Original House: Depths of Fear

Universal Orlando Resort has revealed Depths of Fear as the second original content haunted house coming to Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – the world’s premier Halloween event.

In an all-new original story created by the twisted minds of Universal’s Entertainment team, guests will be transported to a deep-sea mining company that has been infested by the parasitic “Mouthbrooders,” who spew their acidic flesh-eating eggs upon unsuspecting humans, turning them into crazed hosts. As the infected are driven to madness, guests will try to escape, but as pressure begins to build, implosion awaits – will they make it out alive or fall deep into their watery graves?

Story

The workers of a deep-sea mining company have found themselves in a dire situation. They’ve delved too deep and encountered a parasitic race of creatures that turn out to be deadly. Panic ensues as you find yourself encountering infected miners and acidic creatures. The pressure builds as the self-destruct sequence counts down to the inevitable implosion of the facility.

“Mouthbrooders”

As you venture further into the depths, you’ll encounter the creatures known only as the “Mouthbrooders.” Picture being trapped in a claustrophobic mining installation underwater with a countless number of these slithering monsters. Your worst nightmares will come to life as these fiends spew flesh-eating acidic eggs at human hosts, and you witness miners being driven mad by the infection.

On select nights from September 6 to November 2, the most terrifying names in horror will take over Universal Studios Florida, as the sun sets on days filled with thrills and the night awakens with a frightening chill for Halloween Horror Nights. Guests will face 10 all-new elaborately themed haunted houses and five scare zones as well as enjoy Universal Studios’ most exhilarating rides and attractions. Now through June 5, guests can take advantage of a limited time ticket offer and vacation package where they can get a second night free when they buy one night. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Are you excited for this original house?  Let us know in the comments!

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A possible preview of the rumored graveyard house…

In recent weeks there have been loads of rumors of the yet unannounced houses coming for HHN29. Many of them probably true and many of probably not so true but one that keeps coming back is a house based within a supposed graveyard. So here at HHNU we thought we’d look into why a possible graveyard house might have some substance to it!

Photo courtesy of Horror Night Nightmares .com

It all dates back to 2017 and before we start a big thank you for the tip-off by our reader Eric. Eric, who is based in London, has had some dealings with Universal’s PR department in London. And for about 4 years now, Universal has done big marketing pushes for HHN in the U.K. which usually sees either a press preview, a media blitz or even a presentation by Universal to the various media outlets in London.

The one we should be concerned with is the summer push they did for HHN in the London of 2017. According to Eric, that once the media push had been finished in central London, a number of Universal staff, many for whom had flown in from the US, wanted to visit Highgate Cemetery in their own time.

So what is Highgate Cemetery and why does it attract millions of visits each year?  And why would Universal staffers want to visit it?

Highgate Cemetery is a place of burial in north London, England. There are approximately 170,000 people buried in around 53,000 graves across the Cemetery. It is notable both for some of the people buried there as well as for its de facto status as a nature reserve and how peculiar and interesting some of the many graves have been left. Then there was the police reports of a vampire… yep actual sightings were reported!

According to newspaper reports from the late 1960s and early 1970s, many people living around the Highgate area alleged that a vampire was stalking the cemetery. It caused a media frenzy with one group alleging they had caught the vampire within its coffin and had driven a wooden stake through its heart. There were also police reports of voodoo, satanism and even a live exorcism was performed in the grounds! Literally not making this up.  The events also inspired a movie, Dracula AD 1972 which was made by Hammer Studios and starred Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

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For more information you can go here to the wiki page for the Highgate Vampire.

To show that Universal did visit the grounds of this cemetery HHN’s own Mike Aiello shot a number of videos.  And again, thanks for heads up last week by our HHNU reader Eric.

 

 

 

As this was the summer of 2017 it would have likely been too late to add a Highgate Vampire house to the 2017 slate of houses but it would be perfect timing for its addition to the 2018 or 2019 lineup with a great original concept house based on this strange urban legend.

