Behind-the-Scares | Case Files Unearthed at Halloween Horror Nights 2021

October 8, 2021

A dark clue-finding mission? Check. 😳

A film noir horror setting with unspeakable monsters? Check. 😖

The resurgence of the best supernatural hunters, the Legendary Truth? Ultimate Check. 😱

My friends and family know that Halloween Horror Nights 2008 was one of my favorite years. One thing that made that year so great was the introduction of the masterful paranormal investigating organization, the Legendary Truth. 

Over the years, the Legendary Truth has surfaced in different ways with the same objective: to investigate the horrors that haunt Halloween Horror Nights. Fans have also joined along in uncovering the mysteries of the event by closely following the investigations of the Legendary Truth through various experiences over the years. 

The interaction fans have enjoyed is present for the event this year as well with the house Case Files Unearthed: Legendary Truth. I am not going to be timid — this house is going to give you a heightened horror experience. 

You won’t merely be walking through the house, but instead will be teleported into the story as every sense is engaged to bear witness to the horrors that are unfolding. Whether it’s the narration that guides you through the novel or the malevolent performances that seduce you at the Kitty Kat Club, there is definitely so much to take in as you work to put the pieces of the mystery together in this hard-boiled detective, monster-hunting horror mission. If this couldn’t get any better, we also get to dig deeper into the story of Boris Shuster, the mastermind behind the Legendary Truth (bonus points if you can spot the ominous window bearing his name in Universal Studios Florida).

I had a chance to interview Charles Gray, Senior Show Director for HHN, about this house. Charles and his team brought the horrors of Case Files Unearthed to life for us this year…

CHRISTIAN: Thank you for taking the time to allow me to interview you for this house. 

CHARLES: No problem. Thank you. 

CHRISTIAN: I’m a huge fan of HHN and the Legendary Truth. I’m really excited we have a house that dives deeper into their story. While the Legendary Truth is a part of the HHN lore, what was the inspiration behind the film noir look and feel of the house?

CHARLES: It was a culmination of a few ideas put together. The film noir aesthetic was something I have been pushing for for a few years, but it never quite clicked previously. When we began working on this historic year, we were talking about the Legendary Truth and Boris Shuster came up. We then started looking at his era and said this is an opportunity to combine the Boris Shuster quasi-story and have it set in the film noir aesthetic. It all came through from multiple ideas blended at the same time. The Legendry Truth [house] was a love letter to the uber fans along with giving the new fans a story to enjoy.

CHRISTIAN: How did you look to the Legendary Truth of the past when thinking of how it  will be experienced in the house this year and within the entire library of Legendary Truth history?

CHARLES: When we looked at the Legendary Truth over a span of years and engaging audiences, each year was different. Although the Legendary Truth was the binding agent, each year kind of built a little corner to the Legendary Truth thing.

CHRISTIAN: Awesome. What excited you most about concepting this house and developing the storyline?

CHARLES: What really excited me was how we can incorporate all these different years into one house. The idea that we can create new creatures for this house was exciting. 

CHRISTIAN: I know the use of totems is a key component of the story this year. Is this the first time totems are being used for HHN? Where did the inspiration for the totems come from?

CHARLES: One year we had a Legendary Truth meetup and that was the year the totems were featured. The people met up and found these totems — it was a very special night for guests. We recreated these totems and they are Easter eggs for those guests.

CHRISTIAN: That’s so interesting and cool; I know fans will appreciate that detail. Can you tell me a little more about the intersection between the characters and the totems within the storyline? 

CHARLES: As we talked about the totems, we thought this could be something that becomes a gateway from another world. That’s how Boris interacts with these monsters who come from these portals. We created that kind of fun character, Tim Foil – that curiosity character who starts this whole thing off.  Tim Foil discovered these totems in 1991. Tim is putting these pieces together.

CHRISTIAN: Let’s shift gears to how the fans will encounter this house. What is the role of the guest who is walking through? 

CHARLES: It’s almost as if you are teleporting to these books. Within these novels there are clues of Boris’ adventure. If you go through it just at the right time, you hear him (Tim) reading the novel. As a guest, you are walking through the novel.

CHRISTIAN: A great thing about this house is that it plays to multiple senses and a sense I wanted to highlight is sound. The audio in this house really helps set the tone for the storyline, especially for those who appreciate how audio can bring an experience together. 

CHARLES: It’s always a balance between intensity and mood. My philosophy has been if the audio score sticks out, it’s not good but if it isn’t there, you will notice it. In this house, the music is a character too.

CHRISTIAN: From the trumpets and saxophones guests will hear, what was the overall inspiration for the house audio?

CHARLES: We wanted the interstitials to have some nice over-the-top character. Kind of that film noir sound, that jazz.

CHRISTIAN: I love it. Can you expound upon how that came to be? 

CHARLES: If you stand in New York (inside Universal Studios Florida) and look to your left, there’s Boris Shuster’s office. We actually stood inside Boris Shuster’s office and took a video of the Kitty Kat Club. As we were designing the audio and score, we said it would be awesome if we had a real singer. We never had that before, so we said, “Let’s do it!” Those ladies in there are all spectacular so they should be really proud, being the first.

CHRISTIAN: All great stuff! One final question — for Legendary Truth fans like myself, what is something these fans will appreciate about this house? 

CHARLES: The prequel story of Boris Shuster. We have elevated him to a higher status than he was before. We created that kind of fun character Tim Foil — that curiosity character who starts this whole thing off. He (Tim) unleashed and put the totems together and opened this portal. At the end is the Legendary Truth insignia which leaves you thinking what’s next…you never know.

Every clue leads to a scream. Find yours at HHN30. 

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  • Reply Steven Assad August 13, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    We attended HH 2021 and what a time we had! We attended on Halloween night, (our sons birthday), and enjoyed the Universal staff who worked so hard to make it all happen.

    This was the first time we have had a real vacation since 2004, and we were glad we chose Universal Orlando.

    • Reply Social Media Team August 13, 2022 at 5:06 pm

      Hi Steven, we’re so happy you enjoyed your time at Halloween Horror Nights last year. It’s wonderful to know our Team Members made this vacation special, and helped celebrate your son’s birthday! We hope to host you for another adventure soon!

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