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!


Is Stranger Things Coming to HHN/USF?

Stranger Things Season 2 recently debuted on Netflix at the end of October.  Fans had been awaiting this release since the hit series premiered over a year ago.  Fans have also speculated that the series would be a perfect fit for HHN but no announcement on this has ever been forth coming.  And as a break with company protocol, Universal released the following weird tweet…

Quickly, the tweet was shared and discussed across internet forums and Facebook groups as to why Universal were promoting this series’ return to Netflix.  As far as we are aware, Universal as a company has no links to Netflix or it’s subsidiaries and Universal has never been one for promoting TV Shows that aren’t apart of it’s NBC wider family.  To make things even stranger (sorry!) Universal receieved scores of comments from expectant fans and a few corporate pals with Universal responding to one with:

So what’s going on?  Is Stranger Things coming to say HHN28 or perhaps as an attraction at USF?  What is compounding matters right now is that our pal the ‘mystical’ Ifrit is doing a weird countdown that ends either today or tomorrow (depending on when zero is) a countdown that started with the number 11 on 31st October – which is also a possible reference again to Stranger Things and their main character Eleven?

Right now the quiet War of Central Florida Theme Parks is raging with Disney finally committing to spending millions updating and adding to DHS and Epcot (plus hotels and infrastructure improvements), while up the I4 Universal has made big announcements (though more to come), has closed attractions and bought lots of acres nearby for future growth.

It was also worth noting that during HHN27, the near whole of KidZone was under used for crowd control as though the whole area was primed and set for an immediate construction closure. Fast and Furious opens next year, Mario is coming down the pipe (sorry again!) and what then other than just new hotels?  Could our beloved Netflix show be the next big franchise that Universal sets it’s sights on?  Maybe just maybe we might find out today/tomorrow…

Let us know in the comments whether you’d love to see a Stranger Things Maze or full-time attraction at Univeral Orlando?  Or are Universal just trolling us all?  Let us know your thoughts!  HHN28 will be here quicker than you think!

Thank You Everyone for HHN 27!

I think I speak for the entire HHNU team when I say that HHN 27 was another amazing year to be an HHN Maniac! With the Bill and Ted show cast and crew working so incredibly hard to bring the legendary show of 26 years to a close with an absolute bang. I think it comes as a sad fact to all of us that Bill and Ted have always had a special place in our HHN loving hearts and to see the HHN 28 lineup without it is just gonna be a real tough image to handle. But we don’t look at this day with sadness, we look at it and know how thankful we are for another colossal event that everyone at Universal Studios worked to put together. We all tend to take HHN for granted but being one of the largest and most award-winning haunts in the world does not come easy and handling several hundred thousand guests throughout each season is not a simple undertaking.


This years scareactors had to deal with larger crowds than ever before and with that comes all new stresses and rules. But even under the pressure of working the greatest horror event in the country, they have shown time and time again that they know how to deliver through and through.22770045_10214330949057093_2414192288438043201_o

The Creative Team always deserves a shoutout for their incredible work in bringing these amazing IPs and original ideas to life under such extreme pressures. The teams of Mike Aiello and John Murdy always create such beautiful scenes and scares in their haunts year after year. There are no thanks great enough that we can extend to them for all that they do for us. 23120099_10214433893430638_211058509075190568_o

Another massive thank you goes out to all of those HHN and Universal employees who work behind the scenes of the event. There are literally thousands of employees that help HHN run from night to night and it would take me forever to name each department individually but to everyone who works in the parks during the event I personally want to thank you. I have worked in a theme park for 6 years now and I know how hellish it can be on capacity days. But you know it all worthwhile when you see the looks on those guests faces when they see the magic of HHN come to life. 22555487_10214334623148943_3929644421621897143_o

My final special thank you goes to the men and women of, not only the security team who keep us all safe during the event, but also the men and women of law enforcement who work late nights in the parks to ensure that security has the tools they need to keep us all safe and happy during the event.

We at the HHNU team would like to thank everyone on the Universal team for making HHN 2017 such an incredible event. Every scare, every blast of fire, every laugh, and every drop of blood was truly incredible to experience. See ya for Grinchmas!

All of the photos in this article were taken by Mark Walter, who has always taken amazing photographs of Universal Orlando and surrounding areas. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mwjw/sets/

Bruce Campbell at HHN27?

At the very beginning of HHN27 there had been unsubstantiated reports that Bruce Campbell had been lurking during select nights of the event.  No photographic evidence, social media mentions or any formal confirmation from Universal were ever given.

