Halloween Horror Nights Orlando event

Halloween Horror Nights: Reflections of Fear
Slogan Reflections of Fear/ I dare you to say it one more time/Bloody Mary
Year 2008
Icon Bloody Mary
Icon attraction Reflections of Fear
Number of haunted houses 8
Number of scarezones 7
Preceded by Halloween Horror Nights: Carnival of Carnage
Followed by Halloween Horror Nights: Ripped From the Silver Screen

"She waits for you behind the mirror. She aches to hear you whisper her name. And before you know it, her cold breath is on your face and her icy hands reach out to pull you into her world."

"Chanting her name lures you through the mirror. A mesmerizing, swirling portal guides you through each world. You explore – nervous of what you might find, unsure of where Mary is taking you. Your own heartbeat quickens, but you can’t seem to draw yourself away from the spinning vortex. Did something just blink at you?"

Halloween Horror Nights: Reflections of Fear was the 18th annual Halloween Horror Nights event at the Universal Orlando Resort. Held for 23 nights from September 26 to November 1, 2008, it included eight haunted mazes and six scarezones, was the largest Halloween Horror Nights up to that point, and held the second or third IP icon (although this case was a bit different from The Cryptkeeper).

Universal's creative team introduced the event and its icon Bloody Mary on the Halloween Horror Nights website in July, and expanded its backstory up to and during the run of the event. With Bloody Mary as icon, fears, fairy tales, and urban legends formed the overall arching theme of the event. With a press release on August 28, Universal revealed the names and descriptions of the mazes. Visible construction could be seen starting in August, and major scarezone construction began in early September. Although there was no elaborate opening show featuring Bloody Mary (unless you attended the media event), she made a number of appearances throughout the event.

Halloween Horror Nights XVIII Commercial (Coke Version)

Halloween Horror Nights XVIII Commercial (Coke Version)

HHN XVIII Commercial

The Event

The story started with an individual known as Mary Agana. Opening a facility which she would perform experiments in fear, this would later spiral into a series of events in which she became a ruler of evil legends, Bloody Mary.

The theme of the event itself is that guests would step into "The Mirror" and enter a world that partaked to the twisted, disturbing yet artistic visions of the violent Bloody Mary. With the exceptions of the shows, everything in the event was either tied into the Legend of Bloody Mary, or took place in a realm of the Mirror (Fears, Tales, Urban Legends, Nightmares, and Myths).


Every one of this year's haunted housed and scarezones is linked to Bloody Mary and her patients. Bloody Mary makes a brief appearance in every house, like an easter egg.

Haunted HousesEdit

Scarezones Edit

In addition to this, Bloody Mary also provides three additional (unofficial) horror scapes:

  • Doomsday: The Infected (Doomsday Exit)- The Chainsaw Drill Team Scarezone for 2008 was linked to the House.
  • The Harvest (Central Park)- Light your way through Central Park with over 500 Jack-O-Lanterns.
  • Zombies! (World Expo)- Bloodthirsty Zombies lurk through the streets, hungry for their next victims.

Shows Edit

  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show Tribute (Beetlejuice Stage) - Mad scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Rocky Horror and other famous Rocky Horror Picture Show characters return, bringing the musical mayhem of the classic horror spoof to life on-screen and on-stage with live performers singing and dancing in outrageous costumes. The tribute will be interactive with audience participation and on-stage guest involvement.
  • Brian Brushwood (Animal Actor's Stage) - Based on his popularity as a part of last year’s Freak Show, Brian Brushwood returns, but this time, with his own show. Full of the most intense, riveting and disturbing feats you’ve ever seen performed live, this year, Brian will take his performance to a whole new level, presenting some of his signature acts in his own show.
  • Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure (Fear Factor Stage) - Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted Theodore Logan return with an all-new, especially excellent Halloween adventure featuring a who’s who of notorious celebrity guest stars.


  • Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride is an indoor roller coaster inspired by The Mummy and its sequels.
  • The Simpsons Ride is a motion simulator ride which takes you through the world of Krustyland with The Simpsons characters.
  • Disaster!: A Major Motion Picture Ride...Starring You! puts you in the middle of a new Disaster movie made by fictional company Disaster Studios.
  • Men in Black: Alien Attack is an interactive dark ride adventure where you will join the ranks of the Men in Black to save New York City from a recent alien invasion.
  • Jaws puts you aboard Captain Jake's Amity Boat Tours, where you'll journey around the island of Amity, hoping to avoid the menace known as JAWS.

Speculation ( Edit

"So did anyone else besides me when you heard the radio ad imagin the same thing i did when he said "join ur friends at burger king blah blah blah"

For some reason what came to mind was some kids hanging out with mary eating a wopper and giving her a high five. I donno that part felt too happy to me."

They should decorate the metal detectors like mirrors and have the security guards dressed as Bloody Mary.

"...Never do that"- in reply to previous comment

Press releases == Halloween Horror Nights Website Pulls Guests into the World of Bloody Mary,
Long Before They’ll Meet Her in Person

Orlando, FL (September 9, 2008) This is the Halloween Horror Nights 18 website and it’s unlike anything Universal Orlando has done before. Universal set out to redefine Halloween Horror Nights this year, and needed a website capable of communicating the new scope and level of detail for the event. Reflections of Fear, an application on the website, offers a multisensory, interactive experience through this year’s event. For the first time ever, users can sit at their computers and navigate through what they’ll experience at Halloween Horror Nights 18.

“The website heightens the anticipation of coming to Halloween Horror Nights 18 by delivering pieces and parts of the event to the consumer at home,” said T.J. Mannarino, director of entertainment for Universal Orlando. “What people are seeing online, they will experience at this year’s event.”

The application features over 60 hand drawings and about 200 individual files that create an illusion similar to a flip book. The files come together to simulate movement through each world of Urban Legends, Fears, Myths, Tales and Nightmares. The audio behind the imagery exists on three different levels: the general background music, atmospherics (i.e., glass shattering, thunder, horses whinnying, etc.) and sound bites (i.e., Bloody Mary, a spaceship alert, classroom chatter, etc.).

Consumers can navigate through the Reflections of Fear application, purchase tickets to the event, learn more about Halloween Horror Nights 18 and view a sneak peek of this year’s television commercial at


BLOODY MARY REIGNS OVER UNIVERSAL’S HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 18 Universal Studios Florida Transforms into Bloody Mary’s World for 23 Horror-Filled Nights

<strong>Orlando, FL (September 26, 2008)Bloody Mary, the urban legend of so many childhood nightmares, is real – and she reigns over Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 18. This year’s event is bigger in scale, scope and scares than anything Universal has ever done.

There are eight all-new haunted houses, each with a story never before explored by Universal’s fear experts. The street program is larger and more elaborate than ever before; scarezones are everywhere and the environments are so detailed and themed, they are like haunted houses without walls.

And, there are more originally developed characters than ever before. They roam Halloween Horror Nights 18 by the hundreds, each of them meticulously envisioned and brought to life by Universal just for this year’s guests.

This year’s event brings urban legends, nightmares, tales, myths and fables to life. Some of the themes for Halloween Horror Nights 18 include: Scary Tales – Once Upon a Nightmare; Dead Exposure; American Gothic; Asylum in Wonderland; Interstellar Terror; and The Path of the Wicked. And, back by popular demand are three live shows: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure; The Rocky Horror Picture Show: A Tribute; and Brian Brushwood, who appeared in last year’s Freak Show.

Halloween Horror Nights 18 runs from September 26-27 through October 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 22-26 and October 29-November 1. Advance tickets and vacation packages are on sale now.

Articles Edit

Universal's Bloody Mary: Eyes that chill Edit

October 15, 2008|By Dewayne Bevil, Sentinel Staff Writer

Once again, Universal has created a monster.

