Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pedictions of Horror Nights to Come

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”
― Humbert Wolfe

With roughly 5 or 6 house treatments done its not too early to think about Halloween Horror Nights right?

Regardless of your answer, I wanted to get my speculation out for this year before any real info starts flowing. Of course I get my info from the usual sources: informants, rumors, trends, formulas, divination, and various deals with dark entities.

In the past few years of this “New Age of Horror”, there has developed a certain formula one can use to predict the direction HHN will go each year and, to an extent, predict the houses that will be seen. Caveat emptor applies, however, as my views are my own and in no way connected to Universal directly.

Multiple factors must be taken into account when predicting HHN’s content. These factors include (but are not limited to):  Synergistic IP’s being release the year of the event, Nostalgic IP’s that have not been used, popular ideas in the current limelight, and previous successful original content that is prime for a sequel. That is a lot of words that basically boil down to what gets bodies in the park and lines the coffers at the same time.  After all, Universal is in the Makin’ money business. And cousin, business is a-boomin'.

So without further ado Let me get into the meat and potatoes of speculation. The first aspect up on the docket  are the Synergistic IP’s being released this year. This one almost seems like a no-brainer.  Since 2009, Universal has been doing this. The Wolfman, The Thing, The Walking Dead, Evil Dead, and Dracula Untold were all Universal pictures coming out the same year.  In fact, Dracula Untold’ s code name Was "synergy".

There is one movie this year that fits all criteria for an excellent synergy candidate and that is Crimson Peak. It’s a Universal Picture, It’s stylistic (would you expect anything else from Guillermo del Toro?), and it is currently set to be released October 16th. To a lesser degree the Victorian style of the movie would mostly likely allow them to reuse old props from Castle Vampyre, Body Collectors, and even last year’s Dracula Untold.

Of course barring Crimson Peak (or even in addition to) you have the Poltergeist reboot coming out in July.  It is not a Universal picture but money always talks. However Poltergeist’s predecessor may fall into the second category of nostalgia.

The nostalgia aspect has always been there but they have been playing the card the last two years blatantly with American Werewolf in London and Alien vs. Predator. It seems to be working well from them. The original Poltergeist has been on the table several times and word has it was almost a house a few years back. It would fit the criteria for huge nostalgic draw and also as a synergistic property for the new movie even if it did not resemble the new one in anyway.

Aside from Poltergeist, rumblings of a new deal with NLC for Freddy, Jason, and Leather face have been prevalent.  Any or all of these would make sense as they all have huge nostalgic value in both the movies as well as in the original houses. 2007 was very “house strong” and the big three were huge crowd attractors. Not to mention their tie the hinted icon Jack. However, with the Friday the 13th reboot pushed back to next year, Jason is probably a bit premature to fit into the next category of what’s in the current limelight.

This category is a bit ambiguous. The general populace is very fickle and currently, other than The Walking Dead, the biggest popular horror tend is American Horror Story.  This has been a rabid fan request since the attempted deal a few years back. Universal and the creators of AHS failed to reach a deal though due to, what has been said to be, creative differences. Mainly, the creator’s of AHS wanted more extreme scenes than Universal was comfortable with having for a PG-13 event. So will it happen at all? Maybe. There are a few factors I’ll talk about later that I think might allow AHS to grace HHN with its presence. 

Other than AHS and TWD, Krampus has been very popular of late. Yes we’ve already had the dark Christmas house (Psycho scareapy  : Home For the Holidays) but we haven’t seen it told from the supernatural aspect in Orlando. Of course you have the Krampus movie coming out in December of this year but who knows how good that will be? (It is a Universal Picture however) Hollywood had a Dark Christmas/Krampus scarezone last year and it has been reported that it was very popular. That throws Krampus more into the field of previous successful original content that is prime for a sequel.

This final category has a wealth of options. There has been a lot of previous original content that is ripe for reboot. I think Krampus fits the bill for an original transplant. But, if I had to make an educated guess as to returning houses, I would say Catacombs and Nightingales are two good candidates with the latter being more likely. The reason I say Nightingales is more likely is because it was intended as a “female body collector” franchise.  It was designed so that they could put them in any type of war. Catacombs, while good, would be much harder to continue the story.

That wraps up all the categories I have listed out. Throw in a few new originals and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. However, there is one more major factor to attribute to this year. That of course is the 25th anniversary. How will that play out in this new age of horror? My personal opinion is, aside from marketing with Jack and probably a best of house, I don’t think it will hold much sway other than to make the event bigger.

The “go big or go home” aspect is why I feel AHS (among some other ideas) would be prime for this year. But how do you fit an R/NC17 house into a PG13 event? Simple, you make an upcharge extreme house.  Fans have been clamoring for and extreme house and AHS to happen for years. Plus, Universal already proved last year they could easily staff 9 houses with TWD being roughly double the size of a normal house. But why stop there? Bush gardens has done the up charge house for years now. How do you top what you should have already been doing? Simple Go Big! Instead of one upcharge house do multiple houses.

In that light, the possibilities become vast. AHS, as previously mentioned, would be easier to greenlight. Not only that, Last year’s LT interactive teaser could easily be implemented with a smaller crowd. TWD would be easier to implement again if they have more leeway to one up last years’ house.  Maybe by adding a “lights off” flashlight tour of the house or laser tag. Both ideas are popular but hard to implement in the massive conga lines. I might even expect them to throw one or two originals in there as well to round it off to the biggest and most over the top event they have ever done. Logistically, I would think an upcharge of that scale would have to be housed at IOA. Thus bringing another fan boy dream back… the double park event.

 So those are my predictions. As stated before I am not affiliated with Universal. I just keep my nose in the air and my ear to the ground. So take it all with a grain of salt. Regardless, I think it is safe to say they will make it a year to remember and I look forward to seeing how the event shapes up in the next few months. Happy anniversary!