ORLANDO – While many Halloween haunts remain steadfast in keeping the same themed trails year over year, the creative team at Universal Orlando has spent the last 25 years redefining the blurred lines of haunted houses and scare zones – and the 2016 edition of Halloween Horror Nights was no different.
Celebrating its 26th anniversary as one of the top Halloween attractions in the world, Universal Orlando HHN Creative Director Mike Aiello and his real life pack of the walking dead created their own version of monster mayhem, celebrating some of the all-time best horror properties, while throwing in a few unique themes of their own, including this year’s monster of ceremonies Chance – the female sidekick of HHN’s original ringmaster, Jack the Clown.
Unlike local and regional Halloween events where storylines are unique but the trails/haunts all look and feel the same, Halloween Horror Nights has just about the full catalogue of horror movies and TV shows at its’ disposal to put on an award-winning “freak show” each year. The 2016 edition might have been the most “star-studded” event to date.
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Highlighting the monster stories of Michael Myers from Halloween (in this case the sequel – Halloween 2), Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Demon from The Exorcist, HHN26 took fans from all generations on a visual historic tour of horror films. Throw in the highlight-reel styles haunts from two of the all-time best horror television series - The Walking Dead and American Horror Stories – and guests of the gargantuan-sized Halloween party saw their lives flash before their eyes while turning the corners of each house.
The Halloween Horror Nights 26 lineup featured nine haunted houses (including three original concepts), four scare zones and two stage shows each designed to send your mind into the worst nightmare someone could possibly have.
Easily the most unique aspect of HHN that sets it apart from every other Halloween event in the country is the makeup of the event itself. Each step in all nine houses and four scare zones takes your body on a mythological roller coaster of emotions. The movie-quality sets make it feel like you’re actually a part of the house. Throw in the tremendous details of stage lighting and smells unique to the scene and guests might feel like they’ll never escape the nightmare.
For example, in The Exorcist house, guests walk through a maze of green-stained white bed sheets and strobe lights designed to make a play on the movie’s famous pea soup scene.
Halloween Horror Nights premieres at Universal Studios Florida (as well as other Universal theme parks around the world) in the middle of September and continues its scares until Halloween. The event requires a separate admission ticket and is only recommended for people 13 and over. For more information, go to HalloweenHorrorNights.com.