Scarefest Found at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood

Eleven’s standoff against Vecna is showcased in HHN at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Photos by Charly SHELTON


Universal Studios Hollywood is back once again to bring the fear to the fog with this year’s Halloween Horror Nights. CV Weekly was invited to come experience all HHN has to offer and, though it has its ups and downs, it brings that classic cold feeling to the pit of your stomach just in time to start the Halloween season.

A particular standout this year is “Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America,” an exploration of Latin American folklore’s most terrifying ghosts and creatures. From vampire ladies to giant owl monsters, the best (or rather worst) of ghost stories lurk inside the Cemetery of the Lost. This one was fun and creative in its presentation and monster design, bringing in little details from the lore to inspire the physical space and make it feel really immersive.

Honorable mention goes to individual gags this year rather than individual standout houses. Several of the houses were fine overall with individual moments of sheer terror or unique kills. Chucky in “Chucky’s Ultimate Kill Count” has some very inventive unique kills that stick with you after the tour of the house is over. “Universal Monsters Unmasked” has some really cool moments that include The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera, all set to a fantastic new soundtrack from Slash. And “The Last of Us” has a really cool finale effect that we won’t give away, but it definitely turned our heads.

Chucky in “Chucky’s Ultimate Kill Count” has some very inventive unique kills that stick with ticketholders after the tour of the house is over.

“Stranger Things 4” might have been the most beautiful house this year as it has been in many years. It feels like it is set in a dream, which is what that season of the Netflix show felt like. Bringing that location to life in a physical way was impressive and the photos from this house are the ones I keep going back to because they’re just so beautiful. The house missed some iconic moments from the show that it would have been nice to see, but it was a beautiful house throughout with some cool effects of Eleven’s standoff with Vecna.

One low point of the night was the “Terror Tram … The Exterminatorz.” An insect uprising led by the bug-man Larry Larva is the central theme, placing guests in the middle of a mission to exterminate humans from Earth. It was a house at last year’s HHN in Universal Orlando Resort that was well received, but that house had more flair and unique design of its own. Cramming this concept into the airplane crash on the backlot took away much of the appeal from what Florida had and reduced it to just some bug guys on a path.

At the other end was one surprisingly fun addition – “The Purge: Dangerous Waters.” This stunt show was set in the Water World amphitheater and was something I wasn’t looking forward to … and didn’t expect much from. Boy, was I wrong.

The fusion of the classic Water World stunt show with “The Purge” movies, all in an enhanced nighttime setting, created a spectacle of fire and laser light shows that was just straight fun. It fits with the HHN feel and is a much better use for “The Purge” than would be a scare zone. This is one not to miss.

Despite being steeped in tradition, Universal Studios consistently surprises its visitors. From the standout “Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America” to the unlikely hit “The Purge: Dangerous Waters,” these attractions show Universal’s commitment in pushing the boundaries of horror. The winding maze of the classic “Universal Monsters Unmasked” and contemporary scarefest “Stranger Things 4” continue to prove why Halloween Horror Nights is a must-see event each year.

Tickets are on sale now and selling fast. Wait times can climb into the two-to-three hour range for some of the more popular houses so if you’re serious about seeing everything, the Universal Express front of the line pass is the option to choose. Otherwise it’s mathematically impossible to see everything on certain nights.

More information and tickets can be found at