So recently the above picture was released by HHN Orlando’s Twitter page with the codename of “Cobweb”. Many HHN fans are currently speculating as to what “Cobweb” may mean, so here’s what we found…
Depending on your level of attentiveness, you might have noticed the presence of a particular strong connotation in horror books and movies: cobwebs, they’re everywhere. If you’ve never noticed a cobweb in a horror movie or missed its presence in a good horror book, then most likely you were skipping scenes or simply flipping pages for the fun of it. So in order to pinpoint why a house might be codenamed “Cobweb”, it might take some detective work. Lets look at what possibilities there are for this…
Cobwebs are ever-present in practically every work of horror you can think of but they are usually overlooked or their significance greatly underestimated.
Cobwebs have been portrayed in horror works as far back as Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic novel “Dracula” to Thomas Ligotti’s short story “The Glamour” (published in 1991) and even in more recent books and films. They paint a picture of desolation and abandonment, perfect settings for the supernatural or non-supernatural haunting events of terrifying occurrences to take place in. They exist as an indication that a building or area has been long out of use and in horror works, an abandoned area is reason enough for some harrowing experience to take place.
Cobwebs are passive hints that something gruesome will take place, as a type of warning of coming events…
Sometimes though, the presence of cobwebs in a horror piece do not present such an air of indifference; their actions are more active than passive. In the 1991 short story, “The Glamour” by Thomas Ligotti, the unnamed narrator wanders into a strange movie theatre. Strangely, the admission is free and he enters. He finds that the entire theatre glows with purple and pink lights; it’s almost like he’s inside a human body. The theatre, including the projection screen, is also covered with thick cobwebs, reminiscent of human hair.
As the story progresses, it becomes evident that something spooky is truly going on and when the protagonist tries to escape the cobwebs come to life and restrain him forcefully in his seat.
In the 2013 movie, “The Conjuring”, The Perron family move into an old farmhouse. The family consists of father mother and five daughters. Papa Perron discovers a basement riddled with cobwebs early in the movie and later when the paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren come to the house, Lorraine Warren steps into a cellar equally filled with cobwebs.
The movies from this franchise are all released by New Line Cinema, a company that has worked closely with Universal on and off since 2007; these were also directed by James Wan who has worked with both HHN Orlando and Hollywood to bring the SAW franchise to both coasts in the past. Could this existing relationship mean that this movie is coming to HHN? Well maybe, the only problem is that Universal Twitter feed did say that “Cobweb” would be an original house and not based on an IP – but could this be a bluff to put us fans off?
H. P. Lovecraft
A HHN fan favorite who has been speculated about for years. Lovecraft was an author of all things horror, and despite his careers being cut-off relatively early in his 40s, he made a huge contribution to the genre and inspired horror and fantasy authors for years to come. His works often mentioned cobwebs and a lot of his classic 1970s book covers depicted huge clouds of sticky spider webs.
Uncle Ted’s Ghoul School
In 1974 Edwin Raub began starring as Uncle Ted, the horror host on “Uncle Ted’s Ghoul School”. It was broadcast on WNEP-TV. Later additions to the set included a dark painting in the background, a sign that read “No Cunning” and a liberal placement of cobwebs.
2007’s HHN in Orlando featured a house from the movie “Dead Silence” the movie starring Donnie Wahlberg was not a hit but again, like The Conjuring it was directed by James Wan. The house’s first scene when you entered after the graveyard, guests found their way into a basement that was FILLED with cobwebs. For those that remember, cobwebs featured all the way through this house. The other reason why it has been speculated for return is the fact that this house was popular back in 2007, but it’s props have been reused and reused ever since. Even last year in The Walking Dead was there a collection of headstones from this house. So could this house make a return?
Another horror TV show which depicted cobwebs was New York City’s Creature Feature late-night triple movie feature, aired on WNEW-TV in the early eighties. The show usually began with an exterior shot of a haunted mansion; the shot zooms into a window and focuses on the lead character, “The Creep”, sitting at a kitchen table in a dark room with an abundance of cobwebs all over the place; which was kinda similar to The Cryptkeeper – did someone say it’s being rebooted? Hmmmm…
Seeing as cobwebs are a staple in many modern and classic works of horror, it is pertinent to discuss its possible interpretations. This might help us further understand why are they are used time and again in many horror books and movies.
Fear: It might not be immediately obvious that the presence of cobwebs strikes fear in people until we realize that arachnophobia, the intense fear of spiders, is the most common phobia in the world. Therefore the simple presence of cobwebs in an area is enough to trigger responses of terror in many individuals. This is used to great effect in horror books and movies to skillfully place the reader or viewer in a state of terror.
Warnings/Omens: If you ever find cobwebs in a place, what first comes to mind? A lack of care for the place, a sense of abandonment and non-occupancy. Where else would scary creatures and ghoulish monsters want to inhabit but a lace where nothing or nobody has lived in for years? The overwhelming consensus in horror works about buildings is this: if it’s unoccupied and unwanted, it’s probably haunted. Little wonder, the moment a camera pans sideways and zooms in to show us a shot of thick cobwebs in a corner or across a doorway, our hearts beat a little faster; something terrifying is around.
Psychological Entanglement: Cobwebs also have another striking, less-obvious quality to them: they inspire a sense of entanglement, of being trapped or stuck in situations beyond your control. Granted, cobwebs even in large quantities, are not the same as industrial glue or chains or duct tape and might not have their holding power or sticky qualities; still they are a hindrance and getting them off can be a chore, a creepy chore. The sight of cobwebs, especially in movies, evokes in us a sense of being in a sticky situation. This might generally be as a result of watching smaller insects being trapped in a cobweb and then later accosted by the cunning spider. All energy expended by the prey at disentangling itself is wasted; in fact the opposite effect is generated: the prey gets stuck even more in the web. Whether we witness this first-hand at home or on a documentary channel transmitted to our TV screens, the effect is invariably the same. This sticky situation is not the type most people like to be in and as such it has a great terror-value, one which creators of horror fiction have continually used for years, not sparingly but liberally.
Other than the above, the house could just feature spiders, like lots and lots of spiders…
Lets just hope it doesn’t refer to the 1990s Will Smith flop “Wild Wild West” with that giant metal spider thing, urgh…!
Let us know your thoughts below!
Our sincere thanks go to Dr Jimmy in his assistance with this article.