"The Cabin in the Woods," a horror film about a trip to the country and modern-day human sacrifice, will be the foundation for a haunted house at Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights, the theme park announced early today.
It's the first clue about this year's edition of the scarefest, set for 27 select nights beginning Sept. 20.
"Cabin" director and co-writer Drew Goddard is working with Universal on the house's production.
"I've always felt like of all the possible tie-ins and ancillary avenues for 'Cabin in the Woods,' it couldn't be better suited for a maze," Goddard said Wednesday. "It just feels right. It's a match made in heaven, or hell, as it were."
The 2012 film revolves around five college students — a jock, a smarty, a stoner, a virgin and a slut — who visit a remote cabin. Events lead to an encounter with a zombie family and other scary, bloody adventures.
In a twist fashioned by Goddard and co-writer Joss Whedon (creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Cabin" producer), the plot includes a secret facility that controls the creepiness, ancient rituals, a worldwide threat to mankind and a slew of supernatural beasts such as giant snakes, killer birds and a rampaging unicorn. Also on hand are an evil clown and a "merman."
"We always wanted 'Cabin' to take on a life beyond us. It just felt like such a rich universe where people can drop in and have their own fun," Goddard said.
Among the film's stars are Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth ("Thor") and Bradley Whitford (TV's "The West Wing"). "The Cabin in the Woods" made more than $65 million at the box office worldwide.
The wealth of environments and characters make the film a natural for Halloween Horror Nights, said Michael Aiello, assistant director of creative development with Universal Orlando's entertainment team.
"The characters are all so ... cool to look at," Aiello said. "The minute I saw it, I wanted to try and translate that into an experience that guests could walk through and be terrified by all these amazing creatures in real life."
Expect gore and creepiness, he said.
"You're going to see merman. You're going to see Hell Lord [and] Fornicus, the god of torture and pain — all the characters you saw in that movie are going to be right there in front of you in living color," Aiello said. What about that bloody unicorn?
"It is represented in the maze," he said.
"The tricky thing about unicorns is that they do actually stab people, so there's a safety issue," Goddard joked.
Halloween Horror Nights tickets are on sale at HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Orlando. Base price for a single-night ticket is $91.99; Florida residents can use a promotional offer that can drop that to $42.99, depending on date. The Frequent Fear Pass, which allows admission on 15 select nights, sells for $83.99.
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