This time it's not a product of Dr. Frankenstein's lab, but rather an otherworldly icon for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios theme park. Behold Bloody Mary, whose duties include appearances on radio, TV, print and Web ads, spooking the theme park with a crazed voice and haunted house, and unnerving children and motorists from billboards dotting the interstate.

To give Mary that powerful of a punch, Universal Orlando's creative team -- a core of three or four, which eventually grew to include dozens of artists, designers and technicians -- had to flesh out all sorts of details beyond her relatively thin urban legend: Say her name three times and she appears in the mirror.

They had to decide what she looks like, how her voice sounds, how she interacts with other Horror Nights characters and even how her handwriting looks (increasingly disturbed, as seen on the event Web site). And yes, what's her motivation?

"We take that which everybody knows and we build the whole part that everyone doesn't know," said Jim Timon, Universal Orlando's senior vice president for entertainment. "And then turn it around a bit: What happens when you get pulled into the mirror?"

This brand-new Mary may be too intense for some onlookers. Complaints about the easy access that children have to the imagery on outdoor advertising and commercials led to online petitions asking Universal to tone it down.

"We have no plans to make changes to our billboards, but we always reserve the right to makes changes that we feel keeps our advertising current, creative and effective," said Tom Schroder, spokesman for Universal Orlando Resort.

Universal had nailed down its theme -- urban legends, fairy tales, myths and the like -- before selecting Mary as its icon in January.

After months of brainstorming, Universal developed its backstory. Dr. Mary Agana is a psychiatrist who used extreme aversion therapy to cure folks of their fears, a technique common in her time, set as 1958 by Universal. Patients were instructed to call her name three times if the treatments became too intense. One session goes horribly wrong, and she's pulled through a two-way mirror and dies. Her presence -- and creepy voice -- lives on at Universal.

"We wanted a unique tonality to her. What does the inside of a mirror sound like?" said Michael Roddy, Universal manager of show development. "It's a combination of underwater sounds, some echo chambers, and we hired three very talented actresses to combine three different elements of her voice so that there's a similarity to it, but also something supernatural about it."

The mirror in the tale and the advertising have significance, said Addie Leibin, a licensed mental health counselor in Winter Park.

"At least once a day, everybody looks in a mirror," she said. And if you're thinking about Bloody Mary and looking in your hallway mirror, "chances are it could cause a lot of anxiety."

For Roddy, Mary's all-white eyes have it.

"You can't connect with her because she doesn't have eyes. That is the connection people look for immediately," he said. "So now forcing people to look up at something and it's looking back at us and there's no way to relate to it. I think that's really effective."

Consumers make a connection between Mary and Medusa who, in Greek mythology, turned folks into stone if they looked into her eyes.

"Even before they know or hear a Bloody Mary story, they hear that story from Greek mythology, and it etches it into their minds and it stays with them," said Leonard Norman Primiano, chair of the department of religious studies at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa.

Fear of Bloody Mary runs deep, added Primiano, who's also a folklorist with an interest in Halloween.

"It's a ghost which they cannot control," he said. "That lack of control is frightening and disordering to people."

Timon agreed.

"It's a trace memory. It's reminding you of something you'd rather not remember," he said. "I'm thinking that's where we're getting them is on a sub-psychological level -- which is really over-analyzing this."

Fright nights- theme park ranger - cover story Edit

September 26, 2008|By Dewayne Bevil, Sentinel Columnist and dewayne Bevil, Sentinel Staff Writer

There's just something about Bloody Mary.

Maybe it's her blank eyes. Maybe it's her otherworldly, stage-whispery voice or her ghostly-yet-scarred complexion.

Most likely it's her omnipresence.

Bloody Mary, the icon of this year's Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, appears everywhere -- from the entrance to a 40-foot apparition on the Men in Black building. Mary has her own haunted house, and she makes cameos in others. It's all key to the theme park's "total immersion" plan for the event, which begins tonight.

