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…

Robbiween in photos

We recently checked out Robbiween and told you what it’s all about here, but now it’s time to show you all the photos we were able to take of the cool stuff up for auction!

The Silent Auction

The participants of the Robbiween panels from Busch Gardens, Sea World, and Universal Studios donated many of their own personal possessions for the silent auction to help the cause of raising money. There was a plethora of really awesome, even rare and autographed memorabilia from HHN past and the like. Noteable items included coffee with some of the theme park higher ups, and James Keaton autographed prints.

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Yes, that is a fortune teller in the background, and he was available for readings.

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From left to right; Paper model of The Haunted Mansion (Disney Attraction), limited edition Jack the Clown and The Caretaker LEGO minifigures, a female bust with crown of thorns, and a Howl-O-Scream icon model.

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The actual mask used by Glenn Strange!

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The item on the left is a prop used in Jaws

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Many of you may recognize these, also for sale at the Prop Shop on Universal property

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Paper model of the facade of the HHN house “Gothic”

The Panels

The three different discussion panels that took place were Halloween Horror Nights, rides and attractions at Sea World and Busch Gardens, and finally Howl-O-Scream. Each panel had a host that would break the ice and begin discussion, and then open the floor for questions. We learned a lot about the ins and outs of their respective positions, how they go about achieving certain goals, and heard some pretty humourous anecdotes. You can check out the first two minutes of the HHN panel on our Facebook page here.

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We would definitely recommend anyone who is a huge fan of haunted attractions or even just haunts in general to attend Robbiween to really get the insights they were always looking for, or purchase an exclusive collectors item.

Stranger Things for HHN28?

Halloween Horror Nights is around the corner. Every year, HHN dazzles the fans with great houses full of horror themes and movies from all around the world. This makes the Halloween experience exceptional and this year’s HHN is almost here, and fans from around the world are set to have a good time. This year, however, rumors are everywhere that Stranger Things is about to make the list of houses at HHN. This alone has drawn so much attention, and everyone is hoping the rumors are true. Anticipation is in the air, this year promises to be one of the best as the fans are loving it, so what could a Stranger Things house look like?

Currently, Stranger Things only has two seasons, and the house would likely feature scenes from both seasons. The house of the main character, Will Byer, would make a great entrance (facade) into the world of the upside down filled with caves and outstanding creatures. Taking a journey through the upside-down world is an experience to look forward to. Walking through the various laboratories and the giant pathway created by the psychokinetic Eleven will surely feel exhilarating. Apart from that, the suspense of what will happen next where the danger may be coming from is something that all the fans hope to experience. Nothing beats watching a horror movie more than starring in a real one with a rush of adrenaline to boot!

Should Universal Studios Add Stranger Things?

The scareactors in the house will most probably be the Demogorgon and there should be various roles for Will, Eleven and the other characters in the show.

Universal Studios is known to give the fans what they want, and the fans want Stranger Things. This will present a gold mine if they take advantage of it. Apart from the profit, they will make from it; Universal Studios would have succeeded in, once again, exhibiting customer loyalty but also showing they listen.  But of course, the Universal creatives love the show as much as the fans so I am sure they can’t wait to create the heavily detailed environs too. So why should Stranger Things be featured in HHN this year?

1) It’s The Fans Favorite

As earlier mentioned, the fans love the show, and because they love it, they would like to experience it. So, this alone is enough reason why Universal Studios should add it this year. The show is literally the biggest property right now on Netflix, a real hit out of the park that nobody saw coming.

2) It Brings In A Different Theme

Most HHN houses revolve around strictly horror movies. The themes of all the houses are usually death and fear. But Stranger Things brings in a new concept. It looks at horror from a Sci-Fi view. It’s not just about killing. It combines stuff like psychokinesis and various abstract add-ons that place it in a league of its own. This will be a new perspective to the HHN.

3) Universal teasing us?

I sat down with HHNU Grand Poobah, Christopher Ripley, who said back in November Stranger Things was likely and he said that it can surely be “a matter of time before Stranger Things hits HHN”.  He also pointed to these clues laid out by Universal’s marketing team over the last few months…

There’s this one back in October:

And these from a few months ago, where the Stranger Things cast were all spotted at Universal Orlando…

And maybe even this… with “THINGS”….?

