The Connection Between A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday 13th and The Evil Dead

Halloween Horror Nights has given us several memorable haunted houses based off of intellectual proprieties (IPs) over the last twenty-seven years.  The list of IPs has grown to include A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and The Evil Dead.  Each of these films are considered classics from the 1980’s and have immense cult-like devotion from their fans.  That being said, most people do not realize that these movies are connected due to a few cleverly placed props.

It all began with a poster

While watching, “The Hill Have Eyes,” Sam Raimi noticed a scene with a half ripped poster from,”Jaws.” Raimi interpreted this as the movie’s director Wes Craven saying the movie was scarier then, “Jaws.” So, once Raimi finally got his shot to direct he decided to reference the half ripped poster in his movie, “The Evil Dead.” During the scene were Ash and Scott explore the cabin’s basement a half ripped poster from, “The Hills Have Eyes,” can be clearly seen on the wall.  So, Raimi is trying to say that, “The Hill Have Eyes,” is only as half as scary as ,”The Evil Dead.”

Wes plays along

Once, Wes Crave saw, “The Evil Dead,” and heard why Sam Raimi placed  a, “Hills Have Eyes,” poster in the film he decided to play along.  Craven winked back at Raimi by including a scene in ,”A Nightmare on Elm Street,” where lead character Nancy is watching, “The Evil Dead,” on her television while trying to stay up.

If the glove fits

Loving the fact that Wes Craven referenced his film in, “A Nightmare on Elm Street,”  he decided to take it to the next level in the sequel, “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn.”  This time around Raimi referenced, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” by including two scenes where Freddy’s glove is clearly seen hanging in the background. The first scene is when Ash goes into the woodshed and Freddy’s glove can be seen hanging over the door frame.  The final reference can be seen when Ash in wondering in the basement looking for the missing pages of the Necronomicon Ex-Moris, or the Book of the Dead.

A Book is only worth what it is printed on

After the dismal box-office results of, “Friday the 13th part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan,” Paramount Pictures sold the franchise rights to New Line Cinemas in 1990.  This lead to one of the weirdest entries in the Friday the 13th series, “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.”   In this film, Creighton Duke reads a spell from the Necronomicon, while another character stabs Jason with the Kandarian dagger.

The Ending or the Beginning everyone wanted

By now, everyone knows how, “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday,” ends. Freddy’s glove comes out of the ground and crushes Jason’s mask. This was the ending that every fanboy wanted and it lead to the film, “Freddy vs. Jason.” However, with the inclusion of the Necronomicon and Kandarian dagger many fans wanted a sequel called, “Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash.” The fanboys never did get this movie, but they instead got a limited six issue comic series published by Wildstorm and Dynamite Entertainment. This series ran from November 2007 until March 2008.

This could be the greatest house ever built…

This leads me to wonder why Halloween Horror Nights have not created a Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash house yet?  I believe this would be an incredible house and the billing alone would draw in the fans.  Please Universal give us a mega house that combines scenes from all three franchises and climaxes with Ash breaking out his boom stick and  chainsaw to send Freddy and Jason back to Hell!

So, did you know all these facts? Are you still hoping for a Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash movie? Do you think this would make a great HHN House?  Let us know!

My Top Five HHN Houses

My love for Halloween Horror Nights began almost four short years ago when I was lucky enough to attend HHN 25.  That year’s event showcased nine incredible haunted houses, five scarezones and brought back everyone’s favorite icon Jack the clown.  I was hooked the second I walked into one of the haunted houses and have been back every year since. Here are my top five favorite HHN houses from the last three Halloween Horror Nights.

1. Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem

This was the very first HHN house I ever dared to walk into and it set the bar for the rest. I was completely blown away with all the amount of detail that each scene contained. It was literally like being in all the monster movies I grew up watching. This house still has the honor of being the only one to actually make me jump from a scare. This was all due to the perfect timing of the scareactors and a well built false wall.

2. American Horror Story (Murder House/Freak Show/Hotel)

2016’s American Horror Story uber maze was the star of Halloween Horror Nights 26.  The Universal creative team did an incredible job combining the three seasons of: Murder House, Freak Show and Hotel into one house of pure adrenaline.  Even if you are not a fan of this show the house featured Twisty the clown, who is down right creepy and the actors that portrayed the character were on point.

