Halloween Horror Nights 2011 Review / Photos / Mazes – Opening Night – September 23, 2011
As someone who isn’t that big of a horror fan, I can assure you that Hallowen Horror Nights has something for everyone. I walked into the park expecting to have to deal with cheesy actors constantly trying to scare me witless with terrible costumes. However, it was around the time that the 18th chainsaw wielding clown ran at me that I knew this was going to be really fun. I was pleasantly surprised when the experience I was given left me feeling like I had been immersed inside of an actual Hollywood horror film
What is absolutely fantastic about Universal studios is that they have Hollywood magic and makeup at their disposal. The costumed folks they had terrifying you in the mazes had outfits that were sincerely frightening and tailored to scare the wits out of the most fearless of your friends. This year they brought back the famous House of 1000 Corpses maze as well as adding a few new ones. Hostel, the Thing, La Llarona, Alice Cooper, and the Terror Tram are all brand spanking new. Walking through the Hostel maze left you feeling like you had actually participated in the movie and it also left you with that unnerving feeling that the film intended. La Llarona was beyond well done. They somehow managed to capture the folklore of the old Mexican tale and brought it to life. All of the other mazes provided their own blends of amazing props, scary actors, and very detailed costumes and sets.
Walking Around the Park
Just walking around the park was a fright fest in itself. In the middle of the park is a giant circus set up with horrifying clowns carrying chainsaws to really make you feel constantly rattled. What amazed me the most was how in character all of the people around the park stayed. Certain areas had themes, i.e. freaks, clowns, etc., and each section carried its own unique amalgamation of absolute terror and brilliant set design. Also, if you’re looking to get food, it couldn’t be easier. There are food carts and the restaurants stay open to allow you to eat and get scared all at once!
Rides and Attractions
The park keeps it’s rides and attractions open during the event so you can take a small break from all the horror going on around you. The wait times for the rides are about what you’d expect on a normal weekend and your front of the line passes won’t work for those rides but they are still worth the wait. None of the rides, besides Jurrasic Park, really have a Halloween/Scary theme which really isn’t that big of a deal. You’re constantly immersed within the world that Universal Studios is creating so taking a quick break to hear some quality Simpsons jokes isn’t a bad thing.
Universal Studios offers a few different ticket packages. You can just preorder tickets online, the best way to go, and it’ll cost you $37-$57 depending on the day. If you buy them in person it’ll cost you a bit more which is why online is way better. They also have a front of the line pass which gets you to the front of the line once at each maze. It runs $69-$89 also depending on the day you go. Finally, they have the V.I.P. experience which gets you UNLIMITED front of the line access on all the mazes, as well as access to the vampire lounge and exclusive backlot tour. The only downside is that it will run you $169-$189 bucks depending on what night you go. But, with all that is offered with it, it might be up your alley if you’re a big time horror fan.
This had to be the only downside to Halloween Horror Nights. The lines on a busy night can be as long as 75 minutes or more and the attractions can have a similar wait time. That being said, the mazes and other entertainment options here are all worth the wait. But know before you go that you may be waiting a while for the mazes you want to see most. However, you can get a VIP pass or Front of the Line Pass and you’ll get quick access to all they have to offer.
All in all, this was an amazing experience and I was thoroughly impressed with how well done and professional this was. They put a lot of time and effort into all of their characters and really get you believing that you are the next “victim” in a horror movie. I came here expecting nothing and I left wanting to go back. If you’re a fan of horror movies or just a fan of great experiences, then I suggest checking this out at least once this Halloween season and I’m sure you’ll want to come back year after year.
Tickets are now on sale for Halloween Horror Nights, the famous Halloween event taking place at Universal Studios Hollywood on select nights from September 23 through October 31. With more mazes than ever, Universal is poised to break their own records for the most talked about Halloween event in Southern California.
Six Mazes – More than ever!
This year’s terrifying event features a noteworthy six mazes, the most ever (they had five last year). The mazes are created by the sickest minds in horror, themed to the scariest movies of our time.
“The Thing: Assimilation”
(Based On Universal Pictures’ Upcoming Thriller)
An abandoned scientific research center in the midst of a vast and frozen Antarctic will set the stage for “The Thing: Assimilation,” an all-new multi-sensory “Halloween Horror Nights” maze based on Universal Pictures’ upcoming thriller.
A riveting and immersive trek into a science fiction nightmare, “The Thing: Assimilation” will draw upon the atrocities unearthed in the film and re-create the heinous crimes committed against humans by a parasitic extraterrestrial life form.
A virtual three-dimensional sneak peek of the movie,” The Thing: Assimilation” maze will offer “Halloween Horror Nights” guests an unprecedented first-hand preview of the much anticipated thriller in advance of its release on October 14. Eerily authentic, “The Thing” maze will feature elaborately designed and disturbingly real alien creatures and sets. They will match the film’s terrifying intensity to provoke both a memorable and disturbing experience.