So there you have it. Are we onto something? Could this be the genesis of the idea for HHN29? Let us know your name thoughts in the comments!

Remember, these are just rumors and nothing is FACT until Universal officially announce the houses!  All we know for sure right now, is that HHN29 is going to be AWESOME!

Start Your Monsters Homework on June 18

Universal has recently announced that Halloween Horror Nights will debut two original concept houses featuring their enduring classic Universal Monsters.

And now Scream Factory is celebrating horror icons Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi with Universal Horror Collection Vol. 1 which will be released on Blu-ray on June 18, and it is also available right now for pre-orders.

This new release will feature never seen before features that include an excellent mixture of commentaries, original trailers and documentaries that will easily induct all HHN fans into the genesis of these characters.

The set includes the movies: The Black Cat, The Raven, The Invisible Ray and Black Friday and the following features:

THE BLACK CAT

  • NEW Audio Commentary by author/film historian Gregory William Mank
  • NEW Audio Commentary by author/film historian Steve Haberman
  • NEW Dreams Within a Dream: The Classic Cinema of Edgar Allan Poe – narrated by Doug Bradley
  • NEW A Good Game: Karloff and Lugosi at Universal Part One: The Black Cat
  • Vintage footage – The Black Cat Contest
  • Still Gallery

THE RAVEN

  • NEW 2K scan of the original film elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary with author/film historian Gary D. Rhodes
  • NEW Audio Commentary with author/film historian Steve Haberman
  • NEW A Good Game: Karloff and Lugosi at Universal Part Two: The Raven
  • Audio Recording: Bela Lugosi reads “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Still Gallery

THE INVISIBLE RAY

  • NEW 2K scan of the original film elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary with authors/film historians Tom Weaver and Randall Larson
  • NEW A Good Game: Karloff and Lugosi at Universal Part Three: The Invisible Ray
  • Re-Release Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

BLACK FRIDAY

  • NEW 2K scan of the original film elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary with filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr
  • NEW A Good Game: Karloff and Lugosi at Universal Part Four: Black Friday
  • Inner Sanctum Mystery Radio Show: “The Tell-Tale Heart” starring Boris Karloff
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

The set is a great introduction to the horror movies made by Universal in these early days when they effectively created the genre! So pre-order your set today by clicking below!

Or get Christopher Ripley’s book on the actual genesis of these monsters, both will be great for your homework in preparing for HHN29!

Let is know in the comments if you are excited for these houses!

Commentary: Addressing the Ghostbusters Rumors

It was April 13 that Theme Park University broke the rumor of Ghostbusters potentially coming to HHN29. And whilst the article doesn’t give any sources for this rumor, we at HHNU thought we would do some digging and see what we can find out.

Jim Hill referenced the article in his show the Universal Joint whilst also expressing he had heard the same rumor. And other than these two sources spreading the rumor, there has been, as far as we can find, no other sources talking it up. So we did some further digging and this is what we could find:

1. Licensing

Universal does not own this franchise and the IP holder is Sony who they would need to get approval from to build a haunted house. Luckily for them, Sony is hitting the licensing market hard right now in preparation for the franchises’ 35th anniversary this year.

We found a number of sites promoting the IP for licensing, with one saying that this year alone they have possibly licensed to over 170 different vendors. Some of these most famous vendors being: Playmobil, Hasbro, Funko, Reebok, Halifax Bank, Virgin Media, Compare the Market, Dunkin Donuts and many more. So if Sony are in the market for licensing this property to the maximum they would probably welcome the publicity that HHN brings.

2. Legacy

It’s a fun fact that Universal has licensed this property since the 1980s for their parks. Ghostbusters Spooktacular was an opening day attraction at the Orlando park and it ran from 1990 to 1996. The property has also been used in the same park for shows at HHN, meet and greets and even parades over the years since the attraction closed. So in theory, as Universal have had such a long and successful partnership with Sony in presenting this franchise at the parks it would make sense that this relationship could continue and extend to HHN houses?

