By Zachary Posted in News on August 9, 2021 One Comment 12 min read
August 10th Update:
Most of the lineup has now been officially announced! Check out the update at the end of this article for more details!
Oh boy, this is gonna to be a blockbuster…
BGWFans has now sourced, corroborated, and, through examination of internally-sourced documentation, essentially confirmed the house and show lineup for Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s 2021 Howl-O-Scream event ahead of the park’s official announcement.
Last week we combined the skeleton of the event that the park posted to (and then, subsequently, pulled from) the event’s website with some early leaks we had been working on. I’ve included the final result from that article below for reference. The officially announced (and then retracted) information from the park is in green, the attractions whose return we leaked last week are in orange, and some of our best guesses based on observation, analysis, and the rumors we’ve been hearing are included as well in yellow.
In addition to the two returning houses we leaked last week (Circo Sinistro and Dystopia), BGWFans has now essentially confirmed the names, locations, and general themes of the three new houses coming to this year’s event as well. We’ll briefly cover each below.
Killarney’s simulator building is back in use for Howl-O-Scream for the first time since it was last utilized in 2017 for Unearthed: Scarlett’s Revenge. Given Battle for Eire’s very uncertain future—paired with the lack of any houses between Oktoberfest and San Marco if this location weren’t filled this year—we’re not surprised to see a new house take up residence here.
What we are a bit surprised by is the theme. Given the feel of Killarney and the stone-walled queue space this house will almost certainly partially occupy, this building has historically worked best for creepy, fantasy-style houses like Cavern of Darkness and Unearthed. So, what exactly is this new house’s theme?
We’re still a little foggy on the details here, but from what we’ve heard, KILLarney Diner will have some sort of “roadside”-type theme. Basically, this is how we’re thinking about it right now: imagine you’re on a road trip at night in the middle of nowhere, you have to stop for dinner, and the town you happen to pull into is terrifying. It’s easy to imagine the park taking a redneck or zombie angle here, but we’re not sure if either of those is the plan.
Of the three new houses for 2021, this is certainly the one we know the least about and, because of that, it’s also the one we’re most intrigued by. There could really be something to this “creepy, rundown town”-vibe and it’s not really something Busch Gardens Williamsburg has explored at Howl-O-Scream before.
I’ll be up front here: This is far and away the new house I’m most excited about.
Nevermore will be an Edgar Allan Poe-themed house located inside Curse of DarKastle’s show building. From what we’ve been able to gather, we expect it to replace Frostbite in the front of the warehouse, not Demented Dimensions towards the back of the space (more on that later).
From what we’ve heard so far, Nevermore will likely draw from multiple famous Poe works, but, as you’d gather from the house’s branding, expect The Raven, easily his most famous work, to be featured very prominently throughout.
In my opinion, the works of Poe are a fantastic theme for Busch Gardens Williamsburg to tap into for Howl-O-Scream. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Edgar Allen Poe spent a good chunk of his life in Richmond and he briefly attended the University of Virginia as well. Not only is there a great local connection to play up here, but also, because his oeuvre is in the public domain, Poe’s works are perfect fodder for a regional event like Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Howl-O-Scream. SEAS lacks the budgets, clout, and Hollywood connections required to get big-name Halloween or horror-related IPs like Halloween Horror Nights regularly utilizes, but with so many older works available without any legal restrictions, the adoption possibilities are endless.
On paper, this house is already a straight ten out of ten in my book. Lets hope the execution is as strong as the concept!
Drachen Fire’s station building (previously home to The Vault: Overtaken) is sitting dark this year, but its closest house location neighbor sure isn’t! The “woods maze” location which previously housed fan-favorite, Lumberhack, is being utilized again in 2021—this time for a witch-themed walk-through named Witch of the Woods.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg has a bit of a troubled history with witches at Howl-O-Scream. Houses like Cursed and scarezones like Spellbound are remembered fondly for their atmosphere, but are not regarded well at all when it comes to scares. That said, the park’s most recent attempt at a witch-based maze, Unearthed: Scarlett’s Revenge, did manage to take things in a darker, scarier direction, but is still considered by many to be a miss.
Regardless of which witch aesthetic the park selects for Witch of the Woods, there is good news here: The woods maze location was designed from the start to scare and, during Lumberhack’s run, we saw the woods maze location do exactly that year after year. The theme has long been a challenge for the park, but designing a great experience in the dark, remote woods behind Festhaus Park should still be an easy task.
As covered last week, Monster Stomp on Ripper Row and Jack is Back are both expected to return this season. We also shared that we were expecting two new shows to debut this year, as well. Based on documents we’ve reviewed regarding this year’s event, we’ve now basically confirmed what those two new shows will be.
