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  1. Yesterday
  2. 2009 was my favorite year by far. I voted for The Wolf Man but Silver Screams could be it too. Both houses were epic. Im such a Wolf Man fan and walking in and seeing the Gypsy camp was just insane. But like said above I loved Julian Browning and his story and how everything revolved around him. Such a great year!
  3. I can only reply based on watching video walk throughs, but when Hollywood hits on details it's better than Orlando. But in terms of over-all quality Orlando wins every time in recent memory. It seems like the locations for houses in Hollywood just aren't as conductive for building a maze/house compared to Orlando's sound stages or tents.
  4. Last week
  5. Hollywood's quality did not begin to fall off a cliff until around 2013/2014 when they decided that every house needed to be filled with black hallways with a boo-hole strobe at the end. Chucky in Hollywood was just an overlay in their year-round maze, so it is not a fair comparison in terms of quality. That maze always had a Chucky room in it, and for the overlay they simply added more of him. Chucky in Orlando was unique in that it although it was an IP house, it was a comedy house and told an original story. However, it was still a funhouse theme at its core, and Orlando has never put very much detail into funhouse themed houses. So in my opinion, it was on the low end of the Orlando scale in terms of theme. Saw ran three years in Hollywood (2009/2010, and 2017), and two years in Orlando (2009 and 2017). There were also TWO Saw-based houses in 2008 at Fright Dome in Las Vegas. IMHO, the best Saw house ever was at Sinister Pointe in Brea, CA in 2008, which included actual TRAPS that you had to participate in. In terms of quality, both Hollywood and Orlando did an equally good job in those first years. They each presented their favorite traps, with some overlap. Orlando and Hollywood design teams work separately - moreso back then. The general consensus was that the 2017 house at each event was unnecessary and did not live up to whatever small amount of hype there was. Although recent, their detail was forgettable. Back in the day, it was always a tossup as to which coast would do a better job with their IP. These were my past feelings as to who did a better job for the FIRST appearance. In terms of detail, Hollywood has been an equal to Orlando in the distant past. And back in the days when they used Soundstages, they were outstanding. But since relying on adding black hallways to stretch budget to add more houses, Hollywood has gone down the toilet, to the point where Knotts consistently beats them in detail. Hollywood CAN still do an outstanding detailed house, if it is something that really interests Murdy. The good old days of Hollywood: TCM: Hollywood (detail) F13: Orlando (detail) NOES: Orlando (detail) Saw: Both were quite good Halloween: Hollywood HOTC: Hollywood did a fantastic job in 2010, but in 2019 Orlando won. Alice Cooper: Hollywood , by far. I don't think Orlando team wanted to do it at all. Thing: Orlando (Detail, final monster) Wolfman: Orlando (Orlando detail was outstanding, Hollywood was an overlay) La Llorona: Hollywood (far better detail) TWD: Orlando (does anyone really remember one year form another?) Silent Hill: Orlando (far better detail) Evil Dead: Hollywood Insidious: Hollywood (the only house where black hallways helped) Chucky: Orlando (Not a fair comparison. Hollywood was an overlay) The decline of Hollywood: AWIL: Orlando by a thousand miles Dracula Untold: Orlando made the film look interesting FDTD: Both were quite good AVP: Orlando by a mile. Told their own story. Queen at end was fantastic. Halloween II: Hollywood , for its original ending. Neither were very detailed. AHS: Orlando , for their Season 1-3 house. Amazing. FvJ: Orlando (Unique ending, detail) Exorcist: Hollywood (Story, scares). Orlando for detail. Krampus: Hollywood (Detail) Hollywood in the crapper: Shining: Orlando , by a big margin (unique telling of story, detail) Ash Vs Evil Dead: Orlando (Hollywood was just a bunch of black hallways) Blumhouse: Both were atrocious, but Hollywood did Sinister 2 fair justice Trick R Treat: Orlando (Detail) Stranger Things: Orlando Purge: Both were not very good Poltergeist: Orlando (GOAT for me along with Graveyard Games. IP presented from a completely unique perspective). Hollywood missed the boat. Halloween IV: Both were not very good Ghostbusters: Orlando (Detail) Us: Both were not very good KKFOS: Orlando . (Klownzilla) Universal Monsters: Hollywood did an A+ job. Orlando's Frankenstein vs Wolfman was also quite good. Detail on both were great. It was the only Hollywood house in recent history that did not have any black hallways. Hollywood could return to greatness if they treated every house like they treated this one.
