Update: I’ve added some arrows pointing out specific areas of the creatures I found within the lantern to help everyone see what I see. I’ve also included comparison photos to help visualize. Hope that helps!
Update 2: Found a few more things within the lantern this time relating to previous icons. #14 -#17 are new findings. Thanks to Bryan Kay for finding #16!
Update 3 – 7/22/10: Universal has updated the HHN Website! Some of the lantern characters found within this post are on the new characters section of the HHN website! What does this mean? Read the updated article to find out here: click here
The Lantern Analysis
This analysis may be a case of Pareidolia, but I have a feeling that all the answers to this year’s Halloween Horror Nights XX (HHN XX) might be hidden within the image of this year’s Halloween scarefest.
After spending some quality time with the teaser image of the lantern, I’ve begun to find what I think are significant details that may tell us about this year’s event theme and characters… or possibly the opposite.
What first led me to analyze the lantern was the fact that Universal had to create it from scratch. This got me thinking: if I was tasked with creating something like this , I would definitely include a few (almost undetectable) clues for those who would take the time to dissect it. And it looks like Universal loaded the HHN XX lantern with goodies galore! But you have to look very closely. “From the flickering light eerie shapes begin to take form” – literally.
Whether or not these goodies have any significance is for you to decide – but here’s what I’ve found.
Here is a breakdown (and map) of my discoveries (click picture to enlarge):
Refer to Figure:
1. This part of the lantern seems to represent a tree and roots of some sort. Personally, I think it could be an old willow tree. Notice the strange lines going through it (here is an outline of the lines). I’m still trying to figure them out and haven’t come up with anything as of this writing (if you have any idea what they could mean, feel free to add your comments below).
In any event, I believe that this tree has something to do with the icon/theme of this year’s event. After the recent leaks about scareacter roles at a willow hut, so I’m betting that this is some kind of a Willow tree. Maybe it spawns the icons/characters we’ve seen and will come to see? If so, my first thoughts on a name for the tree were Tree of Death or Tree of Darkness. I came up with the names based on The Tree of Life idea.
I did a little research on Willow trees and found this interesting fact: Willow is one of the “nine sacred trees” mentioned in Wicca and witchcraft, with several magical uses. In the Wiccan Rede, it is described as growing by water, guiding the dead to “The Summerland”, a commonly used term in Wicca to refer to the afterlife. The meaning of Summerland in wicca, is a resting ground where souls can reflect on the life they led, see if they learned the lesson they had intended on learning, and then try again in due course. Could this indicate the life of the scare icons and whether they succeeded in the scares of previous events? The Summerland is not seen as a place of judgment, but rather, as a spiritual self-evaluation where a soul is able to review its life and gain an understanding of the total impact its actions had on the world. Some may believe each particular lesson (and hence, life) is chosen and planned out by the soul itself while in Summerland, whereas others may believe that lessons are planned by an external party (deities, spirit guide, etc). (Source: Wikipedia). This sounds like a pretty awesome theme to me! It has lots of potential and a great deal of possibilities!
2. This looks to be some kind of a creature holding on to the lantern. I haven’t figured it out yet, but could it be an animal?
3. This looks like a bull-headed creature, possibly the same creatures we’ve seen in past events. Possibly the Darkness character? Seen at previous events including HHN10′s “Shadows of the past” scarezone section.
4. This definitely looks like Wolfman! It looks more like Wolfman classic rather than the new Wolfman, but even without blowing up the image, you can see the face of Wolfman on the side of the lantern.
5. This looks to be a girl’s face (possibly Bloody Mary?). I know that Universal didn’t renew their license to reuse Bloody Mary this year, so I’m not sure what this reference, if there is one, could mean. Update: After looking at some photos, this also looks like it could be Cindy.
Concept art of Cindy and Caretaker created by Orlando based artist: Lazaro Gomez ( Sinister )
6. This is very obvious – it reads XX, which is the number 20 in Roman numerals, and refers to the twentieth anniversary of HHN. This is another reason why I took the time to analyze the lantern, since it’s almost a clue to give the lantern a more detailed look.
7. To me, this looks like a mummy – a rather happy mummy, but a mummy nonetheless.
8. Jack the clown! It even has a red nose! As we know, in last year’s “Shadows of the past” scarezone section, jack was seen. This could mean that this is one of the icon’s for this year.
9. This one is obviously the number 20 with a set of spooky eyes above the 0. It’s pretty obvious, since it refers to the twentieth anniversary of HHN.
10. Looks like a rabbit. Maybe a character from fractured tales?
11. This is a cross between The Thing or a distorted-looking Frankenstein.
12. This looks like character faces, but I can’t really picture anything specifically. What do you think?
14. This looks like the Usher’s flashlight. Also seen at the “Shadows of the past” scarezone section at HHN19
15. This looks like the Storyteller’s glasses. Possibly another icon clue for this year.
16. Thanks goes to Bryan Key for finding this one. This looks like “the Rat” character.
17. This looks like it could represent the Caretaker’s watch. Yet another possible icon clue for this year’s event. Also seen at the “Shadows of the past” scarezone section at HHN19.
What’s it all mean?
Well, it could mean a lot, but it’s good to have a little more insight into this mysterious lantern.
1. It could mean that we can expect to see these characters at HHN XX.
2. It could also mean that the willow tree has sent all these characters to their Summerland and now a new era of darkness begins, meaning that we can expect to see a whole new event with an entirely new cast of characters and icons. In other words, this would signify leaving the past behind.
3. It could mean we may have found the icon’s for this year’s reunion event: Jack, The Storyteller, The Caretaker, The Usher… Possibly more that we might not have found within the lantern yet.
4. It could mean nothing at all.
If we think of the tree as having roots, seeing old characters beneath it could simply mean that this is the foundation for this year’s event, as you could read in the headline on the teaser HHN website - the Ultimate terror built upon nineteen years’ worth of ghoulish creatures and nightmarish frights.
What we need to do now is figure out what it all means. I will need some help from fellow HHN fanatics to get this case fully cracked, so be sure to comment.
Remember: everyone sees and interprets these clues differently, so if you see something differently or have found something that I missed, please add your thoughts to the comments below!