Jaws the Ride is Resurrected! Well kinda…

For seasoned HHN fans there was a tradition that had outlived any specialty beverage or Frankenstein novelty food item and that tradition was riding the “Shark in the Dark“.

Not heard of this? Well you must have started going to HHN after 2012 as that was the year that the Jaws Ride at Universal Orlando closed forever to make way for Diagon Alley (#BringBackJaws 😢).

Prior to this, devotees of this practice would wait until after dark and then venture onto the ride where a fresh new dynamic would be at play where it would be ever so slightly scarier due to the absence of natural light. Pepper in a few strategically placed Scareactors and this was THE best HHN tradition ever. Read more about the practice HERE.

This is why fans of the tradition were surprised to find out last week that our beloved Bruce (aka the Shark) has popped up from ‘beyond the grave’ at a restaurant in New York City!  It turns out that 494 Chicken restaurant on Staten Island has just purchased the only remaining complete 13ft long Shark from the ride (via a dealer in Maryland) and it is now on display within the restaurant.  You can read the original article here.

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Image courtesy of Staten Island Advance/ Victoria Priola

“I thought, ‘This is nuts, but if it’s the real thing, it’s worth a shot to check it out,’ and it definitely was,” said co-owner John Ryan. “We definitely got a few looks while driving. It’s not every day you see someone driving a truck with a shark hanging out of it.”

Relive the horror below:

Did you ever do the Shark in the Dark?  Will you be visiting this restaurant?  If so, let us know!

The Faces Behind Jack!

Jack the Clown has been haunting the attendees of Halloween Horror Nights since HHN10. The firm fan and guest favorite has largely been played by the same actor.

Since the very beginning he has been consistently played by James Keaton. Keaton has not just played Jack but a host of other Universal characters too, from mainstays such as The Grinch to random outings such as The Incredible Hulk.

And whereas Chris Ripley calls James the “Lon Chaney of our generation” he hasn’t always spent his time under the Jack greasepaint, as very occasionally, other actors have portrayed the maniacal clown, and some may surprise you!  These are:

1. Singapore Jack

In 2014 Jack appeared at HHN Singapore with his own house, Jack’s 3-Dementia, plus a new show Jack’s Nightmare Circus.

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Urm?  Photo courtsey of AspirantSG

2. WWE’s Mike Rome

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Credit: WWE

Mike was formerly a team member of Universal Orlando and during his time he donned the grease paint to become Jack on a number times, including during HHN25!

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Credit: Jason West

3. Mike Aiello

Mike Aiello aka the God of HHN recently revealed to his Twitter followers that he too used to portray everyone’s favorite clown when he was a scareactor back in the early 00s.  Upon releasing this info, many people also tweeted photos saying “is this you Mike?”  And many were!

And here’s another rare one of Mike…

4. The fans!

The only group of people to portray the character more frequently than Keaton are the fans!  Albeit unofficially, but featuring in conventions at home in Florida and even as far away as NYC’s Comic Con, fans have been portraying the character for the a number of years!

So there you have it! But let us know in the comments what your fav Jack was and which year?  And also, do you recognize any of the above fans?  We’d love to know!

Rumor: Here’s Johnny Again?

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Twitter account posted the following strange message yesterday:

We know that pre-production for the event is in full swing and unlike the Orlando Twitter account, Hollywood likes to tease us fans with perfect timed, often incredibly difficult clues for us to try and unravel. Some clues are so impossible that they aren’t even solved to until after the event! And that’s exactly why this one is very strange, as it’s too easy! All three clues point to Kubrick’s The Shining. It was filmed in the late 70s, the carpet is very iconic, the wallpaper has been discussed at length to feature hidden messages (possibly about ancient Indian burial grounds etc) and as for Al Bowlly, well he has two songs that feature in this movie masterpiece.

