As opening night of the 2015 Halloween Horror Nights draws ever closer, we were given another unique opportunity to visit Universal Studios Hollywood on Monday afternoon for exclusive daytime tours of two highly-anticipated mazes.
Crimson Peak: Maze of Madness
First up this time around was “Crimson Peak”, based on the upcoming Guillermo del Toro horror movie of the same name. Our tour guide once again, Horror Nights Creative Director Mr. John Murdy, told us that Guillermo prefers to call “Crimson Peak” a “gothic romance”, and we’ll take his word for it. If the maze version is any indication, the movie will certainly be a treat for the eyes.
Video: 90-second Preview of Crimson Peak: Maze of Madness at Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights 2015
The “Crimson Peak” maze was still heavily under construction during our visit, and we promised not to share too many of the sections that were still in progress, but here’s a sneak peek of the facade entrance-way. The actual gate itself was about to be installed after we left for the evening! To the right of the entrance will be a graveyard that apparently derives from the very beginning of the film.
The first hallway upon entering is decorated with wallpaper identical to the pattern from the movie, as specified by Guillermo del Toro himself. By the way, we were told that Guillermo had toured the maze last week and was very impressed.
This is the creepy “mother” puppet that will appear behind the wall at the end of the hallway:
An authentic Gothic dollhouse and Victorian-era doll decorate a child’s bedroom. What’s going on with the kid in the bed? We’ll have to see the movie to find out.
This amazingly-crafted archway leads into the next section of the maze. Check out the difference between the show lighting and a photo taken with the flash (the lighting design creates the eerie blue glow that will chill guests as they make their way through the maze.)
Next is a very detailed sitting room featuring an extremely ominous portrait. Our tour guide did not want to spoil too much about the plot to the movie, but rest assured the woman in the painting will play an important role.
The following ornate hallway arch was very impressive. Attentive haunt fans will surely take note of the dedicated handiwork and skill that went into designing this attraction.
My personal favorite part of the maze is this dilapidated bathroom that you may recognize from the movie’s trailer. It’s so detailed and lived-in that it feels real. And very, very spooky, of course.
Another key scene feature two rotting skeletons in a master bedroom with many interesting fixtures. According to Mr. Murdy, Guillermo del Toro has a thing for moths, and insisted they appear in several different scenes in the maze:
Are these two murals keys to a bigger mystery in the movie? Again, our guide didn’t want to give too much away!
The finale of the maze takes place in the basement, after traveling through a rusty old elevator.
“Crimson Peak” may not have the name-recognition of some of the other mazes at Horror Nights this year, but (like the movie it’s based on) it’s so well-designed and atmospheric that it’s destined to become an instant classic.
Insidious: Return to the Further
Up next was the “Insidious” maze, returning to Halloween Horror Nights for the first time since its debut in 2013. This year, the designers chose to update the maze by incorporating scenes from the first film’s two sequels.
Video: 90-second Preview of Insidious: Return to the Further Maze at Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights 2015
The “Insidious” facade, located next to “Jurassic Park: The Ride” on the park’s lower lot, represents the average suburban home from the movie series:
The son’s bedroom represents the disarray the family in the movie is thrown into during the events of the movie:
A very cool disappearing-candle effect in one hallway has to be seen in person to be truly appreciated:
The infamous “Red Door”:
Guests will encounter the young son Dalton Lambert, lost in the ethereal realm known as “The Further”.
Fans of the “Insidious” series are sure to appreciate the many more horrors awaiting them throughout the rest of the maze:
Both of these mazes look incredibly cool, and while “Insidious” is already an established franchise, I’m betting that “Crimson Peak” will become a fast favorite, and entice many a horror fan to check out the new Guillermo del Toro movie when it opens this fall.
This year’s Halloween Horror Nights opens Friday, September 18th at Universal Studios Hollywood.