Last night Universal Orlando held its annual press preview of Halloween Horror Nights, unveiling costumes, makeup, masks, set pieces, and even one of their eight new full haunted house experiences.
Taking place in one of the many sound stages at Universal Studios Florida, the Halloween Horror Nights 24 media preview began with an introduction from Entertainment Director Mike Aiello, as passionate as ever, discussing all of this year’s haunted houses and scare zones. That’s right, traditional scare zones are back and their design team is just as excited about it as every fan of the event.
Video: Halloween Horror Nights 2014 haunted houses, scare zones detailed at Universal Orlando
Throughout the evening, Aiello, along with show directors Charles Gray and Lora Wallace, made even the least interesting experiences sound fantastic amidst an entertainment line-up that features three original concept mazes with five based on intellectual properties – movies and TV shows.
The videos below offer up-close looks at the costumes and artwork displayed at the event, including interviews with these talented folks that are bringing it to life.
Costumes & artwork for Halloween Horror Nights 2014 haunted houses at Universal Orlando
Video: Creating scare zones & creatures for Halloween Horror Nights 2014 at Universal Orlando
A few noteworthy highlights learned from the preview:
“Halloween” is indeed based on the original John Carpenter film with careful attention paid to recreating the feeling of the horror classic, down to careful use of its familiar musical score throughout. Fans of the franchise will recognize elements from a few of its sequels as well, such as the trick-or-treaters from “Halloween 3.”
“The Walking Dead: End of the Line” is said to be twice as big as any haunted house Universal Orlando has ever created. What does that mean? One scene will feature 14 zombies (sorry, “walkers”) attacking at once. Fourteen. And this year prosthetics will be used to make the walkers even more, well, lifelike.
“From Dusk Till Dawn” is largely inspired by the new El Rey network TV show, but there will definitely be several elements directly lifted from the popular film as well, for its fans. And the costumes for “The Twister” night club will be as skimpy as one can imagine – for a theme park experience.
“Alien vs Predator” was developed in partnership with Fox, who encouraged Universal to create their own story rather than base it on an existing one. Set in a Weyland Corp location, this maze will feature many appearances by both Aliens and Predators. All of the Aliens will be brought to life using puppeteering skills learned from the “An American Werewolf in London” maze last year.
“Dracula Untold” is this year’s “Gothic” haunted house, set inside a beautiful castle and featuring vampires depicted in a very different way than “From Dusk Till Dawn” to ensure variety.
Despite its evil clown theme, “Giggles & Gore Inc” will not feature Horror Nights’ famous icon Jack the Clown, though Jack may still make a return appearance in a future year – possibly as early as 2015. But this maze will be no laughing matter, a much darker look at evil clowns that definitely did not warrant a 3D maze.
“Roanoke Cannibal Colony” is considered to be a history-based house along the lines of “Nightingales” a few years ago, making everyone wonder what they would do if left abandoned with no food for weeks at a time. Universal says cannibalism is an eventual necessity in that situation.
“Dollhouse of the Damned” will be a “classic” Halloween Horror Nights experience, so creepy and detailed that Universal says fans will want to return again and again.
Each evening of Halloween Horror Nights 24 will kick off with the commencement of “The Purge”, ensuing chaos across the entire New York area, from Twister to Transformers and everything in between. It will be difficult to determine who’s a victim and who’s a guest in this killer scare zone. There will be the bread truck and motorcycles from “The Purge: Anarchy” as well as occasional victim auctions in the streets.
“Face Off: In the Flesh” will use its rotating cast of 10 familiar characters from the Syfy TV series as distractions for the scare zone’s real scares. Guests will be mesmerized by the artistry of not only the characters but also the elaborate vignettes surrounding them, not realizing they’re about to be scared silly. Many of Face Off’s stars work at Universal Orlando, including Laura Tyler, Eric Garcia, and Doc O’Connell.
“Bayou of Blood” will consume the Central Park area of the theme park, filling its trees with glowing jars similar to the flickering pumpkin paths of the past. As the Voodoo Queen emerges from her hut, she summons dark magic that will cause these jars to shine and darken, all while conducting hourly victim sacrifices.
“MASKerade: Unstitched” will be a mashup of beauty and horror as an elaborate costume ball unfolds in the middle of the theme park, complete with chandelier overhead. But these party guests are perturbed, suddenly ripping off their skin when guests get too close.
We’ll have a closer look at the gory details of Halloween Horror Nights 24 soon on Outside the Magic along with a complete walkthrough description of the “Halloween” haunted house.
Halloween Horror Nights begins September 19 at Universal Orlando.
More photos from the Halloween Horror Nights 24 media preview at Universal Orlando: (Photos by Michael Gavin)