Why wasn’t the new Halloween (2018) movie included at HHN28? And is there a BIG hidden clue for HHN29?

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…

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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.

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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!

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You have to wait right to end to see this Easter egg!  Photo courtsey of Phil McD

 

The same logo can be seen below on the official HHN website…

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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!

Halloween Horror Nights Unofficial: Around the Globe – Hollywood and Beyond!

The latest additon to the award winning series of unofficial books featuring Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights has been released!

If you’re brave enough to attend Universal‘s Halloween Horror Nights, you better believe you’ll need a survival guide. And if you’ve read the Orlando version of this book then you need to see how the event started and how it spread across the globe. Complete with a detailed history of each location, this book is all that stands between you and them. For over 30 years, Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights has been the globe’s premier Halloween event spreading to Orlando, Hollywood, Across 12 US States, Europe (Spain), Singapore and Japan. You won’t find Mickey there (he’s too scared!), but you will find the bloodiest, goriest, most intense thrills of your life. Skipping Orlando (that’s in the other book), Christopher Ripley pulls back the shroud and tells the history of every HHN location around the Universal globe showing how their unique brand of horror is truly a global phenomenon to be reckoned with.

Some of the great tales inside include:

  • Discover how Halloween Horror Nights is now a true global spectacle
  • Which 12 US states other than California and Florida have hosted HHN haunts
  • Read all about the two lost years of HHN that are recorded nowhere in the history books or online!!
  • How a HHN maze became an actual movie!
  • How Wrestling and Rock Music have been involved with creating fantastic HHN mazes
  • How Alfred Hitchcock designed his own haunted house!
  • How Terror Tram would be a sequel to a maze in the same year!
  • The ‘True-Life’ stories of Ghosts haunting the Universal backlot
  • How ‘Flash Gordon’ solved a true haunting on the Hollywood backlot
  • How a Star Wars actor helped design one of the most iconic Hollywood mazes ever
  • The famous filmmaker who actually worked as a scareactor in his own maze!
  • Which HHN house recreated an actual building with a ‘genuine’ local curse on it!?
  • Which scareactor has been at every year at Hollywood and which icon has been to every domestic and international HHN?

All this and more, giving you all the gory details you need about the Horror Nights at Hollywood, Spain, Singapore and Japan!

Get your copy now HERE!

The HHN Unofficial Story & Guide 2018 is OUT NOW!

The award winning and best selling story and guide to Halloween Horror Nights is out NOW!

The fear-filled coverage includes:

* Walkthroughs of every house and scarezone in HHN history
* Backstories of HHN icons like Jack the Clown and icons-that-never-were like Nathaniel Crowe
* Survival tips, crowd levels, maps and wait time graphs, and other tools for making the most of this year’s HHN
* Behind-the-scenes commentary from HHN notables James-Michael Roddy, Jason Surrell and event co-creator Julie Zimmerman
* A rundown of houses that never saw the light of day
* Lots of “Fun Fear Facts” about little-known HHN moments

GET THE STORIES BEHIND THE SCARES AND NEVER MISS A TRICK!

Get your copy NOW HERE!

Jack the Clown becomes Walt Disney!?

My dear friend, actor extraordinaire and the man I have called the ‘Lon Chaney’ of his generation has taken on a new role.  Us HHN fans all know him best as the mischievous and maniacal HHN Icon: Jack the Clown; under the greasepaint he’s known to everyone else as James Keaton and has been entertaining audiences for many years in a huge variety of roles.  That’s why when local Orlando based production company needed an actor who can morph into just about anyone, they turned to James.

Layne Stein and Tony Wakim who created Pattycake Productions are releasing a number of “unexpected musicals” with various tributes, this one however is for Walt Disney.  Shot locally using the great talents of Central Florida the piece is inspired by the P.T. Barnum film The Greatest Showman and charts the history of how a boy from a quiet backwater ended up changing the world with his love of animation and storytelling.

Entitled The Disney Showman: The Legacy of Walt Disney, it is a new four minute music video charting the story of Walt using songs from the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman.  This is not the first feature in their impressive repertoire of mixing cultural references, other works include: the story of Maleficent mixed with Michael Jackson and Beauty and the Beast entwined with Juston Bieber songs (plus many more!).

