April 5, 2021 – Join your host, Speculation Matt, as he discusses his experience at the HHN Lite event at Universal Orlando last year. He also talks about some of the horrors that were found inside the three houses that were opened. Finally, hear a bit about the construction for HHN in Hollywood that Speculation Matt got to see at the Taste of Universal Event at Universal Studios Hollywood.
TRANSCRIPT OF THE EPISODE
Hello and welcome back to HHN Talk with Speculation Matt. I am your host, Matthew Prevor, and today we’ve got a packed episode for you. We’re going to be discussing my experience at HHN Light from last year in Orlando as well as taking a closer look at the three houses that opened up there. Then we’re going to discuss some of the changes that we could possibly see in these houses for HHN 30 this fall. I just want to quickly apologize for the delay in this episode. We were out in California. We did get an opportunity to check out the Taste of Universal event at Universal Studios Hollywood and of course, we did check up on some of that HHN construction. So if you want to see some of that, be sure to check us out on our Instagram and Twitter @hhnspeculationmatt on Instagram and @speculationmatt on Twitter. I posted those photos there and plus you can see all our other [??] [00:01:04] that we got up there.
So without further ado, let’s get into HHN Light 2020. Oh, and I should, of course, point out that there will be spoilers for the houses that we are going to be discussing today. So we got to talk about what happened before. Obviously, when the event got cancelled back in July, July 24th, that horrible, horrible day, I think I speak for everyone when I say that we were beyond devastated. Shortly after the cancellation, the tribute store did open and it was fantastic. It was really cool to walk through Frankenstein’s lab and go into Jack’s Carnival and see Jack and all the icons on those posters. I even now own one of those posters. And then my favorite part was walking down that hallway with all the different posters from past events, as well as all those different photos from years past. It was just really cool to see some of those great Horror Night moments. And then, of course, that final Beetlejuice room, which was incredible, really detailed in there. But this was no event. There was no Fog. There was no screams, no scares. It was great and I appreciate everyone who put that together, but I felt we needed a little something more.
So when we first heard the rumblings of them opening up something, first off, I didn’t want to get too excited because I didn’t know if it was true. But then, of course, they announced that they would be doing two houses at first, and these were Universal Monsters and Bride of Frankenstein Lives and Revenge of the Tooth Fairy. And because of that, HHN Light, as what kind of the fans are calling it, was born. And for those that don’t really know what an HHN Light is, essentially it’s a Halloween event during daytime operations, and it consisted of two haunted houses – well, three if you count Beetlejuice on that last weekend – but for the majority of the event time, it was two haunted houses, a tribute store, some specialty food, so we got like Twisted Taters, Pizza Fries, all that good stuff, and then the Skeleton Bar, which was a place with really cool Halloween drinks, some Halloween snacks and, of course, skeletons.
So I was actually the very first person to go through the Bride of Frankenstein Lives on opening day for everyone. Obviously, team members and premier annual pass holders got to go in first. But [??] [00:03:57] I was first. I even tried to upgrade my annual pass to be able to go for that preview day, but it just didn’t really work out. But that first day for everyone was, it was intense. I got there around 5:00 in the morning, probably a little earlier. Security even came up to me and was like, “I think it’s a little early, Buddy.” But I was determined to get in those houses so nobody was going to make me go home. But I got there early because nobody really knew what was happening. Universal had said before that it was going to be virtual line times only, but no one knew when these were going to drop. No one knew where you had to be in order to get one. No one really knew how it was going to work so it was just incredibly stressful. So we’re all waiting there and eventually, the gates did open and we still did not have our virtual line times. So everyone was kind of like speed walking/running to these houses because no one was really running cos no one really knew if they were going to be turned away because we were all told it was virtual line only. So we weren’t really sure what to do. But about right before the entrance to the Bride of Frankenstein Lives, there was about a line of team members there and kind of looking at them like, “Hey, what’s going on here?”
And they were like, “Oh, yeah, you can go.” So then everyone just sprints into the houses and we all got in line and we were still all confused.
