Murdy Provides Clues to HHN

John Murdy, the Creative Director for HHN in Hollywood has again taken to Twitter to answer a number of fan questions.  For fans of Orlando there’s a few tidbits that are interesting, so we’ve attached the most interesting answers and our comments below. Enjoy!

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Commentary: This tweet shows that due to the fact that Universal relies on outside IPs, these relationships and contracts are always subject to change and though he says they might be locked in, there is still some road to go to get these houses fully approved.

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Commentary: HHN Hollywood seems to share a few properties each year with Orlando, so we can scrub any repeats from previous years, no Exorcist, American Werewolf, Aliens Vs Predator, Halloween etc. Note: Direct repeats are different to returning franchises or returning characters that may return from previous years though in different designed mazes/houses.

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Commentary: No 3D mazes for Hollywood, which has no bearing on Orlando – Orlando has 9 or 10 slots to fill!

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Commentary: Universal on both coasts have been trying to get the rights to Stephen King’s books (and films/TV shows) since the mid 1990s but King has always declined Universal’s advances.  Fanboys for years have screamed for a Salem’s Lot or Pet Cemetery but alas King is still not for turning… sadly! 

 

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Commentary: On a recent episode of Universal After Dark, I spilled the beans on why Bill and Ted got cancelled in Hollywood.  A certain A-lister was not happy about our beloved B&T and it got cancelled mid-run.  This has no bearing on Orlando, so don’t worry, the bodacious duo will be back this year for HHN27!

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Commentary: Maybe he’s trolling us? Maybe he isn’t?  It’s too early to say.  What we do know is that he has talked about a maze that he “doesn’t know quite know how he’s gonna do it”.  So that should be interesting…

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Commentary: This says, “we done it before, but it’ll be in a new way”.  Chucky has been done maaaaany times at Hollywood… or is that too obvious?

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Commentary: Knowledge is power.

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Commentary: Orlando has had a Dead Silence house (10 years ago and it was awesome!) but this says more than what Murdy is intending.  He’s essentially saying that the houses they look to do at Hollywood are now two things: popular and recent – and not necessary in that order or both.  So expect to see more easily recognizable characters and movies from the last year or so at this event.  But how many of these popular franchises will be shared with Orlando?

Will you be visiting both events?  Let us know in the comments!

 

Could Chucky Be Coming to #HHN27?

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Tom Chapman of moviepilot.com has posted a recent article about Chucky’s new movie Child’s Play 7, The Cult of Chucky, he cites why the character is so popular for horror fans and then goes on to tease us that Chucky could be coming to Halloween Horror Nights this year. Click here to go to the article.

The teaser trailer can be played below:

Chucky’s Long History at HHN

Curse of Chucky (the rebooted version for recent times) received its own scarezone in the 2013 lineup at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights.

In 2009, the franchise received its own maze, entitled Chucky’s Fun House in Hollywood, and Chucky: Friends Till the End at Universal Studios Florida, themed around the Good Guys factory and scenes featuring Chucky and other childhood toys gone mad. It was based in one of the Sprung Tents and it was not a bad house for that year.

Since 1992, Chucky has starred in his own shows at the Hollywood event, Chucky’s In-Your-Face Insults and Chucky’s Insult Emporium. In 2010, Chucky was featured in the 20 Years of Fear scarezone in Florida and again in 2015’s scarezone All Nite Die-In: Double Feature.  He has also had many other cameos and appearances throughout the Orlando event in official and non-official capacities.

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Reasons for this to happen:

Chucky is a Universal property and with an ever growing slate of houses required (9/10 houses in 2016), they could bring back the evil doll to fill one of these houses.

Universal likes to cross promote its movies.  When Chucky 6 came out in 2013 it was heavily promoted at Hollywood’s HHN where he has been more of a mainstay than at Orlando’s event.  Other Universal and non-Universal pictures such as Dracula, The Walking Dead, The Evil Dead, The Wolfman and Dead Silence have all used the event to cross promote their releases.  So with Chucky 7 rumored for release this Fall (it’s currently being filmed as we speak), there is a big chance that we will see the maniacal doll back at HHN on at least one coast.