"If you're going to walk into the main gate and go into Halloween Horror Nights, you're in Halloween Horror Nights. You're stuck," says Jim Timon, Universal Orlando's senior vice president for entertainment.

"I don't care if you're in a house; I don't care if you're in the street; I don't care where you are. If you're standing at the main gate looking up waiting to buy tickets, you're in Halloween Horror Nights."

This strategy is apparent with the increased emphasis on populating the "scare zones," street scenes that connect the eight haunted-house mazes and three shows of the event. The goal is a more seamless scary experience, one that will entertain visitors who'd rather not spend long periods waiting to get in the house.

"We heard loud and clear from the guests that they wanted more -- I'm going to call it immersion," Timon says.

"I think what they really wanted, what they're saying is 'Man, the houses are incredible, we love them, the shows are great, but you know when we're out in the street, we're out of the event.' "

The scare zones will enhance the theme of urban legends, myths, tales, fears and nightmares -- but with a twist. For instance, the story of Alice in Wonderland has morphed into Asylum in Wonderland for Horror Nights. Guests there will encounter versions of the Mad Hatter, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Queen of Hearts, Caterpillar and more.

"The stories that we created are familiar, so you play that same kind of game where people kind of know a little bit about what they think it is," says T.J. Mannarino, director of art and design for entertainment at Universal. "But then when they come and see it, it's a whole different slant to it."

Some of this year's zones feature 30 distinct characters. But it's not just 30 vampires standing around, Timon says.

"In previous concept stories, you might have five or six unique characters to an environment," Mannarino says. "But when you create an environment of Asylum in Wonderland or [scare zone] Fractured Tales, it's multiple different characters."

More than 1,000 actors were hired for the 23-night event, which ends Nov. 1.

"It is by far the biggest story that we've ever written," Mannarino says.

The entire park is now one big experience, says Michael Roddy, manager of show development. "As opposed to walking in and out of these pockets, everywhere you look is film-quality, immersive environment."

Other areas play off an American Gothic theme (with guide Lizzie Borden), Grimm gone wrong, a schoolhouse with very bad (and badly dressed) trick-or-treaters and some Wicked Witch of the West action.

Creators re-read L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for inspiration. They didn't want to re-create the classic Judy Garland film or venture into the Wicked musical arena, Roddy says.

"So we took those elements and said 'What would happen if the Wicked Witch won?' That's the story," Roddy says.

Universal's Path of the Wicked area, near the entrance of the park, will star a witch perched on a turret, interacting with guests and shooting flames. Also nearby: twisted versions of Dorothy's pals plus Munchkins. High above: Actors as flying monkeys go from Shrek 4-D to Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast and back.

"We've thrown more assets and resources at the streets than we ever, ever have, no doubt," Timon says.

Another element new to the streets is a massive array of nearly 500 jack-o'-lanterns, individually lighted and choreographed for effect. At points in the soundtrack, a "wind" blows through and they all flicker out.

Cue that haunting, omnipresent voice: Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary.

USF's Halloween Horror Night Conference Call Edit

by cfc » Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:39 pm

It’s early September. Days are starting to get shorter. And watching yourself in the mirror while brushing your teeth is going to take on a whole new meaning—especially if you’ve been a regular visitor to Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) Web site.

This year’s HHN Web site does more than sell the event (“Reflections of Fear”). It also places you in the middle of a fresh, original telling of the urban legend of “Bloody Mary,” a story that has already inspired a number of variations, such as the Candyman movies and this summer’s Mirrors. And who is Bloody Mary? Just repeat her name a certain number of times in a darkened room in front of a mirror, and you just might find out.

This is Universal’s most immersive HHN Web site ever, said TJ Mannarino, the park’s director of entertainment at a conference call held on September 3, 2008. The site sets the stage with the story of Dr. Mary Agana, a renegade psychiatrist who disappeared on August 27, 1958. The doctor’s fate might be entwined with that of Boris Shuster, a private investigator. Her story is brought up to the present by group of paranormal investigators called Legendary Truth.