  6. Earlier
  7. I could only figure out "Awakening" from this vid. What media/link are you referencing? I'll take a look at it. Nice ID on this! I never paid attention to the audio in this clip. Looks like "Pencil Neck" is what plays before "Epiphanic Evelyn". Wish the full opening scaremony was available. There's definitely some tracks playing based on the brief snippets of the Caretakers entrance and exit (wouldn't doubt it's more HoHH music haha).
  8. I’m curious how the quality of the houses in Orlando compared to Hollywood’s.
  9. Bumping this thread, cause I was looking at pics of the 2020 tribute store and I came across this. This was not the actual event guide they had in 2008. They seriously are unable to mention the character directly, even through past paraphernalia?
  10. you can faintly hear Epiphanic Evelyn from the 1999 House of Haunted Hill soundtrack in the opening segment with the Caretaker.
  11. I think it might also be “Welcome Aboard” from John Frizzell; Ghost Ship.
  12. IDK. I’m looking at it now and all the pics are showing.
  13. I don't know if it's just me, but these pictures aren't appearing at all.
  14. Do you have any other radio spots aside from the XX one?

  15. None of these belong to me. Credited to dreamworlds
  16. For the sake of it I’m translating the whole thing; so I’ll just highlight the sentence I’m most interested: http://web.archive.org/web/20080919052219/http://media.universalorlando.com/halloween/pressreleases/website.htm COME INTO THE MIRROR, MY DEAR…THIS WON’T HURT A BIT Halloween Horror Nights Website Pulls Guests into the World of Bloody Mary, Long Before They’ll Meet Her in Person Orlando, FL (September 9, 2008) – Chanting her name lures you through the mirror. A mesmerizing, swirling portal guides you through each world. You explore – nervous of what you might find, unsure of where Mary is taking you. Your own heartbeat quickens, but you can’t seem to draw yourself away from the spinning vortex. Did something just blink at you? This is the Halloween Horror Nights 18 website and it’s unlike anything Universal Orlando has done before. Universal set out to redefine Halloween Horror Nights this year, and needed a website capable of communicating the new scope and level of detail for the event. Reflections of Fear, an application on the website, offers a multisensory, interactive experience through this year’s event. For the first time ever, users can sit at their computers and navigate through what they’ll experience at Halloween Horror Nights 18. “The website heightens the anticipation of coming to Halloween Horror Nights 18 by delivering pieces and parts of the event to the consumer at home,” said T.J. Mannarino, director of entertainment for Universal Orlando. “What people are seeing online, they will experience at this year’s event.” The application features over 60 hand drawings and about 200 individual files that create an illusion similar to a flip book. The files come together to simulate movement through each world of Urban Legends, Fears, Myths, Tales and Nightmares. The audio behind the imagery exists on three different levels: the general background music, atmospherics (i.e., glass shattering, thunder, horses whinnying, etc.) and sound bites (i.e., Bloody Mary, a spaceship alert, classroom chatter, etc.). Consumers can navigate through the Reflections of Fear application, purchase tickets to the event, learn more about Halloween Horror Nights 18 and view a sneak peek of this year’s television commercial at http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando. Regular admission to Halloween Horror Nights is $69.99 plus tax. Get tickets online, at the Universal Studios Florida front gate or by calling 888-HORROR-7. Universal Orlando Resort Universal Orlando Resort has created some of the world’s most innovative theme park attractions based on pop culture’s most compelling films and stories. Guests experience two exciting theme parks – Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure as well as Universal CityWalk, a 30-acre restaurant, shopping and nighttime entertainment complex; and three magnificently themed on-site Loews hotels – the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Flagship experiences featured in the theme parks include “The Simpsons Ride,” “Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride,” “The Incredible Hulk Coaster” and “The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.” More information is available at www.universalorlando.com. MEDIA CONTACT: Universal Orlando Public Relations (407) 363-8220 End of transcript. when I had a computer, I remember going through the archived 2008 website here and the artwork (I guess concept art) was not accessible. Reaper’s 2008 audio mix contained some of the website audio (I believe it was the Fractured Tales music box, Dead Exposure zombies effect, and Interstellar Terror) but not all. I know the Bloody Mary sound effect was not there. Is there anyone here who saved those files?
