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This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Universal’s HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 32! By far and away the most anticipated event of the theme park year is Universal’s HHN. Nothing else even comes close. As much as we all love EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts, Universal’s Mardi Gras, or DCA’s Oogie Boogie Bash, no other event comes close to matching the sheer amount of online discussion and speculation on what may or may not be coming to HHN.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

Now, HHN is already established as the worldwide premier Halloween event. Universal could easily rest on its creative laurels, phone it in, count all their money and say “we’re saving our good stuff for the upcoming EPIC Universe.” But that’s not what happens. NAY  NAY. They go hard. How hard? Well, let’s check it out…

# 6 – Dr. Oddfellow

The Icon for HHN 32 is Dr. Oddfellow, and you’ll meet him immediately once walking into the park. Icons take on a special stature at HHN, including a Murderer’s Row (literally) of characters including The Director, Chance, Lady Luck and more. Oddfellow has a background in the circus, practices dark magic, and has a backstory tying him to the ultimate Icon of HHN, Jack the Clown.

Dr. Oddfellow. (photo by Hunter Underwood)
Dr. Oddfellow’s stage. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Dr Oddfellow with a subject at HHN. As seen in the previous photo, the zodiac glyphs are usually red. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Dr. Oddfellow. (photo by Brandon Glover)

You know something is special in the theme park community when it sparks the creativity of the many artists we are blessed to have in it, and the character of Dr. Oddfellow has completely delivered in that area.

Dr. Oddfellow. (L to R: art by Brian Cooper, Sterling Denham, and @clarabellumsart)
Dr. Oddfellow. (art by @SonderQuest)
Dr. Oddfellow. (art by @LenobadeDraws)

This tarot card featuring Dr. Oddfellow is a special giveaway Universal created for Annual Passholders.

Dr. Oddfellow Tarot Card. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

# 5 – Merchandise

Regular readers of this fine blog series know how much I love theme park merchandise. I love the good stuff, I love the bad stuff, and what I possibly love most of all is the ugly stuff. Universal always creates a ton of new merchandise in support of HHN, and we’ll look at some of my favorite items from this year’s event below, starting with a Dr. Oddfellow shirt featuring a faux Carnival poster that has a whole bunch of HHN references on it.

Dr. Oddfellow shirt (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)
Previous HHN Icon, Chance. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Previous HHN house, Wicked Growth. Meetz Meats was the setting to the HHN house Leave it to Cleaver. Pizza fries and twisted taters are official HHN Food Icons. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

I’ve long been a fan of the various Hello Kitty mash-ups that Universal has been selling that have placed the cute character of Hello Kitty into the worlds of Jaws, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, and even Alfred Hitchock’s Psycho. For HHN 32, Hello Kitty got her first HHN mash-up (at least stateside, as this design has been used in Universal Studios Japan for several years) with Hello Kitty Chucky.

Hello Kitty Chucky t-shirt. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

As you can imagine, Universal has a hard time keeping these items in stock because they are so popular.

Hello Kitty shirt. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

Chucky is also available as a popcorn bucket.

But not just any popcorn bucket, NAY NAY. This bucket included directions on HOW TO SUMMON CHUCKY.

That’s right, this popcorn bucket is voice-activated, and once summoning Chucky his eyes glow red and his head moves. We are in a true golden era of popcorn buckets at Disney and Universal.

There is also a new Minion-themed popcorn bucket as well.

Minion trick or treater. (photo by Scott Sanders)

For those SAT 6 readers of a certain age, they will remember the character Urkel from the TV show Family Matters. Like “The Fonz” for a generation before him on Happy Days, Urkel went from a side character on a show to the main star within a year. Universal had their own breakout character two years ago with Lil’ Boo, a small and adorable pumpkin (created by artist Emory Alvarado) who stole everyone’s heart outside the Wicked Growth house at HHN 30. Since that time, Lil’ Boo has been EVERYWHERE. Lil’ Boo even has its own line of merchandise, including this Lil’ Boo plush (another item that Universal has a hard time keeping up with the demand for.)

