Celebrating Universal Studios Hollywood’s tenth anniversary of Halloween Horror Nights

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One of the most popular panel at Monsterpalooza was the discussion panel celebrating Universal Studios Hollywood’s tenth anniversary of their annual Halloween Horror Nights event. The hosts of this panel were John Murdy (Creative Director/Producer HHN) and Chris Williams (Art Director/Production Designer HHN).  The Halloween Horror Nights Twitter account @HorrorNights had asked followers what their top five favorite mazes over the past years had been. This panel showed us some behind the scenes secrets of the top five choices including “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “Halloween”, “Insidious”, “American Werewolf in London” and “Alien vs. Predator”.

Full discussion panel celebrating Universal Studios Hollywood’s tenth anniversary


An effect that is often used for the haunts are shadow projections in the windows for the passerby voyeurs. One of the murderer shadows was actually one of the artist’s daughter.

While walking through the maze John Murdy noticed that one of the dummies were revealing a bit more “skin” than was appropriate for the haunt. He fixed the problem by grabbing a piece of his wife’s clothing and putting it on the dummy. He was sure to point it out to his wife as she walked through the maze.

HALLOWEEN “Haddonfield 1962”
HALLOWEEN “The Floating Headstone”
HALLOWEEN “The Devil is in the Details”


HHN was contacted by Blumhouse Productions after seeing the La Llorona maze at a previous years event. James Wan (director of “Insidous” movie) was particularly impressed and even said that the maze inspired “Insidious 2”.

One of the nights an actor from the film “Insidious” was going through the maze and wanted to see the scaractor who was portraying him in the maze. In order to accomplish this he grabbed the actor from behind a curtain and the film actor was then escorted out of the maze by Universal Studios Security.

INSIDIOUS “Designing by Post-It Notes”
INSIDIOUS “The Ground Plan”
INSIDIOUS “Into The Further”

American Werewolf in London

John Landis (film director) was extremely involved in the creation of this maze. The initial meeting with him lasted approximately 4.5 hours.

On Halloween night, John Murdy became a character in the maze. He took some clothes he had from the trunk of his car after it started down pouring, put them on and played darts in the bar scene of the maze.

The creation of American Werewolf in London made the HHN team feel as though now they are ready and able to make bigger effects and puppetry a large part of future events.

AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON “Creating the Slaughtered Lamb”
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”

Alien vs. Predator

The alien molds seen in the maze were made from actual molds used for the film.

The predator costumes had to be original as the molds from the film were seven feet tall. The casting department knew that finding seven foot tall actors was not a feasible task.

The motto for this maze whenever budget was a concern was “protect The Queen” referring to the massive Queen Alien puppet used in the finale of the maze and operated by three puppeteers.

ALIEN VS PREDATOR “Creating Alien”
ALIEN VS PREDATOR “Aliens on Earth”

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