3. Scarecrow The Reaping

Scarecrow The Reaping was the best house of Halloween Horror Nights 27 and some believe it may be the best house ever. This original concept maze had you walk through a farm during the 1930’s dust bowl, while being attacked by a pack of scarecrows.  What made this so memorable were the narrow halls that made everything feel claustrophobic.  Plus, it seemed that the actors were jumping at you from every corner possible.  Another bonus for this house was the facade, which included actual rows of corn that only helped you believe you were actually on a farm.

4. Insidious

HHN 25’s Insidious house took users through the further as shown in the first two chapters of the movie series.  You could tell who ever designed this house was a fan of the movies series, because every scare from the movies were included into this house. What I remember the most from this house was waking into a room and seeing the lipstick demon jump at the person in front of me. Trying to act all bad ass I looked the actor in the eyes as they slowly went backwards into a false wall only to see the actor’s eyes look past me as if something was hidden out of my sight. I figured go with it, so I turned around to find another lipstick demon right behind me looking over my shoulder.

5. The Exorcist 

The Exorcist was HHN 26’s most anticipated house and it lived up to all the hype. First, I would like to point out that the movie is considered one of the scariest movies of all time and Universal took on a huge challenge trying to create many of its memorable scenes.  What I remember most about this house was the smell of pea soup as you walked past vomit stained sheets.  This house scared my sister-in-law so bad that she refused to do anymore houses that night.

So, what are your favorite Halloween Horror Nights houses? Let us know!

Three Scarezones Announced!

Although scarezone announcements aren’t as exciting as House announcements, they’re a huge part of the event and make the experience that much greater. Today we learned about three scarezones we’ll see this coming HHN28

The Harvest

Last year’s House of the Year award winner “Scarecrow: The Reaping” is making it’s comeback for HHN28, and this time it’s in the form of a scarezone! That’s right, the frightening characters of last year’s scariest haunted house attraction are coming back, and this time outside of the confines of a haunted house! The scarezone will be themed as a large farmhouse, decorated with trinkets from each haunted house featured this year at HHN28

Vamp ‘85

As another callback to a previous Horror Nights event, Vamp ‘85 is a sequel to the HHN26 scarezone, Vamp ‘55. Whereas two years ago the scarezone was a high school pep-rally and parade being over-run by vampires, this scarezone takes us 30 years into this fictitious timeline. This time, though, it’s not a high school football hype party; it’s a New Year’s Eve party! Expect lots of confetti!

Twisted Tradition

Remember how Central Park was decorated with over 200 jack-o-lanterns in the Trick R Treat scarezone? This year the pumpkins are back, but this time they’re a bit rotten. The description of this scarezone is rather vague so far, but our understanding tells us to expect rotting pumpkin-people and other decaying creatures.

As always, check back with us here at HHNU for the lastest updates on HHN28!

 

Survey Hints at Possible REPEAT Houses & Numbers for HHN28

A survey was released today from Universal Orlando on the topic of HHN28. The survey primarily asked users about which years that they had attended HHN in the past and what expectations they had over the number of IP houses (external well known properties) or original concept houses.

This was all very interesting as the survey made reference to 10 houses and 2 shows through the different topics, which therefore suggests that Universal is likely planning on these numbers for HHN28. As of yet, Universal has not confirmed the number of houses, scarezones or shows but has hinted at a number similar to last year.

IMG_1782.png

The other tidbit of information was the below list of houses from past years that hint as to whether you’d be happy about them returning to the event, essentially being repeats. Whereas Orlando hardly ever repeats houses, it is common in the wider haunt industry to repeat various houses from previous years. The list is interesting as it contains two houses, which are highly rumored for this year, namely Halloween and Asylum in Wonderland. Which begs the question as to why Universal would want to know whether you’d be pleased to see these houses return?

 

Anyhow, this is just a quick update from us as it is very likely other official updates from Universal Orlando must surely be around the corner! Are you excited if any of these houses would return? Let us know in the comments!

Trick r’ Treat Returns for HHN28

Beginning September 14, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood will bring Legendary Pictures’ cult Halloween classic Trick ‘r Treat to life in all-new Halloween Horror Nights mazes that dare guests to live by the rules or suffer the consequences.

Based on the critically-acclaimed and fan-favorite movie, directed by Michael Dougherty, the “Trick ‘r Treat” maze will transport guests to Warren Valley, Ohio on Halloween night to celebrate the holiday’s dark traditions. Recreating some of the anthology’s most iconic scenes, the disturbing new maze invites brave thrill-seekers to become entwined within the secrets of this sleepy suburban town.

