Halloween Horror Nights 28 Preview: Stranger Things and So Much More

It’s time for the largest Halloween event in the world to begin again, and we’re of course referring to Halloween Horror Nights taking place in Universal Parks at Orlando, Hollywood, Singapore, and Japan – an annual tradition that’s been going on 28 years now.

For #HHN28 there are 10 all-new houses and five new scare zones. And by that we mean, truly all new. Every year all of these houses are taken down and that’s it. A new set is developed for the next year.

Related: An Inside Look at Universal’s Stranger Things Maze at Halloween Horror Nights

This makes it worthwhile to come check out Halloween Horror Nights every year, for fear of missing out. It becomes almost a badge of honor experiencing each year’s offerings, especially for horror movie fans, but it was only that year.

The Stranger Things house is the highlight of the event this year and we previewed both the house in Universal Studios Hollywood and this week, at Universal Orlando Resort Florida – where we also got a behind-the-scenes walkthrough of the Stranger Things maze with Patrick Braillard, Creative Development Show Director and Writer at Universal Orlando. Braillard is responsible for five of the ten houses, with another creative director handling the other five. Another creative director is also in charge of the scare zones so Halloween Horror Nights is a massive production that’s in development all year long. Discussions for Stranger Things for example, began last year, with a fleshed out pitch in January, followed by construction beginning in April.

Stranger Things is The Big Highlight of Halloween Horror Nights 28

For the Stranger Things maze, the creative team didn’t want the kids to be the scares. Many mazes and haunted houses would use that as a gimmick but it was one of the first things Patrick and his team pitched to Netflix an agreed upon. They want the audience to go on this journey and empathize with them. The Demogorgon is the villain, and while there’s only one, you’ll see this Demogorgon popping out everywhere. The creature is 8-foot tall and is realized through multiple puppets and tall actors, some animated to have its face open.

The Florida team sculpted the Demogorgon’s mask internally, 3D printing teeth so every puppet and costume is identical. For the Hollywood studios, they got assets from Spectral Motion (who worked on the show) but their worked ended up being identical.

Netflix offered up assets, music, set decoration and collaborated on the entire thing. There are so many details, most of which can’t even be seen or noticed in the dark, making it worthwhile to tour through it repeatedly. All of the items in the living room and bed room example, are real items from 1984 and before. To do that they scoured movie stories and thrift shops. Live actors help bring the Stranger Things experience to life and they cast likeness editions which – as we saw- worked extraordinarily well. There are two full casts (A and B) that swap out every 45 minutes and only one part of the house where the actual character you see changes, giving yet another reason to go through it more than once.

“This maze, this haunted house is probably the greatest example of IP adherence that we’ve ever done in our history because we wanted everything to be word perfect. It’s like a love letter to the show, a really scary love letter.” – Patrick Braillard

We won’t spoil all the scenes, but it’s safe to say that all the major moments and iconic scenery from season 1 of Stranger Things is realized in this house. The maze is virtually the same between the Orlando and Hollywood locations, the major only difference is the physical space.

There are lots of surprises, lots of character moments, and an epic payoff to end it – brought to life with amazingly cast talent that really do look like the characters. It’s a must-see for anyone who’s seen Stranger Things and could very well be the beginning of a staple of Halloween Horror Nights for years to come. Universal is already chatting with Netflix for the next two years so we wouldn’t be surprised to see each season of Strange Things show up at HHN in the future.

All The Haunted Houses of Halloween Horror Nights 28

A mix of original creations and licensed IP, Universal Parks have always originally created half of the Halloween Horror Nights offerings as you’ll see below and in this year’s Scare Zones. There’s so much more than just Stranger Things.

  1. Stranger Things – The Demogorgon is after you all throughout season 1 of Netflix’s Stranger Things.
  2. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers – Michael Myers has escaped the sanitarium, and he’s out for blood.
  3. Poltergeist – Restless spirits have overrun the infamous house atop a cemetery, and they’re drawn to your light.
  4. Trick ‘r Treat – Five twisted stories where Sam, the vengeful trick-or-treater, waits to treat rule-breakers to his favorite Halloween surprises.
  5. The Horrors of Blumhouse – A unique mix of Happy Death Day and The First Purge movies.
  6. Carnival Graveyard: Rust in Pieces – A dilapidated salvage yard where rides, games and carnival parts are tainted with rust and blood and the performers are out to get you.
  7. Dead Exposure: Patient Zero – The planet has been infected and humans have been turned into zombies.
  8. Once Upon A Scare – The Wicked Witch of the West turns good evil, and the evil even more evil.
  9. Seeds of Extinction – Humanity has been wiped out by a meteor and replaced by monstrous vegetation.
  10. Slaughter Sinema –  Instead of catching a movie at the drive-in, the ’80s B movies catch you.

