The Original HHN Maze that was later made into a Hollywood Movie!

Yes that’s right an original HHN house was later recreated into an actual movie.  It’s not just Disney that can make their rides into movies,  it’s also HHN!

Here’s the story…

15 years ago today Rob Zombie’s masterpiece House of 1000 Corpses was released in theaters. The cacophony of genre mixes, large set pieces and Zombie’s distinctive flair for horror and comedy worked together to make a movie that horrified the critics but was adored by fans.

The film gestated for 3 years on the Universal Studio backlot. Universal executives interfered with the production worried that the movie would get an explicit rating for the violence and graphic scenes. Release delays from nervous execs saw the production move from Universal to MGM and then to Lionsgate – nobody in Tinsel Town were quite sure the film should see the light of day. Zombie finally relented, trimmed the movie up and it was released to a solid R-rating. Within days Lionsgate had a hit on their hands.

But where did the movie come from?

It was 1999 and Universal approached Zombie to create a haunted house at HHN Hollywood. Working in partnership in Hollywood as they had done previously with Clive Barker, the production team worked closely with Zombie to create The Thrilling Chilling World of Rob Zombie, which became incredibly popular. The house was such a success that Universal immediately invited Zombie back to HHN to make another maze in the following year. It was this second maze that would be so successful that it would be expanded and upscaled into an actual movie. That maze was Rob Zombie’s The House of 1000 Corpses Maze.

The sets, the characters and the props were all created for HHN but then used in the production of this movie. Captain Spaulding, the Firefly family, the Murder Ride and The Museum of Monsters & Madmen were all created for HHN.

All of the following images are copyright to Ghost Ride Productions via horrornightnightmares.com/.

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The maze was extreme! Zombie warned Universal that in the first year he was just learning his craft but by the second maze he wanted to ‘open the horror taps’ and really go for it. Blood and gore abounded and the public lapped it up. Universal executives greenlit the film production based solely on how popular the HHN maze was.

The HHN maze inspired movie would eventually be released and be wildly popular within the horror genre. The movie earned over $3 million in its opening weekend, and would later go on to gross over $16 million worldwide. Despite its initial negative critical reception, the film went on to develop a cult following. A sequel was rushed into development, The Devil’s Rejects (2005), where the characters move into a horror type caper territory.

House of 1000 Corpses is a unique horror picture that changed the genre and still to this day shocks and delights audiences 15 years later.

Which begs the question, would this movie have ever existed if Universal had not taken a chance on Zombie and allowed his twisted vision to become a HHN reality?  Keep your Pirates of the Caribbean or Eddie Murphy’s Haunted Mansion for movies inspired from theme park attractions, there’s a new king in town!

Did you visit this maze? What other original mazes could be turned into Hollywood movies? Let us know in the comments!

Stranger Things CONFIRMED for HHN

HHN Meets RunDisney!?

Yep you read that right, Universal is currently pondering the idea of adding some kind of competitive running race to HHN and we couldn’t be more excited!  We’ve all seen runners running along the road, they pretty much look like zombies, just add in the traditional blood pouring from their nipples (yes that is a thing!) and they could just as well be the undead.  But fear not, running is not that boring, it can be fun and it is obviously a great way to stay healthy (ironically for this race’s theme).

RunDisney over at the Mouse House has been running for many years and runs very popular events that see people travel from all over the world!  The ‘Disney Difference’ is that you can run through the parks, have unique photo opportunities with selected characters and take home some exclusive bling.

So Universal are thinking of getting in the big running business, a process that they have tested over the years with a number of small employee only 5Ks being held.  This all came to light when Universal released their usual customer survey which included a number of ideas as special add-on tickets for HHN28.  Here’s the screenshot:

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It’s also worth noting that the same survey also asked guests what their thoughts were about starting HHN earlier than before, say August, (though we’ve heard rumors of a Sept 14th start) and whether they’d like a VR experience back (Repository sequel).

