Believe it or not, it’s only a little more than 3 months before Halloween Horror Nights opens its doors to the public at Universal Orlando. As of this writing, there have been three houses announced and, as it’s been about a month since the last house was announced, it seems like we should be due for another announcement any moment now. Here’s what we know so far and what the rumor mill has been churning out as we wait for more details.
Stranger Things Is Back
Most people assumed this would be the case with the HHN 28 house being so popular that it was opened for a last hurrah daylight hours tour to the general public. Personally, I loved last year’s house, getting a good run by doing Stay and Scream and hitting the house as it first opened. The Demogorgons were on point, jumping out and opening their maw right in my face as I passed through the house. The set design was also top notch, making you feel as if you had genuinely stepped into Hawkins, Indiana in 1984.
The artwork and marketing copy for HHN 29’s house promises this house will follow the storyline of season two, so look for Demodogs, the Mind Flayer and more scenes in Hawkins Laboratory this time around. Prediction: We’ll get a scene that has us walk through the old school bus on the bone yard with a puppeteered Demodog trying to grab us through the roof of the bus.
Original House Is Named – Nightingales: Blood Pit
The first original house announced for HHN 29 is Nightingales: Blood Pit. Drawing from HHN past lore, the Nightingales made their debut at HHN 21. These supernatural shapeshifting creatures feed on the blood of the dead and wounded and in their HHN 21 house, Nightingales: Blood Prey, they feasted on the wounded and dying soldiers on a World War I battlefield.
This time, they’ll enter the gladiatorial arena of Ancient Rome. Look for a truly claustrophobic experience as you enter the pits of the arena while the Nightingales feast on the dying gladiators.
The Universal Monsters Come Home
Personally, I am over the moon about this announcement. The second IP house for this year is Universal’s own resident Monsters. The marketing material promises encounters with Dracula in his home castle, the Wolfman in a Bavarian forest and a trip to Dr. Frankenstein’s lab as well as encounters with the Creature of the Black Lagoon and the Mummy. Though they’re not mentioned in the marketing copy, there are small silhouettes in the background of the promo art that also suggest the Bride of Frankenstein, the Phantom of the Opera, Igor and possibly even the Invisible Man in all his costumed glory might also make appearances.
So that’s what we know for sure. But what about the rumors? I’ll go over the biggest.
Will HHN 29 Make the Call?
There’s been a LOT of buzz around a potential Ghostbusters house for months now, with someone even contacting me privately and assuring me it’s a done deal. Since I can’t verify that source, that’s a firm rumor and nothing more. However, each year, HHN fans get their hands on a list of “code names” the developers use as they work on the houses for that year’s HHN. The code names are usually one word and vaguely reference the houses they’re working on without giving it away completely to anyone who gets their hands on the list (as they always do). This year, there’s an interesting code name on the list: Hysteria.
I’m a huge Ghostbusters fan. The original. The Real Ghostbusters animated series. The Answer the Call film from 2016. But there is nothing I love more than the original 1984 film starring the original Fab Four. It’s a hallmark of my childhood and is a movie I can pretty much quote while I’m watching it.
One of the most memorable lines is that of Peter Venkman attempting to convince the mayor of NYC of the potential catastrophic problem they have on their hands. How does he describe it?
“Human sacrifice. Dogs and Cats living together. Mass HYSTERIA.”
Could be a complete coincidence, but knowing the long history of Universal Studios Orlando and the Ghostbusters, along with all the buzz surrounding this one, I’m saying there’s a good chance there will be a Ghostbusters house at HHN 29.
The worry some HHN fans have is that it won’t be scary. I can almost bet that it will not be as scary as Blood Pit or Monsters. However, anyone who is familiar with the animated series knows that they have a huge roster of big bads to use in the house, including Cthulhu himself. Look for a fun house with lots of jump scares and calls to nostalgia. I’m here for it.
Killer Klowns in the House?
HHN fans fell in love with the Klowns last year at their scare zone located in the New York area facing the lagoon. With the combined love of the scare zone last year and a code name for a house, Cotton, there’s a good chance we will see a Killer Klowns house much as we saw a Trick R Treat house after the success of the scare zone the year before.
Why cotton? If you remember, the Killer Klowns “stored” their victims in cotton candy “pods,” which were also present in the scare zone. The questions is: how will this house play to visitors? The scare zone itself was more “fun” than “scary,” but given that I had some friends refuse to look at my photos of the Klowns, there’s a good chance that enough people will find this scary that it will “work.”
House of 1000 Corpses…House?
Here’s another house that’s rumored and seems to coincide with the code name “chicken.” If this is indeed a done deal, it will likely be the fifth and final IP house for the year, leaving four original houses to be announced.
The rumors of possible themes and scare zones are pretty thin at this point. As for original houses, that too is up in the air, though rumors of a “
For reference, these are the Orlando house code names for HHN 29 with the ones we have confirmed mentioned as likely being the coordinating house in parentheses:
- Dog (Stranger Things)
- Pit (Nightingale: Blood Pit)
- Onyx (Universal Monsters)
What are you most looking forward to this year at HHN 29?