This year’s Halloween Horror Nights at Universal is “the best ever,” according to the folks who created the crazy fun attractions featured at Universal Studios Hollywood, on selected nights through November 2. The creative director of the attraction John Murdy boasted, “It’s our best, most ambitious ever. We’re doing more mazes than ever before and making it very special for horror movie fans to go through the world famous Universal backlot. We’re bringing everything to ‘life’ with an attention to detail and special effects that is like creating a movie that fans can experience. It’s really incredible how we’ve pushed the limits.”
Halloween Horror Nights is immersing guests in the living, breathing, three-dimensional world of terrifying mazes that include “The Walking Dead: The End of the Line,” based on AMC’s acclaimed series; “From Dusk Till Dawn,” inspired by Robert Rodriguez’s cult film and TV series; “Clowns 3D Music by Slash”; “Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood,” based on the new Universal movie; “AVP: Alien vs. Predator,” based on the Fox film franchise; “An American Werewolf in London”; “Face Off: In the Flesh,” based on Syfy’s hit series; and “The Purge: Anarchy,” a new scare zone inspired by Universal Pictures’ thriller.
As usual the Halloween Horror Nights scream fest was kicked off with a big party and the annual Eyegore Awards held at Universal. They honored creative folks in the horror genre. A bloody red carpet was rolled out and screams were heard when the awards began at the park’s Special Effects Stage. Actually more screams were heard than ever before, because for the first time shrieking fans could get tickets to the Eyegore ceremony. And there was a lot of howling by the fanboys for the drop-dead gorgeous host for the event McKenzie Westmore of Syfy’s Face Off.
It was a terrific show for everyone. Universal’s Eyegore Awards always honor creative folks in the horror business and the 2014 recipients included producer-director John Landis. Among his many credits, the Animal House and Blues Brothers filmmaker also did An American Werewolf in London and Michael Jackson’s iconic spine-chilling “Thriller” production. Landis was presented his gremlin-styled Eyegore trophy by his good friend Rick Baker, who is a seven-time Oscar-winning Special Effects Make-Up Artist and previous Eyegore recipient. Baker explained his American Werewolf collaboration with Landis changed the genre, “showing that scary movies could be funny too.” Landis loved getting his Eyegore, but said he was more excited to go through the American Werewolf in London maze inspired by his film.
Also picking up an Eyegore was filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, From Dusk Till Dawn, Grindhouse), presented by his “longtime compadre” Machette star Danny Trejo, who got his own Eyegore honor last year. Founder of the El Rey Network, Rodriguez got lots of screams from the stars of his films and TV series. They came to support him and go through the From Dusk Till Dawn maze. Among those joining their favorite director were Vanessa Hudgens (Machete Kills), also From Dusk Till Dawn’s Wilmer Valderrama, Zane Holtz, Madison Davenport, Eliza Gonzalez, Jesse Garcia, DJ Cotrona, and Brandon Soo Hoo; plus Matador stars Gabriel Luna and Nicky Whelan.
Another Eyegore went to Greg Nicotero, executive producer and Special Effects Make-Up Supervisor of AMC’s The Walking Dead, presented by Chris Hardwick, host of AMC’s The Talking Dead, and Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead’s creator. It’s the hottest series on cable, and of course it is part of HHN with the backlot’s “Terror Tram: Invaded by the Walking Dead.”
The grand finale of the awards was Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Slash performing with Myles Kennedy. Slash was honored for composing the eerie original score for the amped-up new 3-D maze “Clowns 3D Music by Slash.” Among the genre notables at the event were Sharknado 1&2 star Tara Reid and the guilty-pleasure films’ writer-director Anthony C. Ferrante, who announced his third Sharknado epic, “because people had so much fun with the first two and they’re still talking about it.” It’s crazy and makes people laugh, and scream—what’s wrong with that?
More info at www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com/hollywood.