  17. It's funny to go back and read 29 being disappointing compared to the 30 we got.. Oh boy!
  18. I think I remember select songs from the Danny Elfman soundtracks to the Batman films by Tim Burton playing in the Jack’s Carnival of Carnage show. I’ll notify if I get to watching the video sometime.
  19. So I checkout some of the entries in the HauntVault site and I came upon something puzzling- the backstory of Bloody Mary. https://hauntvault.com/icons/profile/bloody-mary was someone writing fanfiction here? Cause most of this I am sure was NOT on the website or was mentioned by the creators before.
  20. So one definitely agree these should return, I would say since a majority of people missed them...I was lucky to see 2 of the 3 that opened (missed BJ)! I agree with legacy that these also technically won't be repeats! But my thinking on that was this year while the house was fun! We didn't realllyyy see them at full tilt either! So I'd like to see it at its full potential as well! (Of course if possible as this continues on)..just my 2 cents!
  21. Inside of Psychoscareapy: Home for the Holidays I got two tags! Let It Snow by Michael Buble - Christmas Album (Plays upon entering the stage, where the van is smashed into the house)! Christmas Carols: Deck the Halls/I Saw Three Ships (edited) by Bing Crosby - Christmas Greetings Album (Plays on the old radio in the kitchen scene of the first house, with the body parts in the sink)! Those are mine from my audio recordings I made that year!
  22. Found a rare look into a rare article from 2008. Transcribed from here: https://www.scribd.com/document/441297394/Attractions-Magazine-October-November-2008 Not every scary story begins with a dark and stormy night. The story of how Universal Studios’ annual Halloween Horror Nights event is created begins in the minds of a select few talented artists, designers and writers. Halloween Horror Nights is the name given to the separately ticketed, scare-filled event that takes place within the Universal Studios theme park on select nights during the weeks surrounding Oct. 31 each year. This year marks the 18th incarnation of the special event that first launched in 1991 as Universal Studios Fright Nights. While Fright Nights came and went in just three nights, Halloween Horror Nights, as it became known in 1992, has since expanded to 23 nights with two nights in September and even one after Halloween on Nov. 1.Those who think Halloween is all about brightly colored smiling jack-o-lanterns and children parading down residential streets in their superhero costumes, are in for a shock, and possibly even a mental breakdown when entering Halloween Horror Nights for the first time. From the moment you pass through the entrance turnstiles, you’re immersed into a world of dim lighting, eerie sounds and music and a whole lot of mist and fog. This ambience simply sets the stage for the many chills the night has to offer.Throughout the park, you’ll encounter some of the world’s most detailed, inventive and fright-inducing haunted houses (also referred to as mazes), each with its own ghoulish theme and story. You’re not safe from startles outside of the mazes either, as “scare zones” are 18 • Orlando Attractions Magazine packed with Universal’s “scareactors” (rhymes with characters) whose job it is to keep everyone unsettled throughout the night.Each year, Halloween Horror Nights takes the act of scaring theme park guests to a whole new level by adding more haunted houses, scare zones, scareactors and live shows. Universal Studios, as a decades-old company, is widely known for creating or popularizing some of the world’s most recognizable monsters, including Frankenstein’s Monster, The Mummy, Dracula and many more. So how does a company rooted in the world of classic movie monsters continue to develop new and unique horror icons and attractions for its Orlando theme parks, separating itself from the other local family-friendly destinations? The Mind Behind the Madness The best person to answer that question is Michael Roddy, manager of show development at Universal Orlando Resort. Roddy has worked on all but the first couple of Halloween Horror Nights and has a knack for all things horror. As he puts it, “Halloween has been in my DNA since I was a little kid.” While his background lies in theater, performance, and writing, his career at Universal Studios appropriately began with him playing the role of a Ghostbuster in a theme park stage show. He later went on to portray other characters including Dudley Do-Right and one of the Blues Brothers. When Halloween Horror Nights came around, Roddy