Halloween Horror Nights 29 General Discussion

Apr 7, 2019
359
Does anybody know if it’s possible to buy the blinky cup without the alcohol? I won’t be 21 till the end of October and I really want all of the cups!
 

JungleSkip

Premium Member
Feb 15, 2010
19,800
The Mushroom Kingdom
Would love to hear from HHN insiders as to how Orlando somehow failed to get a Scoops Ahoy-themed location in the park for the event

Does anybody know if it’s possible to buy the blinky cup without the alcohol? I won’t be 21 till the end of October and I really want all of the cups!
Pretty sure they’ll serve you whatever in them.
 

Campster

Newcomer
Sep 11, 2018
7
I’m dipping my toe into this briefly, but I’ve seen a lot of “if you’re not into scary things or jump scares this is the year for you” comments online. While I know this was stated in a constructive and positive way to get new people to the event I wonder for those here if they’ve noticed a drop off in “scary” vs other years. Is it being over stated? Only applicable to ST/Ghost?
I kind of mentioned this in the Hellbilly Deluxe scarezone thread, but it really feels like there's a tension this year between the old HHN and the new. Or maybe that that tension's been there for a while, but it's kind of coming to a head. And bear in mind I'm not really advocating for either/or! It's just something I've observed that's happening.

Like, old school HHN had a grime and sleaze about it. It was more squarely aimed at 20-somethings who would never go to MNSSHP: It emphasized sexy half-naked dancing of both sexes at Bill and Ted's, and it sloshed booze around left and right via jell-o shot nurses and full bars spread throughout the park, it embraced blaring heavy metal and later offputting dubstep, it had haunts full of dead bodies and squirty gore, it licensed z-grade slasher films full of torture scenes to line its houses. Heck, as recently as last year they had Chucky out making fun of guests via an insult comic.

But as time's gone on it feels like HHN has moved away from that. Again, this isn't a judgement call (I'm sure people will argue for the old or new ways just as fervently) but more just an observation. Increasingly it seems that HHN has aimed at a sort of PG-13 family friendly approach to horror. It's cleaner, with bigger and more accessible IPs and less exploitation-y baggage. It's less "sexy dancers and heavy metal" than "saleable monster iconography and electronica." Less "mosh pit" and more "Halloween party." Jell-o shot nurses got replaced with popcorn nurses, then disappeared altogether. Sexy dancing in Bill & Ted gave way to AOV (which is also amazingly awesome, but again, different). Blood-soaked slogans like "True Fear Comes from Within" and "All Jack'd Up" gave way to clean retro-styled slogans like "Maximum Screamage."

And again, there's pros and cons to this! A more family friendly, accessible event is *not* automatically a bad thing! Getting kids hooked on horror is good, having the event be a big success so they can dump more money into production values is good, casting a wider net so we get food options and specialty beverages and merch is all good! Making the event a big tent event is not automatically bad! But it is a _different_ thing than longtime fans are probably expecting because a big tent means shaving off a lot of the offputting b-horror edges some fans expect. And this year you can feel that divide *really* sharply, with various IP houses (namely Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, and Killer Klowns) getting the primary marketing and merch push and having a very different tone than the grimier bits of the event. You can see it in people complaining that Stranger Things or Ghostbusters are too not-scary, while other people insist a certain scene in Depths of Fear goes too far. Hellbilly Deluxe and HOTC start to stick out really awkwardly when other IP holders refuse to be associated with them. There is, in short, a friction between the new style and old style of stuff this year, and it's super apparent.

What I'm interested in, more than anything, is how Universal decides to solve this identity crisis - is HHN going to be the PG-13 Halloween party it's slowly becoming, or are they going to run out of accessible IPs to grab a big tent audience with and retreat to a more exploitation/grindhouse/horror focused patronage over time? Are they embracing a moment of cultural tension where horror has entered the pop culture lexicon (however temporarily) or is this a fundamentally new direction for the event?

Regardless, I don't think it's a "scary/not scary" divide. Both Stranger Things and Ghostbusters as houses have plenty of jumps. The question is really the tone of the house and the content surrounding the jumps - is it enough for a house to be scary by having a Ghostbuster jump out and say a line from a movie, or do you need a dark room coated in gore and blood that has a monster come out and scream to make that same jump "scary?"
 
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Apr 7, 2019
359
I kind of mentioned this in the Hellbilly Deluxe scarezone thread, but it really feels like there's a tension this year between the old HHN and the new. Or maybe that that tension's been there for a while, but it's kind of coming to a head. And bear in mind I'm not really advocating for either/or! It's just something I've observed that's happening.

