Jack the Clown becomes Walt Disney!?

My dear friend, actor extraordinaire and the man I have called the ‘Lon Chaney’ of his generation has taken on a new role.  Us HHN fans all know him best as the mischievous and maniacal HHN Icon: Jack the Clown; under the greasepaint he’s known to everyone else as James Keaton and has been entertaining audiences for many years in a huge variety of roles.  That’s why when local Orlando based production company needed an actor who can morph into just about anyone, they turned to James.

Layne Stein and Tony Wakim who created Pattycake Productions are releasing a number of “unexpected musicals” with various tributes, this one however is for Walt Disney.  Shot locally using the great talents of Central Florida the piece is inspired by the P.T. Barnum film The Greatest Showman and charts the history of how a boy from a quiet backwater ended up changing the world with his love of animation and storytelling.

Entitled The Disney Showman: The Legacy of Walt Disney, it is a new four minute music video charting the story of Walt using songs from the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman.  This is not the first feature in their impressive repertoire of mixing cultural references, other works include: the story of Maleficent mixed with Michael Jackson and Beauty and the Beast entwined with Juston Bieber songs (plus many more!).


Pattycake turned to James as they know they needed someone with the skill to pull-off the greatest showman of all.  Pattycake producers had worked with James a number of times, no less at HHN and when he played Beetlejuice for a number of years back in the day.  James said:

“It was great experience,” adding that he “fell in love with the concept and hope everyone enjoys it. I enjoyed going back and watching lots of Walt interviews and footage. Tony and I would send videos and stuff back and forth before production. The idea of playing Walt was a bit nerve-wracking, but once we started to play it felt comfortable.”

Click below to watch.  It is awesome whether you’re a Disney fan or not!

Thank you to Attractions Magazine for breaking this story.  For more info on Pattycake Productions, please click here.

HHN Meets RunDisney!?

Yep you read that right, Universal is currently pondering the idea of adding some kind of competitive running race to HHN and we couldn’t be more excited!  We’ve all seen runners running along the road, they pretty much look like zombies, just add in the traditional blood pouring from their nipples (yes that is a thing!) and they could just as well be the undead.  But fear not, running is not that boring, it can be fun and it is obviously a great way to stay healthy (ironically for this race’s theme).

RunDisney over at the Mouse House has been running for many years and runs very popular events that see people travel from all over the world!  The ‘Disney Difference’ is that you can run through the parks, have unique photo opportunities with selected characters and take home some exclusive bling.

So Universal are thinking of getting in the big running business, a process that they have tested over the years with a number of small employee only 5Ks being held.  This all came to light when Universal released their usual customer survey which included a number of ideas as special add-on tickets for HHN28.  Here’s the screenshot:


It’s also worth noting that the same survey also asked guests what their thoughts were about starting HHN earlier than before, say August, (though we’ve heard rumors of a Sept 14th start) and whether they’d like a VR experience back (Repository sequel).

I mean, where do they get their ideas from…

Whether Chris inspired this choice or not (likely not as they have already prepped with employee only 5Ks) it has to be seen that us at HHNU cannot be more excited for this idea!  We think it would be great and would LOVE to run a 5K whilst getting chased by Scareactors – it is GENIUS.  Please do it!!

Would you love to see this?  Would you take part?  Let us know!

Featured image courtesy of Mary DiNapoli

We’ve cracked a HHN code!

Every single year for Halloween Horror Nights there has been dozens upon dozens of rumors about certain properties coming to the event. One of the Properties that is hot on the rumor chain right now and just finished filming is Halloween.  We’ve looked at the clues and we believe we’ve cracked them!  This IP fits the clues given so far and here’s why…

For those unaware Halloween is having a new movie being released in 2018 that is being produced by Blumhouse who have worked with Universal on The Horrors of Blumhouse Maze from last year (plus many others!). Recently, Halloween finished up filming and will probably start post production soon. Halloween has been at the event back in 2014 for Orlando, 2015 for Hollywood, and 2016 for both. All of this mazes have been loved by both the HHN Fans Community and the wider General Public.  And the HHN Gods also love Halloween

Could Michael Aiello be hinting at Halloween by going to the Myers House? Before HHN27 Michael tweeted out about reading The Shining and then it came to the Event.

