How Halloween Horror Nights Created The Weeknd’s ‘Afters Hours’ Home – News Kidda

At the home of “The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare” at Halloween Horror Nights in Los Angeles is one of the “most outrageous” scenes the Universal Studios Hollywood event has done.

That’s according to John Murdy, creative director for HHN in Hollywood, who, together with Abel Tesfaye (known professionally as The Weeknd), created a veritable nightmare based on the singer’s 2020 album for this year’s event.

“We’re taking it to the next level,” says Murdy News Kidda of the experience, which runs as part of the larger event through October 31. “It’s probably one of the most surreal experiences we’ve created.”

In a statement prior to HHN’s launch in early September, The Weeknd shared that this project was one of his professional dreams. “I’ve always wanted to have my own Halloween Horror Nights haunted house, because Halloween has always been important to my music, so this is a total dream come true,” he said. “I feel like my music videos have served as a launch pad for a collaboration like this, and I can’t wait for people to experience this madness.”

The award-winning artist gave the Halloween Horror Nights creative director a lot to work with when he came to him with a house idea based on his hit 2020 album, as well as his latest release. Dawn FM. With the help of super producer Michael Dean, the music from both albums was remixed for the house, which itself is divided into three sections inspired by a handful of After hours music videos.

That includes the industrial warehouse rave set After hours club, which is “probably closest to the literal music video,” according to Murdy, citing “In Your Eyes” from the video. That’s before it turns into a bathroom plastic surgery nightmare that brings the terrifying two women from the “Too Late” video to life.

“It’s this crazy liposuction sequence and it’s one of the most outrageous scenes we’ve ever done,” he says of the moment, which takes place in the club’s women’s bathroom and shows a “horribly” botched procedure that someone “just sucks”. “But when you go to the men’s restrooms, they’re an idealized boyfriend. Several arms are sewn onto his body and they use The Weeknd’s head. They’re just dead bodies, missing arms, heads everywhere.”

The house ends with a Vegas-based section called the After hours Hotel Casino, which combines elements of “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights” and sees the carpet literally climbing the walls at one point.

“I’ve spent a lot of time researching ugly Vegas carpet. Vegas is the king of the ugliest carpet in the world,” Murdy says with a laugh. At the very end of the room, the architecture has gone all crazy, the floor feels a little soft, and you can see The Weeknd’s giant eye watching you through the window.

That sense of disorientation and dread was inspired not only by the artist’s trippy pad-licking experience in “Heartless,” but by Murdy’s own time in the city during a period in the ’90s, when they were trying to make it a “family-friendly destination.” .”

“I had to stay in Vegas for weeks at a time and would work nights on a project. With the ‘thing, ding, ding, ding’ from the slot machines, after a while you get the feeling that you’re going crazy. I wanted to emulate that,” says he.

It’s a musical and visual experience that the team was eager to realize for the annual event, but to make it work, it couldn’t be done in a literal way. “LA is a beautiful place. It’s a great city. There is all this energy, but there is also a darkness in it. That is what After hours jumps in,” he says. “It gave us a clear roadmap of where we needed to go, but it wasn’t a literal reproduction. We wanted to create an experience inspired by all those things, but put through the lens of Horror Nights.”

Murdy and the HHN team at Universal Studios Hollywood already had experience working with musicians in music-injected homes. Legendary Guns ‘n’ Roses guitarist Slash often collaborates with Park on the labyrinthine soundtracks, but Murdy has also created houses directly devoted to rockers. Two for his childhood hero Alice Cooper – “Welcome to My Nightmare” based on his famous 1970s concept album and a 3D house based on Alice Cooper is going to hell — and one for the Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne reunion album and tour.

“Those performers, there is a direct and clear connection to horror. All you have to do is watch a Black Sabbath or Alice Cooper who is famous for inventing shock rock with the show,” he says. THR. “So we just translated their songs and albums into a haunted house.”

The Weeknd, he says, was different, and both the LA team — including production designer Chris Williams and Universal Studio Orlando’s creative HHN team, led by Charles Gray and Michael Aiello — knew that when they sat down to find out how they went to bring the musician’s brand into a Horror Nights home.

While Murdy says he was familiar with Tesfaye’s sound from the radio and the Super Bowl show in 2021, after the artist contacted him about enabling a home, he dug a little deeper and found that The Weeknd was quite musically inclined. which encompassed genres. However, he also discovered After hours videos were not only outrageous, but thematically connected.

“The Weeknd thinks very cinematically. He has a very good knowledge of film and gave me very specific references,” Murdy recalls. “He would say, ‘Well, this is what I was thinking about… Movement Orange or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.’ And you can go back and watch the videos like “Heartless” and see Fear and aversion. Or even “Save Your Tears,” he told me, that’s like Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes wide closed and it’s right there in the masked audience members.”

“He had a very specific vision of what he wanted to do, which is great,” added the HHN LA creative director. “I like to work with people who come to us with an idea.”

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