I woke up Saturday morning with barely any voice. Not because I was sick, but because I had screamed so hard the night prior. They weren’t bad screams — but ones triggered by the scares of zombies and ghosts. Losing my voice is entirely worth it once a year, just to be terrified by the supernatural/fantastical characters of my favorite horror shows and films. When the Halloween season rolls around, I cannot help but count down the days until Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. Each fall, the world famous theme park is transformed into a zombie apocalypse with haunted mazes and nowhere to hide from roaming ‘walkers,’ living Chucky dolls and ax murderers.
As you enter the park, there is a foggy alleyway. You must walk through the dark street to get to the attractions and, on the way, anything and anyone could jump out at you. A man in a long black trench coat with a large knife (fake of course), a child zombie or a dead clown. The make-up and actors are phenomenal. The main themes this Fall: The Walking Dead, Insidious “Into the Further,” “Evil Dead,” “The Purge” and many more. Set up in the center of the park was the main villain and his sidekicks from “The Purge,” with bursting flames framing his stage and women skipping around in white night gowns with butcher knifes. I had to hold my breath as one character followed me through the park; blowing wind in my ear. The Tram Way is always the best – and this past weekend, I couldn’t help but save the best for my first attraction. The open-sided bus takes you through the dark woods backlot of Universal until they stop and give you no choice but to exit. As you approach the real Bates Motel, a handful of masked men with chainsaws greet you. You bob and weave through them, hoping they won’t catch you with their rumbling chains. Through a zombie ridden maze and up the dark hill, actors run towards you – warning you not to go any further. But, again – you have no choice. Outside in the open air, zombies of all shapes and sized follow you through a neighborhood street which appears to have been taken down by a large plane crash. It’s as if you’re experiencing your own apocalypse.
This year, The Walking Dead & Universal added another tram adventure that brings the prison set of the hit AMC show to life. You are taken to a fictional city, which has been taken over by the dead. Universal out did themselves yet again, because several of the mazes seemed to have had a ‘sensory’ element. Every time you entered a room with ‘dead bodies,’ a fowl stench filled the room. Nothing like the scent of rotting bodies to get you running towards the Exit sign.
Other mazes included: “Evil Dead: Book of the Dead,” based on Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s chilling remake of the cult classic; “Black Sabbath: 13 3D,” inspired by the darkest lyrics from the legendary rock band’s 43-year history of Heavy Metal music, “Insidious: Into the Further” based on the disturbing “Insidious” film franchise that explores the darkest corners of the paranormal experience and “El Cucuy: The Boogeyman,” a startling, terror-filled maze based on the Latin American legend of the mythical, shape-shifting monster, will feature chilling narration by prolific actor and producer, Danny Trejo.
If you’re as ‘scare’ and ‘scream’ addicted as myself, “Halloween Horror Nights” is a must. Visiting dates: September 27 and 28, October 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 31 and November 1, 2. Hours: 7pm to 2am.
More information at www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com/hollywood.
By Pamela Price