Yes there are scary clowns at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights thanks to the American Horror Story maze. That’s just one element of the best ever collection of fabulously terrifying mazes that’s been making horror fans shriek with delight at Universal’s annual fright fest.
This year there’s so much more that adds extra excitement to the experience. Tasked with producing the extravaganza is Universal Studios Hollywood’s creative director John Murdy, who put it together with his creative team and many of the “Masters of Mayhem” in the film and television business.
“It’s fun to create our Halloween Horror Nights year after year, working with the best in the horror genre,” Murdy said. “It’s also a challenge to transform a movie into live theatre, which is what we do. We bring horror movies to life and make you feel like you are living in them. We have studied psychology and learned the ‘art of the scare.’ Now we are using that knowledge to offer a visceral experience that will have you walking through the movie and live it. I grew up loving movies like The Exorcist and Halloween, so it’s fun for me to bring those to life. We’ve also seen how horror continues to evolve with shows like American Horror Story, and we have a great balance presenting the new and the old.”
The annual Halloween festivities at the studio kicked off last month (September 16) like a Hollywood premiere with horror stars, filmmakers and other VIPs strolling the blood-red carpet near the tour center entrance. At a reception in the Globe Theater, the celebrity crowd was gushing about how Halloween Horror Nights gets bigger and more spectacular every year. It continues on selected nights through November 5th.
There’s something for everyone with Halloween Horror Nights staged to immerse guests in a living, breathing, three-dimensional world of terror. The popular event features a slate of unrivaled film and television production quality mazes, frightful scare zones and a fully re-imagined “Terror Tram” experience.
Among the must-see mazes: American Horror Story, inspired by Ryan Murphy’s acclaimed television anthology series on the FX network. AHS‘s Twisted Freak Show is highlighted for guests to join a troupe of biological misfits in a sinister sideshow where they’re stalked by the murderous and deformed Twisty the Clown.
The rest of the slate of mazes: The Exorcist: The Possession of Regan MacNeil, based on the iconic supernatural horror film; Freddy vs. Jason: Dream Battle, inspired by New Line Cinema’s 2003 film that brought together two horror icons—demented killer Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and notorious hockey masked killer Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th); The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Blood Brothers, which pits guests against the wrath of manic killer Leatherface; Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield, inspired by the second film in the horror franchise; Krampus: The Christmas Devil, based on Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures’ Christmas-themed horror film; and The Walking Dead, based on AMC’s hit series that’s an ultra-popular permanent attraction at Universal.
There’s also the “Eli Roth Presents Terror Tram,” marking the first time ever that the signature attraction comes to life through the twisted mind of the filmmaker. And an entertaining treat not to be missed—the performance by the award-winning hip hop-dance crew Jabbawockeez. It’s a big “Wow” seeing the Jabbawockeez’ dancing “nightmare” come to life.
Celebrity guests attending the launch included Linda Blair (The Exorcist star and founder of the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation); American Horror Story cast members—Evan Peters, Denis O’Hare, Finn Wittrock and Naomi Grossman; Eli Roth (“Eli Roth Presents Terror Tram,” Hostel); Jon Heder, (Napoleon Dynamite); Krampus director Michael Dougherty and star Seth Green; Ouija: Origin of Evil cast, including Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Kate Siegel and director Mike Flanagan; musician Slash; director James Wan (Insidious); Leigh Whannell (Insidious and Saw franchises); Guillermo Diaz; Diego Boneta; Olivia Holt; sisters Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska from (Hellevator); Kyle Massey and Mark Ballas from Dancing with the Stars.
Adding to the nighttime event’s offerings, Universal’s most popular rides and attractions will also be open to guests, including “Transformers: The Ride-3D,” “Jurassic Park–In the Dark,” “The Simpsons Ride” and “Revenge of the Mummy–The Ride.” All of those are thrilling, but for the best rip-your-heart-out experience the terrifying mazes should satisfy the urge for primal screams. Visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.