UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD
Universal Studios Theme Parks
Review by: Mark
Halloween Horror Nights 2008
Staff Member Mark ventures out to take on Halloween Horror Nights 2008 once again for us. Below the review is a great collection of photos from the event, starting with a brief stop at the EyeGore awards before venturing into hell. Enjoy! - Lance
The Nightmare Begins~ “Enter a nightmare where the entire park has been transformed into a living horror movie.” The entrance plaza of the park has some of the scariest characters coming up close to you to warn you of what’s ahead. Although quite crowded as you enter the park, the characters get in your face to make you feel as uncomfortable as you possibly could be. There is no escaping this one since you need to walk through it to get to the rest of the park.
The Dead Shall Rise~ “A top secret military virus has been released on the streets of New York, turning the zombies into crazed zombies.” Not by any means the scariest zone in the park, it was my favorite. The whole area was the most believable, with helicopter SFX and lights above, mayhem all around you and crazed zombies stalking you as you pass through. Fun fun!
Deadwood~ “Welcome to the ghost town of Deadwood, where the skeletal remains of the town’s most notorious characters still roam the smoldering streets.” The scenery in this area is nice, the lighting cool, but the fog machines were on a bit strong the night we were there. Don’t get me wrong, fog is always good at these events. The problem is it took me 3 times through before I saw anyone scary (maybe they couldn’t find me either). Had to feel my way through this one.
The Dark Streets of London~ “Step into the foggy streets of Old London where Jack the Ripper and a host of infamous characters are waiting for you.” Of all the areas, this is where the characters were the most in character and were by far the most fun. Yes they scared us, but completely in really good character, interacting with the guests while scaring the crap out of them.
The Black Death~ “A medieval town where the smoke-choked streets are crawling with plague infected villagers.” This one seemed to spill over into the Streets of London. Creepy people plagued with the Black Death begging for help and chasing everyone for vengeance.
The Strangers~ “Come face to face with The Man in the Mask. Pin Up Girl and Doll Face from Universal’s latest horror hit The Strangers.” I was really looking forward to this area, but really didn’t encounter any scares at all. Maybe they were going for a more creepy feel, but I was hoping for some serious scares. More to come with The Strangers in the House of Horrors Maze later…
Revenge of the Pigs~ “Gangs of pig-faced maniacs are roaming the lower lot looking for some fresh meat.” At first I didn’t get it. Pigs with chainsaws. Why here? Then I saw that Texas Chainsaw was close by. The pissed off pigs from the Blair Meat plant are getting back at everyone outside the maze. Funny since they’re not the ones getting slaughtered in Blair Meats anymore. There were good sliders in the area as well as an appearance by a mummy.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Home Sweet Hell~ “When the town of Springwood attempts to sell the dilapidated house at 1428 Elm Street, Freddy Kreuger returns to give the beleaguered town a nightmare they’ll never forget!” A very well designed maze with perfect reenactments of some of the favorite scenes of Freddy’s horror series. The maze was beautiful to look at, but the scares were minimal. The no touch rule didn’t seem to apply here… Freddy stuck his razored glove right up to my friend’s neck and pretended to slit his throat. I had assured him 5 minutes before that nobody would touch him. Oops!
Friday the 13th: Camp Blood~ “ After half a century of murder and mayhem, the eternal evil Jason Vorhees still haunts the ruined remains of Camp Crystal Lake.” The monsters were much better at hiding themselves in this maze. Again, some of the classic Jason moments are featured in this maze. Probably my favorite scenes were the couple getting murdered in the bed and the woman getting killed in the VW. Pretty much the same maze as last year, but this one captured the creepiness of the films so well. Great maze!
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Back in Business~ “Leatherface and his family of cannibal crazies have taken over the condemned Blair Meats factory, bringing a new level of terror to the heart of Texas.” Quite the fantastic maze. This is the one that scared me the most of any of them. The scenes were once again right out of the movie. Get there early. It had the longest lines of the evening.
Universal’s House of Horrors: Meet the Strangers~ “Relentless, masked killers from the hit horror film The Strangers have invaded the House of Horrors.” Always a good maze (since it’s open year-round), I wasn’t impressed with this maze at all. First off, all the characters in the other mazes make appearances in this maze. Why not have the classics scare the heck out of you. What’s scarier than Dracula and the Wolfman (which would be an excellent move since they’re releasing a Wolfman movie). The Strangers seemed like an afterthought in that maze. They did not fit into the look of the maze at all and appeared randomly throughout. Sadly, not too many scares in there either.
Terror Tram~ “Freddy Kreuger, the father of all nightmares, makes a journey into darkness where the world of horror movies and the realm of nightmares collide on the famed Universal backlot.” Ok, not too much in the scare department there, expect for the one who followed me through most of the trail and FINALLY got me before the maze portion. Maybe not the scariest time, but still quite creepy walking down the dark pathways hearing things in the darkness ahead and behind you. The maze portion was fun, although a lot of repeats from the other mazes. It’s always cool to walk up close to some of the movie sets of Psycho and War of the Worlds. Cool stuff done with projections in this area as well.
Overall, I think Universal Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights is one of the premier Halloween events in Southern California. It combines the skill and artistry of the world class Universal movie designers with the scares only Universal Entertainment could give us. One hell of a good time. My only complaint is that not much had changed from previous years. Universal has the quality, but Knott’s has the quantity. If space is the issue for the park, maybe the mazes can be changed up from year to year. Bring some of the horror “hosts” like Bloody Mary to Hollywood for a chance at the fun, like the Director did a few years back.
Definitely go and experience Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights this year. It isn’t Halloween without a few good scares from Jason, Leatherface, and Freddy!