Monsters return to Universal Studios Hollywood
Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 9, 2012 18:09
The creative minds behind this year’s Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios gave the Daily 49er a sneak peek at the zombies, ghosts and ghouls from the haunting mazes and park attractions — and they’re scarier than ever.
There will be nine monster-filled mazes including “Welcome to Silent Hill,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Saw is the Law,” “La Llorona: Cazadora de Niños,” Alice Cooper Goes to Hell 3D” and this year’s most anticipated attractions, “The Walking Dead: Dead Inside” and the “Terror Tram: Invaded by the Walking Dead.”
This is the first year that will include “The Walking Dead” as an attraction and every person on the creative team of monster makers is thrilled to bring the show’s creepy characters to Horror Nights.
Creative Director John Murdy said their new addition to the Terror Tram incorporates putting guests on a studio tour then taking them to a back lot, where they are kicked off and forced to walk through some famous horror movie sets. This year, the team will have The Walking Dead’s zombies chasing guests down.
“The walkers have come from Atlanta, and made their way here to the west coast and now they have invaded our studio,” Murdy said.
Another highly-anticipated new maze is “Welcome to Silent Hill,” an adaptation of the popular video game and movie franchise.
“Horror has become big in video games, and it is exciting to bring Silent Hill to life in the new maze,” Murdy said.
As an important piece of Halloween Horror Nights, makeup convincingly brings characters to life and makes guests feel the maximum amount of terror. Larry Bones, head of makeup, said he and his team of artists are working tirelessly to make sure their monsters are terrifying, bloody and realistic.
“We go through the mazes throughout the night just to make sure that the makeup still looks good,” Robin Rebbe, makeup artist on the prosthetics team, said. “We don’t want [the actors] to just look good for the guests in the beginning of the night. We want them to look great and bloody through the entire event.”
The makeup artists begin their work well before the event starts.
“We start at 2 p.m. and at about 6:30 p.m. we let the monsters loose in the park,” Bones said. “But when you factor in touch-ups and other stuff, I’m usually here till about 4 a.m.”
The process of bringing the mazes to fruition is a long one. According to Bones, planning for the event starts about six months beforehand.
“I am given an idea by John Murdy and his creative team,” Conceptual Artist Lucas Culshaw said. “They have me draw it up, and after it’s approved it goes to Larry Bones and his team to get the molds for the various prosthetics, and the costumes go to the costumes department to be made up.”
The process is described as the “assembly line of horror” by most of the people involved.
“When Henry Ford envisioned the assembly line years ago, he could have never envisioned how we would use it,” Murdy said.
Halloween Horror Nights kicks off on Sept. 21 and will be open on various nights until Oct. 31. Ticket prices range from $80 to $249 and are available online or at the Universal Studio’s ticket office.