Blumhouse are taking control of the Universal Monsters

Breaking news today from Hollywood is that horror mainstays Blumhouse are officially taking control of a number of Universal licensed monster movies featuring their classic creations.

The first picture to be worked on will be SAW director Leigh Whannell’s Invisible Man. Wishing to completely side step Universal’s abortive foray into the Dark Universe, Blumhouse are being given creative reign to redesign the characters and, according to the Hollywood Reporter, they no longer have to all exist in the same universe.

What with the Invisible Man being the star of the show at last year’s HHN in Hollywood we are excited to see what’s coming up in this ultimate horror franchise! Could Hollywood’s maze have inspired the move? Whannell did attend last year! So who knows, next time I interview him I will ask!

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Microsoft Convention Starts After HHN29

Good news! Bill Gates likely won’t be stealing any nights of HHN this year!

No clue what we’re talking about?

You see, for the last few years Microsoft have held a company convention in Orlando in October. Included in this convention, called Microsoft Ignite, was an itinerary item where they were renting the whole of Universal Studios for just one night for just attendees and employees of Microsoft. And as this was always held in October it meant that one of the HHN nights had to be sacrificed, usually a non-peak night that took away from the holders of the Frequent Fear passes. But it appears not any longer!

According to the event’s site it will be held yet again in Orlando but on November 4-8 when HHN29 is over. Phew!

Will you be buying Frequent Fear passes? Let’s us know in the comments how often you will be going to HHN this year!

Rumor: HHN29 Code-names Leaked?

Posted within the Inside Universal forums we possibly have the first glimpse of what could be the official code-names for the houses in Orlando for HHN29.

According to the original poster they could be:

Chicken
Drill
Onyx
Dog
Pit
Pressure
Cotton
Jerky
Hysteria
Salt

Why does Universal use Code-names? 

That’s a long story and can be read here.  The short of it, is for everyone in Universal to freely talk about the houses without revealing what they are exactly, especially to the press or public.

So there you have it, apparently these are the code-names for the houses, what could they be?  Speculate away!  And let us know what you think in the comments!

Remember, these are just rumors and nothing is confirmed until Universal confirms it!

HHN Helps Excellent Results at ComCast

The third quarter earnings report was released today for global giant ComCast who owns and operates a number of media businesses throughout the world, most notably the Universal theme parks. And for the first time in this reporter’s memory ComCast’s CEO personally mentioned how successful HHN28 had been, saying that it broke all records! The below is a copy of the shareholder presentation.

For HHN to be specially mentioned in this earnings call shows just how HUGE last year’s event was for not just Orlando but also for Hollywood. Fans of the event know better than the CEO as to how amazing the event was this past year and how the numbers lining up to get in where mammoth in size!

In other news, there was one interesting tidbit of slippage in the report. It’s said Jurassic World attractionS we’re coming to their domestic US parks. Could this be a grammatical error or do they mean the land sectioned-off in Islands of Adventure is for a Jurassic World expansion? Time will surely tell…

So there you have it! Another great record breaking year has come and gone, but what will HHN29 have in store for us? Keep your eyes on HHNU and we’ll be sure to pass on all the best news and rumors as it happens!

HHN29 Discussion: What’s Up With Warner Bros, Doc?

Warner Bros is perhaps as famous for its vast variety of cartoon characters as it is for its huge horror catalogue.  From Bugs Bunny to Jason Voorhees they are all stabled under the glorious umbrella at Warners.  With Fox being swallowed up by Disney, Universal getting just as aggressive in Central Florida as it is with its distribution of movies and IPs, it leaves Warners and the next big player in town.  And as of late it appears that Warners have made a few distinctive moves to keep their seat at the top of Tinsel Town, its these moves and their bearing on HHN that I wanted to discuss; so what is Warners up to….

The Catalyst?

Back in June last year AT&T have finally completed its $85BN buying of Time Warner Inc. making the final combination set of Warner Bros., HBO, DC Comics and Turner with AT&T’s leadership in technology and its video, mobile and broadband customer relationships.  With the prospect of ensuring that Warners can make, distribute and better control its properties to maximum commercial affect. And they wasted no time in getting the ball rolling…

Controlling Cable

AT&T, the new owners of Warners, have pulled HBO and Cinemax programs from the Dish Network Corp.’s satellite service after the companies failed to reach a new distribution agreement, setting up a giant rift between the companies as reported here on Bloomberg last November.

It is the first time in over 30 years that HBO has been pulled from a major distributor and the decision even got the Justice Department involved.

Leaving Netflix

With Disney rumoured to be pulling their shows from Netflix in order to start their own streaming service, it appears that Warners are about to undertake their own arrangement too.  Reported here, it appears Warners too will be pulling content from the world’s largest streaming service in order to offer their own new streaming facility where brand new and current HBO, DC and Warner shows will be exclusively streamed.

