Thrills and Chills at Halloween Horror Nights

Claudia Anaya

The one time of year that masked ghouls will chase girls with chainsaws, the undead will jump out from dark corners, and shrilling screams will be heard all throughout the foggy nights of Universal Studios Hollywood is here, and John Murdy has pushed Halloween Horror Nights to a whole new level.

Since 2006, John Murdy, creative director, has been the man behind the scenes, bringing a movie quality experience every October to Universal Studios in Hollywood.

Slideshow Media Credit: Richard Kontas

With new attractions that include the maze, “Nightmare on Elm Street: Home Sweet Hell,” where visitors go into the “world of nightmares from different series that emphasize different nightmares,” said Murdy.

One of the rooms of Nightmare on Elm Street features the scene from the third installment where a giant snake tries to eat Kristen Parker, played by Patricia Arquette.

“The same people that worked on Alien and Predator worked on the mazes,” said Murdy who has enjoyed seeing the makers of horror movies walk through replicated scenes of their own movies.

“It was gory and bloody,” said attendee Jamie Mora, 23 of the Home Sweet Hell maze.

“The Terror Tram: The Nightmare Tour,” an extended version of previous years, takes visitors to a remote section of the back lot where they “walk through the most infamous movie sets in horror history. It’s twice as long and there are twice as many monsters. It’s a living nightmare that you have to go through dirt trails into the woods into total darkness and into Travis County with Leatherface all around,” said Murdy.

Jade, 29, who sat on a bench said the terror tram was “very scary, awful, my brother and his wife chickened out at the last minute. I can’t believe we have to get out. I can’t be scared anymore. The chainsaws are killing me, they’re horrible. You know it’s not real but it’s so horrible.”

A Nightmare on Elm Street: Home Sweet Hell, Friday the 13th: Camp Blood, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Back in Business, and Universal’s House of Horrors: Meet the Strangers entertained visitors on opening night.

“Everything is better than last year,” said Alma Loza, 30, a screamer and horror movie fan who enjoyed “all the old school monsters and the ghouls all around the park.”

“I was born a horror kid,” said Murdy who says that “there is nothing like the sound of a real chainsaw” and who’s seen people not be able to take it psychologically and be reduced to tears.

“It’s scary,” said Matthew Ramos, 9, who was standing next to his father, Martin Ramos.

“We’re having a blast, it’s our first time here, and we’re very excited, nervous and scared. I’m over here trying to play a tough guy just to make sure I don’t get scared,” said [Martin] Ramos.

The Eyegore Awards were held on Oct. 3, Horror Nights’ opening night where Tobe Hopper, director of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre received a lifetime achievement award.

Some of the attendees of the red carpet event included, Gunnar ‘Leatherface’ Hansen and Eli Roth, director of Hostel.

Tickets are now on sale for Oct. 17 through 19, 24 through 26, 30 through 31 and Nov. 1. And may be purchased at