Lil’ Boo plush. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

Generally you don’t find many succulents for sale at HHN, but this one featuring Lil’ Boo is surprisingly large and absolutely awesome.

Stranger things glass and Lil’ Boo succulent. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

One of the most anticipated HHN 32 houses for theme park fans was the one based on Dueling Dragons, an opening day attraction at Islands of Adventure that was eventually replaced when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter -Hogsmeade Village opened. The merchandise line for Dueling Dragons is available exclusively for Universal Orlando Annual Passholders.

Dueling Dragons glass. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)
Dueling Dragons pin. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

Clothing wise, you know this Stranger Things-themed jacket was a huge seller. If you’re a fan of the Hellfire Club, you’re in luck because Universal has a ton of merchandise for you at HHN.

Eddie’s jacket. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

One of my favorite collectibles at Universal that never really caught on was the Uni-Minis. The Studio Screamers series are very close to what Uni-Minis were, so I look forward to the new designs which come out each year. Designed by artist Andrew Stonecypher, this year’s line-up includes: Dracula, the Mummy, the Usher, the Invisible Man, Tiffany Valentine, and Lil’ Boo.

Studio Screamers series 3. (photo by Andrew Stonecypher)
The complete Studio Screamers collection. (photo by @kevinHelmbach13)

As a lifelong comic book fan, by far and away my favorite item ever produced for HHN is this year’s Tribute To Terror comic book.

Tribute To Terror. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

We cover this comic in-depth in our article on the HHN 32 Tribute Store.

Tribute to Terror comic. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

What’s absolutely amazing (and fills my heart with joy) is that the original printing of the Tribute to Terror comic book SOLD OUT. Now this I did not see coming. Stuff like the Hello Kitty/Chucky mash-up and Lil’ Boo plush selling out makes sense. Great items that appeal to a lot of guests. A $15 comic book selling out? My mind is blown (in the best way possible.) Taking a page from what real comic book publishers do, Universal created a unique second printing of the Tribute to Terror comic book. Please send all your thoughts, prayers, and pixie dust my way for MORE comic books that are exclusive to the theme parks in upcoming years.

Tribute Store comics. First and Second printing. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

BREAKING: After this fine blog series went to press, Universal has gone to a THIRD PRINTING of this comic!! Incredible.

Before we leave the merchandise section, I do have to point out this awesome “couch gag” t-shirt available in Springfield. It’s not directly related to HHN, but it “feels” like HHN and is new for this year. I love it.

The Simpsons. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

# 4 – Food

Over the last few years, outdoor kitchens at HHN have gone from an after-thought to one of my favorite parts of the event. The kitchens themselves are now themed, and the variety of options available to guests are next level. The Last of Us is one of the big IPs that came to HHN this year. Many of you reading this may know The Last of Us after watching the fantastic series on HBO earlier this year, but HHN is using the original source material: the video game. THAT SAID, for all intents and purposes its the same thing. There is an outdoor kitchen themed to the world of The Last of Us where you’ll see the firefly logo…

Last of Us-themed Outdoor Kitchen. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

…and even get a can of “Left Behind Ravioli!

Left Behind Ravioli. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

It’s not just a snack, it’s also a fun collectible.

Left Behind Ravioli. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

To the shock of no one, this FEDRA-themed food ration can was a HUGE hit with guests, causing it to also sell out. Right now we have a classic Good News/Bad News situation. The Good News is that the Left Behind Ravioli is now $1 cheaper and the serving size seems larger. The Bad News is you don’t get that E-Ticket can.

Food. Left Behind Ravioli in a paper boat, with a ration ticket. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

However you also get the FEDRA ration ticket, which is really cool.

The FEDRA Ration Bar is also served with a ration ticket.

FEDRA Ration Bar – Scotcheroo Bar with coffee-flavored chocolate, peanut butter, and rice krispies. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

Another item from The Last of Us-themed kitchen is this bonkers Cordyceps Corndog.

