This year at Halloween Horror Nights is highlighted by The Walking Dead who have their own maze and Terror Tram. Ashamed to admit, never having watched the show, we didn’t know what to expect. They also have the sequel to Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare, A Texas Chainsaw Massacre maze based on the original film, A Silent Hill Maze which fans have reportedly been requesting for a long time (we had seen the movie, but never played the game), as well as a new La Llorona maze and Universal Monster Remix.
Unless you have a front-of-the line pass we recommend you hit the mazes on the lower level first. These are The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Saw is the Law as well as Welcome to Silent Hill. The lower level seems to be less crowded in the beginning of the night, saving you a lot of time. After that we would recommend going to the upper lot and walking through Alice Cooper Goes to Hell 3D followed by The Walking Dead: Dead Inside. When you are done with those we recommend going on the Terror Tram or seeing Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure, saving La Llorona: La Cazadora de los Ninons and Universal Monsters Remix for last. Of course, you will also want to enjoy the scare-zones, where you’ll get the full experience if you go to each one individually and spend some time looking at the props, rather than hastily walking right through.
The Walking Dead: Dead Inside was one of the most hyped mazes this year. Based on the hit AMC show with the same name, The Walking Dead is a maze that horror fans have been waiting for. We haven’t seen the show, but we loved the maze. The beginning scene, outside the maze, shows a coroner’s van with body bags all around it and a zombie eating someone in the back. You know that the Walkers have taken over and everyone is dying and turning into zombies. The maze takes you from Atlanta, where the outbreak started, to the West Coast where zombies are killing everyone in awesome ways. It’s a war between the dead and living where you’ll go through a home, campground and even a war-zone to try to escape the dead.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Saw is the Law was our favorite maze and while we’ve seen mazes with similar themes which seem to fall flat, this one really seemed authentic and gave us plenty of scares. The Saw is the Law is based on the 1974 original and takes you through all the scenes of the movie as you start your journey in the home of Leatherface and even venture into the fields and the barn. We really enjoyed the family dinner scene and the girl on the meat hook, which had an authentic feel to the movie. Although there were quite a few scenes with the chainsaw, it wasn’t overdone and the scenery and props really helped tell the story.
Welcome to Silent Hill is a maze that features characters from the movie and video game. While we’ve never played the game, we were familiar enough with the movie to appreciate the theme. Using characters such as the nurses, Pyramid Head and Robbie the Rabbit, Welcome to Silent Hill takes you to this town where you know something bad is going to happen once you hear the siren. We’ve heard from others that the maze was missing quite a few things (such as an Occult feel), but we found it to be somewhat entertaining, if not scary. Sure there could have been more added such as better transitions and more steam, but fans will enjoy seeing the characters.
La Llorona: La Cazadora de los Ninos “The Crying Woman: Hunter of Children” has more of a traditional haunted house feel, although it’s specifically themed. Based on a poor woman in Mexico who drowns her children, this maze takes you through an authentic-feeling Mexican village where you’ll come across all the scenes associated with the legend. It was mostly the same as last year, but had more props and animatronics. What we liked about this maze, as we did last year, is that it had more of a creepy/ghostly feel and gave us a break from all the gore, while still leaving us scared.
Alice Cooper Goes to Hell 3D should offer something for everyone even if you’re not familiar with the music of Alice Cooper. This maze takes you through the 7 deadly sins, such as Gluttony where you’ll come face-to-face with a grotesquely obese diner who seems to have eaten too much at the buffet line and the house of a hoarder, to Pride, where you’ll see a plastic surgery gone terribly wrong. By the end of the maze you’ll get to see what it looks like if hell has indeed frozen over. The 3D effects, imagery and music really immerse you in the reality of Cooper’s hell, so much so that the next time someone tells you to “Go to Hell” you can say you’ve already been there.
Universal Monsters Remix was a fun, yet laid-back maze with tradition Universal monsters and a dub-step theme. There’s nothing really new about this maze except the music, so we say hit it last after you’ve seen everything else you want to see. While this maze does have a few traditional scares, to us it seemed more like a chill, party atmosphere with some go-go dancers and even dancing monsters. We did like this maze because we are purists and got to see some characters such as the Phantom of the Opera, the Wolfman and Frankenstein.
Overall, we felt that Halloween Horror Nights offers something for everyone, but their were a few places where we thought they could have added just a little more detail. We wouldn’t say it was better than last year, but we would definitely say there was enough different to make it worth attending. We haven’t been to any of the other haunts this year as of this writing, so there’s nothing to compare it to, but we definitely did enjoy ourselves. The best advice we can give is to not rush and to try to absorb all the sights, sounds and smells that Halloween Horror Nights has to offer.
Halloween Horror Nights runs on select nights from September 21st-October 31st at Universal Studios Hollywood. For more information be sure to visit Halloweenhorrornights.com. Also follow Halloween Horror Nights on Twitter @HorrorNights, Instagram @HorrorNightsHollywood, and at Facebook.com/HalloweenHorrorNights.