We were like, “Wait. Does this mean we don’t need virtual line?” But eventually, as we were waiting for them to let us into the house, they held us at the door for a little bit. They dropped those virtual line passes. And through the help of my mom – thanks, Mom – I was able to get a bunch of times for both houses, both Bride and Tooth Fairy. So I got through those houses, I think, five times each that day. And as time went on, eventually, the houses dropped the virtual line thing. And because of that, I was able to do the houses 22 times each throughout the whole run. I’ll probably never do any house that many times again.
So this was actually…it was, first of all, I need to thank everyone who put this little mini event together. It meant so much to so many people, including myself, just to get a little bit of horror this year, or last year, I should say. So thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. But it was really cool because usually when you go to the event – I go a whole bunch of times – but usually when you go, you don’t really get to take, you don’t really get to go to these houses that many times. So it’s a lot harder to really take in everything. So it was really cool to just look around and just see all those little details that maybe if you only go through the house 10 times, you’re going to miss, as opposed to 22 times. So it was really, really cool to be able to really just enjoy these houses.
So let’s get into the specifics of these houses. First off, we had Universal Monsters, The Bride of Frankenstein lives. So I’m going to read the official description for you.
We belong dead. The last words of Frankenstein’s monster on that fateful night when his bride rejected him. But the end was her beginning. Now the bride is stepping out of the shadows to bring him back and there’s nothing she won’t do as she sharpens her brilliance by experimenting on unsuspecting victims. The mate will have her monster and the monster, his mate.
All righty. So this house was located in Soundstage 23A, which hasn’t been used in a little bit. It hasn’t been used since HHN 21 and this was for The Thing. So you came into this house and the first thing you saw was this hallway of curtains. You walked down this hallway as the music from The Bride of Frankenstein plays overhead and you would turn this corner and the curtains would turn into walls, and through one of the walls, you could actually see the explosion of Frankenstein’s castle. And then you turn that corner and you saw that façade and oh, my God, that façade was awesome. The façade game at this little mini event – besides Beetlejuice but we’ll talk about that in a bit – was incredible. It really got me excited to see the other facades at this event. I just thought it was really cool. So this façade was the burning ruins of Frankenstein’s castle, so it looked like it all just was demolished and it was clearly on fire and you had the Bride up there, just kind of screaming in pain and agony from the loss of Frankenstein, who was below this piece of wood, and the castle just came down on him. And the Bride would try and lift up the piece of wood and she just couldn’t do it, so it would drop back on him and she would just scream, “No! Dead!” It was just a really cool scene. I love when the actors get involved with the façade, like for example, in Scary Tales in HHN 28, when you had the Wicked Witch of the West flying over the guests and kind of telling you what was about to happen as you looked up at her castle. I thought that was a really cool scene, as well as this scene from The Bride of Frankenstein Lives. It was really awesome and kind of set the tone for the house.
So then as you went inside, you would see the Bride trying to put Frankenstein back together because as you quickly learn in the house, when the castle came down, she actually learned to love Frankenstein. And so the whole house is about her trying to bring him back to life. So she tries a bunch of different methods. She tries just putting him back together. She tries using the blood from the Brides of Dracula. She tries using some of the body parts from the villagers nearby. And she tries all these different ways to bring him back.
And there were some really cool scares in this house. There was a really good bungee scare in there from when the Brides of Dracula…when you’d walk down one of the hallways, you would see all these like tombstones. And in one, there would be a Bride of Dracula, who would pop out and get you. All the other ones are fake around her, so you had to guess which one was which. That was a cool scare. I loved the Bride of Frankenstein’s assistant, who would jump out and she’d be like, “You mustn’t disturb the master!” She was really fun. And of course, the villagers coming out with like their body parts missing and then at the very end, of course, probably, maybe this is my favorite scene, I’m not sure. But where you see the Bride of Dracula trying to attack the Bride of Frankenstein and Frankenstein.
The Bride looks at Frankenstein and goes, “You belong alive!” And then she pulls the lever and he lunges off the table and scares the guests. I thought it was really cool. And then you turn that corner and you go down that last little hallway before you got out, and both the Bride of Frankenstein from the left and Frankenstein from the right would come attack you. And I thought that was just awesome.
