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.

Universal Vs Ash Vs The Evil Dead Vs The Evil Dead Vs HHN27

Yes you read that title right….

The Evil Dead has had a complex history with both Universal and Halloween Horror Nights, which all started in 1989 when HHN was just pipe dream in the minds of the creatives at Universal.

Sam Raimi who was hot off the back of the initial success of the early Evil Dead movies was approached by Universal to direct their next feature.  Raimi had tried to springboard from the success of these movies to direct his “ultimate” comic book movie.  Universal knew that he had attempted to obtain the rights for The Shadow and had been in the running to direct the new Batman movie, losing out to Disney alumnus Tim Burton.  When Universal approached Raimi with a deal to create and then direct his own comic book movie he grabbed at the chance.  That movie would ultimately be Darkman, (who incidentally would appear at HHN2 in his own house), and it was released in 1990 to much praise and solid box-office returns.

After the success of this comic book movie, Universal were keen to see Raimi do another fantasy based movie though Raimi was more keen to make another Evil Dead movie.  The Studio and the director meet in the middle and created Army of Darkness, the sequel to the two original movies.  Creating the sequel would prove complex as with new distribution partner Universal on board (who had no handling of the original two movies) would see them having to step change the sequel away from traditional lodge in the woods setting, which was not as bigger deal as many people made out, as Raimi had plans to set the movie in the Middle Ages (which is what happened).  The movie was not the success that Universal had hoped (though was profitable) and both director and studio parted ways amicably.

Away from the movies and TV shows the franchise picked up steam in the renaissance that the comic book industry was experiencing in the 1990s, all the while the movies were garnering cult statuses on VHS and later on DVD.  Universal saw the popularity of the franchise pick up with horror fans and planned to have an boomstick handling Ash at HHN in the early 00s – this however never came to pass.  It wasn’t until 2009 that the idea seriously came onto the table.

hhn

The idea was to create a house based on Army of Darkness where guests would follow in the time traveling footsteps of Ash all the while he protects his bunch of traveling companions from a fleet of gruesome deadites.  The house promised to be gory, have splattering special effects, chainsaws a-plenty all wrapped up with elaborate sets with a healthy comedic twist.  Unfortunately the house would never come to be.

2009 proved to be a bumper year.  It would be a big year with big ideas and a much increased use of IPs.  The house got planned and it got pitched.  Initially, the house was thought to be an easy win for the event, a “quick add to the roster” but unfortunately it wouldn’t come off.  As USF had obatining the rights to some very big names in horror for that year (SAW, Chucky; Wolfman movie to promote etc.) they decided that the house should be condensed into a single scene and placed in the Silver Screams house of that year.

Ash and the Pit Hag were in the scene but there was a problem, it was rumored that someone in Legal had spotted that the movie was not outrightly owned by Universal.  On this basis and just to cautious it was rumored that the scene would be downplayed.  To keep Ash in the house but without the full rights they altered the film poster seen in the connecting scene leading into the room – the movie was given the title “Medieval Dead” instead (which was the actual original name for the film!)  Furthermore the prop located next to the poster was the Necronomicon from the film – especially made by USF’s prop department.  HHN fans have argued whether this was in fact Ash or not.  For me, it was, the name was pulled but the detail wasn’t – that scene had Ash – the Ash we know.

Ash vs Evil Dead Debuts at Halloween Horror Nights - Low Res
For the first time ever, STARZ’S critically-acclaimed television series “Ash vs Evil Dead” will summon Deadites to a new haunted maze at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood, beginning September 15. Throughout the maze, guests will come face-to-face with disturbing characters and iconic comedic and gory scenes from seasons 1 and 2 as they desperately try to escape all things evil…before it’s too late.

Skip forward to 2013 and Universal were keen to circle back on their original idea.  Unfortunately, TriStar along with Raimi were about to release a new reboot of the series (what with reboots being the ‘in’ thing in the last few years).  Universal were supposedly counter offered and the new reboot was accepted.  In 2013 on both coasts we received the rebooted movie house which made fine houses.  And although the movie was not a huge success, the houses proved to be very popular.

Shifting to 2015, the same production team of Raimi and Campbell wanted to make a sequel to their original movie franchise.  Countless comic books, video games and even a popular musical had ensured the brand was very much ‘undead’.  For whatever reason, the will they had manifested into a brand new TV show.  Universal, however were not on board.  It appears that shortly before this time, Universal started making preparations to make a sequel to Army of Darkness but without Raimi or Campbell – an ability they had being that they handled just the third film in the franchise.  Likely due to this no mention of the third film would be seen in the new TV show.  Bloody Disgusting wrote about the issue last year:

In fact, when we talked to producer Robert Tapert back in April, he eluded to this…“’Army of Darkness’ doesn’t exist,” says Tapert before clarifying a bit. “Well, certainly Ash went through a bad experience, but we’re not really referencing it [on the show], specifics from that, but he certainly has that in his memory.”

However, after the show was a hit, the legal issue was quickly resolved, Universal became on board and now the third series is in production and will make reference to AoD.  Which leads us to 2017 where Ash will once again return to HHN and finally get the house we have been waiting on for so many years!

Groovy…

Are you excited for the Ash Vs The Evil Dead house?  Let us know in the comments!

 

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

fog2hhnu
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.

MV5BMTEwYzk1Y2EtODAwOS00YTIyLWE4MTUtNmRlOWM1YmRlMTUzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjc1NTYyMjg@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,657,1000_AL_.jpg

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.

fog hhnu.jpg
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.

image12.jpeg

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…

5858fe736e83e

  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!