I mean, where do they get their ideas from…

Whether Chris inspired this choice or not (likely not as they have already prepped with employee only 5Ks) it has to be seen that us at HHNU cannot be more excited for this idea!  We think it would be great and would LOVE to run a 5K whilst getting chased by Scareactors – it is GENIUS.  Please do it!!

Would you love to see this?  Would you take part?  Let us know!

Featured image courtesy of Mary DiNapoli

The Walking Dead Returns… but NOT how you think!

From 2012 to 2016 the popular walker franchise ‘The Walking Dead’ haunted both the streets and houses of HHN Orlando.  Starting off with a single house in 2012 with ‘The Walking Dead: Dead Inside’ the popularity of the show grew enough for the whole event to be walker themed in the following year where every single scarezone was themed to this franchise.  The houses and zones would keep coming until 2016’s ‘best of’ house featuring various scares and popular set pieces from the series would complete the show’s reign of terror at HHN.

Fans of the show have loved experiencing the sets and scares of the show where most of the seasons have been represented (though weirdly none of the characters were) but HHN fans have been less than positive.  HHN fans have decryed from the roof tops of their boredom of the repeated visits of the walkers and their lack of character driven narrative thanks for the most part as the absence of the actors likenesses in any of the houses and zones.  But fear not HHN fans, TWD isn’t coming back in a way you think…

We’ve heard from 3 sources, 2 of which are trusted, that many of the masks, props, costumes and setpieces from the 5 years of TWD back catalogue are currently being refurbished for use at HHN28 in Orlando.  It appears from what we’ve heard that the masks particularly are being altered and “re-colored” for use of another possible hoard of zombies coming this Fall.  But for what purpose?

The rumor according to one source it would appear that a scarezone, probably around the Fast and Furious area, is being designed to celebrate the life and times of George A. Romero who sadly passed away last July.  The rumor goes that since he passed there has been a huge increase of interest in his work and what he did for the horror genre.  For those not in the know, Romero is the grandfather of zombie horror, starting with Night of the Living Dead (1968), which is often considered the genesis of the modern fictional zombie genre. Other films in the series include Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985) (including their remakes).  Aside from this series, his works include The Crazies (1973), Martin (1978), Creepshow (1982), Monkey Shines (1988), The Dark Half (1993) and Bruiser (2000).

The rumor says that Universal via HHN want to honor his work and provide a scarezone that not only scares HHN goers but also shows the evolution of the zombie genre.  The very first movie that kickstarted the whole zombie on film craze was ‘Night of the Living Dead’ shot on a very low budget.  Shot on black and white film it terrified audiences with it’s gritty realism and tension packed pace.  It is this the rumor says is to be used for the refurbished masks and costumes where the masks will be hand painted black and white in honor of this genesis movie.

The backup for this rumor comes from two areas.  The first is the legal side of proceedings where the ‘Night’ movie is now supposedly public realm and not officially recognized by copyright.  It appears that the original distributor (Walter Reade Organization) did not copyright the original prints.  And in 1968 US law defined that all original prints required a copyright.  As this never happened if could mean that other media companies could use the source material for their own means.  In the 1980s a slew of zombie pictures were released all with the same similar ‘night’ prefix that indicates this absence of any proper copyright.

The copright issues are explained here:

The other factor is Romero’s passing.  Since he left this mortal coil there has been a release of novels, books, graphic novels, mentions and merch all honoring his life and work.  The idea could be that a fitting tribute be made for this year’s HHN in Orlando that honors him and educates everyone how he created this zombie genre and how without him we would not have the huge cacophony of zombie movies/books/TV shows etc that we have today.  Black and White zombies at HHN have also been done before but this was in a house, so how they’ll work outdoors in a zone would be very interesting to find out.

So there you have it: 3 tips and some rumors to belt it all up.  Are we right?  Well only Universal knows that.  We’ll just have to wait until September 2018…

For more info on Romero read our tribute to him that our HHNU staffer Rob wrote last year HERE.