And then it was also just incredibly detailed. Both houses were. You had…one of my favorite rooms was when you would go in and you would see things in the Bride of Frankenstein’s lab, so you saw her books and all her notes about how to possibly bring him back scattered all around. And you’d see a Bride of Dracula strapped in this like machine that would take the blood from her. And then you would turn the corner and you would see the Bride flip that switch. That Bride of Dracula would be like…she’d clearly be in some sort of pain and discomfort as the blood is being pulled out of her and being transferred to Frankenstein, which you saw his body sitting there. I just thought that was a really cool scene. I also liked one of the scenes with the villagers where one would pop out and then exit to your right. If you were looking, you saw the Creature from the Black Lagoon. That was a really cool Easter egg there. Another scene I really liked is when you went into like the Bride of Frankenstein’s like dungeon, it almost looked like, where she was holding these people, and you saw those Brides of Dracula pulling the gates open to really get you. And I thought the scenery in there was really cool. There was some awesome stuff to look at. And yeah, it was an all around great house. So yeah.
Onto Revenge of the Tooth Fairy. Oh, wait. I should just point out that I am…there were definitely some scares missing in the Bride of Frankenstein as far as boo glue holes go. So hopefully, obviously, this was sort of a last minute type thing, as we all know. So hopefully, we’ll be able to see this house at full strength with all those boo holes filled cos they also had to follow some social distancing guidelines. So maybe if there was a spot where maybe two characters were supposed to come out from the same area, they can really do that this year. So hopefully, we’ll be able to see this house in full this fall. And yeah, we’ll see what happens.
So onto Revenge of the Tooth Fairy, this time for real. So I’m going to read the description to you now.
There’s a centuries old pact between mortals and the goblinesque tooth fairies. In exchange for safety from these wicked creatures, humanity made a deal. Every milk tooth of the young is to be forfeit in exchange for treats or money. There have been many times in which mankind has not lived up to his half of the bargain. There are children who question, children who dare to hold back the payment. Tonight is one such night. The youngest child of the Westthorn family is refusing to place his small incisor under the pillow. It seems like such a small thing, a wish to hold onto childhood just a little longer. But to deny these sinister creatures their payment is to find out just how far they will go to extract their fee. Only when the swarm of [??] [00:14:52] toothless tortured corpses in their wake will humanity relearn the terrible lesson. It’s an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
All righty. So this house is really cool. I’ve thought that it could’ve potentially been one of the scariest, I don’t want to say of all time, but it had the potential without plexiglass to be a really scary house. There were some really cool spots in there. So you would come in and you would turn the corner and you would see these signs that said, “What happens when child refuses to give up his tooth to the tooth fairy?” or something along those lines. And then you would see at the end a giant book that said, Revenge of the Tooth Fairy. And real quick, I feel that we could possibly see a new kind of original concept come out of this house. So give things like Scary Tales and Psycho [??] [00:16:02] and those kinds of things a break and really go with this like bedtime stories kind of original that they were kind of going with here. And I think it’d be really cool. But we’ll see what other kind of stories they can come up with or maybe this is a one-time thing. But with that book, it kind of showed me like, hey, you can make a lot of things into a book. So I think there’s a lot of potential here.
And then you turn that corner, once you saw that book and of course, you saw that façade and oh, my God, this façade was one of the best, probably ever. I know that’s very controversial but oh, my God. So it looked like a picture book and it was one of those like pop-up picture books. And it was like a cardboard cutout of everything, but they all moved so you would see…and it was following a story. So as you were walking down that hallway, that first hallway to those posters, you heard the kind of the story in the background. So you heard the nanny coming up to James being like, “You mustn’t upset the fairy folk, master James.” And then she was saying like how if he doesn’t listen, they will turn him into a cursed monster forever.
And he would say, “I don’t care. I don’t believe you. I don’t believe in fairies.” And then you’d hear that da-na-da-da. It was really cool. But then when you saw that façade, you saw that scene play out. You saw the nanny come in and move closer to James. You saw the fairy pop up behind James’s bed. James Westthorn is the kid who won’t give up the tooth here. But it was just really a really cool scene to watch play out. And I love how the façade was really just…it was a really vital part to the story. And like I said, it was really cool just to see it come to life.
