Confirmed Rumor: The Walking Dead is Coming to Hollywood

As rumoured previously, a year-round The Walking Dead attraction is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood, to open this summer!

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Nothing beats a truly scary all-year-round maze, and Universal studios is trying to take proper advantage of this by creating a top notch walk-through maze that would blow the minds of visitors. One of the most popular ways to spend Halloween for Southern Californians is by visiting Halloween Horror Nights at Universal studios. Universal is therefore trying to merge visitor’s high expectations with a quality spooky experience.  The previous year-round house of Universal’s House of Horrors did grow stale, long before it was demolished.  It is hoped that the new attraction will be open year round and be “plused” just for HHN.

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Universal theme parks have long been renowned for their ability to aptly recreate scenes from movies, giving visitors a complete feeling as if they are within the movie. The inclusion of year round walk-through of ‘The Walking Dead’ is certain to captivate the hearts and minds of visitors and promises to be the perfect balance of fun and fright. Greg Nicotero (the show’s creator) summed it all up when he said “There are so many iconic moments that it is really difficult to pick and choose which ones”. The re-enactment of the show is sure to be a hit with both fans of the show and HHN.

The new rumored attraction is said to contain all new sets, landscapes, special effects, props, animatronics, staging, costumes and makeup and will be packed with real actors depicting survivors and walkers from the hit AMC show.  Both Nicotero and his team from his special effects company, KNB Efx, who manage the effects and makeup of the show have already designed every inch of the attraction.  They will also fly out in due course to manage all the finishing touches, to enable the attraction to mirror the show for every exacting horrific detail.

Universal Studios Hollywood president Larry Kurzweil said in a statement:

“We’re taking its intensity to the next level by collaborating with the show’s award-winning production team to create an authentic living representation of the series that can only be experienced at Universal Studios Hollywood.”

AMC was then quoted:

This summer, fans can venture into the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead at Universal Studios Hollywood in an all-new, year-round attraction.

Follow in the survivors’ footsteps for a fully immersive journey, using both animatronics and live performers — the next best thing to actually being on The Walking Dead.

The attraction’s landscapes, special effects, props, staging, costumes and makeup were all created in collaboration with the show’s award-winning production team, including executive producer and director Greg Nicotero.

In the meantime, don’t miss the next episode of The Walking Dead, Sunday at 9/8c on AMC, or watch full episodes on amc.com and the AMC App right now.

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Gone Ghostface?

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Hi, I’m Dan one of the new staff writers for HHNUnofficial.  I wanted to start off my new role by talking about a very contentious issue: the ‘Scream’ franchise and there lack of for last year.  The following report is my a mixture of hearsay, speculation, my own research and opinion.  So disclaimer out the way, let’s talk about ‘Scream’ and whether it’s coming back for HHN26….

Scream was removed at the last minute to HHN25, we all know that, but could it ever come back?

Universal’s Art and design Team were reminded of a similar problem that they had back in 2012.  They had spent all year cleaning out and preparing the old Hercules/Murder She Wrote soundstage to allow them the space to build a new house.  The building hadn’t been used for years and it needed a lot of work doing.  The work to build the new house was well into construction when suddenly a famous call from Hollywood HQ was placed, and within days the new Transformers ride was green lit, to go right in the place of this soundstage.  Within a month the whole building had been razed to the ground.  This led Universal with a problem, they needed another haunt location, the demands on the event to the masses was reaching an all time high.  They couldn’t begin the event with a house down.  They needed space to build a house and a subject matter that was quick and easy to design (i.e. no lengthy IP negotiations).

 

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The Purge Terror Tram at USH’s HHN 2015

They turned to a HHN staple of year’s past and one that needed little to no discussions, the classic Universal monsters.  The house would be called ‘Universal’s House of Horrors’.  It was rumored to have been designed and built in little over two months, which is exceedingly rapid compared to some houses.  The result was that Universal had another house to add to lineup, and okay it was a bit shaky (lets just say it was not the best!) but Universal’s Art and Design department learned a valuable lesson that year: ingenuity is the mother of invention.  Which is exactly what they did last year.  They had the sets for Scream built, all they needed to do was to fit another Universal owned property around what they had already built and boom – house done.  The idea was quickly set on incorporating The Purge into the house.  The green light was granted from Hollywood HQ, the designers moved in and made the sets look more distressed, new costumes were made (some were reused from last events where the Purge featured) and the house was ready.  Just like in 2012, they had moved swiftly to prevent the notion of losing a house for the event.

