With Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights kicking off this Friday, September 16, we got a preview of two of the park’s then under-construction mazes last week: American Horror Story and Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield.
Both situated on the backlot, we joined Halloween Horror Nights’ creative director John Murdy first for a walk-through of the ambitious American Horror Story maze: ambitious in that in narrative the attraction features moments from three different seasons of the FX show, “Murder House,” “Freak Show,” and “Hotel.”
“Thematically what we use to tie it all together,” said Murdy of the maze, “is that every season of ‘American Horror Story’ has an episode set on Halloween, so we use those call backs.”
“If you were trying to do all of them,” explained Murdy in regards to how they chose which seasons to focus on, “it would be literally one (maze) scene per (series) season. There’s just so much content. You could do an entire maze based on “Murder House” alone. So we decided we needed to do “Murder House” because it was the beginning and “Hotel” because that’s where the series left off, and I just really like (the character of) Twisty. I think it’s the scariest clown character I’ve ever seen, and I think the ‘Freak Show’ vibe is just so cool. There’s so many different environments in it to explore.”
Park goers can expect Twisty the Clown, the Big Top from “Freak Show,” the Rubber Man, the Countess, and the two-faced Mordrake, among others, all to make appearances within the attraction.
As for the maze Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield, the attraction resides in the structure that housed last year’s Insidious maze and promises visitors a narrative recreation of director Rick Rosenthal’s 1981 feature Halloween II.
“The Halloween maze from last year was the highest rated one ever,” said Murdy, “and the fans just went crazy, so I really wanted to keep it going and to pick up exactly where the last one went off.”
Unlike last year’s Halloween attraction, which was set at the Myers house, this one commences at the Doyle residence, with a recreation of Loomis’ shooting of The Shape in the third act of the original film, and then narratively moves into Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, where Myers continued his marauding of Laurie Strode while murdering the medical practitioners on staff.
With Murdy’s historic attention to detail, nostalgia took hold as we moved through the maze. Nurse Karen being scalded in the hydrotherapy tub? Check. Jimmy unconscious on the floor in a pool of the red stuff? Yep. Jill losing her hospital shoes while pierced on a scalpel? You got it. Dr. Mixter suffering from an acute case of “hypodermic needle in the eye”? That’s there too.
Additionally, cool Easter eggs abound, from the inclusion of (in this case animatronic) pirate-costumed boy bleeding from his mouth at the entrance to Haddonfield Memorial (remember the lad who’d apparently bitten into more than just a simple candy apple?) to the trio of trick or treaters from Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
For more information about “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios, visit HalloweenHorrorNights.com. Join the “Halloween Horror Nights” conversation using #UniversalHHN on Facebook at Halloween Horror Nights – Hollywood and Instagram; Halloween Horror Nights on 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 Page.