Jaws the Ride is Resurrected! Well kinda…

For seasoned HHN fans there was a tradition that had outlived any specialty beverage or Frankenstein novelty food item and that tradition was riding the “Shark in the Dark“.

Not heard of this? Well you must have started going to HHN after 2012 as that was the year that the Jaws Ride at Universal Orlando closed forever to make way for Diagon Alley (#BringBackJaws 😢).

Prior to this, devotees of this practice would wait until after dark and then venture onto the ride where a fresh new dynamic would be at play where it would be ever so slightly scarier due to the absence of natural light. Pepper in a few strategically placed Scareactors and this was THE best HHN tradition ever. Read more about the practice HERE.

This is why fans of the tradition were surprised to find out last week that our beloved Bruce (aka the Shark) has popped up from ‘beyond the grave’ at a restaurant in New York City!  It turns out that 494 Chicken restaurant on Staten Island has just purchased the only remaining complete 13ft long Shark from the ride (via a dealer in Maryland) and it is now on display within the restaurant.  You can read the original article here.

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Image courtesy of Staten Island Advance/ Victoria Priola

“I thought, ‘This is nuts, but if it’s the real thing, it’s worth a shot to check it out,’ and it definitely was,” said co-owner John Ryan. “We definitely got a few looks while driving. It’s not every day you see someone driving a truck with a shark hanging out of it.”

Relive the horror below:

Did you ever do the Shark in the Dark?  Will you be visiting this restaurant?  If so, let us know!

The Faces Behind Jack!

Jack the Clown has been haunting the attendees of Halloween Horror Nights since HHN10. The firm fan and guest favorite has largely been played by the same actor.

Since the very beginning he has been consistently played by James Keaton. Keaton has not just played Jack but a host of other Universal characters too, from mainstays such as The Grinch to random outings such as The Incredible Hulk.

And whereas Chris Ripley calls James the “Lon Chaney of our generation” he hasn’t always spent his time under the Jack greasepaint, as very occasionally, other actors have portrayed the maniacal clown, and some may surprise you!  These are:

1. Singapore Jack

In 2014 Jack appeared at HHN Singapore with his own house, Jack’s 3-Dementia, plus a new show Jack’s Nightmare Circus.

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Urm?  Photo courtsey of AspirantSG

2. WWE’s Mike Rome

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Credit: WWE

Mike was formerly a team member of Universal Orlando and during his time he donned the grease paint to become Jack on a number times, including during HHN25!

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Credit: Jason West

3. Mike Aiello

Mike Aiello aka the God of HHN recently revealed to his Twitter followers that he too used to portray everyone’s favorite clown when he was a scareactor back in the early 00s.  Upon releasing this info, many people also tweeted photos saying “is this you Mike?”  And many were!

And here’s another rare one of Mike…

4. The fans!

The only group of people to portray the character more frequently than Keaton are the fans!  Albeit unofficially, but featuring in conventions at home in Florida and even as far away as NYC’s Comic Con, fans have been portraying the character for the a number of years!

So there you have it! But let us know in the comments what your fav Jack was and which year?  And also, do you recognize any of the above fans?  We’d love to know!

Rumor: Here’s Johnny Again?

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Twitter account posted the following strange message yesterday:

We know that pre-production for the event is in full swing and unlike the Orlando Twitter account, Hollywood likes to tease us fans with perfect timed, often incredibly difficult clues for us to try and unravel. Some clues are so impossible that they aren’t even solved to until after the event! And that’s exactly why this one is very strange, as it’s too easy! All three clues point to Kubrick’s The Shining. It was filmed in the late 70s, the carpet is very iconic, the wallpaper has been discussed at length to feature hidden messages (possibly about ancient Indian burial grounds etc) and as for Al Bowlly, well he has two songs that feature in this movie masterpiece.

BUT, for this early in the game, surely this has to be a huge red herring!? And then there’s Warner Bros, who last year kept all their properties for their own event in Burbank. So the likelihood of this property returning to HHN, combined with the fact that it featured only 2 years ago seems to make it unlikely to return. So it’s a puzzle wrapped in an enigma once more! Some people online are drawing conclusions that it could be linking to Netflix’s awesome new show The Haunting of Hill House but that’s a stretch from this one clue. HoHH is very popular, Netflix appear to be good partners of the event after the success of this year’s Stranger Things house and the show does borrow heavily from The Shining; but this is a huge leap right now! There is one possible clue that might throw water on The Shining speculation and that’s hidden in this later clue:

So to roundup, this first maze they’re working on is possibly linked to The Shining and it’s never been to HHN before…interesting times!

