Halloween Horror Nights has returned to Universal Studios Hollywood with seven new mazes – “The Walking Dead”, “Alien vs. Predator”, “From Dusk Till Dawn”, “Dracula Untold”, “Face Off”, “An American Werewolf in London” and “Clowns 3D: music by Slash”. This year’s experiences do not disappoint with great levels of devilish detail throughout.
It all kicked off with a chaotic opening “scaremony” as the New Founding Fathers of “The Purge” usher in an evening of madness by welcoming guests into a frenzy of excitement.
Video: The Purge opening scaremony at Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights 2014
Upon entering the park, go go dancers are once again welcoming every guest with their sultry moves. But the screams aren’t far behind, as the dancers act as a distraction while guests enter the first scare zone.
Video: The Purge Go Go Dancers at Halloween Horror Nights 2014, Universal Studios Hollywood
“The Purge: Anarchy” is the first scare zone. You can’t miss it. Not far from there are “Mask-a-Raid” and “Dark Christmas,” new concepts that have the potential to grow. Fans are already asking for a “Dark Christmas” maze next year. On the lower lot of the studio is the zone called “Skullz” featuring stilt walkers, an open area notoriously a tough to fill with scares. The final scare zone “The Walking Dead: Welcome to Terminus” is on the studio backlot, an impressive setting any Horror Nights experience.
Video: The Purge: Anarchy scare zone at Halloween Horror Nights 2014, Universal Studios Hollywood
Video: Dark Christmas scare zone at Halloween Horror Nights 2014, Universal Studios Hollywood
Video: Mask-A-Raid scare zone at Halloween Horror Nights 2014, Universal Studios Hollywood
Video: Skullz scare zone at Halloween Horror Nights 2014, Universal Studios Hollywood
Haunted Houses / Mazes
From there, for those looking for flat out fun, go straight to “Face Off,” located in the park’s soon to be extinct House of Horrors attraction. If you want great effects, head to “An American Werewolf in London” – a hit at last year’s Orlando event. You can experience awesome and shockingly large puppet work in “Alien vs. Predator.” If gross-out factor is what does it for you, “The Walking Dead” shouldn’t be missed. And while I’m usually tired of the overdone clown mazes, “Clowns 3D” actually has some nice scares and a fun atmosphere – as well as some of my favorite scareactors of the night.
Tips and Other Experiences
Construction is reshaping Universal Studios Hollywood and has definitely affected Horror Nights. When you plan on visiting this event, wear comfortable shoes as there is now a lot more walking involved. With The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Springfield on the way, Horror Nights had to get creative about where to put some of the mazes, spread out all over the theme park and studio backlot.
There are three mazes on the backlot metropolitan set. Last year was the first time this portion of the backlot was used for Halloween Horror Nights. But last year there were shuttles to the area available near Transformers: The Ride 3D. This year, you have a long walk to get to those mazes instead. It’s a good idea to hit those mazes first, then work your way up in order to experience the shortest wait times.
One of the best and most unique parts of Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood continues to be the terror tram. Although it doesn’t change too much from one year to the next, it is always a fun and unique experience to walk through the actual sets of Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece “Psycho.” This area is filled with “Walking Dead” walkers as you journey past the historic set pieces.
Video: The Walking Dead scare zone at Halloween Horror Nights 2014, Universal Studios Hollywood
After walking past the Bates Motel you can stop for a photo with Norman Bates in front of the “Psycho” House or continue on through The War of the Worlds crash site inhabited by even more walkers.
Halloween Horror Nights 2014 at Universal Studios Hollywood is a solid year for those who are fans of its mazes and scare zones. But if you are looking for shows and live performances, this is not the event for you – there are none to be found this year.
Check back mid-October when Inside the Magic’s Ricky Brigante will be visiting Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood for a complete house-by-house review and even more video and photos.
Jeff DePaoli is an entertainer/producer living in the Southern California area. He is co-host of the podcast “Dizney Coast to Coast” and can be seen in the feature film “Jersey Boys” directed by Clint Eastwood. www.JeffDePaoliEntertainment.com @JeffDePaoli (Twitter/Instagram)