Even though it seems like theme parks just got finished with Christmas, diehard fans of Universal Orlando’s most popular holiday event are already speculating what will be in store for them this year – and if rumors are true, there could be some major names coming.
The hottest Halloween event in Central Florida is, without a doubt, Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights. The annual event, which will be celebrating its 32nd year in 2023, is famous for its film-quality haunted houses, innovative and thrilling shows, amazing food and drink offerings, and being able to scare the pants off of anyone who enters. The show-stopping event attracts anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 Guests a night. sometimes exceeding the number of Day Guests.
The event is also known for its utilization of IPs, and creating houses based on the most popular movies, television shows, video games, and sometimes, music of that year. Last year, the event saw major success with The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare, a haunted house based on (and partially developed by) recording artist The Weeknd and his hit album ‘After Hours.’ Before that, the event was dominated by ‘Stranger Things,’ with lines for houses based on the show exceeding two hours nightly.
Each year, HHN fans make a meticulous effort to research and speculate on what that year’s houses will be. Many rumors fly, but on Saturday, one of the most popular HHN speculation accounts, @HHNightmares, released their very first speculation map of the season. They made it clear that things would change as the season progresses, but let’s take a look at the first expectations.
Happy #HHN32 season everyone! You’ve been waiting! You’ve sent us messages, so here’s V1 of the speculation map! #HHN #HHNForever #HorrorCommunity
🚨 Remember this is based on CURRENT SPECULATION and WILL CHANGE as the season progresses.
Here are the Top 5 Spec Map Questions! pic.twitter.com/Gz0GUeoTIm
— Horror Night Nightmares (@HNNightmares) February 18, 2023
Let’s start with what we know for sure; at the end of last year’s event, Universal announced that the first house of HHN 32 would feature the hit SyFy series ‘Chucky,’ based on the Child’s Play franchise. Universal’s rush to announce Chucky’s presence, as well as a Chuky-themed photo op at the event last year, has many fans anticipating that Chucky will serve as at least one of the icons of this year’s event.
Additionally, there were a few house rumors that were swirling before the release of this map. One popular rumor (and likely house) features the continuation of the Universal Classic Monsters-themed houses with Universal Studios Monsters: Phantom vs. Dracula. This would be the fourth installment of this series, following Universal Monsters at HHN 29, Bride of Frankenstein: Unleashed at HHN 30, and Universal Monsters: Legends Collide at HHN 31. Also rumored is another installment of The Horrors of Blumhouse, this time featuring M3gan (2022) and Insidious (2010). Finally, fans had also previously discussed the possibility of bringing the hit HBO show ‘The Last of Us’ to this year’s event.
Now, let’s look at the latest rumors on the map. An original Krampus house was somewhat anticipated after the year-round Halloween store in Universal’s Islands of Adventure got a Krampus-themed holiday overlay. The lone anchor at the “E” placement could potentially mean a sequel to Dead Man’s Pier: Winter’s Wake, heralded as one of the best houses of 2022 due to its immersive theming and stunning visuals. Lair of the Banshees comes in as a potential original house, seemingly based off the Lair of the Banshee scarezone at HHN 26.
Devil Dogs seems to be referencing HHN 28’s Slaughter Sinema, a house that featured horrifying & comedic B-movies, one of which was about motorcycle-riding werewolves called Devil Dogs. The guitar and lightning bolt combination at space “I” could be pointing towards another music house, and some fans think the lightning bolt could hint at David Bowie (‘Scary Monsters and Super Creeps,’ anyone?). Finally, clever fans have translated the Japanese characters of the final spot to say “Nihon no ikimono,” meaning “Japanese creature,” meaning we could potentially be seeing a kaiju or J-horror style house.
All of these rumors have fans reeling over what announcement could come next, and we’ll simply have to wait to see what’s coming to terrify us this August.
What do you think of this speculation map? Let us know!