Maybe the last one is a bit tenuous but it does seem like someTHING is happening at Universal Orlando…

In conclusion, HHN28 is around the corner and it will be here before we know it. We are all anticipating its arrival. But in the midst of the anticipation we have to hope that Universal Studios will give its fans what they want. Everyone is hoping that Stranger Things will be added to one of the houses of HHN. Adding Stranger Things to the mix will make this year’s HHN a great hit. People don’t just want to watch movies, they want to experience them!

So there you have it, is Stranger Things coming to HHN28?  Would you like to get lost in the Underworld?  Will we get a cameo of Barb?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

 

Get Your HHN Fix With “Robbiween”

group of theme park designers and other creative types are coming together to help one of their own. Saturday’s three-panel forum and a silent auction will benefit Robbi Lepre,

A group of theme park designers, including our pals from Universal’s HHN design team are working together to create “Robbiween”.  The event has been drawn up to benefit Robbi Lepre.  Robbie literally created Howl-O-Scream from the ground up and has worked for a number of years at Busch Gardens Tampa.  The reasoning behind the benefit is that Robbi has been quite ill and has very large medical expenses.  She has been such a supporter of theme park design but also haunt design that many in the industry feel it simply wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for her work.

Initially, the idea was to use the annual fan favorite of the Entertainment Designer’s Forum to help fund raise for Robbi but instead a whole new event dedicated to the woman and haunt design impartially will be held.  Kim Gromoll who works in scenic design for Universal Creative and Tom Geraghty, director of innovation for Universal Creative will invite a vast number of different theme park designers and creatives to either contribute or attend the event.

Two panels each respectively covering the gritty design details of Halloween Horror Nights and Howl-O-Scream will be held at the event.  A third panel will cover “The Design and Installation of Iron Rides” and will cover the history of use of these popular attractions. Guests will also have the opportunity to bid on over 100 different items from the archives of theme park history.  Items include: A Jack the Clown standee, rare HHN pins and coins, HHN masks and artwork.

Robbiween is set for this Saturday Feb. 3rd from noon until 6pm at the Garden Theatre, 160 W. Plant St., Winter Garden. Admission is $40 for all the three panels and access to the silent action. Tickets are available at the door. All profits from the event will go to help cover medical costs for Robbi Lepre.

For more information, go to facebook.com/robbiween.

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!

 

 

Haunts Around the US: Kissimmee, FL

The dark months of HHNU’s particular subject matter are upon us, but that’s okay because there’s plenty of things we still have to talk about, take for example another year round haunt review, and this time much closer to home!

Mortem Manor in Old Town

Going back in time just a little bit to Septmeber first of this year before Horror Nights 27 finally began, the wife and I decided to kick off our haunt season with a visit to Mortem Manor. We’ve been considering going to this haunt for a while, just never really got around to it. But now that we’ve finally come around to checking it out, we can say without a doubt that it’s…………okay.

Now don’t get me wrong here, it wasn’t terrible or anything, but it wasn’t incredibly knock your socks off terrifying either. I would rate this level of haunt at about a “don’t hesitate to take your scaredy cat friends that don’t do a lot of this type of thing.” The wife and I didn’t get scared or startled, and found ourselves smiling once or twice.

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Standing outside waiting for the attraction to open. Nice spooky music playing at the exterior facade.

The Pros

  • Use of smells
  • Layout isn’t too straight or boring, we liked the inclusion of a staircase
  • Linear progression (from foyer, to living room, to church, to morgue, etc.)
  • Although weak, there is some kind of storyline here.
  • Very affordable price points. If this was Roller Coaster Tycoon,  my guest reaction would definitely be “Mortem Manor 1 is a really good value!”

