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Dread Central Visits Halloween Horror Nights and Chats with Creative Director John Murdy



This past Friday Dread Central received an invitation from John Murdy, the creative director behind Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights, which kicks off September 24th and runs through October 31st at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, for a tour of the then-in-construction maze A Nightmare on Elm Street: Never Sleep Again.

Greeted by the always energetic Murdy, we accompanied him for an illuminating tour of the frightful attraction (although much like this year’s Friday the 13th: Kill, Jason, Kill maze, devotees of the genre can expect the attraction to eschew the concepts of the original franchise, taking their creative cues from the recent Platinum Dunes reboot of the same). Leading us through the halls of Badham Pre-School, the hallways of Springwood High and into Freddy’s eponymous boiler room, Murdy happily waxed on his approach to what will be this year’s multi-layered sensory experience Elm Street (we’ll leave the scares under wraps for the time being, as at the time scenic and prop-dressing were under way), as he did on this year’s new maze, Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses: In 3D Vision.

It’s going to be awesome,” said Murdy of the attraction, which in keeping with Hollywood film producers’ current fascination with 3D, is set to bring the filmic conceit into an altogether organic environment. “It’s actually the biggest haunted attraction we’ve ever done. It goes through the whole ‘Murder Ride’ and the Firefly house with ‘Otis’ and ‘Baby’ and all of them, and then it goes through the whole Dr. Satan lair. That one is going to be just crazy.

Dread Central Visits Halloween Horror Nights and Chats with Creative Director John Murdy

As for his approach in delivering a cutting-edge 3D walking experience, Murdy stated, “With 3D attractions they’ve always used black-light, and I didn’t want to do that. Lighting technology has changed dramatically in the last few years, and what we have now, especially with LED lightning, are lights that have the entire color spectrum. Depending on how you compose colors, you come up with different levels of depth. What we found with days of walking around with 3D glasses on and experimentation is that with LED lighting you can have that entire color spectrum run by a DMX-controlled lighting program and can shift the color spectrum and do moves, meaning we can force the color red and take all of the green out and can make things appear and disappear and appear to recede or to come out of the walls. They way I would describe it is like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. That’s kind of what I’m going for. It’s trippy! So you can make everything seem like it’s kind of alive.

To clarify, Murdy stated of the 3D, “It’s an overlay to the whole thing because we are still building an attraction that has every bit of detail as any of our other attractions; it just has this overlay of 3D as well so you do wear glasses. I think that’s confusing for a lot of people, though, because they think 3D can only take place on the screen, but this is an attraction you’ll actually walk through. It’s still a movie-quality set and environment with characters. We still have a lot of props left over from the original film – as it was shot here (on the lot) – which Rob gave us years ago to hold on to, so we’ve incorporated them into the attraction. But when you overlay the 3D over it, it’s a trip-fest, especially in Otis’ room and the Murder Ride, where the 3D is especially the strongest, because you are already dealing with something that’s supposed to be a carny roadside attraction, so we are trying to do it a little differently than what’s been done before.

As for Murdy’s decision to tackle House of 1000 Corpses, “It seemed to make sense. I was talking to Rob, who comes here every year, and being that 3D is the rage right now, and how immersive the (new) King Kong ride is, Corpses really lent itself. The whole film has a lot of saturated colors, and the characters’ designs in the film are great. Rob did all of those designs himself, and his first maze here I believe was called Rob Zombie’s American Nightmare (writer’s note: which took place in 2000, before Corpses was wrapped). It pre-dates me. Rob would dress up and perform in it every night! He’d just show up and dress up and scare the park-goers!

