Where It All Began... Edit
Cindy Bearer was a very disturbed young lady. Her parents Paul and Kara ran a funeral home, and Cindy lacked the social interaction with other children that school would bring. Her only friend was a large porcelain doll, which Cindy considered her twin sister. Her life was filled with darkness and loneliness, and many a night, Cindy would befriend the corpses awaiting preparation and fulfill her imagination. Cindy was also witness to many grisly atrocities.
Her parents were also deeply disturbed. Many times, the workload of the funeral home became too much for the older Father and Mother, and they would hide the remains of loved ones instead of cremating them. Increasing the need for income, the Father acquired a panel van and began a side-business called "Unique meats". From this van, the Father would sell his "special" brand of cured meats. The madness began to become mundane as the Bearers also began creating an extended family using the corpses. Ghastly moonlight dinner parties were held in the adjoining graveyard, where the Bearers would socialize with the long dead corpses and eat a variety of prepared dishes.
This grisly display was witnessed one night as two teens decided to take a spooky stroll through the graveyard. They heard loud music playing from the funeral home and peeked inside the dirty windows. What they saw chilled them to the bone. There in the main room of the home was the Bearer family dancing with the decayed remains of corpses. Word spread quickly as police began an investigation.
An angry Mob of family members, outraged at what had potentially became of their loved ones, took matters into their own hands destroying the funeral parlor. They set the place on fire, which engulfed the home and the Bearer family in flames.
Cindy escaped into the graveyard, her face a trail of burning flesh.
The next morning, Police and Fire officials found only the remains of Cindy's doll, its porcelain face missing.
After weeks of investigation it was found that the Bearer family had desecrated more than a thousand graves. After exploring the grounds, the investigating officers found an intricate series of tunnels that ran underground and were seemingly endless. The police closed the case and sealed the gates of the cemetery.
Like a wounded animal, the evil essence of Cindy became more dangerous.
Cindy's dreams have now become her reality. Her evil tormentors have become her playthings, controlled manifestations of malice. Each plaything represents a piece of her twisted mind.
Cindy and her Playthings Edit
Originally, Cindy weaved her way into each island, each story, and each house. The entire event was going to be her thoughts - the twisted ideas that went through her disturbed head. Each island was to be warped into a dark corner of her mind. They were to be called- the ISLANDS OF HORROR.
The "playthings" that were mentioned in her backstory very well made it into the final version of the event, check them out below to see if you notice a few:
Carnage - The most evil Marvel villain, recreated as a master of chaos for Cindy's diabolical pleasure. The humongous gargantuan has formed an alliance with the rest of the Marvel villains and taken over Marvel Super-Hero Island.
Treaks & Foons - Warped combinations of circus freaks and cartoon characters, the mischievous Treaks and Foons thrive on scares. The odd creatures need the power of screams to feed their very souls.
Nightmare - Created from the Nightmare mind of a demented child, and born from the fires of the River Styx, this war-like creature is the pure essence of darkness. His demonic face and animal body combine to generate terror and mayhem.
Dr. Sparkles Burton - A leading scientist in the genetics field, Dr. Sparkles Burton began having visions of a plain-looking little girl. The visions began to cloud his work and he started special "unauthorized" experiments using the JP genetics facility. He created a legion of half-human, half-reptilian Dinosaur men using the genetic material. These super soldiers became maniacal and uncontrollable. Possessed by his thirst for knowledge, Burton started to use the genetic material on himself. He began to morph, slowly and then more rapidly, until he became one of his own diabolical creations. Now, the Doctor has planned a full-stage take-over of the island.