Chucky has had a long and bumpy history with HHN, his Insult Show in 2008 was actually canceled mid-run due to complaints (though it was briefly rehashed in 2013) but that has not stopped the evil doll from re-appearing on both coasts for many years now.

HHNU’s Verdict: Likely.

Will Nintendo Land Affect Halloween Horror Nights?

It was confirmed by Universal this month that the long rumored partnership between them and Nintendo would actually come to fruition (after years of rumors and speculation). Their parks across the world will start to see various Nintendo owned properties arriving in the coming years. It was later confirmed this week that starting with Universal Studios Japan the company will bring to life Super Nintendo World that is due to open sometime before 2020. Other lands or attractions are also due to appear in Singapore, Hollywood and at Orlando, though what they are and their timeframes have yet to be been announced.

The whole project in Japan is set to cost over $400 million, which is twice what they spent on Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure. This level of investment and close working partnership shows that Universal are very keen to get these Nintendo properties into the parks in ways that we’ve never seen before (so do not expect a Frozen at Epcot styled refurb, we’re talking major projects here).

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It was also heavily rumored by many including Orlando Informer in this excellent post HERE that the first Nintendo addition could be to the KidZone area of the main Studio park. The attractions are all old with most kids having no clue who Curious George is, let alone, dare I say Barney the Dinosaur as well. Though we at HHNU shed no tears for their eventual demise of these characters as after all, they technically lead to the destruction of movie history when the Psycho 4 set was torn down for them back in 1998. RIP Norm.

So the chances of a Nintendo themed land or any kind of major refurbishment to this area in the coming years is highly likely, with only E.T. – the one sole remaining original attraction for this park – missing the eventual wrecking ball. So this begs the questions, how will this affect Halloween Horror Nights?

 

 

Currently, though it does change up ever so slightly year on year, KidZone is used as a means to allow entry to one or both of the Sprung Tents along with entry and discharge of guests from the Parade Building House. So that’s a possible 3 houses that rely on this thoroughfare to ensure the smooth operating of everyone’s favorite Halloween event. So if the whole area is closed for demolition, omitting the loveable 80s alien, this could have serious consequences to the enjoyment of the event. So what could happen and how can Universal get around this?

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Universal are sure to offer the same number of houses again; the magic number now being 9. They’ve recently taken on the Shrek theater as a staple of the event and will probably need to look around for other venues. The addition last year of the new MIB tent that housed Chance’s house this year could always be on the cards, likewise, the same kind of building could be sourced and dotted somewhere else in the park. The soundstages, though bottlenecks, could also be used to house additional houses (subject to production requirements), though this would be tough, seeing how AHS had to use an empty soundstage to house it’s mammoth queue this year. Some say the Sprungs could be moved, though I would imagine this is cost prohibitive seeing as they are hurricane proof. There is also the possibility of a dual park event, not seen since 2005, where the event could be spread across both Universal parks; though this is unlikely at this time due to the operational issues of opening both parks for the nightly event.

All of which, I am sure, will be figured out when the time comes to eventually delete the KidZone area of the park. The one thing we can all be sure of is that the construction of which can’t surely come as soon as to affect #HHN27 what with the newly opening Jimmy Fallon just coming out of construction and the current Fast and Furious ride taking up a huge chuck of space in the old Disaster area (which itself knocked out the old Earthquake queue as a former haunt space for HHN). This being said, though not likely to be imminent, the area will surely have a bearing on a future HHN, for which new house locations will surely need to found within the park.

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Six Things We Know About #HHN27

Halloween Horror Nights has been well and truly over for just over a month now, Thanks Giving has been and gone, Trump did something or other and we’re all in the full swing festive mood, well that is everyone except us at HHNU and ScareZone.com. So to kick off our updates as we now look to #HHN27 we thought we’d start by looking at what we think might be scaring us next year (and no that’s not a Trump reference)….

So here’s the 6 things we think WILL definitely be coming to #HHN27:

 

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  1. Ticket Prices will go UP!

Weirdly, 2016’s prices were actually the same as 2015’s for the general admission tickets and the basic Frequent Fear passes, for what reason we have no idea; this was the first time in the history of the event that ticket prices have remained the same. In previous years the passes have all roughly increased by around 7% year on year with a few jumps along the way. A long way’s away from the original entry price of just $19.00 in 1991, though this was only for a small number of nights. Which actually brings us onto our next point…

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  1. The Number of Nights will go UP!

