It’s the one question we have been asked over and over: why was this global powerhouse of a movie, Halloween 2018, not included in the HHN28 line-up? Officially, there is no answer as to why it is absent from the house line-up as for many years Universal has sort to use the event to cross-promote the main studio’s releases and being that this movie is a Universal release many commentators and fans wrongly assumed the picture would be included at HHN28. So as to the reasoning behind the decision, we first have to look at what we got instead…
We did get Michael Myers but not in his recent incarnation but in his 1988 edition of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, which arguably is a better fit for the overarching 1980s theme that we have enjoyed at the event. Fans have argued that this house must have been ‘quickly’ or ‘retroactively’ fitted into the Shrek Theater due to a supposed late decision to not have the new movie at HHN28. This theory does not stack up and there are twofold possible reasons for this. Firstly, the Shrek Theater is an awkward space to design a haunted house around, you have to keep most of the Shrek show elements in place as they were not designed to be readily removed. You have to ensure whatever is built in there can be swiftly removed without much damage to the Shrek attraction and you then have to ensure that the house is struck pretty quickly to allow for the holiday crowds later on in the year. All of which ensures that whatever house is designed for Shrek has to be properly designed and considered to fit these unique requirements.
The second point builds on this, as the house is presented in the Shrek Theater this by no means a rush job. This is a house that was built with care and attention to detail. HHN have had hastily built houses in the past whether they be from scratch such as HHN22’s House of Horrors or quickly retrofitted such as The Purge house from HHN25; this house is definitely not of these standards. This is a successful house that not only packs the scares and faithfully tells the story of the movie but is also meets all of the requirements of the above. Art and Design’s Patrick Braillard also told Bloody Disgusting that this house had been in production for a long time, so it would appear that Halloween 2018 was never really on the cards for HHN28.
So we can with some safety, assume that Halloween 4 was selected near the beginning of the design period along with the other houses we have enjoyed this year. That said, why might the decision had been taken so early on to not included this horror smash hit at the event?
The new Halloween movie is currently being VERY successful. It’s breaking records from the revenues it is driving for its genre and demographics. These sorts of returns can be very precarious as the genre can be very unforgiving. For as many horror movie successes there have been over the years there have also been lots of very misses that fall into obscurity and even some large franchise failures such as Universal’s own stalled franchise The Dark Universe. Carefully placed marketing and strong hold on leaks would all be in order to ensure the movie would be a success (and for those that have seen it, there are several significant story twists that would ruin the movie if they were leaked ahead of time!). Perhaps the need to keep secrecy of the script outweighed the desire to bring the movie to HHN28?
Apparently too, there were a number of delays in the production. According to Bloody Disgusting, the production wrapped principle photography in February this year and then due to a number of slightly varying test screenings, the production decided to undertake a number of last minute reshoots in June and July. This was compounded further as apparently the musical score was delayed as well. As we can all appreciate, HHN is a year round occupation for USF’s busy Art and Design Team so it is likely that a production with principal photography as late as January 2018 would have meant that A&D would have nothing to work from to until the summer of 2018 which is way too late for them design their house; especially as Universal Orlando is seen as the best of the best in terms of working to create real world environments from popular movies – that’s something that cannot be rushed. Perhaps USF didn’t feel this risk was worth pursuing, especially when you consider that Universal starts working on the coming year’s HHN some 12 to 18 months (or more) before the event begins! So in order to maintain these world-class standards, designing a house for this movie in a matter of mere months probably wasn’t achievable.
The final precedent we must consider is The Wolfman debacle of HHN19. The Wolfman movie was supposed to be another attempt for Universal to re-energize their popular classic monsters franchise. It was originally scheduled for release at the beginning of HHN19 and even run cross marketing trailers where HHN19 was publicized along with the movie. However, this would not come to fruition as the movie’s production was besieged with delays which resulted in it missing the start of HHN19’s run which began on September 25 and the final movie would not be released until long after HHN19’s run in February of 2010. HHN played no part in the movie’s delay or the subsequent fact that the movie by many accounts was a giant flop for the studio. However, having the movie at HHN19 enabled everyone to attend the event and see the whole of the film’s story way before it would hit theaters. As an aside, it is testament for the professionalism of USF’s Art and Design Team is such that this house is actually one of my many all-time favorite houses at HHN! With the delays that have been seen for the Halloween production it would have been a risk to have the production made into a HHN when the movie was still actively in production and nobody would want another Wolfman.
Commercially, much of the past Halloween houses could be reused which is a bonus but the single largest issue that might have been for the house to come to HHN would be the release date. HHN28 began on September 14 whereas the movie was not released until October 19. In order to build that anticipation and to prevent the storyline leaks, it would hardly be a good decision for Universal to have the house open up on both coasts long before the movie is released in theaters. Combine this with how successful HHN28 has been and how many additional people have crowded into the event, this could have seriously affected the release of the movie. Plus changing the story of the house to omit the twists would just be a non-starting idea.
Then there’s this WEIRD Easter Egg…
We were informed at the HHNU HQ that there was this very strange occurrence within the picture that sheds some confusion on the above. The below photo was sent in to us, so to investigate we had to go see the movie again to ensure. So where is this strange addition? Basically, at the very end of the credits, the very end, the screens goes dark and you start to hear Michael Myers begin breathing behind his mask. The kind of breathing that would suggest he has stopped breathing before and has now been reawakened – right when this audio plays to the audience the below Universal Parks and Resort logo appears. Is this Easter egg suggesting that Myers will return for another movie? Or as it appears over the Universal Parks and Resorts logo is it suggesting that Myers will return but only HHN29? Nobody knows for sure, but with the phenomenal success of the new Halloween movie there must be active discussions going on right now to finally bring this awesome movie to the next HHN!
The same logo can be seen below on the official HHN website…
What would you like to see at HHN29? Do you think Halloween 2018 will be at HHN29? Does this Easter egg suggest Halloween 2018 for HHN29? Let us know in the comments!