Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood - A Review of the Haunted Attractions! - Dread Central
Connect with us


Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood – A Review of the Haunted Attractions!



hhnhollywood2017ak 8 - Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood - A Review of the Haunted Attractions!

It just wouldn’t feel like Halloween if it wasn’t for Universal’s annual Halloween Horror Night. The horror behemoth may have had a rough time creating its Dark Universe this year, but it’s never had any problems with its theme park, which you can always depend on for quality horror thrills year after year. This writer was lucky enough to be invited out for his twelfth year (!) to the opening festivities – a wonderful night where all the people in the horror industry come together to drink, mingle and check out the latest mazes from creative mastermind John Murdy and his team.

It’s downright magical.

After some terrific booze and hors d’oeuvres, and some high fives from the Loser’s Club, the Dread gang were first invited to check out Insidious: Beyond the Further with franchise stars Lin Shaye and Leigh Whannell. This series has always seemed tailor made for a haunted attraction and Universal has continually knocked these out of the park. Set pieces from all four films are on display, as you navigate the dark, foggy regions of The Further and encounter all its iconic inhabitants – as “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” plays through loud speakers. One particular stroke of genius comes at the end, where multiple jump scares piled on top of each other don’t even give you a moment to catch your breath. Another terrific job by Murdy & crew, and the perfect way to start off the night. Here’s hoping we get more Insidious films and more mazes for years to come.

Next up, Saw: The Games of Jigsaw. We’ve seen several of these mazes from Universal in the past, and while the last few have seemed largely recycled from previous years, this one has stepped up the game considerably. Traps from all 8 (!) films in there series are executed in full gory detail (probably the bloodiest of any Horror Nights maze to date), and the special effects seen here are particularly impressive (highlights include the infamous reverse venus fly trap, Saw 3‘s limb snapper and a few set pieces from the upcoming Jigsaw). One room even has animatronic saw blades coming out of the walls for added effect!

“American Horror Story: Roanoke” is based solely on last year’s season of the FX series. This writer has not caught up with the show, but from what we gather in this maze, “Roanoke” had a lot of guys in pig masks. And I mean a lot. Not a whole lot of variety to this one, but it should be fun for die-hard series fans.

It’s both surreal and heart-warming to live in a world where Evil Dead‘s Ash is now a pop culture icon, and easily one of the highlights of the evening is Universal’s “Ash vs Evil Dead” maze. Stepping foot into a lovingly recreated version of our hero’s trailer, attendees get to see a variety of set-pieces the last two seasons, visiting Ash’s house in Elk Grove and finally returning to the infamous cabin. In true Evil Dead fashion, every monster “pop out” is quickly followed by Ash appearing to kick its ass, and we even get an extremely cool animatronic version of Ted Raimi’s Henrietta. This one is worth the price of admission.

The other big highlight (and this season’s main draw) is The Shining. It’s kind of a shock that one of the all time greatest horror films – which literally ends in a maze – hasn’t received this kind of treatment yet, and Universal has done a magnificent job bringing the Overlook Hotel to life. Every iconic image from the film gets its due here, from holographic versions of the creepy twins, to the interiors of the dreaded Room 237, to the chilly snow-covered hedge maze. Multiple Jack Torrance’s pop out with axes to attack parkgoers and even the infamous bathroom scene is acted out in front of you. It’s great to see Universal give love to the classics instead of just promoting the newer horror titles and we sincerely hope they never lose sight of that.

The Terror Tram returns once again, this time hosted by Chucky (complete with the voice of Brad Dourif) who drives tourists onto the backlot to encounter all our favorite 80’s boogeymen. Walking up through the Bates Motel (now converted to the Crystal Lake Motel), and through the War of the World‘s set (which is now Freddy’s dream world), we encountered multiple grisly set pieces involving Jason, Freddy and Texas Chainsaw’s Sawyer family. A lot more set pieces and detail have been added to the backlot, which is incredibly cool, but the one drawback was severe bottle necking with the crowds in a couple of areas.

The final two events of the night were The Horrors of Blumhouse and Titans of Terror, each taking you through a “trilogy” of mazes. Starting out in the world of chainsaw and mask-sporting world of The Purge (always great Horror Night fodder), Blumhouse then features set-pieces from their upcoming Happy Death Day and then into the world of Sinister. Titans brings the baddies from the Terror Tram out for a reprise, as old school Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface recreate the classic scenes and sets from all their original films. One particular stroke of genius is this maze’s first room – a bedroom lovingly created to look like an 80’s horror fan’s wet dream. We could’ve easily hung out there the entire night.

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 has done a terrific job of keeping the tradition alive and starting off the fall season in perfect fashion. This writer can’t help but imagine what’s in store for us next year: IT? Blumhouse’s Halloween? “Twin Peaks: The Return” (“Got a light?)… Whatever happens, we can’t wait to see what Murdy and his awesome creative team come up with next. Tickets for Halloween Horror Nights are currently on sale and if you want to see everything the park has to offer, we suggest a front-of-the-line pass in order to skip the brutal wait times. It’s well worth it. See you next year!







Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC