Universal’s Response According to HHNU

Phew, what a news week!  After decades of supposed under funding for new attractions at Walt Disney World, Bob Iger in a blaze of final glory has opened the money taps that would make his predecessor Michael Eisner blush (remember him?).  D23 reported on new WDW attractions, lands, resorts, transportations, restaurants and more!  And although Universal has plenty of it’s own going on right now (Nintendo, Furious and third/fourth gate), we at HHNU thought we’d throw our two pence into the mix and list down the line what we think Universal’s response should be…

  1. A Year Round Haunt at the Studios

We spoke about this a few months ago when we received a solid tip that USF were reconsidering the idea after putting in on the ‘back-burner’ since last year.  Universal Hollywood have a long tradition of year round haunts, they’ve had Van Helsing, Classic Monsters and now a super duper Walking Dead haunt.  Orlando on the other hand has had none of these.  A year round haunt perhaps themed to the HHN icon’s or a more generic haunt that can be redressed every Halloween would be a welcomed addition to the parks!  They could even dust this idea off and give it a go…

    2. Bring Jaws Back!

Last year they brought old banana breath back after a hiatus of 14 years away from the resort.  Kongfrontation had been an opening day attraction that although had operating issues and was expensive to run, it was an excellent attraction that modern attractions and their screens will never compare to.  Kong’s return was hailed as a success and gave Universal great marketing opportunities.  That’s why when the decision was made 5 years ago to get ride of old Bruce it was a double-edged-sword that he would be replaced with a Potter expansion.  Yes we all love Potter but we all loved JAWS too!  ‘The Shark in the Dark‘ experience at HHN of riding the Jaws ride at night was always a must do for HHN aficionados.

JAWS was the classic attraction that despite it continued faults and whole rebuild was dubbed by Universal Parks then CEO as “an excellent attraction where guests are continually being chased as food.”  JAWS has never left Hollywood or Japan’s parks – so it needs to return to Orlando in one shape or another.  Imagine the house of mouse’s shock if such an iconic and popular movie was to return – they would not be able to compete.

Whether you’re 4 or 94 you know the sound that people make in every beach and pool across the world, John William’s classic “dur dum, dur dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum…”  It’s brand awareness like that that your Shrek’s/McStuffins/Zootopia’s etc etc will never reach.

     3. Jurassic World

Jurassic World was a box-office phenomenon a couple of years ago.  A surprise hit that matched drama, peril, disaster and action in equal measures.  People loved this movie, that’s why it is no surprise that many of the original cast members are currently filming the sequel to this hit right now ready for 2018. So how cool would it be to take your own adventure in a geo-sphere or come face to face with the impossible Indominus Rex?

     4. More Potter

Disney’s gonna build the world’s first fully immersive and interactive hotel resort based on the Star Wars movies.  It’s also slated to not be very big and to cost upwards of $1000 a night.  Disney are banking on this crossing the zeitgeist and becoming this huge meta sensation, BUT, imagine the look on the Disney Executives faces if Universal announced that down the road you could stay in a Harry Potter themed hotel, that was just an immersive, just as interactive but was bigger and cheaper per night.  Disney would not be happy.  This has to happen!

5. Even More Potter

People love Potter, so in the words of the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels “give ’em what they want!Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released last year to great praise and applause and with Universal being firmly in partnership with Rowling, wouldn’t be awesome to see this movie made into a full E-Ticket somewhere within one of the parks.  On top of this there is also the rumored Ministry of Magic and other worlds within this franchise that could be explored for theme park potential.

HHNU Add:  If Universal does plan to implement any of these ideas – please remember to leave space for HHN!  Or better still, build us some spaces to build houses!

So there you have, Universal now has the land and it certainly has the talent, so what’s stopping you guys – let’s beat Disney – hashtag #ThemeParkWar.  Do you like these HHNU ideas for park additions?  Let us know in the comments!

 

Happy Amazon Prime Day

If you’re thinking of joining Amazon Prime or are going to take advantage of any of the awesome deals available from Amazon today, please use the below link.  We have partnered with Amazon to provide extra incentives to HHNU readers and they are all through the below link.  It costs you no extra and any purchases give us a tiny kick back that helps fund the site and keep the HHN news and rumors coming! Enjoy! 🙂

To join Amazon Prime click HERE.

The Greatest House Never Built…

“…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

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Artist rendition of the house

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.

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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.

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A mock up of how the house’s entrance could have looked

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.

