Ah the smell of Death gives you a chill. Even stronger from a fresh kill. Try Toruń from me and lose your way, I’m right behind you here to stay.
~ The Caretaker, queue Video
Halloween Horror Nights Orlando attraction
Screamhouse Sign.jpg
Attraction type Haunted House
Event Halloween Horror Nights: Islands of Fear
Park Universal Studios Florida
Area Production Central
Year 2002
Housed in Soundstage 20
Based on Original
Followed by Screamhouse: Revisited (2003)

Screamhouse was one of the five haunted houses that was featured during Halloween Horror Nights: Islands of Fear. This house was located in Soundstage 20 and it was the icon house in which the Caretaker himself appeared.

History and Location[edit | edit source]

Originally in 2002, when Cindy was planned to be the icon for the Halloween Horror Nights event that year, it was planned to have two haunted houses located in the soundstages of Universal Studios. Guests would enter the queues for these houses through an area called "The Isle of Fright", an scarezone with "elements of fear and fun".

The first of these planned houses was "The Thing". The Thing would be based on the John Carpenter film, but the house ultimately never made it past conceptual design. Guests would have entered the house from The Lost Continent.

The other would be called House of Dead Maniacs, and would feature Cindy's burned-down home and adjoining graveyard. The home would feature many body parts strewn across all of the rooms. Guests would enter this house through Seuss Landing.

Both of these houses were planned to be located in Soundstage 20, one of the closest soundstages to Islands of Adventure. Soundstage 20 is one of the larger soundstage facilities designed to be used as filming locations for movies and television shows. However, as stated earlier The Thing house never came to be, making the House of Dead Maniacs (later renamed Screamhouse) the only haunted house in Soundstage 20 that year. Due to the linear nature of the park, this house was designed to be the fifth and final house guests would enter.

After The Caretaker replaced Cindy as the icon, the house's concept would later be changed to focus more on The Caretaker rather than Cindy. Although the actual house mostly stayed the same (except for the replacement of scareactors representing Cindy by scareactors representing The Caretaker), its name changed to Screamhouse.

The house would prove to be very popular with guests and would win the House of the Year award for 2002. It also received a revamped sequel the following year with Screamhouse: Revisited. That house would remain largely similar to this one (using many of the same scenes and scares), and was even located in the same soundstage.

In 2015, a tribute scene for this house appeared in the haunted house, Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem. The scene recreated the scare in which The Caretaker would seemingly teleport using a mirror.

Description[edit | edit source]

There's something disturbing about this small town mortuary. The bodies just don't want to stay dead - and they don't want YOU to leave!

Backstory[edit | edit source]

(From here)

The Shady Oaks Cemetery has been closed for ten years after the grisly discovery that the caretakers were using the dearly departed for some unnatural experiments. Run by Dr. Albert Caine and his family, they used the dead corpses as their playthings, sometimes staging elaborate parties in the funeral parlor.

 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 peered into the dirty windows. What they saw chilled them to the bone. There in the main room of the home was the Caine 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 become of their loved ones, took matters into their own hands.

They set the place on fire, destroying the funeral parlor, the Caine home, and the family inside. After weeks of investigation, it was found that the Caine family had desecrated more than two-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, even though the Caines’ burned bodies were never found. Closed down, the grounds have been off limits for a decade.... until now.

Weird noises have been heard emanating from the decaying ruins. Ghostly voices have been heard in the middle of the night - unearthly howling and moaning coming from beyond the grave. You will be part of a research team that will investigate the overgrown, abandoned mortuary and cemetery. Are you brave enough to enter an abandoned graveyard at the stroke of midnight?

Experience[edit | edit source]

Queue[edit | edit source]

Guests would enter the queue in Seuss Landing, in between the One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish ride and the Circus McGurkus restaurant. The line would lead towards to soundstages of Production Central and would eventually reach Soundstage 20, where a giant sign saying "Screamhouse. Your Time Has Come" was projected on a wall. Further down the guests would see a giant banner with the Caretaker's face on it. According to this, various entertainers roamed the queue, one of which would have a snake crawl through one of his nostrils and out the other. The Caretaker would also walk around the queue posing for photo-ops. The door to the house was next to the banner with the Caretaker on it, and it had a graveyard painted onto it.

House[edit | edit source]

(Credit to HHN veteran "Legacy" from the Inside Universal Forum: http://forums.insideuniversal.net/threads/screamhouse-questions.13068/ )

Façade – The burnt shell of a two-story Victorian manor stands in front of us, framed by trees. Projected on a screen to our left, headlines and photos detailing the grisly findings detail the horrors that took place here. We pass a wagon filled with shrouded bodies on way onto the porch and into the house (turning right)

Parlor – The first room is a small Parlor, lit by a window along the opposite wall. From behind a room partition in the shadowed corner, comes a well-dressed member of Caine’s family. He holds measuring tape, extending it to us to ensure we fit coffins. It spins us, and we take a slight U-turn to the left, then another right and down a photo-lined hall with a stained-glass window at the end.