Guests will experience some of the film’s most grisly scenes and encounter hauntingly familiar characters. They will meander through Mr. Kreeg’s infamous house, watch as college students viciously transform into bloodthirsty werewolves and dismember the town, as well as come face-to-face with Sam – the spirit of Halloween – who readies to punish those who break the holiday’s tradition.

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 25 years, guests from around the world have visited “Halloween Horror Nights” in Hollywood and Orlando to become victims inside their own horror film. Multiple movie-quality mazes based on iconic horror television shows, films and original stories come to life season after season. And, the streets of each coast’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing scare-actors lunge from every darkened corner.

Additional details about Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” will be revealed soon. Select tickets and vacation packages for Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights are on sale now. For more information about “Halloween Horror Nights” at either Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

Was Trick ‘r Treat Accidentally Announced Last Night?

That’s right HHN fans it appears beloved Halloween property Trick ‘r Treat was accidentally released last night via Universal Orlando’s Youtube page, before moments later being swiftly deleted.

hhnremove

Luckily, HHN fans quickly jumped on the video and re-uploaded it to Youtube.  So will we get the rumored announcement this week instead?  Will we see Sam return to HHN and make all HHN fanboys very happy?  Well it seems very, very likely that the official announcement must be imminent…

 

Would A Quiet Place Make a Good HHN House?

“A Quiet Place,” tells the story of the Abbott family trying to live in complete silence to hide from creatures that hunt by sound.  In no way is this movie scary, but it definitely has some incredibly suspenseful moments.  The amount of details each character puts into trying to remain silent is beyond brilliant.  Such details include speaking in sign language, sound proofing rooms, and even painting walking paths on the home’s floor to prevent the children from walking on squeaky floorboards.

Personally, I would have to say this one of the smartest horror films I have seen in quite awhile. There are some many details in this film that I would recommend watching it a few times, so that you may pick-up on them all. This film takes scenes of children playing and turns them their ears when you realize later that the kids where not playing at all, but instead practicing their role in a planned family escape plan. The only complaint I could see anyone having with this movie would the ending. I personally liked how the movie end, but it is definitely one of those sudden cuts to black, hear the sound of a cash register ring and roll credits.  To me this leaves the audience wanting more and thirsty to see a sequel.

Now, the most important question could this story line work as a Halloween Horror Nights house.  I think this would make an incredible maze if it was built in the fashion of last year’s ,”Scarecrow: The Reaping.”  You could even keep the facade, since the Abbott family lives on a farm with cornfields. The rest would be simple, just have sudden loud audible cues and then have a monster jump out at you.

Come on Universal make this happen please!  Have you seen it and do you think this would be a good house?

Farewell to the King Baby!!!

For those of you that may not know STARZ has put the series, “Ash vs, Evil Dead,” to rest after airing the season finale for the show’s lackluster season three.  Season three has been very hit and miss to say the least, relying on a very convoluted plot and recycling old gags  from the original trilogy of movies. Some of the recycled gags included Ash battling an evil version of himself and the series ending with the original planned finale for, “The Army of Darkness.”  I will not give any spoilers away for those of you that still have not seen this finale, but I will say the only way it could have been worse would be by having Ash sit next to the Ghostbeaters and eat onion rings while listening to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.”

Furthermore, Bruce Campbell has now come out and announced that he will no longer act as the character Ashley J. Williams, thus putting a final nail in the ,”Evil Dead,” coffin.  I would like to thank Mr. Campbell for his thirty plus years of dedication to the character of Ash Williams and making sure he always appeared as a every man that anyone could identify with.  Mr. Campbell, I am sure you have many awesome projects on your radar, but I secretly hope you or your agent get Budweiser on the phone and make you the new king of beers. That way we can go from, “Dilly, Dilly!” to ,”Hail to the King of Beers Baby!!!”  Not to mention there is a Budweiser brewery in your character Ash J. Williams’s favorite vacation spot Jacksonville, Florida.

It is hard to imagine that just last year Ash vs. Evil Dead was a house at Halloween Horror Nights 27.  Rest in peace Ashley J. Williams a.k.a Ashley Slashy.

Gone but NEVER forgotten!  Thank you for an awesome HHN house.