The Scare Zones of Halloween Horror Nights 28

  1. Revenge of Chucky
  2. Killer Klowns From Outer Space
  3. The Harvest
  4. Twisted Tradition
  5. Vamp 85: New Year’s Eve

In addition to the park being decked out on Halloween decor and lighting, there’s also a big live show. The Academy of Villains return with a new live performance, this one titled Academy of Villains: Cyberpunk and themed as a futuristic battle between humanity and tech played out with neon lights and synth sounds.

Stay tuned for more info soon as we partake in the premiere of Univeral Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights this evening and chat with Mike Aiello, Sr. Director of Entertainment Creative Development, to learn more.

Universal is already planning the next two years for potential Stranger Things attractions and Jason Blum is very interested in a house based on the new Halloween.

Next: Car Explodes Through Wall To Open Fast & Furious Supercharged Attraction

The 28th Halloween Horror Nights begins tonight, September 14, 2018 and runs on select nights until November 3, 2018.

More details: Universal Orlando Resort

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2018-09-14 06:09:46 – Rob Keyes

Zachary Quinto To Star In AMC’s Supernatural Horror Series NOS4A2

Star Trek and American Horror Story star Zachary Quinto has been cast as a “seductive immortal” in AMC’s supernatural horror series NOS4A2; Australian TV actress Ashleigh Cummings will also join the cast of the series, which is based on Joe Hill’s best-selling novel.

NOS4A2 centers on a vampire-like figure named Charlie Manx who feeds on the souls of children. When Manx is done feeding, he leaves the children’s remains in an imaginary place inside his mind called Christmasland where it’s always Christmas and it’s against the law to be unhappy. A young woman named Vic McQueen discovers she has the supernatural ability to track the “seductive immortal” Manx, and now she must try to defeat the evil entity and rescue his victims, without losing her mind herself.

Related: Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 TV Series Green-Lit At AMC

AMC announced that it has cast the two main characters for its 10-episode series adaptation of NOS4A2. Emmy-nominated actor Zachary Quinto will play Charlie Manx, while Ashleigh Cummings takes on the role of Vic McQueen. In addition, the network reveals that Emmy-nominated director Kari Skogland (The Handmaid’s Tale) will direct the series’ first two episodes. Production on the series began this week in Rhode Island.

Quinto has already made his mark playing a villain on a genre TV series, portraying the watchmaker-turned-killer Sylar on NBC’s Heroes. Of course, Quinto is also known for playing the good guy Spock in 2009’s Star Trek reboot as well as its two sequels. Quinto scored an Emmy nomination in 2013 for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his role in American Horror Story. Earlier this year, Quinto starred alongside Jodie Foster and Sterling K. Brown in the sci-fi movie Hotel Artemis. He can next be seen starring alongside Andre Holland and Zazie Beetz in Steven Soderbergh’s High Flying Bird, which was recently picked up by Netflix.

Quinto’s NOS4A2 co-star Cummings is a relative unknown in America, but she does have a lengthy resume on Australian television, with roles on Home and Away, Puberty Blues, Gallipoli and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Next year, she will star alongside Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson and Ansel Elgort in the drama The Goldfinch.

With Quinto and Cummings hopping aboard, AMC has assembled an intriguing pair of leads for NOS4A2. Horror of course is one of the network’s specialties thanks to The Walking Dead and its spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, as well as the acclaimed new series The Terror, which is set for a second season. The supernatural also plays a part in AMC’s Preacher, though that series tends more toward the outrageous and comedic. It will be interesting to see if NOS4A2 proves to be another successful horror series for AMC when it premieres in 2019.

More: The Shared Universe Franchise Potential of Joe Hill and Stephen King

Source: AMC

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2018-09-13 01:09:42 – Dan Zinski

Universal Bringing Stranger Things Inspired Food To Halloween Horror Nights

This year’s Halloween Horror Nights will feature Stranger Things-themed food at both the Orlando and Hollywood locations. The annual celebration featuring appropriately horrific additional activities to the theme parks launches on September 14 and runs until November 3.