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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!

 

 

Why we won’t be seeing The Mummy at HHN…

A rumored house leak here and a Delicious Rumor page there all contain a cacophony of different and exciting houses. Some supposed “leaked” lists contain the same houses and some have outlandish ideas never seen else where, they all have one thing in common, they don’t have The Mummy listed as potentially coming anywhere on any list. So, why not? Let’s look at why this could be…

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  1. The Movie Has Potentially Flopped

This is the lesser of the points, as HHN houses are often planned months, nee years ahead of time, and nobody was expecting this to be a flop, least of all Universal! Plus, Universal has made houses out of movies that weren’t financially successful – some of which are now iconic houses in HHN’s history (read more about that HERE). Some may argue its poor box office could prohibit it being a potential for HHN28, though it may be “off-message” to promote a movie a year after it has been released; its not exactly corporate synergy is it?

  1. Genre?

Just what exact genre is the movie? It contains some staple horror sequences, though these are too short, it then peppers in a number of comedic moments (some of which fall flat) that are interconnected with more typical adventure elements. These are all sandwiched between heavy and all too real action sequences that are more akin to Cruise’s other movies (Mummy Impossible – was how one critic hailed the production). If a HHN designer wanted to, they could extract enough set pieces and sequences to create a good HHN house but it may be a bit tepid particularly if a dedication to the script was maintained for dramatic purposes.

  1. Cruise, Cruise, Cruise

Variety reported that Cruise took a very big active role in making this movie, something that he has done on all his recent movies. Many are placing the failings of the movie at his door. Variety noted:

“…But in the case of “The Mummy,” one person–Cruise–had an excessive amount of control, according to several people interviewed. The reboot of “The Mummy” was supposed to be the start of a mega-franchise for Universal Pictures. But instead, it’s become a textbook case of a movie star run amok.”

According to the article, Cruise had final say on most elements within the film giving the overall picture a true “Cruis-ian” feel to the final movie. If he has had control from everything from the casting to the marketing, would he sign-off on a pesky haunted house?

  1. Potential Licensing Issue

We’re all The Walking Dead played out now for HHN (excluding the rumor we reported on where a full-time is back in the potential works), and one of the main reasons for this walker apathy has been the lack of character likenesses within each of TWD houses. Perfectly detailed sets, expertly made up walkers but no characters from the hit show. All of which has combined with their repetition every year to make most of the HHN fans very ‘meh’ about any potential returns of this franchise to HHN. And this is where The Mummy comes in…

As reported by a number of websites, Funko’s release of Nick Morton has been cancelled due to reported “licensing issues” – though the others in their range of Mummy Pop figures are still to be released, just with the obvious omission of Cruise’s character. Others point to the fact that Cruise is very careful on where and how his likeness is portrayed without wanting to comment further. Could Universal have taken any potential Mummy house off the cards at early doors conversation due to this potential issue? We’re not sure.

We’re also not entirely sure that The Mummy isn’t coming to HHN27, though all rumored lists appear to not list this property. I even commented on ScareZone that surely this house would be appearing as it would make sense with Universal wanting to push their Dark Universe as much as possible. Having looked into the contract terms with the production company it does also say that this form of ‘haunted house’ entertainment is allowed under the terms. So being that it would be so easy to allow a house to be made – what stopped them? Hopefully one day we will find out what unraveled The Mummy for HHN27!

Would you have loved to see this movie as a house or maze for this year? Do you remember the original Mummy mazes from the 90s? Let us know in the comments!

HHNUnofficial’s Story & Guide for 2017

Did you know HHNU’s HHN guide for 2017 has just been released?  And to make it even more exciting, the book instantly became a bestselling new release for US travel guides!

The fear-filled coverage includes:

  • Walkthroughs of every house and scarezone in Orlando HHN history
  • Backstories of HHN icons like Jack the Clown and icons-that-never-were like Nathaniel Crowe, Dr. Payne and the Phantom!
  • 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 (plus many more!)
  • A rundown of houses that never saw the light of day, including the infamous ‘Extreme House’.
  • Behind the scenes disagreements such as those with Marvel Studios over their superheroes!
  • Expanded inclusion of even more “Fun Fear Facts” about little-known HHN moments.
  • Plus information on what to expect for HHN27, HHN28, HHN29 and HHN30!

To get your copy now in the US follow this link here or for UK here (also available on Kindle).

