halloween horror nights

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for those of us who love the spooky side of life. From September 15th – November 4th, Universal Studios turns into the world of Halloween Horror Nights after dark. On opening night, my friends and I set out into the fog to explore the trick and treats HHN Hollywood has for us all this year. I’ve listed my favorite from most to least below, but be sure to comment after you attend and let us know which maze scared you the most!

– Insidious: Beyond the Further

I consider myself hard to between growing up being obsessed with all things Halloween, to watching so many horror movies I’m pretty desensitized to planned scares, but HHN’s Insidious maze this year truly got me! Since it’s based on the upcoming film, part 4, set to be released next year, we all went into this one not knowing what to expect. You will be seeing some freaky, familiar faces from parts 1-3 as well, so fans of the past films will be excited to walk through. The atmosphere set in this maze makes you feel like you’ve really taken a trip into the Further, and the length of the maze, along with the intense makeup effects gives you the feeling that you won’t be making it out alive! You never know what’s lurking beyond the Further…

– The Shining

This maze was another one of my favorites, not only for the scares, but for the accuracy in which the designers kept to the classic film. This is the park’s most “4D” maze. You’ll feel the cold from the icy garden maze, see the bright red icon bloody scenes, and enjoy your stay at The Stanley Hotel for as long as you can without running through. For fans who love attention to detail, this is the place for you! As a writer, once you go through you’ll be able to guess which section was my personal favorite, but remember, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!”

– American Horror Story: Roanoke

As a massive American Horror Story fan, you could assume I would go into this maze being biased, but Roanoke is actually my least favorite season of the series. I walked in wary if I would enjoy it as much as last year’s AHS maze which featured moments from Murder House, Asylum, Coven, Freakshow, and Hotel. I actually walked out enjoying it even more than the 2016 version! The maze designers have taken the best characters of the season and actually improved upon them by putting visitors inches from the action! The scare actors don’t shy away from getting up close and personal as you race through to safety! The maze left me with high hopes of a “Cult” American Horror Story maze next year!

– Titans of Terror (maze)

When you think of Halloween, it’s impossible not to think of horror movie icons Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, and Leatherface. The Titans of Terror maze brings you right to their front doors and into a world of mayhem not for the faint of heart. First up, you’re off to Camp Crystal Lake, but don’t expect a warm welcome from Jason! Enjoy the smell of the trees, but not long enough to catch the wrong end of Jason’s blade! Afterwards, you’ll be finding yourself on Elm Street. No, you’re not dreaming, that really is Freddy right behind you… and beside you… no, the other side! Now he’s in front of you! If you think you’ll be running to safety if you continue, you’re out of luck. You’ve made it to Texas just in time for dinner, but wait, you’re the guest of honor! You’ll be greeted by the entire Sawyer family, including Leatherface, for a meaty meal, but something tells us you won’t make it to dessert!

– Saw

Horror Nights never fails to bring you right into the heart of the action of your favorite horror films. The Saw maze this year was better than past years, in my opinion, for two reasons. One, the incredibly creepy attention to detail. Check out the walls when you go deep into the maze, but be careful not to touch! And secondly, for the fact that they give you time to have your own scare. Too often at haunt events you miss getting scared because you see the crowd in front of you notice where the monsters are hiding, but not here! You and your group are on your own. Will you pass Jigsaw’s tests in time and prove you’re grateful to be alive?

– The Horrors of Blumhouse

My friends and I made the mistake of going into this house during early entry while the sun was still slightly up, so wait until dark and you’ll enjoy this one all the more. As you walk in, you’ll be attending the national Purge. Get ready to bless the New Founding Fathers as we purge ourselves along with some of your favorites from the film in their iconic scenes. Then, it’s time to celebrate your Deathday! Happy Death Day, an upcoming film from Blumhouse, set to be released on Friday, October 13th of this year, gives you a sneak peek at a brand new slasher. Lastly, but definitely not least, you’ll head into the world of Sinister. This was my favorite part of this maze because the scares don’t let up. Just when you think you’ll have a moment to breathe, they pop out at you again, so, keep an eye out for Mr. Boogie!

– Ash vs Evil Dead

Every year HHN does a maze that’s meant to be fun and quirky, and in 2017 Ash fits the bill. I was pleasantly surprised with how scary and well thought out this maze was. As someone who hasn’t seen the show yet (I know, I know, I’m working on it now!), my friends did a great job prepping me for what was to come. Having the maze take place in a trailer just like the show’s setting was a brilliant idea on behalf of the designers, and really brings you right into the show’s world. The characters were so crazy you couldn’t help but be creeped out. I enjoyed this maze so much I actually started watching the show the very next day!

– Titans of Terror (Terror Tram)

The only attraction I wasn’t a huge fan of this year was the Terror Tram. With Titans of Terror being the theme and the added aspect of Chucky from the Child’s Play films being our driver and host for the ride, I had pretty high hopes of what was to come. Sadly, every year feels about the same on the backlot with the repeated concept of scares, just with a different yearly theme. This year the Bates Motel sign wasn’t on and the line to meet Norman was a lot longer than usual. I feel the theme could have been better utilized if they expanded into more of the forest feeling areas of the backlot, although I’m sure with filming and safety concerns that could be difficult.

Overall, I very much enjoyed Halloween Horror Nights this year. It was the perfect way to kick of haunt season, and I already can’t wait for next year’s event. A few other goodies to check out this year are the opening ceremony at 7 pm near where the animal show usually takes place, the bonus Hell maze on the lower backlot, and of course the classic horror inspired rides and attractions including The Walking Dead Attraction, Jurassic Park – In The Dark, the Jabbawockeez, and Revenge of the Mummy. Keep an eye on MFST for more reviews on this year’s SoCal haunts throughout the season.

April Dalaman covers entertainment for MFST. Follow me on Twitter: @AprilDalaman

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