Cordyceps Corndog – Korean cheese dog with cordyceps, crispy potato skins, truffle cream sauce, and daikon sprouts. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

In the last few years we have seen The Walking Taco at both SeaWorld and Walt Disney World (Limited Time Magic at Pecos Bills). This is one of the greatest things of all time and it has finally come to Universal at HHN.

The Walking Taco. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

The Walking Taco is a bag of Fritos Scoops topped with taco beef, shredded mozzarella, black beans, queso fresco, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and cilantro. Starting a petition now for Universal to keep this in the park 365 days a year.

The Walking Taco. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

Now, the SATURDAY SIX has long considered HHN to be the “International Food & Wine Festival for the workin’ man.” While EPCOT may offer fancy schmancy small plates and crudités along with wine pairings where you need to hold your pinkie out when drinking, Universal offers items such as pizza fries, twister taters, and a hot dog that looks like it was dreamed up by your six year old nephew.

Dr. Oddfellow’s Carn”Evil” Dog – Red hot dog in a confetti hot dog bun, Kool-Aid pickles, bubblegum mustard, and potato sticks. (photo by Megan Stump)

Kool-Aid pickles. BUBBLEGUM mustard. A confetti bun. All of that stuff is crazy, but what’s even crazier is that it actually tastes good!

Cross section of Carn”Evil” Dog.
My official review of the Carn”Evil” Dog when realizing it wasn’t awful.

Now, this isn’t the first time that Universal has tried its hand at using hot dogs in a creative way. You’ve heard the expression “think outside the box”? Well in one particular case the box was the one Pinhead uses in the movie Hellraiser. During Halloween Horror Nights there was once a specialty food available called the Pizza Dog, which had an entire hot dog stuffed into the crust. For context, this particular slice was released (escaped?) during HHN 25. That was the same year in which Pizza Hut introduced a pizza with a crust made up of mini-hotdogs. Like the movie Jurassic Park, Universal took the inevitable next step and used a whole hot dog inside the crust. This was better than Pizza Hut’s version, but better in the way that the original Transformers film is easier to follow than the Transformers sequels. This is damning it with the faintest of all praise.

Final results: Hot dogs? Good. Pizza? Good. Hot dogs and pizza? Not good. Served with French’s mustard, this was the first pizza that ever made the SATURDAY SIX staff long for the culinary masterpieces served by the BoardWalk Pizza Window.

The infamous Pizza Dog

Not crazy enough for you? How about the Peanut Blooder Burger then. A smash Burger with a peanut sauce, raspberry jelly, cheddar cheese, shaved onions, jalapeño bacon, and cherry peppers on a vampire bun.

Peanut Blooder Burger. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

From the world of Stranger Things comes the outdoor kitchen themed to Surfer Boy Pizza.

The slices at Surfer Boy pizza were made using French-bread, and I thought they were terrific. Another item I wouldn’t mind seeing on the Universal menu throughout the entire year as grab-and-go pizza slices.

Surfer Boy cheese pizza. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Surfer Boy Hawaiian Pizza – French bread-style pizza with crispy Spam, pineapple chutney, jalapeño, scallions, and mozzarella. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

Surfer Boy Pizza also sells this awesome Yuri’s Favorite snack, which is a chilled jar containing chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse and Reese’s Pieces.

Anything with Reese’s Pieces I’m going to buy. That’s my policy.

Here’s a look at this year’s Blinky Cup.

There is a souvenir sipper this year straight out of the world of Stranger Things featuring Eddie’s guitar. Now I like crazy stuff as much as the next person, but this seems a bit too much even for me.

A surprise hit this year is this branded can of Orange Death. Billed as “an eerily delicious combination of vodka, orange, and cranberry,” this drink checks off both the Tastes Great and Collectible Can boxes, so it gets a thumbs up from me.

