Stephen King – An Untapped Goldmine

The rumor mill has officially started churning out possibilities for themes and haunts for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights 27. The loudest buzz going around is clearly the idea that we may finally get to see one of Stephen King’s seminal works given the HHN treatment in the form of a house based on The Shining. Granted, the house would most assuredly be based on the 1980 Stanley Kubrick film, which Stephen King has very openly condemned over the years, but we get what we can. For more on the news surrounding The Shining, check out our recent story.

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Two more Stephen King properties are also getting the cinematic treatment this year with a new adaptation of IT as well as the long-awaited film based on the fantasy western series The Dark Tower. Here at HHNU, we’ve yet to feel any rumblings in regards to the possibility of either an IT or Dark Tower attraction, although this writer wouldn’t be surprised if either of those two were the chosen King haunt for this year in place of The Shining. Halloween Horror Nights does love its timely movie cross-promotions (Dracula Untold or From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series, anyone?)

The very thought that we could have three uniquely different Stephen King properties possibly making their HHN debut this year leads me to ask, what other King works would make great Halloween Horror Nights attractions?

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The Mist

Get ready for fog machines galore! Not only is the original novella excellent, but Stephen King himself has praised the Frank Darabont-directed film, citing specifically his approval of the new ending, stating,

Frank wrote a new ending that I loved. It is the most shocking ending ever and there should be a law passed stating that anybody who reveals the last 5 minutes of this film should be hung from their neck until dead.

Ending aside, the rest of the story is littered with some great creatures, a tentacle monster, tons of atmosphere, some truly terrifying characters, and, of course, plenty of mist.

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The Stand

I can’t get into too much detail on this one as I’m currently only forty percent done reading this 1,600-page tome, but a story of a post-apocalyptic world following a massive-scale biological plague that wipes out 99% of the world’s population could lead to some interesting set pieces and scares. Diseased patients, corpse-littered streets, demolished buildings, military assaults on the infected, mass hysteria, all within the first 500 pages. I can only assume the remaining 1,100 ramps up the terror and could inspire some truly memorable frights at Halloween Horror Nights.

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Carrie

This is an interesting one because I don’t necessarily feel Carrie would make a great house so much as an excellent scare zone. Imagine walking through the streets during the 3rd act climax of the 1976 Brian De Palma film; a pretty faithful adaptation of the events as depicted in Stephen King’s first published novel. Overturned cars on fire, students screaming in terror and running scared through the streets asking passersby for help, and on an elevated stage is Carrie White herself in her prom dress, doused in blood, causing eruptions of fire and smoke with merely a look.

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Creepshow

Last year’s American Horror Story house proved that Halloween Horror Nights knows how to handle an anthology. The attraction was hugely popular with attendees and was one of my personal favorites of the event. A big reason for the house’s success was the decision to divide the haunt into three distinct sections, each based on a different season of the show. A house based on Creepshow, a horror anthology film written by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero (“Night of the Living” “Dawn of the Dead”) could be realized in a similar fashion. The movie is divided into five short stories ranging from tales of reanimated corpses, alien plants, a monster in a crate, roaches, and Leslie Nielson in a rare dramatic role as a rich psychopath. The shorts are bookended by the story of a little boy who is punished for reading horror comic books and haunted by a hooded ghostly figure known as The Creep. An Creepshow house practically writes itself. We have both an entrance and exit to the house in the form of the film’s prologue and epilogue, and there are five vastly different and unique sets of locations, creatures, and scares that could be brought to life by the team at Halloween Horror Nights, all while keeping a fun sense of camp and humor that’s present in the film and the original comic books it’s paying homage to.

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What other Stephen King projects would you like to see turned into a Halloween Horror Nights attraction? How about a photo opportunity with Christine the possessed Plymouth Fury or a Shawshank Redemption house where, like Andy Dufresne, you too can crawl through a river of—well, scares.

Trivia: Creepshow is an homage to the old EC horror comics of the 1950s like Tales from the Crypt, home of original HHN Icon The Crypt Keeper.

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Did Universal Just Secretly Announce A House for #HHN27!?

Did Universal Just Secretly Announce A House for #HHN27!?

Okay we admit, it is SUPER early to be talking HHN27 – especially as this year’s event hasn’t even finished yet!  But we have good reason, promise.  It seems Universal’s A&D department might have been playing a game with us HHN fans, a game that seems to be going back a long way!  Allow us to explain…

Halloween Horror Nights back when it started in the early 90s was an event that took a few months to organize.  Often, the crews who planned the event would look to start forming their ideas and designs around the late summer. Into the late 90s as the event grew in size it started to need far longer to plan, so 6 months was taken to get everything done.  Into the early 2000s and the event was planned from around 9 months ahead and in recent years the planning is anywhere from 12 months to 2 years – depending on the IP or technical ability to pull off the scares.

