Exclusive: Halloween Horror Nights Movie In Development

Universal is developing a Halloween Horror Nights movie, with Michael Kennedy writing.

By Michileen Martin | Published

halloween horror nights movie

Along with 2021’s Jungle Cruise and the successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Disney has a number of upcoming projects based on their theme park rides and events; and soon they won’t be alone. Our trusted and proven sources tell us Universal Studios has a Halloween Horror Nights movie in development — presumably based on the annual theme park event — with Michael Kennedy writing the script. The film will see monsters crawling out of the woodwork on Halloween to wreak havoc and give the innocents of the world something a bit bloodier than free candy.

We don’t know many specifics about the plot, though if the choice of screenwriter is any indication, the Halloween Horror Nights movie promises to deliver not only some genuine scares but a lot of laughs and maybe even some genre-bending fun. Michael Kennedy wrote 2020’s Freaky — a critically acclaimed comedy slasher made on a shoestring budget starring Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers) and Kathryn Newton (Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania). According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kennedy’s next outing as screenwriter, the upcoming Time Cut, is being described as “Back to the Future meets Scream.”

halloween horror nights movie
Kathryn Newton in Freaky (2020), written by Michael Kennedy who will also write Halloween Horror Nights

We don’t know exactly which beasties to expect on the prowl in the Halloween Horror Nights movie, but we’d be surprised to not see some creatures based on the iconic Universal Monsters that the studio had previously hoped to create a cinematic universe with. Universal wanted to kick off its “Dark Universe” with 2017’s The Mummy, with subsequent projects planned for the Phantom of the Opera, the Invisible Man, the Wolfman, and more. Sadly, the Tom Cruise-led The Mummy flopped, and the Dark Universe went dark.

Universal Studios began their Halloween Horror Nights in 1991, the same year their horror movie output included Child’s Play 3 and The People Under the Stairs. Originally called Universal Studios Fright Nights, the annual event sees the theme parks in Orlando, Hollywood, Japan, and Singapore transformed with haunted houses and “scare zones” for a select number of nights. The yearly fall spectacle includes employee “scaracters” dressed up to get the most screams out of park guests.

The Halloween Horror Nights movie will put Universal in direct competition with Disney, though the latter has something of a lead. Along with Jungle Cruise and the Pirates movies, Disney reportedly has films based on Tower of Terror, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Railroad in various stages of production.

We don’t have any word on the hoped-for movie’s cast or director, but if Hollywood’s creatives see the same potential in the Halloween Horror Nights movie as in other theme park adaptations, they’ll probably be clamoring to get aboard. While Johnny Depp‘s various controversies have kept the Pirates franchise dormant for a while, the series earned boatloads for Disney, and the release of Jungle Cruise 2 has been confirmed.