So then as you head inside that house, you went into each of the different rooms of the house. So you went into the kitchen, you went into his parents’ room, you went into the servants’ room, you went into the library, you went into the attic and you just saw these tooth fairies cause all kinds of havoc in there and just rip the teeth out of all these family members and servants. And you would also see James slowly transform from this little boy, innocent boy, into the evil tooth fairy that he was becoming. There were some really cool scares in here. I liked the room with the shower curtains, where they would just pop out from behind them, with the really cool lighting in there. The Fairy Jubilee was a cool room, which was this dark room at the end where you just kind of have fairies come in all around. What other scares were there? At the very end, just before you got out, there was one more on your right. There was some pretty cool stuff in there. And then, like I said earlier, it was awesome to see James kind of transform into that tooth fairy. The tooth fairies are kind of like I described earlier. They are these goblinesque creatures. Pretty creepy, pretty creepy.
And there was a great attention to detail in this house. One thing that I noticed, a quick reminder, as this was supposed to part of HHN 30, it was really cool. If you looked to the right when you’re going, I believe this was through like the servants’ bedroom, you could see the storytellers’ glasses and the caretaker’s watch, which I thought that was a really cool detail. The kitchen was a really detailed scene. It smelled like food in there. It made me really hungry. It was also really cool to see the bedrooms. That was really cool. Oh, another really cool scare that I just remembered is when you’re going through, I think it was the parents’ room and you had one tooth fairy come from this window and then like one of the parents pop out from the bed. It was a really good scare. That room, actually, I think got me a couple times.
And just like the other house, it was missing a couple of boo holes and that was very evident. Shout out to the Inside Universal Forums for catching these. I caught a couple of these but there were a few I didn’t. So the five main missing things that I…five main missing scares, I should say that were noticed was the drill scene in the servants’ hallway. You saw the drill there and you heard it, but it almost looked like someone was supposed to be there drilling someone’s teeth out. But because of maybe social distancing, you couldn’t have two performers there. Or maybe that scare would have just been way too close to the guests. The drill was very close to the guests, so maybe social distancing again. So even if there wasn’t supposed to be like a family member there getting his teeth pulled out, maybe just the Tooth Fairy can be there because too close, so maybe we’ll see what happens this fall.
The kitchen door scare, nothing there as well. It looked like there was supposed to be a bungee-type scare in the Fairy Jubilee. It seemed like there was a harness attached up in the roof that would have obviously had like a flying tooth fairy. There were some rumors going around that we were supposed to get like a main tooth fairy, so like obviously, we saw the little tooth fairies. But apparently, there was supposed to be one like boss type tooth fairy. But obviously, that didn’t show up so maybe it will in the fall. And this isn’t confirmed, by the way. That’s just from the HN Nightmares and Speculation Map that all three of these houses are supposed to be coming back. So hopefully, we’ll get to see these all. Obviously, Beetlejuice is already confirmed but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Another scare that was missing…there was a whole bunch of scares, actually, I noticed, in the Fairy Jubilee missing. And then there was one corner that you turned where you were coming from the library and you were moving into the attic, there was a clear boo hole there and there was nothing over there. So I don’t know what happened with that. But hopefully, they will be there in the fall if this house returns, because I think it has a lot of potential. So we’ll see what happens.
All right, onto our last house of the day, we got Beetlejuice. This is in the Parade Building. This is already confirmed to be coming back. But we’re just going to expand on it a little bit more. So this is where…the Parade Building is where Graveyard Games was in HHN 29. So I’ll just read the description here for Beetlejuice.
Say it once, say it twice, say it three times. It’s time to turn up the juice and see what shakes loose as the original film comes to life, more twisted and terrifying than ever. Beetlejuice will haunt, taunt and send you screaming out of the haunted house. He’ll torment you as you wander checkerboard hallways and abandon you to your fate in in the Lost Souls Room. He’ll menace you through the model graveyard and join in the fun of Dante’s Inferno. Be a part of the infamous dinner party scene and witness Beetlejuice’s chaotic wedding. It’s showtime.
