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30 Years of Fear – A History of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights: 1993 (More Houses, More Nights, More Rats)

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Welcome back to 30 Years of Fear – A History of Halloween Horror Nights. Let’s dive right into 1993’s Halloween Horror Nights III. This year brought more nights, more houses, and more scares as Universal sought to establish the event as a must-do.

1993 – The Third Annual Halloween Horror Nights

Officially billed as The Third Annual Halloween Horror Nights, the event was starting to blossom. With the success of the first two years, Universal saw the potential to cement themselves as the Halloween place to be. The “Don’t Get Caught Dead Anywhere Else” slogan drove the sentiment home.

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Image source: Halloween Horror Nights Wiki

1993 would see the event expanded to seven nights. Ticket prices crept up to $35 for out-of-state guests and $25 for Florida Residents. Interestingly, Universal also added a ticket option for children ages 3-9 at $28. There are no special rates for children in recent years, as the event is only recommended for those age 13+.

The Houses

The People Under the Stairs

1993 saw the return of The People Under the Stairs, as it had been a hit the previous year. The house was mostly the same, but the Rat Lady and a new addition called the Roach Man (who was essentially the Rat Lady but with roaches) joined the lineup. Rumors say the house was left standing after the 1992 season, but there is no evidence one way or another.

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Image source: Orlando Sentinel

A Rat Lady is pictured above to the left. To the right is a job posting for additional Rat Ladies and Roach Men. Universal received hundreds of applicants for the positions. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, a Universal spokesperson gave examples of tips from the four-page manual for the Rat Ladies, including advice to visit the rats daily to show they care, using Aussie Scrunch hair spray to attract the rats in the coffin, and keeping rat treats handy.

The Slaughterhouse

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Located in a New York façade (Nazarman’s Pawn Shop), The Slaughterhouse was themed to a human meat plant. It featured blood-soaked rooms, hanging corpses, and of course, bloodthirsty butchers.

The Psycho Path Maze

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Image source: Universal Orlando

Based on Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the maze utilized the already-existing Bates Motel and Bates House.

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Image source: Universal Orlando

The maze featured scenes from the Psycho franchise and utilized screen-used props from Psycho IV. Pictured above is part of a storyboard for the house detailing props and a photo of a scare actor playing Norman Bates in a representation of the infamous “shower scene” from the original film.

The Shows

Returning this year were Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure, Robosaurus, and the Midway of the Bizarre. Several new small shows, such as a nightly music performance and a crossbow stunt show, also joined the lineup. Most significantly, 1993 marked the debut of the Chainsaw Drill Team, which is a Halloween Horror Nights staple to this day.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure II

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Image source: Halloween Horror Nights Wiki

Bill and Ted make a most triumphant return for their second Halloween Adventure. The plot and characters remained largely the same from the previous year.

Robosaurus

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Our favorite 30-ton robot dinosaur stomped back onto the scene on the streets of New York to chomp cars and breathe fire. This year, he was accompanied by actors playing cops and civilians. (Seriously, can Robosaurus make a comeback?)

The Midway of the Bizarre

The Midway of the Bizarre returned this year, still featuring mini circus-esque shows, such as Human Blockhead and the Blade Walker. More importantly, the Chainsaw Drill Team joined the lineup.

The Chainsaw Drill Team
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Image source: Universal Orlando

The fan-favorite Chainsaw Drill Team has appeared throughout the years under various names. They’ve become something of a Horror Nights staple. Teams of scare actors, armed with chainless chainsaws, prowl the streets and spook unsuspecting guests. The sound of chainsaws paired with the smell of fog drifting through the park has become iconic imagery for the event.

Honorable Mention — JAWS: The Ride

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Image source: The Miami Herald

JAWS: The Ride officially opened with Universal Studios Florida in 1990. However, the ride was so plagued with problems that it did not operate for most of 1990 – 1992. In the spring of 1993, it was finally operational.

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Image source: The Miami Herald

Universal took advantage of the ride’s frightening nature to promote it alongside Halloween Horror Nights.

We’ll see you next time when we take a look back at Halloween Horror Nights IV.

For more Halloween Horror Nights history, check out the rest of the series below.

1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999

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