HHN News & Rumors Round-up!

We had a bumper pouring of HHN related news and rumors yesterday!  So-much-so that we thought we’d highlight all the news items that hit our inboxes yesterday so as to ensure you didn’t miss anything, so here goes:

All of these items are for ORLANDO:

  1. Scareactor Dining is BACK

Universal added the popular dining experience to its website yesterday.  The meal will differ slightly from previous years as Covid prevention measures will be in place and guests will not be allowed to make contact with the performers.  More info is here.

2. Fear Factor stage closed

The Fear Factor stage closed to make way for construction and rehearsals for a coming show at HHN30.  A number of rumors are pointing to either a return for the perennial Academy of Villains but with perhaps a bodacious duo making a cameo or an original show featuring all of our favorite Bill and Ted actors…  the production is classed as TOP SECRET – for now!

3. HHN Online Store

Universal quietly released a number (but not all!) merchandise for HHN30 onto their online store.  There is a lot to pick through and it contains wonderful artwork from the last 30 years.  The site even crashed due to demand last night!  You could also easily start your very own HHN shirt collection today!  The online store can be accessed here. (Although much of the stock is either missing or sold out – it’s probably a tech issue so be sure to keep checking back.)

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4. Tribute store opening date

We are hearing strong reports that Universal Team Members have finished decorating the HHN Tribute Store (next to The Mummy ride) and are looking to stock it very soon.  Some reports suggest it could open as early as July 22nd whereas others are saying August 1st.  If true, this would mean the Store might be opening during the day!

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5. HHN is rumored to be going virtual!?

We don’t know the authenticity of this tweet but it would appear that Jack might be heading for Universal’s new Peacock streaming service.  The info in this tweet would corroborate with news that we received last week of a potential Jack commercial being filmed outside the Universal arches late one night.

6. Tagline

The Tagline was inadvertently released on the Merch Store and states “30 Years – 30 Fears”, which we think is pretty cool!

7. External Scareactors required for HHN

Universal put out calls for non-Universal employed people to apply on an open casting call for a role at HHN30.   If you think you got what it takes to scares the BEEP outta people, please click here to apply.

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8. Update

The website ticket offers expire on July 22nd, so we are expecting some form of announcement either on 22nd or the 23rd.

So there you have it!  July 15th was a big news day and whilst it might not have been the news we were expecting, it does show you that plans at HHN are well underway in Orlando!

Are you going to HHN30?  Did you manage to snag a retro shirt from the store before it crashed?  Let us know in the comments!

Remember: Rumors are just rumors to until Universal confirms otherwise!

Universal to Make an HHN House into a Movie!

HHN fans adored the Classic Universal Monsters house from HHN29 and with good reason, it took the classic monsters and gave them a new lease of life, updating them for the 21st Century and making them more terrifying than ever.  The house was inspired by a house at Hollywood’s 2018 event, which used a number of similar sets, costumes and shared artwork.

With this success, Universal quietly announced this week that the house will inspire a brand new movie with the artist Crash McCreery, who helped update the monsters for the house, will be on board with the project.

Universal has also reached out to Toy Story 4 Director and longtime Pixar alumnus Josh Cooley to produce the piece.  The working title is ‘Little Monsters‘ and it aims to take the updated HHN creeps from McCreery’s HHN house/maze designs and give them a more family-friendly spin.

Little Monsters’ logline has not been released by the Studios, however, The Hollywood Reporter believes that it will be “a love letter to classic Hollywood and the history of filmmaking with a story that takes a multigenerational approach to the monsters.”

The first HHN house to be made into a movie was The House of a 1000 Corpses, you can read more about that story here.

So there you have it, a second house in HHN history is going to be a movie!

Will you see this movie?  Are you excited for this movie?  Let us know in the comments!

UO Passholders now Entitled to a Commemorative HHN30 Pin with All New HHN Package Bookings

 

Universal has announced that all Universal Orlando Passholders who book a qualifying package holiday to HHN30 directly through Universal will be entitled to a commemorative HHN30 pin.

The Package Includes:

  • 1-Night Hotel Accommodations at On-site Hotels.
  • 2020 Halloween Horror Nights Flex Plus 1 Night Free Promotional Ticket (Valid for bookings Now – 7/22/2020 and for use on any 2 nights 9/10/2020 – 11/1/2020; Blockout Dates apply, these are:  10/11/2020, 10/17/2020, 10/24/2020, and 10/30/2020).
  • Commemorative Passholder Halloween Horror Nights 2020 Pin (one per person)
  • Convenient packages offer Passholders the best way to experience the World’s Premier Halloween Event.
  • Select Nights Sept. 6–Nov. 2.

Special bookable Add-ons include:

R.I.P. Tour

Join other fans and get a guided V.I.P. walking tour of the event. See more with front-of-the-line entry to haunted houses. (Separate event admission is required; pricing varies by date, subject to availability.)

Behind-The-Screams: Unmasking The Horror Tour

Take this daytime V.I.P. tour with other fans for a lights-on look into how Universal Orlando’s Art & Design team transforms the biggest names in horror into haunted houses.

Bookings MUST BE made between now and July 22 to qualify!

Visit here to read the terms and conditions and to make your booking TODAY.

Let us know in the comments if you are booking a passholder package or whether you are staying off-site!

 

 

Halloween Events Across the U.S Are Being Cancelled

Large Halloween events across the country are confirming that due to the COVID-19 Pandemic are cancelling their events for the safety of both their guests and their staff members.

The events confirmed as not running for 2020 include:

Chamber of Terror Haunted House – Tampa FL

Dark Horizon: Point of No Return – Orlando FL

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor – Long Beach CA

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – Disney FL

Oogie Boogie Bash – Disney CA

Terror Behind the Walls – Philadelphia

Progress is still continuing at Universal for HHN30 and whilst no announcements have been forthcoming from them it is believed that HHN will be run this year but with social distancing measures in place.

Are you sad this virus is ruining Halloween? Or will you partying on regardless? Let us know in the comments!

HHN Fans Want HHN30 Cancelled

This past weekend HHNU’s Christopher Ripley ran a poll on Twitter to see whether fans wanted HHN30 to be cancelled or for it to be run.  The results can be seen below:

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As you can see, the majority of fans on this small poll want the event cancelled.  But let’s look into why that might be?

Wider Tourism:

It is hard to find exact numbers and breakdowns for attendances to the theme parks, both Disney and Universal often keep these as closely guarded secrets.  However, we can look at other sources for clues.  For example, data from Orlando’s MCO Airport website between the beginning and the end of HHN for 2019 will have just over 6 million passengers flying in from the other U.S. States and 1.1 million passengers flying in from international airports.  You can then add in people who are travelling from neighbour States by car and the Florida State visitors, and this adds up to a significant number.

The TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index for last year believes that Orlando theme parks received a staggering 87.5m visitors, with Universal’s two main theme parks received a reportedly 19.8m visitors total. However, these figures are probably gate numbers, as the official Tourist Board figure for 2018 was 75m visitors.

And while these visitors aren’t all going to be visiting HHN, it should indicate how many people are coming to Orlando if there weren’t a global Pandemic happening.

 

International Guests:

From the MCO website, it has a league table of the makeup of the International guests, and while passengers are flying in from all over the world, the top 10 are:

1             London/Gatwick, England

2              Toronto, Ontario, Canada

3              Manchester, England

4              Mexico City, Mexico

5              Sao Paulo/Guarulhos, Brazil

6              Montreal/Dorval, Quebec, Canada

7              San Jose, Costa Rica

8              Bogota, Colombia

9              Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

10           Nassau, Bahamas

According to data from Google/WHO Brazil has the second-worst infection rate in the world (second to the U.S.) in cases % per 1m of population, the U.K. is 5th, Mexico is 11th, Canada is 19th, and Colombia is 21st.

The land borders between the U.S. and Mexico and the U.S. and Canada are closed for all non-essential travel until at least 23rd July.

Currently, there is a Travel Ban for International Passengers where most of the list above are excluded from travel into the U.S.  It is hard to accurately pinpoint the percentage of International Guests to Out-of-State Guests, but Visit Orlando believes it to be circa:

Florida & Domestic Visitors          60 to 78%            (including people who drive in)

Other U.S. State Visitors                 15 to 25%            (people who fly in)

International Visitors                      12 to 22%            (people who fly in)

 

Florida Locals:

In the past when international travel bans have been in effect, or there has been a downturn in visitor numbers to the Parks, it has been the local Floridians, especially the local Orlando communities that have helped the Parks and especially HHN.  However, the parks are currently open, and footfall is massively reduced.  Likewise, since Florida started to reopen and lift restrictions, COVID cases have jumped fivefold in the last two weeks.  Nobody knows for sure how many of these people will actually venture out for HHN.

Other States:

Different States have different policies on COVID where some are still in Lockdown; others are slowly opening up.  Currently, travellers flying to Florida from New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut must self-isolate or quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival.  Universal Theme Parks are currently open but with increased restrictions and social distancing, with reports from local visitors indicating that footfall at the parks is incredibly low.