Let us know if you will be buying a copy!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “I just wanted to say and let me start by saying, I hate reading books.
I never find myself reading books basically ever, the odd newspaper ormagazine that I can dive in and out of yes, but never books, they’relike marathons and I just don’t have the inclination. But your book is literally the FIRST book in my life I ever read that I willingly go past the first chapter.  Seriously. Something about reading to me bores me to tears but your book is fantastic. It may help that it’s about something I actually care about but still I think it says a lot man. You’ve made a book which could be a dull as dishwater if handled wrong, butinstead you’ve crafted something that is as dramatic and interesting asthe event itself. I can’t wait to finish it, as I actually want to start re-reading it again from the start. You’ve made me like reading again and I honestly thank you for it. Now go write more, the world needs more from you!” Scott from HHNUnofficial.com

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “Christopher Ripley is THE expert when it comes to Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights. Which is why his guidebook is a must-read for someone looking to make the most of this annual event.” Jim Hill, Theme Park Expert jimhillmedia.com

★★★★★ “I found this a highly interesting read from the moment Ipicked it up. It’s great to understand the history of the event in preparationfor my forthcoming vacation, so I will know what to look out for! Sometimes yougo to an event and don’t quite understand all the effort and vision that hasgone into it, but through reading this book it gave me a great perspective ofexactly what goes into creating everything. My goal this year is to now slowdown and take in all the detail, something that is hard to do when you’re beingchased by zombies!”

 

Could USH’s Roanoke Maze Be Next Gen HHN?

Universal Hollywood recently reached out to us to share some more details about the Roanoke house that is coming to the West coast and how it will be different from the anthology house of multi-seasons that we will get on the East coast.  Here’s the details:

Universal Studios Hollywood announces the return of FX’s critically-acclaimed, Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning television series “American Horror Story,” bringing Ryan Murphy’s demented “Roanoke” installment to life at this year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” event, beginning Friday, September 15, 2017.

“American Horror Story: Roanoke” will unearth the twisted legacy of The Lost Colony of Roanoke, transporting guests to the haunted backwoods of North Carolina where they will experience the terror that has tormented the town for centuries. The all-new disturbing maze, reimagined in acute and disturbing details, will unmask a cast of deranged killers, from the cannibalistic Polk family who subsist by feeding upon innocent victims to The Butcher who thrives on human sacrifices. Trapped in a vicious circle of evil and murder, guests will find themselves in a life or death battle to outrun the nightmare of Roanoke before the vindictive spirts and demented killers soak the earth with the blood of their victims.

“The macabre mind of Ryan Murphy brings a treasure-trove of limitless possibilities to ‘Halloween Horror Nights,” said John Murdy, Creative Director at Universal Studios Hollywood and Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights.” “Because of the multitude of terrifying layers that come to life within this latest installment of FX’s ‘America Horror Story,’ we are devoting our entire maze to uncovering every twisted detail to fully immerse our guest into the Roanoke storyline.”

Whilst the release of information to us gives out some more details surrounding the house, it is in fact the small print at the bottom that gives some interesting clues as to how this maze could be very different from any maze/house we’ve ever seen before.

The email describes that the house is being built in partnership with FoxNext.  Last year’s houses and indeed this year’s AHS house at Orlando are being worked on in partnership with FX – their production company.  However, on this release from Hollywood the mention of FX is fleeting and no mention of the overall 20th Century Fox at all.

So what is FoxNext?

The internet says:

FoxNext is a video game and theme park division announced in January 2017 by the Fox Entertainment Group. It operates under Twentieth Century Fox Film and the Fox Networks Group. FoxNext was created in response to the success of the mobile game The Simpsons: Tapped Out and the PC game Alien: Isolation in creating revenue from their existing properties. It will handle development and publishing of video games, including virtual reality and augmented reality titles, as well as the development of Fox Entertainment Group theme and amusement parks, including parks in Dubai and Malaysia. The division’s president is Salil Mehta, a former executive from NBCUniversal and The Walt Disney Company, who has been with Fox since 2013. On June 6, 2017, it acquired Aftershock Studios (formerly Kabam’s Los Angeles and San Francisco studios).