Starting their own version of HHN

Last year Warners successfully started their own version of HHN, called ‘Horror Made Here’ it also marked the first time since 2015 that Universal’s HHN didn’t have a Warner Bros property in their horror line-up (discounting Trick r Treat which although was distributed via Warners, it was made via Legendary Pictures who have contractual links to both companies).

Universal’s Naming of their New Park

Warners have long partnered with Universal with the likes of HHN or the Harry Potter additions to the parks.  However, the news broke last night from Park Rumors that shows that perhaps Warners might not be too happy about the proposed name for their new park.  Read more about the issue here where our buddy Brian has written up an interesting piece.

So where does this leave HHN?

Warners have a big library of horror, the majority of it was inherited when they respectively purchased both New Line Cinema (the basis of HHN17 was built around these properties in 2007) and DC Comics.  If Warners are now being more protective over their brands as seen in the examples from their article, it would appear that perhaps WB content will be pulled from future HHNs.

Which although some fans will say this is a bad thing because they won’t get Nun/IT/Jason/Freddy/Joker etc. maze, it will mean that future HHNs will likely have to focus on:

  • Original content (some of the best houses in HHN history have been original concepts, read more about them here).
  • Their own back catalogue of movies, notable their own heritage of horror (which was very successful in Hollywood’s HHN last year!)
  • Pulling properties from other production houses, though likely not from Fox as the mouse will be owning that very soon.
  • Smaller production houses/properties, such as the Killer Klowns (which was very awesome last year!)

So there you have it.  Warner Bros. is an evolving animal that is changing to meet the needs of the market, which is no bad thing, but only time will tell whether this is a good or bad thing for HHN.

Let us know in the comments what you think about Warners moves and what you would like to see for HHN29 or even HHN30!

Rumor: HHN Moving?

From a number of unknown sources we received a highly speculative rumor about HHN possibly moving location in Orlando.  The possible future home for the event could be the new, as yet unannounced, theme park that Universal are currently building rumored to be named ‘Universal’s Fantastic Worlds‘.

What we’ve seen…

It was leaked back in December by the above Twitter member that the new theme park coming soon to Central Florida would be named Fantastic Worlds and potentially be located down near the Orange County Convention Center off International Drive.

It was the same person, Alicia Stella, who also rumored that a new land for the forthcoming park COULD be themed to Universal Monsters.  Which would make sense as this is a property they own outright, whereas the rest of the park is rumored to be filled with IP properties that they are licensing from other companies (namely Mario and friends as per the image above).

The new rumor…

Well according to a small number of sources who have reached out to HHNU HQ, we could expect HHN to move to the new park once it is completed, say ready for HHN31 etc.

It would be interesting given that Islands of Adventure sits next to the main park and hasn’t been used for HHN in years.  However, both parks were NEVER designed with HHN in mind.  Both parks have used a combination of retro-fitting buildings, temporary structures (the Sprungs) or using the Soundstages, which due to HHN’s popularity of late, has caused one giant cluster-fudge right at the entrance to the event.

Whereas, a new larger park could be planned where buildings and lines for the houses could be anticipated and actively worked into the design of the new structures within the park.  That way houses could be more evenly spread throughout and possibly better infrastructure could be masterplanned to handle the huge crowds and security/bag-check issues found in recent times.  It does make sense.

Where the rumor does fall down a little, is that the new park will be stuffed full of new experiences (possible night shows for example?) and with most of the new attractions being third party IPs they might not like HHN coming in every Fall and changing up their brands (just like Dr. Suess’s area or even the Harry Potter additions supposedly didn’t in the past).

So there you have it!  Another juicy rumor to keep you going until the official announcements come very soon!

So what do you think?  Good idea?  Bigger and better haunts?  Or a mistep possibly leaving the old park behind?  Let us know!

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

HHN29 Rumor Round-up

The rumor scene has been very quiet over the last few weeks, so us here at HHNU HQ thought we would roundup all the best tidbits and info we could to see where we are so far, so here goes:

We got a great Christmas present from our Grand Water Rat (and editor) Chris Ripley when he posted just before Christmas a bunch of rumors that he had heard from a variety of sources:

He later clarified that the “no shows” was just he hadn’t heard anything about the shows and that he had heard that bookings for the on-site Universal hotels for the start of HHN29 were selling really well.  Talking of dates…

The start and end dates of the event were leaked and then subsequently confirmed by Universal.  You can read about that here.  The post also included a small online hint that perhaps one of the houses could be the new Halloween movie.

The next rumor that also spawned from an online hint suggested a return for The Shining house at Hollywood’s event, though this was very tenuous but it did add up!

HHNU broke the rumor news that many rumorists were reporting that Hellraiser was a potential IP being looked at for a potential dual-coast house.  This fascinating rumor was also released at the same time that Universal announced that its first IP for 2019 was in the bag.  You can make your own mind up hereHellraiser has been wildly rumored by HHNU for the last 3 years, following leaked correspondence online that showed high-level discussions having potentially taken place between the IP holder and associates of Universal.