Would you like to see a Romero tribute scarezone?  Do you think this would work?  Let us know in the comments!

Our buddy Fowl Owlerson helped contribute to this article, go read his blog HERE.

Recent HHN Marketing Wins and Fails!

In the last couple of days HHN has received heaps of praise and complaints in equal measures.  Firstly the praise which came in the form of Universal Orlando winning an “Addy” at the 2018 Orlando American Advertising Awards in the film and TV category for their commercial for HHN27.

Directed by famed horror director Eli Roth the 1min 48 long commercial named “The Best Nightmares – Director’s Cut” won out against other TV marketing campaigns to win the top spot at the local awards.  For those that want a trip down memory lane to see this awesome commercial, click below:

The praise comes for Orlando as the marketing campaign for Resorts World Sentosa Singapore’s HHN comes under heavy scrutiny.   The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) reported this week that half of all the complaints these received last year from concerned citizens related to HHN.

The complaints focused on publicity stunts that the resort made to better publicize their HHN event on social media, these included three fake memorials located at bus shelters, with the names and photos – along with flowers – of “victims” of a fictional Southpoint Mall disaster, with complainers calling the campaign “tasteless” and “insensitive”.

Another stunt even included a campaign where people had to help locate a missing girl and an advertisement featuring self harm.  ASAS said: “As the feedback was received at the end of the advertisement’s run, the advertiser agreed to take ASAS’ feedback into consideration for future Halloween events.”

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They continued: “ASAS informed the advertiser who created the advertisement that depicted self-harm during Halloween, that it had breached the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP) guidelines on violence and influence to children and young people. As the feedback was received at the end of the advertisement’s run, the advertiser agreed to take ASAS’s feedback into consideration for future Halloween events. Advertisers are reminded that advertisements addressed to or likely to influence children and young people should not contain anything that might influence them to harm themselves mentally, morally or physically.”

It can be said that perhaps the mistakes made last year at HHN Singapore are exactly the mistakes that Orlando has avoided by not allowing Sindy to icon the event.  Speaking of Orlando and to end on a positive note, Universal Orlando didn’t just win for HHN at the Addy’s!  They also won best Social Media Video for their highly popular fan video, “You Know You’re an UOAP When…”.  The short video was wildly popular across social media and featured some very familiar HHN alumni sending up their former HHN roles.  If you didn’t catch it, see this incredibly well done and now ‘award winning’ video below!

That’s it for now and we hope to bring you more news and rumors for HHN28 as we receive them…

Bill & Ted Return! (To the Silver Screen)

It seems after years of “will they / won’t they” our favorite time traveling dudes are set to return to theaters soon with a brand new installment to their iconic franchise (which isn’t the greatest of timings now they have left HHN! But hey we can all dream).

Returning with original stars Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves along with co-creators Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon the original team are director Dean Parisot, (Galaxy Quest) and producer Steven Soderbergh.

Solomon told Digital Spy:

“We have a script that we really are proud of, that we worked very hard on, that we’ve done many iterations of – and we did it on spec, meaning we spent years working on it because we wanted to get it right, creatively.

This is not, ‘Hey let’s all cash-in on the Bill & Ted thing for money’ – this is the opposite. This is, ‘We love these characters, they’ve been with us for our whole lives’ – Chris and me, and Alex and Keanu – and we wanted to visit them again as middle-aged men. We thought it would be really fun, and funny, and sweet.”

He went on to explain the plot details where older dudes meet the younger dudes and where the whole movie gets “totally” meta, he said:

“There’s actually a scene – one of my favourite scenes in the whole movie – where middle-aged, 50-year-old Bill and Ted return to the Circle K and see their teen selves and Rufus, and actually interact with their teenage selves, played by their actual teenage selves.”