The name of this show confirms two obvious things: First off, there is likely some sort of tie-in with Gaston Leroux’s famous book, The Phantom of the Opera—yet another public domain literary work that seems perfect for adaptation by Busch Gardens Williamsburg during Howl-O-Scream. Secondly, the name tells us that this new show is bound for Das Festhaus to replace Night Beats: Revamped.
As with Phantom of the Festhaus, beyond the name, we don’t know much about Skeletones. It seems pretty easy to assume that it’ll be a skeleton-themed show with live music judging by the name. It also seems likely that it will be located in the Marco Polo’s Marketplace-adjacent Il Teatro di San Marco, but that’s really just conjecture on our part. It could always be out on the paths somewhere too.
So, this is where we’re coming up empty so far. We know that there will be new scarezones at this year’s event, but we haven’t been able to confirm any of them thus far with anywhere near the degree of certainty we’ve established for the houses and shows coming to this year’s event. We’re still pounding the pavement trying to fill the terror-tory-shaped gaps in our understanding of this year’s event, but for now, we’re publishing this article without adding anything extra to last week’s lineup.
Note: If you have some insight into what the park is planning, please do get in touch! Even if you just want to share information with us on background or entirely off the record, we want to hear from you! Corroboration is a big part of reporting out stories like this!
So now, lets take everything we learned today, combine it with last week’s reporting, and give everyone a nearly complete look at Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s 2021 Howl-O-Scream lineup! Once again, official information will be in green, attractions we’ve leaked will be in orange, and some of our best guesses based on observation, analysis, and the rumors we’ve been hearing are included as well in yellow. Attraction names are listed first followed by their locations in parenthesis. New attractions are designated as well.
Beyond the fog surrounding the scarezone selection at this year’s event, there’s a bigger mystery that has us scratching our heads today. We’re not entirely convinced that there isn’t a sixth house at this year’s event. Astute Howl-O-Scream aficionados may have already caught this, but bare with us as we catch everyone else up to speed.
As we covered above, Nevermore, that Poe-themed house I’m so excited about, is replacing Frostbite in the front half of the DarKastle building. This means Busch Gardens Williamsburg is using the former home of Curse of DarKastle for Howl-O-Scream this year. This development begs a really interesting question—what about Demented Dimensions in the rear half of DarKastle? Demented Dimensions is one of Howl-O-Scream Williamsburg’s newest houses, it stays fully intact year-round, there haven’t been any rumors of its deconstruction, and it’s in a facility that we now know is being used this year.
Though we haven’t been able to confirm this yet, rumors about Demented Dimensions’ potential 2021 return are swirling inside the park right now. Even though its addition to the lineup would contradict the park’s own (now deleted) statement claiming only two houses are returning, we still believe the return of Dimensions is a real possibility. We’re not expressly predicting it right now, but we won’t be the least bit shocked if we see it reopen in 2021.
To see how our understanding of Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s 2021 Howl-O-Scream continues to develop, follow us on Twitter and Instagram! Consider giving us a like on Facebook as well—social engagement really helps the site grow! Thanks for reading! ❤️
Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced a good chunk of the event’s lineup this morning—confirming much of what we reported above. KILLarney Diner, Nevermore, Dystopia, and Circo Sinistro have all been officially unveiled. A fifth house is slated to be announced on Friday (read: Witch of the Woods). We don’t see any mentions of Demented Dimensions thus far, but we’re keep our ears to the ground regarding new rumors on that front.
On the Terror-tory side of things, we’re getting two new scarezones: Hexed Hollow in Rhinefeld and Meat Market in New France. As rumored, Ripper Row is back in Banbury Cross but, in a bit of a twist, Sideshow Square is not returning. This year’s second returning Terrortory is actually Garden of the Souls in San Marco. Sideshow Square appears to have been converted into one of the two officially announced party zones—the other being in Aquitaine with an announced theme that is very reminiscent of Fool’s Court. It’s also worth noting that there will be a roaming “hack pack: at this year’s event as well armed with chainsaws.
As for shows, Phantoms of the Festhaus and Skeletones are both confirmed alongside the return of Jack is Back and Monster Stomp on Ripper Row. Our guess as per Skeletone’s venue was correct—it will be headed to Il Teatro di San Marco. In an unexpected twist though, the official description for Phantoms of the Festhaus makes it sound like it has no relation to any famous literary work as its Phantom of the Opera-esque name might suggest. Instead the description makes it sound like a singing contest show of some kind? (Cringe.) One last note on the shows front: Monster Stomp on Ripper Row isn’t debuting until October 1st.
Anyway, time for one last lineup listing. Once again, official information will be in green and attractions we’ve leaked will be in orange. Attraction names are listed first followed by their locations in parenthesis. Names link to the official pages when available. New attractions are designated as well.
Omg omg all of this sounds amazing!!!!!…..RIP LUMBERHACK best maze I was in for 2 years ❤️❤️❤️ Can’t wait until this year cya HOS 🐺🧙♀️🎃🦇💀👻🧛🎢🏰🎠