The news broke last week that Epcot’s popular International Food and Wine Festival will be starting at their mousey neighbor in August, and will run for a record number of nights before it ends in November. The festival started later than HHN but has run more or less in parallel with HHN since it began all those years ago. What with this news and that last year had a record bumper number of people attending HHN, it will surely start sooner and run for more nights (though probably not as early as August, more likely just a weekend longer at the beginning).

 

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  1. Tours, tours, tours…

Whether you did the exclusive VIP tour, the non-exclusive or the behind the scenes day tours, you were one of a number of people who partook in this ever expanding offering. Universal was reported to have sold more tours and trained up more tour guides for this year than they ever have done before. We recently sat down with someone from that department and he mooted to us that Universal have been putting some thought into expanding this service even further with even more add-ons and exclusive benefits. From more backstage experiences, to tour specific dining and merchandise, this appears to be an area that Universal are keen to increase and make more diverse.

 

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Sex with their tails much?
  1. No More Avatar Land Jokes 🙁

By the time the event commences in September 2017, the House of Mouse *should* have opened this heavy engineered land within their Animal Kingdom park. When the land was announced in 2011 (yep that long!) Bill and Ted’s show have found any excuse to mock the extended and then extended again opening date of this new land. So what with it opening in the summer of 2017 (though they said they would open Rivers of Light in the summer 2016 – and that never happened either!) So IF it opens, the bodacious dudes will have to find another running Disney gag to mine for all its worth. Considering that Universal built two Harry Potter lands, two hotels, Kong, Transformers (plus many more) since 2011 we can only hope that Disney announces something else that’ll almost never happen – Fifth gate gags anyone?

 

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  1. The Mummy

The trailer was released this very week; Tom Cruise’s new epic take on the bandaged fiend will be hitting theaters in the spring of 2017. Technically, the second of the new era of ‘Gods and Monsters’ of the new Marvel Universal Monsters’ Cinematic Universe; the first being Dracula Untold in 2015. That year saw the fanged fanatic arrive at the event for his own house that was received with mixed reviews. So being that this Universal own property (no license fees!) will be hitting theaters shortly before the event just like Dracula makes us believe that The Mummy is a given for #HHN27. The last piece of the puzzle is the agreement that the production company has with Universal, which this nerd has read, it does specifically mention ‘cross-promotional opportunities such as haunted themed entertainment offerings with the theme parks’. So love or loath the update of this beloved classic, it is surely destined for the event…

You can also read about the recent Mummy movie, the beloved 90s version and the haloed classic version and how they were inspired by a REAL curse HERE.

 

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  1. American Horror Story

This house at #HHN26 was a smash hit, solid performances were met with detailed sets, great scares which all created a fantastic authentic haunt experience (the house even won house of the year at the in-house awards!). So that said, we reported back in August 2015 that the franchise was set to replace The Walking Dead as the new returning house for each year. We’re unsure fully of how many years the house will be returning but we have heard from a number of sources that it is almost certain to return for next year. The huge catalogue that is still left to mine, combined with the popularity of the house this year and Universal’s need to fill a record 9 house slots makes this house a practical certainty.

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So that’s what we have heard and seen so far, there will be plenty more as the weeks roll on, so keep your eyes peeled on HHNU. “Any questions?”

And if David S. Pumpkins isn’t at Bill and Ted’s I’ll eat my hat!

 

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Even Tom is excited…

HHN27: Let the Speculation Begin!!

It has been 17 days since the curtain dropped for the last time on HHN26, and our senior writer is finally coming out of hibernation to talk on what we will likely see at next season’s Halloween Horror Nights…

Life Without Horror Nights

Saying goodbye to HHN26 on November 5th was definitely a bittersweet moment, but we were incredibly gracious to be given the extended weekend nights. The crowds were quite scarce, Nov. 4th had 5-10 minutes waits all night, as did Nov. 5th. We saw all of the houses except for Lunatic’s Playground (because frankly, we didn’t care to see it. Sorry, Chance.) Nov. 5th was full to the brim of HHN die hards there to see the event off for another year, and I’d like to think about 75% of the crowd that night was there to see the last showing of Bill and Ted.