Could this also been a Hint towards Halloween coming back?

Murdy had dropped a hint of a film called “Terror in the Aisles”  that will lead you to a Codename.  John Beal did the Soundtrack for the film. “John” is a common name. John Beal. John Murdy. John Carpenter. John Beal also did the Soundtrack to the film and the Intro Track to the film is a Copy/Nod of the Halloween 2 Main Theme.

Could John Murdy be saying that since the new Halloween film is coming out that since “Terror in the Aisles” Opening Track is a Copy of the Halloween 2 Main Theme and the New Film coming out this year is supposed to be a Direct sequel to the original. So is John Murdy saying that Blumhouse’s Halloween is the REAL Halloween 2? 


In addition there has been a Leaked Lineup that went around Inside Universal that had mentioned Halloween coming back to the Event.

The final thing I have to say that could be a sign of Halloween coming to the Event is a article that came out a few days after last year’s opening night via Forbes.

So whilst we were all distracted by HHN27, Murdy was laying the groundwork for HHN28!

Murdy: “We have a great relationship with Jason Blum and I certainly have my eye on his new Halloween film which will be released in October 2018. We’re always trying to keep our fingers on the pulse of where the horror genre is going and Michael Meyers is one of my favorite properties. I’m really excited to actually have Jason here to celebrate the opening night with us and I’m going to probably hit him up for a copy of the script.”

Jason: “You say John Murdy already has his eye on Halloween for next year? Oh boy. I’m getting him a script immediately, we have to do Halloween. Are you kidding me? We have to do it, we hope to, he hasn’t agreed but that would be amazing. We did announce that Jamie Lee Curtis will be returning to Halloween, that’s correct, but will there be any more legacy surprises for fans? There might be. No comment.”

Mr Sandman bring us a dream… Do you think Halloween is coming back for HHN28? Are you excited for it? Let us know in the Comments!


Where’s the dates?!

One year ago today, the dates for HHN27 were announced. Here we are on the same day and we’re still unsure what date HHN28 will begin, though we have ideas….

Last Year’s Timeline

Before uncovering the most educated guess on the event dates for this year’s Horror Nights, let’s take a look at the timeline for last year’s announcements.

  • February 23: Dates officially announced. 34 nights of terror at Universal Studios Florida
  • March 29: First house announcement; American Horror Story
  • May 19: The Shining house announced
  • June 7: Tickets officially available for purchase
  • July 27: Ash vs. Evil Dead house announced
  • August 15: Bill and Ted announced to be the last year of the long running show
  • August 16: The Games of Jigsaw house announced
  • August 17: Scare zones and shows revealed
  • August 24: Commercial directed by Eli Roth released
  • August 29: Horrors of Blumhouse announced
  • August 31: All original concept houses announced

As you can see, they really held back last year until August, with a whopping 6 house reveals. This made a lot of die hard fans very anxious as well as generated lots of hype and speculation. Going by this timeline, that would mean that the dates could be announced quite soon.

Going back a ways though, we see a trend of the event dates being announced later and later. The 24th year of the event, we saw an unmatched, next day date announcement that came in the form of a thank you to guests and media for the immense success of HHN24. The end of the video was interrupted by jack the clown and ended with the dates of the 2015 event. It effectively teased Jack the Clown as well as announced the dates. Although the video was publically released on HHN’s official Facebook and other avenues on November 1st, the same night as the final night of the event, the video was sent to certain media companies (ex. Inside the Magic and Theme Park Review) on a flash drive EVEN EARLIER on Halloween 2014.

Ever since Horror Nights 25, event dates have been announced later and later. Will this trend continue and we won’t learn of this year’s dates for perhaps another month or so? This, unfortunately, is in UO’s hands.

HHN28’s Likeliest Dates

Going to a calendar, we can see that Friday, September 14th is the most likely opening date for Horror Nights 28. The going trend of the event is a mid September opening; 27 began on Sept. 15, 26 began on Sept. 16, 25 on Sept. 18, etc.

 Our predictions for the 2018 HHN event dates



Our predictions call for 34 possible nights of the event, with the first Wednesday being October 3rd. There could be more than 34 nights during the run of HHN28, however, because there are some dates in question. We are unsure of the possibility of any of the following dates being event nights as well; October 29, 30, and November 1st and 4th.

