Unofficial Artwork Becomes Official

Amazing Halloween Horror Nights fan and artist extraordinaire Shelby Denham has been officially commissioned by Universal to provide art for sale within the Williams of Hollywood Prop Shop store inside the actual event.

Shelby who designed the cover of Christopher Ripley’s HHN guidebook for 2017 and who has been creating HHN fan-art for years said, “I had a great time working with all of you (Universal) on this project! This means the world to me!”

She also promises that every week they will unveil a new print for exclusive sale within this location.  Be sure to get your hands on one before they all sell out!

Halloween Horror Nights Unofficial: Around the Globe – Hollywood and Beyond!

The latest additon to the award winning series of unofficial books featuring Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights has been released!

If you’re brave enough to attend Universal‘s Halloween Horror Nights, you better believe you’ll need a survival guide. And if you’ve read the Orlando version of this book then you need to see how the event started and how it spread across the globe. Complete with a detailed history of each location, this book is all that stands between you and them. For over 30 years, Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights has been the globe’s premier Halloween event spreading to Orlando, Hollywood, Across 12 US States, Europe (Spain), Singapore and Japan. You won’t find Mickey there (he’s too scared!), but you will find the bloodiest, goriest, most intense thrills of your life. Skipping Orlando (that’s in the other book), Christopher Ripley pulls back the shroud and tells the history of every HHN location around the Universal globe showing how their unique brand of horror is truly a global phenomenon to be reckoned with.

Some of the great tales inside include:

  • Discover how Halloween Horror Nights is now a true global spectacle
  • Which 12 US states other than California and Florida have hosted HHN haunts
  • Read all about the two lost years of HHN that are recorded nowhere in the history books or online!!
  • How a HHN maze became an actual movie!
  • How Wrestling and Rock Music have been involved with creating fantastic HHN mazes
  • How Alfred Hitchcock designed his own haunted house!
  • How Terror Tram would be a sequel to a maze in the same year!
  • The ‘True-Life’ stories of Ghosts haunting the Universal backlot
  • How ‘Flash Gordon’ solved a true haunting on the Hollywood backlot
  • How a Star Wars actor helped design one of the most iconic Hollywood mazes ever
  • The famous filmmaker who actually worked as a scareactor in his own maze!
  • Which HHN house recreated an actual building with a ‘genuine’ local curse on it!?
  • Which scareactor has been at every year at Hollywood and which icon has been to every domestic and international HHN?

All this and more, giving you all the gory details you need about the Horror Nights at Hollywood, Spain, Singapore and Japan!

Get your copy now HERE!

Opinion: Things I have added to my HHN wish list…

This weekend I attended Halloween Horror Nights 2018 and had an incredible time.  And I loved every moment of it!  Seeing the astonishing attendance numbers, I thought of a few things to add to the events that might help for the future…

Two shows

There needs to be a second show to cut down on the number of people in those lines. The Academy of Villains is an impressive show, but I do not see any reason to see it a second time.  I may just be getting to old, but I do not really care that someone got served.

I feel that the Chucky stage show this year proves Universal needs to invest in a second improvisation comedy show. This show needs to be comedy based to allow the audience to unwind from everything they have seen in the houses.  It would also help if the show had actors with improvisation skills, so that the audience could have a different experience every time.  Therefore, the audience has a reason to keep watching the show, and the lines are less crowded.

Critters House?

Not giving any spoilers away, but after seeing a certain scene in a house about B-Horror movies I now want a house based on the Intellectual Property (IP) known as, “Critters.”  While walking through the scene, I noticed that the animatronics looked just creatures from the movie. Universal has already created these props, so it would not cost them anything to reuse them. Come on and please make this happen Universal!  Afterall, they were made by the same team as the Killer Klowns movie…

Reverse the way Universal thinks about Icons

Unfortunately,  Universal is under the mindset that they no longer need icons and can loosely theme events around IPs.  After seeing the incredibly strong original houses Universal Orlando created this year, I would like to ask Universal to change their thinking about icons.   Universal’s creative team is so talented that they could make all houses original ideas and have a icon from an IP. This year they could have easily made Chucky the icon, since he already has a scarezone and semi-show. Another example, would have been to use Jigsaw as the icon at HHN 27.  This just makes perfect sense to me, after all the IPs are what the marketing team use for all the advertisements, so  gives us an IP based icon and everyone wins.

HHN28 is an excellent year for sure, but these are just my ideas that Universal could build on for HHN29 – but what do you think?  Let us know!

HHN takes on Food & Wine with increased offerings!