No release date has been fixed and the filmmakers are still working on the script as they raise finances for it’s production, so it might be some time before we see the duo back in action.

Heck, if they need a hand we know an old prop phonebox that’s going spare…

Would you see this movie?  Do you think Bill and Ted should return to HHN?  Let us know in the comments!

 

 

Bruce Campbell at HHN27?

At the very beginning of HHN27 there had been unsubstantiated reports that Bruce Campbell had been lurking during select nights of the event.  No photographic evidence, social media mentions or any formal confirmation from Universal were ever given.

However, could he finally be coming to HHN?

It appears that his book tour has a date for Orlando being tonight at the Coliseum of Comics at the Fashion Square Mall, so what else could an evil busting hero such as Campbell do tomorrow – say go to HHN?  Here’s hoping.

So, if you’re heading to HHN on Friday for the special UOAP events or for the Soul Collectors games – let us know if an actual chainsaw-hand wielding hero is around!  As this would be perfect timing for an appearance…

Placing this entry firming in the ‘theory’ category!  But keep your eyes peeled.

Blumhouse Confirmed for HHN

Jason Blum, one of today’s most prolific producers of contemporary horror films, brings his signature movies to life in the uniquely distinctive “The Horrors of Blumhouse” maze at this year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” event at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, beginning Friday, September 15.

Based on The Purge, Sinister and Insidious franchises, as well as the upcoming thriller Happy Death Day, Blumhouse Productions (Split, Get Out, Whiplash), is teaming with the creative minds behind the nation’s most intense and immersive Halloween event to unleash three twisted Blumhouse films in one bone-chilling experience at each Halloween destination.

At Universal Studios Hollywood, legions of terrified guests will come face-to-face with the most iconic and unnerving moments from the blockbuster The Purge franchise, Sinister movies and soon-to-be released Happy Death Day. In The Purge, guests will attempt to survive the night as they are immersed in the film’s depraved world, where all crime is declared legal as part of the government’s annually sanctioned 12-hour Purge. In what can be described as a living trailer for Happy Death Day, guests will experience a deja-vu scenario as they are forced to relive the last day of their lives over and over again in an attempt to escape a masked killer. The final nightmare will unmask itself in Sinister, where guests will encounter an ancient pagan deity who is determined to trap them in the sordid shadow world of the dead…for all eternity.

“It’s a privilege to collaborate with Jason Blum and his team at Blumhouse Productions to create ‘The Horrors of Blumhouse,’” said John Murdy, Creative Director at Universal Studios Hollywood and Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights.” “The decisive, inventive way in which he interprets underlying issues plaguing today’s society into his films provides us with a plethora of content to create truly captivating, one-of-a-kind modern horror experiences for our guests.”

Upon entering “The Horrors of Blumhouse” maze at Universal Orlando Resort, guests will attempt to survive three of the most menacing anthologies in the Blumhouse assemblage. First, guests will face the horror of becoming stars in the next home murder movie of the menacing demon Bughuul, from the infamous Sinister franchise. Then, they’ll run for their lives to escape the gang of bloodthirsty home invaders from the first installment of The Purge saga. Finally, guests will be thrust into the Further from the Insidious legend, where they’ll come face-to-face with the paralyzing Lipstick-Face Demon from Chapter 1 and witness Dr. Elise Rainier’s own personal hauntings from her nightmarish childhood in a first-look at Insidious: Chapter 4 – in theaters January 5, 2018.

“We’re thrilled to bring the terrifying vision of Jason Blum and the Blumhouse Productions team to life on an even grander scale at Halloween Horror Nights 2017,” said Charles Gray, Show Director for Creative Development, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort. “He is the modern voice of horror, whose films run the gamut of intense, in-your-face terror – and this year, we’re taking our guests deeper into the horrific world of Blumhouse than ever before.”

“We are so excited to expand our collaboration with the terrific creative team at ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ this year,” commented Blum. “With ‘The Horrors of Blumhouse’ maze, people will be able to fully immerse themselves into the cinematic worlds of our most terrifying films – with bone-chilling results.”