The information sent to us by USH also goes a little further:

FoxNext is driving immersive, next generation entertainment experiences in the areas of virtual and augmented reality, mobile, console and pc games and location-based entertainment across Twentieth Century Fox Film and Fox Network Group. The division consists of FoxNext Games, FoxNext Destinations and FoxNext VR Studio. Fox has a successful track record identifying exceptional games and publishing partners across the mobile and console/PC space, such as Family Guy: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game, Animation Throwdown: The Quest for Cards, The Simpsons Tapped Out, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, Ice Age Adventures, Sugar Smash: Book of Life and Alien: Isolation. FoxNext VR Studio will oversee VR experiences, such as the already announced ALIEN and PLANET OF THE APES productions, and work to commercialize Fox’s overarching VR strategy. FoxNext Destinations will oversee the company’s location-based entertainment business including the development of the 20th Century Fox World theme park in Malaysia.

So why is 20th Century Fox’s video game department actively working to build this house with Universal Hollywood and not just FX or Fox?  Here’s the two possible reasons:

The house may include special effects utilizing screens to maximize the effect of various scenes, it could also have some kind of projection mapping technology – which is highly rumored for The Shining houses on both coasts.  Whilst I’d stop at the suggestion that the house may have some kind of VR component, it could utilize various digital and physical tricks that are used in VR experiences, such as those last year in The Repository.

The other interesting reason could be that Fox in return for allowing their show at HHN asked USH to show them the secrets to successful haunted house/maze creation, a way of inducting this new fledgling company into the ways of the maze trickster; they have after all other projects that the company will be working on in the future that will need these skills.

As the information from Universal shows that FoxNext are actively working on VR experiences for the Alien and Planet of the Ape movies along with a whole theme park in Malaysia. Indeed, could this close partnership between Universal and Fox see these VR experiences come to a future HHN?  Any thing is now possible with the rapid proliferation of this exciting technology.

FoxNext president Salil Mehta recently spoke to the Hollywood Reporter:

“FoxNext was created to support our motion pictures and with the view that technology is creating an opportunity for us to really revolutionize the way stories will be told in the future. There’s enormous innovation occurring that allows real interactive storytelling, and we created divisions to focus on games, VR and location-based entertainment. We’re trying to define the best ways to create content for each. In location based entertainment, we are doing a lot already.  That will include developing experiences for the 36-acre Fox World Malaysia, which is slated to open in 18 months. Planned attractions include those related to franchises including Alien, as well as Night at the Museum, Ice Age and Planet of the Apes.”

The most interesting part of this is whole puzzle is how this new company FoxNext is actively working on projects right now that aren’t just based around their next theme park – so could this maze be one of these projects and what involvement do they have?  It is surely all fascinating stuff!!  So although it may not affect this maze it is very exciting that Universal is working with this VR provider!

If we hear anything more concrete we will surely pass it on here at HHNU.  In the meantime, lets sit back and watch this maze’s twisted trailer:

Would you like to do a VR house based on Roanoke, Alien or Planet of the Apes? 

Let us know in the comments!

Dark Universe: ORIGINS

If you’ve seen Universal’s new The Mummy movie then you have been lucky enough to see the first movie in Universal’s upcoming Dark Universe franchise.  A whole host of movies are planned that will all tie into each other.  However, this is not the first time that this has happened!

Read about it in my Universal Monsters: Origins book that not only goes into great detail on how these original movies were made but looks at their origins within folklore and history.

A real Mummy’s curse inspired the original Mummy movie and how the original explorers of the tomb of King Tut befell grave circumstances!  All this and more in Universal Monsters: Origins…. (available in all good book stores or via Amazon)

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Click here to buy from Amazon now

Confirmed: 9 Houses, 5 Scarezones and 2 Shows for HHN27

Universal Orlando Resort has unveiled all ticket and vacation packages available for guests to experience Halloween Horror Nights 2017. Starting now, guests can take advantage of dozens of new 2017 offers from special Florida resident vacation packages to Halloween Horror Nights Flex Tickets – giving them more flexibility to plan their visit.

Returning to Universal Studios Florida for a record-breaking 34 select nights from September 15 – November 4, the nation’s premier Halloween event will feature:

  • Nine new immersive and bone-chilling haunted houses based on everything from iconic horror films and popular TV shows to disturbing original stories that will place guests in their own personal nightmare
  • Five elaborately-themed scarezones where hundreds of menacing scareactors will stalk guests’ every move
  • Two captivating and entertaining live shows
  • Access to Universal Studios Florida’s most exhilarating rides and attractions

With the variety of Halloween Horror Nights 2017 ticket offers and vacation packages that are available, guests are able to choose the best way for them to experience the extreme Halloween entertainment that can only be found at Halloween Horror Nights. New offers include:

