Halloween Horror Nights is back this year for the 26th time …and it’s back with a vengeance.
The theme for this year is “Chance”—as in, “You won’t stand a chance against the nightmares that Universal Orlando has brought to life.” The namesake comes from Jack the Clown’s partner in horror, who guests can meet face-to-face in her very own scare zone.
Other novelties of this year’s event include a completely unprecedented Virtual Reality experience dubiously named “The Repository,” which garnered much online attention even before opening, as well as the additions of houses based on the American Horror Story and Krampus franchises. Returning guests will be happy to know that the famous Walking Dead haunted house has been remodeled and reopened for business.
Within the walls of The Repository, haunts and horrors literally get in your face through a blend of exclusive technology, live scare actors, and an engulfing environment which employs UV lighting that makes the very walls pop. A little expert advice: expect some gore.
Universal Orlando owes this one-of-a-kind experience to a collaboration with VRstudios, a Washington-based company that was the first to offer wireless virtual reality technology with no motion limitations that is also capable of accommodating simultaneous users.
Attendees can enter this experience in a group of up to five people. Although the company has been around since 2014, this is Universal’s first year partnering with them; the park hopes to use the 26th annual Halloween Horror Nights as a trial to pave the way toward integrating more VR elements fully into future houses. This all-new, all-immersive experience comes at an extra fee of $49.99… but, after all, who can really put a price on innovation?
Of the all the haunted houses staking space at HHN26, American Horror Story is perhaps the most anticipated.
The house incorporates material from multiple seasons of the hit show, inviting guests inside Harmon’s Murder House before transforming them into the twisted Freak Show cast and then finally checking them into the infamous Hotel Cortez.
“It’s [the show’s] constant evolution that makes this popular series a perfect fit for Halloween Horror Nights,” said Michael Aiello, Director of Entertainment Creative Development for Universal Orlando.
Expect to be looking over your shoulder for Twisty the Clown as well as the Countess. Universal has given into the desires of their guests, as American Horror Story was the number-one requested maze.
Krampus is perhaps the most comedy-tinged horror you will find this year, as the haunted house is based off of the film where the demonic form of Santa Claus comes to town. Even though the scenery is all snow and ice, this is very much a Halloween attraction, and guests will be attacked by dark elves, conniving gingerbread men, and scowling teddy bears.
Another much-loved television series, The Walking Dead, has been resurrected by Universal’s creative team; this time the house strays away from a chronological approach and instead presents icons from throughout the show in a flurry of shadowed horror: the hospital, the Governor’s home, Terminus (the promised refuse of the apocalyptic world), and The Wolves. Halloween Horror Nights came just in time this year, as guests can relive the scares before the premiere of the show’s seventh season later this month.
Other houses are inspired by The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Exorcist, and Halloween II, as well as completely original tales, including You Won’t Stand a Chance, Ghost Town: The Curse of Lightning Gulch, and Tomb of the Ancients. Florida Resident tickets range from $55.99 to $82.99 depending on the day of the week, and Frequent Fear Passes start at $102.99 for nineteen nights and end at $199.99 for every single night of horror. Happy screaming!