However, could he finally be coming to HHN?

It appears that his book tour has a date for Orlando being tonight at the Coliseum of Comics at the Fashion Square Mall, so what else could an evil busting hero such as Campbell do tomorrow – say go to HHN?  Here’s hoping.

So, if you’re heading to HHN on Friday for the special UOAP events or for the Soul Collectors games – let us know if an actual chainsaw-hand wielding hero is around!  As this would be perfect timing for an appearance…

Placing this entry firming in the ‘theory’ category!  But keep your eyes peeled.

HHN Invites Soul Collectors To Official Meetup!

Universal has today invited select Soul Collectors (those that had signed up to the HHN website before the event) to a special meetup, where amongst other things, you will be tested!

During this challenge, Soul Collectors will compete in a series of games where they will solve clues, take part in physical tasks, which might get messy, and consume some unusual cuisine. These include:

  • Throughout this challenge, there will be six (6) different games featured throughout Universal Studios Florida during #HHN27.
  • Each game will eliminate half of the participants.
  • This is a timed experience, therefore, your wit and skill will help you advance.
  • You are encouraged to bring cell phones to solve clues.
  • You must wear comfortable clothing, including shoes, that can get really dirty.
  • Photography and video capturing are allowed.
  • 64 Teams will take part.
  • All entrants will receive free parking and two express passes.


So if you’re a signed-up Soul Collector – check your inboxes now!

Celebrity Cameos at HHN: James Franco

Guests at Universal Studios Hollywood last week were treated with a special celebrity cameo in The Shining maze…..

Hollywood: Where anything is possible

You read that right: James Franco took the role of scareactor last week in Hollywood’s HHN event as Jack Torrance in their Shining haunted maze. We’re incredibly jealous of anyone who had the opportunity to witness him wielding the infamous axe, terrifying guests as they recluctantly navigated the attraction.


If you have been following our Facebook page, you’d know that Orlando was supposedly to have a celebrity cameo by Bruce Campbell inside the Ash vs. Evil Dead haunted house, but unfortunately this didn’t turn out to be true. A bit of a let down, but that’s okay because the Orlando event is absolutely top notch regardless.

So take this little tidbit of information as a tip: keep your eyes peeled inside those haunted houses. If you cover your eyes, you might just miss one of your favorite celebrities right in your face!

Another Halloween Horror Nights 27 Review – Part III

And now for the big ones. The qualifying medalists of the HHN Olympics. The top three houses at Halloween Horror Nights 27. And yeah, they’re all originals!


3) Scarecrow: The Reaping – We were promised a ton of scarecrows in this one and boy did Halloween Horror Nights deliver. This was perhaps the most consistent house of the bunch in terms of sheer scares per minute (SPM possible new term?) and relentless terror. The set design was stunning, featuring a ton of corn stalks and a mostly wooden facade, giving each location a very real-world earthy vibe. The sets were packed with more scareactors than you could count, with some definitely over six feet and beyond. In addition to being one of the best houses of the year, Scarecrow: The Reaping takes the prize for perhaps the most disgusting room of the year. For those of you that may not have attended this year’s event just yet, all I’ll say is that you enter what I believe was a stable populated by a number of crows perched on planks above your head, cawing loudly. Someone must’ve given those crows a laxative…


2) Hive – If you like your vampires bloodthirsty and terrifying, then this is the house for you. There are no sparkling vamps here, unless you count the great glowing effect in the eyes of some of the creatures haunting this cavern. Featuring clear inspiration from Salem’s Lot, Nosferatu, and perhaps even a little bit of The Lost Boys, Hive was packed to the brim with all manner of terrifying vampires ranging from pale gaunt beasts to seven foot tall Count Orlocs to hanging vampire children that reminded me of Eddie Munster. The makeup effects here were among the best I’ve ever seen in an HHN house before, the scares were consistent, the sound and ambient noise chilling, and the southern-style cavernous sets were expertly done. I had a blast going through this one.


1) Dead Waters – As soon as I entered the stage and turned the corner to see the stunning riverboat assembled in all its grimy swampy glory, I knew I was in for a real treat. I clearly remember turning to a buddy of mine and saying, “This is the best thing they’ve ever built”, referring of course to the creative team at Halloween Horror Nights, who deserve to be showered with every possible bit of praise for what they’ve been able to accomplish with this house. The interior sets were just as impressive, with every prop clearly showing some level of age and rust and dampness, which gave the house a very old, abandoned, forgotten feel. From entering the boat at a disorienting lopsided angle to my encounter with the Voodoo Queen, I was in constant awe of every heat lamp, every piece of moss and mildew, every leaky creaky board, every voodoo doll, all given its own care and detail, which is what Halloween Horror Nights does best: immersing guests in a fully-realized hyper-detailed world and then scaring the crap out of them.


