HHNU Book Gets Five 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Christopher Ripley‘s book receives a warm literary welcome.

Readers’ Favorite announces the review of the Non-Fiction book “Halloween Horror Nights Unofficial: Around the Globe”, currently available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0995536260.

Readers’ Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.

“Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite:

Halloween Horror Nights Unofficial: Around the Globe: Hollywood and Beyond! is a nonfiction art/photography book written by Christopher Ripley. Ripley is an author and blogger who’s made a study of Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights for the last twenty-odd years. In this book, he escorts the reader on a journey back into the 1920s when Lon Chaney, Sr. recreated the Hunchback of Notre Dame and was the thrilling presence in The Phantom of the Opera. Traveling a bit closer to the present day, he studies the effects of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, Jr. as they recreate zombies, vampires and werewolves to the vast delight of terrified audiences who made it clear that they enjoyed being frightened and wanted more. In 1986, the first of the Hollywood Horror Nights made its debut. It was not the first such horror event/party thrown by Universal Studios but, in many ways, it was the most ambitious and it certainly has been the most enduring. Hollywood Horror Nights are carefully scripted and prepared with the attention to detail of the most demanding theatrical production. Ripley describes each year’s players, themes and opportunities to be scared out of one’s wits in “you-are-there” detail.

Halloween Horror Nights Unofficial: Around the Globe invites the reader to experience vicariously countless chills, thrills and outright gross buckets of blood as he lovingly shares the details of each the last three decades’ incarnations of Halloween Horror Nights. While I’ve never been to one, I will readily confess that Halloween is my favorite holiday, and the idea of spending it as an unsuspecting tourist in a nightmare spun by the likes of Barker or del Toro is intriguing indeed. I loved learning how these spectacles are put together, every detail polished and perfected before the first brave soul enters, and I was most impressed by the author’s erudition on all things horror. This well-written and enthralling romp through Hollywood Horror will have readers considering how they can make the trip west to get in on the fun next Halloween. I know it has me doing just that. Halloween Horror Nights Unofficial is highly recommended.”

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Which Onsite Resort Hotel is Best for HHN?

It’s a question we get asked a lot around this time of year. Many people are booking their Spooky Fall vacations and want to know which resort is best for stays during HHN. So here’s what we think:

Universal Orlando features six official on-site hotels totaling up to 6,200 rooms. All six hotels are located in close proximity to the Universal Orlando theme parks with guests offered free water taxi or shuttle bus service to the theme parks. The hotels are sorted into three categories which are all based on perks, luxury and price, they are: premier hotels, preferred hotels and prime value hotels.

Premier Hotels:

The Portofino is considered the most expensive and luxurious hotel onsite. It offers a spacious and relaxing styled resort that has all the amenities and perks you’d expect with any 5 star hotel. Sitting next to this hotel and slightly closer to the Studios Park is the Hard Rock Hotel. This is a popular resort as it is the closest hotel to the Studios. The resort is well appointed and provides a great number of features including their unique sandy beach pool and rock n’ roll ethos.

Portofino – Style 10, Price 5, Proximity 7, Features 10

Hard Rock – Style 10, Price 7, Proximity 10, Features 9

Preferred Hotels:

The Royal Pacific built during the formation of when the single studios park turned into a resort has a great South Seas theme and is packed with great features including some really great eating establishments. The other hotel in this category is the relatively new comer Sapphire Falls which opened in 2016.

Royal Pacific – Style 9, Price 7, Proximity 5, Features 8

Sapphire Falls – Style 10, Price 8, Proximity 5, Features 9

Prime Value:

The monstrous Cabana Bay might be the furthest from the horror but it is definitely a popular option with HHN fans who appreciate the great theming and all the great features of this 1950s styled resort. The newly opened Aventura also occupies this category and what it lacks in onsite amenities it makes up for in the view and that spectacular bar right at the top of its tower.

