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HHN 2021: The Exorcist

Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
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Jan 21, 2008
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Orlando, FL

DTH

Member
Nov 7, 2016
966
I'm excited for it! The old one is in my top 5 favorites, so if this could be 75% as good, we're in a decent space. If it matches it, amazing. If it surpasses it, then we're in for a helluva ride. I have several friends who didn't get to see the original either, so this will be great.
 
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HHNManics

Veteran Member
Jun 6, 2016
1,871
Q&A Info:

- Located in SS29.
- Same Facade as 2016.
- "Stage 29 so some adjustments for the different location." to "Alright, where's it going and is this an exact repeat of 2016's maze or are there some tweaks/changes we can expect?"
- "No...we did all the ones we wanted to do. More tweaks to layout and sequence of some of the scares." to "Will there be any new scenes?"
 
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Aug 20, 2019
111
I think the 2016 version of this maze really started the scene/blackout hallway/elevated boo-box formula for Universal and while it worked really well for this property, it's just been milked to death and is featured in literally every maze nowadays.
 

DTH

Member
Nov 7, 2016
966
It definitely needs some new surprises and scenes. If it's like La Llorona where it's 65% the same and the rest is insanely different, I'll be happy. But right now it's sounding like maybe it's 10% different at most.
 

HHNManics

Veteran Member
Jun 6, 2016
1,871
I think the 2016 version of this maze really started the scene/blackout hallway/elevated boo-box formula for Universal and while it worked really well for this property, it's just been milked to death and is featured in literally every maze nowadays.
This.

The Maze was fine but it was pretty scary at the time because of the Black Wall formula it was using and how it was using it.

There's been so many mazes over 2017 - 2019 that have been using that same formula that I don't know if this maze is gonna have the same effect it did in 2016.
 
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Clive

aka Fallow
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May 26, 2010
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The Exorcist's black wall bonanza worked because of the nature of the property and its unusual execution. It was meant to be a nightmare that took inspiration from the infamous banned trailer, which was a lot of strobing and flashes of disturbing imagery. Same principle used in Revenge of the Mummy's coaster segments with the "burn-in" effect.

And it worked! Paired with an excellent sound design, I thought The Exorcist 2016 was one of the most effective mazes I'd been through in a long time. The trouble is they saw the cost efficacy and filled the black hallway/pop scare gags in mazes where it didn't make thematic or emotional sense. Now, the effect has been dulled through repetition... so I doubt The Exorcist 2021 will have anywhere near the same impact.

It does sound like it's pretty much the same maze minus a few operational/flow adjustments. Modify your expectations accordingly.
 
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Freak

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Jan 10, 2013
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No man's land: SoCal
Also, HHNH has not had a good history with bringing back IPs and doing a better job with them. (I.e. Saw 2017 vs Saw 2009; Halloween 2009 vs Halloween 2015; Insidious 2015 vs Insidious 2017; HoTC 2010 vs HoTC 2019).
 

Spookies n' Stuff

Veteran Member
Oct 9, 2016
1,169
Also, HHNH has not had a good history with bringing back IPs and doing a better job with them. (I.e. Saw 2017 vs Saw 2009; Halloween 2009 vs Halloween 2015; Insidious 2015 vs Insidious 2017; HoTC 2010 vs HoTC 2019).
To be fair, I think you can rest assured that this won't really be comparable to those instances.
However the reason for that from what was rumored and what was said at the Q&A, is because its basically the exact same maze with a different layout.
Basically think more AVP 2015 than Insidous 2017.
 
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Spookies n' Stuff

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Oct 9, 2016
1,169
I'm still baffled as to why they picked The Exorcist to return and put in the soundstage, when it gains nothing from the expanded space. Would've been more interesting to see something like The Shining, AWIL, or Trick R Treat in the stage instead, since they all felt a little cramped.
It has a lot of recognizability for general audiences and they had a spot they needed to fill in the soundstage, it's probably as simple as that.
I would have loved to see something like Trick r Treat or Killer Klowns, or maybe even Krampus return in its place, but those undeniably arent as well known to your average person. The Shining would be the exception there, but i suppose the rights for Exorcist must've somehow been easier.
 