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Fitting meme is fitting

Halloween Horror Nights acts as a late night hang out spot for my wife and I, and with it ending, we lost our happy place. We would go there and spend long hours with friends, making new friends, and just being there and taking in the atmosphere. But alas! It is all over now for another 340-some days. Enough talk of what is now HHN history, let the speculation season begin!

November Last Year; 1 Correct Prediction

Long time readers of our site would recall that HHNU writer and Horror Nights guru Christopher Ripley speculated that the film “Krampus” was destined to receive the HHN treatment, and he was right all along! It’s still November, so we still have time to push out some predictions and end up being right about them, so let’s hop to it and put on our blood soaked thinking caps; What will we likely see at HHN27?

First thing is First: Date Predictions

Last year, we learned the dates for HHN26 literally the minute the gates closed for the last time on HHN25. So with that, they’re actually technically late on announcing the event dates this season! Despite lack of concrete proof, we will go ahead and take a jab at when HHN27 will likely take place during its run.

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We would like to say that it will open on September 15, 2017. This is the third Friday of September, which is typically when Horror Nights starts on. Assuming it’s a 30 night event, and Wednesday event nights will begin on October 11, that would place the final night on Oct. 29th. BUUUUUT Halloween 2017 is on a Tuesday, so unless they make it a 31 night event, they may make the first Wednesday night on Oct 18 and make the last night Oct. 31 (A Tuesday?!? Imagine going to Horror Nights on a Tuesday night! Oh the times, they are a changin!)

HHN27: What We are Likely to See

First, we need to take a look into the social media pages of some creative directors of Horror Nights and see what horror stuff they have been raving about lately. Starting with Mike Aiello, he jumped on the bandwagon and threw out some words of admiration towards the new Netflix series that everyone is raving about….

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Stranger Things.

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As you can see from his posts, Aiello himself loved the series. Although he didn’t blatantly say the likelihood of us seeing it at HHN27, “this show was made just for me” could be a super cryptic hint at it. Or not. Could be wrong.

The show’s first season is packed with haunting images, sets, and has the right overall atmosphere to be placed in an HHN haunted house. Fingers crossed!

American Horror Story

The wife and I have been watching the new season, “My Roanoke Nightmare”, because we already know we are going to see it at next year’s horror nights, but it does raise some questions.

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A while back we told you guys that American Horror Story is already slated to be a haunted house again at HHN27, and it would mix three more seasons together just like 26’s house. But, watching “My Roanoke Nightmare” it really feels like there’s so much haunted house potential in every episode that we started wondering if maybe it will get a house all of its own. Let’s think about it, if they do Coven, Asylum, and Roanoke in one house next year, they will be all caught up, and it will be single season houses from then on. But if they give Roanoke it’s own house next season, they could go back to Coven and Asylum at HHN28. But then again, people really want to see Coven and Asylum (especially Asylum.) Will Horror Nights start making single season AHS houses for 27 or 28? This remains to be seen, but without a doubt we will see Roanoke Nightmare next season, somehow some way.

Candyman

I know, I know. We speculated this film for 26 and it didn’t happen. We can’t always be right, can we? But stick with me here, there are reasons why it could still happen, and why we are still pushing for it.

Halloween Horror Nights does really well and drives more ticket sales when Horror icons are involved. People know these characters and want to face them in real life as only Universal Studios can, and the Candyman is most certainly amongst these ranks. Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees and Leatherface are all fine and dandy, but their footprint on pop culture is much, much larger than that of the Candyman. In truth, the titans of terror themselves sometimes seem a bit played out. We say it’s time to let a lesser seen character take the stage, and this one is perfect for the job. For more on why Candyman would be a fantastic haunted house at Horror Nights, read here!

Rob Zombie’s 31

Have you seen it yet? Likely not. The latest film from Rob Zombie was a bit lesser known and it’s primary audience were folks who have been following Zombie’s work for a while and can’t get enough of it. Nevertheless, the movie is great and has much potential for a haunted house.

