Greetings internet dwellers!
It's no secret that I despise fanboy bickering. The vast majority of the time, it just becomes white noise to me. When it comes to Halloween Horror Nights in recent years, they seem to latch on to a few issues to incessantly moan and complain about.
One such complaint, is how the Universal Studios archway, isn't as elaborately decorated as it has been in the past. When I hear this, I have to shake my head. What they fail to see, is that the archway has actually had MORE decorations around it, than most years at HHN.
Throw in the fact that with Rock the Universe, Universal has to turn around whatever it is they do with the archway, in a very short amount of time. Generally, it is within a few days, to a week.
To really examine this, we have to go back to the early days of HHN. And, figure out what constitutes as "elaborately themed." The truth of the matter is, Halloween Horror Nights, has never really gone all out when it comes to the archway (expect for 2 years). In actuality, what the early days of HHN did to invite guests into the event, was a hanging medallion, and some scary music.
Medallions hanging from the Universal arch, are nothing new. They use the medallions for pretty much all of their events. Mardis Gras, Rock the Universe, and the holiday festivities, all use a medallion. The holiday festivities, also sometimes have one of the Macy's floats sitting outside.
My first visit to Halloween Horror Nights in 2000, just had a medallion, with the Jack the Clown Jack-in=the-box logo. The music from Halloween, was also playing as we entered the studios. The truth is, for the first 16 years of the event, HHN pretty much just used a medallion, some music, and lighting.
Halloween Horror Nights 2007, was a landmark year for the event. It was truly the first time, HHN went balls-deep into IP marketing territory. Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface, joined Jack the Clown, at the Carnival of Carnage. Universal, paid a lot of money to be able to use the Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre properties at the event. Michael Myers aside, one could argue Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface, are modern day horror icons. Universal, wasn't going to let that go to waste.
To have those three as the faces of the event, was a big deal. Combining them with Jack the Clown, was an even bigger deal. Halloween Horror Nights, took all of that, and ran with it. HHN XVII, was the first year where the Universal archway, was truly decked out. And in my own opinion, was the best that Universal has ever done with the archway.
The Carnival of Carnage theme, spilled its way out, into the archway. It was themed to a traveling carnival. Lights, banners, marquees, and old trucks, were meant to convey what the theme was for that year- Jack the Clown, traveling around with his Carnival of Carnage, picking up his sideshow acts. In this case, they were the likes of Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, and the rest of the content.
So after the archway of 2007, HHN would do that from now on, right? The answer is no. The very next year, 2008, a year that the vast majority of die-hard fans consider to be HHN's crowning year, went back to the medallion. There were a few slight differences though. The 2008 medallion, would be a video version. It was shaped like Bloody Mary's mirror, and would flash images of her on it. They would also play the 2008 commercial. They also, added images of Bloody Mary, along the smaller arches. A practice that started in 2007, and would become common place today.
2009, would be the ONLY other year, where HHN did something a bit more elaborate outside the archway. They turned the entrance into the Universal Palace Theater. Guests entering Halloween Horror Nights, would be greeted by a horde of the Palace Theater usher's, as well as the ticket window.
From 2010 to now, the Universal Studios archway, has been more or less, decked out the same way every year. And the fact of the matter is, not only is it more decked out than anything the first 16 years of HHN had going for it, they have been doing the same kind of practices on it since 2007. The pattern is always the same. Medallion in the middle, either video or not, with images of the houses, or smaller pictures around the smaller arches. They also add lighting when it gets dark.
The past few years specifically, the die-hards like to complain about the plain house logos, against the cages on the smaller arches. Which confuses me. They've been doing that for years, minus the cages. They started that in 2007, with the Carnival of Carnage.
So why do they complain? Let's look at 2012. HHN XXII, is largely hailed as one of, if not the worst years, HHN has ever done among the fanboys. However, when you look at the archway, it is more decorated than 2008; which again, is considered to be one of, if not, the best years of Halloween Horror Nights.
Now, compare 2012 to 2008. There is an obvious difference in the archway. Hell, compare the 2012 archway to anything pre-2007, and it has miles more happening out front. So why complain? Because the fanboys hate 2012's event. Plain and simple. Their love of 2008, blinds them to its lackluster archway theme. But wait, it had a video medallion! Yes, yes it did. But that's all it had.
Which brings us to what constitutes as "elaborately themed." Take 2007 and 2009 out of the picture. 24 years of Halloween Horror Nights archway's. What is more "elaborately themed?" 2008, or 2012? 2012 and 2013 had very similar archway's. 2013, added the vines, (which is my 2nd personal favorite archway). 2014, went back to the plain medallion, and house logos under the smaller archway's. As did 2015.
But 2015 was an anniversary year! They should have done something more "elaborately themed!" True, but so was 2000. And 2010. 2006, was heralded as a semi-anniversary. The "Sweet 16" of Halloween Horror Nights. It was solely returning to the Studios, after the event was at Islands of Adventure for a few years. "Horror comes home" and what did the archway have? That good-old medallion. 2010, had a medallion, but it was a video version. And that's all it had. And like I said above, 2000 also just had a medallion.
The fact of the matter is, Halloween Horror Nights, has been decorating the archway virtually the same for 24 out of its 26 years. You had two years, which were a fluke of advertising, where they did something more outside the box. Every other year, has had the same patterns, with some extra things thrown in for good measure occasionally. 2012, had the shack-things, and 2013 had the vines.
2007 and 2009's archway, seem to cloud the memory of some, because they were so much more "elaborately themed," than anything HHN had done before. Every other year, has been the same. With the exception being, some of the medallions are videos, as opposed to static. Sure, it's a video, but the archway aesthetic, is still the same.
Does the video, constitute as more "elaborately themed?" In my world, no. Nothing else changes. The look is still the same. The complaints about the archway, pretty much started in 2012, which clearly, had more theming than most years. And the complaints of the last five years, or so, stems from a deeper hatred. The die-hards, are not fans of how the event changed in 2012. They always cite the "good-old days, when things were different. And when it comes to the archway, that is just not the case.
The perception that Halloween Horror Nights has been blinging out its archway for years, is just flat out false. 2 years, out of its 26 year history, stand out. There are always exceptions to the rule.
So, the next time you hear some fanboy complain about the arch while waiting for security, call them out on it. They love that.
HHN LEGACY OWNER