It’s that time of the year again, ladies and gentleman. Universal Studios Florida becomes the capital of terror at Halloween Horror Nights! We were lucky enough to attend a media preview at Universal Orlando Resort this week and will share with you all the news about the haunted houses, street entertainment, shows, and more. We were also among the first to experience one of the houses. Let’s get an early jump on Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights 25 and share the scares yet to come. . .
Let’s start with the scare zones. These are the themed zones which take over the pathways of the park. So, while you are on your way to the haunted houses, watch out, you never know what may be lurking about in the fog!
Scary Tales Screampunk
Scary Tales Screampunk is full of
fairyscary-tale characters, including this suit of armor. It was stressed multiple times throughout the evening that there would be more scare actors in the streets than ever before. We like what we are hearing already!
Full of bats, fairies, and beasts, Evil’s Roots is a Jack ‘o’ Lantern paradise in the Central Park area of the park. The props look fantastic and we can’t wait to see this area in action.
All Night DIE-In
San Francisco becomes the home of the All Night DIE-In. This scare zone is a double feature, with one part of it being all in greyscale with classic monsters, and the second portion in color with contemporary horror icons. You’ll even find Chucky here!
The Icons of Halloween Horror Nights
The Icons of Halloween Horror Nights will be taking over the Hollywood section of the park. Old friends like the Caretaker, Director, and others will be there. The whole idea behind this scare zone is that the Icons will be showing you how they became infamous. In graphic fashion, they’ll be showing you how they’ve killed their way to the top.
Lastly for the streets, we have Psychoscareapy. This is the first time that Psychoscareapy has taken place on a street instead of in a house, and Universal promises that it will be the bloodiest street yet. It takes place in the New York section of the park, but the story takes place at the Halloween block party in Shadybrook. Judging by the props they had on display, not only will this one be bloody, but just downright creepy as well.
On With The Shows
Now let’s take a look at what to expect in the entertainment department. Universal has a track record with churning out some pretty fun shows for Halloween Horror Nights.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure
There are two big shows for HHN25. The first is the ever popular and raunchy Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure. Details were kept very tight about this one, but we did see $100 bills with Kanye West’s face on them and a drawing of the set for this year. One can probably expect a few jokes pointed toward the mouse down the road as well.
The Carnage Returns
The second show is The Carnage Returns and it is all about the host of the entire event, Jack. Jack is back and edgier than ever before. Jack will be assisted by his companion, Chance. The stage is massive and is located right across the street from Mel’s Die-In, in the Hollywood section of the park. They were tight lipped about this entertainment experience, but we were told to expect many surprises that only Jack could provide.
Time for the bread and butter of Halloween Horror Nights, the houses! Universal has certainly turned up the volume for its 25th anniversary, with lots of nods to the past.
Jack Presents 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem
First up is Jack Presents 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem. In this house, each room is from a past HHN favorite and contains characters from the 25 years of scares. Expect lots of Easter Eggs in this house, as well as many Icons. We should also expect to see plenty of Jack throughout this house, in all of his various incarnations over the past 25 years.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead returns to Horror Nights for its 4th appearance. The team was challenged with how to make this house bigger than it was in its previous iterations. This house follows season 5 of the acclaimed AMC show, all the way from Terminus to the Church yard. We’ve been told the experience will be ‘huge’, with multi story scenes, and for the first time ever, scare actors in waist high water waiting to frighten those brave enough to walk amongst the dead.
RUN – Blood, Sweat, and Fears
Next up is RUN – Blood, Sweat, and Fears. This house takes place in the HellGate Prison of a previous HHN house. Except this time, they’re mashing up the setting with the RUN concept where it is basically a twisted version of American Gladiators, even down to the 1987 theme. (Except take all the gladiators and Nerf balls and replace them with psycho killers and their tools.) Can you survive the gauntlet?