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Some IPs, such as The Exorcist for example, have been in negotiation and development for far longer (though the norm is 12 to 24 months).  This being said, A&D probably have 3 or 4 houses that are locked in and in development already for #HHN27.  Yes, these guys are the true undead as they never rest sleep!

So knowing how the event is planned – could A&D be teasing us with clues for the coming year inside the houses of this year?  If true, this could add a whole new level of excitement to the current slate of houses…

We have it from a variety of sources that Universal has an actual track record of hiding clues to the coming year’s houses inside the current year’s houses.  Clues have been hidden, where they can, in select houses pointing to the houses that would be coming for the following year.  So here’s a few of the past clues that we knew about (we’re sure there are many more):

  • In 2013’s Urban Legends: La Llorona there was a copy of the original Dracula novel placed on a shelf in the church scene, then in the following year of 2014 Universal presented Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood.
  • In 2014’s AVP: Alien vs. Predator located on one of the shelves in the scene with the first alien was a very Jason-esque looking hockey mask.  Skip forward to 2015 and Universal presented Freddy vs. Jason for the first time.
  • In 2015’s The Walking Dead house during the early scene within the house at the prison, there was a Sheriff’s hat placed at high level which for many, they expected this hat to belong to Rick Grimes (it was reasonably prominent within the scene).  However, on closer inspection the badge on the front was inscribed ‘Lightning Gulch’.  Skip forward to this year and Lightening Gulch returned for Ghost Town. [CONFIRMED FACT AS THIS IS CURRENTLY MENTIONED ON MOST BEHIND THE SCREAMS TOURS]

So these are just the clues that we have noted in previous years, we’re sure there are many more!  So this brings us onto this year…  Every year Universal places tonnes of Easter Eggs or cameos into the houses, it’s near impossible to find them all and indeed most of them are random or based on props at hand like Indiana Jones’ temple idol which has been in every house in the last 5 years or the bunny slippers in The Walking Dead that have been present for last 4 years – there’s scores of Easter Eggs!

So the ones we must be concerned about are the ones that are displayed within a reasonable location to see for the diehard fan and the ones that do not reference past or current houses (or any that reference non-horror related franchises, we’re looking at you Dr. Who’s Tardis!)  We also need to discount the amount of recycling of props and sets that Universal needs to do.  But right now there’s only one Easter Egg that stands out from the crowd…

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HHN Hollywood’s Krampus House

 

In the Krampus house towards the end of the house there’s a variety of model houses that are displayed within a number of snow globes.  This references the movie where the homes he has visited are displayed within a snow globe in his lair.  They houses are all made by the highly creative Ray Keim who is currently a consultant with Universal’s Art and Design Team.  Ray has worked on HHN for years and in his many years he has made a number of designs for house facades that you can download and make for yourself.  Click here to go to his site.  Literally most of the buildings inside these snow globes can be yours to make at home right now (including a few Disney ones too!).  Seriously, go check out his site, it’s awesome.

So which buildings are located in the snow globes?  They are:

  • Freddy’s house from Nightmare on Elm Street (seen in 2007 and 2015).
  • Halloween house (seen in 2014 and 2016)
  • Shadybrook Asylum (used a number of times)
  • The Skool House (2008)
  • Legendary Truth house (2010)
  • Caretaker’s house (2002 and 2003)
  • Boris Shuster’s Office (2008)
  • Psycho house (1993, 1994, 1999 and 2006)

There’s one more and this one has never been seen at Halloween Horror Nights before and that final building within one of the snow globes is…. The Amityville Horror. Could this franchise be coming to HHN27?  It surely stands out from the others placed within this room!

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Here’s a few reasons why this could be the case:

The franchise has a new sequel coming out in 2017 entitled Amityville: The Awakening which is being produced by Jason Blum who is the same guy that Universal worked with to create the past number of Purge and Insidious houses and scarezones on both coasts from last year and before.  He has also just worked with Universal on their latest horror offering Ouija: Origin of Evil which is currently being cross-promoted at HHN in Hollywood.  The snow globe can be seen below (photo taken on the tour before the photography ban was issued in week 2).

