30 Years of Fear – A History of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights: 2005 (Tales of Terror)
Welcome back to 30 Years of Fear – A History of Halloween Horror Nights. HHN 30 is finally upon us! With the return of the Terra Queen, it seems fitting that today we will explore the Tales of Terror that took us to Terra Cruentas for the first time.
2005 – Halloween Horror Nights XV: Tales of Terror
2005 would be the last year that Halloween Horror Nights would take place at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. After 2004’s two-park experiment, the event returned primarily to Islands, save one “bonus.”
The event added another night to bring the total count back up to 19. 2005’s event would also be the first to win a Golden Ticket Award from Amusement Today.
15 was unique in that it starred two nontraditional Icons. Not only would this year feature the first female Icon (since Cindy was scrapped for 2002), but both Icons split the spotlight. The Storyteller was the main Icon for marketing and the backstory but only appeared in Where Evil Hides. Instead, the main character of her tale of terror was the shining star. This, of course, was the Terra Queen.
The Storyteller, or Elsa Strict, is one of Fear’s Heralds, representing Legend. For HHN XV, she brought to life the story of Terra Cruentus, transforming all of Islands of Adventure into a cohesively themed experience.
The Terra Queen was the ruler of Terra Cruentus. She is pictured above on her fearsome motorcycle, the Terra Beast. Her primary role at the event was to conduct the Rituale de Blud in the Terra Throne show.
The Storyteller wove a tale of Terra Cruentus, a twisted world that revolved around human sacrifice. The revered Gorewood Tree demanded fresh blood in its soil to grow the Blood Berries, and so victims that were pure of heart were sacrificed by the Queen using the Terra Throne Blade. The Blood Berry wine sustained the minions of the Terra Queen, including the Bone Choppers, who imposed her rule.
Sacrifices, drained of blood, were buried in the Cemetary Mines, where time and mysterious powers would turn bone to iron and flesh to stone to be used for the Blade in an unending cycle.
The Blood Ruins was located in Blood Abbey, near the Dragon Forge where the Terra Throne Blade was created. The dilapidated Abbey played host to the victims unworthy of sacrifice, who would be tortured to generate blood with which to temper the Blade.
Guests would enter the ruins and bear witness to the torture of the unworthy. This house (and much of the general event) was heavier on blood and gore than most years.
Body Collectors is often considered “one of the greats” by fans and would see a sequel in 2008.
The terrifying Body Collectors were responsible for draining every last drop of blood from the sacrifices and using the bones to craft the handle of the Terra Throne Blade.
Guests ventured into the facility (located inside the Jurassic Park Discovery Center) and saw firsthand the processes used to obtain the blood and bone necessary to continue the Rituale de Blud.
Cold Blind Terror
Cold Blind Terror was similar to 2004’s Disorientorium, with a few extra effects such as foam and frigid air. Located in the North Hollow across Maldaken Pass (the Seuss Landing backlot), the area was “an epicenter of unreasonable fear.”
Those who successfully crossed the Maldaken Pass were determined to be pure of heart (or, in other words, acceptable sacrifice candidates). The implication was that guests who exited the house were now prime targets.
Demon Cantina was a house of depravity for the Terra Queen’s minions, especially the Bone Choppers.
Allegedly, this house was loosely based on “From Dusk Till Dawn.” A house officially based on the franchise (albeit the TV series and not the original film) would appear at Halloween Horror Nights 24.
Terror Mines was a truly unique experience the likes of which we will probably never see again. Not only was the house built inside Poseidon’s Fury, but it also added a new, immersive element. Select guests were given a “mining” helmet with a headlamp — and this was the only source of light for a group of guests.
The Terror Mines were home to the Abysmal Deep, the mysterious power source of Terra Cruentus. Guests would encounter the nightmare-inducing Gnomerats, as pictured below.
The house even involved the iconic water tunnel from Poseidon’s Fury.
