The rumor mill has been running pretty steady about the future of Universal Studios Hollywood’s annual Halloween Horror Nights event. We have some leads on what could possibly be coming in the future and why. Check it out below.
We are huge fans of Halloween Horror Nights here at TrulyDisturbing.com and have been covering the event since 2005. It’s the one event every year we must attend. All other plans are forfeit when it comes to HHN. For years HHN has been the dominate force in haunts and maze fun in the southern California area, hell, in the whole damn country for that matter. The franchise’s that creative director John Murdy works with and makes into “Haunted Attractions” could very well be called “Legendary” by some. (Halloween, Friday The 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, An American Werewolf In London, etc)
Yet, times they are a changing and so, HHN has evolved and changed as well. The addition or deletion of live shows has been in a constant flux for the event with no one show maintaining a regularity we would be happy with. Even the classic live Bill & Ted stage show has been phased out for other shows that, to be honest, don’t hit their mark. John Murdy was even quoted as saying that “We had live bands play in the past and it took away from the event as a whole.” Murdy knows what he’s talking about, he’s been the face of HHN for a decade and a true horror fan through and through. So why the recent compromise with the addition of the Jabowockees dance show the last few years? Could Murdy be bending to the corporate pressure? Who’s to say.
Other areas of HHN have changed as well. With the addition of the Harry Potter area of the park and the expansion of The Simpsons, Springfield, the upper lot doesn’t have the scare zones it once did. Sadly, The Purge scare zone this year is a small area compared to years past and the main entrance scare area seems to be shrinking every year as well.
Truth be told, this had us worried for awhile but we had the constant reassurance that John Murdy and Larry Bones (Boneyard Effects) would be ever present to man the ship that is HHN and it’s makeup effects department, respectfully…or so we thought.
Rumors have been swirling since 2014 that John Murdy would be retiring soon. He even told us in 2015 that he “…has a for sure end date when I’d hand over HHN to someone else…” could this be HHN 2016? He did state that The Exorcist was one of the properties that would be “a dream to work with…” and this year, that dream has come true. Is securing The Exorcist the nail in Murdy’s HHN coffin? We sure hope not but speculation does abound.
As for Larry Bones and Boneyard Effects being the go-to effects company for HHN, we can confirm from an insider source that Larry “…has been doing this for over 11 years and is pretty ready to call it quits.” Another aspect we have come to learn, that could be the reason for Bones’ departure is that in 2014 the makeup effects crew he oversees went from over 30 artists down to just 10 this year. That’s a big dip in personnel. Also we can confirm that masks are being used instead of makeup now and these masks aren’t like years past where they are legit life casts of the scare actors under neath. We were told that “you can even see the ‘Made In China’ imprint on a few of the masks used in the mazes and scare zones this year.”
This isn’t the HHN we remember.
Could the budget for HHN have been cut drastically due to the expense that is Harry Potter land? Or maybe due to the many renovations the park has seen over the last year? HHN is a gold mine and sells out various nights ever year so we would hope this wouldn’t be a damning factor for HHN…but who knows.
We do realize this is all just hearsay but it does add up and makes one think. If this is indeed the final year for John Murdy and Larry Bones, we for one will be sad to see them go.
Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights begins on September 18th. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.
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