Friday, August 27, 2010

Halloween Horror Nights plans: Face Fear at Universal Studios

Universal Studios officials continue to drop a clues about its upcoming 20th edition of Halloween Horror Nights. In a conference call late Thursday afternoon, creative minds behind the event talked about Fear, an “all-encompassing” character that we’ll be seeing more and more of (check out its mouth on billboards on Interstate 4 already).

Rather than revive one of the HHN icons of the past two decades, Universal went with a fresh creation, but one that, theoretically, has been present each year.

“Fear has always been here. Fear is what we create every year, and fear has been an element in whatever character environment we create,” says show director Mike Aiello. “So for us, fear became, basically, our character that is going to come to life this year.”

We will be seeing more of Fear — not just the mouth — bit by bit, Universal says, and Fear will be something seen in the theme park during the event, which kicks off Sept. 24.

Also different this year is the lack of “outside” intellectual properties, such as Chucky or the “Saw” series.

“We decided that Halloween Horror Nights itself is a strong enough tradition that we didn’t need to go outside this year,” says T.J. Mannarino, director of art and design. “We wanted everything to be in-house.”

Other tidbits:

+ One of the haunted houses will have an element of humor. ”There is one house that has more of a comedic tone to it,” Aiello says. “But it’s not the house you’re thinking of. I’m not going to say which one.”

+ A storyline within “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” will be that Bill and Ted are being replaced (in the story, not in the HHN scheme of things).

+ Although Rocky Horror is not part of the 2010 event, it could be revived in the future. “This year we felt being all-new, Rocky Horror was going to be something we felt might come back in a few years.” Mannarino says. “It might not. It really depends on what we feel is best for our audience and for our mix of content.”

+ Characters of the past will be integrated into a haunted house and a scare zone. Which characters? Yep, they wouldn’t say – wouldn’t even eliminate any from the list of possibilities. Stay tuned.

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