Last year’s Halloween fell on a Tuesday, and the Monday before it saw Horror Nights open. This year, Halloween lands on a Wednesday, leaving Monday and Tuesday possible haunt nights for Universal Orlando. November 1st and 4th are question marks as well, being that the last weekend is always a bit off. For the past two years, the last weekend did not contain a Thursday or a Sunday, but we have seen events get extended in the past to meet demands or weather closures.

We are keeping our fingers crossed and our eyes open for the official unveiling of this year’s Halloween Horror Nights event dates, and we’ll get them to your own eyeballs the second they’re out!

The Walking Dead Returns… but NOT how you think!

From 2012 to 2016 the popular walker franchise ‘The Walking Dead’ haunted both the streets and houses of HHN Orlando.  Starting off with a single house in 2012 with ‘The Walking Dead: Dead Inside’ the popularity of the show grew enough for the whole event to be walker themed in the following year where every single scarezone was themed to this franchise.  The houses and zones would keep coming until 2016’s ‘best of’ house featuring various scares and popular set pieces from the series would complete the show’s reign of terror at HHN.

Fans of the show have loved experiencing the sets and scares of the show where most of the seasons have been represented (though weirdly none of the characters were) but HHN fans have been less than positive.  HHN fans have decryed from the roof tops of their boredom of the repeated visits of the walkers and their lack of character driven narrative thanks for the most part as the absence of the actors likenesses in any of the houses and zones.  But fear not HHN fans, TWD isn’t coming back in a way you think…

We’ve heard from 3 sources, 2 of which are trusted, that many of the masks, props, costumes and setpieces from the 5 years of TWD back catalogue are currently being refurbished for use at HHN28 in Orlando.  It appears from what we’ve heard that the masks particularly are being altered and “re-colored” for use of another possible hoard of zombies coming this Fall.  But for what purpose?

The rumor according to one source it would appear that a scarezone, probably around the Fast and Furious area, is being designed to celebrate the life and times of George A. Romero who sadly passed away last July.  The rumor goes that since he passed there has been a huge increase of interest in his work and what he did for the horror genre.  For those not in the know, Romero is the grandfather of zombie horror, starting with Night of the Living Dead (1968), which is often considered the genesis of the modern fictional zombie genre. Other films in the series include Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985) (including their remakes).  Aside from this series, his works include The Crazies (1973), Martin (1978), Creepshow (1982), Monkey Shines (1988), The Dark Half (1993) and Bruiser (2000).

The rumor says that Universal via HHN want to honor his work and provide a scarezone that not only scares HHN goers but also shows the evolution of the zombie genre.  The very first movie that kickstarted the whole zombie on film craze was ‘Night of the Living Dead’ shot on a very low budget.  Shot on black and white film it terrified audiences with it’s gritty realism and tension packed pace.  It is this the rumor says is to be used for the refurbished masks and costumes where the masks will be hand painted black and white in honor of this genesis movie.

The backup for this rumor comes from two areas.  The first is the legal side of proceedings where the ‘Night’ movie is now supposedly public realm and not officially recognized by copyright.  It appears that the original distributor (Walter Reade Organization) did not copyright the original prints.  And in 1968 US law defined that all original prints required a copyright.  As this never happened if could mean that other media companies could use the source material for their own means.  In the 1980s a slew of zombie pictures were released all with the same similar ‘night’ prefix that indicates this absence of any proper copyright.

The copright issues are explained here:

The other factor is Romero’s passing.  Since he left this mortal coil there has been a release of novels, books, graphic novels, mentions and merch all honoring his life and work.  The idea could be that a fitting tribute be made for this year’s HHN in Orlando that honors him and educates everyone how he created this zombie genre and how without him we would not have the huge cacophony of zombie movies/books/TV shows etc that we have today.  Black and White zombies at HHN have also been done before but this was in a house, so how they’ll work outdoors in a zone would be very interesting to find out.

So there you have it: 3 tips and some rumors to belt it all up.  Are we right?  Well only Universal knows that.  We’ll just have to wait until September 2018…

For more info on Romero read our tribute to him that our HHNU staffer Rob wrote last year HERE.

