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!

Another early rumor for HHN29

A disturbing rumor popped across my desk at HHNU HQ this week, and its something that the long-term purist HHN fans may not be too happy about…

The rumor originates 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 where Universal are seemingly interested in toning down the level of horror at Halloween Horror Nights to make the event more family friendly – though Jim stresses 13 and up family friendly.

It was our boss Christopher Ripley who first broke the news on the show Universal After Dark where he raised his concerns of how Warner Bros for this year appear to be keeping their properties for exclusive use in their new Hollywood event Horror Made Here. Whereas last year’s HHN27 had The Shining, Texas Chain Saw and Trick r Treat (all Warners’ properties) this year only has Trick r Treat as a property from Warner (though some commentators says that TrT is now a Universal property as Legendary has moved from Warners to Universal.  They are also working on TrT 2 right now too!).

Warner’s properties for their 2018 Hollywood exclusive event include: the DC universe villains, Friday 13th, the new IT movie, Freddy Kruger, Conjuring, The Nunn and The Exorcist. Ripley said that he was concerned that if Warner’s event was successful, could this possibly lead to Warner’s preventing their vast horror catalogue from ending up at HHN in the future (remember Warner’s own New Line Cinema too).

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Jim says via his show that perhaps the best way to counter this move would be to re-focus our beloved HHN event so a more family friendly approach is taken. He cites the fact that Stranger Things at HHN28 is so genre and sphere redefining that it is now blurring the lines of horror/sci-fi/drama and with its huge audience of fans it wont be just be the diehard horror fans that are currently sweeping into the turnstiles for HHN28. Jim also says that fans shouldn’t be surprised if Stranger Things also returns for HHN29.

This all combines with an article we shared this week where Universal has now moved the popular Christian Rock Festival Rock the Universe from its September slot allowing HHN29 and on wards to start earlier in the season. This would allow HHN dates to directly compete with Disney Halloween party dates (for which start in August no less!)

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Could houses be scaled with how scary they are where less scary houses could be presented? Longtime HHN devotee and movie director Eli Roth has a brand new Universal picture coming out very soon with The House with a Clock in Its Walls. This family adventure movie combines full on fantasy with some horror type elements (the latter of which Roth is better known for). Jim asks on his show could this type of movie be repurposed for a future house at HHN? Apparently he will next be working on another ‘family friendly horror movie’ with Aleister Arcane, which is being touted as Jim Carrey’s big comeback movie and it is being produced by longtime Universal collaborators Amblin.

So all this being said is Jim Hill right? Could HHN29 and on wards be more geared towards a larger more family encompassing audience? Would toning the horror down slightly be a good move if it draws more people through the gates?

Let us know what you think!

 

First Rumor for HHN29!

HHN28 has not even started (yet) and we have our first proper rumor for HHN29!  The rumor comes from Universal’s annual Christian Rock Festival – Rock the Universe.

For many years the concerts were held right before HHN usually in the slow weeks of early September.  Last year the concerts played host to Steven Malcolm, Hollyn, The Young, and DJ Promote (plus many more).  However, the popular concerts will return for 2018, but they will be moved to February, thus removing them from their regular Fall position of early September.

So why might Universal move the concert series?  The only plausible reason can be that next year they may hope to expand the dates that HHN has been running.  Pretty much every single year since the very beginning, this event has gone from a handful of weekends in the 1990s to now where the months of September, October and November are dominated by HHN dates.  And whereas the calendar month of November is bookended by Thanksgiving and then Christmas, the month of September will now be fully open.

And if you think Universal would be crazy for extending HHN into early September (some 9 weeks before the actual date of Halloween) then we need only look at the house of mouse where Disney started their Halloween parties back at the end of August.

But there’s more, if they were to ignore this move and start the event in the same time slot as this year, that would mean the event starting on… drum roll…  Friday 13th September.  Which would be a great day for a certain Mr Voorhees!

Halloween Horror Nights possibly running into early September or even August!? Is this a good idea?  Could they also tie the event into the Froday 13th and use Jason as an icon?  Let us know your thoughts!

Was Trick ‘r Treat Accidentally Announced Last Night?

That’s right HHN fans it appears beloved Halloween property Trick ‘r Treat was accidentally released last night via Universal Orlando’s Youtube page, before moments later being swiftly deleted.

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Luckily, HHN fans quickly jumped on the video and re-uploaded it to Youtube.  So will we get the rumored announcement this week instead?  Will we see Sam return to HHN and make all HHN fanboys very happy?  Well it seems very, very likely that the official announcement must be imminent…

 

Extra Day Added to Jurassic Park Celebration Due to Demand!

The roar just got more thunderous at Universal Studios Hollywood with exciting updates to the Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary Celebration inviting guests to be a part of an exclusive event that pays homage to the blockbuster action-adventure that brought dinosaurs out of extinction a quarter century ago.

Due to popular demand, the May 11-12 event has been extended to include Sunday, May 13. The event will also feature special guest appearances by those who worked the films as well as an all-new Raptor Encounter exclusive.  One insider even remarked to HHNU that this celebration is like HHN for JP lovers!

This first-ever themed Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary Celebration, created in partnership with Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, is a separately ticketed event. Space is limited and tickets, which can be purchased here, will sell out.

The multi-faceted immersive Celebration includes a private screening of the epic Jurassic Park at Universal CityWalk’s all-new, state-of-the-art Universal Cinema. The exciting showcase will also re-release the film’s original trailer.

The remainder of the event, which includes exclusive after-hours access, will take place within Universal Studios Hollywood, adjacent to the theme park’s thrilling “Jurassic Park—The Ride.”

Guests will enjoy unlimited access to all things Jurassic, from the acclaimed theme park ride, to original props, including the Gyrosphere as seen in the record-breaking Jurassic World, original dinosaur maquettes, costume displays and an interactive expo area. Themed food and merchandise along with live entertainment will complement the experience.

As an extension of this fun element, guests will be invited to dress up as their favorite character from the franchise. Please visit www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com/JP25 for costume guidelines requirements.

More information is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com. Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.

More info below…

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