Though the lead-up this year was filled with far fewer teasers than usual, Universal Orlando did not disappoint fans when it finally revealed its highly-anticipated full line-up of haunted houses, scare zones, and shows for Halloween Horror Nights 2012. Though the event does not debut for a few more weeks, at the stroke of midnight tonight the anticipation officially begins as all the details were announced.
Instead of focusing on one specific theme like most of the 21 events that have led up to this 22nd year, Universal has opted to promote multiple high-profile movies, TV shows, and celebrities that are linked to a variety of exciting experiences. “The Walking Dead” is the biggest name to come to Halloween Horror Nights 2012, already gracing billboards and other promotions around Orlando. “Silent Hill” and Alice Cooper will also be widely seen. But it is the Universal-original houses that often excite the biggest fans of the annual Halloween event rather than those based on outside intellectual properties, and this year there are three original houses that are sure to impress all who attend.
Though four of the haunted house themes are the same for both Halloween Horror Nights events in Orlando and Hollywood, designers stress each coast’s houses will be entirely unique and different from each other. They worked together to develop initial ideas but ran with them on their own.
On with the details…
Halloween Horror Nights 2012 haunted houses at Universal Orlando
This year’s event features 7 all-new haunted houses and mazes:
The Walking Dead: Dead Inside – There is strength in numbers and you must band together to make it through many of the iconic settings made famous by the critically-acclaimed AMC hit, The Walking Dead. As the city is crawling with hordes of “walkers,” the issue of your becoming one of them is not a question of if, but when.
Silent Hill – In the eerie and desolate town of Silent Hill, ash falls from the sky and the physical laws of nature no longer apply. If you dare to venture into this alternate dimension, there is only one law of nature with which you must concern yourself: survival.
Alice Cooper: Welcome To My Nightmare – Journey into legendary rocker Alice Cooper’s twisted mind and witness the natural melding of horror and Cooper’s four decades-long career. Here you will follow Steven, the iconic character from many of Cooper’s works, as you come face to face with a myriad of tormentors who threaten an already-decaying sense of sanity.
Penn & Teller New(kd) Las Vegas – World-renowned magicians Penn & Teller have accidentally nuked Las Vegas, but don’t worry, it’s nothing a fresh coat of paint and a truckload of BS can’t fix! Come on down to New Vegas, where all that glitters isn’t gold, and in fact probably has fatal levels of radioactivity.
Gothic – The Catedral de Caementum Animus is, by day, undergoing a building-wide architectural refurbishment. By night, the many stone gargoyles that keep watchful eye over the sanctuary come to life with the mission of protecting this sacred place against intrusion.
Dead End – If enough people believe in something, perception can become reality. In Carey, Ohio, the perception was that countless horrific acts had occurred in the old Hartford Mansion. The reality was that the curse which befell the house was far worse than any story ever told.
Universal’s House of Horrors – This is no remake. No sequel. No re-imagining. These are Universal’s classic monsters of fear, who have terrified audiences from the Silver Screen. They have been waiting within silver celluloid to be resurrected. The flash of a lightning strike cuts the darkness that surrounds, and terror’s true faces take back what is theirs…
Slideshow of images from Halloween Horror Nights 2012:
Halloween Horror Nights 2012 scare zones at Universal Orlando
This year Universal Orlando is reinventing their concept of the scare zone, not limiting it to individual areas but taking over the entire park, leaving nowhere safe. Here’s their take:
As you make your way through the dark and sinister streets—beware. Someone is watching your every move. The Legions of Horror have ripped and clawed their way out of the ground from an ancient buried cemetery long kept secret. They’ll move silently throughout the night, never staying in one place too long. Don’t bother trying to avoid them. They WILL get you.
The dark legions of horror that await are: Vampires – the blood-thirsty from all eras of time, Beasts – the legendary animal-like figures who prey on the unsuspecting, Warriors – a gang killed in a deadly war that has returned to seek revenge, Prisoners – these deceased chainsaw-wielding female inmates killed in a women’s prison fire are back… and angry, and Traditionals – the ghosts and goblins of Halloween past come together to feast.
Different “Dark Legions” will roam the streets of Universal Studios Florida:
Rooted in evil these are the patrons of death, and were the first to rise from the cemetery. They’ve summoned the Dark Legions to join them in a night of carnage as they feast upon the living.
Summoned by The Iniquitus, the creatures of the night are here to quench their undying thirst. They lurk in the shadows, listening for fresh blood pulsing inside your living veins.
The Iniquitus have commanded these grotesque predators to hunt you down. Silently they’ll stalk you…all night long, until they have you surrounded and there’s nowhere left to hide.
Slaughtered in a deadly battle, the Warriors have been brought back from the dead by The Iniquitus. Seeking their bloodthirsty revenge, they move under a cloak of darkness. So beware—that’s not a breeze on the back of your neck.
At a brutal women’s prison, fire scorched the inmates alive and the charred convicts were trapped between life and death—until now. The Iniquitus have released them and they’re going to kill everyone in their path. Their chainsaws are churning and they’re coming for you.
These aren’t the fiends from your childhood books. These are the fears that creep inside your dreams. Brought forth by The Iniquitus, these ghosts and goblins have teeth—and they’re hungry.
Halloween Horror Nights 2012 live shows at Universal Orlando
Three shows will be featured at this year’s event, one returning, one modified, and the other new:
20 Penny Circus – The 20 Penny Circus brings its “Magic For People With Questionable Taste” to an unsuspecting Halloween Horror Nights audience. (Search YouTube for more on their act)
Halloween Horror Nights 22 at Universal Studios Orlando begins on Sept. 21. A variety of ticket options are available for purchase now at HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Orlando.