Would you like to see a Romero tribute scarezone?  Do you think this would work?  Let us know in the comments!

Our buddy Fowl Owlerson helped contribute to this article, go read his blog HERE.

Recent HHN Marketing Wins and Fails!

In the last couple of days HHN has received heaps of praise and complaints in equal measures.  Firstly the praise which came in the form of Universal Orlando winning an “Addy” at the 2018 Orlando American Advertising Awards in the film and TV category for their commercial for HHN27.

Directed by famed horror director Eli Roth the 1min 48 long commercial named “The Best Nightmares – Director’s Cut” won out against other TV marketing campaigns to win the top spot at the local awards.  For those that want a trip down memory lane to see this awesome commercial, click below:

The praise comes for Orlando as the marketing campaign for Resorts World Sentosa Singapore’s HHN comes under heavy scrutiny.   The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) reported this week that half of all the complaints these received last year from concerned citizens related to HHN.

The complaints focused on publicity stunts that the resort made to better publicize their HHN event on social media, these included three fake memorials located at bus shelters, with the names and photos – along with flowers – of “victims” of a fictional Southpoint Mall disaster, with complainers calling the campaign “tasteless” and “insensitive”.

Another stunt even included a campaign where people had to help locate a missing girl and an advertisement featuring self harm.  ASAS said: “As the feedback was received at the end of the advertisement’s run, the advertiser agreed to take ASAS’ feedback into consideration for future Halloween events.”


They continued: “ASAS informed the advertiser who created the advertisement that depicted self-harm during Halloween, that it had breached the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP) guidelines on violence and influence to children and young people. As the feedback was received at the end of the advertisement’s run, the advertiser agreed to take ASAS’s feedback into consideration for future Halloween events. Advertisers are reminded that advertisements addressed to or likely to influence children and young people should not contain anything that might influence them to harm themselves mentally, morally or physically.”

It can be said that perhaps the mistakes made last year at HHN Singapore are exactly the mistakes that Orlando has avoided by not allowing Sindy to icon the event.  Speaking of Orlando and to end on a positive note, Universal Orlando didn’t just win for HHN at the Addy’s!  They also won best Social Media Video for their highly popular fan video, “You Know You’re an UOAP When…”.  The short video was wildly popular across social media and featured some very familiar HHN alumni sending up their former HHN roles.  If you didn’t catch it, see this incredibly well done and now ‘award winning’ video below!

That’s it for now and we hope to bring you more news and rumors for HHN28 as we receive them…

Haunts around the US: Jacksonville, FL

During our travels we were able to swing by a local haunt in Jacksonville called “Warehouse 31 Unleashed” for their special Valentine’s Day themed haunt, and boy were we glad we did…

Welcome to Warehouse 31

Continuing on our “Haunts Around the US” series, we find ourselves on Beach Boulevard, in a seemingly innocent shopping plaza. Here lies Warehouse 31 Unleashed, “North Florida’s largest haunted house.” We happened to be in the area doing other things this particular Saturday night and read about this haunt so we just had to check it out. This turned out to be one of our greatest decisions thus far in 2018.

The entire property spanned a large warehouse in a shopping plaza as well as an entire row of the parking lot, which had the ticketing booth, two food trucks, and three decorative vehicles, including a bloody ice cream truck.

Just driving into this place got us excited when we saw all the decorations, the huge amount of fog looming over the entire area, and great looking scareactors roaming about the parking lot.

Aforementioned bloody ice cream truck


4 Haunted Houses For The Price of One!

Before moving on, I must explain: This haunted attraction is actually 4 haunted houses that are connected together into what is effectively one long maze with 4 queue areas. Each house exits into the next house’s queue. Groups are sent into each house IMG_5204individually, which in our case it was just us two in there. Staff allow one group inside at a time, and allow the next group in many minutes later (luckily for us there was only one group ahead of us and one group behind us, so there was no waiting). Our entire walkthrough experience took 40 minutes, though we could have been in there longer if we walked slower than we already were, which was definitely slower than your typical HHN haunted house. Anyhow, after purchasing our tickets, we entered the harmless looking shopping plaza. We were greeted by a clown in a kissing booth and a somewhat large queue area. The entire area was quite dark and filled with fog, in fact it was a bit tough to see. This was the entrance to the first haunted house, which had a circus theme and was full of clowns.


