Hi, I’m Dan one of the new staff writers for HHNUnofficial. I wanted to start off my new role by talking about a very contentious issue: the ‘Scream’ franchise and there lack of for last year. The following report is my a mixture of hearsay, speculation, my own research and opinion. So disclaimer out the way, let’s talk about ‘Scream’ and whether it’s coming back for HHN26….
Scream was removed at the last minute to HHN25, we all know that, but could it ever come back?
Universal’s Art and design Team were reminded of a similar problem that they had back in 2012. They had spent all year cleaning out and preparing the old Hercules/Murder She Wrote soundstage to allow them the space to build a new house. The building hadn’t been used for years and it needed a lot of work doing. The work to build the new house was well into construction when suddenly a famous call from Hollywood HQ was placed, and within days the new Transformers ride was green lit, to go right in the place of this soundstage. Within a month the whole building had been razed to the ground. This led Universal with a problem, they needed another haunt location, the demands on the event to the masses was reaching an all time high. They couldn’t begin the event with a house down. They needed space to build a house and a subject matter that was quick and easy to design (i.e. no lengthy IP negotiations).
They turned to a HHN staple of year’s past and one that needed little to no discussions, the classic Universal monsters. The house would be called ‘Universal’s House of Horrors’. It was rumored to have been designed and built in little over two months, which is exceedingly rapid compared to some houses. The result was that Universal had another house to add to lineup, and okay it was a bit shaky (lets just say it was not the best!) but Universal’s Art and Design department learned a valuable lesson that year: ingenuity is the mother of invention. Which is exactly what they did last year. They had the sets for Scream built, all they needed to do was to fit another Universal owned property around what they had already built and boom – house done. The idea was quickly set on incorporating The Purge into the house. The green light was granted from Hollywood HQ, the designers moved in and made the sets look more distressed, new costumes were made (some were reused from last events where the Purge featured) and the house was ready. Just like in 2012, they had moved swiftly to prevent the notion of losing a house for the event.
But will Universal ever double back and use the Scream franchise for HHN? The chances that Halloween Horror Nights will ever vie to license Scream again are relatively slim, especially since Scream’s original creator, horror genius Wes Craven passed away in August last year. The maze which would have opened if there had been a compromise by Art & Design would most likely have been dissatisfying for both Dimension, Universal and HHN fans. All that was left after the negotiations, were an uncut version of the original HHN25 commercial featuring Ghostface (still floating around the internet) and a suspiciously placed popcorn Jiffy Pop left on the cooker in the now re-themed “Purge” house. And although old Ghostface has made plenty of unofficial appearances at the event in the 90s, the likelihood of him returning officially is slim to spectral in my opinion (see what I did there!).
You can read more on how the event is designed with all the behind the scenes stories here.