3. It’s been at HHN before…

In the very first year of HHN in 1991 it featured many many shows and one of which, and the one that received top billing was Beetlejuice Dead in Concert Featuring the Ghostbusters! A video of which is presented below.

And if you include the appearances of the characters and their famous ECTO1 at the Robosaurus Show, Festival of the Dead parades and unofficially spot appearances at Bill and Ted, it would conclude that the property has been successfully added to various HHNs throughout the years.

There’s also the cost-effective argument. We know that Universal have a huge offsite storage warehouse and if they have stored the hundreds of props, costumes and sets that they have produced for this franchise over the years then they could reuse them for a HHN and save building new ones! It’s just a thought…

4. Anniversary Year

This year, as previously mentioned, is the anniversary year for the franchise. Some 35 years since the team donned their famous proton packs and busted some ghosts. And you’d be wrong if you think Sony will be letting this anniversary pass without celebration. So here’s what we found on one licensing website:

Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghostbusters is one of the most successful film franchises of all time. It follows three unemployed parapsychology professors who set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.

Starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Erinie Hudson, Ghostbusters has a loyal fan base and is recognised as a cult property with many TV shows and films referencing it and expanding its appeal further.

For Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary in 2019, Sony Pictures Entertainment is producing a jam-packed year of activations, partnerships and incredible exclusives lined up in celebration of the 1984 classic film.

It hints at the shear volume of licenses that have been granted this year and the dozens of world wide events that are being held to mark this anniversary. And there was a tease on one site that “big announcements will be made in early June.”

We found that on June 11 a new special edition DVD is being released and June 8 is the official anniversary date. June 7 will have an international fan fest convention occurring in California. And let’s not forget another movie to the official canon is being made. So although the teaser could be to do with any of these upcoming events but it *could* be referencing something to do with HHN. And a joint announcement as we’ve seen before with HHN and their IPs would be some grade A synergy!

5. Florida

This is just a fun point but nonetheless truthful; many of the cast have strong connections to Florida. Which is important as many of them likely have some form say over the direction of the franchise.

Dan Aykroyd is regularly spotted in Florida due to his business connections, including Crystal Head Vodka and The House of Blues (yes the one located in Disney Springs). And as we know that HHN houses take years to come to fruition, it was a little strange to see Aykroyd roaming inside Universal Orlando in March of 2015. He allegedly stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and was sighing bottles of his vodka in the evening but it begs the question: was he here for any other reasons?

Likewise, the mysterious legend that is Bill Murray also regularly visits Florida. Not only is he regularly spotted at the glorious and amazing golf courses that are found in Central Florida but his brothers all supposedly live nearby and with them he owns a restaurant in St Augustine. So if he ever gets the message via his infamous voicemail recorder (he supposedly doesn’t have an agent!), then you never know if he’ll just turn up unannounced (wishful thinking surely)!!

So there you have it, just our thoughts on this rumor. But we want to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comments!!

And remember, this is just a rumor and nothing is confirmed until Universal confirms it!

The Legend of the Swamp Yeti

HHN28 was a momentous year for many reasons, one of which was the house Slaughter Sinema which featured a number of original movie ideas and many became instant cult HHN fan favorites. One of which seemed to have piqued the HHN fans’ interest the most was the Attack of the Swamp Yeti.

The plot of this “movie” was just in one large scene and revolved around four friends who go camping in the woods at night. One of the guys tells the story of the Swamp Yeti living in the woods. The Swamp Yeti then proceeds to start killing the friends one by one. It was a legendary section of an awesome house!

So it got us thinking, what is the origin of this idea and are there any an actual Swamp Yetis out there!?

