the second installment of Halloween Horror Nights 5 Final Cut.

Behind the Scenes: Capturing HHN5

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Since this year Universal Studios Singapore offered the Frequent Fear Pass that could be used for all event nights, I was at the park for most weekends. But not all were photoshoot nights – I was hosting groups of friends as an unofficial ‘VIP tour guide‘ (maybe should work part-time next year…) and only got serious with the shoots in the second half of Halloween season when all my ‘tours’ were done.

A typical night, depending on whether I drop by the park after work (yes I have a full-time job) or weekends when I’m already inside the park, is to wait for the Opening Scaremony show in the holding area. I wasn’t always right in front – had to sacrifice sometimes to capture the ‘preshow’ Prophet character.

Then came the mini sprint to the back end of the park. Most people would run to The MRT, which is the smart choice given that the wait for that house is typically the shortest in the first 15 mins. I would run out of the mob and dash into the Hungry Ghosts Village. There’s a good 3-5 minutes of ‘exclusive’ time, great for scare actors’ portraits. I think I did this for four nights – sometimes with my camera in my hands throughout the run. There’s no time to keep it.

One of the challenges in covering this event is creating photographs with only available light – the colourful lamps in each zone. Flash kills the incredible lighting of the scare zones (unless it’s controlled), so sometimes I bring an LED lamp to help my camera focus or mitigate harsh lighting. Using available light is sometimes tricky because of the shadows cast by other objects and people. With scare actors staying in character (and not being able to be ‘directed’ by photographers) adds another piece to the puzzle.

Different camera lenses were used to capture HHN5 this year. A total of four, actually. Most photos showing scenes are captured with a 16-35mm, while in early season I used a 28-70mm more often. But saving the best for last, the images in Final Cut are mostly taken with the famous Zeiss 55mm – a wonderful lens that I’ll bring to all nights next year.

Anyway, should we have guest contributors for HHN6 coverage? I am very open to contributors for all USS and HHN park updates – one of the reasons why there’s no coverage on Beast Club this year is because I was too busy in the three scare zones. Get in touch with me if you’re interested. You can find me on Instagram (@dejiki). 😆

Check out this video sent in by a fellow HHN fan:


Final Cut #2 – Memento Mori

This performer looks familiar.

In the later half of the season, Hungry Ghosts / Hell House is closed off to divert everyone to the MRT. Of course I know the other ways to get into the zone. It’s very eerie, because the zone is entirely empty (for a good 5 minutes) and it looked like even the scare actors weren’t ready… until they noticed me. Once, this aunty broke character and said: “You can go inside now, be the first to explore the village!”

Thanks aunty.

This ‘Well Ghost’ performer is very responsive to photographers, and knows how to best use the lights around her.
Thank you.

Oh look, it’s the Maiden of the Opera‘s.. headdress!

The lighting in this zone are mostly from the ground, directed towards the guests’ field of vision as they walk through the areas. Most areas of Hungry Ghosts are very vivid and colourful. But then there are pockets of darkness in between. After being in a bright area, it makes some scare actors very hard to spot (until it’s too late) in the shadows. Then there are spaces with very thick fog and strong backlighting.

The lighting in this scare zone is on point.

Of all the characters in this scare zones, only a handful perform lines. The ‘backstabbed man’ for example, is one of them. Or at least, one of the performers.

Sometimes, you can get lucky and capture two characters in a shot.

It can also be interesting to capture ‘behind the screams’ sort of photos.

If you do manage to walk past the ‘backstabbed man’ without anyone else in front of you… The graveyard scene is quite a sight. With that gloomy, ominous area music, it’s my favourite area in this scare zone.

But the reality is, unless you are here very early or very late, it’ll be packed with people. You might not even notice where the scare actors are.

This Ghoul also did something quite interesting:

Every character at HHN5 has a counterpart. (Some may have more). The Lady in Red is played by two characters with different personalities. One remained silent, while the other is quite theatrical. Both are popular characters, nonetheless 😆

The Lady in Red, performed by V, is probably the most popular character in this scarezone.

This is the famous ‘ehhhhhh ehhhhh oh ehhhhh!!!’ Aunty. She makes all these freaky sounds and a friend is quite haunted by all that.

The performer does look familiar though – I think she’s in a haunted house last year. Why don’t you see HHN4 photo features and let us know what you think?

The ‘Beautiful Opera Ghost’ is another popular character guests would take photos with. Performed by Q, she never stops smiling. A fine line between friendly and unsettling.

Even the counterpart is popular – though she takes a more haunting approach to her character.

Till today I’ve no idea what’s the ‘old man’ character is all about, because the counterpart is just a man in a singlet. Opera House attendant?

The Funeral Attendants mellowed in the last weekend. It’s a tiring job to keep the dead at bay.

What’s the secret? It’s a secret.

I returned to Hungry Ghosts on the last hour on 31st October. Alas, it was drizzling, so I didn’t get a chance to meet the performers working on their final sets. So it was a farewell to the scenes and lighting.

To be continued.

Halloween Horror Nights 8 (2018)
HHN8 REVEALED: Infinite Fear and Stranger Things
Meet the Killuminati / The Ceremonial Sacrifice (HHN8 press conference)
HHN8 Construction Updates: Before Dark 1 | Before Dark 2 | Before Dark 3 | Before Dark 4 | Before Dark 5
FIRST LOOK: Stranger Things haunted house with Behind the scenes tour
Halloween Horror Nights 8 COMPLETE REVIEW
SURVIVAL GUIDE: HHN8 Tips, Strategies and Secrets

HHN8 RIP (VIP) TOUR and Behind the Screams (BTS) Tour review

Features on Haunted Houses, Scare Zones and Experiences
INFINITE FEAR Opening Scaremony show | Zombie Laser Tag 2018
Pagoda of Peril

Universal Studios Japan (USJ) 2018
Universal Surprise Halloween/ Halloween Horror Nights 2018 Event Guide
Halloween Horror Nights – The Archives
Click to Expand and see all posts from past Halloween Horror Nights


Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Japan (2017)


Halloween Horror Nights 7 (2017)

Halloween Horror Nights 6 (2016)


Halloween Horror Nights 5 (2015)

Halloween Horror Nights 4

Halloween Horror Nights 3

Halloween Horror Nights 2

Halloween Horror Nights

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