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First off, I want to say "THANK YOU" to TJ Mannarino, the Director of Art & Design at Universal Orlando, for the Q&A phone interview this morning.

 

We learned quite a bit about this year's event and how it differs from years past. TJ mentioned that while many of the mazes are taken from past HHN events, visitors from those years while they will remember some of the most memorable moments will also be treated with "new" features as well. It was great to hear that they are not just "bringing back old mazes" but bringing back popular themes with a new attitude.

 

TJ offered a great amount of information regarding how the event and shows are developed. "We close the show in October, take a break for about a month, and then get right back into it." Sounds like a job many of us would like to have!

 

Universal has also been "having a lot of fun with the website this year" as they have been updating the back stories of all the characters, mazes, and really setting the atmosphere for what you'll experience during the event. (See more details below)

 

From what TJ told us, it sounds as though this event will be quite a unique experience as new-comers to Halloween Horror Nights will get to encounter some of the event's greatest characters for the first time, and the die-hard fans will get to relive some of their favorite scares!

 

Theme Park Review's Halloween Horror Nights 16 Official "Meet" will be on Thursday, October 19th. If you are interested in meeting up with us, email robbalvey@themeparkreview.com for details!

 

Official updates can be found here:

http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/

 

ORLANDO, Fla. – Guests have cringed in fear at the sight of just one. This year there are four – and there is no escape. The Storyteller, The Director, The Caretaker and Jack are coming together for the first time to wreak havoc on guests at Halloween Horror Nights 16. They will permeate the haunted houses and shows, immersing guests in the most terrifying Halloween Horror Nights in the event’s history.

 

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, the country’s largest and most elaborate Halloween celebration will return to the Universal Studios theme park for 19 select nights including Sept. 29-30, Oct. 6-8, 11-15, 19-22, 26-29, and 31.

 

“We have robbed the graves of Halloween Horror Nights past to create a new, more terrifying monster,” said TJ Mannarino, director of entertainment for Universal Orlando. “This year will be more intense and frightening than ever before, and the icons will dominate the entire event from haunted houses to shows…it’s their world.”

 

This year’s event will feature seven classic haunted houses from the past 15 years of horror with frightening new elements. New shows – including a Halloween version of Universal 360, and a new version of the popular “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” stage show will have guests writhing in fear.

 

Also this year, expect to see some frighteningly familiar scares in the streets, including the chainsaw drill team complete with precision routines and intimidating tactics, the rat lady being wheeled through the park in her coffin infested with brown rats, and zombies stalking the crowd on motorcycles, searching for the undead.

 

Seven terrifying houses will beckon guests as they navigate through Halloween Horror Nights 16:

 

Dungeon of Terror – Retold – Mysterious whispers call you deeper into the dungeon. This is the place where The Storyteller demands the undivided attention of her “guests” until her story has been told. Hint: There is no happily ever after.

 

 

Run: Hostile Territory – An underworld where guests can fulfill their most ghastly fantasies and where the innocent can be tortured, dismembered and killed. Choose your path but beware when the lights go out: the guests become the victims and nothing can save you.

 

Psychoscareapy – Maximum Madness – Shady Brook Hospital’s newest resident is about to take over. If you think you know insane, you don’t know Jack. Step inside an asylum where the big top has padded walls and the sideshow is death.

 

 

All Nite Die In – Take 2 – For The Director, film is forever but pain is everlasting. He takes you on a cinematic journey through classic horror movies. Grab your ticket and come face-to-face with film’s greatest evils.

 

 

Scream House – The Resurrection – Evil has risen again. Abandoned for years, this gothic mortuary contains the eternally tormented souls of The Caretaker’s victims. Aided by a cultish group of followers – your time has come.

 

 

Psycho Path: The Return of Norman Bates – There is vacancy once again at the legendary Bates Motel. Your eyes prove to be useless as your mind takes over and leads you through the macabre nightmares of a pathological killer named Norman Bates.

 

People Under The Stairs: Under Construction – Is it possible for a house to be haunted before it is even completed? Focusing on the group experience, rather than the individual’s, this house forces a party of guests to work together to uncover an escape route, or perish. Their destinies are not their own as they must place their faith in their leader, who is randomly selected. Wearing a lighted helmet, the leader must navigate his or her group through the black to investigate the skeletal form of a home so demented that even its incomplete walls bleed.

 

NEW 9/22/2006 - "Behind The Screams" Videos Posted:

http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/behindthescreams.html

 

See you there!

 

--Robb

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I only go to Florida during HHN to make sure I'm able to see the event. I've been to 13,14, and 15 and I should be able to make it out to this one.

 

I hope they go for that long-rumored "extreme house".

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It was basically the predecessor to the Fear Factor Show. A house you would pay more money for, but that would really be 'XTREME'! Stunts, people grabbing you, stuff to eat and thrown at you, etc.

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thats too much for me! I would get soo pissed if that stuff messed up my hair! Also has anyone heard anything about the hollywood version. Come to think of it...I haven't really heard anything about it even when it was "alive". Was it themed like orlando's or just random stuff?

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I didn't realize that much was known about the planned but failed extreme haunted house. The only thing I knew was that you would have had to wear a harness for parts of the floor that would fall out from under you, and that the scenery/actors would be only for die-hard horror fans. When you mention all that stuff, I can see how it would be a problem opening it up.