Last year, the Purge was a huge hit as a street experience. This year, it moves into a house. And we’ve been promised that everything from the street has been crammed into a house. Expect a ton of scare actors and lots of speed metal music. We were told this house a profusion of fog and strobes, which will make it ever so challenging for you to survive the Purging as they look for their targets, AKA you!
Insidious was popular enough to stretch out into three movies. Because of that, we get to experience characters from all three of them, including the Breathing Man, Lipstick Demon, and the Bride in Black. There was a lot of work done here to create a very supernatural feel here, but more on this maze in just a bit.
An American Werewolf in London
For the first time ever, Universal is replicating a former house almost in its entirety with An American Werewolf in London. This will make a lot of folks happy as this was the most popular house of 2013. While this will be almost identical to that year’s version, there will be a few tweaks, including a new puppet that was not featured in the 2013 version. I cannot wait to visit the London Underground again! This really was an amazing house that folks still talk about.
Asylum in Wonderland 3D
Next, we fall down the rabbit hole in Asylum in Wonderland 3D. You heard that right, a 3D house! For this one, we get to go back to the Scary Tales motif, and this story is all about Alice. Is Alice crazy, or is all of this actually happening? Expect creepy versions of the Mad Hatter, Alice herself, and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. This is a blacklight house, and the disorienting color and 3D glasses will make it a jarring in-your-face experience.
Body Collectors Recollections
In Body Collectors Recollections, many of your favorites from the past 25 years will be collected together in the Shadybrook Asylum. There is a big snowstorm, and the Body Collectors come in and wreak havoc. But, what’s really cool about this house is that it is a prequel. We get to find out where the Body Collectors originated!
Freddy vs. Jason
Lastly, we have Freddy vs. Jason. This house was designed to take place in three parts. There will be a section dedicated to Freddy, then a section dedicated to Jason. Finally, you’ll see both of these demons duke it out in epic fashion. Who will win the fight, and who will win you as their prize? Yikes!
Michael Aiello (Director of Entertainment, Creative Development) took the stage and explained some things about this year’s event. He said off stage that one of the challenging things about trying to go all out for the 25th anniversary is that they already have plans for HHN 26, 27, and 28, and it is difficult to not use all of that on just one year. He said to expect a lot of carnage from Jack’s show and that there are quite a few other performers in addition to Jack and Chance, including maniacs and aerialists. He seemed most excited about Freddy vs. Jason and the 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem houses. He is also a really awesome guy and always fun to hear speak.
Throughout our time in the soundstage, we got to see how much work goes into getting just one scare actor into their makeup each night of the event. It took almost 45 minutes for this particular actor, a testament to the work that Universal puts into this event to make it one of the top Halloween experiences in the country.
Before concluding, Jack surprised us on stage and got us all ready to unleash the beast that is Halloween Horror Nights. He made it very clear that Halloween isn’t supposed to be all about Pumpkin Spice Lattes (though we wouldn’t turn one down).
Preview thoughts on the Insidious house
After listening to Jack, we were ushered by bus to the other side of the park to experience the Insidious house in person. Since they are still under construction, we weren’t allowed to take photo or video, but we are able to give you some thoughts on the experience. And WOW. . . the depth that they have created and the sense of immersion is absolutely fantastic. It’s hard to believe that this all takes place in a tent. There are scare actors around every corner, and some really neat effects that really toy with your senses. There is one scene in particular, which involves a hallway and some slight human contact, that creeped me out for sure. I don’t want to spoil too much about the house other than to let you know that I had several moments where I jumped out of my skin, and I hadn’t even seen the Insidious movies!
Overall, the night was awesome, and we really look forward to the official launch of the event, which is next Friday (September 18th), so make sure to keep an eye out for that coverage right here on MiceChat as well. If you have any questions about Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights or want to purchase tickets, you can do so at halloweenhorrornights.com.
Are you ready for the scary season? Excited to celebrate Universal Orlando’s 25th Halloween Horror Nights event? Let’s hear about your favorite HHN experiences and what you hope to see this year.