Without getting too into detail, the film is basically about 5 people who are kidnapped and forced to play a diabolical game known as “31” where they must survive over 12 hours in a large warehouse while homicidal maniacs try to hunt them down and slaughter them. The various sets, foreboding atmosphere, and frightening characters will really make for a great pitch at the UO creative table!

So there you have it!

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4 properties with a high likelihood of appearing at HHN27. There are solid reasons why each one of the above listed shows/movies can reach the house treatment, but only time will tell as announcements start coming in for the upcoming season of Halloween Horror Nights. The first announcement for 26 was made on April 14. If they stick to the same schedule, that means we have 5 months until we learn of the first horror that will await us on Sept 15, 2017.

Is there anything YOU would like to see at Halloween Horror Nights 27?! Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page!

HHN Meets Metallica: A Match Made In…

Today marks the release of Metallica’s latest studio album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” and I’m happy to say that as a life-long fan of the band, they are back and they’re just as loud, fast, and great as ever. Not surprisingly, listening through the album for the first time got me thinking about Halloween Horror Nights – as most things do – and I couldn’t help but wonder, wouldn’t a Metallica house be amazing?!

This idea isn’t so far-fetched, as Universal Orlando is no stranger to creating attractions incorporating and inspired by music. The popular Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster separates itself from other thrill rides by allowing visitors to select their own personal soundtrack from a varied – albeit limited – track list. Halloween Horror Nights itself has also been musically influenced as recently as 2012. Many may remember Halloween Horror Nights 22’s Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare; a demented walk down memory lane through some of Cooper’s greatest hits. Personally, I don’t recall too many specifics from the house (courtesy of the infamous “HHN Blur”), but I can clearly remember a trashed high school setting during the “School’s Out” section. Cooper’s music was the perfect fit for the HHN treatment. His songs are often story-driven, and with the help of some great classic music videos, are also very visual and atmospheric and oftentimes horrifying; three mandatory qualities in any HHN house.

The same can be said, in my opinion, of Metallica. Coming out of the thrash metal scene of the 80s and into the 90s, the band has remained relevant across four consecutive decades, a rarity in a field of entertainment that doesn’t often allow for such longevity. With an ever-growing catalog of great tracks and a theme park event that only increases in popularity with each passing year, the merging of Metallica and Halloween Horror Nights seems like a no-brainer from a creative standpoint.

Still need convincing? Here are just a few tracks that I feel would make for some great scenes in a future house I’d like to call Metallica: Welcome Home (Sanitarium):

Master of Puppets:

One:

Enter Sandman:

Welcome Home (Sanitarium):

Of Wolf And Man:

Four Horsemen:

Trapped Under Ice:

Any other songs or bands you can think of that would make great attractions for Halloween Horror Nights? Or do I just need to be locked up in the sanitarium myself? Let us know!

FUN FACT: In the queue line for this year’s Lunatics Playground 3D house, you can hear a musical mash-up by The Black Sweden featuring the vocals of Abba’s “Take a Chance on Me” sung to the melody of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”. Possible Easter egg for a Metallica house next year???

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Did Universal Just Secretly Announce A House for #HHN27!?

Did Universal Just Secretly Announce A House for #HHN27!?

Okay we admit, it is SUPER early to be talking HHN27 – especially as this year’s event hasn’t even finished yet!  But we have good reason, promise.  It seems Universal’s A&D department might have been playing a game with us HHN fans, a game that seems to be going back a long way!  Allow us to explain…

Halloween Horror Nights back when it started in the early 90s was an event that took a few months to organize.  Often, the crews who planned the event would look to start forming their ideas and designs around the late summer. Into the late 90s as the event grew in size it started to need far longer to plan, so 6 months was taken to get everything done.  Into the early 2000s and the event was planned from around 9 months ahead and in recent years the planning is anywhere from 12 months to 2 years – depending on the IP or technical ability to pull off the scares.

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Some IPs, such as The Exorcist for example, have been in negotiation and development for far longer (though the norm is 12 to 24 months).  This being said, A&D probably have 3 or 4 houses that are locked in and in development already for #HHN27.  Yes, these guys are the true undead as they never rest sleep!