Cabana Bay – Style 9, Price 9, Proximity 2, Features 8

Aventura – Style 9, Price 8, Proximity 3, Features 6

Others

Two more hotels are coming online soon with Surfside Inn and Suites, which will open on June 27, 2019, and Dockside Inn and Suites, which will open in 2020. Both will be located on the old Wet n’ Wild grounds making them the furthest away from the parks but they will be the most cost effective in price. If location is no issue but price is, there are also a number of International Drive hotels which are “within walking distance” and that offer shuttles to the parks. Prior to Universal building their own hotels, many of these in this area would be approved by Universal and sold through their main site for HHN guests. However due to demand, they still undertake this process and you can book Universal Partner Hotels for select HHN packages.

Score recap

Hard Rock – 36/40 *Winner*

Portofino – 32/40

Sapphire Falls – 32/40

Royal Pacific – 30/40

Cabana Bay – 28/40

Aventura – 26/40

With its close proximity to HHN, great availability and reasonable price we highly recommend Hard Rock Hotel for any stays during HHN. And if last year is anything to go by, some nights sold out ahead of time! So be quick and plan ahead if you want to stay here on a HHN night.

Packages for Hard Rock, Royal Pacific and Portofino currently include:

  • Stay in the heart of the horror and enjoy complimentary transportation and walking paths to Universal’s theme parks and Universal CityWalk.
  • Be among the first to scream with special access to a dedicated Halloween Horror Nights entry gate each event night until 8:00pm.
  • FREE Universal Express Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines at participating rides and attractions at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. That’s a value of $1295 per person, per day. Valid theme park admission required. Not valid at Universal’s Volcano Bay or for Halloween Horror Nights.
  • Priority seating at select restaurants throughout the resort.
  • Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel.
  • Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card

For more information on booking a HHN vacation package speak to your Travel Agent or click here to go to the official HHN site.

So there you have it, we highly recommend Hard Rock but where’s your hotel of choice for HHN? Let us know in the comments!

Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and BD Wong Reprise Their Roles for Universal Hollywood’s New Jurassic World Ride

Stars of the Jurassic World films Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and BD Wong reprise their roles as Owen Grady, Claire Dearing and Dr. Henry Wu, bringing their characters from the silver screen to Universal Studios Hollywood’s much anticipated mega attraction, “Jurassic World—The Ride,” opening this summer.

This marks the first time the cast will appear as their iconic characters outside of the JURASSIC WORLD films for a theme park attraction.  As part of original content created exclusively for the new ride, Owen, Claire and Dr. Wu will shed light on their interactions with the dinosaurs along with facts and information about the imposing prehistoric creatures that first roamed the earth more than 65 million years ago.

This spectacular new ride will feature an original storyline that will take guests on a breathtaking excursion through the theme park as depicted in Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s film, JURASSIC WORLD.  It will soar to new heights with the addition of iconic dinosaurs from the movie, including the colossal Indominus rex and the magnificent aquatic Mosasaurus in her natural habitat. 

For the first time, JURASSIC WORLD fans will have the chance to see this impressive creature and become immersed within her massive Aquarium Observatory.  Appearing to span over 60 feet in length and tipping the scales at over 30K pounds through stunning state-of-the-art visual effects, the Mosasaurus is a sight to behold as she moves just inches away from guests throughout her glass enclosure filled with the equivalent of 3.5 million gallons of water.

Universal Creative collaborated with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) to bring the Mosasaurus to life and to capture the realism of her underwater environment using a combination of spectacular visual effects and cutting-edge technologies, including the use of motion parallax, a technique that shifts the guest’s perspective of the Mosasaurus as she moves throughout the tank.

The team also employed a series of lighting enhancements allowing the aquarium to intuitively shift from day to night, as well as visual changes to the environment during inclement weather, thus creating a variety of visual scenarios guests can experience based on when they experience the ride.

“Jurassic World—The Ride” captures the essence of the blockbuster movie and comes to life in collaboration with the award-winning and inspired minds at Universal Creative, the Academy Award®-winning special-effects visionaries at Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucasfilm, Ltd., Universal Pictures and acclaimed filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Colin Trevorrow and Frank Marshall.