BUT, for this early in the game, surely this has to be a huge red herring!? And then there’s Warner Bros, who last year kept all their properties for their own event in Burbank. So the likelihood of this property returning to HHN, combined with the fact that it featured only 2 years ago seems to make it unlikely to return. So it’s a puzzle wrapped in an enigma once more! Some people online are drawing conclusions that it could be linking to Netflix’s awesome new show The Haunting of Hill House but that’s a stretch from this one clue. HoHH is very popular, Netflix appear to be good partners of the event after the success of this year’s Stranger Things house and the show does borrow heavily from The Shining; but this is a huge leap right now! There is one possible clue that might throw water on The Shining speculation and that’s hidden in this later clue:

So to roundup, this first maze they’re working on is possibly linked to The Shining and it’s never been to HHN before…interesting times!

If we receive, see or hear anything further we’ll post it on HHNU, so keep your eyes peeled!  Until then, this is just speculation!

So what do you thank? Could it be The Haunting of Hill House or is The Shining returning? Let us know in the comments!

My Top Five Best ScareZone Episodes So Far

The ScareZone Podcast, HHNUnofficial’s sister podcast show has put out some great shows out over the last few years and some of the most highly downloaded episodes have been the interview shows.  With this in mind, I wanted to share with you my favorite shows for you to enjoy!  To listen to these shows now simply visit the Apple Podcast/iTunes app or listen now from the plugin below:

 

Here’s my list:

  1. Eileen Dietz

Eileen popped into the ScareZone Studio a couple of years ago to talk about her Hollywood career but to also discuss her roles in movie The Exorcist which had been a house presented at HHN26.  It was interesting hearing how she played both the Pazuzu (the main demon) and stand-in for Linda Blair.

  1. Leigh Whannell

The creator of SAW and many other iconic horror movies chatted to ScareZone in Episode 46.  He cited how he was literally thrown out of his own maze at HHN Hollywood and was humbled to hear that Chris Ripley thought his movie Dead Silence had made the greatest house ever at Orlando’s HHN.

  1. Gianni Garofalo (The Director)

Gianni was interviewed over a special two-part show (episodes 28 and 29) where he discussed becoming the iconic HHN icon The Director.  The other tales he told about the misadventures he and Dean Karr (the HHN commercials director) were also legendary and so funny; think Weekend at Bernie’s meets American Pie and they even featured a young Jennifer Aniston!

  1. James Keaton (Jack the Clown)

Our buddy James headed to the ScareZone Studio to recount his decades of service at Universal Studios Orlando bringing to life some of the most famous characters and monsters to ever grace the silver screen.  From Beetlejuice to The Grinch he’s played them all, but not forgetting everyone’s favorite icon Jack the Clown!

  1. Julie Zimmerman

Julie is to Halloween Horror Nights what Walt Disney is to Disneyland.  Right back in our very first full-length episode Julie came on to tell us all how it ‘all started with a rat!’

 

What’s your favorite episode of ScareZone?  Let us know in the comments!

 

UOAP Holder Sues Universal Over Historic Issue at HHN

An Universal Annual Passholder from Pasco County is suing Universal Orlando Resort, alleging injury caused due to negligence during Halloween Horror Nights.

The case has just been lodged with the Orange County Clerk but dates back to HHN24. Cast your minds back to HHN in 2014, that was the year of Aliens Vs Predator, Dollhouse of the Damned and the very first time the franchise of Halloween was presented at the event.

According to court files, Jessica Mattox Wilson filed a complaint back in October to the Court against Universal City Development Partners Ltd, who trade as Universal Orlando Resort, alleging that the event organizer of Halloween Horror Nights failed to keep its premises in a reasonably safe condition back on one night in 2014.

According to the complaint, she and others were attending the event on October 31st, 2014, where she Wilson tripped on a steel tree grate portion of the sidewalk, which subsequently collapsed. Wilson had apparently been invited to the event by Universal as a business invitee. Apparently, she and others were walking between houses when she decided to take a bathroom break. Walking to the nearest bathroom she crossed the sidewalk where a tree grate cover was located and the grate gave way, locking her foot into the grate and slamming her person onto the concrete below.

The suit says Wilson sustained “severe, extensive, and permanent bodily injuries, resulting in pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, and expenses for hospitalization, medical, nursing, physical therapy care and treatment”. She alleges the tree grate was broken and that Universal have a duty of care to ensure maintenance of such items to prevent accidents. The plaintiff alleges Universal Orlando Resort failed to provide a safe place for its invitees due to this one tree grate and had failed to warn the plaintiff and others of the unsafe, defective and dangerous condition that it was in.