 

They should really go for at least a considerably scarier haunted house. While I love the effects and scenery of the houses, I haven't been truly scared since I first went in 2001 (XI) in the 'Pitch Black' haunted house. remember that one? Eeeeeek....

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Pitch Black was one of my all time favorite mazes!

 

From what I have heard the Hollywood version was never as good as Florida's which seems odd because they have SOOO much potential. Should be interesting to see what they come up with this year.

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I wasn't planning on going down this year (lack of vacation days and the luck of always bringing hurricanes to attack me), but if the theme is really cool, I just may have to do it for a weekend. I just hope the Express Passes aren't too much money!

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last year i wasted my money on the express pass...there was no lines for anything! I went on a thursday or friday night (cant really remember) and I used my express pass only for one house and spidey and hulk. everything else was basically a walk on and walk thru!

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I had to go on a weekend and the expresses came in handy for all but two houses (which later had lines and we got a second walk through) It's worth it if you go on a really busy day. I rember during XIII in "Ship of Screams" the line was like 2 hours, and it wasn't even the main house that year!

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I've gone the last 4 years, everytime being on a Sunday night, and the express passes the last three have come in handy everytime. At the least if you do get through a few houses early with no waits, you can use the passes to go through again. I believe that they were considerably less on Thurs and Sun nights than Fri and Sat.

 

I'm kind of curious as to which parks they are going to utilize. I liked how last years utilized not only IOA but the sound stages as well. The 2004 version just seemed way too spread out between the two parks. Not immersive at all.

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It's looking like they will use just the studios this year, which I see as a good thing. PLENTY of room for big houses. All the best ones have been on the US side...

 

Pitch Black

Scary Tales

All Nite Drive In

Scream House

Run

Nightmares...

 

...the list goes on... is it October yet?

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Yeah I don't know why, but I too am partial to the event at the Studios only. It just seemed to work so much better overthere.

 

As for the express passes, WELL WORTH IT ON ANY NIGHT!!!! It takes all the stress out of the event! You can take time to eat, take photos and video, don't have to show up early for any shows, etc. Plus when the crowds are light at first you don't use it, then get to do things multiple times!

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I wouldn't mind seeing it just on the Studios side, as I've never attended one just on that side. What other areas do they use besides the sound stages in the middle? I remember the 2004 version using the Earthquake area for the Necropolis haunt. It seems like there were others but I can't remember exactly what areas they used.

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The Sweet 16 theme sounds promising. Normally, it would be pretty corny, but this is HHN we're talking about, and they are immaculate in their presentation, so it's bound to be amazing.

 

I really loved the idea of last year's theme (matched much of my sick imagination ), but I know Universal will outdo themselves again this year.

 

Hopefully, I can visit HHN sometime soon.

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^^I think 2 years in a row they used the Kong building as a haunt, the one year it was a big foam party that you had to work your way to thru all the scaracters and stuff. Earthquake was also used another year where you actually rode Earthquake and it dropped you off elsewhere where you experienced the survivors of the earthquake. Mainly everything else was all in the adjoining soundstages, behind Beetlejuice, behind Nick Studios, etc. They also had cool scare zones between ET and T2, and all of Amity (home of the Lake from nowhere!).

 

I'll agree that I always liked it better just at the Studios, it made for more of a complete day. Do IOA during the day, haul over to the Studios so you're there for the extra hour.

 

Maybe a Sunday would work, I may end up getting a cold on a Monday this October

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I definitely think it's time for a return to USF. I need a dose of old school HHN, when it had a more realistic, in your face type feel. Less overly cheesy theatrics.

 

The only issue is the fact that IOA offers more venues for houses, and they supposedly want 8 this year. USF only ever held 5.

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I was always told that IOA was a better location because of the small paths and they can use the enviroment to make it feel like your immersed into the theme rather than just having the studio buildings around you...

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It just seems like they extend the existing theming every time it's at IOA...

 

Marvel... Industrial Wasteland

Toon... Wacky Cartoons Gone Wrong, etc.

Jurassic Park... Evil Jungle Land

Lost Continent... Evil Lost Civilization

Suess... Never did understand this one around Halloween...

 

It's hard turning an island so well-themed into something else, so to me it always seems repetitive. When you start with a neutral environment and turn it into something completely twisted, it makes i tmore interesting.

 

Just my .02

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^Yes, I don't really care for the whole idea at IOA because you can only do so many different things with the existing theme. Mutant dinos, supervillian takeover, wacky cartoon, lost animals, etc. And then they always end up using the sound stages anyway, and the walk to it from the park is unthemed, go figure.

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I agree with both sides of the IOA issue. While I really like the immersive nature of an event there, I have to agree that the themes do get repetitive. I don't see why they can't just alternate between the two parks every other year. Of course, when you use both or one and part of the other, that's that much more people and money you can bring in.

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HHN! Yay! It's never too early to start talking about Halloween. All the wonderful events throught the country. USH getting back into the picture. Knott's Scary Farm! Queen Mary Shipwreck! BGA Howl-O-Scream. MNSSHP. 6F Fright Fest! All the scary spooky creatures ready to jump out and rattle your bones! Women being allowed to explore their inner slut! It's all good!

 

Guy "Every day is Halloween if you believe." Koepp

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