When “Jurassic World—The Ride” opens this summer, guests will be welcomed to a dramatically reimagined space reflective of the hit films.  A fresh entry statement, stonework landscaping, and a contemporary redesign of the iconic JURASSIC WORLD gates, illuminated with billowing flames, will create the framework for the all new aesthetics.

Once guests pass through the queue, they will board specially designed rafts that will navigate the lush environs of dense vegetation and traverse new areas besieged with towering dinosaurs meandering at just an arm’s length away.  Encounters with such docile creatures as the Stegosaurus and Parasaurolophus will quickly turn awry as predatory Velociraptors and Dilophosaurus begin to wreak havoc, turning guests from spectators to prey.  When the Tyrannosaurus rex begins to battle one of the attraction’s new ferocious dinosaurs, the rafts will spill down a treacherous 84-foot waterfall as the sole means of escape.

Located adjacent to the ride will be a new elaborately themed “Raptor Encounter” where Blue, the beloved Velociraptor from the JURASSIC WORLD franchise, will engage guests in daring face-to-face encounters.

In addition, a new interactive “Dino Play” area will incorporate educational components within an inspired space where children of all ages can explore and excavate giant dinosaur fossils.

A Stranger Things Experience is Coming to London this year!

Ever wanted to go to a Stranger Things themed event where the whole of Hawkins, Indiana is being meticulously reproduced?  Well we have the event for you!  By the creative minds that brought you Casino Royale, Dirty Dancing, Star Wars (and many others!), Secret Cinema is set to debut their latest offering later this year.

This will be the first time that Secret Cinema have produced an experience for a television series.

The production, which will transform a secret London location into the suburban town of Hawkins, Indiana and its supernatural shadow, The Upside Down, opens on 13 November 2019, running until the end of the year.

Supernatural drama Stranger Things is based around the pupils of Hawkins High School, who are drawn into a world of supernatural activity after a portal to an alternate dimension is accidentally opened by the nearby Hawkins National Laboratory.

Critically acclaimed, two series of the show are currently streaming on Netflix, with a third due to drop on 4 July 2019.

Set in the 1980s, Stranger Things is filled with nostalgia and references from blockbuster films from the era and this production promises to transport audiences back to the iconic period of pop culture.

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A collaboration with Netflix, the experience will introduce brand new storylines, characters and locations, as well as revisiting much-loved narratives and popular fan moments from the series. Drawing on over 20 hours of drama from seasons one to three, the immersive experience will take audiences on a journey, blurring live storylines into the world of Stranger Things.

Talking about the production, creator of Secret Cinema, Fabien Riggal, comments “Stranger Things is a magical and wonderful creation that takes the audience on a ride into a dreamlike ’80s wonderland. We are really excited to bring the format of Secret Cinema into the Duffer Brothers richly-created world. We believe passionately in bringing people together in a physical environment away from their screens and this is the perfect world in which to launch our TV strand. Be prepared to be relocated to Hawkins.”

Secret Cinema Presents Stranger Things will also be open to young adults, with matinee performances suitable for ages 15 and up taking place each Saturday from 13:30.

Tickets for Secret Cinema Presents Stranger Things will start at £49, plus fees, with matinee tickets available every Saturday from £35 plus fees. The experience will run from Wednesday until Sunday each week.

More info and get your tickets here.

This sounds so cool!  Do you live in the UK and will you be going?

 

Original House: Depths of Fear

Universal Orlando Resort has revealed Depths of Fear as the second original content haunted house coming to Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – the world’s premier Halloween event.

In an all-new original story created by the twisted minds of Universal’s Entertainment team, guests will be transported to a deep-sea mining company that has been infested by the parasitic “Mouthbrooders,” who spew their acidic flesh-eating eggs upon unsuspecting humans, turning them into crazed hosts. As the infected are driven to madness, guests will try to escape, but as pressure begins to build, implosion awaits – will they make it out alive or fall deep into their watery graves?

Story

The workers of a deep-sea mining company have found themselves in a dire situation. They’ve delved too deep and encountered a parasitic race of creatures that turn out to be deadly. Panic ensues as you find yourself encountering infected miners and acidic creatures. The pressure builds as the self-destruct sequence counts down to the inevitable implosion of the facility.