Orange Death, tastes like an alcohol-fueld orange push-pop. (photo by Scott Sanders)

# 3 – Scare Zones

Over just the last several years, the Scarezones located throughout HHN have become a bigger part of my personal experience. Previously, my personal TouringPlan consisted of “gotta get to a house, then another house, then another house,” etc, but now I enjoy taking my time and just walking around. Taking it all in. People watching. During one of our Unmasking the Horror tours, we walked backstage and saw the area where scareactors were getting ready. It was amazing just to see the process, along with how many moving parts there are to HHN. It made me truly appreciate the scareactors and the people behind the scenes who help them get ready every night. It’s also fun just to see people get the daylights scared out of them, and that can happen right in front of your eyes in a scare zone.

The artistry in the set design, the characters, and the people who play the characters combine for an astounding effect in each scarezone. Now, there are certainly complaints from hardcore HHN fans that the scarezones have transitioned away from being spooky places to something more casual in terms of the scareactors stopping for photos. To me this comes across like old school football fans complaining that today’s game has too much passing and not enough “smash mouth football.” Social media has changed Halloween Horror Nights. Whether that’s for the good or bad is your personal decision, but this is the way it is and – most likely – is the way it’s going to stay for the foreseeable future.

Let’s check out the five scarezones for HHN 32 starting with..

Dr. Oddfellow’s Collection of HorrorDr. Oddfellow will lure you into Halloween Horror Nights with a promise of immortality. As he lifts the veil on all the horrors to come, you’ll soon realize you may not even survive the night.

The scare zone at the front of the park, and includes a live mic’d actor portraying Dr. Oddfellow (featured in the first section in this very article.) It essentially features a collection of various scare actors from the other four scare zones.

Dr. Oddfellow’s Collections of Horror. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Dr. Oddfellow’s Collections of Horror. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Dr. Oddfellow’s Collections of Horror. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Dark ZodiacDr. Oddfellow has entered a dark dimension to harness the power of the Zodiac and live forever. He twists the signs into malevolent beings who foretell your doom. As his star rises, yours falls.

Located in Hollywood, this scare zone has low lighting and lots of fog. Demon creatures representing the zodiac scare guests and they also really like chainsaws. Second year in a row that the Hollywood section of the park has one of my favorite scare zones.

SCAREZONE. Dark Zodiac. Gemini. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
SCAREZONE. Dark Zodiac. Gemini. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
SCAREZONE. Dark Zodiac. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
SCAREZONE. Dark Zodiac. Zodiac glyphs on a chainsaw. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
SCAREZONE – Dark Zodiac. Chainsaw crew. (photo b y Mike Sperduto)

Jungle of Doom: Expedition Horror In the 1920s, Dr. Oddfellow ventured deep into the darkest jungle, performing horrific experiments on nature. Now his monstrous creations are running amok and are coming after you.

Located in Central Park, Jungle of Doom is set to Oddfellow’s search for mysterious artifacts to harness his power. Of course, harnessing it also means unleashing spore monsters and sinister creatures. The foliage, fog, and monster design make it a feast for the eyes… when you can see.

Jungle of Doom: Expedition Horror. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Jungle of Doom: Expedition Horror. (photo by Hunter Underwood)
Jungle of Doom: Expedition Horror. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)
Jungle of Doom: Expedition Horror (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Detail 1 of 2. Eyes peering down from the trees in the Jungle of Doom: Expedition Horror HHN scare zone. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Detail 2 of 2. One of the large bats in the trees of the Jungle of Doom: Expedition Horror HHN scare zone. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Vamp ’69: Summer of Blood At a 60s music fest in a small New York town, you’ll jam to popular bands with fellow concert-goers until Dr. Oddfellow unleashes vicious vampires on the audience. They’re out for your blood.

Vamp takes Woodstock and makes it bloody. Vampires are on the loose as our friendly hippies turn violent and bloodthirsty. Located in the New York area of the park, Vamp ’69 spans a huge section of the park and features dozens of scare actors in tie-dye. The simple spectacle of this scare zone makes it noteworthy and easy to suggest.

