Being a hardcore fan of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights, I jumped at the chance to reveal all the sinister original content arising from the twisted minds of Universal’s Entertainment team. Here are all the details on the three terrifying houses, five killer scare zones and two outrageous live shows.
Lunatics Playground 3D – You Won’t Stand A Chance
While Jack’s away, Chance has unleashed the horrors of her imagination. Her twisted delusions and reality are continuously blurred in a 3D playground of carnage. When the music box plays, the world shifts to her sinister theatre of the mind. But when the alarm starts ringing, Chance is thrown back into the brutal reality of her incarceration.
Ghost Town – The Curse of Lightning Gulch
When lightning strikes, the curse of Lightning Gulch comes to life and this ghostly town appears. These doomed souls—who once went searching for gold—found death and destruction. And now they seek others to join them. As thunder cracks, flashes of lightning will lead your way through this treacherous wild west nightmare. Good luck!
Tomb of the Ancients
An ancient evil has surfaced and immortal beings from the past have returned to rule mankind. It was only a matter of time until “The Ancient Ones” were unearthed. Now these makers of chaos are loose from the pits of hell—and the whole world will pay.
• Survive or Die
– A global catastrophe has ruined Earth’s atmosphere. One group of survivors secured a machine that provides clean air. The two other surviving groups are on the hunt to gain control of the machine and are recruiting new members to help them. You can either join them or feed their staving ranks. Which will you choose?
• Banshee’s Lair
– Travel deep into the forest where evil spirits and horrific creatures of the ancient world roam free. Mother Nature’s magical barrier of vines has been torn away and the modern world has found the entrance to this corrupted grave.
• Dead Man’s Wharf
– When a fishing vessel named Annabel Lee never returned to the harbor and was lost forever, the wharf was left uninhabited as a memorial to her. Now, a strange fog has rolled into the village. And the long-lost fishermen’s spirits seek to punish the town that left them.
• Vamp 1955
– Welcome to Hollywood High School’s 1955 Homecoming Parade. Everything is in place, until the greasers roll into town with fangs instead of switchblades. It’s a procession of chaos with vampires ready to take a bite out of anyone in sight.
• A Chance In Hell
– Get ready for the audition of a lifetime. Chance may be locked away, but that hasn’t stopped her. As the alarms ring and the bloody remains of those who tried to stop her lie around, she’s busy recruiting cellmates to join her biggest act yet. (I hope I get chosen!)
And we can’t forget about the two spine-chilling shows this year:
• Academy of Villains: House of Fear
– Join this high energy performance troupe of inmates in an explosion of insanity that will thrust you into a realm of mayhem and maniacal terror featuring dance and specialty acts. The Show Must Go On!
• Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure
– No Halloween Horror Nights would be complete with these “excellent” dudes! The Wyld Stallyns return with an all-new Halloween adventure.
I was able to lurk around the dark alleys of Universal Studios Florida to get a peek at a few of this year’s houses with Show Director, Charles Gray and streets with Blake Braswell to pick their brains about this year’s original content.
What are some of your favorite parts of this year’s original houses?
I really like them all. For Tomb of the Ancients, we’ve taken it to the next level, adding a claustrophobic feel with tight corridors and some really cool scenic and decor. For Ghost Town – The Curse of Lightning Gulch, it’s the kind of place I would wanna play in if I was a little kid. It’s authentic! From the store fronts to the piano in the bar everything has a really unique look. Lunatics Playground 3D – You Won’t Stand A Chance is my favorite story, where you go from the real world to the 3D theatre of her mind. We are setting up the stage for her story through the facade starting from where last year's "Carnage Returns" ended to where her story picks up.
And what about some highlights from the scare zones as well?
Banshee’s Lair really has that traditional Halloween feel with a Celtic influence. There is a nice nod to Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee” in Dead Man’s Wharf and some really cool 1950’s music in Vamp 1955. The costumes are really unique in A Chance in Hell, where Chance’s inmates that worship her take whatever they can find and use those things to look like her.
How has Chance’s split personality led to her first stand-alone house, Lunactics Playground 3D – You Won’t Stand A Chance?
With this house, we’re taking the opportunity to tell the story of Chance. Everything that is happening in her mind is happening in the real world, we’re just seeing it all through her eyes. For example, Chance and her band of misfits have killed victims by chopping them up and tying them back together to look like marionettes. We’ll see that reality, but we’ll also see what it looks like in her head. The duel realities of Chance are really highlighted in this house.
The house that really tickled my fancy this year was the Tomb of the Ancients. Can you tell me about the mythology inspiration and what ancient evils have arose?
We’re all very much history buffs here. From South American, Asian and Egyptian cultures, we’ve created a world that mixes of a lot of different cultural mythologies. My favorite creature that guests will encounter is the Amut, which has the face of a crocodile with the mane and front paws of a lion.
For fans of Chance, where will guests be able to see her at this year’s event?
Chance’s story will pick up right where last year left off. In the Lunatics Playground 3D – You Won’t Stand A Chance house, she breaks out and then the madness will carry over to A Chance In Hell!
When did you guys start developing the original content for this year’s event?
Actually, we started during the event last year. We tossed a lot of ideas around and then formed a lot of the houses directly afterwards.
This year’s killer line up is not complete. There is one more house yet to be unveiled and it’s just HORRIFIC! Till then, grab your tickets
and start the countdown for opening night. Hope to see each and every one of you out there.