Event Report: Warner Bros. Studio Tour HORROR MADE HERE

With the Warner Bros. Studio Tour expanding this Halloween season with its third annual immersive experience designed just for horror fans, we previewed the attraction this past Wednesday to check out what lays in wait at Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights (running select nights through October 28th). Read on.

Held on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood backlot (transformed by Horror Made Here into a seasonal haunt), for 2018 A Festival of Frights features returning walk-through mazes IT and The Conjuring (based on the films for the same name), and the all-new Freddy vs. Jason, as well as the debut of one from the company’s DC Universe, Batman: Arkham Asylum. Also returning is the setting: the small town square on the backlot in which Horror Made Here is set feels wonderfully quaint, and immediately transports visitors to those Halloween carnivals held in “Anytown” US of A the moment they arrive.

And it’s altogether inviting.

Of additional assistance in creating such atmosphere is that Horror Made Here seems perhaps less concerned with processing a high volume of guests, and more so with communicating that wonderful sense of nostalgia. The attraction works hard to fully immerse one from the onset, from its effective use of the backlot’s infrastructure to the park’s tonally on point Halloween carnival re-skin. Adding to that intimacy, from nearly any place in the square one can see the entirety of its attractions, from the True Blood-inspired Fangtasia Bar to the gazebo with DJ and Devil’s Drop Tower in its center, as well as the many food stands which serve up pretzels, chowder bowls, beer, and wine.

As for the mazes, we were thoroughly impressed by IT and by some of the scene-specific recreations of moments from the film located within, as well as the visual and aural gags employed to deliver them. An encore from Horror Made Here 2017, The Neibolt House (first constructed on Hollywood Blvd. as a marketing tool for the film before being moved to the backlot) has received a refresh, and it’s just a… frightening one. From first class costume design to the committed performances of the various characters which roam its halls, you’ll feel as if you’ve absolutely stepped into Derry, Maine (which dependent upon your level of coulrophobia may or may not be a good thing).

From there it was on to The Conjuring maze, and after a rather lengthy wait, we ventured within (along with infectiously enthusiastic actress Bonnie Aarons – The Nun herself). An effective immersion into the world of The Conjuring, which includes an eye-popping visit to the Warren’s house/haunted parlor (watch out! Annabelle has escaped her cabinet!), the maze seems unchanged from last year, which is more than fine given that it still culminate in a rather jaw-dropping gag.

On the heels of The Conjuring we stepped into Arkham Asylum, and with those inside having “taken over the loony bin” as it were (the Joker’s in full control of the institution), fans of the character should be pleased with the result. For me, I was most looking forward to a trip to Camp Crystal Lake, which I received directly thereafter.

Exiting the Joker attraction and boarding a small tram, we were whisked about the backlot by a driver’s whose humor was drier than the Sahara Desert (and entirely entertaining) before being dropped off at the lot’s jungle and forest film sets. Setting out on foot, we stepped into a real-world recreation of Camp Crystal Lake, and with the exception of the handful of scare actors which appear as Fred Krueger (distracting to the overall F13 narrative, and simply not needed in my estimation), I felt as if I’d landed in the wooded domain of Jason Voorhees. Let’s go down the list:

An actual lake? Check.

A dock? Check.

Actual canoes? Check.

Archery gone wrong? Check.

Screen accurate cabins and bunk beds filled with bodies? Check.

A screen accurate shrine to Mrs. Voorhees (or at least her head)? Check.

A hulking Jason appearing from the trees and dispatching shrieking camp counselors before stalking after me? Check.

Multiple times? Check.

Me grinning like an idiot? Check.

For fans of Friday the 13th, the Freddy vs. Jason maze unto itself is reason enough to visit Horror Made Here, and from what our tram operator communicated, the attraction wasn’t as of yet fully dressed.

Post-maze blood pumping, we rounded out our evening in The Lost Boys arcade playing classic 80’s video games, and while the buttons on the Galaga upright I was pounding on proved not that responsive, Tim Capello’s “I Still Believe” pumping through the arcade’s speakers more than made up for it.

Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights is a must visit.

For tix and more information, visit Horror Made Here at Warner Bros.’ official site here, ‘like’ them on Facebook here, and follow them on Twitter and on Instagram.



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