Viewing Room – We U-turn left at the window then (after a shorter hallway) turn right into the Viewing Room. A closed coffin, covered in decaying flowers, lies in the center of the room. Two other closed coffins sit in the far corners to our left. Suddenly, the coffin in the opposite corner starts to bounce. The chains wrapped around it rattle loud, and draw the attention of an unseen Zombie from behind the piano to your immediate right. The Zombie lunges at you (e-prom scream IIRC), pushing you out of the room into another hall.

Short Hall – To your immediate left after exiting the Viewing Room, the lower extremities of a dead woman hangs from an unseen noose. One of Caine’s Cousins, burst out from the curtain behind the corpse, forcing you to turn right down the hall. (Depending on the cast, this Cousin would actually caress the corpse’s legs like he was in love with her).

Operating/Autopsy Room – The hall leads you straight into the blood caked Autopsy room. A meat slicer sits to your right amid the gore, viscera, and other body parts strewn throughout. Blood-stained curtains obstruct your view. You move forward into a U-turn (left) where another Cousin in a lab coat jerks open a curtain to your right to startle you (depending on the cast, this Cousin would be drinking blood. Spinning from him, you approach a mutilated body on a gurney straight ahead of you. It’s missing an arm and everything below the waist. Nearing him, he jerks his head at you, reaching and thrashing what little remains of his body at you for help. You turn right, avoiding him, but a curtain behind you is ripped away revealing a blood-soaked Nurse. You step past her and turn right, into the freezer.

Freezer – On the wall opposite your entrance to the Freezer hang shelves of body parts: heads, arms, and legs, for safe keeping. As you turn left past them, a Puppeteer reaches one of the arms out to touch you. You complete your U-turn left out of the Freezer. (That was it. But yeah, this house had everything).

Kitchen – You exit the Freezer into the Kitchen, a hellish scene that makes Texas Chainsaw Massacre look Rated-G. Blood, body parts, trash, roaches, rotten food, all sorts of nauseating stuff cover the cabinets, appliances, and floor. To your immediate right as you enter, Papa Caine (Albert’s dad), works on a sausage grinder, using any body parts he can find. You turn right around him, moving between him and the open refrigerator (lined with poorly preserved organs). From behind the refrigerator, Mama Caine lunches at you with a meat cleaver. You turn right to avoid her, and head in to the pantry.

(This was an oddly-shaped room You entered the bottom left and exited bottom right. Mama Caine came from the boo-hole up top)

Pantry – The Pantry is a short hall, shelves of canned food to your right. Suddenly, the shelves slide open. Behind them is “Baby Pewey” (actual character name), a grown man wearing a overalls, a bib, and covered in vomit. He belches loudly (e-prom) at you, before slamming the wall closed. You then U-turn to the left, past a pile of garbage bags and into the darkness.

(Fun fact – One night, they were filming the first Grinchmas commercial next to our soundstage, and we ran into a fully-costumed, in character Grinch during our set change. He ran onto the soundstage with us, followed our Baby Pewey, and did a quick scare before leaving. God, I wish I knew the guests who got that one).

Basement/Red Room – Alright, he is where things get difficult. The basement was big and, essentially, pitch black. The diagram below is the best way to describe it. You would enter the bottom left, then essentially have to navigate this who space blind, to exit in the top right. The Red Room (RR) was a torture chamber with strobing red lights that was designed as an “optional path.” There was a guy in bondage gear in here (no really). There was another scareactor at the “U-Turn” at the top who managed a “face wall” (a wall of sewn together faces; the only lit part of the basement proper) on the left and had some oil drums to bang on the right.

The openness and darkness was a problem. Guests would enter and start doing circles, either around the support beam in the center of the room, or they’d turn left instead of right after exiting the RR. Some guests spent nearly five minutes in this room alone, repeatedly going through the Red Room. They eventually just closed the Red Room completely, and hid the bondage guy in the basement.

You’d take an immediate left as you exited.

Greenhouse – The turn left puts in to the green house, a rectangular shaped room. A (HEAVY) body, wrapped in cloth hangs to your left and row of plants sits to your right. One zombie hides behind the plants (e-prom), while the other chases you from behind the body. You exit the greenhouse straight ahead, then turn right through a narrow corridor.

Graveyard – Thunder rolls as the storm nears at your exit. The Graveyard features high, mausoleum walls, covered with ivy. Various statues and wrought-iron fencing guide you along a wide curve (to the right) through the space. Shortly after you enter, a Vampire appears from a grave to your left. Then a Living Statue. Then a Zombie (IIRC). Completing the curl, you turn left between a mausoleum and the graveyard wall. A second Zombie burst from the door to the mausoleum. You U-turn to the left around a foreboding statue of a reaper, and through a curtain of ivy. You turn to the right once through the ivy, where the actual Grim Reaper appears beside you (ME!). You rush past, escaping your death, and turn right again, beneath the dangling arms of a Zombie reaching at you from a broken casket. You dodge them, and descend into darkness.

