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

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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!

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Exclusive: Rocky Gray Talks Halloween Horror Anthology 10/31

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The last time we gave you guys word on the upcoming Halloween horror anthology 10/31 was to bring you the knock-out exclusive official poster, which you can peep to your left (click for a higher-res version).

The new horror anthology in the vein of V/H/S and Creepshow joins an ensemble cast together to spin twisted tales of the macabre. The film is executive produced by P.J. Starks, creator of the critically acclaimed Volumes of Blood.

The film’s stories are directed by the likes of Justin M. Seaman (The Barn), Zane Hershberger (Devilution), John William Holt (The Dooms Chapel Horror), Brett DeJager (Bonejangles) and Rocky Gray making his directing debut.

This past weekend we were able to catch up with producer-director Rocky Gray and ask him a few choice questions about the anticipated upcoming anthology film.

You can check out our quick interview below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are to check out 10/31 in the comments below!

Dread Central: How is the film coming along?

Rocky Gray: The film is now completed and we are getting the perks out to our Indiegogo backers. The backers and Death By Festival got to see the first cut of the film in October and they loved it so we’re very excited to get the film out to everyone else very soon.

DC: What can expect from this anthology?

RG: Expect to have a lot of Halloween themed fun. Each segment has its own flavor so the pacing and the look change throughout the film. With masked killers, vampires, scarecrows, tricksters and old hags there’s something for everyone.

DC: Will there be a sequel?

RG: If there was a demand for it we would make it happen!

Sounds good to us. Thanks for chatting with us, Rocky!

You can become a fan of the film on Facebook HERE.

SYNOPSIS:
A Halloween treat bag of all the things that go bump in the night. From masked killers to scarecrows, witches, and tricksters. There’s a scare for everyone in this anthology of horror and the macabre from the creators of The Barn and Volumes of Blood.

Red Letter Entertainment, Inc. brings you the directorial debut from Rocky Gray (composer of The Barn, Killing Floor 2), two-time Grammy-winning musician and former drummer for Evanescence. A new horror anthology in the vein of V/H/S/ and Creepshow brings an ensemble cast together to spin twisted tales of the macabre. The film is Executive Produced by P.J. Starks, creator of the critically acclaimed Volumes of Blood.

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The Duffer Brothers Have Begun Working on Stranger Things 3

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I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of the first season of Netflix and The Duffer Brothers’ “Stranger Things” to tell you the truth. That said, I absolutely loved the second season (read our reviews HERE).

It is with this in mind that we are all looking forward to “Stranger Things 3”.

Recently Deadline reported that at Vulture Festival LA the Duffer Brothers, producer Shawn Levy, Finn Wolfhard, Paul Reiser, and Linnea Berthelsen talked about season two and teased season three.

“We are [in] very early days on season three, and we’re still figuring it out,” Ross Duffer said, before taking a beat, then adding: “I probably wasn’t supposed to say that. That’s not official; that wasn’t an official announcement — we’re just working on it, just for our own amusement… for fun!”

Whatever.

We all know at this point that there is going to be a “Stranger Things 3” and that The Duffer Brothers will one day begin working on it. Don’t worry so much, Ross Duffer.

After all, your brother already let us know that season three will begin after a time jump:

“Even if we wanted to hop into the action faster, we couldn’t,” says Matt Duffer. “Our kids are aging. We can only write and produce the show so fast. They’re going to be almost a year older by the time we start shooting season three. It provides certain challenges. You can’t start right after season two ended. It forces you to do a time jump. It’s a long way of saying that yeah, we’re going to do a time jump.”

What did you think of “Stranger Things 2”? Did you dig it more (or less) than season one? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social media!

“Stranger Things 2” is currently streaming on Netflix.

Synopsis:
It’s 1984, and the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana, are still reeling from the horrors of the Demogorgon and the secrets of Hawkins Lab. Will Byers has been rescued from the Upside Down, but a bigger, sinister entity still threatens those who survived.

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James Cameron’s Terminator Reboot/Sequel Hires Screenwriter

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The last word we brought you guys on producer James Cameron and Deadpool-director Tim Miller’s new Terminator film was when we let you know that Paramount had set the film’s release date for July 26, 2019.

Today we have news via The Wrap that the studio is bringing in screenwriter Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) to pen the movie’s script based on a story crafted by Cameron.

You may remember that Cameron and Miller created a writers room a while back to plan out an all-new trilogy of films, but while that writer’s room included David Goyer, Charles Eglee, and Josh Friedman, it seems like Ray will be the first film’s sole writer. For now.

Story details are, of course, being kept under wraps, but Cameron and Miller are treating the new movie as a direct sequel to Cameron’s T2: Judgment Day.

“This is a continuation of the story from ‘Terminator 1’ and ‘Terminator 2.’ And we’re pretending the other films were a bad dream,” Cameron told THR. “Or an alternate timeline, which is permissible in our multi-verse.”

We also know that Cameron plans to center the new film/trilogy around a new group of younger characters, who will eventually carry on the baton as it were.

“A lot of this is handing off the baton to a new generation of characters,” Cameron said. “We’re starting a search for an 18-something young woman to essentially be the new centerpiece of these stories. And then a number of other characters around her and characters from the future. We still fold time in the story in intriguing ways. But we have Arnold’s character and Linda’s character to anchor it.”

How excited are you for James Cameron’s new Terminator flick? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social mdeia!

The new Terminator film is produced by James Cameron and will be directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool). The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton.

Terminator 2.5 is expected to hit July 26, 2019.

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