Agree with these picks? What was your favorite house of the year? I hope everyone has enjoyed or will have the time to enjoy this year’s event because it really was a great one. And soon we get to start looking forward to 28…


Another Halloween Horror Nights 27 Review – Part II

Welcome back, kiddies! We’re counting down this year’s Halloween Horror Nights houses from least to most awesome and today we’re looking at numbers 6 to 4. If you missed numbers 9 to 7, you can find them right here. Now, onto the countdown!


6) The Shining – Like last year’s The Exorcist house, The Shining was arguably the most highly anticipated haunt at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights. While only taking the number six slot on my list, that should in no way give the impression that this house was anything but great. The fact that it’s number six just goes to show the spectacular quality of haunts present this year. The house opened with the snowy exterior of the famous Overlook Hotel, snow gently falling over our heads as we’re lead into a hedge maze. After a few turns through the maze, we’re right into a hotel hallway and see the first of what felt like many axes through doors. If there’s one main criticism of the house it’s the overreliance on that single moment from the film. Still, it’s really more of a quibble than a criticism. Standout scenes from the haunt included a mirror reflection trick involving the Grady twins, Danny Torrance on his big wheel peering into an endless hallway, and the Gold Room set built in eerie detail complete with Lloyd the bartender and all. Most impressive was the recreation of the elevator of blood scene, which appeared to have been accomplished by either a projection or by filling an actual room with blood. I want to believe it was the latter, but guessing it may’ve been some form of the former. Also, kudos to the team at Halloween Horror Nights for creeping me out by included the man in the bear costume…


5) American Horror Story – Following last year’s popular house (and one of my favorites), American Horror Story returned to Halloween Horror Nights with a very strong sophomore effort. First off, this house was LONG, so for non-Express Pass attendees, this is one haunt to visit if you want to get your money’s worth. The Asylum portion alone felt like it could’ve been it’s own house with the rec room and the surgical room being especially impressive sets. The Coven and Roanoke portions were shorter, but no less packed with familiar characters and a number of consistent frights, most notably Kathy Bates’ character Delphine LaLaurie coming out for a big scare once you’ve explored her torture chamber. Oh, and while you’re in queue waiting to enter the house, keep your ears open and you may just hear “The Name Game” song as featured in Asylum.


4) The Fallen – If you’ve been keeping tabs, you’ve probably figured out that there are four picks left and there hasn’t been a single mention of any of the four original houses. That is, until now. As I said when they were first announced in August, 2017 is the year of the original house. First up is The Fallen, a shorter house that felt like a rock n’ roll cross between Game of Thrones and Hellraiser. Upon entering, our first image is of a horned red demon chomping on some unsuspecting victim. This was the perfect first impression because HHN didn’t try to hide the scares and the beautiful makeup and costumes until the end. Putting that giant demon right at the start felt like their way of saying, “Yeah, we’ve got demons. And they look badass.” The rest of the house didn’t disappoint. With gorgeous sets reminiscent of 2012’s Gothic house, The Fallen featured a number of demons swinging next to, above, and AT attendees, oftentimes giving the feeling of being surrounded by monsters from all sides. With such impressive visuals and terrifying imagery, I didn’t expect that my biggest scare would come in the form of a simple gag that I should’ve seen coming a mile away. Note to self: if you see a hanging torso with a giant hole in the mid-section, assume an arm is going to come out of it.

Come back soon for my top three houses of the year!

Screenshot 2017-10-19 11.30.22



Another Halloween Horror Nights 27 Review – Part I

It’s been quiet at HHNU, but fear not, we’re here and we’ve got another take on this year’s excellent haunts. I was finally able to attend the event on Sunday 10/16 with an Express Pass, and I’m happy to say that overall, it looks like the team at Universal Studios Orlando and Halloween Horror Nights outdid themselves with some truly stunning houses and scare zones that rank among some of the best in years. Hats off to the great Mike Aiello (of “Aiello Club” fame!) and his team for putting on a great show for us!

Now, onto the countdown!

