Halloween feels like it just ended. Some may be able to still smell the fog. Planning, however, is well underway for next year’s Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando. Plans that could include some very odd tastes, some familiar faces and some new sounds. What does this all mean? We take a look at guest surveys that went out earlier today to some of the guests that attended the event.
Universal Orlando is one of the best parks, in terms of giving their guests what they really want. They listen intently to what the guests say about the different events, and attractions that come through the parks. Nowhere do they listen more than at Halloween Horror Nights. The staff at Universal is out in the parks, and at the gates asking guests what they thought of the event, and how they could do better. While it may not be what the FANS like, it’s what the guests that go to the park like.
When the event is over, they occasionally send out surveys. It’s not uncommon to get surveys asking about the event, what they liked, and about different aspects for coming years. Today, they sent out a doozey.
We were sent screenshots of the survey, which shows some very interesting properties as well as some very unique ideas. First thing off the bat we get is the mention of every single original Icon ever used. We already know that the original Icon that Universal created, Jack the Clown, would be back, but we still have no idea in what capacity. Will he be Icon, will he be in a house, a show, just on a T-shirt? We have no clue. However, the fact that they are looking at the other icons as well tells us that we can probably expect to see a big reunion of sorts. They did this first in 2006 for the “Sweet 16” and brought Horror Home to Universal Studios after several years at Islands of Adventure. In 2010 they reunited them again, pretty much as slaves to FEAR. For 2015, we are predicting that the icons will go wild. Unbridled by FEAR, and back in town to absolutely kill the audience.
Let’s talk shows. Universal Orlando is facing an ever growing problem-they are just too damn popular! Crowds jam the haunted houses for hours, and the streets get very crowded with scare zones. So how do they buffer that? With the shows.
- Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure: This year the event had Bill and Ted, as well as Rocky Horror Picture Show. Bill and Ted faced some criticism in Hollywood in 2013, and didn’t even happen in 2014 (mostly because of construction). Could Bill and Ted be done for in Orlando as well? We really hope not! It’s just not Halloween without Bill and Ted.
- Rocky Horror Picture Show Tribute:Rocky Horror, on the other hand. The show did really well, but it’s just not the same seeing it in a theme park as it is in a theater where everyone is free to be half naked and shout obscenities at the top of their lungs. The tribute is great for showcasing the music and the performers, but it misses the true spirit of the show. Maybe it could go?
- Horror Themed Rock Band-This could be a very fun one. The rumor has been going around for about four years now that Gothic Horror band Midnight Syndicate was coming to Universal for HHN. They did a great show this past year with Cedar Point for their Halloweekends. Could this be the Horror Rock Band, or could there be some bigger names? Honestly a band would be great, but if you need something with a show, other than just music. Universal certainly has the space for it with the huge Music Plaza Stage.
- Penn and Teller Style Magic Show: Magic and Halloween, for some reason, tend to go hand in hand. Penn and Teller are amazing, and while the price tag on this would be huge (they get big money in Vegas), it would really pack in the crowd. Universal had some really great success with Brian Brushwood, and could continue with him, or some other great acts.
- Circus Style Freak Show/American Horror Story-Yes. With the success of American Horror Story, it’s a good bet that we will see this stuff happen again. They tried this in 2007 with a freak show, and it was great, but they can do it again and gorier
- Horror Parade-This was done a few times, and every time it was amazing. Imagine Mardi Gras, only all horror. With the crowd levels, it could only happen once a night, but what a blast it is. Of course, you’d sacrifice most of your scare zones, with only a handful being able to happen in the back of the park. This is another blast from the past we’d love to see
Houses and streets are all mixed up here. Universal keeps it that way on purpose. There are a ton of great properties listed. Let’s go down the list and see what could happen, or what we would like to see happen.
- The Walking Dead-It’s been a huge success for the past three years, and the show is clearly not going anywhere. The team has learned so much with the property as well, and this year’s house was the best to date. Prediction? We’re going to see more Walking Dead next year. We’ll see a house, and possibly a scare zone to go with it. No guessing here…at this point, it’s pretty much a forgone conclusion.
- Nightmare on Elm Street/Texas Chainsaw Massacre-These two properties have been done before. They’ve been done in both Orlando, and in Hollywood. Nightmare on Elm Street had a very good house, Texas Chainsaw had an okay house. Could we see them again? With the success of Michael Myers, it’s all but a sure bet that one (if not both) will be back. It’s just a matter of when. They work best in houses, especially Freddy.
- Alfred Hitchcock-This would be interesting. The main horror films Hitchcock was known for was The Birds and Psycho. It was his legacy. Personally, we would love to walk through the doors of the Bates Motel, and into Norman’s house…only to be attacked by BIRDS!
- Hannibal-This is an NBC property, so it’s looking like we’ll see it. It’s a great show, but does it have the potential to make for great scares? Having an amazing iconic figure isn’t always enough to make a great house.
- Ghostbusters-Wow. This is tough. I love Ghostbusters, but would it translate well to a great house? You’d have to really amp up on the slime, and the effects would have to be amazing. It would be one of those houses that would be hit and miss. Personally, and here’s just an idea…Rumor has it that Twister is going away. Let’s bring back the Ghostbusters show, but in a very dirty, Bill and Ted fashion. Let’s make fun of stuff, bring in the old show effects, and yes…even Stay Puft! A house would be great, scare zones would be kind of hard with no effects…but a show…suit up for that one!
- Classic Monsters-These guys have been done in new ways. They have been done in Black and White (you’re welcome) and they have been retold. Let’s do some classic monsters, classic henchmen, and throw them in the streets with big sets. It would work!
- The Strain-Anytime you can give me Guillermo Del Toro horror, I’m in. It’s a hit show, and it has some really nasty creepies. They can make this work with no problem.
- American Horror Story-This has been floating around for years. The problem becomes, what would they do with it? Each season tells a new story, so do they make each season different houses? Go full event for scare zones? Or just do an homage to all the seasons? Tough call
While these are real and good, let’s pick out what we can most likely expect to see. Walking Dead is probably a good bet. American Horror Story is getting huge, and it has the whole circus aspect going for it. Hannibal is an NBC property, and it’s pretty hot…while it may not be a great idea for a house, they’ll make it work. Classic Monsters tend to get dusted off every few years, and the icons will most likely be in their own house, each with a retelling of their year in one scene.
At this point, this is all conjecture, and it’s definitely way too early to tell. Regardless of what happens, HHN 25 will be huge, fans will be upset…for a while, and the event will bring in record crowds.
Stay tuned as we bring you even more from Halloween Horror Nights in the coming 9 months (yes, it’s really that far away) and be sure to get social with us on Facebook, and follow along with us on Twitter @BehindThrills for the latest updates!