Travel Reviews

Published on October 1st, 2016 | by gareth


Halloween Horror Nights: Universal Studios Hollywood 2016

After a very busy and enjoyable day covering Universal Studios Hollywood, we changed things up as we covered their very popular Halloween Horror Nights. I had sent staff to cover the event in the past but we were finally able to cover the event ourselves.

Although the sun was still up when the event started, I made my way to the lower levels of the park to experience the first of several themed mazes with The Exorcist. Using my Front of the Line Pass, I was listening to the classic theme and walking through the house in no time. The maze was filled with lights, sound, smoke, and scents that really set the mood. I have been in numerous Haunted Houses and mazes but the level of props, costumes, makeup, lighting, and acting was superior to what one expects. The pop out scares were frequent and I was glad that I do not scare easily as those around me were shrieking nonstop and looking for cover from the creatures that appeared often from nowhere.

My wife opted to take in the Jabberwockeez who were doing shows at one of the theaters and while she was busy loving every moment from the talented performers, I took in the Halloween maze which featured nods to the first three “Halloween” films with many of the iconic scenes recreated. We had the Myers home, the hospital, and other locales where Michael himself appeared often to lunge at the guests and increase the already high tension of the attraction.

Since I was on the lower lot already, I made the long walk down to the set area and took in three more mazes. The area was complete with vendors for those needing food or a break in between scares, and I started with the snow covered Krampus maze inspired by the film. The maze features many of the props and scenes from the film and uses clever cold zones to set the chilling tone. The high level of detail was amazing as it was more like walking through the film sets rather than a maze and was something really amazing to see.

Next up was Freddy vs Jason and this gave the audience two characters to avoid as we went from Freddy’s Boiler Room and other locales to Camp Crystal Lake complete with trees and a pine scent which really set a new level of immersion into the experience.

Next up was American Horror Story which blended themes from the prior seasons of the show including Freaks and Hotel and offered a menagerie of creatures, sets, and other surreal and terrifying nightmares brought to life.

Moving up to the higher level, I was greeted by warning sirens and flames shooting into the air announcing that The Purge had begun. Suddenly all manner of creatures worked their way through the crowd terrorizing guests including an Uncle Sam on stilts and chainsaw wielding characters from the film series. If you wanted more, there was a Purge Obstacle Course for guests to try to survive.

After a rest, it was time for The Walking Dead which brought the hit show to life. The maze had many locales from the shows and countless undead and other inspired props and actors appearing all over to give you the ultimate Zombie experience.

I then made my way to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre maze and encountered Leatherface and his cannibal families compete with their unsettling home and dining habits. It was a very detailed and disturbing tribute to the classic series and one that fans eagerly enjoyed despite many being too terrified to take more steps into the house after experiencing some of the horrors up close.

Many of the rides were also open including the Eli Roth themed backlot tour, Jurassic Park in the Dark, as well as live shows, music, food, and much more.

Halloween Horror Nights sells out fast so make sure you get your tickets in advance and getting a Front of the Line Pass will help you avoid long waits and allow you to experience all they have to offering during their select dates through Halloween.

Universal Studios has set a very high bar for Halloween Themed events for those looking for genuine scares and Halloween Horror Nights delivers so many, it is easy to see why this has become such a must see attraction and is one not to miss.

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About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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