Like, old school HHN had a grime and sleaze about it. It was more squarely aimed at 20-somethings who would never go to MNSSHP: It emphasized sexy half-naked dancing of both sexes at Bill and Ted's, and it sloshed booze around left and right via jell-o shot nurses and full bars spread throughout the park, it embraced blaring heavy metal and later offputting dubstep, it had haunts full of dead bodies and squirty gore, it licensed z-grade slasher films full of torture scenes to line its houses. Heck, as recently as last year they had Chucky out making fun of guests via an insult comic.

But as time's gone on it feels like HHN has moved away from that. Again, this isn't a judgement call (I'm sure people will argue for the old or new ways just as fervently) but more just an observation. Increasingly it seems that HHN has aimed at a sort of PG-13 family friendly approach to horror. It's cleaner, with bigger and more accessible IPs and less exploitation-y baggage. It's less "sexy dancers and heavy metal" than "saleable monster iconography and electronica." Less "mosh pit" and more "Halloween party." Jell-o shot nurses got replaced with popcorn nurses, then disappeared altogether. Sexy dancing in Bill & Ted gave way to AOV (which is also amazingly awesome, but again, different). Blood-soaked slogans like "True Fear Comes from Within" and "All Jack'd Up" gave way to clean retro-styled slogans like "Maximum Screamage."

And again, there's pros and cons to this! A more family friendly, accessible event is *not* automatically a bad thing! Getting kids hooked on horror is good, having the event be a big success so they can dump more money into production values is good, casting a wider net so we get food options and specialty beverages and merch is all good! Making the event a big tent event is not automatically bad! But it is a _different_ thing than longtime fans are probably expecting because a big tent means shaving off a lot of the offputting b-horror edges some fans expect. And this year you can feel that divide *really* sharply, with various IP houses (namely Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, and Killer Klowns) getting the primary marketing and merch push and having a very different tone than the grimier bits of the event. You can see it in people complaining that Strange Things or Ghostbusters are too not-scary, while other people insist a certain scene in Depths of Fear goes too far. Hellbilly Deluxe and HOTC start to stick out really awkwardly when other IP holders refuse to be associated with them. There is, in short, a friction between the new style and old style of stuff this year, and it's super apparent.

What I'm interested in, more than anything, is how Universal decides to solve this identity crisis - is HHN going to be the PG-13 Halloween party it's slowly becoming, or are they going to run out of accessible IPs to grab a big tent audience with and retreat to a more exploitation/grindhouse/horror focused patronage over time? Are they embracing a moment of cultural tension where horror has entered the pop culture lexicon (however temporarily) or is this a fundamentally new direction for the event?

Regardless, I don't think it's a "scary/not scary" divide. Both Stranger Things and Ghostbusters as houses have plenty of jumps. The question is really the tone of the house and the content surrounding the jumps - is it enough for a house to be scary by having a Ghostbuster jump out and say a line from a movie, or do you need a dark room coated in gore and blood that has a mosnter come out and scream to make that same jump "scary?"
I was just telling my friend this the other weekend! Last year was our first year actually attending but we always watched house scarezones videos since HHN 19 and last year we felt it had more of a fun Halloween vibe then we expected. Then this year it was like a perfect 50/50 of old school hhn and new school hhn! Honestly I would love to see them consistently keep up the perfect 50/50 fun for everybody that way and the event can continue to grow!
 

redy2468

Rookie
May 6, 2012
269
They probably realized putting Scoops Ahoy in Schwab's (in the middle of a scare zone and far away from the maze itself) would not be ideal.
What’s weird though is they converted the arcade at the exit of the mummy into the Palace Arcade complete with old games. While it isn’t that far away from Stranger Things it’s still kind of out of place and in the middle of a scare zone. So it’s not like they were afraid to put a Stranger Things location in the middle of an unrelated Scare Zone. If it where to come down between the two I would much prefer Scoops Ahoy and I think that’s the general consensus of fans. You can’t go ten feet at the event without seeing someone in a Scoops Ahoy sailor cap.
 
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OhHaiInternet95

Veteran Member
Aug 18, 2017
2,043
Yeah. I disagree with him on Yeti, but I think he has a point. Keep in mind, not sure how many of the back houses he saw, we only hit Graveyard Saturday.



It's definitely an event with a split personality when you have the not-that-scary Halloween party houses up front but a zone with strippers and a Dominatrix and a house
with a dead dog
in the rear. Almost akin to the back room in an 80s video store--maybe that's the vibe they were going for?
I can jive with a little variety. IIRC, Legacy did say back in March or April that half the event would take a more family friendly direction while the other half would go the opposite. While I've only been once, the three tent houses provided a level of grisliness that was sorely missing last year IMO. None of the original houses felt family friendly or tame.

Hope if they have to increase the house count, it's by just one. I would prefer it to stay the same, of course.
 