But will Universal ever double back and use the Scream franchise for HHN?  The chances that Halloween Horror Nights will ever vie to license Scream again are relatively slim, especially since Scream’s original creator, horror genius Wes Craven passed away in August last year. The maze which would have opened if there had been a compromise by Art & Design would most likely have been dissatisfying for both Dimension, Universal and HHN fans.  All that was left after the negotiations, were an uncut version of the original HHN25 commercial featuring Ghostface (still floating around the internet) and a suspiciously placed popcorn Jiffy Pop left on the cooker in the now re-themed “Purge” house.  And although old Ghostface has made plenty of unofficial appearances at the event in the 90s, the likelihood of him returning officially is slim to spectral in my opinion (see what I did there!).

You can read more on how the event is designed with all the behind the scenes stories here.

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Halloween Horror Nights Presents… Alfred Hitchcock??

There are a number of rumors swirling that this year we may get an Alfred Hitchcock maze at Halloween Horror Nights Orlando; this said, we thought we’d take a look at what elements from his back catalogue (and future productions!) could be used to fill any potential HHN houses…

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The ‘Psycho’ Franchise

Hitchcock literally gave birth to the chiller genre with ‘Psycho’ which would go on to inspire countless directors ever since. This heavy mixture of thriller and horror would spawn a franchise that still rumbles along to this day with NBC’s ‘Bates Motel’ series. Psycho with its iconic shower screen, horrific murders and macabre plot line is perfect Halloween Horror Nights fodder, and has in fact already at Universal Studios Florida, and had a full motel and Psycho house built in the area where KidZone is now placed. It was here in 1993 and 1994 that the first Psycho mazes were built, read all about it here. There were also further ‘Psycho’ mazes in Orlando for 1999 and 2006.

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The Psycho movies and TV shows would all be perfectly placed within any potential HHN house. Previously, the Psycho mazes would be more dream like with guests walking into the mind of Norman Bates (queue larger person-sized knives and reams of shower curtains), whereas with the sequels, remake and now TV series they could use other less well known moments to create great scares, such as: The Phone Box murder from the Anthony Perkins directed ‘Psycho III’ or the Pot Farm shoot-out from ‘Bates Motel’; there are a great number of possibilities!

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The Birds

What do you mean you haven’t seen ‘The Birds’? Go now and watch on Netflix. We’ll all wait here until you come back.   ….   Okay you’re back – what do you reckon? Yep, that would be a technically difficult house to pull-off but what a house that would be! Every house has a certain SIF factor. SIF is an official HHN term used by the designers of the houses to design the amount of Stuff In Face that can be deployed on the public. A piece of string here or a strap of leather there, the amount is carefully considered to ensure enough is made to make guests jump but not too much to make it become a burden. So what with poor Tippi Hedren having to literally pull birds off her face – how can they add this factor into the house? Bags of feathers maybe? Side note: Tippi is a regular with her family to HHN Orlando. So the likelihood of this movie being used is high. The movie was also used notably (along with Psycho) in the Alfred Hitchcock attraction that was located in Orlando from park opening to 2003 when it was replaced by Shrek. Darn you Shrek…!

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The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

The recently restored edition of this silent black and white movie would be a great addition for any potential house. Don’t believe me? Three words: Jack the Ripper. This 1927 movie was the first movie of Hitch’s to use what he had learnt from working in the expressionistic German movie business to great effect. Foggy, eerie streets, an enigmatic leading actor with starry eyes across a backdrop of panic in the streets. Think cobbled streets, back alleys, fog, fog, and more fog with a knife-welding maniac running around and there you have it. HHN has never had a sole Ripper house before, however one of the Body Collectors houses did feature a sequence implying that they were in fact responsible for Jack’s ‘work’. This movie utilized Hitch’s first attempt at building cinematic suspense, so just think of the anxiety that could be created in the queue waiting for this sequence!