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Pattycake turned to James as they know they needed someone with the skill to pull-off the greatest showman of all.  Pattycake producers had worked with James a number of times, no less at HHN and when he played Beetlejuice for a number of years back in the day.  James said:

“It was great experience,” adding that he “fell in love with the concept and hope everyone enjoys it. I enjoyed going back and watching lots of Walt interviews and footage. Tony and I would send videos and stuff back and forth before production. The idea of playing Walt was a bit nerve-wracking, but once we started to play it felt comfortable.”

Click below to watch.  It is awesome whether you’re a Disney fan or not!

Thank you to Attractions Magazine for breaking this story.  For more info on Pattycake Productions, please click here.

HHN Fans Campaign for Bill & Ted’s Return

A campaign has been created on Change.Org to have our time-travelling duo return for more shows at next year’s HHN28.

The petition which is addressed to Thomas Williams the CEO of USF makes a compelling argument, it reads:

The Bill and Ted Excellent Adventure show has been a staple of Halloween Horror Nights! Not only has the show grown a fan base of thousands of people, but has created traditions, memories, reunions, laughter, and much more! Bill and Ted has also provided in a sense a “cool down” or desensitizing atmosphere for many. The body produces adrenaline when we get scared, henceforth the human mind and body becomes hypervigilant; the Bill and Ted show provides an escape from the adrenaline and hypervigilance.

Society is always changing; for the good and the bad; Vegas for example, Bill and Ted was able to touch upon it that not only showed tribute to the lives taken, but helps make light of the dark; also while refreshingly being the one true redeeming stab at pop culture from year to year. The signatures speak for themselves for the fan base and income brought in for the Bill and Ted show!

A new campaign Facebook Group has been created, along with petition specific T-Shirts all to help spread the word, they can be found here.  The petition, which has over 1200 signatories, believes that every time 500 people sign the list it gets emailed to Universal, so the purpose of the petition is being heard by the very top of the organization.

Right now the future is looking bleak for our pair of time-travelling dudes.  Back in 2013 HHN Hollywood cancelled their show mid-run due to a small number of complaints, with the show never returning to the West Coast.  Over in Orlando with the sheer amount of construction that is rumored to be beginning soon and the fact that Universal have already said that last year was the final year it is hard for us to see a way through them.

It was strongly rumored that their run of shows was to actually have ended last year on their 25th.  It was rumored that Art and Design along with a number of current and past Bill and Ted collaborators managed to persuade Park Management to bring it back for one last run which was this year’s show at HHN27.

Will Bill and Ted return for HHN28?  Will this group #savebillandted?  Let us know in the comments whether you would want them back for 2018…

 

 

 

 

HHN Smashes All Records!

It has been confirmed by both coasts in Orlando and Hollywood that both HHNs smashed all records this year on attendance numbers, customer satisfaction and more.  On Orlando USF’s Senior Director Entertainment Creative Development Mike Aiello tweeted:

While over on the West Coast HHN Supremo John Murdy tweeted:

It was definitely noticeable by our crew at HHNU that most nights the attendance ranged from busy to packed for Orlando, with the last few nights being absolutely rammed; though that is more likely down to the vacating Bill and Ted factor.

It goes to show how successful our ‘little Halloween event’ has grown, from a small few  party nights that pulled in mostly the locals to THE premiere world-class event it is today.

So thank you every Creative, Scareactor, Producer, Performer, Artist, Operative, Makeup Artist, Costumer, Technician, Custodian and everyone in between.

Universal you did it again, you smashed it, so here’s to HHN28!

🎃 THANK YOU ALL! 🎃

HHN Drinking Game Goes Bad

Editor’s comment:

HHNU posted a link to an Orlando Sentinel article yesterday, where The Sentinel had devised a drinking game for patrons of HHN to undertake while they enjoy the event.  The article can be read here.

HHNU has for the last 3 years brought the best news and rumors for HHN fans, constantly looking for sources and information to pass onto the diehard fans of this event.  We told you about The Shining and Scarecrows loooong before any other news outlet.  However that said, we have also tried to be the mouth-piece of the scareactors who work tirelessly every year to make this event the success we know it to be.

That’s why we were shocked to hear last night that patrons who had read this Sentinel article and were trying the game were becoming a nuisance to the scareactors.  Reports came to us last night of actors being grabbed, pushed, shouted at and otherwise verbally and physically abused.

