Scare zone show down: Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida

in Events, Movies, Universal Orlando

With the recent September 14th launch of Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights 2018, the season of spooky boo is officially underway! This ultimate annual eerie event, with its 80’s overtones, macabre mazes and scare zone spooks, drew thousands of brave guests for opening weekend.

Inside the Magic survived the monsters, mazes and mayhem, ready to spread the wicked word about all of the event’s fiendish fun. Ranked and reviewed, we’ll unveil Halloween Horror Night’s record 10 haunted houses, 5 scare zones, and its troupe of terrorizing chainsaw performers.


Haunting throughout the theme park, creepy cool themed regions of fear, filled with in your face monsters make scare zones one of the beast parts of Halloween Horror nights. 2018 brings boo better than ever before with a pair of well recognized intellectual properties (both celebrating their 30th anniversary), scores of jack-o-lanterns and a spooky sequel.

6. The Harvest 

“An old barn holds horrors from each house. Foul creatures lurk between the hay bales, ready for a harvest of blood and screams.” – Universal

With mild scares and seeming much like macabre advertisements for HHN’s haunted houses, something sinister stirs in the straw of this “barn.” Prop powered signs serve as perfect photo opportunities for favored fear mazes and as distractions allowing the hay covered creatures and giant gourd topped monsters to “attack” their prey.

While acting as a wickedly wonderful primer for what’s in store ahead, this scare zone is the mildest of the event. Straw monsters are almost cartoonish (perhaps Cousin It had children?). On the other hand, towering beasts with twisted long limbs and illuminated jack-o-lantern faces add a much-needed eerie element to this experience.

5. Chain Saw Carnival

No official title or listing could be unearthed (from the official event page) to describe this much anticipated tradition of machine wielding monsters. Each year the “chain saw” corps has taken on a different theme. Spotted spreading mayhem and mischief within the Simpsons area of Universal Studios Florida, these fiends festooned in carnival clothing are a welcome return to Halloween Horror Nights.

Always inventive in their annual appearances, observing (while trying not to get sawed in half) the unique spin each performer places on their character is pure devilish delight.

4. Killer Klowns from Outer Space 

“An interstellar circus tent has landed on the streets of Universal Studios Florida™. At this circus of fear, the joke’s always on you.” – Universal

As they lure victims for feeding, oversized Killer Klowns cause chaos in an attempt to fill their cotton candy cocoons. Props from the cult classic add to the ambience in this absurdly deadly distraction of a scare zone. Fans of the 1988 B-grade horror film are sure to delight in the arrival of these colorful alien invaders.

Entertaining and amusing, though not overly frightening, Killer Klowns from Outer Space works due to the fear film’s favor with fans. Almost more of a selfie-zone than a scare zone, guests who are not familiar with the franchise may not appreciate or understand the nuances of the set. Though, even without recognizing the faces from the Chiodo Brothers’ film, to many clowns are creepy enough in any form.

3. Revenge of Chucky 

“Chucky, the world’s deadliest doll, has brought a toy fair to gruesome life on the streets of Hollywood, twisting childhood toys into nightmares. You’ll be dying to play.” – Universal

Familiar childhood amusements turn homicidal when possessed by Chucky in this brilliant boo bazaar. From formerly kid friendly toy ovens to favorite games gone gory, once friendly faces from years past prove hauntingly harrowing. It might seem like an innocent iconic cabbage born doll or a bear that once cared, but no longer should these toys be considered safe.

Brilliant and haunting, re-imagining playtime proves perfect for paranormal peril as Chucky takes over. Well worth wandering to witness the horde of horrific monsters meandering in this surreal scare zone. Perhaps both amusing and truly nightmare fuel is the full “grown” baby wearing only a bib and diapers as he lurks about.

2. Twisted Tradition 

“An ancient evil has been reawakened and transformed Halloween into an abomination.” – Universal

Illuminated by scores of cleverly carved pumpkins, haunted by truly terrifying ghoulish gourds, Twisted Tradition is a feast for fear fans with a sinister sweet tooth for pumpkin powered proliferation. Seed retching wraiths, giant, gut-glowing, gourd topped monsters, rotting orange fall fruit (including one oozing out of a full-grown human), and amazing ambiance blend together for a fog filled fear fest from the familiar locale of Carey OH (one of two 2018 nightmares from the popular home of several HHN nightmares).

Monsters and pumpkins aside, Twisted Tradition is an amazing and beautiful experience. From the haunted, graveyard surrounded ruined church standing guard at the zone’s entrance to the jack-o-lantern clad purple lit trees, this is pure Halloween fiendish fun at its finest. Frightful fiends and chilling ambiance make this macabre manifestation a must see!

1. Vamp ‘85 

“As the ball drops in New York City, this New Year’s bash is about to bite. Literally.” – Universal

Providing the pinnacle of 80’s inspired terror, Vamp ’85 with all its chart-topping mid-decade musical magic is truly a thriller. Proving just how blood thirsty the music industry can be, vampiric icons of the industry infest this holiday horror, much to the misfortune of New Year’s Eve party attendees.

Horrific, yet frightfully fun, Vamp ’85 serves as a splendidly spooky sequel to 2016’s 1958 vampire vexed haunted homecoming. All genres tune in for this fright fest, each represented by fang fixed supernatural star power.

Partiers become prey as “innocent” guests appear to be randomly ravaged during the course of the evening. Emcee encouraged dance spotlights (featuring volunteers from the HHN audience), choreographed musical numbers and countdown to midnight are all “documented” by two unfortunate reporters from the local news.

Macabre mirth, marked by the final performance of “Booze Nougat,” along with the many meandering musical monsters of the 1980’s, make Vamp ’85 a most enjoyable entertaining experience at Halloween Horror Nights 2018.

From this quality quintet of alarming atmospheres spring the scare zone nightmares of Universal Studios Florida’s 28th Halloween Horror Nights.  With a troupe of terrorizing chainsaw fiends to further fuel the fear, The Harvest, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Revenge of Chucky, Twisted Tradition and Vamp ’85 await their next victims.

Halloween Horror Nights is a separately ticketed event at Universal Studios Florida in the Universal Orlando Resort. Event dates, times, tickets and extras can be unearthed on the Halloween Horror Nights website.

Up next, 10 haunted houses, a record for Universal, ranked and reviewed.  Until then, keep the Jack-o-Lantern lit and the candy bowl full in preparation for more Halloween Horror Nights news from the friendly monsters at Inside the Magic.

Have you survived a visit to Universal Studios Florida’s Halloween Horror Nights? Which scare zone haunted you the most?  How many and which celebrity vampires did you encounter/recognize in Vamp ’85?

Source and images: Halloween Horror Nights, Sean Sposato, Michael Gavin

in Events, Movies, Universal Orlando

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