Horror classics from the ’80s makes up the overarching theme of this year’s HHN, and Universal’s already announced that cult hits Chucky, Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Poltergeist will manifest in different attractions and scare zones. Killer Klowns actually has its own demented circus tent dedicated to its cast of Klowns that’ll attempt to shoot guests with ray guns that’ll turn them into human cotton candy.

Related: First Look: Stranger Things Maze At Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights

Stranger Things looks to be the most recognizable property given the fact that not only will guests be able to tour an elaborate (and definitely haunted) recreation of various locations from Hawkins, Indiana, but they’ll be able to munch on special dishes based on the show and created exclusively for HHN as well. Given how many of the properties represented at the event lean heavily into disgusting gore, it’s a good thing for guests that Stranger Things has so many memorable and delicious food items for chefs to recreate and embellish.

Guests visiting can honor Benny Hammond’s memory with a Benny’s Burger or relive his untimely death after meeting Eleven by ordering a Benny’s Chicken and Waffle Sandwich. Speaking of waffles, Orlando really leaned into Eleven’s favorite food by offering three different variations of it, one of which is a three-tiered waffle, whipped cream, and candy tower inspired by and named for Eleven’s Waffle Extravaganza. The Extravaganza and Benny’s Burger are available at both locations, but park attendees will have to find their way to Orlando for the Christmas Tree Light cupcakes or Hollywood for the Demogorgon Totchos (tater tots covered in spicy queso and dusted with a terrifying sprinkle of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos). Unfortunately, the Stranger Things-themed food won’t be at the Singapore location, though that park will still have its own maze.

Given how brilliantly it’s capitalized on the nostalgia that governs so much of entertainment today, Stranger Things makes for a perfect addition to this year’s HHN. For those attending who might not have seen or loved the cult classics represented, Netflix’s ’80s hit can offer relevance as well as fond recollections of corded telephones, Member’s Only jackets, and much, much more. Hopefully, the additional snacks will tide over fans who have to wait until season 3 premieres in 2019.

More: Stranger Things Season 3 Is The Most Ambitious Yet

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2018-09-12 03:09:04 – Alexandra August

The Little Stranger Review: Gothic Horror Drama Done Right

The Little Stranger is a gripping adaptation that’s more Gothic drama than horror-thriller, but may haunt you long after its credits are done rolling.

Much like Lenny Abrahamson’s last two directorial efforts (Frank and the Oscar-winning Room), The Little Stranger is a film that defies easy labels and genre convention, in the very best ways. Based on the 2009 novel by Sarah Waters, this spooky historical offering was adapted for the big screen by Lucinda Coxon – a playwright/screenwriter who has demonstrated a knack for both socially conscious period pieces (The Danish Girl) and set design-heavy Gothic melodrama (see her uncredited efforts on Crimson Peak). The movie similarly plays to Abrahmson’s strengths as a filmmaker who specializes in stories about people tormented by the personal horrors and traumas from their past. This in turn makes the project the perfect match for this particular writer/director pairing. The Little Stranger is a gripping adaptation that’s more Gothic drama than horror-thriller, but may haunt you long after its credits are done rolling.

Set in England in the summer of 1948, The Little Stranger unfolds from the perspective of Dr. Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson): a man from humble beginnings who has since made his name as a well-respected and accomplished country doctor. One day, he is called upon to treat a patient – namely, the housemaid Betty (Liv Hill) – at Hundreds Hall: a once luxurious estate that has fallen into disrepair, now that the formerly wealthy Ayres family (the Hall’s owners for centuries) are no longer able to sustain their way of life in the post-WWII world. However, Faraday’s connection to this place actually goes all the way back to 1919, when he first laid eyes on it as a child, some years after his working-class mother served there as a housemaid herself.

Over the course of his followup visits to the Hall, Faraday grows closer to the Ayres clan by treating their grown son Roderick (Will Poulter) for the debilitating injuries he suffered in the Royal Air Force, and befriending their matriarch, Mrs. Ayres (Charlotte Rampling). Faraday likewise begins to form a connection with Mrs. Ayres’ daughter, Caroline (Ruth Wilson), that gradually starts to evolve into something romantic, despite their differences in class. All the same, the Ayres can’t shake the feeling that there’s an ominous presence in their house that wishes them nothing but misfortune… and may have something to do with the young girl that Faraday encountered as a child when he visited the Hall, all those years ago.

