One of the ten haunted houses at Halloween Horror Nights 32 in Universal Studios Florida is an original concept called The Darkest Deal.
The Darkest Deal
Blues musician Pinestraw Spruce will have to face the music after meeting with The Collector and trading his soul for musical glory. You and your squad learn the terrible price of fame.
Pinestraw Spruce was a young blues musician who felt his talent was going unrecognized among the swath of people vying for the spotlight around the Mississippi Delta. After a gig one night at Bub’s Lounge, Spruce was chatting with the bartender, Willie, about his woes.
Willie told him the tale of another young musician who had felt similarly just before catching a big break and rising to fame. Roberto Fuentes was a musician from Cuba who, at the advice of W. C. Handy, moved to the States to try and make it. He was called Roberto El Brujo affectionately by fans as his method of playing guitar with a switchblade for a pick was regarded as “witchcraft.”
Roberto rose rapidly to fame but met a sudden, dark fate. He grew increasingly paranoid that someone was watching and stalking him. On the night he was supposed to headline a huge, sold-out show, he panicked and ran off stage. His corpse was found the next morning.
Willie advised Pinestraw that while some people felt he succumbed to the pressure, others suspected he had made a dark deal for fame in exchange for his soul.
Pinestraw scoffed it off, but when he went to use the restroom before leaving the bar, he had a strange encounter. The lights went out, and he heard the flip of a switchblade, looking up to meet beady white eyes in the mirror. The eerie figure appeared to be in distress, perhaps trying to warn Spruce of something.
Spruce was spooked but left to walk home. In the parking lot, he encountered a stranger. The strange man insinuated he was a sort of “agent” who worked best “in the shadows.” He offered to boost Spruce’s career, if only he’d sign a contract. Spruce agreed to meet the stranger at a crossroads near the railroad tracks the next day.
The house features an original soundtrack from the art and design team. The façade is Bub’s Lounge next to the decrepit Barrel House Blues.
This experience begins with Spruce making a deal with The Collector, who appears human, at a crossroads: his soul for a prosperous music career. We follow Spruce’s career while The Collector possesses various people, never far behind Spruce. Some Scareactors are in ghillie suits with animal skulls for heads.
We go through a graveyard and see Roberto’s grave in a mausoleum. There are also projections of other musicians The Collector has tricked.
The Collector, still in a human-like form, beckons guests into Barrel House Blues, where Spruce plays his final show. Then, The Collector drags him (and the guests) to Hell. It’s a dark cave with glowing red vines, similar to those from Gorewood Forest. Here, The Collector appears as a demon, with a stereotypical devil face but pale.
We loved this house. The deal-with-a-devil story isn’t original, but it’s told in a compelling way and the costumes are good.
The Darkest Deal is located at H on the map below, with the entrance near Men in Black: Alien Attack.