So knowing how the event is planned – could A&D be teasing us with clues for the coming year inside the houses of this year?  If true, this could add a whole new level of excitement to the current slate of houses…

We have it from a variety of sources that Universal has an actual track record of hiding clues to the coming year’s houses inside the current year’s houses.  Clues have been hidden, where they can, in select houses pointing to the houses that would be coming for the following year.  So here’s a few of the past clues that we knew about (we’re sure there are many more):

  • In 2013’s Urban Legends: La Llorona there was a copy of the original Dracula novel placed on a shelf in the church scene, then in the following year of 2014 Universal presented Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood.
  • In 2014’s AVP: Alien vs. Predator located on one of the shelves in the scene with the first alien was a very Jason-esque looking hockey mask.  Skip forward to 2015 and Universal presented Freddy vs. Jason for the first time.
  • In 2015’s The Walking Dead house during the early scene within the house at the prison, there was a Sheriff’s hat placed at high level which for many, they expected this hat to belong to Rick Grimes (it was reasonably prominent within the scene).  However, on closer inspection the badge on the front was inscribed ‘Lightning Gulch’.  Skip forward to this year and Lightening Gulch returned for Ghost Town. [CONFIRMED FACT AS THIS IS CURRENTLY MENTIONED ON MOST BEHIND THE SCREAMS TOURS]

So these are just the clues that we have noted in previous years, we’re sure there are many more!  So this brings us onto this year…  Every year Universal places tonnes of Easter Eggs or cameos into the houses, it’s near impossible to find them all and indeed most of them are random or based on props at hand like Indiana Jones’ temple idol which has been in every house in the last 5 years or the bunny slippers in The Walking Dead that have been present for last 4 years – there’s scores of Easter Eggs!

So the ones we must be concerned about are the ones that are displayed within a reasonable location to see for the diehard fan and the ones that do not reference past or current houses (or any that reference non-horror related franchises, we’re looking at you Dr. Who’s Tardis!)  We also need to discount the amount of recycling of props and sets that Universal needs to do.  But right now there’s only one Easter Egg that stands out from the crowd…

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HHN Hollywood’s Krampus House

 

In the Krampus house towards the end of the house there’s a variety of model houses that are displayed within a number of snow globes.  This references the movie where the homes he has visited are displayed within a snow globe in his lair.  They houses are all made by the highly creative Ray Keim who is currently a consultant with Universal’s Art and Design Team.  Ray has worked on HHN for years and in his many years he has made a number of designs for house facades that you can download and make for yourself.  Click here to go to his site.  Literally most of the buildings inside these snow globes can be yours to make at home right now (including a few Disney ones too!).  Seriously, go check out his site, it’s awesome.

So which buildings are located in the snow globes?  They are:

  • Freddy’s house from Nightmare on Elm Street (seen in 2007 and 2015).
  • Halloween house (seen in 2014 and 2016)
  • Shadybrook Asylum (used a number of times)
  • The Skool House (2008)
  • Legendary Truth house (2010)
  • Caretaker’s house (2002 and 2003)
  • Boris Shuster’s Office (2008)
  • Psycho house (1993, 1994, 1999 and 2006)

There’s one more and this one has never been seen at Halloween Horror Nights before and that final building within one of the snow globes is…. The Amityville Horror. Could this franchise be coming to HHN27?  It surely stands out from the others placed within this room!

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Here’s a few reasons why this could be the case:

The franchise has a new sequel coming out in 2017 entitled Amityville: The Awakening which is being produced by Jason Blum who is the same guy that Universal worked with to create the past number of Purge and Insidious houses and scarezones on both coasts from last year and before.  He has also just worked with Universal on their latest horror offering Ouija: Origin of Evil which is currently being cross-promoted at HHN in Hollywood.  The snow globe can be seen below (photo taken on the tour before the photography ban was issued in week 2).

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And above all else, as Universal Orlando steamrolls into using more and more IPs at their event, they have never used this franchise for a single house, ever.  And for a franchise that has been going since 1979 and has 18 movies worth of materials to mine, it could be a safe bet that the franchise would sooner or later cross paths at HHN.

Whatever the answer, this sure brings a whole new dynamic to the event for the remaining nights!

So what do you think?  A cool fan theory or maybe something for #HHN27? Have you ever seen any past clues for future houses too?  We’d love to know on both!  So let us know in the comments…

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