The story of the Yeti or Bigfoot is as old as time with humans reporting the sightings of larger humanoid type creatures as far back as early civilisation. From the Green Men in the U.K. to the Bigfoot of Washington State to the Abominable Snowman of the mountains of Tibet, these crytoids have been reported in every corner of the planet!  And let’s not forget Disney dedicate a whole E-Ticket ride to this beast at their Animal Kingdom park.

But we don’t need to concern ourselves with these other creatures, we need to look closer to home and look at the Yetis that supposedly haunt the swamps of the southern US!

The local swamp based yetis are known by different names in the respective different states, and include: the skunk ape, also known as the swamp cabbage man, the swamp ape, stink ape, Florida Bigfoot, Louisiana Bigfoot, myakka ape, swampsquatch, and myakka skunk ape and for some, the Swamp Yeti.

Reports of this swamp dwelling Yeti were particularly common in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1974, sightings of a large, foul-smelling, hairy, ape-like creature, which ran upright on two legs were reported in suburban neighborhoods of Dade County, Florida, though some say it was a diseased bear with mange. Other sightings have even led to whole towns creating further legend and speculation which have created enough notoriety to create mini tourist industries for these towns. Yet despite the sightings, footprint casts and hair recoveries, the United States National Park Service considers this beast to be just a giant hoax (or possible mistaken bear sightings).

Whatever the true reason behind the sightings, the legend is here to stay and has even spawned a number of films, TV shows, comics and books. The most famous of these being the the Swamp Thing franchise, which fun fact the accompanying TV Show was shot entirely at Universal Studios Orlando. Most of the outdoor sets were located where the HHN Sprung Tents now reside! And incidentally, the franchise is about to be rebooted by DC and Warner Bros with a new feature coming to theaters very soon.

The most famous sighting of this strange creature was in the autumn of 2000, when the police of Sarasota County, Florida (a neighboring County to Tampa!) received a letter from an anonymous woman.

With the letter were two attached photographs of what the woman described as an escaped orangutan who had been stealing fruit from her back porch for the last three nights.

These photos were later found to be taken near the Myakka River which is only 140 miles from Orlando. After the images were released to the public, cryptoid enthusiasts dubbed the creature in the photograph the “Myakka Skunk Ape.” And since then the legend has inspired countless investigations and research from serious bonafide investigators to YouTube sleuths. The below is a fav!

Whatever the truth is behind this strange legend, we are hopeful that the scary Swamp dwelling crytoid will one day make a triumphant return to HHN!

Christopher Ripley factoid add:

When I interviewed a former HHN Show-runner (who shall remain nameless) he informed me that his number one phobia was coming face-to-face with a Bigfoot/Yeti in the wild and as such never pitched the idea for a house as he would be too frightened to design it, let alone walk it when it was built!

So there you have it, a fun history of the Swamp Yeti. Would you like him to come back to HHN? Let us know in the comments!

Rumor: Warner’s are back? + More Rumors!

It was with a glimmer of hope yesterday that HHN fans saw the demise of Warner Bros’ Horror Made Here event at Burbank.  Not because of some trivial or tribal loyalty to HHN but because the event was the likely reason behind the limiting of horror properties being licensed to HHN for potential houses back in 2018.

But with the announcement yesterday of no Horror Made Here for 2019 it gives fans hope that Warners will now instead begin releasing their properties to Universal for HHN use.  In fact, it goes deeper that one insider at WB has tipped us that Horror Made Here may never return to Burbank, and the possible reason?  Money.

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Warners, via their parent company AT&T, recently released their quarterly report for their businesses.  The report is VAST and reflects on the business performance of the past 3 months, which would include the Horror Made Here event.

The report discusses the effective increase of licensing across WB for all manner of things, from posters to popsicles, and it has remained largely flat within the business that handles licensing for their horror properties.  Why could this be?  Well it might due to them not licensing their properties to Universal for HHN and instead doing their own Horror Made Here event.  For which the business that handles the tours of the Burbank (the business unit that handled their Halloween event) was also reportedly flat in sales too; which might suggest why the event is not returning!

