Billie EIlish Canceled Universal Haunted House

Universal's Canceled Billie Eilish HHN Haunted House

This article was originally written in February 2021 and was updated in January 2022.

When HHN Ideas Go to Sleep, Where Do They Go?

Background on HHN

Universal Studios parks Los Angeles, Orlando, Japan, and Singapore host an annual after-hours haunt event called Halloween Horror Nights. The seasonal event occurs every fall and features several houses, scare zones, and shows throughout the park. At Halloween Horror Nights, fans can walk through recreations of dark and terrifying scenes from popular horror movies, TV shows, and occasionally musical acts. Universal licenses major non-Universal properties to use in the event. Each year, the event includes a new lineup of haunted houses that are all scrapped at the end of the season.

In 2020, the park planned to build Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses in Orlando and Hollywood centered around five-time Grammy winner Billie Eilish, but the attractions were canceled before they opened. Let's take a look back at how this started and why the house never opened to guests.

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2020: The Rumors Begin

According to Theme Park University, Universal Studios Hollywood met with Billie Eilish’s representatives in early 2020 about the possibility of using her music and likeness in a haunted house at the park’s annual Halloween Horror Nights event. At the time, this haunt event was in-line with her darker style and would have been a great partnership for the young artist and the park. Billie Eilish, who has connections to Universal Music Group, went on to win several GRAMMYs in January 2020. Universal soon after agreed to feature a house based on her work at the Hollywood and Orlando Halloween Horror Nights events.

In March 2019, the @HorrorNights account on Twitter teased a possible connection, saying, "That would be a very interesting collaboration. Love her video for 'Bury a Friend'"

On March 30, 2020, a reputable fan-run website called Horror Night Nightmares released its first version of a speculation map for that year’s Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando and Hollywood, published before Universal made any official announcements. This source has been reputable over the years in accurately predicting the attractions for each year's event. Just as fans were excited to see rumored houses such as Beetlejuice and Gremlins, they were equally confused to see plans for a Billie Eilish house.

In an updated version of the speculation map for Orlando, the Billie Eilish house had been replaced. However, she was still a part of the event, though only for the soundtrack of a house rumored to be titled "Universal Monsters The Bride Music by Billie Eilish." Other rumors suggested Eilish would provide the soundtrack for the event’s nighttime lagoon show in Orlando. In the final version of Orlando’s speculation map, the Billie Eilish house returned, listed once again as its own attraction.

The Billie Eilish house was consistently rumored on every version of Hollywood’s speculation map.

While, at first glance, it may not seem Billie Eilish has a place at Halloween Horror Nights, she is actually a fan of horror and the event, having previously attended in Hollywood. Eilish’s interest in horror is reflected in her art: Her lyrics explore dark topics; her music sonically is gloomy; and some of her music videos are directly inspired by horror-themed media, such as American Horror Story and The Babadook.

To further explain how Billie Eilish fits in the event, Halloween Horror Nights in recent years has included horror-adjacent properties such as Stranger Things and Ghostbusters, successfully pulling in a broader audience that may not have been interested in the event without these franchises. Featuring Billie Eilish at Halloween Horror Nights would make sense for Universal from a business standpoint; she has a huge fanbase and would draw in first-time visitors who may buy merch and love the event enough to return in the future.

Inside the House

What would the Billie Eilish house have looked like? Similar to other Halloween Horror Nights houses, Billie Eilish’s would have included elaborate sets and numerous scare actors throughout the maze. Her music videos and live performances are very theatrical, serving as the inspiration behind the sets and scares in the house.

In early December 2020, photos of the house’s unused props surfaced on Twitter in a tweet that has since been deleted. These props give us an idea of what imagery may have been included in the house.

The first image in the tweet includes cutout figures of shadowy, human-like monsters. These characters served as the backdrop during live performances of her song COPYCAT. The second picture is of two windows with murky panes of glass. These likely would have been a part of the set, perhaps in an eerie house setting as seen in the bury a friend music video. The third and fourth pictures in the tweet are of a wooden bed frame and headboard with her lyrics and album title carved into it, “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” Other engravings include monsters based on her original art against a fiery background, a spiderweb, and lyrics that read, “SUICIDAL STOLEN ART.”

Facebook user ViciousSmilephotography shared photos of other props. One picture includes the upper part of a large face, which could possibly be the beastly animated spider from Eilish’s you should see me in a crown music video. Another image showed a white bedroom dresser and the letter B for "Billie," drizzled with bright green paint that matches her signature hair color.

These props were to be included in Orlando’s version of the maze, though the Hollywood house may have had identical or similar scenes.

While not confirmed, other recognizable ideas from her music videos that could have been used in the house include her uncomfortable stream of black tears shed in when the party's over, the haunting sights from bury a friend, her demonic transformation in all the good girls go to hell, or a cluster of spiders like in you should see me in a crown.

In her videos, Billie Eilish typically plays the role of a monster, so the scare actors in the house may have been lookalikes of her to recreate these scenes. As featured on her 2019 album art and in the lyrics of the single bury a friend, the monster under the bed is a distinct idea in Eilish’s work.

About her monster-themed lyrics, Eilish said, “I also confess that I’m this monster… I might be the monster under your bed too.” With this in mind, it can be speculated that the house’s plot may have been centered around the notion of the monster under the bed or a sleep paralysis demon—in addition to scenes from her other videos.

The Outcome

What happened in 2020 needs no explanation. Events around the world were postponed or canceled, and Halloween Horror Nights experienced the same fate. After an uncharacteristically quiet season of no official announcements, Universal confirmed on July 24, 2020, that Halloween Horror Nights was canceled on both coasts for the 2020 season due to health and safety concerns.

Universal reportedly had reached out to Billie Eilish’s camp to extend their contract to use the house in fall 2021, but Eilish’s representatives have reportedly declined and pulled out of the event for good.

Upon the release of her 2021 album, Happier Than Ever, Billie Eilish has entered a new era as far as her image goes. Given this new direction, Eilish's representatives did not want to go forward with a haunted house based on her music and likeness. It simply did not fit her brand like it did the year prior.

The house, which had been completed but never opened to the public, was disassembled and never used.

During the 2020 Halloween season, Universal Orlando Resort hosted a scaled-down version of the event that did not feature any Billie Eilish. The event did feature a haunted house attraction called Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives, which was probably the result of a concept mentioned above that could have played a soundtrack with Billie Eilish's music.

Leading up to HHN in 2021, Universal released a commercial that presumably has traces of the canceled Billie Eilish theme. The ad uses a dark pop song with a female vocalist; depicts a woman covered in spiders with one coming our of her mouth, much like from Billie Eilish's video; and uses a font that is similar to her handwriting. This promotional video was likely filmed prior to her attraction's being canceled, and was likely edited to wipe any direct references to Billie Eilish. It is worth pointing out the the other scenes in the commercial are direct references to other properties featured at HHN in 2021, such as The Haunting of Hill House and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

In 2021, Halloween Horror Nights returned to a full-scale event. Once again, Billie Eilish was not featured in the event. Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives returned to the event's lineup nearly identical to the previous year's version, again without a Billie Eilish soundtrack that was previously rumored. The house located in the venue that the Billie Eilish house would have been in, the Shrek 4-D theater, housed a fan-favorite maze called Case Files Unearthed: Legendary Truth, which had no traces of the scrapped Billie Eilish attraction.

With her maze disassembled and canceled, we can bury any hope of a Billie Eilish house any time soon, if at all. While we look forward to what haunts and creeps wait for us at Halloween Horror Nights in future years, this idea can be put to sleep.

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