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And above all else, as Universal Orlando steamrolls into using more and more IPs at their event, they have never used this franchise for a single house, ever.  And for a franchise that has been going since 1979 and has 18 movies worth of materials to mine, it could be a safe bet that the franchise would sooner or later cross paths at HHN.

Whatever the answer, this sure brings a whole new dynamic to the event for the remaining nights!

So what do you think?  A cool fan theory or maybe something for #HHN27? Have you ever seen any past clues for future houses too?  We’d love to know on both!  So let us know in the comments…

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Speculating what’s to come

So far this year, we have brought you rumors regarding HHN26’s house line up backed by some amount of facts or hearsay. But we all know that HHN secrets are typically kept under wraps as tighltly as a new born child. What could be hiding under said wraps? We have two ideas, and some pretty solid reasons as to why they can be more than a possibility.

A Classic, Collecting Dust.

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Candyman: Most of us have seen it, but none of us have seen it fully realized as a haunted house. We know what you’re thinking; “Wow! Why haven’t I they thought about this before?!” and there are a few reasons why this movie has never received the haunted house treatment it so deserves, but we will spare you from those reasons here, for now. That’s enough material for a whole article.

But now that it’s 2016 and times have changed, this movie could possibly make a big comeback in Universal Studios Orlando, and here’s why:

The Walkthrough

First off, this movie presents a fantastic opportunity to create a unique walk through experience, full of crawl spaces and creepy corridors. Not to mention the fact that all of the walls of the interiors in the movie are covered in the wonderful graffiti artwork of urban artists. Much like the Purge haunted house did for HHN 25, it would make for a marvelous feast for the eyes during the experience. And hey, let’s be honest, who DOESN’T want to crawl through the infamous mouth of the Candyman’s lair as Virginia Madsen did?!?

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Sounds and smells

HHN houses have a track record for using particular smells and sounds to get under the guests skin and scare them on a psychological level. The Candyman has an interesting fixation with bees. Bees make an irritating buzzing noise that can easily get into your head and really bug you (PUNS!) Much like how Jason’s trademark “chhh chhh chh ha ha” sounds are used to make you feel as if he is hiding in every possible corner (which he is!), the sound of swarming bees could be used much for the same effect.

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Remember that scene in the movie where Helen finds herself having to go to the bathroom in the Candyman’s part of town and the bathroom was under disrepair, vandalized, and dirtier than a sewer? Well, anyone who has been lucky enough to see Islands of Fear’s “Pyshocoscarepy” or 2009’s “Saw” house will know exactly where I’m going with this one: the  infamous poo smell will definitely find a home in this house. It’s not for everyone, but it is definitely an effective scare tactic.

Revitalizing a Box Office Flop

HHN is no stranger to crafting fantastic haunted houses out of movies from their own studio that unfortunately didn’t do so well. These houses aren’t always great (we’re looking at you, Dracula: Untold!) but more often than not, these houses are a great representation of the movie and helps universal rekindle interest in the movie and boost Blu-Ray and DVD sales. So where are we going with this?

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Complete with a fearsome and frightening executioner, Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno was released by Universal Studios in September of 2015, not soon after HHN 25 opened it’s gates. It was a spectacular cannibal gorefest that only Eli Roth could bestow upon us (director of the Hostel franchise and Cabin Fever) Being that this film was produced under Universal’s banner and on their watch, they wouldn’t have to buy or fight for any rights to use the property.

This movie’s production level was huge, and the end result is nothing less than polished, but unfortunately didn’t make much money at the box office. Apparently, most people don’t want to watch people get brutally mutilated and eaten by cannibals. Go figure!

Frightening Imagery Galore in a Forrested Setting

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Given that this movie was about cannibals, it should be no surprise that it had a lot of body parts and even whole bodies on stakes, amongst other gruesome things most people would never want to see ever in their own lives. On top of this, the movie presented a large sense of isolation and helplessness as it was set in the middle of the vast Peruvian rainforest. We all know that no hope of escape makes any situation that much scarier.

The movie also had a sacrificial stone, much like the Mayans had, which was used generously to execute the captives. There was also an oven that the natives used to cook the chopped up bodies after their horrifying deaths.

The concept of a forrested haunted house, walking by dead bodies impaled onto sticks, all while being chased by a terrifying man in a loincloth painted black with a yellow face wanting to brutally mutilate you and feed you to his people sounds like loads of fun to us here at HHN Unofficial. That and the smell of burning flesh! Not to mention walking by a sacrificial stone while someone is getting chopped up, or perhaps decapitated on!

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Do you agree? Would you want to see either of these movies become a horrifying haunted house experience? Let us know!