So if Warners can make more money licensing to Universal than running their own event, it would be silly for them to keep their IPs away from HHN!  In short, it would appear that Warners properties are very much back in contention for HHN29 and possibly for HHN30 and beyond!

So onto the house rumors

Our old pal the Ifrit has been up to his old tricks again!  The above was tweeted out today and reads in Italian ‘All roads lead to Rome‘.  So what is he referring to?  We surely don’t know yet, however we have been tipped by a few peeps in the know that this could be tied to an original house that is thought to be in construction based on the last days of Rome.  An ancient Rome house perhaps?  Think togas, stonework, curses and even lava zombies?  Well Jason did warn us last year…

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And remember, nothing is confirmed or fact until Universal confirms it, just RUMORS!

So there you have it, two awesome rumors for your Thursday!  Let us know in the comments whether you heard anything too and what you think on the Ancient Rome rumor!

What we know for sure about the Stranger Things Houses…

There’s been much rumor and speculation on the announcement last week that Stranger Things is coming back to Orlando and Hollywood.

We wanted to look at what has been announced so far:

Confirmed scenes will include:

Chief Hopper’s Cabin

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Starcourt Mall

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The Upside Down

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There will also be:

– A focus on both seasons 2 & 3 storylines.  Hollywood announced that their version will be 4/5 season 2 and only 1/5 being season 3.

– The houses are being designed in collaboration between Netflix, the show’s creators and Universal’s design teams.

And the best part, the houses WILL include:

Demodogs!

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And even the mysterious Mind Flayer!!  How on earth are they going to make this!?!?

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The event will run in Orlando on select nights from Sept. 6 – Nov. 2 and will include 10 haunted houses, 5 scare zones and live entertainment (shows?).  Hollywood are yet to announce their maze numbers and dates but their event starts on Sept 13 and we also know that their scarezones are all brand new this year with no repeats.  I have also heard on the grapevine that both mazes this year are set to be scarier, so good news for the people that said last year’s houses weren’t very scary.

Are you excited for Stranger Things returning?  Let us know in the comments!

Whilst we wait here’s the trailer for Season 3!

 

Rumor: Something weird in the code…

Our good pal the Web Master has been diving deep into the recently updated code from the current Universal Orlando website.

The code is a huge database of words, numbers and letters that may look utter gibberish to you or I but it is actually really important as it’s the computer to computer language that makes the internet work.

And why do we take sneaky peaks at the code? Well the code often contains ghostly signatures for upcoming updates that might indicate the names of future updates or, as in this case, shows us with a list of words that optimize the website to make it easily findable for Google.

We also search the code as in past years it has actually revealed huge codes on houses that hadn’t been announced. For example, The Shining’s house name was located in the code as ‘Jack’ which we all assumed was Jack the Clown but in fact it was Jack from The Shining that was hiding in plain sight!

Anyway, back to the optimization words and phrases. The huge list contains lots and lots of possible Google search terms that would allow Google to find the HHN website over others, countless entries of “Park Hours for Horror Nights”, “Universal Horror Nights”, “Mazes for Orlando HHN” etc.

Now the exciting latest edition to this list is “Universal Fright Night”. Which is a very weird entry as HHN was, for the very first year only, know as Universal’s Fright NightS. But this entry is not plural, it is “Fright Night”. Which as you will know is also the name of a cult classic 80’s horror movie.

This is also significant as this movie would make an AWESOME source material for a maze and the best part, it’s produced via Columbia/Sony and the recent remake was produced by DreamWorks which is a Universal owned company. Universal also has an existing relationship with Columbia as they lease the rights to use Men in Black in the park and have used the rights for one of their biggest franchises: Ghost Busters for many years!