That’s all I’m going to say about the story. Go to the HHN sitefor more—you won’t be disappointed (especially if you dim the lights).

Telling this story online required the Universal creative team to come up with the largest amount of original material, including images and music, ever created for HHN, said Mannarino. The team found the Bloody Mary legend attractive because the character’s folklore is quite mysterious—no one knows the “true story” of Bloody Mary. Her story provided a great way to tie all the haunted houses and scarezones together, as well. It’s all about making “the perfect horrific cake.”

Actual concept drawings and elevations used to design the haunted houses and scarezones were used as "evidence" on the site, thus merging the “virtual” world with the “real” world. The park even unveiled the billboards for the event on August 27—the date that Mary “disappeared.”

I’m generally reluctant to delve too deeply into the HHN Web site because I like to be surprised at the park. But the “Reflections of Fear” site, while providing some cool (and creepy) background information, actually suggests as many questions as it answers. “It’s a magician’s trick,” Mannarino said. The site tells you about some characters “without connecting all the dots,” giving users “35 to 50 percent of the story to set you up for the ‘real-world’ experience.”

“It’s just the beginning, so pay attention,” he said.

But the audience is just as important as the site, according to Mannarino. Universal works hard to tailor the site to the needs of online community—to show appreciation for the event’s fans. “We’re definitely a part of the [online] community, too,” he said. Universal also appreciates how savvy the online fans are. For example, one group discovered early on that Universal had licensed the Web domain “”

“Fans are always gonna be smarter than us,” said Mannarino. “We love that! The Web site gets its strength from the fans.”

He also gave us a look at the event itself. The immersive nature of the “Reflections of Fear” site will be reflected right at the park entrance—when you’re invited to pass through the mirror into Bloody Mary’s world. Make a choice, left or right, and you’ll be plunged immediately into one of the park’s scarezones. In fact, there will be four “very intense, highly themed zones” right off the bat (there’s a total of six zones and eight houses). Characters will venture out of the houses to provide more “street action,” and you may find scareactors in the park’s front-gate area, where you usually don’t expect them.

Visitors will think, “I’m in Halloween, and I can’t get out!”

So, I advise all of you planning to check out Universal Florida’s Halloween Horror Nightto peruse the Web site—it will enhance your visit. But if you just can’t wait, you might try lighting a few candles in your bathroom, dimming the lights, and chanting “Bloody Mary” in front of your mirror.

You might get there all the sooner.


Pictures Edit

Halloween Horror Nights: Reflections of Fear Merchandise and Collectables Edit

Halloween Horror Nights: Reflections of Fear
Characters: Bloody Mary (Event Icon)  • Boris Shuster
Haunted Houses: Body Collectors: Collections of the Past  • Creatures!  • Dead Exposure  • Doomsday  • The Hallow  • Interstellar Terror  • Reflections of Fear  • Scary Tales: Once Upon a Nightmare
Scarezones: American Gothic  • Asylum in Wonderland  • Dark Reflections  • Fractured Tales  • The Path of the Wicked  • The Skoolhouse  • Streets of Blood
Shows: Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure  • Brian Brushwood   • The Rocky Horror Picture Show Tribute
Halloween Horror Nights: Reflections of Fear
Characters: Bloody Mary (Event Icon)  • Boris Shuster
Haunted Houses: Body Collectors: Collections of the Past  • Creatures!  • Dead Exposure  • Doomsday  • The Hallow  • Interstellar Terror  • Reflections of Fear  • Scary Tales: Once Upon a Nightmare
Scarezones: American Gothic  • Asylum in Wonderland  • Dark Reflections  • Fractured Tales  • The Path of the Wicked  • The Skoolhouse  • Streets of Blood
Shows: Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure  • Brian Brushwood   • The Rocky Horror Picture Show Tribute
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