Extra Day Added to Jurassic Park Celebration Due to Demand!

The roar just got more thunderous at Universal Studios Hollywood with exciting updates to the Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary Celebration inviting guests to be a part of an exclusive event that pays homage to the blockbuster action-adventure that brought dinosaurs out of extinction a quarter century ago.

Due to popular demand, the May 11-12 event has been extended to include Sunday, May 13. The event will also feature special guest appearances by those who worked the films as well as an all-new Raptor Encounter exclusive.  One insider even remarked to HHNU that this celebration is like HHN for JP lovers!

This first-ever themed Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary Celebration, created in partnership with Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, is a separately ticketed event. Space is limited and tickets, which can be purchased here, will sell out.

The multi-faceted immersive Celebration includes a private screening of the epic Jurassic Park at Universal CityWalk’s all-new, state-of-the-art Universal Cinema. The exciting showcase will also re-release the film’s original trailer.

The remainder of the event, which includes exclusive after-hours access, will take place within Universal Studios Hollywood, adjacent to the theme park’s thrilling “Jurassic Park—The Ride.”

Guests will enjoy unlimited access to all things Jurassic, from the acclaimed theme park ride, to original props, including the Gyrosphere as seen in the record-breaking Jurassic World, original dinosaur maquettes, costume displays and an interactive expo area. Themed food and merchandise along with live entertainment will complement the experience.

As an extension of this fun element, guests will be invited to dress up as their favorite character from the franchise. Please visit www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com/JP25 for costume guidelines requirements.

More information is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com. Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.

More info below…

Scareactor Stories: Nicholas Cappelletti

 

Hey there HHNU readers, my name is Nicholas Cappelletti. For the past 2 years I’ve been fortunate enough to be a scareactor at Halloween Horror Nights. HHNU reached out to me to share some tales from my time as a Scareactor….

Halloween Horror Nights 26 was my first ever year attending HHN or any haunted attraction in my life, however, it wasn’t intentional that it took me to the 26th year of HHN to attend as a guest, or even perform. I had the opportunity back in 2008 to check out  Halloween Horror Nights 18 with my family, but I saw a guest at Disney walking around with a Bloody Mary themed shirt, and as a young child I was so spooked by what I saw on that shirt. I unfortunately decided to keep to kid friendly activities. Pretty dumb in hindsight, especially considering the fact that the majority of the HHN community believes HHN18 was one of the event’s greatest years.

img_6152

“Scareacting is an addiction.”

The rush one feels when they put the fear of potential death in someone is exhilarating. For my first year scareacting at HHN26, I made sure to listen to the returning veterans, as their advice really helped me find out which scare technique would be best for different people. Sometimes people would just look at me when I emerged from my “boo hole,” but most of the time I would either have people freaked out running to the next room, or my favorite when someone gets so scared they drop to the floor. I can remember cast members and I would tell each other how many bodies we dropped after each set was over.

I met so many wonderful and amazing people in my first cast. The chemistry we had when we first met can only be described as “lightning in a bottle.” Besides the wonderful friends I made in my first year, the moment that really took the cake was when we won House of the Year.

img_6153-1

If the above picture didn’t give it away, I was part of the incredible cast of American Horror Story, playing Larry Harvey aka “Burned Man”.

As the season kicked off, the cast as a whole could tell that we were doing something special, and breaking the all time house attendance record TWICE was something that really gave the cast a purpose to create even more horrific nightmares for the guests. Us  scareactors in the Season 1 area knew we had to set the tone for the rest of the guest’s experience throughout the rest of the house (season 4 and 5) and I feel we hit that goal every single night.

img_6154

When auditions for HHN27 arrived I knew if I was selected, this would be my final year scareacting. Although I had hopeful plans, and dreams of going on until HHN30, those dreams were unfortunately squashed. We’ll get to that part later…….

img_6155

“I couldn’t believe it!”

When I found out I would help in representing one of the greatest horror movies in history I honestly got quite nervous. When I found out my role before I showed up to costume fitting, I nearly fainted. I held the outfit of the great Jack Torrance in my hands, and I was literally shaking. Not only was I excited, but I also wanted to make sure to do the best job possible representing this character and the actor who portrayed him.