“Mouthbrooders”

As you venture further into the depths, you’ll encounter the creatures known only as the “Mouthbrooders.” Picture being trapped in a claustrophobic mining installation underwater with a countless number of these slithering monsters. Your worst nightmares will come to life as these fiends spew flesh-eating acidic eggs at human hosts, and you witness miners being driven mad by the infection.

On select nights from September 6 to November 2, the most terrifying names in horror will take over Universal Studios Florida, as the sun sets on days filled with thrills and the night awakens with a frightening chill for Halloween Horror Nights. Guests will face 10 all-new elaborately themed haunted houses and five scare zones as well as enjoy Universal Studios’ most exhilarating rides and attractions. Now through June 5, guests can take advantage of a limited time ticket offer and vacation package where they can get a second night free when they buy one night. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Are you excited for this original house?  Let us know in the comments!

Funko Releases New Universal Monsters Figures

Funko have announced that coming this year will be two series of original Funko ‘Mystery Minis’ based on the classic Universal Monsters.

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Fans will be able to add Frankenstein, Frankenstein holding a flower, The Mummy, The Invisible Man wrapped up, The Invisible Man, Wolfman, Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula,
Dracula holding a candle, The Creature, The Mole People, Phantom, Dracula and a variation of The Invisible Man with a rarity rating of between 1/6 to 1/72!

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Walgreens are also getting in on the fun by releasing a special Black and White version exclusive to their stores!

Pre-order NOW here.

Will you be adding these to your haunting collection?  Let us know in the comments!

Rumor: Full-time Stranger Things Attraction Coming?

Stranger Things made its haunted house debut last year at Halloween Horror Nights and with that a whole heap of attendance records were believed to have been smashed. So that’s why this recent posting caught our eye…

It was recently found online via the US Trademarks Office that the IP owners have filed their franchise for ‘amusement park services’.

It’s not uncommon for IP holders to register their brands for scores of different potential purposes, from dental products to advertising boards; you wanna be ready if someone with a case load of cash comes calling and wants your IP on their product!

But it is interesting that the term used would suggest something more than just a temporary haunted house. It was also interesting that last year it was this very house that reopened during the day. Was this to celebrate ‘Stranger Things Day’ or was it test to show interest and capability for a daytime attraction?

Thanks for the heads up from our buddies Alicia Stella and Scott Walker. For more rumors go listen to her latest episode of Orlando Park Stop!

So there you have it! This certainly is interesting! Would you like a daytime Stranger Things attraction? Let us know in the comments!

Rumor: Have we found a pattern to the HHN Announcements?

While waiting for the next Universal Orlando house announcement I may have stumbled on to a pattern….

“Stranger Things,” season 2 was announced on March 27th, 2019. The second announcement of “Nightingales: Blood Pit,” was announced sixteen days later on April 12th, 2019.  Seventeen days later, “Universal Monsters,” was announced as the third house. So, could the fourth house be announced eighteen days after the last? If this pattern holds then the next announcement will be this Friday May 17th, 2019.

If this pattern is accurate then here where the remaining announcements should come:

-Announcement 5 would be on Wednesday June 5th, 2019 exactly 19 days later (Same day buy one ticket get a ticket deal ends)
-Announcement 6 would be on Tuesday June 25, 2019 exactly 20 days later
-Announcement 7 would be on Tuesday July 16, 2019 exactly 21 days later
-Announcement 8 would be on Wednesday August, 7th 2019 exactly 22 days later
-Announcement 9 (final announcement) would be on Friday August 30th, 2019 exactly 23 days later

Finally,  August 30th is exactly one week before Halloween Horror Nights 2019 is set to begin in Universal Orlando. The event starts Friday September 6th, so this would give the marketing team one last change to hype up the event before it begins.

So, what do you think? Are we onto something? This is sure deep!!

Christopher Ripley & Shelby Denham Release New Haunting Collection of Tales

PRESS RELEASE: Released this week, award winning author Christopher Ripley and HHN fan artist and illustrator Shelby Denham have released a new book, Halloween Horror Stories.  A collection of ghoulish and terrifying tales that have been expertly curated to show the genesis of many horror ideas and how these have feed into the world’s greatest Halloween event.