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ssirin88

Newcomer
Sep 9, 2019
44
Never been to USH, is this a co-branded location? Educated shot-in-the-dark, but thinking maybe in Orlando Ben & Jerrys doesn't want to cover up their brand with an IP associated with a top competitor.
Probably the exact reasoning. Scoops Ahoy is associated with Baskin Robbins
 
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Joe

aka TestTrack321
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 15, 2012
11,058
Pittsburgh, PA
I can jive with a little variety. IIRC, Legacy did say back in March or April that half the event would take a more family friendly direction while the other half would go the opposite. While I've only been once, the three tent houses provided a level of grisliness that was sorely missing last year IMO. None of the original houses felt family friendly or tame.

Hope if they have to increase the house count, it's by just one. I would prefer it to stay the same, of course.
Pretty sure he didn’t say anything like that. But I’ll let him speak @Legacy
 

Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
5,235
Pretty sure he didn’t say anything like that. But I’ll let him speak @Legacy
If I did, it would've been speculative based on the house lineup I had at the time. It wasn't something I was told.

I think a lot of these discussions about a family-friendly HHN and the event "softening" stem from a lack of understanding about what the core purpose has always been, and its history.

Saying something like "the event is becoming PG-13" really highlights that misunderstanding; the event was ALWAYS PG-13. Middle and high schoolers have always gone in droves. But what happens--and people always forget this--is that when you're in a crowd of adults, kids stand out. Regardless of where you are, this happens.

It's also important to think about how the event itself has matured. A lot of the "grittiness" that people cling to from the aughts and earlier came from a haphazard, "wouldn't it be gnarly if we did this"/"throw more blood at it" design philosophy. It wasn't until 2005 they even started putting their cabling to light the houses in runners (to get the houses into code). And while there's still a market for that sort of creative aesthetic, that wasn't what HHN has ever been for.

When HHN started in 1991, the only haunt in Central Florida was obstensibly Terror on Church Street. There wasn't a seasonal haunt. From a business sense, it was an opportunity for Universal to become a market driver when they needed something to help them stand out. And it worked. Now, not only is HHN a market driver in Central Florida it's a market leader internationally. The only way it could continue to do that is by providing a product no one else can provide: and they've chosen polish.

To make it a metaphor, if haunts were cell phones then HHN in Orlando is the iPhone. Everyone else is an Android.

Universal's design style now is based on narrative necessity and proven concepts, similar to how Apple rarely puts unproven tech in their products. This is different than other haunts who use every trick they have available. Someone asked where the spinning tunnel is. They're not using it because the houses they're building don't need it. The "not scary" houses exists to continue driving the market, and setting a "premium" standard by doing something no one else can do.

Gritty houses have their place, and will continue to exists. Universal is decades past that.
 
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Tbad556

Veteran Member
Aug 17, 2009
5,698
Orlando, FL
Spot on, @Legacy (also, appreciate the context on my tunnel question). I feel like a lot of this discussion has a misplaced sense of history surrounding the event, haunts in general, and debatably even the genre of horror itself.

This event is an ever-changing machine and it's weird to even try to think of it as something that was always adult-heavy entertainment for 20 years and just in the past decade or so suddenly became a kid-friendly event. This event had a parade for 5 years of its existence (HHN 7-10 & HHN14). Every event from 1991-2007 had several of the kids rides open (Hanna Barbera, Shrek 4D, Jimmy Neutron, Seuss attractions, etc). Ghostbusters Spooktacular was even open for at least 2 years of HHN, so you could even say this isn't the first time we've seen them at the event. We've seen slashers, paranormal, dark comedy, light comedy, B-movies, creature films, classics, zombies, toys/dolls, etc. throughout the years. We've had originals and IPs since literally the beginnings of the event. We've had houses starring the Universal Monsters since at least HHN 5. We've had "tamer properties" such as Fear Factor getting houses since at least HHN 12.

I don't think there's any real reason to fear a drastic shift towards a more PG environment simply because the theme of the past two years has been '80s heavy with Stranger Things (which a lot of people choose to view as a kids property despite it being a great horror show with a surprising amount of gore) leading the pack. Let's not forget that we had how many years of TWD dominating the parks. The event shifts. If they want to shift to an '80s theme for two years, I'm game! The '80s had a lot going for it with horror (especially the first half of the decade) and not everything in horror is going to be aiming for maximum frights. It's a diverse genre and this is a diverse event.

I've said it before, but the event has only grown throughout the years. If we get a few more "fun" houses now, so what? We also have more houses period. The numbers still tend to even out. There's something for everyone at the event just like there's something for everyone in the genre.
 
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Brad

Newcomer
Apr 14, 2016
76
Atlanta, Ga.
Random question - but how have the setups been for the parade / new parade building houses?

Last year was a mess with the insanely long exit routes and congestion. Has that been adjusted? It honestly kept us from doing Seeds and Trick-R-Treat as much as the others.
 
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