Daily 49er

Halloween Horror Nights returns

Attention to detail helps to transform Universal Studios into an alternate world.

Shilah Montiel | Daily 49er

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It’s finally October, a month filled with sweet candy, wacky costumes and, most importantly, spooky outings like Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights.

For the past 16 years, Universal Studio’s Horror Nights has been transforming the amusement park into a completely different arena to create terror-filled mazes and frights.

“The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven” maze and “Terror Tram” return again for another round of screams. Both events take guests through scenes from “The Walking Dead.” The attention to detail makes it two of the most memorable mazes. A telephone ringing in the distance hints toward Rick’s once delusional state and a room showcasing the Governor’s collection of walkers’ heads.

Meticulously planned mazes like these make the experience a spooky delight.

The great thing about Horror Nights is that it doesn’t only focus on traditional horror mazes. The “Black Sabbath: 13 3D” focuses on chilling music curated by the band’s frontman Ozzy Osbourne. Unlike the rest, this maze focuses on music and 3D vision to create a chilling, alternate universe, blending in heavy guitar riffs, deep bass lines and neon color splatters covering walls while monsters pop out at you.

Halloween Horror Nights Creative Director John Murdy said they continue to try and surpass previous years’ horror fests.

“Every single year we’re relentless about upping ourselves so we really try to,” Murdy said. “I’m excited for [fans] to see all of it because I think we have such an amazing event this year.”
Murdy doesn’t choose favorite mazes but is thrilled to have worked with different names in the horror genre.

“I never have a favorite; I kind of wait and let our fans tell us that,” Murdy said. “It’s great to work with Black Sabbath because I grew up listening to their music, finally working with James Wan on Insidious because we had been talking about it for a couple years. It’s great to do the ‘Evil Dead’ because I’m a fan of that franchise.”

Besides mazes, popular rides like Transformers: The Ride and Jurassic Park remain open for guests to enjoy, but that doesn’t mean monsters won’t stop from creeping up on you.

The amusement park itself becomes a maze inundated with people, monsters and the occasional concession stand for food. This is the best part of Horror Nights because even when you think you’re in the safe zone of waiting in line for a ride or maze, it’s probably the perfect time for creatures to pounce on you.

Halloween Horror Nights runs on select dates throughout October and the first two days of November. Ticket prices vary depending on the day and whether the ticket is general admission, front of the line or a VIP Experience. For more information, visit: www.halloweenhorrornights.com/.

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