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Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Hitch didn’t just make movies, he was a living, breathing franchise of his own making. His company, Shamley Productions, put-out books, magazines, comics, merchandise and even TV shows – some of which he even directed. Running originally from 1955 to 1965 and then syndicated ever since (there was also an updated version in the 1980s), Hitch would direct several of the most famous episodes, including one very familiar installment called ‘Back for Christmas’. Sound familiar? Ahem, ‘Home for the Holidays’ anyone? This was where the HHN 2007’s ‘PsychoScareapy: Home for the Holidays’ name was inspired from. The tale was that of a murder of a wife and the husband’s eventual comeuppance around the holidays. Factor in mad men on the loose, burglaries gone wrong, suicides, narrative twists and even more murders and you get the gist of the series. All of which were topped and tailed by the good man himself giving his usual sardonic monologues (think Crypt Keeper!) and there you have every episode. I’m sure there are enough sequences that HHN Orlando could mine to provide some classic scares. Fun fact: To keep costs to a minimum, Hitch used his TV crew from this show to make the original ‘Psycho’, this gave it a more real-life and therefore terrifying feel.

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Rear Window & Vertigo 

Not horror movies by any stretch but good movies that could be used for great affect. Rear Window with its voyeur windows and flashing camera bulbs (think flashes of light, ala HHN 2008’s Dead Exposure) to Vertigo with its dead imagery and crashing sense of heights (think HHN 2012’s Gothic). Pepper in the fact that the previous Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies attraction featured both of these movies as final set pieces to explore and you get the drift. A fear of heights, death imagery and flashing lights could all be stretched to feature within a proposed house.

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Dial M for Murder

A late 1950s movie that starred Grace Kelly in the title role that featured a healthy dose of murder and blackmail, all wrapped up in a heap of his trademark packed-to-the-rafters suspense – not unlike many of his other movies, so why add this? It marked Hitch’s first and only attempt to make a 3D movie (yes they had them in those days!). So what if, the house was done in 3D? This would allow HHN’s creators to build a house that warps our minds and makes us nauseous, creeping from sequence to sequence; it’s just a thought, it could even start scary and then end in a comedic fashion, just like the TV show. So what did Hitch think of 3D technology? “It’s a nine-day wonder, and I came in on the ninth day.” Guess he didn’t think much on it then…

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The Man Who Knew Too Much

Did you know he made the same movie twice? Yep, ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ first came out in 1934 and then again remade in 1956 with James Stewart and Doris Day. The second of which was made in color and features a majestically fine finale where the suspense is ramped up to factor 12 in a prolonged bout of sniper fire at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The theater location could be used with classical music and gunfire delivered in a hypnotic scene with disorientating edges.

At the end of the day, be there a coming Hitchcock house or not, what will be, will be, que sera sera… hintity hint hint here via Dr Jimmy

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Conclusion

Universal actually purchased Shamley Productions at the end of Hitch’s career. A move that he actually facilitated to ensure his franchise of movies would be in good hands. So the rights to use his movies and any features of them are all totally up to Universal. No third party agreements or IP contracts, Hitch and his masterful movies are ready to be deployed to HHN now…

 

 

 

HHN’s Crypt Keeper

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Good evening boils and ghouls, how much do you know about HHN Orlando’s first icon? Well anyone who has even the mildest interest in horror movies knows immediately who The Crypt Keeper is. Most famous for his HBO show Tales From The Crypt which aired from 1989 through 1996 (and later on Fox). HBO ran 93 episodes and most of the episodes were based on the original comic book series from the 1950’s. Because Tales From The Crypt aired on a premium channel (HBO) they were not held to the censorship rules of the networks. This gave HBO the freedom to show sexually suggestive scenes as well as profanity, gore and nudity. Once the show began to air on syndication and basic cable channels it was edited to remove that content so it could be aired.

The Crypt Keeper was a freaky looking ghoul that appeared to open and introduce the show and end the show with wise-cracking ghoulish themed jokes. One of his trademark wisecracks was addressing the audience and “boils and ghouls”. As mentioned, HBO did not invent the character. In actuality the Crypt Keeper was around for decades before the HBO show was aired.