Like Waters’ book, Coxon’s adapted script folds themes about the changes in class structure in post-WWII England into a Gothic narrative that quietly subverts certain tropes of the genre, yet is drawn in the same classical style as famous period dramas and supernatural horror stories that have come before it (Brideshead Revisited and The Turn of the Screw, for example). While The Little Stranger ends up being explicit about certain plot points that Waters’ novel leaves more ambiguous, it arguably serves the overarching storyline and its concerns about the true nature of evil, rationalism vs. spirituality, and the destructiveness of the desire to climb in social stature. Abrahamson and Coxon are further successful in adapting the psychological aspects of The Little Stranger‘s source material for the medium of cinema, smartly implementing storytelling tools like voiceover narration and flashbacks in ways that never come across as being lazy and, at the same time, successfully raise questions about how reliable (or not) a narrator Faraday really is.

Abrahmson and his cinematographer Ole Bratt Birkeland (Ghost Stories) firmly set the tone for The Little Stranger in the way they photograph Simon Elliott’s (The Book Thief) handsome production design for Hundreds Hall and its surroundings. The film smartly draws from a moody color palette of grays and blacks (and variations thereon) during its present-day scenes, as a vivid contrast to Faraday’s more brightly lit recollections of the decaying manor. This painterly approach results in a beautifully eery-looking movie that retains a richly haunting sense of atmosphere throughout its runtime, with a mournful yet lovely score by Stephen Rennicks (Abrahmson’s Frank and Room collaborator) to aid its cause. While The Little Stranger is by no means a thrill ride (despite what its marketing might have you believe), its deliberate slow pace and quiet temperament make the louder and more violent sequences all the more unsettling and disturbing, without having to resort to cheaper tactics (namely, easy jump scares).

Gleeson as Dr. Faraday is himself the perfect representation of the film’s attractive, yet troubling and unsettling design, with his sharply gaunt appearance and uncomfortably soft-spoken manner. The actor does a great job of masking his character’s true intentions, leaving it to the audience to wonder if he is to be trusted… or if Faraday is hiding some malicious and sinister intent behind his (seemingly) polite and gentle demeanor. Indeed, as with his previous movies, Abrahamson excels at bringing out strong performances all around from his actors in The Little Stranger. Wilson and Rampling are equally well-cast in their respective roles as two people that are slaves to their stature and family name, albeit in rather different ways. Meanwhile, Poulter delivers a solid performance here as a WWII veteran damaged in more than one way, without seeming out of place next to the movie’s English actors (and thus, further demonstrating his dramatic range after his villainous turn in last year’s true story drama, Detroit).

Because The Little Stranger is more psychological drama than thriller (as indicated earlier), some may find the film to be merely slow, rather than suffocating and menacing. Moreover, some fans of Waters’ original book might be a bit disappointed by how the film is clear-cut about certain things that its source novel leaves more up in the air. That’s not to say the film is ham-fisted in its storytelling – far from it. It simply has an interpretation of the source material’s implications and true meaning that may differ from what others took away from it. Nevertheless, it’s a clever and thoughtful interpretation that may even inspire some to re-read Waters’ novel from a different perspective.

Ultimately, The Little Stranger is yet another subtly powerful offering from Abrahamson that combines several elements – Gothic romance, supernatural horror, psychological drama – in such a way that it avoids fittingly squarely into any single genre box (though this also makes the film all the more difficult to market – hence its somewhat misleading trailer and posters). The film may not be the straightforward horror-thriller that some are looking for, but it’s certainly worth checking out if you’re in the mood for a quality period drama that’s heavy on menacing atmosphere and slow-burn creepiness. What better way to wrap up August and the end of the summer movie season than a bone-chilling trip back in time to the English countryside?


The Little Stranger is now playing in U.S. theaters. It is 111 minutes long and is rated R for some disturbing bloody images.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section!

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American Horror Story: Murder House Stars Reunite in Apocalypse Set Image

Dylan McDermott shared a photo on Instagram of him and Evan Peters on the set of American Horror Story: Apocalypse. The new season of Ryan Murphy’s enduring horror anthology series premieres September 12 and marks the first time AHS will crossover different previous storylines.

Both seasons 1 and 3 will merge in season 8 and the recent deluge of casting news has revealed most of the heavy-hitters returning to contend or ally themselves with Antichrist Michael Langdon. Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Evan Peters, and Jessica Lange will all reprise their Murder House roles as members of the Harmon and Langdon family, respectively, and Frances Conroy, Gabourey Sidibe, Lily Rabe and Emma Roberts’ New Orleans witches will fly in from Coven. Sarah Paulson and Taissa Farmiga are promised to pull double duty, each portraying their seasons 1 and 3 characters – medium Billie Dean Howard and Supreme Witch Cordelia Goode alongside Farmiga’s deceased Violet Harmon and Zoe Benson. Paulson will also appear as a third mysterious character named Venable, the details of whom remain very sketchy.