Dread Central Visits Halloween Horror Nights and Chats with Creative Director John Murdy

Other mazes visitors can expect to experience this year include Vampyre: Castle of the Undead (“albino vampires and crazy amounts of blood,” said Murdy, which is taking place in the static Universal attraction The House of Horrors) and Saw: Game On (with newly added traps), as well as six Scare Zones and a more extensive Terror Tram, in which riders will not only be spooked by the Mexican folk legend La Llorona and Psycho’s Norman Bates (it’s the 50th anniversary of that film) but also the diminutive ginger Chucky (who’s apparently incensed over his failing film career and has raised an army of doll-like soldiers in order to exact his revenge). As an added bonus, riders of the Terror Tram will also have the ability to experience the park’s newest attraction, the much-celebrated King Kong 360 3D.

Horror fans always want more so we need to raise the bar every year,” concluded Murdy.

Updates on “Halloween Horror Nights” will be available at the official “Halloween Horror Nights” website and also on Twitter and Facebook, as Creative Director John Murdy reveals a running chronicle of exclusive information. Fans are invited to follow John Murdy on Twitter or via Facebook. Stay tuned for our exclusive report on the star-studded Eyegore Awards coming soon.

Dread Central would like to thank Nicole Canizales for arranging the visit.

Dread Central Visits Halloween Horror Nights and Chats with Creative Director John Murdy

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Alien: Covenant’s Carmen Ejogo Joins True Detective Season 3



“From the dusty mesa her looming shadow grows…”

The first season of HBO’s “True Detective” was one of the best seasons ever put on a TV screen. Hands down. The second season was another story altogether. While not a complete waste of time (Colin Farrell owed) the season was basically merely ‘meh’.

But what about “True Detective” season 3?

Well, a few months back it was announced that the third season had been greenlit by HBO, with creator Nic Pizzolatto returning to pen the series and director Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room) taking the helm of the episodes.

Today we have news that Carmen Ejogo – who you may recognize Ejogo from such recent fright flicks as It Comes at Night, Alien: Covenant, and The Purge: Anarchy – will be joining the previously announced Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) for Season 3.

Ejogo will play the female lead, Amelia Reardon, who THR describes as “an Arkansas schoolteacher with a connection to two missing children in 1980.”

Nice Pizzolatto will serve as showrunner and direct alongside Jeremy Saulnier. Executive producers include Pizzolatto, Saulnier, Scott Stephens and season one stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as well as original director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Steve Golin, Bard Dorros and Richard Brown are also credited as exec producers.


A macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.

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Danielle Harris Tried to Get Jamie Lloyd into New Halloween Movie



One of the top films all of us are looking forward to the most here at Dread Central is Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel/reboot thing to John Carpenter’s Halloween.

The new Halloween (2018) film is written by Danny McBride and David Gordon Green and is all set to be directed by Green this year. Recently we learned that original Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis was going to be returning to the new film.

Not only that, but Curtis’ classic character Laurie Strode would have a daughter… played by Judy Greer. But what about Danielle Harris?

After all, Harris was the star of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Curse of Michael Myers. Let alone, she had a starring role in both Rob Zombie’s remake and it’s sequel. So how about the new film?

Turns out Harris tried to get her character Jamie Llyod (aka the daughter of Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode) from Halloween 4 and 5 into the new film… but she was turned down by Blumhouse and the new creative team. That sucks.

Harris was pretty bummed about the whole deal and took to Facebook recently to clear the air. You can check out quotes from her video, along with the video itself, below.

After that make sure to hit us up and let us know how much you would have liked to see Harris return to Halloween in the comments below or on social media!

“What I am bummed about is… [Laurie] has a daughter,” Harris says. “I was okay with it when she had a son… but they’re saying it’s the last one and… she has a daughter. And it’s not Jamie. It’s just kind of a bummer, I guess. I think somebody had said, it wouldn’t have hurt the movie to have Jamie reunited with [Laurie]. But that didn’t happen.”

“We did put in a call, thought it’d be kinda cool even just to have a little flashback…” She continues. “They were not interested. So. I tried.”

Blumhouse’s Halloween hits theaters October 19, 2018.

