This article appeared on HHNVault in July 2007.
In June of 1982, horror master John Carpenter unveiled to the world his remake of the 1951 Sci-Fi Horror film “The Thing from Another World.” For the past 25 years, The Thing has been praised as one of the greatest horror films of all time. The films’ fan base has done nothing but increase over the years, and now during its 25th year since release, the minds behind Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights has decided to pull the terrors of the film from the silver screen and bring them into the physical world.
During a conference with TJ Mannarino (the Senior Director of Universal's Art and Design) and Michael Burnett (the Manager of Prosthetics and Makeup), we learned that the team has a huge fondness for the property and are extremely excited to have the opportunity to work on this attraction for the 25th anniversary.
“The story ended 25 years ago, our story takes up 25 years later," explains TJ, “Where the remains of Outpost 31 are open for investigation.”
As explained to us, the house will be in an industrial setting and take place in Florida, rather than the arctic. The two stated that because of its 25th anniversary, the public is aware of the film. “We're telling you a story you are familiar with - based on the creatures, the characters, and settings,” the two told us, “People know what to be afraid of, people know the horrors this creature can bring, but what people don't know is how the terrors will be brought out.”
We learned that during research, the Horror Nights design team spoke with many people who worked on the film, and were even given the opportunity to browse the archives.
From our understanding, and the photos that were given to us at the conference, the prosthetics team is going above and beyond with the creature designs this year. We were told that the house will utilize puppet and make-up techniques to achieve some of the effects for the “things,” and that the designs would stay true to the film. “We wanted to look at specific things that would be an homage to the movie,” Mark told us, “Some of it will be immediately recognizable if you've seen the movie, but still very terrifying if not.”
Additionally, Mark assured us that they "have a lot of things, all different shapes and sizes."
Needless to say, this is just more amazing news from an already amazing-sounding event. Halloween Horror Nights: Carnival of Carnage was assured to take us back to a “simpler time.” TJ told us that this year they’ve stepped away from technology and digitally printed posters to bring in handmade signs, and an overall vintage feel. “Not that it will be anything less,” says TJ, “We are going to have very simple, but still very creepy environments.”
The Thing is a concept that Universal has played around with for years, and finally they felt that 2007 was the right time to move forward with the concept. Once again, we dig deep into the vault archives to find something of related interest – below you will find the treatment for The Thing as featured in an early concept for Halloween Horror Nights: Islands of Fear in 2002. Even though the storyline is completely different to "The Thing - Assimilation," hopefully some of the concepts from this treatment stick with the new version, as the below house concept is absolutely stunning.
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.
You and your team are the first to enter Outpost #31, after no contact with the camp for weeks. Originally thought a downed transmitter, you find the Outpost in ruins.
You enter the experience through ripped containment tunnels. Holes allow for the icy chill of the Antarctic wasteland to fill the space. Eerie sounds of howling wind echo as the Cold air blasts at you. A star curtain drop behind the façade of the Outpost creates a cinematic view as our guests await their turn exploring the devastated research station. Weather reports and file footage from Outpost 31 play on rescue equipment monitors. Construction lights guide you forward as you prepare to enter the outpost. Snow puddles line the experience.
You step through a section of tenting. A wooden walkway stretches through the space. A snow machine fills the area with simulated snow. Huge holes have been ripped in the tent allowing ice-cold air to blast in. Shredded pieces of plastic hang down in your path as you continue forward through the icy darkness. A frozen body sits against the compound wall. As we approach the corpse we see the hands and face have been ripped outward with great force.
You step forward into a dark barrack. A single light source flickers as the power sporadically comes in and out.
The windows are boarded and the furniture has been overturned. Burn marks outline the figure of a scorched human on our left.
Bursting through a section of wall on our right we are startled by the maniacal and crazed MACREADY. The lone survivor of Outpost 31. He rushes at us, begging for us to “get out before it’s too late” and to “Destroy the camp”!
He reveals his left hand which has transformed into a long tentacle with a miniature head at the end. He starts to transform as blood oozes from his chest.
We rush forward.
A dark, twisting corridor lays out before us. We move quickly and cautiously knowing that something is waiting for us.
The walls are cold and slick, covered with some type of gooey residue.
We hear the sound of something moving ahead of us, but can see nothing.
From above us a large mass of tentacles and wet, matted fur drops down. It violently shakes at us, dropping down and recoiling.
We duck into an open door at the end of the hallway that leads us into…
The Dog Kennel compound of Outpost 31. Chain link panels force us to wind through the darkness. The forms of suspended dogs surround us. We move into the large portion of the kennel. Heavy Chain link surrounds us on both sides ending in an a-frame above. A strobing red alarm light illuminates the form of a beastly DOG-THING. It snarls at us and lunges. The fence is electrified and sends a shower of sparks towards us. The Creature recoils in pain, filling the chamber with an unsettling howl.
The main communications station of the Outpost. The radio equipment is smashed and sparking. An axe is embedded in the body of a scientist, pinning him to the wall.
From behind a bank of radio transmitters lunges the obese form of BLAIR. Blair was the main research scientist at the facility, but now his face has been transformed into the hideous mask of a deformed dog. Snarling at us, he moves quickly at us, a bloodied axe in his hand. He triggers a deafening roar that sends us around another bank of equipment and into the darkness of the medical lab.
Rushing forward, we find the dark remains of the med lab. Blood covers the walls. Positioned gurneys with covered bodies force us through the area. Blood soaked sheets cover the bodies. Our presence triggers the corpses, and they begin to move underneath the sheets.
We move quickly, waiting for one of the dead to spring at us and come face to face with the hideous uncovered body laying on a medical table. His torso has been shredded, leaving a large open cavity, devoid of internal organs. Suddenly a huge bloody THING rises through the body, a mass of muscle and faces, tentacles and dog.
We dodge the beast, escaping it’s clutches and heading for our only exit. As we close in on the open doorway a SPIDER-HEAD leaps out at us.
THE REC ROOM
We move into the devastated rec room of the Outpost. To our right we find an upended pool table sitting vertical and blood-stained. A broken window allows for a bitterly cold blast of wind to assault us.
Suddenly, though the pool table hurtles a THING. With a human body and a mass of flesh and tentacles for a face, this creature jumps towards us.
Unfortunately, the transcript in our archive ends in an incomplete state. I remember, however, that when I first read this concept I was furious they never went through with it. By the sounds of it, my grudge can end as "The Thing - Assimilation" is shaping to be all this and more.