My new role in my second year was to be what I had looked for last year; a mentor. I helped any first years whenever possible, and even learned new scaring techniques myself along the way. If there is anything I took from scareactors who have been scaring for more than 10 years, it’s that you are constantly learning, improving, and enjoying this event in many different ways. Jack Torrance had the best scare out of both my years as a scareactor, in my opinion, because it was so well hidden. I could pop out with an axe, have a guest drop to the floor, and immediately vanish back into the hedges.

Probably the greatest experience out of both years came during HHN27. I was in a spot in the hedgemaze where I was the middle Jack in a series of three. Our timing had to be perfectly precise, since the Jack who popped out before me had 2 spots he could come out of, and 2 Jack characters could never be seen at the same time. Our Performance Coordinators were walking into the maze with guests in front of them as well as behind them. The first Jack popped out of his first hole and scared the guests surrounding the Coordinators; they freaked out and he quickly vanished. I emerged immediately, lifting my axe above my head swiping at the guests in front of me. After I quickly vanished back into the hedges, the guest in front of the Coordinators got so scared that they backed up and refused to continue moving. The guests behind them kept trying to push their way forward, screaming that they don’t know where Jack is coming from. Suddenly the Jack before me popped out of his 2nd boo-hole and had everyone fly against the side of the maze wall, and I took the opportunity to scare those same guests again as they ran back towards me. This back and forth scare continued for a solid minute, freezing the line in between our Coordinators because the guests surrounding them were too scared to continue on. That to me takes the cake as the best moment of HHN27 because my Performance Coordinators were there to witness our great timing, execution, and creativity as 2 Jacks who were downright terrifying. As scareactors, we pride ourselves for our great scares, but unfortunately no one really sees them besides the guests surrounding you and a few people behind them.

“So…do you think you could become a scareactor?”

If you’re a method actor like myself, this type of work can be quite fun. When I got hired for HHN26, I had never watched American Horror Story besides the pilot, but I went back and finished the entire season and fell in love with the whole series. When I was told my role, I practiced at home on how my character walks, talks, thinks, and feels. I even burned myself on my kitchen stove so I knew how it feels to be burnt alive, and how my body would react, which was a huge factor in my scare.

In my first day in the makeup chair, I talked to myself about my character’s wife, and how awful she was and how sorry I am for my daughters. Just about every day before we began while the que lines were starting to form, I had tea time with my kids; I miss those kids.

I had the same mental preparations for HHN27 for every set, and I would get into Jack Torrance’s head. Because of this, though, I became very depressed up until the half way mark of the event. At home, I would have fits of rage and instability. I had to eventually find myself again and try to hold back the crazy Jack.

I believe anyone can be a scareactor, I’ve seen it from my day job, to people on the street scaring their family when their family turns a corner. The part you as an individual will have to focus on is body language and movement. Try practicing without using your voice; you may not have an opportunity to speak in your role. Everything will come from what your body movement says, and over time you’ll find what works best for you, whether it’s a quick movement or a slow powerful movement (especially with a weapon). Personally, I would recommend scareacting, as you can put your heart and soul into any part you are assigned to.

“There is never a bad role”

So why am I not returning? Some of you may be thinking that 2 years as a scareactor really isn’t much, and I agree with that statement. I wish I could continue but there are a few factors that went into my decision to not return.

If you are in a relationship with someone, they more than likely will not understand exactly what work goes into scareacting. It mainly came down to the hours, though; the hours I worked vs. the hours my significant other worked. Being a scareactor can tear relationships apart and cause major rifts between couples. I saw it happen in both of my years performing. It doesn’t matter if their significant other was a scareactor at the event or not, this event can be a relationship killer. My best advice is to try to have some sort of support group before you jump into this line of work, and if your significant other can’t accept what you’re doing then you’ll need to really work out a gameplan with that person.

The second reason isn’t in the public eye all too much, but being physically assaulted, or worse, does happen at this event. This was honestly the main thing holding me back from returning for any further seasons. What I personally experienced this past year (2017) the final nail into the coffin for me. Although this does happen to many a scareactor, how they individually decide to deal with it is up to them. Just keep in mind that Universal Studios is an amazing company to work for, and they will treat you like family. They will be there for you for whatever comes your way as they want you to succeed in all aspects of your life.

I want to thank the readers of HHNU for their time, and their support to the scareacting community and Halloween Horror Nights. Your support means more than you know! We do see you, and we do love it when you return over and over again to the event. I also want to thank HHNU for approaching me to write this piece, and I look forward to seeing you all at Halloween Horror Nights 28!