Theme park fans may be in for the fright of their lives with this major IP.
There’s no doubt that one of the hottest television shows right now is HBO’s The Last of Us from Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, based on the video game series of the same name. The follows Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey), two survivors traveling through a post-apocalyptic America that has been taken over by a mass fungal infection, creating horrible monsters known as “clickers.” The game was critically acclaimed and the show is following suit, being “Certified Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes with a 91% audience rating. Critics and audiences alike praise the show for its production, its smart writing, and for Pascal’s performance.
The premiere garnered 4.7 million viewers and ratings for each episode remain high, despite some controversy surrounding the show’s third episode, “Long, Long Time”. While some praised the episode for its deep emotional storytelling and for the performances of Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett as Bill and Frank, respectively, some were upset with the show’s utilization of an LGBTQ+ storyline, despite that storyline already being in the game.
Naturally, a show with this big of a following is likely to be capitalized by merchandise, spin-offs, and numerous other endeavors. Due to its mature content, a theme park is perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind in terms of franchising. For an action-horror franchise like The Last of Us, though, there is one theme park event brave enough to potentially partner with it.
Halloween Horror Nights is an annual event held at Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood every year. The event attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year to experience world-class haunted houses, terrifying shows, Halloween-themed food and beverage offerings, and more.
We’ve already gotten one confirmed announcement for this year’s event, with Universal announcing that the hit SyFy series Chucky would serve as the theme for the first house. Fans speculate that this announcement could also point to Chucky as the icon of the event.
Fans have begun to speculate about other houses, including a “Horrors of Blumhouse” house featuring Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) and M3gan (2022), as well as a Universal Classic Monsters mashup house starring Dracula and the Phantom of the Opera. A popular Halloween Horror Nights speculation account has released a current speculation map on Twitter, and there’s a familiar franchise name featured in one of the houses.
It is time for us to release our latest #HHN32 spec map!
#HHN #HalloweenHorrorNights pic.twitter.com/VPYBN181ZH
— Hallowed Out Horror (@Hallowed_Horror) February 9, 2023
The map lists the potential for a The Last of Us house in the area previously occupied by Woody Woodpecker’s Kid Zone (an area that closed permanently for a retheme earlier this year). Could we be running from clickers during the next Halloween Horror Nights?
The Chucky house is the only confirmed house at the time of writing this article, but it wouldn’t be an out of the ordinary pick. It’s one of the biggest horror franchises of the year so far, and its early release gives Universal Creative ample time to work on the house. They’ve seen a lot of success with their Stranger Things houses, and The Last of Us would draw a massive crowd to this year’s event. However, if Chucky ends up being the icon of the event, it would perhaps be strange for Universal to pick an arguably bigger IP (The Last of Us‘ ratings blow Chucky‘s out of the water) as another house.
Theme park and horror fans will simply have to wait and see if we’ll be running alongside Joel at Halloween Horror Nights 32.