Vamp ’69: Summer of Blood (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Vamp ’69: Summer of Blood (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Vamp ’69: Summer of Blood (photo by Mike Sperduto)

In a nice touch, the Tribute Store – which exists in the same area of USF as the Vamp ’69 scare zone – has this sign posted in the window.

Shipyard 32: Horrors Unhinged Enter a 1940s San Francisco shipping yard full of mysterious crates and cages bearing Dr. Oddfellow’s symbol. Beware, his nightmarish oddities have now escaped, spreading fear and chaos in their wake.

Oddfellow let his monsters out of the box, literally, in this shipyard. Fans will recognize some of the monsters from prior years’ houses and scare zones.

Shipyard 32: Horrors Unhinged. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Shipyard 32: Horrors Unhinged. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Shipyard 32: Horrors Unhinged. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Shipyard 32: Horrors Unhinged. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 2 – Nightmare Fuel: Revenge Dream

Earlier this year I wrote about my sailing on the Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas and talked about seeing the incredible stage show In-TEN-se. That show was based in the Aqua Theater and featured acrobatic women performing incredible feats using water. I was blown away and had never seen a show quite like that before. Well, I had a sense of déjà vu (in a good way) because Nightmare Fuel returns to HHN with a new storyline, aerial acts, visual illusions, and lots and LOTS of fire. The demons and desires of our Halloween nightmares return, but this year our Dreamer is fighting back. Fans of last year’s Nightmare Fuel will be happy to see the Fuel Girls’ over-the-top pyrotechnics return while doubling down on the acrobatic acts. New visual illusions and a fun subversion of an iconic illusion round out the show nicely. Easily one of the best theme park shows in the world. If you can take the heat of the fire and leather-clad dancers  you must see this show.

Nightmare Fuel: Revenge Dream. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Nightmare Fuel: Revenge Dream. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Nightmare Fuel Revenge Dream. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Nightmare Fuel Revenge Dream. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Nightmare Fuel Revenge Dream. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Nightmare Fuel: Revenge Dream. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Nightmare Fuel: Revenge Dream. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Nightmare Fuel: Revenge Dream. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Nightmare Fuel: Revenge Dream. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Nightmare Fuel: Revenge Dream. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Nightmare Fuel: Revenge Dream. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

# 1 – The Houses

The signature part of any HHN are the haunted house experiences. Despite going to Universal since it opened in the 1990s I always avoided HHN because I wouldn’t consider myself a “horror fan.” I finally decided to get my feet wet when Universal first got the license for AMC’s The Walking Dead, because I was such a huge fan of the TV show and Walking Dead comic book. I immediately realized how much different HHN actually was from what I imagined it to be in my mind. While I wasn’t a fan of some of the movies used for the haunted houses, I could appreciate the design of each house from an artistic standpoint. It was also just fun being “scared” by the scareactors inside, and even more fun watching other people get scared. Where I thought Universal really shined was in their original houses that weren’t tied to an IP, but even I had to admit it was an IP that got me personally into the door.

(NOTE: you can not film/photograph anything inside a house during an HHN event. Most of the pictures you will see below were taken during Unmasking The Horror tours. These tours are given during the day, with small groups of guests are given a “lights on” tour while having a Team Member given a lot of behind the scenes info. In my book this is an absolute MUST DO as you not only get to see a ton of things you will surely miss during the actual event, but you also get a fascinating look into how HHN is put together.)

Overall, the houses for HHN 32 are AWESOME, and we’ll go through each house in the order I personally am ranking them this year, starting with…

Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy FateTwo warlocks of great power were turned into dragons after trying to take Merlyn’s spell book. Now you and your friends are caught in their epic battle. You must choose a path and a victor.

Dueling Dragons should sound familiar to anyone who visited Islands of Adventure between 1999 and 2010 as this house is based on the original IOA coaster’s queue. The wizard Merlyn has been transformed into a giant tree and it is up to us to reverse the spell. It will not be easy because a dueling set of warring wizards wish to take the power to free Merlin and use it for their own evil deeds. Dueling Dragons is a very visually appealing house with lots of medieval theming, not that scary, and is exactly what this Universal fan wanted.

Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate. (photo by @stitchkingdom)
Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate. Stained Glass. (photo by @pink_tpc)
Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate. Merlyn’s spell book. (photo by @stitchkingdom)

For HHN, each year the scenic team hides something in each house. This year’s theme was frogs. The Dueling Dragons house has two frogs: one red and one blue.

Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate. Red frog. (photo by @stitchkingdom)
Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate. Blue frog. (photo by @stitchkingdom)

Universal Monsters: UnmaskedLurking sixty feet beneath the bustling streets of the City of Lights, the dank Catacombs of Paris house a much darker secret. . . The all-new haunted house “Universal Monsters: Unmasked” takes guests down into the infamous burial grounds where every corner and crevice overflows with millions of skeletal remains and even more sinister secrets. Deep within the Catacombs, Universal’s most notorious creatures – The Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr. Jekyll and his deranged alternate personality Mr. Hyde, and Dr. Jack Griffin, aka The Invisible Man – also lie in wait as they bide their time and seek vengeance against guests after the opening of the Catacombs to public visitation. These desperate and dangerous fiends have become filled with a rage toward guests navigating the twisted tunnels of their underground labyrinth home. It is here, in the darkness, where they hunt these trespassers and where the sounds of guests’ screams will go unheard.

Universal brings back the Universal Monsters franchise for its fourth consecutive year to HHN. This year’s house takes us to Paris where on a murderous night where the Phantom of the Opera, The Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame are all on the attack. The scare actors in this house bring their all with great performances and the amazing set design allows them to set up unique scares, including a bungee-cord scare with Quasimodo.

Universal Monsters: Unmasked. (photo by @stitchkingdom)

Stranger Things 4You must band together with your squad if you want to resist Vecna’s gruesome curse. Take on the scariest season of Stranger Things yet. Like Eleven, now’s your chance to stop him once and for all as you have the ultimate showdown in Vecna’s blood-red mindscape. Every ending has a beginning.

Stranger Things returns to HHN after a four-year hiatus with a haunted house based on the fourth season of the hit Netflix series. Iconic moments from the season are in the house including Chrissy’s possession and death in Eddie Munson’s trailer, the Upside Down Creel house, and even the final rocking showdown with Dustin and Eddie. Stranger Things 4 surpasses the season 2 and 3 split house from 2019 but doesn’t quite hit the same scare levels as the first house in 2018. The Vecna prosthetics are fantastic and lots of memorable scenes are recreated, but you do have to take some points off the house for missing some obvious scene omissions (no spoilers) and holding back on some of the scares.

Stranger Things. (photo via Universal Orlando)
Stranger Things.  (photo by @pink_tpc)

The Last of UsYou and your squad will encounter the haunting and overgrown world of Naughty Dog’s video game in a brand-new, terrifying way, as you make your way through an abandoned Pittsburgh. Join Joel and Ellie, and don’t make a sound if you want to survive Clickers, Hunters and more. No matter what, keep finding something to fight for.

This house  features the story from the hit video game and HBO series. Don’t expect to see Pedro Pascal fill-ins here, this house is based on the video game plot points and character designs. As a person who loved the TV show and has no interest in ever playing the game, this still worked for me. Guests travel with Joel and Ellie as they bust into Pittsburgh (Kansas City in the TV show), past clickers, spores, and bloaters before making their escape.

The Last of Us. (photo by @culturenthrils)
The Last of Us. (photo by @culturenthrills)

Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted OriginsYou won’t be able to resist going inside Dr. Oddfellow’s menacing menagerie of twisted oddities. But the price for you and your friends is steep: the cost of your souls to feed his immortal power.

Twisted Origins takes guests into Dr. Oddfellow’s dark carnival. The tent housing this house is brilliantly lit in yellow and red stripes that beckon guests in. Once you make your way through the outdoor arches inside is a coulrophobia nightmare of zodiac symbols, clowns, and circus animal experiments. The house is blast, but I may be a bit biased with how much I love the carnival gimmick.

Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins. (photo by @culturenthrills)
Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins. frog (photo by @culturenthrills)
Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins. (photo by @culturenthrills)

YETI: Campground Kills You and your friends are about to venture into a 1950s campground overrun by huge, menacing yetis who rip apart anyone who gets in their way. You must flee to the ranger tower to escape.

YETI  is this year’s dark comedy house which balances gore, scares, and humor perfectly. Set in a 1950s National Park campground, Little Billy seems to have killed a baby Yeti and the adults are not happy – the vibes are off big time. Yetis are attacking everywhere, from the ranger’s station to the outhouses and everything in between. The house features lots of funny and fun scares plus some of the best sets this year – we’re particularly fond of the hanging sleeping bags and the fake lake.

Yeti Campground Kills. (photo by @pink_tpc)
Yeti Campground Kills. RIP Baby Yeti. (photo by @pink_tpc)

The Darkest DealBlues musician Pinestraw Spruce will have to face the music after meeting with The Collector and trading his soul for musical glory. You and your squad learn the terrible price of fame.

This house is TouringPlans’ own Joseph Matt’s favorite house of the year. Based on the folk tale of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil for fame, but in this haunted house Pinestraw Spruce (you can’t make this up) sells his soul to the non-denominational The Collector for blues fame and fortune. As we follow Pinestraw’s career we see him sell his soul, start out small, and eventually top out at fame all before The Collector gets his due. This house features a great set design, wonderful special effects, and some serious scares. We are still trying to figure out how they do the signature effect in the first scene. Also looking forward to next year’s HHN 33 with the follow-up house The Darkest Deal: Even Darker which follows the story of a humble theme park blogger selling his soul to the devil for the number one spot on the Villain-Con Minion Blast all-time leaderboard.

The Darkest Deal’s outdoor facade. (photo by @StorybookAmuse)
The Darkest Deal. (photo by @culturenthrills)

Bloodmoon: Dark Offerings In a Colonial-era village, moon-worshippers witness a blood moon at their fall festival. They take it as a sign to hunt down any non-followers, including you and your scream squad.

Bloodmoon is this year’s gory house – the big town square scene features a maypole with children holding intestines as the rope. Yup, this is Parish Town where a bloodthirsty cult is looking to sacrifice the folks of this colonial town to satiate their gods. Lots of blood, gore, and people’s faces turned into cornucopias. It’s scary and gory, with lots of startling scares. We are particularly fond of this house’s story, you can understand what’s happening as we move through houses to the stores one step behind this cult. The layout even replicates a town as we make our way through stores around the central town square.

Bloodmoon Dark Offerings. (photo by @pink_tpc)
An awesome Bloodmoon: Dark Offering print which you can get by CLICKING HERE. (art by @LenobadeDraws)

The Exorcist: BelieverInspired by Universal Pictures’ terrifying new horror film from Blumhouse and Morgan Creek Entertainment (in theaters Friday, October 13), “The Exorcist: Believer” haunted house will unleash an entirely new level of terror to Halloween Horror Nights. In this new chapter, guests will be transported to a bustling street market in Haiti, where an innocent purchase of a strange folk doll with three eyes leads to the opening of a demonic portal, the awakening of sinister spirits and the subsequent disappearance of two 12-year-old girls in the U.S. The girls are found three days later with no memory of what happened to them. After the girls begin to exhibit unsettling behavior, it soon becomes clear that only an exorcism can save them – and everyone who comes in contact with them, including unwitting guests, is suddenly at risk of losing their souls.

This is a walkthrough of the trailer for the new Exorcist Believer movie. What do you do with a sequel to The Exorcist? Why, have TWO possessed girls! Naturally. Guests are looking for two missing girls who eventually show up possessed all before we too get dragged into the darkness. The house makes no sense, the movie is not out (yet), but that’s okay because the mood and scary actors will absolutely traumatize you. Lots of cool effects and amazing scares despite its major flaws.