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.

Additional details about Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” will be revealed soon. For more information about Halloween Horror Nights at either Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

Scarezones & Show Announced for HHN27

Universal have today announced the scarezones and one additional show for HHN27, they said:

There is one aspect of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights no one can escape… the SCARE ZONES. They’re the first and last things you’ll experience, and it’s our chance to make sure there is no way to hide from the scares.

This Halloween Horror Nights, we’re inviting you to join the celebration of blood and bone at what can only be called The Festival of the Deadliest – an ancient tradition from the depths of where nightmares are born.

A gathering of the most unearthly, hellish terrors has emerged from the darkest corners of despair. It calls to those who long for the thrill of the scare and wish to have their fears made real. You’ll be drawn like moths to a flame, and once you join this hallowed celebration, your nightmares will never end.

You’ll find the heart of the Festival on the streets of Hollywood in Universal Studios Florida, but its claws have spread throughout Horror Nights. Here’s what awaits you every night…

Trick ‘r Treat
First up, it’s time to make sure everyone understands the rules of our haunted holiday. Get a proper Halloween education in our Central Park scare zone inspired by the film Trick ‘r Treat. We’re excited to have Sam visit and make sure we follow the rules of Halloween.

As a longtime fan of classic horror anthology films, Trick ‘r Treat is a favorite of mine that pays perfect homage to that genre. In this zone, you’ll have the opportunity to come face-to-face with several characters from the film, and learn for yourself what happens when you don’t follow the rules.

The Purge
Next up, we have a returning story to our New York streets with The Purge. This time, our approach was to create a zone that showed how we think the events of a Purge night might play out in our streets.

There are some fan favorites returning such as our auction and a very polite gentleman. We also have some new surprises in store. For example, how do you clean up all the mayhem on the streets during a Purge night? Visit the clean-crew up crew with their trusty wood chipper to find out. Just don’t get too close…

Altars of Horror
Near the front gate, on Avenue of the Stars, we have our Altars of Horror. For me, this zone is very exciting because we’re bringing something to the streets for our horror fans that we have never done before.

In this zone, we’re taking some of the larger than life characters featured in this year’s houses, and letting them have their own scare zone. A lot of work goes into bringing these iconic film characters to life in our houses. Now you’ll have the opportunity to get an even better look at them.

Invasion!
Set in a time decades ago, our docks in San Francisco find themselves the victim of an INVASION! Visitors from far beyond have crashed their vessel, and are now wreaking havoc on the streets of San Francisco.

They aren’t just here to destroy; these invaders are also on a mission to learn everything they can about us humans. Careful, or you may find yourself on the experiment table at the mercy of an alien scientist.

Roaming Hordes
Lastly, no Halloween Horror Nights would be complete without roaming hordes. This time, it’s the smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the chainsaw. Unhappy with how popular culture has made clowns scary, this grotesque gang of gigglers has risen from the grave, determined to show the world that if you want scary clowns, they’re going to make sure you get your worst nightmare.

ACADEMY OF VILLAINS: AFTERLIFE
But wait! There’s more. The question is, “can you handle more?” I’m happy to share ACADEMY OF VILLAINS: AFTERLIFE will be returning to put on an all-new killer performance. This group of powerhouse artists will make you bear witness to what happens after we leave this life. They’re going to give you one mind-blowing and shocking dance performance that will escort you from this world to the great beyond.

As you can see, the streets will be alive with plenty of horror, mayhem, and celebration. The opportunity to bring favorite horror films to life and tell our own unique horror stories makes every day a thrill. My favorite part of the event is walking the streets each night as our scare actors make these terror-filled tales a reality. Every scream I hear puts a huge smile on my face.

Pick up your tickets today—I’ll see you out on the streets!

Are you excited for these scarezones?  Let us know in the comments!