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As any Horror fan worth their weight in blood will tell you, we’re quickly approaching that time of the year when thrills and chills are in high-demand. Some like to get their fill in the theater or simply stream the scares, while others like to take a more live-action approach. That’s where Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights comes in with both well-known properties and original-themed haunted houses and events.
Recently, CinemaBlend was invited to tour Universal’s annual event in Orlando, Florida on their “R.I.P. Tour.” The tour consists of ten haunted houses, five scare zones, and two live shows. Six of the haunted houses are inspired by popular Horror properties, including Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, House of 1000 Corpses, Universal Monsters, Killer Klowns From Outerspace, and Jordan Peele’s 2019 blockbuster hit, Us.
But much like the unpredicted success of the film and the obstacles it had to overcome, the haunted house itself was also an unanticipated addition that blindsided organizers. And while the movie itself could have been very different due to tough casting decisions and actors feeling the daunting pressure of the film, the Us haunted house almost didn’t happen altogether, according to Lora Sauls, Manager of Entertainment Creative Development. As she explained:
Most people might not know that we work 14 months out on Halloween Horror Nights, so currently we’re in talks for 2020 right now. And every year there are new things that come up that we aren’t aware of that might really fit our event. There are always new ideas, new things that come up. Us was a blockbuster hit this year that we were like 'Yes it has to be in our event!' but we didn’t really have it on our radar a year ago, no one did, but we had to make it happen.
It appears the lengthy planning process of Halloween Horror Nights on top of the unpredictability of the box office almost had this haunted house dead on arrival. But luckily the team was able to pull it off in time and still managed to include an insane amount of iconic scenes from the film. The even managed to capture the mood from the ending and disturbing imagery that should make Jordan Peele proud. As Lora went on:
We bring the horror movies that you like so much to life. For instance, Jordan Peele’s Us. When you walk through that maze, you’re going to see scenes in order of the movie. Every scene that you really want to see and scenes that you’re going to say ‘I can’t believe they put that in there!’ As a horror movie fan, you’re going to like that we’re going to check those boxes for you that you see everything you want to see.
After going through all ten haunted houses ourselves this year, we can assure you that both casual and avid fans of these popular franchises alike will appreciate the painstaking detail that went into setting up tons of classic scenes and easter eggs found in the above properties. We won’t spoil any twist endings but be warned, the end of the Us house, in particular, is one of the most unsettling of the bunch.
The future for Jordan Peele and by extension the Horror genre is looking very bright (dark?), with his Candyman reboot set to hit theaters next summer. Who knows, maybe we’ll even see Keegan-Michael Key show up in one of his future films. Halloween Horror Nights is now open select nights between September 6th and November 2nd. In the meantime, head on over to our premiere guide to check out what’s left to look forward to for the rest of 2019.