was given the responsibility of stepping into the classic role of Alfred Hitchcock’s Norman Bates character from the film Psycho. Outside of performing, Roddy also wrote the dialogue and backstory featured in the queue videos starring Brendan Fraser in The Revenge of the Mummy attraction. Combining his knowledge of performance with his knack for clever writing, Roddy became a perfect fit to lead a team bringing Halloween Horror Nights from a relatively small happening to the dominating annual event that it is today. Since Halloween Horror Nights has grown to be one of the industry’s leading haunted attractions, Universal Studios takes secrecy surrounding each year’s new ideas very seriously. The place where the event’s devilish designs are concocted can be found tucked away in the Universal Studios backlot, in an unassuming set of trailers, and behind a door marked “Authorized Personnel Only.” Just beyond that door lies endless rows of cubicles wallpapered with sketches, posters, and other pieces of artwork from Halloween Horror Nights’ past and present. And still beyond those cubicles sits Roddy’s office. The office of Michael Roddy directly reflects what goes on inside the head of a creative force behind an event like Halloween Horror Nights. One office wall is filled with sketches of past Halloween Horror Nights creations, the opposite lined with autographs to Roddy from various Hollywood actors and directors (most from the horror genre). Littered throughout the office are various props, including theme park replicas of a Ghostbusters trap and a Back to the Future hoverboard, and action figures depicting classic and contemporary movie and television icons, from Charlie Brown and the Grinch to Jaws and Captain Kirk. It is in this unique environment that the pieces of each year’s Halloween Horror Nights begin to take shape. Roddy’s surroundings are filled with inspiration from varying styles and genres and it’s quite clear that Halloween is on his mind year-round. Spawn of an Idea While Halloween Horror Nights takes place during just 23 out of 365 nights this year, Roddy works on the project year-round, with a goal of consistently raising the bar on immersive horror experiences. “The creative process for Halloween is ongoing now,” said Roddy. “There never is a definitive start date. I’m working on Halloween for 2009 and 2010 right now.” The basics of creating Halloween Horror Nights each year lie in targeting a specific audience that differs from other more family-friendly Halloween-themed parties in Orlando. Roddy makes it clear that Halloween Horror Nights is, in movie rating terms, “PG-13, bordering on R. We push it because that’s what people want. They come here for that,” he said. “This is an intense event and there are things that a child probably couldn’t deal with, nor should deal with.” He admits that occasionally their creativity does run a little too wild. “Sometimes we pull back because we say ‘that’s too much’.” To ensure that his projects successfully reach Universal’s thousands of guests in the way he intends, Roddy puts himself into their shoes. “I have the ability to be a great audience,” Roddy explained, “which is where I always like to start with any product. Whether it’s Halloween, whether it’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, whether it’s an attraction, I try to forget all the tricks of the trade and make myself an audience member.” Roddy is tuned in to the thousands of fans of the annual haunted events, regularly getting feedback by visiting fan Web sites. “We’re fans of the fans that are fans of Halloween,” Roddy said. Based on feedback from the fans, adjustments are made. Of course, Roddy is not solely responsible for everything seen during Halloween Horror Nights, though his team is impressively small. About five creatively twisted minds at Universal Studios are tuned into the more macabre side of life and each individually begins their own unique thought processes for future years’ events. Roddy explained, “We’ll all walk the event and watch what people are really tuned into – what’s the home run, what’s kind of not working, what’s working, and make mental notes.” What follows is a gathering that any haunt fan would give anything to sit in on. The team assembles in what they refer to as a “post-mortem” where each contributor brings up new ideas for discussion. A Female First Each year, Halloween Horror Nights presents a new opportunity for the Universal Creative team to use or invent a new set of characters to send guests screaming into the night. One of the most notable characters to come out of the event