Greetings internet dwellers!
Let's talk serious for a moment. In the past, I have discussed how I feel about HHN Icons. To refresh some people's memory, I personally don't like nor hate them. Way back when Jack the Clown was created, Halloween Horror Nights wasn't what we know it today. A big event, yes. But nowhere near the reputation it has today.
Jack, was created to give the event an extra push. He was something of the team's own making, to give Halloween Horror Nights its own personality. It was an identity; much like The Crypt Keeper, which would help sell the event. The team could even work him into their own mythology, and folklore.
Jack, was such a hit, we all know what happened after. The 2000's saw an explosion of Halloween Horror Nights Icons. I won't name them all, as you more than likely know who they are. Jack, was created to help sell the event which at the time, HHN needed. The Icon Era, some would say, hit its peak in 2008 with Bloody Mary. Sure, we had The Usher, Fear, and Lady Luck (and if you want to count Chance), after. However, most die-hards poo-poo those guys, citing the greedy hand of the marketing department for their poor execution (which on it's own is half B.S.).
In 2008, Halloween Horror Nights created an event loosely based around the Bloody Mary folklore. Mary Agana's story, would tie into all the happenings at the event. Houses and Scare Zones, were all interconnected to her, and her alter ego (or the ghost of her grandmother Mary Worthington, depending on who you ask), Bloody Mary.
We all know the story. Say Bloody Mary's name in a mirror 3 times, and she comes to kill you. The marketing material, did not shy away from this. The commercial and promotional material all centered around the character being summoned, and breaking out of a mirror.
There was one problem though. A special effects make-up artist by the name of Bobbie Weiner, actually had the name Bloody Mary trademarked. At the time, nobody actually knew of the complicated history of this character being at HHN. It wasn't until after, that a lot of this would become unraveled. A lot of fans are quick to point a finger at Bobbie Weiner, for the reason why Bloody Mary can't return to the event. But that is not only unfair, it's a little one-sided.
Way back in 1999, Bobbie Weiner, developed a line of special effects make-up, using the Bloody Mary name. Flash forward a few years and in 2005, Weiner created The Tales of Bloody Mary comic book. In the year 2005, Weiner's Bloody Mary license, expanded outward. The name would soon be on everything from drink mixes, to cosmetics, to hot sauce.
In 2008, as Halloween Horror Nights was creating their Bloody Mary Icon, a few things needed to be addressed. They could not use the Bloody Mary name, as Weiner owned the trademark. There was also another wrinkle here- The Bloody Mary comic book. A lot of people think this means, Weiner owns the legend of Bloody Mary as well. However, that is not entirely accurate. She only owns what her character does in the comics.
So, in 2008, the character was licensed from Bobby Weiner, to use at Halloween Horror Nights 18: Reflections of Fear. So what happened after? Well, a few things. First and foremost, Weiner, would later license the character out to Six Flags Over Texas to use at their annual haunt, Fright Fest. Bloody Mary's Circus of Fear, would be featured there for multiple years in a row. In 2014, Spooky Ranch, located in Cleveland, Ohio, licensed the character for one of their haunts, Bloody Mary's Revenge.
In 2015, haunts everywhere, were given the green-light to have the opportunity to license the name of Bloody Mary, and attach it to whatever haunted houses they choose. This gives haunts the option to just use the name of Bloody Mary, but not have to use the character, owned by Weiner.
Which brings us to a point the finger moment from die-hard fans. Weiner, is a greedy individual who somehow was able to trademark and copyright a name and a legend. This is not really the case at all. Sure, she owns the name. On Universal's side, they own Mary Agana. Given that the actual identity of Bloody Mary is kind of kept up for debate, HHN could bring back Mary Agana, whenever they want. They just can't call her Bloody Mary.
It should also be noted, Bobbie Weiner's does a lot for charity. She donates to a lot to charities that specifically involve children; such as Give Kids the World, and the Boy Scouts of America. When Bloody Mary's Circus of Fear was featured at Fright Fest, there was an extra $3 fee to enter the house. All money earned, went to the Boy Scouts of America. She also occasionally donates her make-up kits, and travels to Army bases painting the faces of the children of soldiers. Among other things.
There are a few things here. Universal probably would not want to have their own Bloody Mary haunt, while other places have theirs. And they would have to work out something so both places, were able to use the rights at the same time. Then comes the issue of charity. After HHN 18, when Bloody Mary was at Fright Fest, they added the extra charge for charity. I can see Universal not wanting to go down that road in any capacity. If a situation emerged, where they wanted to bring the character back, I could see that being a stipulation on her part.
That's not a knock at Universal, that's a logistical question. How would you do that? In theory, Universal could just donate a lump sum of money, as opposed to charging extra for a house. In that case, no harm no foul. However, that's still money Universal has to pay to use the character.
With Universal in control of Mary Agana, they could easily redesign the character of Bloody Mary, and just pay to use the name. I mean, they pay all the time to use IP's. Why is this any different? Or, just use their own character in Mary Agana.
If they want to bring the character back, it would have to be worth their money. Such as, another entire event surrounding the character and not just a one-off appearance. In a way, Universal kind of shot themselves in the foot by even using the character in the first place. 2008, is among the most loved years of the event, so that just makes things worse.
I feel it's wrong to get mad, or make fun of Weiner, because she owns the rights. It's easier to portray her as a villain here, because she is a person. She isn't a faceless, huge. conglomerate company that owns the trademark to the name Bloody Mary.
The issue of why Universal hasn't used the character again has less to do with Weiner, and more to do with Universal. It's their choice. They paid to use it once before, and given the current state of the event, they should have no trouble doing it again. It becomes a mere problem of logistics and timing. Exclusivity of rights, how much, and what to do, becomes the bigger question. Everything Weiner has said about working with Universal in 2008, has been nothing but positive. So there is no issues with partnership.
The ball is in Universal's court when it comes to using the character again. I personally say move on. Re-work the Mary Agana character and move on. Fans often forget, the elaborate set-up for 2008 had less to do with Bloody Mary, and more to do with Agana. Bloody Mary, was just the face of the event.
That being said, who knows what will happen in the future. Stranger things have happened before.
HHN LEGACY OWNER