By Charly SHELTON
Universal Studios Hollywood is once again inciting nightmares for ticketholders who attend its annual Halloween Horror Nights. This year, guests can see ancient legends come to life, classic monsters that step off the silver screen and “scaractors” who put the scare in scarecrow.
The event has returned this year with eight haunted houses (not mazes anymore) and the Terror Tram, as well as scare zones set up throughout the park. The talk of the town, though, is the scare zone located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter where Death Eaters, evil devotees of Lord Voldemort, have taken over the quaint little village of Hogsmeade. These scary baddies roam the town cloaked in green light to scare us Muggles out of their territory. And while that is a fun scare zone on its own, it didn’t particularly wow us. What really got our blood pumping was one of the houses that is a new attraction this year.
“Scarecrow: The Reaping” is a very well researched haunt, as was detailed by lead designer John Murdy in his presentation at Midsummer Scream back in July. But beyond that, it is a fun and inventive haunt that fooled and surprised even seasoned event-goers who long thought they had seen it all and done it all. Many of the Halloween Horror Night haunts this year are well planned and the scares are designed to be unique and surprising; however, this one in particular is exceptionally well done. In fact one room, which features crows lining the support beams over guests’ heads and a water drip effect to simulate the unmentionable, is so clever that curious onlookers stopped traffic in the haunt.
The rest of the haunts are no slouch either, with honorable mentions going to “Universal Monsters Legends Collide,” which has a killer soundtrack by Slash; “Universal Horror Hotel” and its endless backstory articles and posters throughout the haunt that we wish we had time to stop and read; and the “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” haunt which is a returning property but more elaborate and well done this year than in years prior.
Overall, this is one of the best overall events USH has put on in years – and that’s saying something. It’s never a bad time at Halloween Horror Nights, but this year really knocked it out of the park.
Check out reporter Charly Shelton on Instagram to see footage and photos from the event and follow along on what he saw. Scan the QR code to see more.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights is on now and running select nights through Halloween. Tickets and more info can be found at UniversalStudiosHollywood.com/HHN.