Something that really made this haunt stand out is it’s incredibly numerous actors in it’s cast, and all very talented. In fact, I was told there were 65 actors inside on the night we went, and between 7 and 8 “roaming” actors in the queues, outdoor areas, and photo op section. Many of the actors will speak to you, tell you where to go, and even give you tasks to complete to continue. They can get quite face to face with you, and even block your path and not allow you to proceed. These interactions were all highlights of the overall experience. Let’s not forget, though, that on top of this huge cast, there are a number of animatronics, all very well placed and effective.

The second house of the walkthrough was called “Voodoo” and contained New Orleans swamp lands and black magic themes, the third house was a butchery and meat packing plant called “Mr. Tasty’s”, and the fourth was called “Fear Lab,” a sort of asylum where experiments are conducted on humans.



Fear Lab

Besides the great acting and overall tone throughout the whole walkthrough, another thing to note on this haunt is the impressive make up. The masks all fit well, all prosthetics were quite convincing, and all the actors with just make up on looked great to boot.

Warehouse 31 Unleashed is receiving our stamp of approval, and along with that an incredibly strong recommendation for our readers to go and visit. Smiling from ear-to-ear throughout our entire experience, I can definitely say we haven’t had this much fun and scares at a local haunt since Mysterious Mansion in Tennessee (see our review here)We will definitely be returning for any future special events throughout the year as well as during the Halloween season.

Mr. Tasty took a selfie for me


There are still two more nights to check this out. Tonight, Sunday February 11, and Valentine’s Day itself, Wednesday Feb. 14. This is a really fun and scary attraction that, if possible, haunt fans should come check out. You can visit Warehouse 31’s website here.


Robbiween in photos

We recently checked out Robbiween and told you what it’s all about here, but now it’s time to show you all the photos we were able to take of the cool stuff up for auction!

The Silent Auction

The participants of the Robbiween panels from Busch Gardens, Sea World, and Universal Studios donated many of their own personal possessions for the silent auction to help the cause of raising money. There was a plethora of really awesome, even rare and autographed memorabilia from HHN past and the like. Noteable items included coffee with some of the theme park higher ups, and James Keaton autographed prints.

Yes, that is a fortune teller in the background, and he was available for readings.



From left to right; Paper model of The Haunted Mansion (Disney Attraction), limited edition Jack the Clown and The Caretaker LEGO minifigures, a female bust with crown of thorns, and a Howl-O-Scream icon model.


The actual mask used by Glenn Strange!


The item on the left is a prop used in Jaws


Many of you may recognize these, also for sale at the Prop Shop on Universal property





Paper model of the facade of the HHN house “Gothic”

The Panels

The three different discussion panels that took place were Halloween Horror Nights, rides and attractions at Sea World and Busch Gardens, and finally Howl-O-Scream. Each panel had a host that would break the ice and begin discussion, and then open the floor for questions. We learned a lot about the ins and outs of their respective positions, how they go about achieving certain goals, and heard some pretty humourous anecdotes. You can check out the first two minutes of the HHN panel on our Facebook page here.




We would definitely recommend anyone who is a huge fan of haunted attractions or even just haunts in general to attend Robbiween to really get the insights they were always looking for, or purchase an exclusive collectors item.

Stranger Things for HHN28?

Halloween Horror Nights is around the corner. Every year, HHN dazzles the fans with great houses full of horror themes and movies from all around the world. This makes the Halloween experience exceptional and this year’s HHN is almost here, and fans from around the world are set to have a good time. This year, however, rumors are everywhere that Stranger Things is about to make the list of houses at HHN. This alone has drawn so much attention, and everyone is hoping the rumors are true. Anticipation is in the air, this year promises to be one of the best as the fans are loving it, so what could a Stranger Things house look like?

