Exclusive photo preview: Universal Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights
It’s just about that time of year, and all the local haunts are preparing for the spooky season, including Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights 2013, which held a special behind-the-scenes event previewing this year’s new goodies. Read on for our report and exclusive photos.
Creative director John Murdy (1st photo below) and horror makeup artist Larry Bones (2nd photo below) are present, filling the room with anticipation for the new mazes, which include EVIL DEAD: Book of the Dead, Black Sabbath 13 3D, INSIDIOUS: Into the Further and THE WALKING DEAD: No Safe Haven. While plenty of excitement stems from every display of creepy masks and prosthetics, the maze based on the new EVIL DEAD commands most of the attention. Although Murdy was thrilled by the remake’s embrace of practical FX, it was a difficult task trying to recreate those gags every 10 seconds for the live attraction. “Whether it’s cutting a girl’s arm off, splitting her tongue in half or making it rain blood, we have to do that,” he says.
Bones, who adds that EVIL DEAD has been his favorite Halloween Horror Nights section to work on, nonetheless faced challenges in recreating the big-screen gore and possession; the intense prosthetic applications have doubled the actors’ preparation time. “Some of the makeup is really extensive,” he says. “Their faces, necks, arms and legs—some of these have like nine appliances on them to make sure they stay on and look really good.”
The Black Sabbath 13 3D maze has also been a unique experience for Murdy and Bones as well as the band. Murdy says he recently explained Universal’s plans to the group, and “They’re really excited! As a kid who grew up listening to Black Sabbath, it’s pretty trippy.”
This haunt has commanded Bones’ attention for a while as he explores the world of live 3D. “The UV elements are now going onto the characters, where in years past they’ve been on the walls and objects,” he explains. “Now, the characters are going to have the 3D element. You’ll notice a lot of blues and reds in these mazes; it’s the same concept, using those color schemes on the characters themselves,” as seen in the two pics below.
Every year, the HHN crew makes sure to bring something new to the table, and Murdy says it’s all about building awareness and creating something that people will want to come and see. Bones adds, “We try to push to get to that film level every single year. Whatever tricks we can do to get there, we will take advantage of it.”
A maze based on THE PURGE will serve as the park’s entrance; since The Purge begins in the film at the same time HHN opens, Murdy felt this would be a good opening statement. Other attractions include a CURSE OF CHUCKY haunt, El Cucuy: The Boogeyman and everyone’s favorite: clowns! For more info on Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood as well as its Orlando counterpart (both of which begin scaring visitors September 20), see the official website.