Early Concepts by Sindy (descriptions are from hhnvault.com). Edit
Port of Entry: Our first experience for this year's Halloween event sets the mood perfectly. As we approach the Islands, we can see that the iconic lighthouse is erupting with cold roll fog. Like a knife, stabbed into the blackness of something underground, the eerie fog creeps out and down the lighthouse, invading the park. Once we enter the gates, we approach the first bridge. A wall of fog creates a curtain. A banner scrawled in blood proclaims, "The Nightmare Begins". Cindy's face is projected onto the fog, and she beckons for us to step into her nightmare and "come play with me". We step through the fog and emerge in the surreal world of a nightmare. Odd, misshapen creatures with glowing red eyes stalk us through the space, using the confining architecture as opportunities for scares. We make our way past the second bridge, again obstructed by a wall of fog. We cautiously step through and enter a world filled with Torture and Darkness. Around the perimeter are small vignettes of ghastly illusion and agony.
A Town Square of Tortured Souls: "Hell's Waiting Room" where a discordant symphony of suffering plays a choir of agony shrieks out its wretched song, and scenes of unspeakable torture assault your brain. A large map has been erected at the landing, drawn on the stretched and stitched skin of unfortunate souls. Illuminated by torches, the map is twelve feet across. This ghastly relief gives us an overview of the new experiences at Islands. Beyond this Plaza of Pain, with its plumes of flame and billows of smoke, lies a vista of the Islands that have all gone to hell in a hand basket, or in this case, a toy box. And you come to an awful realization that it's their turn to play. With you.
Differences can be noticeable in these descriptions already. The utilization of Cindy, the projection of her on the fog, and the giant map that would have served as the centerpiece of the Port of Entry island.
Island Under Siege early concept: Marvel City Under Siege: Where chaos erupts, pandemonium is the order of the day, and Carnage reigns supreme! As you cross the bridge, the devastation is evident immediately, buildings on fire, the streets in riot, and Super Villain Scare-actors in complete control. An abandoned police car sits smoking in the middle of the street, radio transmissions emanating from its dented loudspeaker reveal that the authorities are in total panic and disarray, and have abandoned all efforts to restore order. Carnage is having a field day, his army of minions celebrating the final triumph of Evil over Good. A driving heavy metal soundtrack, sirens, and explosions fill the smoke-filled air. Strobes and electrical discharges are further indications that the Super Villains (just waiting to pounce) are taking the place apart, piece-by-piece, with chain saws, cut-off saws, and arc welders. When least expected, laser comets streak overhead. Evil Cyborg Sharpshooters pick out victims from rooftops, focusing and firing laser-sighted Supersoakers filled with liquids. Bungee Villains suddenly dive from rooftops, snarl and fly away. Dark Shapes appear out of the fog, swoop overhead and disappear into the darkness.
Incredible Hulk Coaster: The Hulk Coaster has been commandeered by Green Goblin who is removing all safety devices for scrap metal, dumping toxic waste into the waters below, and pumping noxious fog into the streets.
Storm Force Acceleration: Storm Force has been taken over by King Pin who has special enhancements for the guests. Assaulting us with blinding strobe lights and a heavy rock score, the large villain's voice fills the air with malevolent glee.
Doctor Doom's Fear Fall: Dr. Doom's Fear Fall has been enhanced with screams of torture that are as loud as the screams of delight.
Maximum Carnage [Storm Force Extended Queue]-In the heart of the chaos is the super-villain's lair. The most insane, diabolical, dangerous and terrifying Marvel madmen and maniacs are here with hordes of their evil henchmen. You and the other civilians looking for escape from the city, must navigate through a fortress of chain-link, steel, junked cars, toxic foam and sewer tunnels, all while avoiding the comic-book creatures. Where are the heroes? Gone. This is the night of a 1,000 screams and yours has been added to the list.
Some interesting notes from this description include the use of "bungees" (which did not appear until "Fright Yard" during Halloween Horror Nights XIV), and what stands out the most is that they had planned to house Maximum Carnage in the Storm Force extended queue. In the end, Universal built an entire warehouse for this maze.
