HHN 30: Puppet Theater: Captive Audience | Inside Universal Forums
  • Signing up for a Premium Membership is a donation to help Inside Universal maintain costs and offers an ad-free experience on the forum. Learn more about it here.

HHN 30: Puppet Theater: Captive Audience

Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Administrator
V.I.P.
Jan 21, 2008
22,171
Orlando, FL
We're at this weird spot with how to handle threads because everything is so out of whack this year - but traditionally, we always had a dedicated thread to a house announcement, and since they're confirming this will be a house at HHN 30/2021, we will make it an official thread.

The Halloween Horror Nights hype train for 2021 is underway as Universal Orlando gave us a behind-the-scenes look at one of the houses that will be featured next year, Puppet Theater: Captive Audience.

 

HHNSK

Rookie
Aug 17, 2017
146
I’m very happy they took the time to put this together. It’s a small thing, but in a year defined by terrible loss, dysfunction and day after day disappointment this truly is a breath of fresh air.

Yes, business decisions and the pandemic will guide what happens in 2021 and its way too far off to know what that will definitively look like. But having this video, right now, gives us all something tangible to look forward to instead of constantly looking in the rear view mirror. Really can’t say how much I appreciate being able to dream of entering the fog next September.

.... and the house looks freaking amazing!

Bravo Universal!
 

uso345

Rookie
May 31, 2019
177
The glimpses that we got of the house looked spectacular! When there were rumblings of possible scenes in the house, I didn't know how in the world they would pull it off, but it looks like they managed to do so! Also obviously love puppetry being a big and integral element to the house. As a theatre kid who absolutely LOVED Legacy's Shakespeare concept, I am so looking forward to this house!
 
  • Like
Reactions: HHNSK

HHNManics

Veteran Member
Jun 6, 2016
1,935
This house looks really unique! The character and costume designs look super creepy and some of the triggers shown in the video were great. The set design is absolutely gorgeous and the maze looks massive. Definitely looking forward to this
 
  • Like
Reactions: OhHaiInternet95

PenguinCowboy

Rookie
May 14, 2018
194
Not to reduce the design process to a simple "drag and drop" (I know from just my own design work it definitely is never that simple, haha) but I can imagine after designing so many mazes, certain successful room shapes, layouts, and designs do emerge as tried and true.

I say this because the collapsed room in Scarecrow, the gladiator arena from Nightengales (it was waaaay taller than it first seemed, as seen on the Unmasking tour), and now this theater seem to all share a similar vertical footprint. I wouldn't be surprised if they were able to work with the design and tweak it into all three layouts. It looks absolutely gorgeous!
 

Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
8,981
Not to reduce the design process to a simple "drag and drop" (I know from just my own design work it definitely is never that simple, haha) but I can imagine after designing so many mazes, certain successful room shapes, layouts, and designs do emerge as tried and true.

I say this because the collapsed room in Scarecrow, the gladiator arena from Nightengales (it was waaaay taller than it first seemed, as seen on the Unmasking tour), and now this theater seem to all share a similar vertical footprint. I wouldn't be surprised if they were able to work with the design and tweak it into all three layouts. It looks absolutely gorgeous!
Nightingales and Puppet have very different layouts.
 

ThemeParks4Life

Veteran Member
Nov 15, 2012
4,410
NYC
This looks like it has everything I want from a house between a variety of scares/characters and great sets. I can't wait to check it out next year
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
4,386
Nightingales and Puppet have very different layouts.
In fairness to their point, though, Sprung tents have reused layouts before. Wasn't Clown-O-Vision > Dead Exposure > HAVOC all one layout reskinned, or am I misremembering?

House of Horrors in 2012 also reused a bunch of individual scene layouts that had been deployed before, but those were extraordinary circumstances.
 

MrBlonde

Contributing Member
Aug 7, 2018
626
I wish they would keep doing videos like this every year. I know I'm not the only one who thinks so.
I'd literally watch a documentary on the full process of designing their houses every year. Kinda like how Hard Knocks is on HBO every season with a different team to get people excited for football season, but do 1 original house a year and show how things are made and tease it out over the weeks.
 

Tobias

Veteran Member
Feb 25, 2014
1,820
Considering the extraordinary circumstances and that it'll be close to a year before seeing the house, I bit the bullet and saw the video. I'm honestly glad I did since I am loving what was shown! The costumes are both creepy and clever, and it looks like there's a bunch of little touches which I can appreciate. I got really excited when this popped up in the rumors, and this looks like it's gonna' push all the right buttons for me...as well as get under my skin.