The Skool taught the citizens of Terra Cruentus to follow the Terra Queen. Here, children of the various demons of Terra Cruentus would learn the ways of the country, as well as how to worship their queen.
Guests had to avoid becoming a victim as the creepy children played Dead Man’s Wishes, a twisted version of hide and seek that didn’t end well for those who were found.
Where Evil Hides
Where Evil Hides took place in the North Hollow Household, where unfortunate guests would come face-to-face with The Storyteller.
The house was filled with nightmares come to life, such as the Boogeyman and the monster under the bed.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure
Bill and Ted return to fight the ultimate evil once again… Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka, who was working for Emperor Palpatine to take over the world with special chocolate.
Pop culture icons such as Stewie Griffin, the Desperate Housewives, and Napoleon Dynamite made cameos in 2005’s show.
Eventually, the Wyld Stallyns, with the help of heroes like the Fantastic Four, the Burger King, and Ronald McDonald, Willy Wonka saw the power of being “excellent to each other” and turned to the light side.
The Terra Throne was the focal point of the Terra Queen’s story. At the Terra Gate, the Gorewood Tree grew from the blood and bodies of an ancient battlefield. Here, the Terra Queen would take her throne and perform the nightly sacrifices needed to maintain the tree’s strength.
The Terra Queen rode in on her motorcycle, the Terra Beast, as pictured above and below.
The Rituale de Blud was conducted on the stage seen below.
A victim, dressed as a guest, was sacrificed by the servants of the Terra Queen.
Eelmouth, pictured above on the left, oversaw the ritual. Since the Terra Queen could not speak any Earthly languages, Eelmouth served as her translator and most loyal servant.
The Scare Zones
Blood Thunder Alley
Blood Thunder Alley, where the Demon Cantina was located was home to the demon bikers known as the Bone Chopper Riders of Iron Bone Gorge. When not inside the cantina celebrating the Season of the Queen, they would travel throughout Terra Cruentus to fulfill their duties to the Terra Queen, making deliveries.
They were also known to prowl about with chainsaws. Dancers from the cantina could also be seen on the stages throughout the zone.
Miners would travel into the Gorewood Forest to dig up the transformed remains of the human sacrifices. The Cemetary Mines have returned to this year’s Gorewood Forest scare zone.
Creatures called Knucklegrunts guarded the Cemetary Mines, and sometimes broke free of their chains to pursue trespassers. Knucklegrunts have also returned this year (unfortunately, as they are one of the only things I find truly creepy at HHN.)
The Tangleroot Fire Pits of Dragon Forge was the birthplace of the Terra Throne Blade. Here, the blood generated from the tortures in Blood Ruins would be used to temper the blade.
The Fire Pits were also home to the Rat Lady, as pictured below.
Terra Guard Run
Guests would enter Terra Cruentus through Terra Guard Run (Port of Entry). Lured by the Storyteller, unwitting victims would have to make their way past the Queen’s Black Guard to reach the Terra Throne.
Bodies on spikes were mounted above the iconic “The Adventure Begins” archway into the Port of Entry.
Pictured above are some of the guards that guests would need to avoid, lest they were to become a victim.
Honorable Mention: Maldaken Pass
Maldaken Pass served as a walkway between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida, where guests could participate in Rat Run (see below.)
Maldaken Pass was more or less a junkyard, filled with broken junk and vehicles. It wasn’t a significant part of the event, but rather a lightly themed pathway.
Honorable Mention: Rat Run
Rat Run was a maze in the Boneyard of Universal Studios Florida (where the Universal Music Plaza is now).
There were no scareactors, but the maze was hosted by Jack the Clown, who stood on a platform and heckled guests as they navigated the maze.
Guests outside the maze could press buttons, as seen below, to change the maze path or spray the guests inside with water.
We’ll see you next time when we take a look back at Halloween Horror Nights: Sweet 16.
For more Halloween Horror Nights history, check out the rest of the series below.