  • Halloween Horror Nights Sunday – Friday Flex Ticket ($77.99 per adult + tax) and Halloween Horror Nights Sunday – Saturday Flex Ticket (85.99 per adult + tax): The Halloween Horror Nights Flex Ticket is designed to offer guests the most flexibility and convenience when planning their Halloween Horror Nights visit. Guests can purchase the ticket in advance, visit the event on the night of their choosing and proceed straight to turnstiles for entry into the event.
  • The Sunday – Friday Flex Ticket allows one guest admission to any one Halloween Horror Nights event night from Sunday – Friday.  The Sunday – Saturday Flex Ticket allows one guest admission to any one event night.
  • Coca-Cola Promotion: On select nights, guests can save up to $50 with a UPC code from any can of Coca-Cola® products when they buy in advance.
  • Florida Resident Vacation Packages (Starting at $225 per adult, per night, tax inclusive at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort): Florida residents can purchase a Halloween Horror Nights vacation package that includes admission to the event, 2-night hotel accommodations at a Universal Orlando Resort on-site hotel, and access to ALL THREE of Universal Orlando’s theme parks: Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and the all-new Universal’s Volcano Bay.

To book tickets now visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Orlando.

 

The Ghosts of Universal Orlando

We recently had reports sent to us at the HHNU Office that the Shrek attraction at Universal Orlando is supposedly haunted – wait for it – by the ghost of Alfred Hitchcock. So with this in mind and other real life spooky goings-on at everyone’s favorite Central Florida resort, we wanted to look at these weird reports to try and get to the bottom of what’s going on…

So why Alfred Hitchcock?

Alfred Hitchcock, for those that don’t know (and we’re sure there’s a few of you under that rock), was perhaps the greatest filmmaker of the Twentieth Century. A career that lasted for over 60 years, the ‘Master of Suspense’, the original ‘auteur’ – his contribution to cinema not only informed the peers of his day but also inspire the way in which film directors work to this very day.

When he left this mortal coil in 1980 he had worked with Universal for the final two decades of his life. His production company Shamley which held the licensing to all his pictures that he produced in the second half of his career was quickly acquired by Universal to cement his reputation as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. That’s why in the months after his death the idea was floated of adding a celebration-come-attraction to the plans for Universal’s own ‘Florida Project’.

When Universal Orlando opened in 1990 it featured the Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies, which was formerly located in the now Shrek building. It was a glorious attraction that mixed a show elements with practical sets that guests could explore. It featured a 3D film which featured the greatest scares from his back catalogue of movies. Hitchcock wasn’t a horror director but he did direct a cacophony of thrillers that featured everything from adventure to spying but mostly murder – the latter of which was the key feature of the show. Birds flying at the screen, slicing knives and rotting corpses all presented in 3D to terrify guests. Added to this was a pre-show that featured Anthony Perkins star of Psycho who walked the guests through the process of making the infamous shower scene from his most famous movie. It was all topped-off with recreations of sets from Rear Window, Saboteur and the famous trombone shot tower from Vertigo (possibly the greatest movie of all time as voted by modern film critics).

However it was not to last…

Very quietly and without warning the final guests to make their way through the Orlando unique attraction was on January 3rd 2003. It later reopened to the attraction that we know today, Shrek 4D some 6 months later. With Jaws and Back to the Future following suit soon after, it now leaves just ET as the sole opening day attraction.

So why does Hitchcock supposedly haunt the Shrek attraction?

We reached out to social media to ask what weird things have been occurring and received a variety of responses. Our good buddy Kevin Contini said:

“I’ve worked there in 06. Two coworkers of mine had run ins with Mr. Hitchcock in the first theater. Doors have shut on them on their own accord, lights went off…”

When questioned Kevin said:

“Nah, my coworkers were serious!”

We also received the following report from a current Universal employee who didn’t want to be named:

“Yes, the place is literally haunted by Alfred. His spirit walks that soundstage and he is not happy the ogre replaced his beloved attraction… The weirdest experience I had was one evening we were waving the last group out the door and as I walked back the Pinocchio animatronic started to rapidly kick his legs and then it stopped. The room was deathly silent and then that, it was very strange.”

Another employee posted about this topic in the HHN Group:

“Just wanted to say if any if yall want an Alfred Hitchcock house just work at Shrek. Believe me he haunts the heck out of that place! Also the second theatre of Shrek has officially closed for the year and team members aren’t allowed in so the house construction in there has began! (It also didn’t make Alfred too happy.. he broke our first theatre in revenge the first day it went down).”