ChaseTuff

Veteran Member
Aug 15, 2015
1,432
It has a lot of recognizability for general audiences and they had a spot they needed to fill in the soundstage, it's probably as simple as that.
I would have loved to see something like Trick r Treat or Killer Klowns, or maybe even Krampus return in its place, but those undeniably arent as well known to your average person. The Shining would be the exception there, but i suppose the rights for Exorcist must've somehow been easier.
Considering Orlando nearly got in trouble due to, if I recall, A UK presser leaking The Shining early with Stephen King’s name in it, more than likely.
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
4,062
I'm still baffled as to why they picked The Exorcist to return and put in the soundstage, when it gains nothing from the expanded space. Would've been more interesting to see something like The Shining, AWIL, or Trick R Treat in the stage instead, since they all felt a little cramped.
It was already designed, cheap to execute, and represents a major draw to HHN's core demographics.
 

Spookies n' Stuff

Veteran Member
Oct 9, 2016
1,169
And The Shining, AWIL, Freddy vs Jason, Poltergeist, and Evil Dead don't?
The Shining allegedly has tricky rights to get in the first place, AWIL took hollywood a few years to get the first time and the puppets likely ate up a lot of the budget, Freddy and Jason are probably held back by their use in Horror Made Here, since theyre more directly owned by warner than Exorcist is, and Evil Dead is still largely a cult property. In 2017 I overheard guests time and time again asking what Ash vs Evil Dead is, pretty much the only people that knew it existed were already horror fans, or people who'd seen it. Comparatively, basically anyone who even knows what horror movies are knows The Exorcist, even if its just through cultural osmosis.
 
Jun 25, 2018
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The Shining allegedly has tricky rights to get in the first place, AWIL took hollywood a few years to get the first time and the puppets likely ate up a lot of the budget, Freddy and Jason are probably held back by their use in Horror Made Here, since theyre more directly owned by warner than Exorcist is, and Evil Dead is still largely a cult property. In 2017 I overheard guests time and time again asking what Ash vs Evil Dead is, pretty much the only people that knew it existed were already horror fans, or people who'd seen it. Comparatively, basically anyone who even knows what horror movies are knows The Exorcist, even if its just through cultural osmosis.
AWIL: Exorcist also took a few years to get, and the wolf puppets are already built and still around, given how we see them reused nearly every year at this point.

Freddy vs Jason: Exorcist was also used at Horror Made Here, so don't see the difference there.

Poltergeist: Point still stands.
 

zto8411

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Jul 5, 2019
38
Los Angeles
I remember going through this in 2016 and actually getting scared a few times in one run. Watching the POV now, it feels meh. Maybe because the way it's designed? Or maybe because I've seen the same formula used in multiple other IP's since then. The blackout scares and the Animatronics don't look great....but I do think this will benefit greatly from being in SS29. Having it be pitch black (or close to) for early entry will breathe some new life into it.
 

Spookies n' Stuff

Veteran Member
Oct 9, 2016
1,169
AWIL: Exorcist also took a few years to get, and the wolf puppets are already built and still around, given how we see them reused nearly every year at this point.

Freddy vs Jason: Exorcist was also used at Horror Made Here, so don't see the difference there.

Poltergeist: Point still stands.
Exorcist took a few years to get initially, but we can assume that they have a good working relationship with the rightsholders, which may have been improved further thanks to blumhouse working on that new sequel/reboot. As for the puppets, I haven't seen anything to indicate that they keep and reuse the same rigs, rather than rebuilding and modifying them year to year, especially since they have to make new skins for them pretty much every time anyway. Not to mention that it seemed like Landis and the AWIL rights holders were a bit more hands on with quality control and the design than the exorcist ones, which could be more effort that the corporate heads wanted since its supposed to be a quick replacement as is.
Exorcist was used in horror made here because Warner Bros distributed the movie, but they dont own the rights outright. New Line, who own freddy and jason, is a wholly WarnerMedia company.
Didn't see you initially mention poltergeist, but i think the main conflict there would be cost, since the demands of the set and creature effects were quite a bit more extreme than Exorcist, making Exorcist the cheaper option for just as much if not more than Poltergeist for public recognition.
Given Murdy's implication that this wasnt a choice made by the design team but rather the corporate heads at universal, I think you need to look at it from the perspective of what costs the least, will take the least time to build, and has the widest public recognition, rather than what would be the best recieved or best maze from an artistic perspective.