All righty. So this house, it was obviously a very last-minute thing. They opened this up for two days at the very end, the rumor was to fulfill some contract obligations. I was able to do this house eight times over the two days. Very, very, very, very lucky. I know a lot of people showed up and didn’t even get to do it once. But I was very lucky. A shoutout to a couple my friends out there and my mom again. And if it wasn’t for you guys, who knows if I would have even done this once? So thank you to you guys again, but this house was really cool. It was…if you are a hardcore Beetlejuice fan, it’s going to be great for you cos it’s literally just walking through the movie. The façade of this house wasn’t really like a façade. It was just kind of a picture of a redesigned Beetlejuice on here, on the side of the Parade Building. And then you walked in and you went up these ramps, as Beetlejuice was up on an elevated platform. And he would, he’d like, he’d roast you, kind of. It kind of reminded me of the Chuckie’s Insult Emporium from Universal Studios Hollywood, back a couple years ago, where he would just kind of, he would make a little joke of you. He’d be like, “Hey guys, like six feet, six feet,” or, “Hey, funny hat,” or nothing too crazy but it was just a fun thing. It was fun to have that little interaction with him before you went inside the house.
And then, yeah, it was exactly like walking through the movie. You went in and you saw the waiting room. You would go into the Lost Souls room and there’d be some really cool scares there. They did a beautiful job of rebuilding that model in the attic of the town. And then they had Beetlejuice’s commercial on there. It was really cool to see Lydia. She came out and she would come out and say, “I, myself am strange and unusual.” And I loved walking into the, being able to actually walk into the [??] [00:26:04]. You see that Here Lies Betelgeuse sign. And Beetlejuice would pop out in all his different forms. With this one room, he had his spikes on and in another room, he had his hat on, and it was really cool. The façade for Dante’s Inferno was spot on. It was awesome.
Then you also got to see the married couple as both…you saw them as ghosts when they cover themselves in sheets to try and scare the people out of the house. You saw them in their like ghostly form at the end, in her wedding dress, and it was really cool. So oh, and of course, you got to go into that dinner scene and the Banana Boat song, of course, was playing in there, and you went to the wedding, you got to see Lydia in her red dress and Beetlejuice in his tux. And the last room was this sandworm puppet balloon thing. I’m not really sure what it was. And then of course you came out one more time and you heard Jumping the Line and you would see Beetlejuice and he’d be like, “And that’s why I don’t do two shows a night anymore. I won’t do it.” And that was a really fun ending to the house. I really liked that.
But there was a whole bunch of things missing, especially the second half of the house. The first half was really cool and then like in the middle, it kind of just like died a little bit. So for example, when you went in that dinner scene, all you saw was the hands reaching down from the table on the roof. If you looked to your left and right, though, there was a lot of room. And if I had to guess, if they had more time maybe to cast, or maybe it was just simply for social distancing, cos those platforms were kind of close. There were some platforms on the ground and I’m sure if it was normal, you would’ve seen the family and the business partner dancing to the Banana Boat song. Because it just seemed a little empty. As well as in the last room, that room with the sandworm, if you missed that cue – I don’t really want to call it a scare – if you missed that, that sandworm coming down at you, you really kind of got the short end of the stick because there was nothing else there. And that Beetlejuice at the very end, that wasn’t a scare. He really just stood there and everyone was like kind of partying at that point to the music. So I feel like the second half could use a lot of improvement and I think that will come this year because they will have a lot of time to get the correct cast. They’ll just be able to get, they’ll be able to get it right because they have time. They have time and that’s something that they really didn’t have.
So I’m really excited to see all three of these houses, hopefully, hopefully, hopefully – I know this is a stretch – but hopefully, we can see this without plexiglass. Who knows? But yes, as I mentioned earlier…oh, and that is it for Beetlejuice, by the way. But as I mentioned earlier, we did hit out to the Taste of Universal event at Universal Studios Hollywood and we got to check out some of that construction. Like I said, go check out our social medias to see those pictures. But we did get to see the tent for the rumored Texas Chainsaw Massacre Maze by the Mummy queue. Didn’t really see much work going on over there. It was just the tent sitting there. And then we saw, of course, what was going on over at the Waterhole queue for the rumored Halloween 3, Season of the Witch Maze. So that was really cool to look at as well. No real work going on over there but just looking in and trying to see what I could see. Obviously, they make it very difficult for guests to see what’s going on in there.
So be sure to go check out those photos and that’s going to be it for this episode. Thank you so much for joining me on this episode. Hopefully, you’re now even more excited for HHN 30 because hopefully, these houses will all be coming back. And be sure to stay tuned for our next episode. So join us for that and don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter, @hhnspeculationmatt on Instagram and @speculationmatt on Twitter. Thank you again for listening and I will see you in the Fog.