Ripley has assembled some of the best pieces of old and new horror literature, with two stories being completely new and specifically written for this book.  Denham has taken the stories and completely nailed some classic horror illustrations with her unique and beautifully modern style.

The book is described as:

A selection of some of the scariest, weirdest and downright crazy horror writers have been collected together by award winning author Christopher Ripley to form an assortment of twisted tales that have inspired the greatest Halloween event on earth. An anthology put together with the sole purpose of exploring how the genesis of these stories began and where perhaps they are heading. A mixture of classic and new tales that will fill your cold nights with terror. The works have also been terrifyingly illustrated and captured by renowned horror artist Shelby Denham. So lock the door, start the fire and sit back as we share our horror filled tales with you…

Christopher Ripley said, “We had a lot of fun putting this book together, digging into the origins of some of the world’s greatest horror stories.  I even learned that Dickens could be petrifying and that some of these tales are nearly as old as the Bible!  It’s been a great adventure and we just absolutely adore Shelby’s work, as ever, she totally knocked it out the park with illustrating this book.”

The book also marks a first for author Ripley who debuts his first piece of fictional work, writing his own Sherlock Holmes story, he said, “Well Conan-Doyle is big shoes to fill and although my story is no where as a great as his classic works (not even in the same league!), I had a lot of fun in producing a brand new Sherlock Holmes story for the 21st Century!”

The book is released today (May 9th 2019) and is available via Amazon for US and UK readers only.

US Readers:

UK Readers:

A possible preview of the rumored graveyard house…

In recent weeks there have been loads of rumors of the yet unannounced houses coming for HHN29. Many of them probably true and many of probably not so true but one that keeps coming back is a house based within a supposed graveyard. So here at HHNU we thought we’d look into why a possible graveyard house might have some substance to it!

Photo courtesy of Horror Night Nightmares .com

It all dates back to 2017 and before we start a big thank you for the tip-off by our reader Eric. Eric, who is based in London, has had some dealings with Universal’s PR department in London. And for about 4 years now, Universal has done big marketing pushes for HHN in the U.K. which usually sees either a press preview, a media blitz or even a presentation by Universal to the various media outlets in London.

The one we should be concerned with is the summer push they did for HHN in the London of 2017. According to Eric, that once the media push had been finished in central London, a number of Universal staff, many for whom had flown in from the US, wanted to visit Highgate Cemetery in their own time.

So what is Highgate Cemetery and why does it attract millions of visits each year?  And why would Universal staffers want to visit it?

Highgate Cemetery is a place of burial in north London, England. There are approximately 170,000 people buried in around 53,000 graves across the Cemetery. It is notable both for some of the people buried there as well as for its de facto status as a nature reserve and how peculiar and interesting some of the many graves have been left. Then there was the police reports of a vampire… yep actual sightings were reported!

According to newspaper reports from the late 1960s and early 1970s, many people living around the Highgate area alleged that a vampire was stalking the cemetery. It caused a media frenzy with one group alleging they had caught the vampire within its coffin and had driven a wooden stake through its heart. There were also police reports of voodoo, satanism and even a live exorcism was performed in the grounds! Literally not making this up.  The events also inspired a movie, Dracula AD 1972 which was made by Hammer Studios and starred Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

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For more information you can go here to the wiki page for the Highgate Vampire.

To show that Universal did visit the grounds of this cemetery HHN’s own Mike Aiello shot a number of videos.  And again, thanks for heads up last week by our HHNU reader Eric.

 

 

 

As this was the summer of 2017 it would have likely been too late to add a Highgate Vampire house to the 2017 slate of houses but it would be perfect timing for its addition to the 2018 or 2019 lineup with a great original concept house based on this strange urban legend.

So there you have it. Are we onto something? Could this be the genesis of the idea for HHN29? Let us know your name thoughts in the comments!

Remember, these are just rumors and nothing is FACT until Universal officially announce the houses!  All we know for sure right now, is that HHN29 is going to be AWESOME!