From Fog World to Otherworld, Universal Orlando has a message to all who attend Halloween Horror Nights 22: Welcome to Silent Hill. The theme park offered us a sneak peek at the still under-construction haunted house, which will debut in just over a week when the annual Halloween event debuts next Friday, September 21.
“Silent Hill” is a hugely popular horror genre video game series that also spawned a 2006 Hollywood movie with a sequel hitting theaters in a few weeks. Fans of the series’ uniquely grotesque visuals and goosebump-inducing rusty metal environment have been asking the minds behind Halloween Horror Nights for many years to create a maze based on the franchise and Universal Orlando’s team has come through with an immersive experience that’s sure to feel awfully familiar to anyone who has ever virtually wandered the game’s lonely streets late at night.
The video below takes you on a lights-on tour of the full “Silent Hill” house so beware, there are spoilers aplenty. But it’s equally worth noting that the maze was not yet complete during yesterday’s tour, as explained in the video by show director Michael Aiello. There are no actors, no show lighting (only bright work lights), and many unfinished elements. But some special effects and sounds are active, offering a first glimpse into this weird world.
Video: Full “Silent Hill” haunted house, lights-on preview walkthrough
Stepping into the first “room” of the maze, there’s no doubt this is Silent Hill. Though guests will be walking into a Universal Studios soundstage, even with the lights on, it feels like walking out onto a foggy highway, with bits of white ash gently floating through the air, while the haunting city city greets those who enter.
The characters of the Silent Hill haunted house will seem all too familiar to anyone who has played the games or seen the film. Aiello noted that anywhere an 8-foot-tall gap is seen throughout in the maze, the massive Pyramid Head will be there – the first stilt-walking actors inside a Halloween Horror Nights haunted house in many years. The boiler room will be one of his most prominent appearances.
Just before the sneak preview tour, Universal Orlando makeup designer Michael Burnett was on hand to discuss how they will be transforming actors into the gruesome creatures from Silent Hill. “We’ve created several of the iconic characters,” Burnett explained, “and made some really cool, twisted-looking costumes that I think people are going to be pretty amazed when they see these characters right in front of them, come to life right out of the video game and the movie.”
With regards to the iconic nurses, Burnett said bringing those characters to life was a unique challenge. “It starts with casting. We find people who look like the characters, because obviously people are familiar with the character so we’ve matched the look of the character from the film. That’s one of the ones that’s going to be a pretty elaborate paint makeup because there’s a lot exposed there so everything has to be painted.”
And yes, Robbie the Rabbit is in the house, many times, in many forms. Fans of the series will pick up on plenty of nods while walking through, including a bathroom mirror triggering the transition between the real world and Otherworld along with a dirty old toilet that visitors are dared to stick their hands in.
Show director Patrick Braillard shared his excitement for allowing Halloween Horror Nights visitors to step inside a video game world this year. “You look at video games. Every person who’s ever played a first person shooter wants to jump into that world and run around. Now we get the opportunity to,” said Braillard. “You’re going to get to go to Fog World. You’re going to get to go to Otherworld. You’re going to see Pyramid Head walk at you. You’re going to be attacked by nurses. These are things that video gamers […] have always wanted to do but have never had the opportunity to. You get to at Universal.”
But not all of the Silent Hill insanity has been revealed, as Universal Orlando wants to keep plenty a secret until Halloween Horror Nights 22 kicks off next week. Silent Hill is also being featured in a maze at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights, but with their own approach. “They’re both different mazes,” emphasized Aiello. “We’re not taking the same content, the same layouts, and replicating them in either park. If you were to go to both events, you’re going to see a completely different experience.”
More photos from the Silent Hill haunted house at Universal Orlando:
(Photos by Michael Gavin)