is Jack (pictured above), an evil clown who receives delight from the misfortune of others. Jack, who first appeared in 2000 as the icon for Halloween Horror Nights 10, is Michael Roddy’s creation and has appeared as one of the main icons in four of the last nine years. In 2007, Jack became the ringleader welcoming the first-ever theme park appearances of the classic New Line Cinema horror characters of A Nightmare on Elm Street ’sFreddy Krueger (pictured above), Fridaythe 13th ’s Jason Voorhees, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ’s Leatherface. In selecting which icon would represent 2008’s Halloween Horror Nights, Roddy and his team decided it was time to move in a completely different direction. “We loved having Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface added to our catalog of characters,” Roddy explained. “But … we’re about diversity. We have trained our audiences that we don’t like to repeat ourselves – that there’s always fresh content, specifically with the Halloween product. So we went into our creative mode and said, ‘How do we really do something that’s different than a madman – that’s different than a slasher?’, and we knew we wanted to do something supernatural. We also knew for a long time we’ve wanted to have a female icon – a very powerful female icon.” Early discussions revolved around the idea of creating a wife or girlfriend for Jack the Clown – Jill, who had often been speculated about on fan Web sites. But ultimately, Roddy had other plans. “I created Jack and I was very adamant that maybe we should give Jack a break for a while,” said Roddy. “I really wanted to do something supernatural and spooky.” Rather than inventing a new character, the team decided to take a look at the world of urban legends. Drawing inspiration from classic myths and fairy tales, they began to focus on which of these legends would make a great icon to base several weeks of terror. A survey was sent out to research which urban legends had the greatest effect on people. Roddy said that from the results, the team discovered that, “the awareness on Bloody Mary was number two on all urban legends and myths. [The Amityville Horror was number one.] From an age demographic from young adults all the way to sixties, [recognition was] somewhere between 70 and 80 percent. So, we knew this is compelling.” The new powerful female icon they were looking for was indeed going to be Bloody Mary. While she isn’t the first female icon for Halloween Horror Nights (that honor goes jointly to the Storyteller and the Terra Queen, both of whom were created for Halloween Horror Nights 15), she is definitely the first female icon that nearly all guests are already familiar with. But the team wondered how exactly they would turn the vague notion of this character into an entire year’s theme.“ There are several different backstories [for Bloody Mary] out there in the urban legend mythos,” said Roddy. “Everybody knows that if you stand in front of the mirror and say her name three times, something bad is supposed to happen.” After that basic fact, the tales surrounding this eerie entity seem to vary quite a bit, as any urban legend does. So it was up to the Universal team to create their own intricate story. Roddy asked, “What if Mary was the keeper of these legends? What if she was the one on her side of the mirror, where all these legends, the true versions of them, exist?” Their story of Bloody Mary ultimately evolved into that of Dr. Mary Agana, a psychiatrist whose job it was to cure people of their fears by exposure. As Roddy tells it, “Let’s say you had a fear of water. Her thinking was that if she strapped you into a position where you couldn’t move and then submerged you into a tub of water repeatedly, sooner or later you’d get over your fear.” In this version of the story, Mary would monitor her patients from behind a two-way mirror. “She had a safe word, ‘Call my name three times and I’ll stop.’” Unfortunately for the patients in this story, Mary discovered that she had her own fear: she was afraid of death. Roddy continued the ghost story, “She realized, ‘How do I cure myself?’ She started letting her patients die until one patient broke free and pulled her through the mirror. In her last dying moment, she saw her reflection through the broken mirror. That transformed her into this entity that we call Bloody Mary.” He capped off the tale by joking, “Kind of fun stuff.” Roddy is convinced that Bloody Mary is one of their scariest icons to date, but not for the same reasons that people fear Jack. “Jack the Clown was very unsettling because you don’t know what’s under the makeup. I think we’ve been able to transcend that with Mary. You don’t know what she’s really looking at or where the emotion’s coming from,” said Roddy. “If you rob somebody of their eyes, that’s the window into the soul, so anything can be going on behind those eyes and you can’t tell.” As they’ve written it, “If you come to the event and you walk through the gates, that is the same as saying her name three times, so you’re going to be on her side of the mirror with all of those legends.” While the entire backstory unfolds on the Halloween Horror Nights Web site, at halloweenhorrornights.com, it’s not necessary for guests to know it all in advance because, according to Roddy, “If you don’t see all of that, you’re still going to get your pants scared off of you.” The Devil’s in the Details Once the basic ideas, themes and icons for each year’s event have been planned, the details begin to get filled in. That job definitely takes more than a five-person team to make it happen. “We bring in extra help – designers, artists, CAD artists, SketchUp model artists, illustrators – that start fleshing out the experiences so that we can start seeing and walking and living in this designed, fabricated world,” Roddy explained.Different elements often require different specialists. “We have a great guy whose name is David Hughes and he has been involved as the senior art supervisor for Halloween Horror Nights for the last five or six years,” Roddy added. “He brings in a crew of designers and they design everything that you’ll see in that house – every wall, every piece of architecture. Then there’s another set that comes in that overlays the scenic dressing, from the type of chair that will be in the room to the type of cloth fabric.” Beyond the decor, most of the haunted mazes throughout Halloween Horror Nights are filled with gruesome body parts literally hanging around. “I have to mention our prosthetics guys,” Roddy said. “[They’re] led by a guy named Michael Burnett.” Burnett begins the task of setting the mood by marking the future location of torsos, heads, and other appendages. “What he does is he puts these placeholders here, and … he’ll go and be his mad scientist self and you’ll come back like a day [later], those guts will actually be out and formed and dripping goo. He’s amazing.” Any horror fan’s dream job would be to take part in helping to decorate the haunted houses. Roddy certainly enjoys it. “We actually have two days: one is where they come in and they distress everything and then we have something that we love called ‘blood day’. … We wear our worst jeans and a T-shirt. We come in with the head designers and we go through every maze and we go, ‘What gets blooded?’ It’s fun because we actually go, ‘Okay, so if there’s someone here that got hit this way, the blood would go here’ – it’s our own CSI.” Hollywood Tricks Make Halloween Treats The physical locations of each year’s haunted houses vary, though over time the Halloween Horror Nights team has secured a few permanent locations. Universal Orlando is not only home to two world-class theme parks, but is also a working studio, hosting television, movie, and commercial shoots on their backlot soundstages – the very same soundstages that contain several mazes for Halloween Horror Nights. Maze floor plans change for every house, but certain elements are almost always present in the basic design of each one. Roddy revealed some of his learned tricks for creating a successful haunted attraction. One such trick lies in the art of misdirection, where a well-placed scareactor will be featured in plain sight as guests enter a room (like up on the balcony to which Michael Roddy is pointing in the photo to the right). Lighting often draws extra attention to that character. As guests feel safe for a moment, knowing that they see what’s coming, a different scareactor suddenly emerges from a false wall or unseen doorway nearby, startling guests. (In this photo, that unnoticed doorway is pictured behind Roddy.) To top it off, a few feet further down the path, another scareactor lurks just out of sight, ready for a second scare. But the haunted houses of Halloween Horror Nights are not designed with constant startles in mind. “We also like to, in certain experiences, let you rest for a moment.” Roddy explained that the rest areas are, “just keeping you within the atmosphere. There will be cold air, fog and sound effects, but it’s like, ‘OK, I can catch my breath.’ In that moment, what we’ve found is [that] it’s great to let people reflect on, ‘Oh my God, what did I just see?’, before, ‘Here I go again.’” These areas prevent guests from getting acclimated to the environment. Without these rest-filled moments, the Universal team has discovered that your brain will shut down. “If I constantly just kept startling you, it’s like, after the fifth time, your body protects you,” explained Roddy. A technique used to increase believability inside Universal’s haunted houses is the inclusion of ceiling treatments throughout. Roddy explains that having a false ceiling a few feet above guests’ heads “just feels real because there is some type of roof above you.” The haunted mazes are built to transport guests to ghost towns, waterfront shacks, outer space or other supernatural locations by way of well-executed illusions. The construction of the mazes is “very much modeled after film,” explained Roddy. “You can see that in our mazes – they’re film sets.” When wandering through a maze under show lighting conditions, guests feel like they have been whisked away to another place, filled with creatures and other menaces around every corner. But remove those beings, turn off all of the sound effects and bring the work lights up, and it quickly becomes obvious that the maze is really just a group of elaborately painted and decorated panels, intricately assembled inside warehouse-like soundstages. Doors and hidden panels that lead to scareactors at night open to bare soundstage walls, electrical wiring, and fans during the day. Props that drip, shriek, and aim to surprise guests at night, simply hang there, mostly ignored, when inactivated throughout the day. However, even knowing that it’s all an elaborate illusion, there’s still a sinister sense of foreboding when walking between the painstakingly detailed walls and sets during the day, which is a testament to the creative ability of Universal’s many artists and designers. Lurking Around Every Corner No amount of artistic detail, fake blood spatter, or prosthetic limbs can surpass the scare factor delivered by Halloween Horror Nights’ most important aspect: the scareactors. Each year, a crew of unique employees is hired to be made over from ordinary people into extraordinary scream-inducing freaks, ghouls and creatures. As Michael Roddy put it, “They are the life’s blood for our event.”Now that Halloween Horror Nights has reached its 18th year, the process of casting a crew of scareactors has become a bit routine. “We have a huge workforce of people that we invite back,” Roddy said. “We have a thing called a reunion audition in the middle of summer [featuring] people that have worked year after year after year. We know what they can do – we pretty much know most of those people by name. Sometimes we even write roles for specific people.” Casting new hires is as simple has holding a series of auditions, though not every audition is the same. Roddy said that selecting what type of character someone should play sometimes involves asking them to do their best to be scary and other times requires them to state what their favorite scary movie is. It’s all about choosing the right character for the right person to play.Scaring unsuspecting guests inside Halloween Horror Nights’ haunted mazes is not always fun. Roddy noted that it’s actually a rather difficult position due to the commitment involved, though the rewards are worth it. “For eight hours or six hours, you get that adrenaline rush that you did when you were a little kid and you scared your grandmother,” he said. “You get that repeatedly as 4,000 or more walk through this environment that you may be an actor in. It’s also very taxing and we have a great deal of respect for those people.” Prior to performing in front of guests, scareactors are trained in the ways of scaring. Roddy mentioned a few of their techniques. “You have to read the people that you’re scaring. No two ‘victims’ are alike. … It’s observing who the ‘victim’ is that’s walking into the room and giving them the choice of which one of those people will be the best impact. That’s the word that we like to use – impact – because we don’t want to startle you, we want to scare you.