Also, in the case of "You can't make this up!", next year I may be taking part in a large puppet show production so hoo boy...this could be a fun one to go through on a personal level. XD

I do want to say, when discussing what they managed to cram into a tent, the paths are very tight in areas. This is one of those clever houses that varies the scale pretty drastically from scene to scene.
So watching the video, is it safe to assume Charles designed this house? An correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he also do Carnival Graveyard? If yes on both, I'm really looking forward to it! I loved how twisted and creative the layout was for CG, so from a designer aspect I'm eager to see how he really plays with a Sprung layout and what he's shoehorned in.
 

Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
8,981
In fairness to their point, though, Sprung tents have reused layouts before. Wasn't Clown-O-Vision > Dead Exposure > HAVOC all one layout reskinned, or am I misremembering?

House of Horrors in 2012 also reused a bunch of individual scene layouts that had been deployed before, but those were extraordinary circumstances.
Oh, they definitely reuse scenes and have repainted standing houses (Spawning to Havoc). The sprungs are a little more restricted in the way they can design because they have one entrance and one exit available. So, there are often a lot of similarities in the broadest general sense.

The varied scale of the scenes in Puppet make it a bit different from the various other layouts I’ve seen in that tent. Weirdly, it’s a bit closer to the Catacombs layout than Nightingales. But, again, with far more variations in scale.

Both of the sprungs are really challenging the expectations of how much you can fit in those locations.
 

PenguinCowboy

Rookie
May 14, 2018
194
Oh, they definitely reuse scenes and have repainted standing houses (Spawning to Havoc). The sprungs are a little more restricted in the way they can design because they have one entrance and one exit available. So, there are often a lot of similarities in the broadest general sense.

Both of the sprungs are really challenging the expectations of how much you can fit in those locations.
Oh totally, I wasn't intending to imply a complete reuse or anything about the layout being completely similar, more so that at this point they've more than likely got it down to a science when and where in the house flow they can place the "showstopper" scene (from a scale standpoint)

To @Clive's point too, while I never experienced House of Horrors, usually when they've reused room layouts in the past it hasn't been toooo obvious, and is typically dressed well enough/modifications are made to cover any similarities. The only house it genuinely took me out of and made me go, "Huh...this was kind of a cut and paste" the first time through (the other runs I just shut my brain off, haha), was Scary Tales/Universal Monsters with the mirror dungeon. From a cost standpoint though I totally get it, that maze must not have been cheap at all, and it honestly works well from a story aspect in both cases so no harm no foul. Anyway, that was largely off topic, I apologize!
 

shiekra38

Legendary Member
Dec 13, 2009
14,967
Florida
Oh totally, I wasn't intending to imply a complete reuse or anything about the layout being completely similar, more so that at this point they've more than likely got it down to a science when and where in the house flow they can place the "showstopper" scene (from a scale standpoint)

To @Clive's point too, while I never experienced House of Horrors, usually when they've reused room layouts in the past it hasn't been toooo obvious, and is typically dressed well enough/modifications are made to cover any similarities. The only house it genuinely took me out of and made me go, "Huh...this was kind of a cut and paste" the first time through (the other runs I just shut my brain off, haha), was Scary Tales/Universal Monsters with the mirror dungeon. From a cost standpoint though I totally get it, that maze must not have been cheap at all, and it honestly works well from a story aspect in both cases so no harm no foul. Anyway, that was largely off topic, I apologize!
I've been going since 2001 and I've actively noticed like four props that they've reused...I know there's a ton more, but it really all sinks into the background tbh
 

Tobias

Veteran Member
Feb 25, 2014
1,820
Oh totally, I wasn't intending to imply a complete reuse or anything about the layout being completely similar, more so that at this point they've more than likely got it down to a science when and where in the house flow they can place the "showstopper" scene (from a scale standpoint)

To @Clive's point too, while I never experienced House of Horrors, usually when they've reused room layouts in the past it hasn't been toooo obvious, and is typically dressed well enough/modifications are made to cover any similarities. The only house it genuinely took me out of and made me go, "Huh...this was kind of a cut and paste" the first time through (the other runs I just shut my brain off, haha), was Scary Tales/Universal Monsters with the mirror dungeon. From a cost standpoint though I totally get it, that maze must not have been cheap at all, and it honestly works well from a story aspect in both cases so no harm no foul. Anyway, that was largely off topic, I apologize!
In the case of the Mirror Room, it worked far better with the Phantom in UM than it did with the witch in Scary Tales. (I think it was tweaked a bit to allow more actors in that room, which helped immensely.) Another example is Yeti: Terror of the Yukon's finale reusing/redressing the layout/set for Attack of the Swamp Yeti. It worked just fine since it was one of those "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" things, that and it gave most folks a collective "Oh crap" moment when they recognized what it was, which meant good scares were bout' to happen.