A small rumor was received on the potential of Bill and Ted returning and a lengthy write-up of why you should become a UOAP for 2019 was published.

That’s it for now, we expect more info very soon and some insiders are pointing to an official announcement in February to keep pace with previous years.  So not long to wait now!  And as Chris says, nothing is confirmed or fact until Universal confirms it, just RUMORS!

Which properties and houses would you like to see at HHN29, let us know in the comments!

HHN29 Dates Leaked & New Halloween Rumor

Universal Orlando Resort updated it’s official website this week and it confirms the suspicions that we’ve reported on back in September this year where we expected HHN to start far earlier in 2019 than it has ever before. Here’s the screen grab:

With a September 6 start date that could potentially give us 40 horror filled nights of thrills (or maybe even more!) which is staggeringly high based on past years (just 34 last year). It also kinda confirms that no dual-park event is being planned with the event set to remain in the Studios Park.

So that’s the good news, so here’s the potential bad one…

We received a link to this tweet below by Hollywood’s supremo creative director for HHN John Murdy. And in response to our pal Dr Jimmy who was talking with him in regards to Disney, he wrote:

So is that the reason we didn’t get the new Halloween movie last year? The fact that it might have been blocked by the competing rodent up the street? Or was THIS the reason? And if Disney does have any say on the uses of this movie will that mean they’ll block it again for HHN29? Personally, I can’t see how the new Halloween has any business connections to Disney at all but hey?

Only time will tell…

So is September 6th too early? Or will 40+ nights of horrah be awesome? Let us know in the comments!

Jaws the Ride is Resurrected! Well kinda…

For seasoned HHN fans there was a tradition that had outlived any specialty beverage or Frankenstein novelty food item and that tradition was riding the “Shark in the Dark“.

Not heard of this? Well you must have started going to HHN after 2012 as that was the year that the Jaws Ride at Universal Orlando closed forever to make way for Diagon Alley (#BringBackJaws 😢).

Prior to this, devotees of this practice would wait until after dark and then venture onto the ride where a fresh new dynamic would be at play where it would be ever so slightly scarier due to the absence of natural light. Pepper in a few strategically placed Scareactors and this was THE best HHN tradition ever. Read more about the practice HERE.

This is why fans of the tradition were surprised to find out last week that our beloved Bruce (aka the Shark) has popped up from ‘beyond the grave’ at a restaurant in New York City!  It turns out that 494 Chicken restaurant on Staten Island has just purchased the only remaining complete 13ft long Shark from the ride (via a dealer in Maryland) and it is now on display within the restaurant.  You can read the original article here.

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Image courtesy of Staten Island Advance/ Victoria Priola

“I thought, ‘This is nuts, but if it’s the real thing, it’s worth a shot to check it out,’ and it definitely was,” said co-owner John Ryan. “We definitely got a few looks while driving. It’s not every day you see someone driving a truck with a shark hanging out of it.”

Relive the horror below:

Did you ever do the Shark in the Dark?  Will you be visiting this restaurant?  If so, let us know!

The Faces Behind Jack!

Jack the Clown has been haunting the attendees of Halloween Horror Nights since HHN10. The firm fan and guest favorite has largely been played by the same actor.

Since the very beginning he has been consistently played by James Keaton. Keaton has not just played Jack but a host of other Universal characters too, from mainstays such as The Grinch to random outings such as The Incredible Hulk.

And whereas Chris Ripley calls James the “Lon Chaney of our generation” he hasn’t always spent his time under the Jack greasepaint, as very occasionally, other actors have portrayed the maniacal clown, and some may surprise you!  These are:

1. Singapore Jack

In 2014 Jack appeared at HHN Singapore with his own house, Jack’s 3-Dementia, plus a new show Jack’s Nightmare Circus.

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Urm?  Photo courtsey of AspirantSG

2. WWE’s Mike Rome

Mike_Rome_bio--abd47b6d9382a5dec2d6b5dbd3b48182
Credit: WWE

Mike was formerly a team member of Universal Orlando and during his time he donned the grease paint to become Jack on a number times, including during HHN25!

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Credit: Jason West

3. Mike Aiello

Mike Aiello aka the God of HHN recently revealed to his Twitter followers that he too used to portray everyone’s favorite clown when he was a scareactor back in the early 00s.  Upon releasing this info, many people also tweeted photos saying “is this you Mike?”  And many were!

And here’s another rare one of Mike…

4. The fans!

The only group of people to portray the character more frequently than Keaton are the fans!  Albeit unofficially, but featuring in conventions at home in Florida and even as far away as NYC’s Comic Con, fans have been portraying the character for the a number of years!

So there you have it! But let us know in the comments what your fav Jack was and which year?  And also, do you recognize any of the above fans?  We’d love to know!