‘Halloween Horror Nights’ Thrills Revelers to Death

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Walking down an English road with the fog swirling around, a person can easily have a false sense of security about them, that is until a spooky and frightening creature pops up out of nowhere.

This is what a person can expect from Universal Studios “Halloween Horror Nights,” an event that is being held in the park weekend evenings until Halloween night. The premise behind the event surrounds a psychotic director who got banned from Universal Studios for being too excessively grotesque with his cinematic style. He is on the loose, in the park, looking for guests to complete his ghoulish masterpiece.

At night, certain areas of the park are dramatically warped to recreate different times and different horror genres. Universal created an Old English road, which contains such famous characters as Jack the Ripper. Then there is a “Dawn of the Dead” section of the park, which thematically contains zombies and other disfigured creatures of the night.

In the middle of the park there is a Wild West ghost town. Skeleton girls in saloon outfits and cowboys look at guests as they pass on by the asylum, one of the themed mazes for guests to walk through.

Going past the asylum, a person who truly wants to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience should consider going on the back lot tram tour. The tram tour is not the typical tour one would take during regular park hours; the tram drops the guests off in the middle of the tour, after they have been slightly briefed on the story of the mad director. They then have to walk themselves to the other side of the back lot to the tram. To get to the other side, they pass through some of the scariest movie sets of all time, including “Psycho” and “War of the Worlds.”

If all that is not enough to scare someone, Jurassic Park, one of the biggest rides and attractions at Universal, is ridden in the dark. While taking the ride in the dark, everything that guests experience in the daylight gets amplified. The car falling seems a more realistic echo of the scene in the movie.

Take a walk across the way from Jurassic Park and ride The Mummy’s Revenge. While nothing on the actual ride has been changed or modified for “Halloween Horror Nights,” it is what it is – a scary, high paced, thrilling ride.

The whole cast, zombies and all, remained devotedly in character throughout the entire event. Each actor made sure to scare the daylights out of the park guests.

It also helped that unlike other theme park Halloween events, such as Knotts Berry Scary Farm or Frightfest at Six Flags, the makeup and effects were of professional quality. Even the themed areas such as the Old English street were done to top-notch quality. Fans of “Shaun of the Dead” might even get a kick out of seeing just how the team at Universal recreated Mulligen’s Pub.

Costume effects were superb through out the entire night. A ghoulish scarlet woman on the English road wore a beautiful red gown. Zombies and other oddities wore top-of-the-line, cinema-created prosthetics. A person would have a hard time really figuring out if there was an actor behind it or if somehow Universal was really haunted.

The sets and characters were truly amazing, but what stood out was a group of multimedia performers by the name The Mutaytor. The Mutaytor consisted of musical artists playing a variety of instruments, a DJ, dancing girls in lingerie, trapeze artists, and people with the ability to draw fire across their bare skin. In the background, pyrotechnics heightened the adrenaline rush one got from watching all the commotion and bizarre scenes that unfolded on the main stage. The half hour set they did seemed all too short.

Universal Studios will be holding this event after 7 p.m. on the weekends before Halloween weekend. The cost for admission to the event is varied upon whether or not a person buys their ticket online in advance or at the park on the day of the event and which day they attend the event. For more information on ticket sales online go to www.halloweenhorrornights.com/hollywood/tickets.html.

This event, while extremely scary, would not be the best choice for people who are easily frightened by things such as people wearing pig masks and carrying buzz saws. But if this sort of thing sounds thrilling, a person might just enjoy him or herself to death.