Related: Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott Returning to American Horror Story

Dylan McDermott shared a photo on Instagram of him and Evan Peters on what looks to be the lawn of the Murder House on set of Apocalypse today. The two look like they’re on much better terms than their AHS counterparts will be considering Tate Langdon not only fathered the Antichrist, but did so with Ben Harmon’s unsuspecting wife. Tate’s also a former mass murderer who’s madly in love with Ben’s daughter Violet, so it’s safe to say the relationship between the two men is strained – especially if they’re stuck in the same house together for eternity. The two actors posing behind a wrought-iron fence appears to call back to the fact that anyone killed on Murder House property is doomed to be trapped there forever.

Interestingly, the spirits in the Murder House aren’t the only undead characters that promise to crop up in Apocalypse. Several characters crossing over from Coven will have to be ghosts or at least resurrected. Roberts’ Madison Montgomery, Conroy’s Myrtle Snow, and Rabe’s Misty Day all perished at the end of Coven. Given the rather loose rules that govern life and death in Ryan Murphy’s AHS universe, it makes sense they would return, but how and in what capacity is still up in the air.

That, plus the status of the Harmon family, and just what Constance Langdon has molded her grandson into remain the most pressing questions Apocalypse has to answer ahead of its debut in a few weeks. Considering fans have been salivating for confirmation of a shared universe between seasons since Asylum, not to mention the nostalgia factor at work in returning to the genesis of the entire show, Apocalypse stands to be one of AHS‘ most exciting stories, yet.

More: American Horror Story Season 8 First Trailer Teases the Apocalypse

American Horror Story: Apocalypse premieres on September 12 on FX.

Source: Dylan McDermott

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Whoopi Gets A Horror Makeover In The Nun & Sister Act Fan Poster

The Nun may be part of the Conjuring expanded universe, but it’s also unofficially part of the Sister Act expanded universe now, courtesy of a fan poster that surfaced on social media. The poster combines the upcoming horror prequel with Whoopi Goldberg’s character from the ’90s comedy-musical.

Based off of the demon Valak from The Conjuring 2The Nun centers around a priest named Father Burke (Demián Bichir) and a novitiate named Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) who investigate the suicide of a nun at the Cârța Monastery in Romania. During their stay, the two happen upon a demon called Valak who takes the physical form of a nun. Sister Act, on the other hand, involves a lounge singer named Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) who is forced to disguise herself as a nun in order to hide from the mafia. However, though the movies couldn’t be any more different, an Emmy-nominated writer created a mash-up poster combining the two movies with amusing – and surprisingly seamless – results.

Related: The Nun Gets Super-Creepy ‘Escape the Abbey’ 360 Teaser

Writer and producer Joseph Carnegie (creator of The Adventures of OG Sherlock Kush and Stone Quackers, which were both featured on FXX) brought the horror and comedy genres together with his Sister Act/The Nun fan poster. In the poster, Carnegie simply replaced Farmiga’s face in one of the movie’s official posters with Goldberg’s. The result? A spot-on mash-up featuring Sister Mary Clarence (Goldberg’s nom de plume when she’s in disguise) side-by-side with Valak the Nun. It even features modified text from the original poster that says, “Witness the darkest chapter in the Sister Act universe.”

While a Sister Act/The Nun isn’t likely to ever actually show up in the Conjuring universe, the concept of bringing the Sister Act franchise back to the silver screen isn’t as far-fetched. Though there is nothing official in development, Goldberg expressed her enthusiasm at the concept of revisiting Sister Act for a third installment, according to EW. That said, she explained that there would be a high likelihood that studios would want to cast a younger actress as the lead.

Given that audiences are happy to see characters from older franchises revisit classic roles (see: Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, the original cast of Star Wars, and Harrison Ford in Blade Runner 2049), a third Sister Act movie with Goldberg could potentially be a success. In fact, it might even have a better shot with audiences only if Goldberg is part of the cast – even if it revolves around her passing the torch to someone younger in the end, a la the aforementioned sequels.

More: The Shared Universe Craze May Already Be Dying

Source: Joseph Carnegie, EW

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