The HHNU Office has been inundated with fans writing into us saying that they’ve heard a rumor about Hellraiser being a house for #HHN27. Hellraiser, as I’m sure you all know, was a 1987 British horror movie written and directed by Clive Barker, based on his earlier novella The Hellbound Heart. It spawned no less than 9 sequels including one that is being released this year entitled Hellraiser: Judgement. The series has scored countless fans across the globe including no less than Stephen King who was once quoted as saying, “I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker.”
To date, Hellraiser has never officially been a house, maze, icon or scarezone at HHN – though Pinhead (and others) might have 100% unofficially popped up from time to time in the odd house and showing of the annual Bill and Ted Show. Barker on the other hand, has worked at Halloween Horror Nights three times at the Hollywood iteration of the event. In 1998 he debuted a FREAKZ maze, in 1999 he offered up Hell followed by Harvest in 2000. All of which were listed by Universal as being fully designed, produced and directed by the ‘master of horror‘. All of which were incredibly popular for the event and began the series of horror producers working directly with Universal Hollywood (Rob Zombie and Eli Roth would all follow suit, aside: man I wish Hitchcock could have been alive today to do a house!).
So based on Barker’s history with the event it would seem that some credence should be given to the rumor; we however needed something more. It was then that we were forwarded this screenshot from a tweet that occurred at the end of last year:
The tweet shows that during Murdy’s annual pilgrimage around the major studios getting approvals for using their IPs he may have had a meeting with Barker himself, they have after-all worked together on three events. Luckily, within our team we have some contacts at Barker’s office, so we reached out. This was the formal response:
I am afraid Clive has not been approached about Halloween Horror Nights. Nor have we heard of there being a Hellraiser themed maze. This may have been licensed through Dimension who own the film rights – but no one has reached out to involve Clive.
It was then our hearts sank and Halloween Horror Nights aficionados will have spotted why. On paper you can see that Barker has worked with HHN before, he has a new Hellraiser movie coming out and Murdy may have had a meeting with him. So to have a Hellraiser house at HHN on either or both coasts should be a given, no?
No, the little word ‘Dimension’ was uttered and this changes EVERYTHING.
The Trouble with Dimension
“Turbulent” is said to be an understatement for the past relationship between Universal and Dimension. Started by Disney (yes Disney!) in 1993 but sold to the Weinstein Company in 2006, Dimension has grown from modest roots to become a “mini-major“, i.e. small to medium independent television and motion picture production studios working in Hollywood.
Dimension first began their foray into our HHN world with 2011’s with Scream 4 Your Life Terror Tram at HHN Hollywood where old Ghostface was the event’s icon that year. The idea was to cross-promote their new Scream 4 picture and bring an iconic character to the event that had never official appeared before. The problems began to occur during the design stage and persisted through to the construction phase, no side has ever come out to dish what exactly went on, all we know is that after the event Ghostface would not be returning (though he had appeared prior to this in an unofficial capacity in various houses in Orlando).
Skip forward to the Spring of 2015 and Universal Orlando strikes a deal with Dimension to bring the original Scream to HHN25. Art and Design was supposedly overjoyed that Ghostface was now officially coming to the Orlando event and many hours were poured over watching and studying the original movie to ensure the house would be exacting to every last detail. The house would eventually go through many approvals, lead to scores of alleged disagreements behind the scenes and would be argued right up to just weeks before HHN25 was due to open; it was rumored that Dimension and their MTV partners could not decide on whether the house should be from the original movie or from the then new TV series of the same name. With no head way in sight and with no final sign-off from Dimension, the house had to be pulled at the very last minute. It was then retro-fitted and re-branded as the Universal owned Purge house. To read a more detailed account of this issue, please hop over to Attractions Magazine and read an insightful piece by our buddy Fowl Owlerson.
Universal Wasn’t Happy
Universal was reportedly very sad at this outcome with one designer of the house being incredibly upset that his work would never see the light of day, plus all the money the company had poured into developing and then building the house that would never see the light of day.
This is why when Barker’s office told us that Dimension had control of the property it made us equally as sad. Would Universal be ready to work with Dimension so soon after the trouble of HHN25? We think not. But ANYTHING is possible, and just because Barker’s office don’t know of any houses, it doesn’t necessarily mean one isn’t being pitched or developed with Dimension; Barker is a very busy man, especially when a new addition to his franchise is due in theaters very soon. So it is plausible for a house being developed without Barker’s involvement but with his considerable contribution to HHN’s history it would surely be a shame if a house was being made without it’s original creator on board.
So there you have it, our take on why we think there will be no Hellraiser house for HHN27.
But are we right? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!