Ah, Horror Nights. It’s getting closer. Can you feel it? Sure, it’s only March, and most people don’t start thinking about celebrating Halloween until at least October 1st. But you’re not most people, are you? You’re a little…different. That’s okay, we are too, and for you…like us, Halloween is always on our minds. This year, especially, Halloween is looming in the distance like a door we want to reach, but can’t because it just feels like it’s getting further away. Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Orlando will be celebrating 25 years, and we can’t wait to throw that door open, and see what’s waiting for us. So what is waiting for us? We’ve got some ideas, heard some rumors, and love to speculate.
Alright, so Halloween Horror Nights 25 is going to be huge. Every year the design team paints themselves into a corner, doing things bigger and better than the previous years. This year, fans are expecting some huge tributes to the last 24 year of HHN, but the park is also faced with the ever growing demand of new fans who want to see things based on scary movies.
While the park has used icons like Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, SAW, and last year Michael Myers, you have new fans that started going to the event less than five years ago that have missed all those horror franchise icons. Then you have the problem of the longtime fans, most of whom want original content, complaining about every single little thing. So how will HHN balance it out this year? Good question! It’s definitely a precarious position to be sure. How do you bring in new fans, please those who are relatively new to the event AND please old school fans?
What we know-FOR SURE
So here’s what we definitely know about the event. We know this stuff 100% without any speculation, or illusions of grandeur.
- There will be 30 nights of the event, more nights than ever before
- There will be original content
- Jack is likely to be there, in some capacity
That’s it, that’s what we know for sure. The list of things we don’t know is huge, and the things that we don’t know that we don’t know is even longer than that.
How do we know Jack is going to be involved? Probably because of things like this:
No creepy voices, or cryptic messages needed to figure out that Jack, the first original Icon of Halloween Horror Nights, will be used in some capacity. We’re not sure exactly what, but seeing that he’s been around a long time, and used so many times, we’re going to take a wild guess and say that he’s going to once again be an Icon.
On to the mazes. We know nothing, and we mean NOTHING about the houses for sure. We hear things, yes, but nothing is written in stone, and NOTHING IS OFFICIAL!
With that being said, we are going into rumor territory, things that have been said by various other websites, and other people with way too much time on their hands. We are also going to speculate like crazy. None of this is true. AT ALL…so don’t get upset when it doesn’t happen. Remember kids, unless Universal says it’s happening, it’s not happening. We’re just talking and having fun here, all in order to get you excited for an event that is six months away.
What can we expect to see at the event? Well, let’s talk number of mazes (or houses, or scary scary pits of terror, or whatever). The number of mazes has grown over the years, with the number being stuck at around eight for the past few years. Eight houses is a lot. That’s so much ground to cover in very little time. The event, however, is growing. Eight houses is great, but each house gets at least a two hour wait by the middle of the night. This year, rumors suggest that we could see more houses. A ninth house seems like a given, but could a tenth house? The crowds are definitely there to support it, but where to put them all?
Other rumors, coming from surveys and various focus groups suggest that maybe HHN will dive into territory that other haunts like Knott’s and Howl O Scream have done. We’re talking about the Upcharge house. That is a house that you have to pay extra for, in order to experience. Last year, during the final few weeks of the event, Legendary Truth (the in park game for Halloween Horror Nights) popped up. They had guests solve puzzles, and make it into a special experience. The new house used unique technology, and was completely interactive. It was a test, but for what? We could see a larger, more expansive interactive experience that you go through in very small groups, and pay for. The experience could be more aggressive, with actors being allowed to touch you, and more graphic than is allowed in the rest of the houses at HHN. This isn’t going to be for casual fans, but for the diehards who spend countless hours staring at the HHN website screen, trying to figure out the hidden meanings of the price changes. “THERE’S A CLUE HERE I KNOW IT!” It’s also an experience that has been rumored, and talked about for many years. We hope that this is finally the year it happens.
Let’s talk property houses. In the past few years HHN has made huge impacts with houses based on different films and video games, and even TV shows. It’s been a huge success, and has given the park massive crowds, and huge amounts of merchandise sales. So what will happen this year? Let’s speculate a bit, and make our wishlist.
- The Walking Dead-GROAN! NOT AGAIN! Look, fact of the matter is that The Walking Dead is still a VERY popular show. It brings people in that would normally not care about HHN. People love it, and last year was the best Walking Dead house to date. We’re not saying for sure that it will happen, but you’re pretty blind if you count this one out.
- Crimson Peak- Legendary and Universal have a great partnership, which has already brought the film Dracula to life in a bit of synergy. The next big name horror film from Legendary and Universal is Crimson Peak, directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Del Toro has a great relationship with Universal, from his Hellboy series. Let’s take that relationship, add a very creepy and hugely epic horror film, and you have the instant recipe for a haunted maze.