The Horrors of Blumhouse Takes Possession of Halloween Horror Nights 2017

9) The Horrors of Blumhouse – This is the only house at this year’s event that I can honestly say I wasn’t a huge fan of. Personally, I didn’t enjoy the film Sinister, which the first quarter of the house is based on. As a result, the many Bagul scares didn’t really do it for me, especially considering that, like the film, most the scares took place in generic hallways. The next part of the house – The Purge – was unmemorable and lacking in scares, and quite frankly, the material of the film series makes for a MUCH better scare zone than a house. In fact, The Purge was the scare zone I spent the most time in this year. Next up in the Blumhouse haunt was Insidious, which was far and away the best section. The ghostly realm of The Further was recreated with wonderful bluish-green delight and the gold-hued room chamber of the villainous red demon was particularly well realized. The last section of the house felt like a fever dream and I wasn’t particularly sure what was actually going on or what film I was supposed to be experiencing. There was an electrocution room with a great animatronic, then another area that appeared to be some kind of morgue or hospital with a white curtain surrounding the center of the room. I’m not sure if these were locations from the Insidious sequels or from other Blumhouse films, but I can definitely say that I was a bit disoriented, which I guess could be a good thing.


8) Saw: The Games of Jigsaw – At around 1:30am and after a few cocktails, this was my ninth and final house of the evening, and while I won’t say this one was a blur (I do take notes immediately exiting each haunt), I can say that I was not in the fresh and eager mindset that each of these haunted houses deserves. Some definite standout moments include a great Billy puppet on a tricycle emerging from a dark hallway, a frantic Amanda clawing at you and pleading to help her take off the reverse bear trap she has on her head, and what seemed like a full-scale recreation of the bathroom set from the original Saw film. This Saw house was a definite improvement over the 2009 iteration.


7) Ash vs. Evil Dead – My group and I had the pleasure of going through this house during a short period of time where no other attendees were in sight. With a huge empty space to both our bow and stern, the experience of going through the Evil Dead universe felt specifically catered only to us. While not nearly the scariest house, I can say that as an Evil Dead fan, I traversed this haunt with a rictus grin from ear to ear the whole way through. From seeing Sam Raimi’s Classic Delta right outside the entrance to having Ash himself welcome us into the cabin (with authentic Bruce Campbell voiceover to boot), characters and demons from the films and the television series, the morgue gag featuring Ash’s head through a corpse’s midsection, and the Ashy Slashy puppet at the end. And just when I thought the house was over, Ash was standing outside in his Hawaiian shirt welcoming us back from our adventure with a spewing keg and a chainsaw salute!

Come back soon for numbers 6 through 4!



House Reviews, pt. 3

Diving into our last three reviews, we can’t wait to continue visiting Halloween Horror Nights until the bitter end!

The Shining – ★★★★1/2


Although not incredibly scary, this maze does an astounding job of bringing the Stanley Kubrick film to life. Every scene is there, including the man in the bear suit, and the “Great party isn’t it?” guy. You travel through the overlook hotel, every scene (except the large kitchen and walk in fridge/freezer)

Although you only see him once, look out for Scatman Crothers’ character Dick Halloran in the very beginning of the maze, and also his dead body in the lobby scene on the ground on the left side of the hallway.

The Hive – ★★★1/2☆


A residential house has been completely taken over by vampires, and they turned the house into a breeding ground. The entire haunted attraction smells like dirt, and it’s everywhere, too. The vampires within this house are more in the vein of Nosferatu, with mishapen ears, crooked teeth, glowing eyes and bald heads. You walk through the entire house, from living room to basement and back to the attic, all the while encountering the beasts within. There’s a great stilt walker scene in here that can’t be missed. We didn’t score this house too high because it gets a bit redundant near the end. Dark scene, mound of dirt, vampire pop out, repeat. That didn’t stop us, though, from visiting multiple times and having lots of fun. Try looking at the actors’ eyes (if you keep yours open) because some of their eyes glow and it’s pretty cool.

Scarecrow: The Reaping ★★★★★


Our coveted, hard to get 5 star rating this year goes to Scarecrow: The Reaping. In our opinion, this is definitely the scariest house at HHN27, so get ready for this one. This is the haunted house we crave to visit year after year.

It’s got everything: tight, closed quarters, scareactors absolutely everywhere, a pitch black corridor you have to feel your way through, a strobed mirror maze, and constant scares.  Fun fact, no scareactor in this house is less than 6 foot 2 inches tall! This house also introduces a fun new effect; bird poop! Yes, that’s correct. You will get pooped on by crows.