Treaks and Foons early concept: Twisted Toons- Aglow with strange UV lighting (Luna Omnistar), Twisted Toons is a strange, bizarre, and twisted world where the air is always full of bubbles, the streets are full of foam, and everything else is festooned with balloons. Inhabited by Treaks (females) and Foons (males), this is place where nothing is as it seems and none of it is good. Neutered (and not very happy about it), bloated and full of nasty surprises, Treaks and Foons have genetically mutated and as a result, smile all time, ALL THE TIME. Their voices are gigglish gibberish and their conversations are playing throughout the island. They always carry "treats"; bouquets of balloons (which they will promptly pop in your face when they offer one as a present), bouquets of flowers (that spit), and all manner of hand pranks (hand buzzers, bike horns, popper guns, fake ketchup/mustard bottles, whoopee cushions, snake cans, noise makers, pizza boxes full of rubber dog doo, plastic puke lollipops, etc.) The ground is covered with pieces of blister pack bubble wrap and you never know when you'll step on one that pops like a firecracker. They roller blade, bound around on bounce boots, and pop out of hiding places to offer their "treats". As annoying as they are scary, by the time you get out of Twisted Toons, you'll hope to never see a Treak or Foon again.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure 2002 [Theatre of the Islands]: Halloween's favorite time-traveling teenagers return for another exciting adventure, taking on the Entertainment scene. This year's adventure includes a visit from Spiderman, a visit from the Men in Black, the heroes and villains of Star Wars Episode II, the Scorpion King, as well as E.T. and Austin Powers Goldmember. Mix that with some music and buckle up. Get ready, it's gonna be one excellent ride.
Scary Tales Volume: Two- Malice in Terrorland [Bluto's Bilge Rats Queue]: Last Year's most popular Halloween maze returns with an all-new volume of bizarre and twisted versions of beloved childhood tales. Return to the darkness of the saturated world of the Scary Tales creatures, as the White Rabbit, the Mad hatter, Tweedle Dee and Dum and even the Headless Horsemen attack, wanting you to be part of the story. Disorienting light and effects help create the surreal scarybook land. This may be your last chapter.
(The original title for "Scary Tales" was listed as "Scary Tales Volume: Two - Malice in Terrorland." This was a very clever homage to the original Scary Tales title, "Terrorland," which was changed before the 2001 event began.)
Fear Factor [Thunder Falls Restaurant]: Imagine a place where your greatest fears become reality. The popular NBC reality show "Fear Factor" becomes the backdrop, where become immersed in a pitch-black environment filled with your worst fears. Can you navigate the darkness while being assaulted by sound, smells and the tactile feel of spiders, roaches and cow intestines? Its udder madness!
JP Extinction early concept: Jurassic Park-: First viewed from across the lagoon, Jurassic Park grows more and more ominous as you approach. This is a place with a weather pattern all its own. Rolling thunder and deafening strikes crackle the swirling misty night air. Lightning bolts, fog and power outages make it increasingly foreboding and dangerous. By the time you reach its gates, you'll wish you hadn't. Something has gone terribly wrong here. The first indication is the supply of live snakes that sits in shambles at the gates. Of the half dozen boxes that were supposed to hold the snakes (a delivery of dinosaur food), only one is still intact and full of squirming serpents, the rest are broken open and the cargo escaped. Nearby a frantic wrangler is loading the few huge live animals he's recaptured back into a rickety crate. As you walk through the dense foliage and darkened park paddocks, you come face to face with carnivorous Cro-Magnon Men, brought back from their icy tombs. Some of these cave people have been genetically enhanced, their genetic code mixed with dinosaur DNA creating a bizarre and gruesome mixture of man and creature. Beyond lies a terrifying darkness occasionally illuminated by emergency beacons, snapping power lines, or lightning strikes. Flashes briefly illuminate moving Raptors; Dilopasaurus Men (Scare Actor Half Men/Half Reptile Mutants) stalk you, and other mutant creatures. When the Dino-Men get close enough, their membrane cowls open, they spit and hiss. Other mutant creatures have reptilian tongues that unfurl in your face for a quick taste before they disappearing back into the thick jungle foliage. Freed by the power breakdown, Manimals (genetic experiment rejects) have escaped and appropriated chainsaws. They're out to seek revenge on the normal humans (scientists) responsible for their terrible fate. But it is too dark and foggy to distinguish between scientists and guests. The Manimals will chainsaw anyone they encounter. As for the terrified scientists, they're desperately attempting to hide themselves in camouflage. While they blend into the walls of the jungle walkways, they will jump out to see who is approaching and surround you to defend themselves in case you're one of their pissed off guinea pigs. Worst of all, the electrical security fences are malfunctioning and often spark and flame when you get too close in the dark, rainy wind and blowing fog.