Universal Studios Hollywood is collaborating with the film’s producers, Strike Entertainment’s Marc Abraham and Eric Newman (Dawn of the Dead) to create an experience that is authentic to the film. The sets, audio, musical score, creature and character references are all based on the thriller.
“We want people to live the film and experience the same terror that affects the film’s characters,” said Newman. “Our collaboration with Universal’s creative teams brought the vision of the film to life. We’re excited for ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ guests to experience ‘The Thing’ in this frighteningly real way.”
“Eli Roth’s Hostel: Hunting Season”
Eli Roth, the multi-talented director, writer, producer and actor, adapts his enormously successful “Hostel” film franchise to create “Eli Roth’s Hostel: Hunting Season,” a twisted new “Halloween Horror Nights” maze, that will lure “travelers” through a frightening passage of torturous death traps.
“Hostel: Hunting Season,” for which Universal will build elaborate sets re-creating locations in Slovakia, marks the horror auteur and star’s first effort at transforming his screen work into a live theme park experience. The maze will re-imagine the film’s dehumanizing torture chambers and send guests on a spiraling journey through the corrupt halls of Elite Hunting’s torture factory. Elite Hunting, a secret society that tortures and kills American youth for sport in exchange for large sums of money, will prowl the factory and prey on its many maze visitors.
Eli Roth said: “Creating a maze for ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ is a horror fan’s dream come true. I’ve been visiting ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ for years, and still remember the heart-pounding terror of going through the mazes for the first time. For me it was like going inside the world of a movie and experiencing it in a visceral environment that simply cannot be replicated, and in subsequent years I’ve found I’m just as scared as I was the first time.
“I am so happy to join forces with the creative team at Universal. Our collaborative vision to bring ‘Hostel’ to life will give both fans of my movie and horror fans a scare they could never have imagined. People will have a chance to experience some exact moments from their favorite ‘Hostel’ scenes, along with some new surprises.
“ I was honored to receive an Eyegore Award at last year’s ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ event, and began talking to Universal about a ‘Hostel’ maze even then. This is something I’ve dreamed of for years. I may even dress up and appear in the maze one night as a torturer. So when you say ‘I scared you,’ you can literally mean that I scared you!”
“Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare”
The legendary Alice Cooper, who single-handedly masterminded the rock-horror genre, will spin a new collection of disturbing horror imagery in “Alice Cooper: Welcome To My Nightmare,” in the outrageous new “Halloween Horror Nights” maze.
Inspired by the rock icon’s landmark concept album and its long-awaited sequel “Welcome 2 My Nightmare,” to be released on September 13 through Universal Music Enterprises,” the new attraction will take guests on a terrifying trip through Alice Cooper’s twisted mind, where his most famous songs, bizarre themes and demented characters collide inside a living horror movie.
This original, one-of-a-kind walk through experience will feature trademark elements from Alice Cooper’s celebrated shows, including guillotine decapitations, electric chairs, a sadistic insane asylum, predatory snakes and giant Black Widow spiders that have helped make his imagery timeless and indelible. Music will be a powerful element within the maze and will include both new and classic Alice Cooper material.
Sharing his enthusiasm, Alice Cooper said: “We’ll be creating this living horror movie within screaming distance of the sound stages where horror movies first began, so there’s no place more appropriate to offer a preview of the new `Welcome 2 My Nightmare.’ This will be a nightmare that will haunt visitors’ dreams for a long time to come.”
“Rob Zombie’s House of 1,000 Corpses: In 3D ZombieVision”
Multi-platinum recording artist and filmmaker, Rob Zombie returns to Universal Studios Hollywood as his nightmarish 3D world of carnage and chaos, “Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses: In 3D ZombieVision,” makes an encore performance at “Halloween Horror Nights.”
In “Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses: In 3D ZombieVision,” guests will enter Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen, a duplicitous carnival-style roadside attraction that doubles as a gas station and fried chicken eatery. Amid bizarre exhibits and oddities, guests will meander through the world’s deadliest tourist trap and the setting for Rob Zombie’s terrifying 3D trip through a web of massacre and mayhem.
To experience the maze— an original concept created by Rob Zombie, based on his cult smash film “House of 1000 Corpses”—“Halloween Horror Nights” guests will don 3D glasses for an up-close-and-personal three-dimensional encounter with the world’s most notorious serial killers. Guests will roam through the diabolical universe of Captain Spaulding, Baby, Otis and Dr. Satan, to experience Zombie’s iconic creations – both “live” and via highly imaginative 3D sets and props.
“La Llorona: Villa De Almas Perdidas,” Imagined by Diego Luna
(“The Weeping Woman: Village of Lost Soul,” Imagined by Diego Luna)
La Llorona, the fearful story of melancholy and murder that has terrified Mexican and Latin American children for generations, will have an expanded presence at this year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” event as Universal Studios Hollywood recruits Mexico-based film star Diego Luna as a creative consultant to design this all-new-terror-filled maze, “La Llorona: Villa De Almas Perdidas.”
