This past Wednesday, September 9th, Universal’s “Halloween Horror Nights”’ Creative Director John Murdy gave Dread Central a preview of their then under construction “Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home” and “Insidious: Return to the Further” fright mazes. Read on for the details and our exclusive photo gallery!
Universal Studios was heavily under construction on this sweltering Los Angeles afternoon (these heat waves seem to historically hit the week of the preview), and we hopped in a van to the backlot with mastermind Murdy for the “Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home” maze, then in its final days of scenic preparation for “Halloween Horror Nights,” which kicks off this Friday, September 18.
Arriving to the exterior of the attraction, a dilapidated recreation of the Myers house as depicted in John Carpenter’s classic 1978 slasher film on which it’s based, Murdy said of the maze, “The last time we visited the world of Halloween was in 2009 with the maze ‘Halloween: The Life & Crimes of Michael Myers.’ Then we stuck to the film’s prologue and its period setting of 1963. This time we wanted to take a different approach and enter the house in the 70’s, when it’s been totally abandoned. The other thing we wanted to change up was that, in my opinion, Michael has an almost paranormal quality to him. He’ll be there, and then he’ll be gone, and that ghost-like flavor is something we wanted to add this year. So we start by entering the Myers’ house and then into Haddonfield and then finally the babysitter’s house, and we visit all of the iconic kills from Carpenter’s first film.”
Journeying into the maze, Murdy gave us a blow-by-blow rundown of the scares park visitors will endure, and in keeping with the historic level of production quality of “Halloween Horror Nights,” things look to be top-notch. Murdy and company’s attention to detail is impressive, and the maze oozes a 1970’s aesthetic, down to the questionable colors of that decade’s kitchen appliances. Attention to detail plays out, too, in the recreation of the Myers murders as depicted in the first film, and fans of that feature can expect to witness the demise of Bob, Lynda, and Annie; a confrontation between The Shape and Dr. Loomis; and in a cool Easter egg, even the appearance of the three trick or treaters from the 1982 film Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
From there it was on to the “Insidious: Return to the Further” maze, erected just outside the park’s Jurassic Park attraction. A return to the Blumhouse film series which Murdy had visited in 2013 with the wildly popular “Insidious: Into the Further” maze, the new attraction looks to up the ante by showcasing the expanding narrative from the three-picture film series.
“The 2013 maze was the highest-rated maze in the history of ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ according to our fans,” said Murdy, “but we didn’t want to rest on our laurels. This time we wanted to ‘enter the Further,’ which is a place with low-lying fog, which is something we haven’t done before. To do that, we needed boatloads of dry ice, so we challenged our special effects team with research and development in looking at dry ice in a new way. We are actually trying to do three or four different rooms with low-lying fog, and we had to build three different rooms just to house the mechanics which will pump the fog into them. We are trying to really nail that thing that’s a signature of Insidious.”
In addition to some absolutely impactful production design, fans of the series can expect encounters with The Bride in Black, The Man Who Can’t Breath, and The Lipstick-Face Demon, all of whom make appearances in some truly shocking ways, at times utilizing effects not seen before in the history of Universal’s annual Halloween event. Get very excited; I am.
While we don’t want to give much more away in terms of the narrative and scares (these attractions are best experienced without heavy spoilers), you can check out our photo gallery, and keep your eyes on Dread Central for our annual coverage of the Eyegore Awards and the grand opening of “Halloween Horror Nights,” which kicks off this coming Friday, September 18th.
More info on “Halloween Horror Nights” is available at halloweenhorrornights.com. Updates from Creative Director John Murdy can be found on Twitter (@horrornights), as he reveals a running chronicle of exclusive information.
About “Halloween Horror Nights” Hollywood:
From Friday, September 18, to Sunday, November 1, “Halloween Horror Nights” 2015 at Universal Studios Hollywood – Southern California’s most extreme Halloween event – brings together the sickest minds in horror to immerse guests in a living, breathing, three-dimensional world of terror. Featuring a new slate of unrivaled film and television production quality mazes, frightful scare zones, and a fully re-imagined “Terror Tram” experience – all uniquely themed to today’s most definitive horror properties, “Halloween Horror Nights” is designed to taunt, terrorize, and torment guests as they navigate the darkness from one frightening maze to another.
Adding to the event’s intrigue, Universal’s most popular rides and attractions also will be open to guests, including “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem,” “Transformers: The Ride-3D,” “Jurassic Park–In the Dark,” “The Simpsons Ride,” and “Revenge of the Mummy–The Ride.”
“Halloween Horror Nights” event dates are: September 18, 19, 25, 26, 27; October 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 29, 30, 31; and November 1, 2015. The event begins nightly at 7:00 p.m.; closing hours vary by night throughout the event.
Tickets are available for purchase here, including a Front of Line ticket option that enables guests to enjoy priority access at each “Halloween Horror Nights” maze, “Terror Tram,” and theme park attraction. Additionally, a “Killer Deal Nights” ticket option offers discounts of up to $25 on select dates. Advance purchase is recommended as event nights will sell out.
For more information about “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood visit halloweenhorrornights.com/hollywood. Join the “Halloween Horror Nights” conversation using #UniversalHHN on Facebook at Halloween Horror Nights – Hollywood and Instagram, Twitter, and Periscope @HorrorNights. Add username HorrorNights on Snapchat for nightly live content, and watch the terror come to life on the Halloween Horror Nights YouTube channel.