Ah yes! Universal Studios! How well we get to know each other every year once October comes! Where else can you have the shit scared out of you by your favorite horror icons? That, my friends, is the beauty of their annual Halloween Horror Nights event! But this year? This was a year like no other. Now patrons of the park could be chased not by The Director of days gone by, but by horror heavies Jason, Freddy, and Leatherface themselves! There’s no question that the partnership between Universal and New Line to make this happen was one forged in blood, and much to the delight of this black-hearted little fanboy.
But before Dread Central could check out the sights and sounds of our favorite haunts, there was an awards “Scaremony” (their word, not mine) to attend!
The fifth annual Eyegore Awards were kicking off the night’s festivities and some of our genre’s most valued stars were on hand to get their much deserved recognition. Michael “The Hills Have Eyes” Berrymen (also a winner) was our emcee for the evening, which saw a lot of happy winners get their respective trophies for their work within our gore-soaked industry. Those honored included:
Check out the video below for more!
With the Eyegores out of the way, it was time to hit the houses! First up — Some Friday the 13th action at Camp Crystal Lake. Upon entering, we’re greeted by a Crazy Ralph type character who warns us to go back! Screw that! Time to push ahead! Jason seemed to pop out of just about every corner in various incarnations including Sack-Head Jason from Part II and Young Jason from the original. The Freddy Vs. Jason look seemed to be the most popular as he was all over the place, but where the hell was Robo-Jason from Jason X? Come on, guys, he was great for a goof! Wasn’t he? Am I the only one who liked that flick? Don’t answer that. Moving on … even Mrs. Voorhees was there to usher her son along. She was also the star (or at least her head was) of my favorite re-creation of the maze, the now legendary severed head shrine. If this wasn’t included, I would have pitched a fit. Thankfully the people who designed these attractions were on top of things. We’re off to a good start!
Walking through the door of the Westin Hills Asylum was like literally stepping into Freddy’s world itself. The Freddy maze quite simply is a work of demented genius. Honestly, I’m hesitant to even get into what’s there for people to gaze in horror at, and I’m not going to either. Let’s just say there was a lot of running and screaming. I will mention one room in particular though … The giant roach motel complete with Freddy’s giant eye looking in at you while the chick with insect arms runs screaming from corner to corner scaring the shit out of unsuspecting folks. Truth be told, this was the only house we went through twice, and with good reason. There is just so much there to see. If you go and the lines are long, make sure you visit this haunt no matter what. You, like us, will be talking about it for days to come!
Time to visit Leatherface.
That sounded good, but where the hell was he? It felt as if we were walking for hours trying to find him. We just kept following sign after sign and going down escalator after escalator. Finally we hit paydirt. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre attraction is housed far away from everything else and is the only maze to be featured on a sound-stage. Upon entry it was obvious why it was tucked away. Let me be straight with you. I know these exhibits are set up for entertainment purposes, but this maze was strictly adults only. If you bring a small child in with you to the Chainsaw house, you’re either crazier than shit or someone like me that likes to see kids cry!
This place is an assault on the senses. There’s violence and gore going on everywhere. People being chopped, skinned, and cooked before our very eyes. Leatherface himself wis seemingly everywhere. The stench of a slaughterhouse, death, cooking flesh, and human feces filled the majority of the rooms and, just like the films themselves, are an absolutely nightmarish experience. This takes the cake for being the most crazed setting I have ever walked through, and brother, I’ve done them all. All I can say beyond that is a great big HOLY SHIT!
Once you’re done with the main attractions (providing your nerves are still intact), there’s still plenty left to see. You can pop into Universal’s original House of Horrors for some classic movie monster action featuring Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, etc., or hop on the Terror Tram, which gives you a dark look at the standard back lot tour that features the most breathtaking set this journalist has ever seen — the War of the Worlds plane wreckage! Just walking through this is enough to unnerve anyone. It looks so real, it’s staggering. Speaking of staggering, as if the sight of all this chaos weren’t enough, the walking part of the tour is also littered with zombies! How could you not love it? OUTSTANDING!
The 2007 Halloween Horror Nights was an event not soon to be forgotten. I cannot wait to see what these madmen cook up for next year! Big thanks to Debbie Park and everyone else at Universal for having us over to cover the event! Check out the gallery below for a ton more pictures!
Haunt our Dread Central forums!