- Krampus- Here’s another one from Legendary and Universal pictures. Krampus is the evil opposite of Santa Claus, and soon to be a major film, coming out this Christmas! It’s got all the classic elements of a HHN house, plus what better way to look forward to a film than to make a killer house based around it!
- Ghostbusters-The film just celebrated a major anniversary, and there’s the remake that is coming out next year. The park used to have a Ghostbusters attraction, so there’s bound to be some props from it lying around. Also, there has been several surveys talking about it. Plus, if there’s ever a time to do a Ghostbusters house, now is it! The classic film will be remade next year, and there’s talks of an expanded universe. If you want to pay tribute to the old film, and characters, then you have to do it now. HHN has already proven that they could do huge things with puppets in American Werewolf in London, and there’s always a house that has a comedy element to it. Why not bring Ghostbusters to life with a MASSIVE Stay-Puft Marshmallow man for the climactic ending?
- Insidious-Universal Studios Hollywood did the house to rave reviews a few years back. It was rumored to happen last year, and now we have a 3rd film coming out this summer. If ever there was a time, it would be now.
- American Horror Story-Okay, so this is a touchy one. There have been rumors for several years stating that AHS would be a house. They just came off of their biggest two seasons, rating wise, with Coven and Freakshow. They are about to start production on what is sure to be their biggest ever-Hotel, starring Lady Gaga. If they do an American Horror Story House, which season to pick? Will they combine the first two seasons, will they pull what they did with The Walking Dead and do a different season every year for the next few years? Or will they just jump the gun and base it off of the upcoming season, giving you major spoilers? If the house happens, what would you like to see?
- Face Off- Last year Universal Orlando had a Face Off Scare Zone, while Hollywood had a house. It could be likely that the SYFY Tv Series could return, and this time as a full fledged house.
- Stephen King books/films- Another concept that has been rumored many, many, many times. Stephen King is arguably one of the biggest names in horror. His books are the cornerstone of American Horror, and the films have become some pretty big icons themselves. The only problem? He usually hates what directors do to his books. The perfect example is The Shining. The vision that Kubrick made for the film was stunning, and flat out amazing. King hated it. Of course if you want a maze version of it, you need to do the movie version. Would King finally agree to it? Still there’s tons of other great films and books to mine from, but which ones? Hell, you could have an entire event on his stuff alone.
- Freddy/Jason/Leatherface/any other horror icon- You can’t go five feet into HHN without hearing someone say “OMG, THE SHOULD TOTES DO FREDDY AND JASON AND THAT CHAINSAW GUY, THAT WOULD BE SOOOO SKEERY!” Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly what you hear, but it’s the general idea. The icons have been done before, but it’s been a good long while. Why not bring them back? Could be fun
We already know that there will be at least one original idea at HHN, but what will it be? That’s the fun thing about original HHN ideas, they could be anything and take you anywhere. Personally, we’d like to see some original houses revisit old icons. And yes, we’d love to see old icons return. I’d also like to see something based in New Orleans or Mississippi, and revolve around the blues. The blues is a very old form of music, with many of the musicians said to have sold their souls to the devil for fame and fortune. In fact, many musicians are said to have sold their souls to the devil. A house based on that idea would also be pretty good. Still, there has got to be some original ideas and stories left with our old friends The Storyteller, The Director, the Caretaker, Jack, The Usher, Eddie and Cindy. Hell, how about the Terra Queen?
Could we even see a return to icons and a backstory in 2015? It was one of the things that made me personally fall in love with the event, the fact that everything was connected to this huge story. Of course, that’s usually lost on regular people…but it helps to cement that dark and sinister thought into people, and keep them coming back. Jack would be a great place to start, but how about the lost icons? Eddie and Cindy? Let’s let them FINALLY take over!
Bill and Ted is a given. It’s not Halloween without Bill n Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure. This year is going to be ripe for picking with the likes of Avenger 2, Antman, Jurassic World, Terminator and more. The gang usually has a great way of bringing pop culture of the year to light, so it’s bound to be a great year.
Rocky Horror Picture Show could return, but…eh…haven’t we had enough? Sure, it’s great and fun but sometimes you just need to let it go away for a while.
It’s been a rumor for many years, but what about a Midnight Syndicate show? They’ve been part of HHN history, creating music for the event, and having their music used by the event several times. Last year, the group made the debut of Midnight Syndicate Live at Cedar Point.
Why let Cedar Point have all the fun? It could make for a great new experience, and something that HHN hasn’t had in a very long time.
Another long time favorite has been the “Day of the Dead” parade. Think of Mardi Gras, only with scary characters. The parade, however, will mean that there could be no scare zones in the front of the park. It’s something that has been done before, but with the event as big as it is now, it could mean some heavy crowd control issues.
We’ll just have to wait and see what terrors this year holds. We should start seeing house announcements around July or August, with more teases coming in the coming months.