Jurassic Park: Extinction [Triceratops Encounter]: The peaceful island setting of John Hammond's extraordinary theme park has been transformed into a place of pre-historic panic. You and your group are totally immersed in the danger, thrills and chills of Extiction, where you are on the endangered species list. It seems that Dr. Hammond's research also include some darker missions. INGEN, the corporation behind the theme park has been mixing the gene pool and created some new prehistoric warriors. Half-man, Half-Dinosaur, these new genetic terminators have one nasty side effect: They are insane. A weird fog bank has enveloped the island and somehow caused the parks electric fencing to fail. These mutants have escaped and are searching for fresh prey. To make matters work, a pack of Velociraptors and a rampaging Tyrannosaur are also on the prowl. You become the hunted as weird, deformed Genetic mutants, psychotic, Cro-Magnon men and bloodthirsty dinosaurs attack you at every opportunity. The carnage ensues around you as the battle for survival rages on.
Jurassic Park River Adventure: Take a nighttime boat tour of the Dinosaur paddocks. Taking in the breathtaking beauty of the tranquil dinosaurs, your boat is suddenly knocked off course. You enter a restricted area of the park, where the carnivores are running free. A toxic spill in the water has created weird hybrids of the dinos, making them even more dangerous. You are being tracked by a pack of red-glowing Velociraptors. You continue forward into the dark electrical compound. Suddenly a towering T-Rex steps in front of your boat, cutting off your path. Can you escape in time? You drop eighty-feet and return to the boat dock, where evil cavemen wait for you as you exit.
Of course here, the most noticeable change would be that the "Project Evilution" house was originally titled "Jurassic Park: Extinction," which eventually became the name of the island.
Island of Evil Souls early concept: Island of Lost Souls- Here it is difficult to even step onto the bridges that take you to the island, something evil lies below. Flickering blood red light fills plumes of smoke and flame that lick at the side of the bridge from the water underneath. Somewhere deep within, a chorus of discordant souls wails and screams. If you are crazy enough to cross the bridge, you discover you're in a boot camp for the angles of hell. Grotesque Orcs compete with Executioners to drag unwilling souls to eternal pain and suffering. And they enjoy their work. Mythos and Poseidon are lit to enhance the obvious destruction that has befallen the landmark, once place of majestic beauty, now a ruin in shambles, and the hiding place of untold horrors that will jump out to "welcome" you. The welcoming committee carries a combination of medieval and modern weapons - chainsaws, knives, and blades. Some are huge Centaur-like monsters and others powerfully built warriors with ear-piercingly loud screams like nothing humans have heard before. Some wear blinding strobes in their helmets. As you travel through the black canyon, Dark Creatures attack from above, dropping flaming balls, and laughing hysterically as they swoop through the night sky.
Fountain of the Evil Dead [Sindbad Courtyard]: Guests walking cautiously through the Sinbad marketplace hear a beguiling voice. As they follow the voice they find an old fountain. The whispering tone becomes nasty as we find an evil spirit has been locked away here in this watery tomb for two hundred years. The evil demon taunts our visitors, testing their knowledge of all things scary. If their answer doesn't satisfy the witch, they are rewarded with a blast of cold spray.
Sindbad [Sindbad Theatre]: Four New York friends are going to a costume party when suddenly they are catapulted into a mystical world of Pirates and Monsters. NBC's popular characters Will and Grace and their obnoxious yet lovable friends Jack and Karen bring hilarity to the scene. Here they meet a strange little girl who is trapped by flames. Her name is Cindy and she needs the four socialites to help her retrieve a mystical red jewel, the Essence of pure evil. The seemingly innocent Cindy morphs into her true self, a tall, sleek, female demon who uses her powers to try and capture the mythical Essence of Evil while assembling the greatest masked killers to destroy our heroes. Using the existing set and stunts and combining those elements with new characters and situation comedy, brings the audience a perfect treat for Halloween.