 

Is HHN still happening?

As far as we know, yes it is happening.  Universal was reportedly testing the Lagoon Show for HHN this past weekend, yesterday on Twitter Universal was gaining permissions to use people’s tweets in a rumored announcement that is coming, HHN house construction is on-going and Universal is actively recruiting Scareactors.  See below:

Lagoon Show Testing:

 

Universal accepting applications for HHN roles:

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Christopher Ripley also posted this sage advice:

 

Conclusion:

Our poll was only small and gave a tiny snapshot.  It was also conducted on Twitter which is not the friendliest or most pragmatic social media platform.  However, when the above is considered, you can see why fans of HHN want it cancelled.  If they can’t travel to the event they love, it will be heart-breaking for them.  Likewise, what is the supposed to be the celebratory year of the 30th anniversary, people are equally miffed that the event can’t celebrate this achievement to the fullest due to all the likely restrictions that will no doubt be in the place for it.

Hopefully, if we do everything the “experts” tell us to do now, it will save Halloween.  There will come a time when this wretched disease has gone; however, we want it to go as fast as possible so we can all return to normal!  Let’s hope that normal comes soon and HHN will continue without this disease.

 

All of the data and restrictions were good as of June 29th 2020, and people should check current rules and restrictions before travelling.

So there you have it: do you agree with this poll?  Will you still be going to HHN?  Let us know in the comments!

Episode 15: Ernie Hudson & The Ghostbusters

Join us for more spooky fun as we welcome an actual Ghostbuster to the Podcast, Mr. Ernie Hudson. He gives us a fascinating account of his career, his time as a Ghostbuster, and his experiences on the set of The Crow. He also gives us an exclusive tidbit of info regarding the upcoming Ghostbusters 3! And the exclusivity doesn’t stop there as we take a sneaky tour of an upcoming HHN30 house, we provide the usually industry news and rumors, announce the winner of our strange noise contest, and we also review some recent horror releases: The Lighthouse, Truth or Dare, Midsommar and The Hunt! And we even have a singalong! All this and more on your favourite spooky podcast!

Available from all good podcast apps!

Starring Christopher Ripley, Boston White aka Amanda and The Spooky Voice Guy

Producer: The Amazing Aaron Adams

This podcast is a part of the After Dark Podcast Network and HHNUnofficial.com

Visit us at thehalloweenhalfhour.com or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or email us at podcast@thehalloweenhalfhour.com

This episode is brought to you by Halloweencostumes.com. If you are looking for the best Halloween costume ideas for this year’s festivities, or decorate your house, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you are searching for a costume idea or finding that must have decoration, Halloweencostumes.com has it all! Signup to their email and get 20% off your first order! Special link: https://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-9287851-12684099

Episode 14: Elvira aka Cassandra Peterson

Join us for more spooky fun as we welcome Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira aka the Mistress of the Dark onto the show!  We find out what off the shelf soda keeps her looking so young, how she sold a haunted house to Brad Pitt, why Mark Hamill is petrified of her bedroom closet and more!  We also discuss all the latest news and rumors for horror genre and we have a competition for you that you can enter by emailing us at our shiny new address at podcast@thehalloweenhalfhour.com!

Starring Christopher Ripley, Boston White aka Amanda and The Spooky Voice Guy

Producer: The Amazing Aaron Adams

This podcast is a part of the After Dark Podcast Network and HHNUnofficial.com

Visit us at thehalloweenhalfhour.com or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Available from all good podcast outlets NOW!

This episode is brought to you by Halloweencostumes.com. If you are looking for the best Halloween costume ideas for this year’s festivities, or decorate your house, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you are searching for a costume idea or finding that must have decoration, Halloweencostumes.com has it all! Signup to their email and get 20% off your first order! Special link HERE.

Rumor: Big Changes to the Scares at HHN

Our good friends at TPU posted a fascinating rumor article this week that highlights a number of changes possibly coming to this year’s HHN which will likely impact how and when people attend the event.

The rumored changes being reported were:

Big Reduction in Scareactors:

Due to social distancing guidelines, guests will probably interact far last with a much-reduced lineup of scareactors.  The TPU article states that Universal is possibly looking to hire a much-reduced company of scareactors, a “skeleton crew” if you like, so as to comply with social distancing measures.

Capped Attendance:

The major theme parks in Central Florida have all been showcasing their reopening plans over the week we all of them ensuring that gate numbers remain low.  If this is to continue into the fall it will likely see a vastly reduced guest number with caps on how many patrons can enter each night.