This year, “Halloween Horror Nights” brings a taste of Hawkins, Indiana to Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort inviting guests to enjoy foods inspired by Netflix’s “Stranger Things” that also complement the terrifying “Stranger Things” mazes debuting at both parks. “Halloween Horror Nights” begins on Friday, September 14, 2018.

The specialized foods were created by the executive chef and culinary teams at each park to further enhance the already immersive “Halloween Horror Nights” experience.

Here’s what guests can expect to feast on during “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood:

  • Benny’s Burgers: This classic, aptly named after the show’s family-owned diner, features a juicy beef burger served on a potato roll and a side of Tater Tots®.
  • The Upside Down Burger: served “upside down,” this signature burger features spicy queso and Flamin’ Hot® Cheetos® served on a potato roll with lettuce, tomatoes, and a side of Tater Tots.
  • Benny’s Chicken & Waffle Sandwich: Drizzled with sage-maple aioli and topped with sweet and sour onions, lettuce and tomatoes, this grilled chicken sandwich is served on iconic Kellogg’s® Eggo® waffles with a side of Tater Tots.
  • Demogorgon’s Totcho: A twist on the classic nacho, this dangerously delicious snack piles up Tater Tots, doused in spicy queso, chili, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, sour cream and scallions.
  • Eleven’s Waffle Extravaganza: Inspired by the lead protagonist’s favorite food, this tasty treat mixes Reese’s Pieces, jelly beans, chocolate chips and whipped cream stacked high on three Kellogg’s Eggo waffles.

Additional treats will be served throughout the theme park including Mini Meatball Subs, Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and Stir Fry Noodles as well as Voodoo Doughnuts.

Here’s what guests can expect to dine on at Universal Orlando Resort:

  • Waffles Galore!: All inspired by Eleven’s favorite food, guests can enjoy a variety of waffle treats at “Halloween Horror Nights,” including a Fudge Dipped Waffle on a Stick topped with peanuts and sprinkles; a Waffle Ice Cream Pocket Sundae which features two chocolate chip waffles stuffed with strawberry ice cream and topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, sprinkles, chopped peanuts and a cherry; the Triple Decker Extravaganza, which is Orlando’s version of Eleven’s Waffle Extravaganza – and more.
  • Syrup & Waffles: Enjoy Eleven’s favorite food…beverage-style! This non-alcoholic frozen drink is a delicious blend of syrup flavors with tiny waffles on top
  • Christmas Tree Light Cupcakes: Inspired by the iconic scene from ”Stranger Things” where Joyce uses Christmas lights to communicate with Will, guests can choose from chocolate or red velvet cupcakes, each topped with whipped cream frosting and covered with jelly beans to resemble the colorful lights
  • 11 Mini Donuts: These donuts are covered in powdered sugar or cinnamon and topped with red frosting – inspired by the nosebleed Eleven typically has when she uses her telekinesis powers
  • Pepperoni & Sausage Pizza: Inspired by the slice of pizza Dustin offers his crush, Nancy, in the first episode of season one
  • Benny’s Burgers:  Universal Orlando will also feature a Benny’s Burgers food location, where guests can grab a variety of burgers, chicken sandwiches and more

Universal Orlando’s “Halloween Horror Nights” will also feature additional highly-themed food and beverages inspired by this year’s ‘80s theme and Halloween overall, including a unique Candy Corn frozen drink, a sweet and sour drink called “Gnarly Twist,” a special HHN Tombstone Doughnut at Voodoo Doughnut, and more.

For the first time ever, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Singapore are partnering with Netflix to bring “Stranger Things” to life at this year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” events.  Fans of the series will get the chance to brave the Upside Down and confront the supernatural as each park debuts all-new mazes inspired by season one of the critically-acclaimed series.

The amount of food this year is mind-blowing, it’s like a food festival for the horror fanatic!

Let us know in the comments which is your favorite or which item you are running to get when you visit HHN! Let us know!

Universal Confirms No Family Friendly Direction for HHN

In a dramatic twist to the family-friendly rumor saga of whether HHN has been and would continue to be toned down to be more family focused event (a rumor that HHNU reported here).   The rumor originated from a number of sources and was discussed on the latest Jim Hill podcast The Universal Joint. Jim refers to information he had been passed from Shelley Caran of icflorida.com that pointed towards the possible move.