The Crypt Keeper got his start in the 1950’s with the horror comic series titled, Tales From The Crypt produced by EC comics. Though it is the same character, he looked a lot different in those days. On the HBO series he was a decayed skin and bones character. In the comic The Crypt Keeper was an evil looking old man with wild eyes, long white hair and a smile that could send chills down your spine. He was often pictured holding the skeleton of some dearly departed soul and he generally seemed happy to do so.

In 1972 there was a movie version starring Joan Collins and Peter Cushing (and a few other folks). The 1989 Tales From The Crypt gave rise to a couple of feature films that aired in the mid-1990’s called Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood.

The success of the Tales From The Crypt rebirth spawned an animated series aimed to entertain children which was produced by Nelvana and aired on ABC on Saturday mornings. The content of the shows were edited and rewritten in a child friendly format. Nelvana hired a child psychologist to review the cartoon before it was released. The content restrictions were stricter at that time. Though the puppet was considered for the show, it was deemed too scary and a gentler Crypt Keeper was introduced (only for the cartoon version).

 

Halloween Horror Nights V

In 1995, Universal Studios licensed the character “The Crypt Keeper” which became the face of Halloween Horror Nights V (subtitled Curse Of The Crypt Keeper). Halloween Horror Nights V was the fifth annual event of that name held in Orlando Florida at Universal Studios. The idea of using and event icon,”The Cryptkeeper” (their spelling) from a popular horror show was new and became an instant success. It was well understood that anything associated with The Crypt Keeper meant horror. The character would flash across the screen in their advertising sending people racing to the event. The on screen Crypt Keeper is a puppet operated by master puppeteer, Van Snowden. The voice of The Crypt Keeper is the voice of actor Johnny Kassir.

Halloween Horror Nights V featured three mazes and two scare-zones complete with enough terror to chill the most hardened heart. In October of 1995 Halloween Horror Nights V produced three shows a night and ran for 12 nights. No matter which show one attended, the lines would be long and the customers were not disappointed.

 

The Crypt Keeper Bio

In the episode titled “Lower Berth” the birth of The Crypt Keeper was explained. It seems his father was Enoch, a two-faced sideshow freak. His mother was a 4,000 year old Mummy.

 

Funny Trivia

The final episode entitled “Oils well that ends well” The Crypt Keeper makes reference to one of the actors that he found especially talented. He was actually referring to Johnny Kassir, which is the same Johnny Kassir that is the voice of The Crypt Keeper.

He has made his way back to Orlando’s HHN on numerous occasions starring in many anniversary scarezones.  Did you ever manage to get your photo with him?

 

Conclusion

There have been many shows that tried to follow on the apron strings of Tales From The Crypt. Some had minor success, but nothing close to the original. There have been radio shows which released a series of shows with the title and sounds of the original, but it was short lived. DVD’s were released many of which were purchased by collectors. Some of the DVD’s feature the original Crypt Keeper though some actually feature a different Crypt Keeper.

The Crypt Keeper was a global success and it was aired around the world. In Germany a box set of DVD’s went on sale beginning with season one in 2010. Tales From The Crypt has been nominated for (and the winner of) various awards from all aspects of the film industry. The final series of the show was moved to Britain and revolved around British actors.

 

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Coming Soon…

There is a new ‘Tales from the Crypt’ reboot currently being planned by thriller/horror aficionado M. Night Shyamalan, but supposedly the Keeper we know will not be present. Shyamalan said on Twitter, “I’d never make Tales without the CK! Will be a new take on him as the puppet is property of HBO. Promise he’ll be cool and dark!” But knowing this director, this could just be a double-bluff; a type of twist that the old Crypt Keeper himself would be very proud of.

Do you remember the glamorous ghoul – the master of scareamonies and would you be excited for this new series?  And could it one day make its way back to HHN?

Penn and Teller for #HHN26?

Could Penn & Teller be coming back for #HHN26?

*HHN RUMOR ALERT*

There are a number of rumors swirling at the moment pointing to a possible return of Penn and Teller. Their last successful appearance was in 2012’s ‘Penn & Teller: New(kd) Las Vegas 3D’ house. If true, this would be a fantastic addition for #HHN26 and would quietly qualm grumbles from many fans about the likely return of The Walking Dead. So based on this rumor, we thought we’d have a look at the duo’s history with the event, and just why they LOVE appearing at and attending Halloween Horror Nights.