The Official Universal App will Control Your Visit:

According to the article, virtual queues will be used throughout the houses (something HHNU first rumored back in March when this all started to happen).  After leaving the parking structure guests are likely to be put through security and health screening (for temperatures, as they are doing during the day), the app will then notify them which houses they can go to and when even including whether to use their Express passes; it’ll supposedly all be done via the app!

Jack to be the Digital Icon:

According to the article, Jack will be your digital guide every night via the app.  So instead of choosing the houses or experiences you want to visit, the app will guide you and give you limited choices based on the numbers of guests at each experience.  Jack was brought back to reassure us all at the HHN in 2001 and so he’s likely back again to do the same again for 2020.

New Activities to Replace Traditional HHN Mainstays:

To replace the possible cancelling of shows and limits to house numbers, we have heard that a number of added experiences will be used to occupy the guest’s time at the event (the TPU article also states this).  Jack as your digital psychopathic guide will lead you around the park to undertake scavenger hunts, set-off special effects, possibly win prizes and answer trivia questions.  The added experiences will likely be undertaken to replace or reduce the traditional scarezones and to keep guests under control if the houses and attractions are full.

So there you have it, would you welcome these changes?  Let us know in the comments!

Remember, these are just rumored changes coming to HHN30, nothing is official just yet!  Though we do expect an official announcement very soon!

To read the TPU article for yourself please go here.

 

 

 

 

Cast of Netflix’s ‘Never Have I Ever’ Caught Sneaking into HHN Whilst Dressed as Scooby-Doo Characters

In a moment of “it’s so funny you couldn’t make this up” comes news that members of Netflix’s hit new show ‘Never Have I Ever‘ were supposedly caught not just sneaking around the historic Hollywood backlot but also were caught sneaking into Halloween Horror Nights – whilst dressed at characters from ‘Scooby-Doo‘.  Surely this is a film we would all want to see!

The story comes from cast members Jaren Lewison and Darren Barnet who were recently interviewed by Vulture where they stated that they wanted to end their run of filming on the backlot with doing something memorable.

Apparently, the younger members of the cast formed a quick and lasting bond due to the heavy shooting schedule of the production.  The production was largely based inside soundstages on the expansive backlot at Universal Hollywood.  Towards the end of the filming, the cast started to get interested in the goings-on around the soundstages and started to venture out exploring between down-times.

Initially, the gang started to explore the neighboring sets to the soundstages but this was swiftly stopped.  Barnet said that they were prevented from doing this so rather than try their luck they decided to go bowling at a nearby bowling alley instead.  This continued for a while before the gang wanted to slip past the set security guards and get onto the wider backlot.

On the last day of shooting they snuck Scooby-Doo costumes in and swiftly changed into these when filming wrapped.  Sneaking by the security guards they managed to see the sights of the historic backlot before realizing that Halloween Horror Nights was running that night.  They then spent the rest of the night at the world-famous Halloween event before leaving.

Barnet explained that the act of sneaking-off together and celebrating the end of their production was a cathartic and celebratory experience for the young actors.  He explained that they had all auditioned for so many roles without getting cast, so to finally be starring in a big Netflix production on the legendary Universal backlot meant the absolute world to them.

Never Have I Ever is an American coming of age dramedy series exclusively airing on Netflix starring Maitreyi Ramakrishnan and created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher. It premiered this past weekend and has been widely received by audiences and critics alike.  The story reminded us of when HHN affected another show filming on the backlot, read about that here!

So if you had the chance to roam the historic sets of the Universal backlot – would you?  And what costume would you pick?  Let us know in the comments!

Episode #12 – JAWS Actor Robert Shaw with Actor and Son Ian Shaw

Join us for more spooky fun as we chat to actor and writer Ian Shaw about his new play ‘The Shark is Broken’ which debuts in London’s West End after a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe.  We also chat with him about his famous father and how he is now destined to return to the character of Quint which his father is most fondly remembered for.  Tickets will be available here: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-shark-is-broken/ambassadors-theatre/

Plus we have our usual spooky news, we talk a few HHN rumors and discuss our favorite shows right now on Shudder including a deep-dive into the Cursed Film series.

Starring Christopher Ripley, Boston White aka Amanda and The Spooky Voice Guy

Producer: The Amazing Aaron Adams

This podcast is a part of the After Dark Podcast Network and HHNUnofficial.com

Visit us at thehalloweenhalfhour.com or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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