The Cons

  • Lacking on human actors. I believe we only saw about 3 throughout our walkthrough, and they didn’t follow us or anything, just stuck to their respective scenes.
  • Heavy reliance on animatronics. Animatronics are fine and good when used well and sparsely, but when you use them to this extent, it makes the attraction feel like a cheap carnival/state fair ghost train ride.
  • Not scary. Okay, maybe we’re spoiled. Perhaps we’ve seen too many scarier attractions and our expectations are too high. Nonetheless, this haunt felt very tame and tolerable, suitable for a much less experienced audience.

So what’s the take away here?

Fun can be had at Mortem Manor. Our final review is a fair 3 out of 5 stars. It’s not scare your pants off frightening, but it’s fun. Experienced, die hard haunt fans take note: you won’t be shaking. Bring your friends that you can’t normally take to scary movies, Halloween Horror Nights, or other haunted attractions and events, and lower your scare factor expectations. Follow these steps and you’re in for a jolly good time at the least. Also, for the extra five dollars, we recommend the Buried Alive experience. They lock you in a coffin equipped with interior cameras so guests can watch as you become more and more claustrophobic inside the coffin. Inside, you can smell roses and soil, and hear the dirt hitting the coffin’s surface as your funeral proceedings take place and you’re buried into the Earth. They’ll let you out when you start kicking and screaming. $5 is a great price, even if you just want to watch your friend suffer.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you guys out there! -Scott

 

 

HHN Fans Campaign for Bill & Ted’s Return

A campaign has been created on Change.Org to have our time-travelling duo return for more shows at next year’s HHN28.

The petition which is addressed to Thomas Williams the CEO of USF makes a compelling argument, it reads:

The Bill and Ted Excellent Adventure show has been a staple of Halloween Horror Nights! Not only has the show grown a fan base of thousands of people, but has created traditions, memories, reunions, laughter, and much more! Bill and Ted has also provided in a sense a “cool down” or desensitizing atmosphere for many. The body produces adrenaline when we get scared, henceforth the human mind and body becomes hypervigilant; the Bill and Ted show provides an escape from the adrenaline and hypervigilance.

Society is always changing; for the good and the bad; Vegas for example, Bill and Ted was able to touch upon it that not only showed tribute to the lives taken, but helps make light of the dark; also while refreshingly being the one true redeeming stab at pop culture from year to year. The signatures speak for themselves for the fan base and income brought in for the Bill and Ted show!

A new campaign Facebook Group has been created, along with petition specific T-Shirts all to help spread the word, they can be found here.  The petition, which has over 1200 signatories, believes that every time 500 people sign the list it gets emailed to Universal, so the purpose of the petition is being heard by the very top of the organization.

Right now the future is looking bleak for our pair of time-travelling dudes.  Back in 2013 HHN Hollywood cancelled their show mid-run due to a small number of complaints, with the show never returning to the West Coast.  Over in Orlando with the sheer amount of construction that is rumored to be beginning soon and the fact that Universal have already said that last year was the final year it is hard for us to see a way through them.

It was strongly rumored that their run of shows was to actually have ended last year on their 25th.  It was rumored that Art and Design along with a number of current and past Bill and Ted collaborators managed to persuade Park Management to bring it back for one last run which was this year’s show at HHN27.

Will Bill and Ted return for HHN28?  Will this group #savebillandted?  Let us know in the comments whether you would want them back for 2018…

 

 

 

 

HHN Smashes All Records!

It has been confirmed by both coasts in Orlando and Hollywood that both HHNs smashed all records this year on attendance numbers, customer satisfaction and more.  On Orlando USF’s Senior Director Entertainment Creative Development Mike Aiello tweeted:

While over on the West Coast HHN Supremo John Murdy tweeted:

It was definitely noticeable by our crew at HHNU that most nights the attendance ranged from busy to packed for Orlando, with the last few nights being absolutely rammed; though that is more likely down to the vacating Bill and Ted factor.

It goes to show how successful our ‘little Halloween event’ has grown, from a small few  party nights that pulled in mostly the locals to THE premiere world-class event it is today.

So thank you every Creative, Scareactor, Producer, Performer, Artist, Operative, Makeup Artist, Costumer, Technician, Custodian and everyone in between.

Universal you did it again, you smashed it, so here’s to HHN28!

🎃 THANK YOU ALL! 🎃