The thing featured in that video above is called “Fear,” at least so far, and he’s the icon (host monster) for Halloween Horror Nights XX. A few weeks ago I wrote about my fascination with, but dislike of attending these Horror festivities, with my own suggestion of a “Fear Sombrero” for those of us with a more cowardly nature. (See said article for a full explanation, but to summarize, I suggested horror attractions let people who don't want to be scared wear a silly, obvious hat to let the actors know not to bother them.) With the theme and haunted house list officially released, I can now see that someone at Universal Studios Orlando is taunting me.
First of all, knowing that I’m a chicken and don’t like being scared, they go and make the theme of the entire event “Fear.” The event is already about making people change their underwear repeatedly, that theme just adds a bullet point in blood to my least favorite aspect of said events.Next, they make the icon of the event the embodiment of fear, advertise him as Fear, and then make him look like a reject from a Hellraiser film. Hellraiser is high on the list of things that screwed me up as a child, as I had nightmares about Pinhead, the lead villain, for weeks after seeing just a commercial for the film. Now I get to see that skin stretched, wicked teeth flashing mug all over the Orlando travel sites I’m using for my trip in October. Well, I didn’t need to sleep anyway.
All of the above doesn’t mean much, though, as being surprised there’s “fear” at a Halloween Horror event is like being surprised there’s grease at a Kentucky Fried Chicken. However, to top it all off, one of the “scarezones” (section of the park where creepy things attack you as you walk along) is themed after the Mexican Day of the Dead. This means that a large amount of people trying to scare you are likely to be wearing sombreros, the exact hat I proposed to prevent such scares. The Fear Sombrero has been turned into a Sombrero of Fear.
It seems there’s no way I’m going to Halloween Horror Nights without being terrified, which also means there’s no way I’m setting foot within Universal once the night creeps in upon the park. Maybe one day I will gain enough confidence to wade into that carnival of terrors with my trousers intact. However, until that day, or a lot of margaritas, comes along, I don’t foresee much changing. I’ll still be by the pool, waiting for Nicole to get back, but I will now be eyeing that seemingly cheerful sombrero warily. It may be waiting to attack.