Chucky: Ultimate Kill CountInspired by the hit USA & SYFY series and cult classic films, “Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count” casts this killer doll as the star of his very own haunted house for the first time. A true sadistic killer, Chucky has been mired in the agony of disrespect he feels from his peers at not being taken seriously. Thus begins his quest to turn his haunted house into a living slaughterhouse by killing every person who enters.

The murderous doll takes over his own haunted house and “actually” murders people. Lots of static figures, dolls, and screens. As they say, it is what it is.

Chucky Kill Count. (photo by @pink_tpc)

Honorable Mention: Peacock Bar featuring David S. Pumpkins

A couple years ago Tom Hanks hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live which featured a skit on a Haunted Elevator. The skit went viral as people fell in love with the complete insanity of Hanks’ character David S. Pumpkins.

For HHN 32, there is a Peacock Bar area in the San Francisco area of the park that you’ll see displays for various horror films you can see on the Peacock streaming network.

Peacock area in USF.

Peacock is also home to Saturday Night Live, and this year you can find David S. Pumpkins in this area.

One of the weirdest characters you’ll ever see in a theme park. Also pictured: David S. Pumpkins. (photo by @AestheticPuppet)

Like the Haunted Elevator skit, the character of David S. Pumpkins initially comes off as off-putting. At first you may think, “this is stupid.” But JUST LIKE THE SKIT, the joke becomes better and better and better until it becomes absolutely amazing. The character at HHN 32 is just as bonkers and non-sensical as the one on SNL and I am here for it.

David S. Pumpkins with the Digital Maestro Scott Walker.
ANY QUESTIONS? (photo by @CheeksAdam)

Double Secret Honorable Mention: The M3GAN Horde

Speaking of movies you can watch on Peacock, M3GAN was a surprise hit at the movie theaters earlier this year that you can now watch at home. It’s based around a life-like doll that is run by Artificial Intelligence. In many ways it is Child’s Play for a new generation of horror fans, and M3GAN is their Chucky.

M3GAN. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

HHN 32 takes it up a notch though, because we don’t just have a walk around M3GAN. We have a dancing M3GAN horde! The crowds that develop around these dances is insane.

M3GAN horde. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Maybe the most popular photo-op of all at HHN 32 is the guests who get a chance to be in a pic with the M3GANs.

M3GAN horde. (photo by Thomas Wagner)

Triple Threat Honorable Mention: Mel’s DIE-IN

Because Mel’s Drive-In at Universal Studios Florida is currently closed due to a lengthy refurbishment, there were Rumors and Innuendo that the restaurants signage would remain dark during HHN 32 and we wouldn’t see the wonderful Mel’s DIE-IN lighting feature.

Thankfully, this proved not to be true and Mel’s DIE-IN continues to be an unofficial HHN Icon.

MEL’S DIE-IN. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Mel’s DIE-IN. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

So there you have it: The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Halloween Horror Nights 32! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out the THEME PARK ENJOYMENT INDEX, giving a monthly recap of all the theme park news you need to know (and a lot more you don’t need to know, but we’re gonna tell you anyway). You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following: 

The SATURDAY SIX Celebrates Ten Years with TouringPlans

SATURDAY SIX Presents: The Disney Merchandise Hall of Shame

SATURDAY SIX Presents: The Disney Signage Hall of Shame

SATURDAY SIX Presents: The Disney Food Hall of Shame

SATURDAY SIX: Tribute to Josh easyWDW

SATURDAY SIX: Tribute to Ian Barritt

Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Digital Maestro Scott Walker, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, artist @SonderQuest, the mighty maven of merchandise Hedgehog’s Corner, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, the permit princess Alicia Stella, master cartographer Tommy Hawkins, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Absolutely no help was added by SeaWorld Influencer @SuperWeenieHtJr. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will  enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.

Winnie and Woody Woodpecker The Bride and Dracula. (photo by @Mrfurious32821)

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