A classic original-concept haunted house concept from Universal Orlando will be coming to Universal Studios Hollywood for this year's Halloween Horror Nights. Creative Director John Murdy kicked off his presentation at the annual Midsummer Scream convention in Long Beach yesterday with an announcement of the "Scarecrow: The Reaping" house.
Scarecrow: The Reaping originally appeared at Orlando's 2017 Halloween Horror Nights, where I called it "an absolute masterpiece of pacing and tactile scares."
The Hollywood installation will be based on the Orlando treatment but include original elements, as Murdy described the house during his presentation, in which he detailed how the Dust Bowl of the 1930s inspired the house and its design.
"What excites me about this particular house is that we get to do history," Murdy said. "To me, there's nothing scarier than history."
"What we are really doing is an ecological horror story. Because horror as a genre, since the beginning, always deals with the existential threats of our time. Do you remember like back in the 1950s when there was all those giant atomic-mutated insect movies? ...What that was really dealing with was the atomic bomb and the fear of the atomic bomb. So this is an ecological horror story about a climatic disaster."
Murdy said that the house will include a version of the Rookery scene that freaked out so many visitors in Orlando. (Tip: watch out for the crow poop.) But the house also will include an original character not found in Orlando - the "King Crow," a stilt-walker with red LED eyes.
After introducing Scarecrow: The Reaping, Murdy teased the next house announcement from Universal Studios Hollywood, recapping a fictional "news story" involving an oil heiress in early 20th century Hollywood and her "drugstore cowboy" husband, Maxie Deville, who eventually is sentenced to death for a series of murders at his luxury hotel - only to vow a vengeful return after his execution.
"Stay tuned," Murdy told the audience.
Halloween Horror Nights starts September 8 at Universal Studios Hollywood and September 2 at Universal Orlando. Previously announced houses on both coasts include The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare, Universal Monsters: Legends Collide, Halloween, and Horrors of Blumhouse.
Halloween Horror Nights tickets for Universal Studios Hollywood are now on sale through our travel partner, starting at $65.50 per night.
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this was an absolute showstopper when I went to the orlando event in 2017, so it's great that they're bringing it to hollywood. curious to see what the reaction is (at the event) to a roster with more non-IP mazes.