As part of the Orange County Regional History Center’s exhibit, A Year in the Life: Backstage To Onstage At Universal Orlando Resort, they are rotating out some of the space seasonally to reflect all the hard work Universal’s Special Events Team constantly puts in. Easily the most anticipated update debuted on August 24th with nearly half of the exhibit space dedicated to Halloween Horror Nights.
The team at the history center really outdid themselves with this update which includes posters from every Halloween Horror Nights since it’s inception.
Gems like this blender that was used by Jack the Clown in a stage show called The Arrival during Halloween Horror Nights 16 in 2006.
During the course of the show, Jack would take an “unsuspecting” audience member and bring them up on stage and throw them in the blender. The gag was built with double pained plexiglass, where between the two panes there was about six inches of space where PVC pipes were placed hidden from guest view. Once Jack cranked up the blender into high gear, a pump would spray blood between the two layers through the pipes, simulating the spectator being “juiced.” In reality, the space where the actor stood would never get a drop of fake blood on them, thanks to the double layers of plexiglass.
Even some of Jack’s sexy helpers had their costumes on display at the Orange County Regional History Center.
Diehard Horror Nights fans will remember Fear, pictured above from the 20th year of the event. According to the backstory, Fear actually created all the other HHN icons like Jack, The Caretaker and Bloody Mary. If you notice, he has XX marking on his chest, signifying the 20th year of the event.
This exhibit is filled with all kinds of memorabilia like this maquette for The Usher. Halloween Horror Nights 19’s theme was “ripped from the silver screen” where most of the houses were built around horror movie franchises.
The Usher, otherwise known as Julian Brown, was featured in a haunted house called Silver Screams. The maze was designed to look like an old movie house from the 1920’s, back when movie studios actually built their own cinemas to show their films in. Even though the characters portrayed in the house were fictional, Universal created an immaculate backstory for fans that wanted to dive deeper into the story online. The model, pictured above and on display at the History Center, is about a third of the size of the one that Universal built to film scenes for videos shown online in 2009.
Another maquette featured from Halloween Horror Nights 19 was the above one from Leave It To Cleaver. The maze took a humorous look at TV shows from the 1950’s and took place in a butcher’s shop.
The amount of eye candy on display is high quality and intense. Pictured above is concept artwork from S.S. Frightanic, a haunted maze featured in the eighth year of the event. There is an entire book full of artwork depicting every scene and scare from the house that year.
Easily the most impressive part of the exhibit is a small recreation of a maze that you would find at Halloween Horror Nights. Visitors can actually walk through the mini-maze that features creepy artwork and aged lumber.
Within the maze, guests can learn how a haunted house is designed. Pictured above is an example of a boo door, which blends in perfectly with the wall and can slide open with a performer on the other side looking to scare the daylights on unsuspecting teenagers. Further along in the makeshift maze is a boo hole and a two-way mirror effect where visitors in the museum can actually scare each other!
To kick off the museum’s newest addition, the History Center hosted a private dinner for it’s members and the public featuring the master storytellers of Halloween Horror Nights as part of their Artists and Authors series. In attendance from Universal Orlando’s Art and Design team was Senior Director – T.J. Mannarino, David Hughes – Senior Scenic Designer, Rick Spencer – Creative Manager of Special Projects and Kim Gromoll – Scenic Designer.
Over the course of the sold out event, these four gentleman discussed their love for all things terror including how they got their start in the haunted house business. The audience were treated to great back stories on some of the creator’s favorite houses from Halloween Horror Nights 21 including The Forsaken, Nightingales: Blood Prey, and Winter’s Night.
Several of those stories will be shared here at Theme Park University this fall as we start our series on Halloween attractions around the country, so come back in a few weeks to get a behind the scenes look at some of the best houses in Halloween Horror Nights history!
If you want to see this exhibit for yourself, you need to get down to the Orange County Regional History Center before the first week of November. That’s when the Halloween Horror Nights section will be transformed into a space centered Macy’s Holiday Parade.