Dueling Dragons: Choose your path and face the fury of the Dragons fire and ice. Public Executioners roam the Dueling Dragon's queue, looking for their next sacrifice. The thrilling double track coaster becomes a new fixture of excitement at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights.
Flying Unicorn: Darkness: Help protect the flying Unicorn from the evil clutches of the dark Nightmare. The towering stiltwalker roams the area with his minions of Demons trying to prevent you from experiencing the fantastical creatures flight. Expect the unexpected as the coaster wheels backwards around the track, startling guests at every turn and drop.
Poseidon's Fury: Journey through the underground caverns on an exhibition to the lost city of Atlantis. Weird things begin to happen as you enter, meeting up with your bewildered guide. Suddenly, you find yourself in the middle of a perilous battle between good and evil 20,000 fathoms under the ocean surface.
This island seems to have changed significantly from what was in the concept guide. No mention of Studio 666, and talks of The Flying Unicorn: Darkness, where scareactors would be positioned in the queue, and the ride vehicles would be run backwards.
Boo-Ville early concept: Grinch Nights- What can we say? It's Grinch Night in Seuss Landing and every Who man, woman and child is to be off the streets by dusk, and spend the night cowering in their homes. The shops are shuttered, the stores are closed, and the streets are transformed into a ghost town. Wind whistles through the empty streets. Lightning strikes briefly illuminate the deserted landscape. We should take our cue from the Whos; the best thing is to get off the island as soon as humanly possible.
Below is an "island" that never made it in full form. Soundstage 20 housed Screamhouse in 2002, but few knew was that there were actually supposed to be two houses in Soundstage 20, Screamhouse would be entered from Boo-Ville's wooden bridge, and the other house would have its entrance routed from the side of Poseidon's Fury (ala All Nite Die-In/Screamhouse: Revisited set up in 2003).
Isle of Fright: There are two pathways to the horrific environment known as the Isle of Fright. One leads us from Poseidon's courtyard the other takes us through the darkness of Seuss Island. We cross through a dark environment of fog and emerge at the soundstages. A large buoy beckons us to continue forward. Arriving at the destination, we are met by elements of fear and fun, while we wait our entry to the two premiere mazes of the event.
House of Dead Maniacs: Welcome to the "Resting Place" Funeral Home. Universal Designers have painstakingly recreated the grounds and home of the infamous Bearer family. Paul, Kara and their daughter Cindy used the home, and the bodies as a front for Unique meats a specialty meat company. The families of the loved ones found out one October and burned the house and presumably the family to the ground. Now take a tour of the house and the adjoining graveyard and witness the insanity of the House of Dead maniacs.
The Thing: The mystery and the horror of John Carpenter's The Thing comes alive in an immersive experience at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of the cult alien favorite as well as the anticipated release of the Computer Artworks video Game, The Thing brings guests into the demolished remains of Outpost 31 in the Icy cold of the Antarctic, and pits them against a shape-shifting creature from outer space.
Needless to say, John Carpenter's "The Thing" house never made it past conceptual design, and "House of Dead Maniacs" was going to be the signature home of Cindy. Of course this later turned into "Screamhouse" which was home of The Caretaker. The Caretaker and Cindy's stories are so very similar because after being scrapped, The Caretaker was modeled after Cindy's father.
Danse Macabre [Lagoon]: Once a night, the tranquil waters of the Lagoon become a raging battlefield between good and evil. Dark forces are breaking into our world. A mist of low-lying red smoke covers the surface of the Lagoon. Water cannons erupt; Airboats circle the area, trailed by floating banshees. Evil's fury sends explosions of dark color into the night sky as ominous music fills the air. A spectacle of scares and excitement.
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