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USH's "Van Helsing: Fortress Dracula" is more entertaining than the "Van Helsing" movie

USH's "Van Helsing: Fortress Dracula" is more entertaining than the "Van Helsing" movie

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It's kind of sad when the attraction that's based on a particular motion picture is actually more entertaining than the movie itself. But such is the case with Universal Studios Hollywood's "Van Helsing: Fortress Dracula," the new attraction that opened its black gates to the eager public back on May 7th 2004.

I have to say that Universal has truly outdone themselves in creating a truly fun and exciting attraction that has some very cool visuals. "Van Helsing: Fortress Dracula" also features several set pieces from the movie as well as some truly genuine scares that involve the creatures from Universal's classic flicks Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolf Man -- which have been updated for the 21st century specifically for Stephen Sommers' "Van Helsing."

"Van Helsing: Fortress Dracula" makes more than full use of its show space. Built in the old "Marvel Mania" building, this is a tri-level monster (no pun intended) of a maze. You enter through a beautiful yet imposing façade of Dracula's Fortress from the movie. While in the attraction's queue, you are treated to pictures of the cast from the movie and also props and the various gadgets that Gabriel Van Helsing uses when he battles evil. The next room leads into the maze itself. For the sake of those who hate spoilers, I will only give but a few details.

There is a room where the walls spin around you. Thankfully you have handlebars to hold on to should you get dizzy.

Frankenstein's lab is absolutely cavernous. It is truly the highlight if the attraction if anything for the incredible amount of detail.

As you first enter the lab, the walls and floor vibrate with electrical surges.

The final room involves a truly frightening encounter with the Wolf Man.

As far as the use of source material, "Van Helsing: Fortress Dracula" perfectly captures the essence of "Van Helsing" (the film) by utilizing props and set pieces and even costumes straight from the movie. The attraction actually manages to pull off what Sommer's film couldn't, and that's actually delivering on some pretty significant scares. The only thing that's scary about "Van Helsing" (the film) is the acting.

Is the attraction fun? In a word, yes. Universal delivers on all levels, bringing a truly thrilling walk-through attraction and a genuinely fun experience. However, keep in mind that Universal excels in delivering scares. "Van Helsing: Fortress Dracula" is no exception. If you go in with kids, be warned there's enough truly scary stuff here that this attraction might freak them out.

If this attraction really proves to be popular with the public, rumor has it that Universal will be bring back its "Halloween Horror Nights" event back to its Hollywood theme park in full force. With the hope that USH will be able to snatch back the crown from Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knotts Scary Farm. Of course this effort will be helped by Universal's soon-to-be-opening "Revenge of the Mummy" thrill ride. Which is said to skillfully mix horror and thrills.

That's it for today, folks. Please join me here at JHM over the next few weeks as I begin a series on the making of USH's "Revenge of the Mummy" thrill ride, which will lead right up to the grand opening of this brand new attraction on June 25th. For further information on "Revenge of the Mummy," check out the official website.

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