Universal Studios Hollywood Horror Nights had to be creative in making space because of the construction of the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem attractions. This allows guests to go through mazes for the first time on the studio backlot and in a soundstage. With the success of HHN comes long lines and some of them were over an hour long. The Walking Dead maze had a line of over 2 hours at one point, so we suggest you buy a front-of-line pass if you go. Also, buy your tickets in advance, get there early and go through the Black Sabbath and Walking Dead mazes first as these will become the most crowded. The Walking Dead maze had so many people going through at one time when we went in that it almost took away from an amazing prison set.
Horror Nights has 6 mazes (5 brand new), 5 scare zones, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure Show and the Terror Tram. Read on for what we thought of the scare zones and mazes.
Scare zones are themed areas outside that guests walk through on their way to the next attraction.
The Curse of Chucky:
This scare zone is based on the upcoming movie. We didn’t find it scary, but the the sets were kind of cool with vehicles taken over by the killer doll and a Chucky that insulted guests as he leaned out of a balcony.
The Purge: Survive the Night
The Purge has costumed characters chasing guests with chainsaws and other weapons. This zone seems to have the most enthusiastic scare-actors. A politician stands on a stage while fire shoots off the set above him.
The Cirque Du Klownz:
This is the scariest zone. Killer clowns assault guests from all directions while the creepy sets add to the atmosphere.
The Walking Dead: Dead on Arrival:
This zone is situated on New York Street on the backlot. The buildings make you feel like you’re in a real city overrun by zombies. Silhouettes of them pass overhead in the windows of the buildings. The set looks realistic complete with a military jeep and police car that was attacked by the undead.
This zone is located on the lower lot. There isn’t much atmosphere, but the stilt-walkers do a good job scaring guests. The only thing that really makes this zone stick out is the lights projecting the name of the scare zone on the ground.
Black Sabbath: 13-3D:
This was one of our favorite mazes. The entire theme is based on the rock legends Black Sabbath and their anthology of songs through the years, including Paranoia, War Pigs and Iron Man plus tracks off their new album. The lighting and paint effects work to perfection. While you’re focusing on them the scare-actors are able to sneak up on guests and give them a good scare. Some of the memorable scenes are the satanic ritual, the futuristic soldiers who were pigs and the Iron Man.
El Cucuy: The Boogeman:
In this maze, narrated by Danny Trejo, a young boy goes to the movies, only to come home to his surprise party and find his parents dead. He then enters the world of El Cucuy where the boogeyman has an obsession for pumpkins and turns people into living jack-o-lanterns. This is another Spanish legend maze that replaces La Llorona. This is also one of the mazes that uses smells, although we weren’t able to distinguish them. We feel this maze can use a little work, but we’re sure that by the middle of the run all the kinks will be worked out. The maze was short but used good use of the space, being located right next to Mel’s Diner.
Universal Monster’s Remix: Resurrection:
Universal Monster’s Remix features the dubstep music of Figure and is houses in the year-round “House of Horrors”. The music is tight and their are some decent scares including an axe-wielding character from the movie “Strangers”. The main room (laboratory) features a Frankenstein and Bride as well as The Invisible Man DJ spinning music.
Insidious: Into the Further:
Being paranormal investigators this was our favorite maze. The maze features scenes and concepts from both films and takes you into the home of the Lamberts as well as into The Further. One especially creepy part is entering The Further which separates both segments. You enter a pitch black hallway filled with fog while “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” plays from the speakers. The maze incorporates all elements of both films including a seance scene and Parker Crane’s childhood bedroom. The Lipstick Demon, Crane’s Mother and the Black Widow character all provided effective scares. When you exit you feel as if you’re really been in a haunted house. We could definitely go through this maze many times.
The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven:
The Walking Dead maze is based on Season 3 of the hit AMC TV show. All of the major sets are seen including the West Georgia Correctional Facility, Woodburry, the forest and the governor’s secret room. The cell block was a really cool set, but there were so many people packed into it that is was hard to get a good scare because you can see what is coming. A few of the things that stood out were the group of animatronic zombies that jump out at you, the laundry room of of the correctional facility where someone has a machete sticking out of their head, the heads floating in the aquarium and the forest scene.
The Evil Dead: Book of the Dead:
This maze has everything from the movie starting out with Mia getting attacked by the trees in that iconic scene. You then see someone in the cabin reading from the Book of the Dead which sets everything in motion. This is another maze that uses scents in it as well as effective lighting. Out of all the mazes, this is by far the goriest. Included are the scenes were the girl is sawing her arm off and the scene where the girl splits her tongue in half. There’s also a cool animatronic prop with the demon popping out of the basement hatch.
Terror Tram: Invaded by The Walking Dead
The Terror Tram this year is another attraction that features the Walking Dead. It’s situated where the tram takes daily visitors to the sets of Whoville, Pyscho and War of the Worlds. Basically a bunch of zombies from the show are waiting to scare guests while they hike through the sets. The tram ride itself is basically a commercial pitch for the upcoming Season 4, showing clips and the actors’ thoughts on the new season. When you get off the tram there’s a line-up of soldiers waiting with chainsaws which we thought was pretty cool. If you’re limited on time we suggest you pass this one as it’s basically the same set-up as previous years just with different characters.
NOTE: We did not have enough time on our schedule to see Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure this year, but in past years we’ve found it entertaining (although some of the humor is dry) and a good opportunity to relax after walking all over the park.
Unfortunately we did not get any pictures from the Scarecrowz scare zone.
We took the opportunity to ride Transformers 3-D: the Ride for the first time and thought it was a fun ride with exciting special effects.
Overall we really enjoyed Halloween Horror Nights. We weren’t really scared by any of the mazes (hey, we’re paranormal investigators in real life), but we were startled a few times. We think El Cucuy has great potential and we’d love to do Insidious: Into the Further again. Also, we’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews on Black Sabbath 13-3D but we thought it was a good interpretation of the songs. One complaint we do have is that they allowed too many people into The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven at one time.