Over the weekend, Midsummer Scream took over Long Beach, CA, bringing Halloween fans together for a preview of the best haunts of the season. Among the big showcases was Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights

Creative director John Murdy led a panel walking fans through some of this year’s biggest haunts, including “Scarecrow: The Reaping” and “Universal Monsters: Legends Collide.” The panel even featured a surprise appearance by special guest Slash, a longtime HHN collaborator. 

Check out what we learned about Halloween Horror Nights at Midsummer Scream below.

Scarecrow: The Reaping

During the panel, Murdy previewed a new haunted house coming to Universal Studios Hollywood. “Scarecrow: The Reaping” previously ran at a Universal Orlando HHN, but it will make its debut in California this year with a new take on the design and a new central character.

“Scarecrow: The Reaping” is set in 1930s Dust Bowl America, and draws inspiration from the “black blizzard” dust storms characteristic of the era, as well as locust plagues. The story setting up the scare is that the drought and dust storms have run off most of the farmers, and the scarecrows are rising up to reclaim the land. Any people who did stick around now find themselves hunted and consumed by the scarecrows.

The major locations for this scare will include a farmhouse and a barn. Eagle-eyed fans have already caught a glimpse at the construction of the farmhouse on the Universal Hollywood lot. (It’s reportedly visible from the Curious George parking deck.)

Watch out for the water effects when you pass the outhouse. You’re gonna get wet! Oh, and it turns out the scarecrows and the crows themselves have actually teamed up. So look out when you go through the rookery as well. Murdy promised the Midsummer Scream crowd some bird poop action. 

The characters in “Scarecrow: The Reaping” are pretty much all scarecrows – just in varying states. You’ll see some traditional scarecrows, as well as “Seepy Scarecrows” – humans who haven’t quite become full scarecrows yet. And running the show, a new character: King Crow. Part crow, part straw man, all nightmare fuel, this stilt walker haunts the Reaping area.

Halloween Horror Nights - Scarecrow: The Reaping "KINGCROW" via Midsummer Scream
Scarecrow: The Reaping “KINGCROW” design preview

Universal Monsters: Legends Collide

Universal Monsters: Legends Collide at Halloween Horror Nights

Universal has found great success in recent years reconnecting with its classic monster roots for Halloween Horror Nights. This year’s event will include the “Universal Monsters: Legends Collide” maze, featuring Dracula, The Mummy, and The Wolf Man. The maze will also feature new music by Slash, which was previewed for fans during the panel.

Murdy revealed during Midsummer Scream that these three characters in particular were chosen for the maze because despite their many films, the trio had never appeared in a film together. So, this maze will bring the three cursed immortals together for one story.

“Legends Collide” will take guests through a themed shipping yard and cemetery, where they’ll encounter the monstrous trio on their quest to obtain the amulet of Amun-Ra. In addition to Dracula, The Mummy, and The Wolf Man, scare characters will include Renfield from Dracula, the High Priest from The Mummy, Dracula’s brides, and an Anubis Werewolf. The latter is a new character created for the maze.

Anubis Werewolf design sketch previewed during Midsummer Scream
Design sketch for the new character Anubis Werewolf, who will appear in the “Legends Collide” maze

Murdy also used the panel to give fans a quick rundown of Easter Eggs in the “Legends Collide” maze. A few of these include the building labeled “Alucard Trading Co.” (“Dracula” backwards, as seen in the movie Son of Dracula); Dracula director Tod Browning’s name on a tombstone; and a ton of recycled movie props direct from the sets of The Mummy films.

About Halloween Horror Nights

Halloween Horror Nights will take place at Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood locations this fall. HHN launches on select nights at Orlando September 2 and at Hollywood September 8, with scares running through Halloween. The event includes 8+ haunted houses plus additional scare zones. You can book your tickets online now.

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