It was late last night that Mike Aiello, creative director of the event, took to twitter to clarify the matter, finally:

 

 

My opinion:

As a veteran myself who has been going to the event for over 20 years I can confirm that if people think HHN is about horror then they are missing the point. The clue is in the name but is not ‘horror’ – it is ‘Halloween’.  From the very beginning, the event has always been about having a party for Halloween which is centric to a more adult demographic.  And lets be honest, Universal wants to sell as many tickets as possible to their event.  So HHN has to be all encompassing, like Mike says, everything from ghostly stories to gorey chainsaws – but it has always been that way.  HHN isn’t the scariest event out there and it probably never will be.  But it has always catered to a broad spectrum of horror fans and likely always will do.

What do you think?  Let us hear your opinion. Let us know in the comments!

Celebrities pour into HHN Hollywood’s event!

Legendary Hollywood icon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Caleb McLaughlin and Gaten Matarazzo from Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” GRAMMY® Award-winning musician SLASH, filmmaker Jason Blum (The First Purge, Get Out), director Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat) and filmmaker Eli Roth (The House with Clocks in Its Walls, Hostel) were among the stars on the red carpet to celebrate the opening of “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood.

“Halloween Horror Nights,” Southern California’s most extreme Halloween event, continues on September 15-16, 20-22, 26-30, October 4-7, 11-14, 18-21, 25-28, 31, and November 1-3, 2018.

Other celebrities attending the event premiere included Priah Ferguson, Sadie Sink and Jake Busey from Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” Vanessa Hudgens (Dog Days, “So You Think You Can Dance”), musician Travis Barker, Lex Scott Davis (The First Purge), Gabriel Chavarria (“The Purge”), Jessica Garza (“The Purge”), Quinn Lord (Trick ‘r Treat), Danielle Harris and director Dwight Little from Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Oliver Robins (Poltergeist), Chandler Riggs (“The Walking Dead”), Pollyanna McIntosh (“The Walking Dead”), Kyla Kenedy (“Speechless,” “The Walking Dead”), Jaime Camill (“Jane the Virgin”), Emma Kenny (“The Connors”), Ariel Winter (“Modern Family”), Nolan Gould (“Modern Family”), Violett Beane (Truth or Dare), Matthew Bohrer (Unfriended), Moses Storm (Unfriended), Olympic Gold Medalist, Chloe Kim, Cody Christian (“All American”), the Jabbawockeez award-winning hip hop dance crew, Angélica Vale, Angélica Maria, and John Murdy, Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood.

This year’s terrifying lineup of “Halloween Horror Nights” lineup mazes and attractions includes:

“Stranger Things” – Netflix’s critically-acclaimed series comes to life for the first time in an all-new maze featuring the Upside Down and the predatory Demogorgon.
“Poltergeist” – Inspired by MGM’s iconic supernatural horror film characterized as one of the scariest movies of all time.
“Universal Monsters” – A contemporary twist on Universal’s original cinematic Monsters featuring an original score produced and composed by GRAMMY® Award-winning musician, SLASH.
“Trick ‘R Treat” – Based on the Legendary Pictures’ cult Halloween classic movie directed by Michael Dougherty.
“The First Purge” – Inspired by Universal Pictures’ blockbuster thriller franchise, where all crime is legal for 12 hours.
“Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” – The iconic slasher is back in an all-new maze based on the classic Halloween franchise.
“The Horrors of Blumhouse: Chapter Two” – A killer maze that unites two hit movies produced by Jason Blum – Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare and Unfriended.
“The Walking Dead” – Universal Studios Hollywood’s permanent attraction inspired by AMC’s record-breaking television series
“Terror Tram: Hollywood Harry’s Dreadtime Storiez” – The notorious serial killer clown that terrorized Universal’s famed backlot returns as the host of this year’s Terror Tram.
Jabbawockeez -The award-winning hip hop dance crew returns.
Tickets can be purchased at Hollywood.HalloweenHorrorNights.com. Advance purchase is recommended as event nights will sell out.

Following are the various tickets options:

All-new R.I.P. Tour: Groups of up to 12 can scare in style with all-new R.I.P. Tour featuring exclusive experiences with a VIP guide, trolley transportation, valet parking, a gourmet buffet dinner and drinks plus unlimited Universal Express privileges to mazes and attractions.
After 2 p.m. Day/Night Combo: Experience the park’s popular attractions, by day and remain for the terror that awaits by night.
Multi-Night Passes options: Frequent Fear Pass – Visit up to 21 select nights.
Ultimate Fear Pass – Scare every single night of the event.

2 Nights of Fear Pass – Scare for two select nights.

Universal Express This in-demand pass enables guests to enjoy one-time express access to mazes, attractions, Terror Tram experience Jabbawockeez performance.
For exciting updates and exclusive “Halloween Horror Nights” content, visit Hollywood.HalloweenHorrorNights.com, like Halloween Horror Nights – Hollywood on Facebook; follow @HorrorNights #UniversalHHN on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat; and watch the terror come to life on Halloween Horror Nights YouTube.