 

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Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando

Did you know they used to be actual HHN Icons? Well, for the uninitiated, a HHN Icon is defined as a character or characters who appear to headline the event; notably icons include Jack, The Caretaker, The Usher and many more, but not many people know that the magical duo were fully fledged icons of HHN2 in 1992 for Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. This is where their passion for HHN supposedly began…

The event in 1992 was reestablished after the 1986 event, following years of expansion at the park. The event ran on select nights including: October 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 and 31. Admission was just $27. The event was heavily marketed to teens and young adults with the popular duo appearing on all marketing. It featured re-themed rides and attractions including the ever-popular Terror Tram, The Tower of Torture, Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue, ET.‘s Death Globe, The Maze of Maniacs. The Dungeon of Terror, The Carnival of Carnage and the Mutation Pit. The duo also performed a magic show every night of the event. The Cryptkeeper who is widely heralded as the first HHN icon did not appear until 1995, so technically it could be argued that Penn and Teller were the first HHN icons… (We’ll let the fans argue that one out)

Between their shows and marketing of Hollywood’s 1992 event and their appearance 20 years later in Orlando, they have been said to regularly attend the event in Hollywood and on occasion, in Orlando too.

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Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando

In 2012 it was announced that the duo would be designing and even starring in their own house in Orlando for HHN 22, it was described as: “World-renowned magicians Penn & Teller have accidentally nuked Las Vegas, but don’t worry, it’s nothing a fresh coat of paint and a truckload of BS can’t fix! Come on down to New Vegas, where all that glitters isn’t gold, and in fact probably has fatal levels of radioactivity.” Penn Jillette said at the time, “Universal Horror Nights can scare the living Elvis out of you, and me & Teller, well, we’ve been known to take things a bit too far. Now we’re working together on showing you what it would be like to live in a post-nuclear explosion Sin City. C’mon by, but remember, you’re not playing with children here.”

The house was very popular that year and featured a whole cacophony of creepy Vegas monsters that mixed comedy and horror to amazing proportions. It had zombie go-go dancers, gamblers, roulette wheels, strippers, a bloated Elvis and then after all that it featured a true HHN original masterstroke…

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That’s right, the duo actually appeared on select nights within the house! Many thought it was too good to be true to believe that their magical idols would appear in the house, but they did and it was the surprise of the night for many HHN fans. Penn even remarked at the time, “I love doing this, I’d do this again in a heart beat.”

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Photo courtesy of bestofvegas.com

He said at the time via Huffington Post, “I initially thought that the real reason Universal was asking to meet with us was because they wanted us to do a show at the park. Which — to be blunt — wasn’t really something that I was interested in doing. But as soon as they said that they wanted to build a Penn & Teller-themed maze, what was supposed to have been a one hour-long lunch quickly became a three hour-long lunch, as we all began chiming in with ideas and gags we could pull inside of that haunted house and maze.” The rest as they say is history.

They were also busy during this period making themselves some of the most successful and popular magic acts in the world. Earning circa 14 Emmy Award nominations for their series, “Penn & Teller: BS!” They also wrote 3 New York Times best-selling books and had two successful Broadway show runs. They’ve both also recently appeared on many television shows, including ‘Celebrity Apprentice’, ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and ‘Top Chef’; and they were both honored to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013. Combined with international TV spots and having one of the longest running Vegas Strip shows, why on earth wouldn’t Universal want these two wildly successful entertainers back for 2016?

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Photo captured on February 3rd 2016

So why is the rumor swirling at the moment? Two fold, it appears that their Vegas Show schedule for September and October has not been updated and many have enquired with the Rio as to their autumn availability with the Rio supposedly stating that the show will be “in reduced numbers” during these two months – which is exactly how it was in 2012. The next hint that kick started the rumors is the pair’s apparent travelling to Orlando this month for quote “business meetings”. They announced the exact same level of subterfuge in February 2012 when they were holding “business meetings” to design their 2012 house with Universal (see above’s lunch meetings bit).