So there you have it, might be something or might be absolutely nothing. Whatever the truth we thought we’d share with you from this fascinating find, thanks HHNU Web Master!

So what do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Remember: NOTHING is confirmed until Universal confirms it officially and this is just a speculative rumor!

OPINION: Something interesting in the Stranger Things Update and what it might mean for HHN29 & HHN30!

Yesterday Universal and Netflix sent the whole internet into a frenzy with news that the awesome franchise Stranger Things was set to return to HHN.  It was no big secret within the industry and concept artwork did leak 24 hours prior but the scale of the positive vibes from this announcement was surely mind blowing!

And what with all the traffic and excitement looking at the video and press releases there was a very quiet detail that was slipped in that we wanted to highlight as it’s very interesting!

That detail is that the mazes currently under construction at both Orlando and Hollywood will be based on both seasons 2 and the unreleased season 3 (note: season 3 is to be released on Netflix on July 4th).

This is interesting to us HHN fans as the maze from HHN28 (last year) was just on season 1.  So this means one of both of two possible reasons:

1. Stranger Things has been renewed for a fourth season (dates of which are unknown).  So the news that Universal is working with Netflix to build a maze this year on a season that hasn’t been released yet is very good news.  That means in theory that the partnership between both companies is VERY strong.  Giving an outside company like Universal access to your content before it is released shows that Netflix is really happy with this partnership!

2. It might also be said that if season 4’s shooting schedule doesn’t line up or for some reason Universal doesn’t make a third Stranger Things maze it could be because next year in 2020 is HHN’s 30th year: HHN30.  So could the event be another anniversary type event where old houses are resurrected under one central theme just like we saw at HHN25, HHN20, HHN16 etc?

Regardless of the above you also need to pepper in the fact that Universal has been working with Netflix a lot lately!  We reported last month on two Universal properties that have found a home on Netflix (with others following soon enough).  Plus you also have got to say that these tweets from the official Universal Twitter account are weird, as they don’t normally especially mention other brands or shows that aren’t Universal, take a look for yourself (click through as there’s more like this on their feed):

So when you consider these tweets, the strong partnership with Netflix and the alleged squeezing of using other IPs from the likes of Fox (now Disney) and Warner Bros it would seem that the partnership between Netflix and Universal is to be the most fruitful.

This being said it would indicate to me that The Haunting of Hill House must now surely be on the cards for HHN29 or even HHN30!?  Noting also that one of the production companies behind this series is Steven Spielberg’s Amblin who have been longtime partners with Universal!

So there you have it.  What do you think?  Could we be onto something?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Remember nothing is confirmed until Universal officially confirms it!

STRANGER THINGS RETURNS TO UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD AND UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT WITH ALL-NEW HHN MAZES

Netflix’s supernatural thriller, “Stranger Things” returns to “Halloween Horror Nights” 2019 at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, debuting all-new mazes inspired by seasons 2 and 3 of the critically-acclaimed series.

This year’s chilling mazes pick up where last year’s mazes left off, continuing the suspenseful storyline where a predatory entity terrorizes the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, and delving even further into the parallel universe, referred to as the Upside Down.

The mazes on both coasts will also parallel the hit show as it leaps forward to 1985, taking guests on a terrifying excursion through portions of “Stranger Things 3,” which begins streaming July 4 on Netflix.

As with the previous mazes, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort are partnering with Netflix and the creators and executive producers of “Stranger Things” to create authentic representations of the blockbuster series.

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 25 years, guests from around the world have visited “Halloween Horror Nights” to become victims inside their own horror film. Multiple movie-quality mazes based on iconic horror television shows, films and original stories come to life season after season. And, the streets of each park’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing scare-actors lunge from every darkened corner.

“Halloween Horror Nights” begins Friday, September 6 in Orlando and on Friday, September 13 in Hollywood. Additional details about the events will be revealed soon. Limited time ticket offers and vacation packages for Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights are on sale now. For more information about “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com