Seeds of Extinction is REAL!

We all remember last year’s smash hit house Seeds of Extinction. Located in a new location, in the Second Parade Warehouse, the house was immense! It was described as, “Humanity is extinct, wiped out by a cataclysmic meteor. In its wake something monstrous has taken root. You’ll be unnerved by familiar sights that have been overtaken by invasive vegetation. But soon your horror will ripen as you realize these plants are predatory, and you’re easy pickings. From strangling vines, to deadly beautiful blooms, to phosphorescent plants that glow with evil, fear is fertile in this gruesome garden.”

It was mostly set within the fictional Desert Valley Mall where it has been overrun with murderous plants. But did you know… there are actual malls like this!

Dead Malls have sprung up around the world where shopping outlets that have fallen on hard times and closed fall into disrepair as it’s cheaper to leave the malls to rot and be taken over by nature than it is to have them demolished.

And that’s why this one in Bangkok really got our attention as it looks just the HHN house! Check the photos out below and know that, if you wanted to, you could visit this house for REAL!

It truly was an amazing house! Let us know in the comments if you agree!

Photos by Dax Ward

Orlando to Open Year-round Halloween Themed Bar

There’s many themed bars in Orlando. Indiana Jones, magic, Christmas, arcades, tikis and many more, but new to this lineup is a year-round Halloween themed drinking establishment called Cocktails and Screams.

With drinks that would make a vampire blush the lineup is set to satisfy all custom handcrafted beverage lovers with ‘The Ripper’ and ‘Night Shade’.

No opening date has been announced just yet but it will open soon in downtown Orlando at 39 W. Pine Street.

For the over 21 year old Halloween fan this must be a place to be and to haunt! Let us know if you will be checking this place out!

Blumhouse are taking control of the Universal Monsters

Breaking news today from Hollywood is that horror mainstays Blumhouse are officially taking control of a number of Universal licensed monster movies featuring their classic creations.

The first picture to be worked on will be SAW director Leigh Whannell’s Invisible Man. Wishing to completely side step Universal’s abortive foray into the Dark Universe, Blumhouse are being given creative reign to redesign the characters and, according to the Hollywood Reporter, they no longer have to all exist in the same universe.

What with the Invisible Man being the star of the show at last year’s HHN in Hollywood we are excited to see what’s coming up in this ultimate horror franchise! Could Hollywood’s maze have inspired the move? Whannell did attend last year! So who knows, next time I interview him I will ask!

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Microsoft Convention Starts After HHN29

Good news! Bill Gates likely won’t be stealing any nights of HHN this year!

No clue what we’re talking about?

You see, for the last few years Microsoft have held a company convention in Orlando in October. Included in this convention, called Microsoft Ignite, was an itinerary item where they were renting the whole of Universal Studios for just one night for just attendees and employees of Microsoft. And as this was always held in October it meant that one of the HHN nights had to be sacrificed, usually a non-peak night that took away from the holders of the Frequent Fear passes. But it appears not any longer!

According to the event’s site it will be held yet again in Orlando but on November 4-8 when HHN29 is over. Phew!

Will you be buying Frequent Fear passes? Let’s us know in the comments how often you will be going to HHN this year!

HHN29 Dates Leaked & New Halloween Rumor

Universal Orlando Resort updated it’s official website this week and it confirms the suspicions that we’ve reported on back in September this year where we expected HHN to start far earlier in 2019 than it has ever before. Here’s the screen grab:

With a September 6 start date that could potentially give us 40 horror filled nights of thrills (or maybe even more!) which is staggeringly high based on past years (just 34 last year). It also kinda confirms that no dual-park event is being planned with the event set to remain in the Studios Park.

So that’s the good news, so here’s the potential bad one…

We received a link to this tweet below by Hollywood’s supremo creative director for HHN John Murdy. And in response to our pal Dr Jimmy who was talking with him in regards to Disney, he wrote:

So is that the reason we didn’t get the new Halloween movie last year? The fact that it might have been blocked by the competing rodent up the street? Or was THIS the reason? And if Disney does have any say on the uses of this movie will that mean they’ll block it again for HHN29? Personally, I can’t see how the new Halloween has any business connections to Disney at all but hey?

Only time will tell…

So is September 6th too early? Or will 40+ nights of horrah be awesome? Let us know in the comments!

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.