“ So with the scareactors we say, sometimes you let the audience in on it. Sometimes it’s not about jumping out of a space, it’s about being in a space when they come in and how you react to them walking into your space. Or, finding someone that walks in and locking eyes with them and selling this character through nothing more than your eyes.”So when guests are wandering through a maze, constantly anticipating a big scare from the zombie lurking in the corner but it never comes, it’s all part of the plan. Roddy elaborated with a smile, “We don’t want to just startle them – we want to screw them up for a while.”And how does Roddy know when the scareactors are ready to perform for guests? “If I get scared, I will stop and walk backstage and applaud that person because I love it. I love when they scare me.” The Haunts of 2008 This year’s Halloween Horror Nights promises more haunted houses than ever before with eight separate maze experiences, many of which spill out beyond their borders and into the nearby streets. The main house is called Reflections of Fear and features this year’s icon, Bloody Mary. Guests travel through time as they enter into Mary’s house as it existed in the 1950s, when Mary began her experiments, and ultimately end up witnessing a few of Mary’s patient interactions culminating in guests’ own interactions with Mary’s ghost as she appears today. Needless to say, guests can expect plenty of mirrors to be found throughout this maze. Another house Michael Roddy is especially proud of is called Dead Exposure. He refers to it as their R&D house, where they are experimenting with research and development of new technologies.“ Basically Dead Exposure is taking you and putting you into photographs,” said Roddy. “You are actually walking through a completely black house. Everything from the walls, to the furniture, to the characters is painted completely black. Then we went back and shaded everything with UV paint. We hit it with a strobe when you walk into the room so it looks like a still blacklight photo. It’s awesome.” The other six houses include: Creatures , which Roddy summarizes as rednecks versus creatures in a throwback to the ‘50s sci-fi. Placing guests beyond Earth’s boundaries, Interstellar Terror depictswhat happens if a space crew got a severe form of cabin fever due to a discovered artifact. Scary Tales – Once Upon a Nightmare is the third in a line of Scary Tales houses in which guests are brought into twisted versions of classic children’s fairy tales. Doomsday is based on a Universal horror film of the same name that was released earlier this year. The Hallow brings to life the origins of everything that is cliche about Halloween, from the black cat to the witch’s cauldron. Finally, Body Collectors – Collections of the Past brings guests face-to-face with those really responsible for famous mass-murders of the past.In addition to these mazes, six scarezones, ranging in theme from Alice in Wonderland (known here as Asylum in Wonderland) to a distorted version of The Wizard of Oz , will be sure to keep all guests on edge. Future Frights Michael Roddy and his team are always coming up with new ideas to keep Halloween Horror Nights fresh and entertaining. By the time 2008 ends, less than two months after this year’s event is over, construction will have begun on the mazes for 2009.In 2002, the event left Universal Studios for the first time for a change of scenery at Islands of Adventure next door. The new location was so successful that it stayed there for four years. Roddy hinted that “there might be a time and place in the very near future where you’re at both parks – one huge mega-event.” Beyond the haunted houses and scare zones, many of the theme parks’ rides are also open throughout Halloween Horror Nights. In the past, during select years, these attractions have also become “haunted,” with scareactors present in select locations within the rides. Roddy indicated that this is definitely a possibility for the future, “As new attractions come online, things like [the under-construction roller coaster] Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rock-It, there are great opportunities to integrate Halloween into that.” When asked specifically if Bloody Mary would make an appearance in any attractions this year, Roddy simply stated, “Let me just tease and say Bloody Mary will be present.” Only the small team that works behind the mysterious “Authorized Personnel Only” door, deep within the backlot of Universal Studios can say for sure what guests can expect to see during Halloween Horror Nights in the future. What can be guaranteed is that this team, along with hundreds of other artists, designers, and scareactors, are striving every day of the year to invent unique experiences that are sure to frighten each and every guest that encounters them.
  23. I read somewhere; I’m unsure where; that apparently they had projections of Bloody Mary and the Usher in the streets in their respective years (2008 and 2009). Could someone who remembers this tell me what these projections were like? What was shown in them?
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