“La Llorona: Villa De Almas Perdidas,” which translates to “Weeping Woman: Village of Lost Souls,” will feature elaborate sets depicting sites within and around a small Mexican village. The new maze will tell the haunting story of “La Llorona,” doomed to wander the earth forever after drowning her children in a desperate attempt to win a lost love. She then drowns herself when this attempt to win her lost love fails.
According to the legend, La Llorona’s dreadful, wailing cries—“My children! Where are my children?”—can be heard eternally piercing the night. La Llorona’s frail, drenched body lurking throughout the dead of night will invariably elicit unwavering dread from the helpless village inhabitants or maze guests as her presence signifies impending death.
Diego Luna said: “Like all Mexican children, I grew up with the story of ‘La Llorona’ and I think it’s a tale with universal appeal. Story-telling is at the heart of all my work and I’m thrilled to have the chance to help present the great ‘La Llorona’ legend in a different kind of medium at the ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ event.”
”The Wolfman: The Curse of Talbot Hall”
“The Wolfman: The Curse of Talbot Hall” based upon the 2010 Universal movie, will vividly re-create the terrors lurking within the great ancestral Talbot mansion in the Blackmoor Woods. As guests make their way through the forest, they encounter the bodies of mutilated villagers, many still living and writhing in the agony of their death-throes. Within the great rooms of the Talbot mansion, they find generations of the cursed family in various stages of transformation. And as they make their way through the maze, they become the next targets of the beast’s deadly attention.
“Terror Tram: Scream 4 Your Life”
“Terror Tram: Scream 4 Your Life,” based on the latest installment of Wes Craven’s “Scream” film series, will unleash the iconic “Ghostface Killer” on the world-famous backlot during Halloween Horror Nights, casting guests as victims in a living horror film.
The fantasy world of movies collides with reality when aboard “Terror Tram: Scream 4 Your Life” guests are transported through Universal’s famed backlot—-the heart of the world’s most famous horror moviemaking studio—and find themselves being stalked by one of the most dangerous slashers in horror history: “Ghostface Killer.”
Mirroring the “Scream 4” film concept of a “movie-within-a-movie” theme, the “Terror Tram: Scream 4 Your Life” experience will introduce guests to the fictional “Stab” slasher film franchise and beckon them to visit the production of “Stab 8,” currently “shooting on location on the backlot.”
A marquee attraction unique to Universal Studios Hollywood and “Halloween Horror Nights,” the “Terror Tram” combines a ride aboard Universal’s signature trams with a terrifying walk-through experience through world-famous movie sets including Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds” and the infamous Bates Motel and Psycho House from Alfred Hitchcock’s signature film.
Scare Zones and a Park Full of Great Rides
Terror- filled “Scare Zones” and the ever-popular “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure,” will add to the nightmare.
“Jurassic Park®—In the Dark”
Havoc erupts when Universal’s oldest monsters turn their ravenous appetites on unsuspecting guests thrust unwittingly into the cold, still night of the Jurassic era. Only inches from gigantic carnivorous dinosaurs, guests in fear for their lives will navigate uncharted waters before they plunge headfirst down an 84-foot drop into the frigid waters of “Jurassic Park®—The Ride.”
“Revenge of the Mummy®— The Ride”
Fear of the dark, fear of insects, fear of speed, fear of heights and fear of death are served up to deliver the world’s first psychological thrill ride roller coaster. Utilizing animatronics, sophisticated motion picture technology, state-of-the-art ride, audio and robotics engineering, “Revenge of the Mummy®—The Ride” preys on every human phobia, immersing guests in a total multi-sensory environment in utter darkness.
“The Simpsons Ride®”
What could possibly be scarier than a wild virtual roller coaster ride through “Krustyland” with The Simpsons wreaking havoc and mayhem on “Krustyland, “the theme park within a theme park. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson will lead guests on an adventure when they board “The Simpsons Ride,” a mega-attraction based on the blockbuster movie and TV series and the centerpiece of Krusty The Clown’s fictitious “Krustyland” theme park. Voted “Best New Theme Park Ride” by Theme Park Insider.com, “The Simpsons Ride®” is as motion simulation comedy thrill ride that hurls guests on a wild adventure through Krustyland, immersing them in a “Simpsons” satire of one creative amusement park experience. Guests will be clinging to each other for dear life and laugh till it hurts.
Tickets, Discounts, Coupons, Dates & More
Tickets to this year’s event are available for purchase at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com/hhn. However, don’t drive from the I.E. to Hollywood expecting to get tickets on the day of the event. You’ll have a slow, boring ride home once you realize these tickets sell out in advance on nearly every night.
Discount tickets were available last year at Ralph’s, and this year were available online (update: these appear to be sold out), but plan ahead as those tickets sell out too. Are you noticing a theme? You should be- this event is beyond popular! In light of this popularity, heed our advice- go early in the season and early in the night to go on all of the mazes and rides in one night!
Halloween Horror Nights will take place on select nights beginning September 23 and continue on September 24, 30; October 1,7, 8,9, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31.