Rumor: Stranger Things to return for HHN29?

Finally, a good rumor has appeared across my desk today at HHNU HQ. It appears from a number of sources we’ve heard from that the very, very, very popular franchise Stranger Things is very likely to return for HHN29. Phew! Finally a nice positive rumor we can really get behind after the last few ‘family-friendly’ rumors we’ve had this weekend.

Whilst writing about ST, it appears that the house is phenomenally popular (which everyone had predicted), so popular that it’s caused a few operational hiccups. After shutting early on the first public night due to operational changes, this past Saturday night saw the queue extend over 3 hours with even a 60 minute wait for the Express line! We also heard that RIP Tours have had to wait a short time, which is unheard of previously! It shows just how mega popular this house is! (Can’t wait for Hell Week too!!)

Apparently too, this property’s contract is the sheer opposite of The Walking Dead’s licensing agreement, where TWD had absolutely no characters from the show in their houses and zones, this agreement supposedly has clauses that ensures Universal keeps a small batch of characters in this house at all times. According to sources, a number of characters are ‘Red Star Roles’ and their appearances are mandatory while the house is in operation. So for example, if the scareactors portraying Eleven are delayed or a problem with cast changes etc., the house cannot stay open without the characters who are ‘red starred’. Apparently, this clause is strictly enforced.

Stranger Things is so popular at the moment, would you like to see more from this awesome franchise at HHN? Let us know! And let us know what you think about the current house at HHN28!

Another early rumor for HHN29

A disturbing rumor popped across my desk at HHNU HQ this week, and its something that the long-term purist HHN fans may not be too happy about…

The rumor originates from a number of sources and was discussed on the latest Jim Hill podcast The Universal Joint. Jim refers to information he had been passed from Shelley Caran of icflorida.com where Universal are seemingly interested in toning down the level of horror at Halloween Horror Nights to make the event more family friendly – though Jim stresses 13 and up family friendly.

It was our boss Christopher Ripley who first broke the news on the show Universal After Dark where he raised his concerns of how Warner Bros for this year appear to be keeping their properties for exclusive use in their new Hollywood event Horror Made Here. Whereas last year’s HHN27 had The Shining, Texas Chain Saw and Trick r Treat (all Warners’ properties) this year only has Trick r Treat as a property from Warner (though some commentators says that TrT is now a Universal property as Legendary has moved from Warners to Universal.  They are also working on TrT 2 right now too!).

Warner’s properties for their 2018 Hollywood exclusive event include: the DC universe villains, Friday 13th, the new IT movie, Freddy Kruger, Conjuring, The Nunn and The Exorcist. Ripley said that he was concerned that if Warner’s event was successful, could this possibly lead to Warner’s preventing their vast horror catalogue from ending up at HHN in the future (remember Warner’s own New Line Cinema too).

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Jim says via his show that perhaps the best way to counter this move would be to re-focus our beloved HHN event so a more family friendly approach is taken. He cites the fact that Stranger Things at HHN28 is so genre and sphere redefining that it is now blurring the lines of horror/sci-fi/drama and with its huge audience of fans it wont be just be the diehard horror fans that are currently sweeping into the turnstiles for HHN28. Jim also says that fans shouldn’t be surprised if Stranger Things also returns for HHN29.

This all combines with an article we shared this week where Universal has now moved the popular Christian Rock Festival Rock the Universe from its September slot allowing HHN29 and on wards to start earlier in the season. This would allow HHN dates to directly compete with Disney Halloween party dates (for which start in August no less!)

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Could houses be scaled with how scary they are where less scary houses could be presented? Longtime HHN devotee and movie director Eli Roth has a brand new Universal picture coming out very soon with The House with a Clock in Its Walls. This family adventure movie combines full on fantasy with some horror type elements (the latter of which Roth is better known for). Jim asks on his show could this type of movie be repurposed for a future house at HHN? Apparently he will next be working on another ‘family friendly horror movie’ with Aleister Arcane, which is being touted as Jim Carrey’s big comeback movie and it is being produced by longtime Universal collaborators Amblin.

So all this being said is Jim Hill right? Could HHN29 and on wards be more geared towards a larger more family encompassing audience? Would toning the horror down slightly be a good move if it draws more people through the gates?

Let us know what you think!

 

First Rumor for HHN29!

