Earlier this morning (Tuesday, June 28th), we survived a horde of over one hundred shambling walkers in order to bring you exclusive videos, photos, and word on the opening of Universal Studios Hollywood’s latest all-new permanent attraction, “The Walking Dead.” Dig in.
Joining in the celebration of the walk-through attraction’s launch (it opens to the public on July 4, 2016) were FX legend Greg Nicotero (executive producer and director of “The Walking Dead” and owner of KNB Efx), Yvette Nicole Brown (actress and “The Walking Dead” uber fan), Scott Wilson (“Hershel Greene” on “The Walking Dead”), Brighton Sharbino (“Lizzie Samuels” on “The Walking Dead”), Kyla Kenedy (“Mika Samuels” on “The Walking Dead”), Michael Traynor (“Nicholas” on “The Walking Dead”), Ross Marquand (“Aaron” on “The Walking Dead”), Addy Miller (“Summer, the Teddy Bear Girl Walker” on “The Walking Dead”), and Universal Studios Hollywood Creative Director John Murdy, all of whom assembled on the early AM carpet outside the Globe Theater in order to discuss the maze.
Murdy, who is long known as the man behind the historically terrifying Hollywood autumn attraction Halloween Horror Nights (and who in the past, along with Universal, has collaborated with AMC to bring you the haunt’s “The Walking Dead” mazes), partnered with “The Walking Dead’s” creative team, including Nicotero and KNB Efx, in order to deliver this new experience, which intends to serve as a living representation of the show.
And boy, does it succeed!
From the signature “Don’t Open, Dead Inside” locked doors to a stroll through the show’s West Georgia Correctional Facility, the attraction delivers the scares. Realistic and gruesome animatronics can be found throughout, as well as scare actors wearing appliances created from the show’s original prosthetic molds.
So authentic were they that following brief speeches by Nicotero and Universal Studios Hollywood SVP of Entertainment Tim Runco, “TWD” actress Kenedy found herself clutching fellow actor Marquand’s arm as a horde of teeth-gnashing zombies arrived on the scene.
Located within an entirely new, custom-built structure just inside the park’s main entry, the expansive and permanent complex has allowed Murdy and company to even further step up their game. Production design is so chillingly detailed (one turn in the maze reveals a structure on fire with a flaming, walking zombie within) and art direction so macabre (another an open panel truck with animatronic walker torsos strung up and biting at park guests) that the attraction isn’t recommended for guests under the age of 13.
Which basically means every 13-year-old will be begging to get in, and so should you.
Our thanks to Universal’s Gail Moscoso for setting up our visit.
Photo Credits: Sean Decker and David Sprague