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Posted by Danielle Harris on Monday, November 6, 2017

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Through the Cracks – Trick or Treat (1986) Review



Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne

Directed by Charles Martin Smith

I have been a horror fan for more than half of my life at this point. Meaning I have seen most of the quality horror offerings under the sun. But that said, every once in awhile a classic sneaks past so we wanted to create this “Through the Cracks” review section for such films.

Case in point, I had never seen the Halloween horror flick Trick or Treat until last night. I know, right? How the hell did that happen? But these things do happen and so for everyone that has seen the flick a million times, this will be a review of the movie from a super horror fan that – at the age of 33 – is seeing Trick or Treat for the very first time.

Now let’s get to it.

First off you have to love the movie’s plot. Mixing horror and heavy metal seems like a given, yet preciously few films Frankenstein these two great tastes together.

Like many of you out there, I am a big metal fan as well as a big horror fan. The two seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Or Jason and horny campers.

I dig bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and even those hair metal bands (Dokken forever!) and I’m well aware of the legends surrounding playing these records backward.

Off the top of my head, the only other flick that combines the two to this degree is the (relatively) recent horror-comedy Deathgasm. I say more horror-metal flicks! Or should we call it Metal-Horror? Yeah, that’s a much more metal title.

It only makes sense that someone, somewhere would take the idea of “What if Ozzy Osbourne really was evil and came back from the dead (you know, if he had passed away during his heyday) to torment a loner fan?” Great premise for a movie!

And Trick or Treat delivers on the promise of this premise in spades. Sammi Curr is an epic hybrid of the best of the best metal frontmen and his resurrection via speaker is one of the great horror birthing scenes I have seen in all my years.

Add to that the film feels like a lost entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. More specifically the film feels like it would fit snugly in between two of my favorite entries in that series, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

This movie is 80’s as all f*ck and I loved every minute of it.

And speaking of how this film brought other minor classics to the forefront of my brain, let’s talk about the film’s central villain, Sammi Curr. This guy looks like he could share an epic horror band with the likes of Mary Lou from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the Drill Killer rocker from Slumber Party Massacre Part II.

Picture that band for a moment and tell me they aren’t currently playing the most epic set in Hell as we speak. I say let’s see an Avengers-style series of films based on these minor horror icons sharing the stage and touring the country’s high school proms!

In the end Trick or Treat has more than it’s fair share of issues. Sammi Curr doesn’t enter the film until much too late and is dispatched way too easily. Water? Really? That’s it?

That said, the film is still a blast as director Charles Martin Smith keeps the movie rocking like an 80’s music video with highlights being Sammi’s rock show massacre at the prom and his final assault on our hero teens in the family bathroom.

Rockstar lighting for days.

Even though the film has issues (zero blood, a rushed ending) none of that mattered much to this horror hound as the film was filled to the brim with striking horror/metal imagery and a killer soundtrack via Fastway and composer Christopher Young.

Plus you’ve got to love the cameos by Gene Simmons (boy, his character just dropped right out of the movie, huh?) and Ozzy Osbourne as a mad-as-hell Preacher that isn’t going to take any more of this devil music. P.S. Watch for the post-credits tag.

More than a few of my closest horror buddies have this film placed high on their annual Halloween must-watch lists. And after (finally) viewing the film for myself, I think I just may have to add the film to mine as well. Preferably on VHS.

Trick or Treat is an 80’s horror classic. If you dig films like Popcornand if you put the film off like I did, remedy that tonight and slap a copy in the old VHS/DVD player.

Just don’t play it backward… God knows what could happen.

All said and done, I enjoyed the hell out of my first viewing of Trick or Treat. But what do YOU think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know below or on social media!

Now bring on Trick or Treat 2: The Prom Band from Hell, featuring Sammi Curr, Mary Lou Maloney, and Atanas Ilitch’s Driller Killer from Slumber Party Massacre Part II!

  • Trick or Treat (1986) 3.5


Charles Martin Smith’s Trick or Treat is a sure-fire Halloween treat for fans of 80’s horror flicks, as well as fans of heavy metal music.

User Rating 3.25 (12 votes)
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