If we receive, see or hear anything further we’ll post it on HHNU, so keep your eyes peeled!  Until then, this is just speculation!

So what do you thank? Could it be The Haunting of Hill House or is The Shining returning? Let us know in the comments!

UOAP Holder Sues Universal Over Historic Issue at HHN

An Universal Annual Passholder from Pasco County is suing Universal Orlando Resort, alleging injury caused due to negligence during Halloween Horror Nights.

The case has just been lodged with the Orange County Clerk but dates back to HHN24. Cast your minds back to HHN in 2014, that was the year of Aliens Vs Predator, Dollhouse of the Damned and the very first time the franchise of Halloween was presented at the event.

According to court files, Jessica Mattox Wilson filed a complaint back in October to the Court against Universal City Development Partners Ltd, who trade as Universal Orlando Resort, alleging that the event organizer of Halloween Horror Nights failed to keep its premises in a reasonably safe condition back on one night in 2014.

According to the complaint, she and others were attending the event on October 31st, 2014, where she Wilson tripped on a steel tree grate portion of the sidewalk, which subsequently collapsed. Wilson had apparently been invited to the event by Universal as a business invitee. Apparently, she and others were walking between houses when she decided to take a bathroom break. Walking to the nearest bathroom she crossed the sidewalk where a tree grate cover was located and the grate gave way, locking her foot into the grate and slamming her person onto the concrete below.

The suit says Wilson sustained “severe, extensive, and permanent bodily injuries, resulting in pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, and expenses for hospitalization, medical, nursing, physical therapy care and treatment”. She alleges the tree grate was broken and that Universal have a duty of care to ensure maintenance of such items to prevent accidents. The plaintiff alleges Universal Orlando Resort failed to provide a safe place for its invitees due to this one tree grate and had failed to warn the plaintiff and others of the unsafe, defective and dangerous condition that it was in.

She alleges that her injuries were so bad that the UOAP passholder passes that her and her immediate family own have been wasted as none of them were able to use them for the rest of their respective durations. She is currently demanding a trial by jury and damages exceeding $15,000. She is also representing herself at court as the case is currently continuing.

We will bring you more information on this as we hear it…

For more information visit the Orange County Court Clerk’s Record Office.

Rumor: Are Universal Considering Bringing Back Bill & Ted?

We’ve heard some rumblings here at HHNU HQ that Universal might be considering bringing back the bodacious duo, Bill and Ted. Nothing concrete has cropped up, it is after all so very early but plans are always afoot for the next HHN…

The rumor seems to be springing from a few of our sources that say that although there are no current plans for them return, it does appear that they surely can’t be fully “off the table” just yet.

The rumors we have received in this regard over the last few weeks seem to have been given a small amount of credence by the fact that the annual HHN surveys have been released to all those that had signed up to them. And the interesting thing about this is that they pose the following interesting question:

In my mind the above question has a simple answer but truly they can’t be wholly compared, but it weird that this question should crop up right in the midst of these rumors. Personally, I can’t see them coming back, in at least the short term anyhow.

But there could be bad news for the fans that wanna see Bill and Ted back in the Fear Factor/Wild West Show Building as it appears the Fear Factor Show has again been put on hiatus. These were taken yesterday:

Could this be the beginning of the end for this show or could it be that this show building is about to go away for rumored further expansions?  Apparently, it closed in August for HHN28 and has never reopened…

On this and Bill and Ted we surely don’t know just yet but be sure to keep your eyes on HHNU as we bring you the latest news and rumors for HHN29.

Would you welcome the dudes back? Or do you think they should remain apart of the event’s past? Let us know!

THE UPSIDE DOWN OPENS FOR ONE STRANGE DAY…

For the first time ever, Universal Orlando Resort will give guests the opportunity to brave an entire, fear-filled Halloween Horror Nights haunted house during the day, after the event has closed.

On November 6, the Upside Down will return to Universal Studios Florida as the incredibly-popular “Stranger Things” haunted house returns for one day to commemorate the anniversary of Will Byers’ disappearance in the critically-acclaimed Netflix series.

Guests will walk in the footsteps of Will as they encounter iconic scenes, characters and environments from the first season of the series – including the menacing Hawkins National Laboratory, the Byers home adorned with an erratic display of flashing Christmas lights and the predatory Demogorgon…which will stalk their every move.

Guests will also be able to enjoy foods and beverages inspired by Netflix’s “Stranger Things” at select locations within Universal Studios on November 6, including San Francisco Pastry Company, Beverly Hills Boulangerie and a special Benny’s Burgers food tent.