HHN28 has not even started (yet) and we have our first proper rumor for HHN29!  The rumor comes from Universal’s annual Christian Rock Festival – Rock the Universe.

For many years the concerts were held right before HHN usually in the slow weeks of early September.  Last year the concerts played host to Steven Malcolm, Hollyn, The Young, and DJ Promote (plus many more).  However, the popular concerts will return for 2018, but they will be moved to February, thus removing them from their regular Fall position of early September.

So why might Universal move the concert series?  The only plausible reason can be that next year they may hope to expand the dates that HHN has been running.  Pretty much every single year since the very beginning, this event has gone from a handful of weekends in the 1990s to now where the months of September, October and November are dominated by HHN dates.  And whereas the calendar month of November is bookended by Thanksgiving and then Christmas, the month of September will now be fully open.

And if you think Universal would be crazy for extending HHN into early September (some 9 weeks before the actual date of Halloween) then we need only look at the house of mouse where Disney started their Halloween parties back at the end of August.

But there’s more, if they were to ignore this move and start the event in the same time slot as this year, that would mean the event starting on… drum roll…  Friday 13th September.  Which would be a great day for a certain Mr Voorhees!

Halloween Horror Nights possibly running into early September or even August!? Is this a good idea?  Could they also tie the event into the Froday 13th and use Jason as an icon?  Let us know your thoughts!

Awesome new RIP Tour coming to HHN Hollywood

The all-new R.I.P. Tour is Universal Studios Hollywood’s first-class ticket to terror this Halloween Horror Nights, featuring a private guided tour with trolley access, a gourmet buffet dinner, unlimited Universal Express line privileges and exclusive access to a specially-themed “Stranger Things” lounge.

A premium experience that will sell out, the R.I.P. Tour is a must for guests who prefer to scare in style. This year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” dates in Hollywood are: September 14-16, 20-22, 26-30, October 4-7, 11-14, 18-21, 25-28, 31, and November 1-3, 2018. Tickets are available for purchase at Hollywood.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

Each R.I.P. Tour accommodates groups of 12, making it ideal for large parties or smaller mix-in groups.

Highlights include:

•  Exclusive “Stranger Things” experience featuring themed photo ops, props from the popular Netflix series and scare-actor make-up demonstrations

•  Unlimited line privileges via Universal Express access to all mazes, Terror Tram and available rides

•  Private VIP trolley transportation to backlot mazes and Terror Tram

•  Reserved VIP seating at the Jabbawockeez live show

•  Gourmet buffet dinner, featuring specially-themed “Stranger Things” foods, including appropriately named Upside Down Sliders at exclusive VIP Dining Room

•  Two complimentary drinks

•  Access to the two Lounges, including the “Stranger Things” themed lounge and lounge on the theme park’s lower lot

•  Commemorative R.I.P. Tour credentials

•  Complimentary valet parking

“Halloween Horror Nights” brings together the sickest minds in horror to immerse guests in a living, breathing, three-dimensional world of terror inspired by TV and film’s most compelling horror properties.

This year’s terrifying line-up includes:

•  “Stranger Things” gives fans a chance to brace the Upside Down in this new maze inspired by Netflix’s critically-acclaimed television series

•  Poltergeist brings guests into the light based on the iconic supernatural horror film, directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg

•  “The First Purge,” based on Universal Picture’s blockbuster thriller, bears witness to the tradition that unleashed the anarchy

•  “Trick ‘r Treat” brings director Michael Dougherty’s cult Halloween classic to life daring guests to live the rules or suffer the consequences

•  “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” unmasks Haddonfield’s infamous serial killer based on the fourth installment in the classic slasher series created by John Carpenter

•  “The Horrors of Blumhous,” makes an encore performance at this year’s event, bringing leading producer of horror Jason Blum’s Truth or Dare and Unfriended blockbusters movies to life in an all new maze

•  “Universal Monsters” is inspired by Universal’s original cinematic Monsters and the studio that invented the horror film and featuring an original score produced and composed by celebrated GRAMMY® Award-winning musician, SLASH, long hailed as one of the 10-best electric guitar-players of all time

•  “The Walking Dead,” Universal Studios Hollywood’s permanent attraction inspired by AMC’s record-breaking television series, adds to the evening’s carnage

•  The Jabbawockeez award-winning hip hop dance crew returns by popular demand with an all-new, high-energy performance created exclusively for “Halloween Horror Nights”

•  The return of serial killer clown, Hollywood Harry takes a stab at the Terror Tram while guests amble about a portion of the world-famous Tram Tour.

To book your RIP Tour visit:

Hollywood.HalloweenHorrorNights.com