(Midway through the run, a piece of the set across from the Grim Reaper boo-hole broke, forcing me to move into the room with the Grim Reaper. I actually preferred that spot.

Mausoleum – You enter the mausoleum, and a Zombie appears from behind the door to your right, turning you to the left. You complete the U-turn and finally see him – Albert Caine. He beckons you from the end of the corridor. You’re too close before you realize you’re looking at a mirror. The Caretaker lunges at you from you back right, sending you sprinting forward. From above, a loud bang startles you (a pneumatic door slamming shut because… *shrug*). Amid your panic, a final Zombie appears to your left and chases you back into the park.

Walkthrough https://www.disboards.com/threads/halloween-horror-nights-10-12-02.278100/[edit | edit source]

The Scream House line was about 20 minutes by the time we reached it. A large banner hung from the building with the Caretaker beckoning the guests. On the side of the studio a light shown that read “Scream House: Your Time Has Come”. The line featured stone gargoyles, bodies strewn aside, and cobwebbed trees. The entrance to the studio had a graveyard painted above the opening to the studio. Once inside, you find yourself in the front yard of the Scream House with what can be called a preshow. There was a video depicting newspaper articles of the events that had occurred, the bloodied bodies found in the kitchen, and, of course, the Caretaker staring you down. The premise of this maze is one that is truly chilling after you watch the video and get into the maze.  

You enter through the front door into a room with a piano, which appears to be playing itself. To the right, there is a dark corner, you can't really make out what's there, but before you find out a ghoul leaps out. You wander the corridors of a ragged house: wallpaper tearing and old family pictures crooked. As you turn the corner and prepare to enter the kitchen, a body dangles by a noose in a deep closet that gives the actor something to hide in. The kitchen is a grisly scene. Bodies strewn everywhere, mad doctors behind blood stained curtains, and even a mutilated body that looks fake but is actually an actor. You exit this area into the pantry, one of the shelves with food slides back and reveals an actor that produces a loud burping sound. From here there are a series of zig zag pathways. At the end of each path there would be a dimly lit scene. In the dark paths, there were free-roaming actors (some with chainsaws) and wet body bags hanging from the ceiling.

After more halls, you enter a courtyard with small cells and troubled people wandering the yard. You reenter the final leg of the house. The background music, which was faint before, was now getting more intense. You could hear what it was saying now, it was the Caretaker discussing evil and how to disassemble a body. It intensified and ghouls came out of every dark corner. An actor peeked out of a wall of face skin. As I came to the end I saw the Caretaker ahead of me his infamous tool. All of a sudden he lurched forward, but I soon realized I was looking at a mirror and he was actually coming up behind me. As he snapped his tool, he proclaimed, "Your time has come!” We exited the maze, and there was an employee asking everyone if they were ok. 

Pictures[edit | edit source]

Website Pictures[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • This house won House of the Year in 2002.
  • This is the first house located in Soundstage 20.
  • The theme of the remake of House on Haunted Hill played in the opening scene.
  • The queue video used images from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and music from House of 1000 Corpses.
  • The original concept for this house was very interesting.
    • First of all there seemed to have been an unused scarezone that would have been used to enter the Soundstage 20 houses. This scarezone would be titled Isle of Fright, and would have entrances next to Poseidon's Fury and another in Seuss Landing. The scarezone would feature a large buoy ushering guests in as well as creatures of "fright and fun". This idea might have been reused for Maldaken Pass in 2005, which was an area in the Soundstage area (Seuss Backlot) that was used to transport guests to Universal Studios.
    • There also would have been a haunted house themed to The Thing in Soundstage 20, which would have celebrated the 20th anniversary of the John Carpenter film and the release of The Thing video game. The entrance to this house would have been in the Lost Continent (where the entrance to All Nite Die-In was a year later).
    • Finally, the Screamhouse itself was going to originally be called "House of Dead Maniacs". The house seemed largely unchanged except for the replacement of Cindy with the Caretaker as the main villain of the house.
Halloween Horror Nights: Islands of Fear
Characters: The Caretaker (Event Icon) • Cindy Caine (Scrapped Icon) • Carnage  • Treaks and Foons  • Dr. Burton  • Dino-Men  • Nightmare
Haunted Houses: Fear Factor  • Maximum Carnage  • Project Evilution  • Scary Tales II  • Screamhouse
Scarezones: Boo-Ville  • Island of Evil Souls  • Island Under Siege  • JP Extinction  • Treaks and Foons • Port of Evil
Shows: Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure  • Fountain of Evil  • Studio 666  • Town Square of Tortured Souls
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