This is not acceptable by any definition.

Yes, drinking is an ingrained activity at this event and is actively encouraged by Universal with all the different concoctions of drinks that they sell but bad behaviour is not.

If you get so drunk as to actively hurt, endanger or just touch a scareactor, then that is not okay.  No one says here that drinking should be banned but bad behaviour towards these actors cannot be tolerated.  They should be respected at all times.

HHNU apologies for sharing this article and our small part in this debacle. However, Orlando Sentinel wrote this article and it is still being read by their millions of readers right now – so in respect of safety to the scareactors, I ask we all petition The Sentinel to remove the article post-haste.

ScareZone Super Show: HHN’s Patrick Braillard and WWE Superstars Cody & Brandi Rhodes

This is the show to take with you on the flight down. First up is 30 Minutes with Patrick Braillard – Show Director for Creative Development and we talk all about HHN27
THEN 40 MINUTES with HHN Superfans, The American Nightmare & Mrs. Nightmare CODY & BRANDI RHODES. They know their stuff and we had a blast talking to them!

Follow Patrick: @hhnmeanone
Follow Brandi: @thebrandirhodes
Follow Cody: @codyrhodes
PICK UP ALL OUR MERCH AND EVERYTHING YOU NEED AT SCAREZONE.COM and join us on the PODCRUISE.

 

SAW is Confirmed for Both Coasts

“DO YOU WANT TO PLAY A GAME?”

LIONSGATE’S HORROR BLOCKBUSTER FRANCHISE SAW SETS THE ULTIMATE TRAP
AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS’ “HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS”
WITH A TWISTED NEW MAZE BASED ON THE
ICONIC GAMES OF JIGSAW

All-New Maze to Feature a First-Look at Lionsgate’s Upcoming Eighth SAW Film, JIGSAW,
Debuting at the Nation’s Premier Halloween Events in Hollywood and Orlando

The SAW series – one of the highest grossing horror film franchises of all time – makes its return to “Halloween Horror Nights,” bringing the blockbuster’s most terrifying traps to life in an all-new original maze opening at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, beginning September 15, 2017.

Based on the Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures hit horror film franchise, “SAW: The Games of Jigsaw” will bring to life the scariest game yet. In this all-new maze guests will come face-to-face with the work of master craftsman “Jigsaw” and a collection of his most infamous traps from the SAW film series and upcoming eighth installment JIGSAW.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering again with Universal Studios on an immersive experience that celebrates everything that our SAW fans love,” said Lionsgate Senior Vice President of Global Live and Location Based Entertainment Jenefer Brown. “The maze features the most terrifying traps that made the SAW franchise such a Halloween tradition, including some of the best from our upcoming film JIGSAW. What better way to complement the film’s release this Halloween than taking audiences into the over-the-top action at Halloween Horror Nights.”

“SAW is one of the top grossing horror film franchises, and we’re thrilled that the fan-favorite is making its return to ‘Halloween Horror Nights,’” said John Murdy, Creative Director at Universal Studios Hollywood and Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights.” “‘SAW: The Games of Jigsaw’ will encompass the greatest collection of traps featured in all eight SAW movies to bring to life the most twisted SAW maze ever produced, and we can’t wait for our fans to relive moments from the films.”

“We’re excited to bring SAW back to Halloween Horror Nights and to take fans even deeper into the mind of ‘Jigsaw,’” said Charles Gray, Show Director for Creative Development, “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Orlando Resort. “Filled with unimaginable horrors from the hit saga and the upcoming film JIGSAW, this maze is truly a trap in itself.”

Created by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, the SAW film series has ratcheted up tension and invention with each successive film, while rattling millions of nerves worldwide. The eighth film of the powerhouse franchise is scheduled to hit theatres on October 27, 2017 – in its traditional opening weekend slot leading into Halloween. JIGSAW is written by Josh Stolberg & Peter Goldfinger and directed by The Spierig Brothers

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 20 years, guests from around the world have visited Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood and Orlando to become victims inside their own horror film. The streets of each coast’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing “scare-actors” lunge from every darkened corner. Multiple movie-quality haunted houses are erected throughout the event, based on everything from iconic slasher films to hit horror television series to haunting original stories.