“…if you touch it, things will change.”
It was the Spring of 2006 and the planning for HHN16 was in full swing. An anniversary year was being prepared assembling the original icons to honor the coming ‘Sweet Sixteen’. And whilst the final tweaks were being added to the lineup for that year, Universal was already working on HHN27 as in the following year a whole new deal that would revolutionize the event was being planned.
The contract that was finally signed in 2006 would colloquially be known within the HHN fan community as ‘The NLC Deal’. The Deal would bring together the franchises of Freddy, Jason and Leatherface from New Line Cinema into one overall themed circus event led by the maniacal, now ringmaster, Jack Schmidt. The deal would take years to finalize and then agree onsite during construction (for more information about that deal and how things changed, even right up to opening night click here).
The deal would see three major horror franchises come together in an event that would see the gates numbers rapidly increase. Whereas Universal had a long history of working with outside IP holders such as Dr. Seuss’ widow, Marvel or Warner Bros for the Twister attraction (then later with Potter), Universal had never really worked to actively bring the biggest and brightest third-party properties to their Halloween event. This success would be the catalyst that made the HHN we knew then very different to the HHN we know now.
After the initial successes of 2007 Universal started to look around at what other properties they could bring to the event from outside sources. One such idea would be to bring John Carpenter’s The Fog to the Amity area of the park. The New England nautical theme would be a perfect match for the moody seaside town infested with murderous seamen ghost zombies.
“As the centennial of the small town of Antonio Bay, California approaches, paranormal activity begins to occur at midnight. 100 years ago, the wealthy leper Blake bought the clipper ship Elizabeth Dane and sailed with his people to form a leper colony. However, while sailing through a thick fog, they were deliberately misguided by a campfire onshore, steering the course of the ship toward the light and crashing it against the rocks. While the town’s residents prepare to celebrate, the victims of this heinous crime that the town’s founders committed rise from the sea to claim retribution. Under cover of the ominous glowing fog, they carry out their vicious attacks, searching for what is rightly theirs.”
Plot details courtesy of imdb.com
The Jaws queue building would be re-purposed (as it had been many times for HHN) as the house for this movie with the abutting streets of Amity being the foggy streets of Antonio Bay. A number of scareactors would be deployed as the revenge ridden zombie ghosts of the Elizabeth Dane stalking HHN guests in the thick fog that would be pumped into the area using a combination of industrial grade fog-machines. The house was planned and a proposal put together.
So why was it never built?
We don’t know for sure, however we do know the house was planned with the blueprints of which probably gathering dust in the legendary HHN warehouse. Some say that the house was not actioned as the remake, also from Carpenter, had only been released just 2 years before and we all know with Scream that IP holders like to be on message with their newer properties rather than their classic ones. The more likely answer that we’ve heard is that the property was never submitted to Carpenter. Despite 2007 being a record year for HHN, 2008 was the beginning of the worldwide economic troubles, and perhaps higher up the decision was made not to pursue the movie.
The only saving grace of the whole idea was that some nine years later for HHN26 we received Dead Man’s Wharf the biggest homage to this property that Universal could possibly get away with. And although Amity is now long gone (Potter!), the scarezone utilized the land between where Amity was and San Francisco which created a fantastic scarezone. It was so popular with guests and park management a like that the zone received the coveted ‘Scarezone of the year’ award.
What with Halloween and it’s sequel now being very successful houses at HHN we wonder how long before the idea is circled back on and HHN finally see’s The Fog (pun intended!).
Have you seen this movie? Would it make a good HHN house? Should Universal have built it back in 2008? Let us know in the comments!