She alleges that her injuries were so bad that the UOAP passholder passes that her and her immediate family own have been wasted as none of them were able to use them for the rest of their respective durations. She is currently demanding a trial by jury and damages exceeding $15,000. She is also representing herself at court as the case is currently continuing.

We will bring you more information on this as we hear it…

For more information visit the Orange County Court Clerk’s Record Office.

HHN Secures First IP for HHN29

News came last night that Universal have apparently just locked in their first IP property for the 2019 edition of HHN.

Obviously, we’re not told yet what it is yet but it was teased via Universal’s John Murdy on the official Hollywood HHN handle on Twitter:

A nice and early property in the bag is great as now the idea can be worked on and developed in time for HHN29 / HHN2019.

But what could this property be? Rumors are swirling at the moment and many are speculating that after last year’s absence of Warner Bros and Fox properties at HHN that this trend could continue.

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Horror Made Here exclusively used properties from Warner Bros, New Line Cinema and DC to fill their streets and mazes

Why are these properties supposedly not in contention? Well it’s only speculation but last year Warner Bros held their own event, Horror Made Here in Burbank, California. Many commentators said at the time that perhaps they wanted to hold onto their own properties for exclusive use to really kick their new event off in style, plus HHN Hollywood is only a short car ride away. And as for Fox, well who knows what’s happening there, Disney are buying Fox and I’m sure they’d love their Central Florida competitors using their newly acquired properties…

So if we assume Warner Bros and Fox are off-the-table, what properties could be coming to HHN? There is one property that’s been speculated about for years and we know HHN takes years to secure the best properties!  We also know that the gentleman behind this franchise has a long association with HHN (read more here and here) and he

That property is rumored to be HellraiserHHNU first broke the rumors back in 2017 when a number of factors pointed to possible meetings being held to discuss the potential use of the franchise at HHN. To read our original article from Chris Ripley click HERE.

But there’s more clues… On the latest edition of Universal After Dark Chris Ripley, Boston White and the team discussed these clues and what it could mean for HHN29. Click HERE to listen now.

One of these clues we’ll share with you now…

Look closely at this recently posted photo by HHN’s Mike Aiello. Those DVDs are all in alphabetical order, except the ones at the end where we can assume are all ones that have been recently watched or maybe newly acquired (the tweet refers to this)… there sure are a few Hellraiser ones there! But surely this is just a coincidence right? Remember, everything is just a speculative rumor until Universal confirms the line-up next year!

But if you want to know the true identity of the property that’s just been secured you then need to watch this video!!  😆 😆 😆

So there you have it, a nice bit of early speculation to kick-off the beginning of the HHN rumor season. Are we right though? Let’s us know your thoughts and let us know which properties you’d love to see at HHN29!

Rumor: Are Universal Considering Bringing Back Bill & Ted?

We’ve heard some rumblings here at HHNU HQ that Universal might be considering bringing back the bodacious duo, Bill and Ted. Nothing concrete has cropped up, it is after all so very early but plans are always afoot for the next HHN…

The rumor seems to be springing from a few of our sources that say that although there are no current plans for them return, it does appear that they surely can’t be fully “off the table” just yet.

The rumors we have received in this regard over the last few weeks seem to have been given a small amount of credence by the fact that the annual HHN surveys have been released to all those that had signed up to them. And the interesting thing about this is that they pose the following interesting question:

In my mind the above question has a simple answer but truly they can’t be wholly compared, but it weird that this question should crop up right in the midst of these rumors. Personally, I can’t see them coming back, in at least the short term anyhow.

But there could be bad news for the fans that wanna see Bill and Ted back in the Fear Factor/Wild West Show Building as it appears the Fear Factor Show has again been put on hiatus. These were taken yesterday:

Could this be the beginning of the end for this show or could it be that this show building is about to go away for rumored further expansions?  Apparently, it closed in August for HHN28 and has never reopened…

On this and Bill and Ted we surely don’t know just yet but be sure to keep your eyes on HHNU as we bring you the latest news and rumors for HHN29.