Currently, Stranger Things only has two seasons, and the house would likely feature scenes from both seasons. The house of the main character, Will Byer, would make a great entrance (facade) into the world of the upside down filled with caves and outstanding creatures. Taking a journey through the upside-down world is an experience to look forward to. Walking through the various laboratories and the giant pathway created by the psychokinetic Eleven will surely feel exhilarating. Apart from that, the suspense of what will happen next where the danger may be coming from is something that all the fans hope to experience. Nothing beats watching a horror movie more than starring in a real one with a rush of adrenaline to boot!

Should Universal Studios Add Stranger Things?

The scareactors in the house will most probably be the Demogorgon and there should be various roles for Will, Eleven and the other characters in the show.

Universal Studios is known to give the fans what they want, and the fans want Stranger Things. This will present a gold mine if they take advantage of it. Apart from the profit, they will make from it; Universal Studios would have succeeded in, once again, exhibiting customer loyalty but also showing they listen.  But of course, the Universal creatives love the show as much as the fans so I am sure they can’t wait to create the heavily detailed environs too. So why should Stranger Things be featured in HHN this year?

1) It’s The Fans Favorite

As earlier mentioned, the fans love the show, and because they love it, they would like to experience it. So, this alone is enough reason why Universal Studios should add it this year. The show is literally the biggest property right now on Netflix, a real hit out of the park that nobody saw coming.

2) It Brings In A Different Theme

Most HHN houses revolve around strictly horror movies. The themes of all the houses are usually death and fear. But Stranger Things brings in a new concept. It looks at horror from a Sci-Fi view. It’s not just about killing. It combines stuff like psychokinesis and various abstract add-ons that place it in a league of its own. This will be a new perspective to the HHN.

3) Universal teasing us?

I sat down with HHNU Grand Poobah, Christopher Ripley, who said back in November Stranger Things was likely and he said that it can surely be “a matter of time before Stranger Things hits HHN”.  He also pointed to these clues laid out by Universal’s marketing team over the last few months…

There’s this one back in October:

And these from a few months ago, where the Stranger Things cast were all spotted at Universal Orlando…

And maybe even this… with “THINGS”….?

Maybe the last one is a bit tenuous but it does seem like someTHING is happening at Universal Orlando…

In conclusion, HHN28 is around the corner and it will be here before we know it. We are all anticipating its arrival. But in the midst of the anticipation we have to hope that Universal Studios will give its fans what they want. Everyone is hoping that Stranger Things will be added to one of the houses of HHN. Adding Stranger Things to the mix will make this year’s HHN a great hit. People don’t just want to watch movies, they want to experience them!

So there you have it, is Stranger Things coming to HHN28?  Would you like to get lost in the Underworld?  Will we get a cameo of Barb?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments!


Get Your HHN Fix With “Robbiween”

group of theme park designers and other creative types are coming together to help one of their own. Saturday’s three-panel forum and a silent auction will benefit Robbi Lepre,

A group of theme park designers, including our pals from Universal’s HHN design team are working together to create “Robbiween”.  The event has been drawn up to benefit Robbi Lepre.  Robbie literally created Howl-O-Scream from the ground up and has worked for a number of years at Busch Gardens Tampa.  The reasoning behind the benefit is that Robbi has been quite ill and has very large medical expenses.  She has been such a supporter of theme park design but also haunt design that many in the industry feel it simply wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for her work.

Initially, the idea was to use the annual fan favorite of the Entertainment Designer’s Forum to help fund raise for Robbi but instead a whole new event dedicated to the woman and haunt design impartially will be held.  Kim Gromoll who works in scenic design for Universal Creative and Tom Geraghty, director of innovation for Universal Creative will invite a vast number of different theme park designers and creatives to either contribute or attend the event.

Two panels each respectively covering the gritty design details of Halloween Horror Nights and Howl-O-Scream will be held at the event.  A third panel will cover “The Design and Installation of Iron Rides” and will cover the history of use of these popular attractions. Guests will also have the opportunity to bid on over 100 different items from the archives of theme park history.  Items include: A Jack the Clown standee, rare HHN pins and coins, HHN masks and artwork.

Robbiween is set for this Saturday Feb. 3rd from noon until 6pm at the Garden Theatre, 160 W. Plant St., Winter Garden. Admission is $40 for all the three panels and access to the silent action. Tickets are available at the door. All profits from the event will go to help cover medical costs for Robbi Lepre.

For more information, go to facebook.com/robbiween.