So could it all be a giant coincidence or could the ‘Masters of Misdirection’ actually be returning to their favorite Halloween event? Let us know your thoughts and whether you’d like to see Penn and Teller back below…

The (persistent) Walking Dead

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The Walking Dead has quickly become the HHN equivalent of Justin Bieber, Vegemite, Marmite, Mondays, knuckle clicking and bubble wrap – when it comes to TWD at HHN you either LOVE it or HATE it.  So let’s look at where we started with the TWD and whether it will be back for Orlando (#HHN26) or Hollywood this year…

The Walking Dead premiered in the US on October 31, 2010, on the cable television channel AMC and then internationally on November 2010 on Fox International Channels. AMC has renewed the series each year because of its consistently increasing Nielsen ratings, which have been unprecedentedly high for a cable series, including averaging the most 18 to 49 year-old viewers of any cable or broadcast television series during its fourth and fifth seasons. The sixth season premiered on October 11, 2015. A 16-episode seventh season will debut in October 2016. An AMC companion series, Fear the Walking Dead debuted on August 23, 2015.

The current viewing figures show that year-on-year the show has been attracting greater and greater audience figures:

Season 1  2010  5.2m
Season 2  2011  6.9m
Season 3  2012  10.4m
Season 4  2013  13.3m
Season 5  2014  14.4m
Season 6  2015  14.6m

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The show started with HHN in both Orlando and Hollywood in 2012.  Both events had the same house named ‘The Walking Dead: Dead Inside’, and although the houses were not entirely the same, they also committed their famous ‘Terror Tram’ to the series along with their whole marketing campaign too.  Orlando’s house was located in the now defunct Disaster Extended queue which made for a pithy house with fast pacing, whereas the Hollywood maze was lengthy and had exceedingly high makeup standards throughout.

On both coasts the herald of the zombie franchise was well received, so-much-so that the houses returned again for 2013.  Orlando received ‘The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven’ which told the tale of the third season whereas Hollywood done a repeat of using the franchise within the Terror Tram and throughout all their marketing.  No real great changes other than the fact the Orlando house was pushed undercover in the Parade Tent.

2014’s event swept in with news that once again TWD would be coming back to HHN, which was met with a few grumbles from the diehard fans.  Grumbles that were met by priming the largest house ever built for Orlando’s HHN.  Both events following the pattern of the two previous years (house, house, tram, marketing), the two studios repeated what had been done with their new house, ‘The Walking Dead: End Of The Line’.  For which we all felt MUST be the end of the line by now…

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But we were all wrong, the franchise returned for 2015. Orlando received ‘The Walking Dead: The Living and The Dead’ and Hollywood received ‘The Walking Dead: Wolves Not Far’, yet The Purge took over residence in the Terror Tram and the marketing was cooled down a little for TWD in Hollywood.  Despite this watering down of the franchise at the event, the houses have been consistently excellent, and if you don’t believe me I will be spelling out why in the new edition of the unofficial guide to HHN.

So that brings us to 2016 and will the popular brain eating zombies be returning for a fourth outing?  Well, we asked our the HHN fan community via our various social media channels and the answer was overwhelming clear.  We had hundreds and hundreds of responses and the people of HHN say, “we don’t mind”.  The Walking Dead coming back will not affect the vast majority of fans from attending the event.  Here’s the results:

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52% of people didn’t mind it returning as it won’t affect their decision to attend, 31% said the decision to bring it back would make them angry and a much lesser contingent of 17% said ‘awesome please bring it back’ (thank you to the hundreds of peeps that voted by the way).  So technically, 69% of voters were okay about it returning.  So if it does return what can we expect?

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Season 5 was done in 2015 with both coasts attempting to recreate the various iconic scenes from the season; some scenes were undertaken to perfection with others delivered well but unfortunately missing the mark.  This means that unless something radical occurs, the houses of 2016 (if it returns) will be based on season 6.  Season 6 has so far contained raids, herds, plenty of flashbacks, lots of wolves, and loads of action and the season doesn’t even finish airing until April.  All of which could be easily be portrayed by the creative geniuses behind HHN.  But do they dare bring it back?

Well yes probably. Greg Nicotero, executive producer and special effects makeup supervisor for The Walking Dead recently said:

“I couldn’t be more delighted to continue and expand ‘The Walking Dead’ universe with Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando than by having fans experience some of the most harrowing and suspenseful moments of our show.”