Would you welcome the dudes back? Or do you think they should remain apart of the event’s past? Let us know!

Scooby-Doo Goes All Horror!

We all remember as kids watching Scooby-Doo and how each week some comedic caper would ensue but what would happen if Scoob’ and the gang instead of unmasking disgruntled fair ground owners and instead came face to face with some of horror’s greatest foes?  Well Travis Falligant has the answer!  Since 2014 he has been producing a series of mashups featuring the classic artwork of these beloved classic cartoons but with a modern horror twist.  And this year he has expanded his work to include many more horror icons, many of which featured at HHN28.

If you’re interested in his work he sells a number of different items via his official site HERE.

Below we have selected some of the best works that feature connections to HHN:

 

Why you need to be a UOAP (Annual Passholder) for HHN29!

We get a lot of people ask us at HHNU what are the top tips for HHN or how to pre-plan for the next HHN. And the list is vast but one of the best tips surely has to now be, to become an annual passholder. Here’s why we think this:

  • Exclusive access and early entries

For HHN28, UOAPers got early access on four select event nights and a specially dedicated entrance just for this (note: all of which had to be pre-booked).

  • Free nights

Premier Passholders got one night of Halloween Horror Nights included with their Annual Passes. Nights had to be specially chosen prior to the event but getting one free night is super awesome.

  • Exclusive deals on hotel stays

UOAPs get special deals with the onsite hotels that aren’t available to the general public.

  • Parking!!!

According to research we have undertaken, the average UOAPer goes to HHN some 12 nights. If you have the Preferred or Premier passes and drive to the event and want to park in the preferred spaces some 12 times that’s a total saving of $360! That’s a huge saving!

  • Even more discounts!!

Discounted HHN Tickets: Passholders saved up to $58 on select nights for 1-night tickets or Frequent Fear Passes, some 23 nights, for less than the price of one when you bought online.

R.I.P. Tour Discounts for Premier and Preferred Passholders saved 10%, and Power Passholders saved 5%; which is a lot as these tours can be expensive!

Preferred, Power and Seasonal Passholders got a 10% discount, while Premier Passholders enjoy a 15% discount on all food items on select nights at HHN28.

  • Free buttons

Okay, so this one is a bit tenuous but if you collect the UOAP buttons there was one released for HHN28 that was just for UOAPers. Likewise, there was a number of shirts and pins that were for passholders only.

Now these perks are always subject to change, and they might be totally different for HHN29 but we think it’s a good tip to be a passholder at Universal Orlando.

So it makes total sense! The best way to prep for HHN29 is to become a Universal Orlando Passholder! Click here to join now!

Are you a UOAPer? Did you manage to get big savings on HHN28? Let us know!

THE UPSIDE DOWN OPENS FOR ONE STRANGE DAY…

For the first time ever, Universal Orlando Resort will give guests the opportunity to brave an entire, fear-filled Halloween Horror Nights haunted house during the day, after the event has closed.

On November 6, the Upside Down will return to Universal Studios Florida as the incredibly-popular “Stranger Things” haunted house returns for one day to commemorate the anniversary of Will Byers’ disappearance in the critically-acclaimed Netflix series.

Guests will walk in the footsteps of Will as they encounter iconic scenes, characters and environments from the first season of the series – including the menacing Hawkins National Laboratory, the Byers home adorned with an erratic display of flashing Christmas lights and the predatory Demogorgon…which will stalk their every move.

Guests will also be able to enjoy foods and beverages inspired by Netflix’s “Stranger Things” at select locations within Universal Studios on November 6, including San Francisco Pastry Company, Beverly Hills Boulangerie and a special Benny’s Burgers food tent.

The “Stranger Things” haunted house will open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6, and access is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida or with an Annual or Seasonal Pass.  Passholders will also get access to the haunted house’s Express line by showing their valid pass at the entrance to the house.

The “Stranger Things” haunted house may be too intense for guests under 13. To purchase park tickets, including Annual Passes which are now available with up to six months FREE, visit www.universalorlando.com.