He continued:

“We have to say hi to Alfred every morning or he gets angry and stuff will go wrong. In the ride throughs in the morning there’s quite often a seat in the back row that will go down and when the show finishes it’ll go back. All the team members there know it aha.”

Another former Shrek staffer told us:

“Lights going out, doors opening unexpectedly, weird bangs and that spooky backrow. Shrek aint got nothing on Sir Hitchcock!”

So the jury’s out on this one – is Alfred Hitchcock haunting the Shrek building? Who knows!? We do know that an actual fiend was birthed within these walls, well the trailer behind the attraction he was. Some of you may not know this uber HHN fan fact, but Jack the Clown, HHN’s icon-extraordinaire was literally born within the Hitchcock attraction at the rear in a production trailer. A fact revealed within my HHN book and via James Keaton who plays Jack via an episode of our very popular HHN based podcast ScareZone. Maybe the spirit of Alfred embiggens the murderous nature of our beloved HHN icon?

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This photo was taken straight after the makeup was still wet from the Hitchcock trailer.

So what other ghostly apparitions have also been occurring at Universal?

  • During last year’s HHN, the scareactors working The Exorcist house reported an assortment of strange happenings. Daytime lights were said to flicker when instead they should have been constant, scareactors reported hearing weird noises and some staffers said that strange things happened to them each night after working the house. A number of guests wouldn’t even venture into the house; such was the fear for this epic property. Creepy with a capital C.
  • Our good buddy Dr. Jimmy reached out with an urban legend that was told to us many years ago, he said: “A workman died when they were building Kongfrontation, he fell from some scaffolding or something. His ghost haunted the attraction for years. Many TMs saw an extra passenger on the trams after they were empty… but when they looked in he was gone. He also showed up on monitors frequently. I’ve heard the mummy is still haunted, but there may be more than one ghost now, a guest died on the ride shortly after it opened!”
  • Another ghostly tale comes from Universal’s Hollywood studio with the ghost of Lon Chaney. Chaney was the star of many of Universal’s original monster movies, the movies that literally made this studio. Stage 28 which was built for his most famous movie The Phantom of the Opera featured a full sized remake of the Parisian Theater from the picture. Years since, the set had remained for decades with Universal staffers all saying that a black cloaked stranger had been witnessed hiding within the balconies of the theater. The reports happened so often that Security Guards even stopped searching the soundstage when reports came in (there was even a TV movie made about the Phantom of Stage 28) But don’t worry scaredy cats out there, the soundstage was sadly demolished in 2016 to make way for future park expansions. It was only built in 1924, but hey…
  • Our final ghost is REAL. Yes REAL and actively haunts the restrooms of Islands of Adventure! That’s right Moaning Myrtle herself can be found during park hours haunting the stalls of every toilet in the Hogsmeade section of IOA. Spooooky…
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This ghost was scribbled onto the set by an unknown scareactor when the Shrek attraction was used during HHN for it’s first outing during the event with the 3D Alice in Wonderland house at HHN25.

Our good buddy and Universal Orlando’s original producer, Julie Zimmerman said about the Hitchcock ghost:

“Well I have not heard this before, like Christopher Stapleton said, he designed that attraction… I would say if Hitchcock’s spirit is anywhere it would be Universal Hollywood… If anything at USF would have seen the Spirit of Hitchcock I would say it would have been the Bates Motel of Psycho house, now gone but as I worked in a trailer back there, long before they tore it down, I never picked up any vibe…now Hollywood I am sure is a different story…”

So there you have it, the ghosts of Universal Orlando! And you thought the Haunted Mansion was scary!!

Have you experienced any ghostly times in the parks? Let us know in the comments!

Join the Aiello Club

We at ScareZone : Halloween Horror Nights Podcast have partnered with HHN’s genius Mike Aiello to offer these ridiculous AIELLO CLUB shirts. He thought they were funny, but wanted to make sure if we sold them that it supported his charity of choice – The American Cancer Society.

All net profits will be tallied up after two weeks and donated, which means these shirts will only be available for a few weeks, so get them now while you can.  Click below to purchase now.

https://represent.com/aielloclub?store=scarezone

I know a lot of you are wrestling fans and will get the reference.  Plus, from what we’ve been told the shirts have already made over $100 – so THANK YOU!! 🙂