The Walking Dead and HHN are more popular now than ever before.  The Walking Dead is a worldwide phenomenon right now, and it is no where more popular than with the Georgia neighboring Floridians, as the show is only filmed up the road in Senoia, Georgia. Cast and crew regularly attend the event, the critics keep giving it a favored rating (8.6 on IMDB currently!), the audience figures are continuing to grow, theres even a supposed ride in development and a vast array of TWD merchandise is available which appears to be more popular than ever.  All of which pointing to the fact that the franchise will be returning.

Neither coast have spelled out which houses we will be enjoying (expect announcements in May or June at the earliest).  So despite the larger segment of fans complaining of the annual TWD rehash, there is a larger portion who would welcome the house back with open arms.  Though there is one slight problem.  Hollywood has always had space issues, and has in the past had to build temporary buildings dotted all over their estate just to provide the six houses they did in 2015.

Whereas Orlando which was haunt space plentiful in 2015 is about to enter a huge rebuilding program where a number of the former house locations are now no longer with us.  In 2015 there was record 9 houses offered, so will Orlando be able to provide as many houses again, and if not with space a premium, can it afford to bring back a house like TWD?  Especially if bringing it back will knock another unused before IP or original house off from the lineup.

My opinion: It’ll be back.  In the old days, people moaned about Bill and Ted coming back every year, but they soon learned to embrace the duo who are now HHN legends.  Will this decision make people happy?  Some won’t be.  Others won’t mind and many will love the return.  Others, who aren’t fans of HHN, will probably see the cross-marketing and attend the event never even knowing that TWD had been at HHN before.  Whatever the decision, I like the over half of people surveyed, will still be coming and we simply won’t mind.

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Well I will mind actually, can Orlando finally spruce up this prop – its been seen every single year!!!

So would you be happy for the return of this popular franchise?  Let us know…

Krampus is Coming?

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The two above tweets were respectively tweeted out within 24 minutes of each other. Mike Aiello who usually mans the Orlando account (at the top) posted this cryptic message that many have speculated is a house that has been agreed by Hollywood, but will be at both events.

Since the early 2010s there has been a great effort by both coats to work together in sharing IPs (Intellectual Properties). The reason for doing this is the shear fact that obtaining these permissions to use third-party properties for their event is a long and costly experience (just ask anyone who dealt with JK Rowling on the Wizarding World at Islands of Adventure or anyone from Disney after they lost the deal!).

It was seen prior to 2010 that both coasts were actively going after different properties and at times there was probably a lot of overlapping. So the decision was made further up the managerial chain at Universal HQ to bring both coasts together to share time and costs on obtaining these permissions. Since this new unification has occurred, there has been many properties shared on both coasts for the same event years, these have included: Both coasts sharing the prequel version of ‘The Thing’ in 2011, Silent Hill and Alice Cooper in 2012, The Evil Dead remake and the first The Walking Dead house in 2013, Dracula Untold in 2014, Insidious in 2015 with Aliens Vs Predator, Halloween and other The Walking Dead houses on other alternate years (or every year in the case of TWD!).  Have houses that are located on both coasts allows for join marketing for both events and allows the filmmakers of these films get their message out with this cross-promotion.

But this spirit of collaboration isn’t entirely new, as Orlando created properties such as Jack the Clown and co, plus New Line Cinema’s Big 3 (Freddy, Jason and Leatherface) have also been shared amongst both coasts prior to this new formal agreement coming into play.

So back to our tweets, if this means both coasts are again sharing a property, what could it be?  Well the answer can be pointed to by looking at John Murdy’s tweets (from @horrornights), where he is a little more elaborate with what he is up to than the Orlando tweets, though just as cryptic!

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The maze/house that is apparently being shared is Maze #2, so far on Twitter Murdy has dropped the following clues about this house:

His first tweet said:

“As part of my prep for maze #2, i’m listening to lots of old pop songs from the 50s and 60s. They all have the same word in the title…hmm?”

His second:

“Maze #2 now exists in “post it note” form on the wall of my office. Now I have to write it! The facade alone took 10 pages to describe!”

Third:

“Deep into writing the treatment for maze #2, which feels more and more like an original maze (even though it’s not). Hmmm…”

Fourth:

“About half way through the treatment for maze #2. The opening line of dialog/voice over for this maze is a strange secret ode to The Smiths.”

