While sadly we won’t be able to cover Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa this year, we will be returning to Busch Gardens Williamsburg for their Howl-O-Scream event, and we are excited that the two will share this year’s theme, Unearthed. It looks like Busch Gardens has really invested in their story this year, with a viral marketing campaign and an original concept from one of The Blair Witch Project’s producers.

ORLANDO, Fla. (August 12, 2015) – Legendary horror filmmaker Robin Cowie, who terrified movie-goers in 1999 with “The Blair Witch Project,” will lend the darkest corners of his mind to Busch Gardens® Tampa, Busch Gardens® Williamsburg and SeaWorld® San Antonio this year as producer and director of Howl-O-Scream®Unearthed.”  A Halloween rite of passage since its inception 16 years ago, Howl-O-Scream is an after-dark event featuring over-the-top haunted houses, roaming creatures and live shows.

Cowie and his team of storytellers crafted a dark new tale — Unearthed” — that has become Howl-O-Scream’s 2015 theme and will further unfold in the parks’ signature haunted houses.  Like “The Blair Witch Project,” “Unearthed” is rooted in dark magic, unexplained phenomena and a haunting, hair-raising story.

“I jumped at the chance to work on this project,” said Cowie, who began talking with the parks last summer.  “As filmmakers, we rely on emotional and psychological elements to get audiences out of their seats.  With Howl-O-Scream, we’re dealing with a crazy convergence of 360-degree storytelling, merging physical experiences and technologies to create a sort of hyper-virtual reality.  It’s live, immersive terror and it can take your breath away.”

The collaboration between Cowie and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a first for both.  It’s also the first time all three parks will have the same theme, the same house concept and the same villain: Scarlett.  According to Cowie’s storyline, Scarlett was a village healer who turned to dark magic to avenge her husband’s killers.  As her powers grew, she was hunted, trapped and buried alive deep beneath the park … but now has been “Unearthed” to summon death and destruction on unsuspecting guests.

“Scarlett is a tragic figure, but at the same time lethal and merciless,” said Cowie. “She’s very powerful, sort of the quintessentially strong female character, except she’s summoning demons and collecting body parts to reincarnate her dead husband.  Scarlett will make your skin crawl.”

Critically acclaimed and described as an “extraordinarily effective horror film”, “The Blair Witch Project” debuted at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival and went on to become one of the most profitable movies in history.   Cowie was one of two original producers on the film.

“Working with Robin and his team has added a whole new level of horror to Howl-O-Scream,” said Janet Wagner, corporate director of entertainment/executive producer at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.    

Howl-O-Scream takes place on select nights September – October at Busch Gardens Tampa, Busch Gardens Williamsburg and SeaWorld San Antonio. Dates and times vary by location; for specific details, pricing and tickets, go to Howl-O-Scream.com.