The “Stranger Things” haunted house will open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6, and access is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida or with an Annual or Seasonal Pass.  Passholders will also get access to the haunted house’s Express line by showing their valid pass at the entrance to the house.

The “Stranger Things” haunted house may be too intense for guests under 13. To purchase park tickets, including Annual Passes which are now available with up to six months FREE, visit www.universalorlando.com.

Twice HHN28 Reaches Capacity

It appears this past Sunday and Friday nights at HHN the event at Orlando completely sold out!  Yet again the I4 was backed up for miles while guests lined up to get inside the parking garages.

Once inside the lines to enter in via security were crazy and house wait times were bonkers!

Insiders told us that the event on the Friday night also had problems surrounding the ticketing system whereby no new tickets could be sold for quite some time.

Both nights even saw quite consistent hourly waits in the express line for many of the popular houses. And even Blumhouse was reporting record breaking wait times!

It appears that not only the Stranger Things bump was in full effect this past weekend but also as many as 6 local high schools were off for Monday returning on the Tuesday.  This combined would easily account for the two sold out events!

Did you manage to attend on these nights?  Let us know in the comments!

Headline photo taken by Vincent Vision

The Amulet of Fear Debuts at HHN28

You’ve heard of Disney Park’s Glow with the Show Ears, well roll over Disney there’s a new player in town with the Amulet of Fear.  Currently only available in Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights, the wearable skull like lanyarded pendant brings guests into the fear with this new interactive addition to the popular Halloween event.

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Disney’s Glow with the Show Ears

Become part of the fear with this skull amulet that glows and vibrates with different patterns throughout the night. Keep an eye out for the jack-o-lantern icons throughout the streets of Universal Studios Orlando as this symbolizes when the amulet will react. You can find these icons hidden throughout the park and watch them react as you enter near them.

You can find these amulets for sale at all of the glow carts throughout the park, Halloween Horror Nights tribute store and the main Universal Studios stores.

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Universal Confirms No Family Friendly Direction for HHN

In a dramatic twist to the family-friendly rumor saga of whether HHN has been and would continue to be toned down to be more family focused event (a rumor that HHNU reported here).   The rumor originated from a number of sources and was discussed on the latest Jim Hill podcast The Universal Joint. Jim refers to information he had been passed from Shelley Caran of icflorida.com that pointed towards the possible move.

It was late last night that Mike Aiello, creative director of the event, took to twitter to clarify the matter, finally:

 

 

My opinion:

As a veteran myself who has been going to the event for over 20 years I can confirm that if people think HHN is about horror then they are missing the point. The clue is in the name but is not ‘horror’ – it is ‘Halloween’.  From the very beginning, the event has always been about having a party for Halloween which is centric to a more adult demographic.  And lets be honest, Universal wants to sell as many tickets as possible to their event.  So HHN has to be all encompassing, like Mike says, everything from ghostly stories to gorey chainsaws – but it has always been that way.  HHN isn’t the scariest event out there and it probably never will be.  But it has always catered to a broad spectrum of horror fans and likely always will do.

What do you think?  Let us hear your opinion. Let us know in the comments!

Rumor: Stranger Things to return for HHN29?

Finally, a good rumor has appeared across my desk today at HHNU HQ. It appears from a number of sources we’ve heard from that the very, very, very popular franchise Stranger Things is very likely to return for HHN29. Phew! Finally a nice positive rumor we can really get behind after the last few ‘family-friendly’ rumors we’ve had this weekend.

Whilst writing about ST, it appears that the house is phenomenally popular (which everyone had predicted), so popular that it’s caused a few operational hiccups. After shutting early on the first public night due to operational changes, this past Saturday night saw the queue extend over 3 hours with even a 60 minute wait for the Express line! We also heard that RIP Tours have had to wait a short time, which is unheard of previously! It shows just how mega popular this house is! (Can’t wait for Hell Week too!!)

Apparently too, this property’s contract is the sheer opposite of The Walking Dead’s licensing agreement, where TWD had absolutely no characters from the show in their houses and zones, this agreement supposedly has clauses that ensures Universal keeps a small batch of characters in this house at all times. According to sources, a number of characters are ‘Red Star Roles’ and their appearances are mandatory while the house is in operation. So for example, if the scareactors portraying Eleven are delayed or a problem with cast changes etc., the house cannot stay open without the characters who are ‘red starred’. Apparently, this clause is strictly enforced.

Stranger Things is so popular at the moment, would you like to see more from this awesome franchise at HHN? Let us know! And let us know what you think about the current house at HHN28!