Other tweet:

“Previously we learned that the letters “Q” “Z” and “B” do not appear anywhere in this year’s maze slate…the letter “P” does appear…once!”

Final:

“Have started writing the treatment for maze #2 (two scenes in, 29 pages so far). Also formally secured one of the properties we were chasing”

So those are the clues, but which property do they point to?  Well we think we have the answer. It must be 2015’s Krampus movie. Here’s why:

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“As part of my prep for maze #2, i’m listening to lots of old pop songs from the 50s and 60s. They all have the same word in the title…hmm?”

Could this word be Christmas? It’s very easy to search iTunes for Christmas songs, as so many of them have the word Christmas in the title. Currently Spotify have an actual 50s and 60s playlist ready to go that has 26 songs ready to listen. Murdy has said on various outlets before that he uses said music streaming service, so it would not be a stretch to think it could be this very playlist. Also, with the likes of the Rat Pack, Andy Williams, Perry Como and others, the 50s/60s was a golden era for Christmas songs. Andy William’s ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ even appears in the official trailer, link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6cVyoMH4QE

“Maze #2 now exists in “post it note” form on the wall of my office. Now I have to write it! The facade alone took 10 pages to describe!”

Could the façade be the family’s home covered in snow with the Krampus and his sleigh a top. If so, it would take some describing! Imagine the Bodycollector’s house from Orlando last year, all that snow and detail it could easily fill 10 pages of blurb.

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“Deep into writing the treatment for maze #2, which feels more and more like an original maze (even though it’s not). Hmmm…”

It wouldn’t be Krampus’ first appearance in Hollywood. He appeared last year and the year before in the scarezones ‘Dark Christmas’. Whether these were official or unofficial appearances are not clear, though I would imagine the latter to be true for 2014 and the former to be true for 2015. Various news outlets went with the fact that the movie was hotly anticipated in 2015, so for it to be official last year is not a massive stretch.

“About half way through the treatment for maze #2. The opening line of dialog/voice over for this maze is a strange secret ode to The Smiths.”

I’m not a Smiths fan! Slightly, by a few years, before my time, however I can say that Krampus does need a narrator (like all good Christmas stories!), so to have an opening narrator for the maze would fit with the theme. The Smiths however, have done many songs that could lend themselves to horror, though I’m not enough of a fan to fathom the connection (if any Smith fans out there – please write to me!). The Smith’s albums names are very interesting, they include: Meat Is Murder (1985), The Queen Is Dead (1986) and Strangeways, Here We Come (1987) and The Smiths (1984), the latter of which has song titles that include: “You’ve Got Everything Now”, “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” and “Suffer Little Children” – could these phrases have made their way into his treatment enough to make him think of The Smiths; especially that last track!

“Previously we learned that the letters “Q” “Z” and “B” do not appear anywhere in this year’s maze slate…the letter “P” does appear…once!”

Krampus does not have a Q, Z or B but does have a P!

“Have started writing the treatment for maze #2 (two scenes in, 29 pages so far). Also formally secured one of the properties we were chasing”

This doesn’t sound much but it appears to show the detail of what the house would have, hence the length. As with Christmas houses of HHN past such as ‘PsychoScareapy: Home for the Holidays’, ‘H.R. Bloodengutz Presents Holidays of Horror’ or as previously mentioned, ‘Body Collectors: Recollections’ – these houses were packed with details! So it stands to reason that if a Krampus house was being developed it would be lengthy on detail.

And finally, in our 2015 book, we spill the beans on the Legendary Pictures deal that Universal struck a few years ago to actively cross promote their properties and bring their creations to life in other mediums, not just movies, but in online content, games, and yes, Halloween Horror Nights. So guess what? Krampus was made by Legendary! So there is already a deal in place. Murdy mentioned early on that Maze 2 was already locked in, so it would stand to reason that this house was already secured due to these previous arrangements.

So there you have it guys and ghouls, our first proper investigative and speculative suggestion on what we believe will be one of the houses for #HHN26. Do you agree? Would you like to see Krampus for HHN? Let us know below or via our social media channels, we’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, our 2015 book is still available at all good book stores and via this link to Amazon.

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All pictures copyright Universal Studios and Legendary Pictures, respectively.