'Tis the season! For chainsaws and exorcisms and butcher knives. That's right, haunt season is here! Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights invited us out to be the sacrifice, err, guests at HHN's opening night and no surprise here, it was AMAZING. This year's mazes include The Haunting Of Hill House, The Bride of Frankenstein Lives, The Exorcist , Halloween 4: Michael Myers Returns, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Curse of Pandora's Box and The Walking Dead.
Each of the mazes gives you an opportunity to step into the movie. Now, are these movies we want to live through? Absolutely not, but it's a hell of a lot of fun to essentially walk right into the movie and walk out the other side (physically) unscathed. Emotionally is a different story! But the shattered nerves were worth it.
Hop aboard the Terror Tram for the Ultimate Purge. A chance to mill about the famed backlot a bit as you weave through the Bates Motel, hunted by Purgers as victims cry out for help. But unless you keep moving, you may be next! A quick stop to say hello to Norman Bates himself on the porch of his home, overlooking the motel down below and one more batch of wild purge night maniacs to get through, then it's back to the tram where your host Chucky (hopefully) drives you safely back up to the main lot.
If you need a second to return your heart rate to normal, check out the Dia de los Muertos bar and Little Cocina for birria, churros and cocktails in fancy little skull mugs. Or visit the Sawyers on the lower lot for Leatherface's Texas Family BBQ. Is it made with real family? I don't know, you'll have to ask 'ol Leatherface yourself, I didn't dare get close enough to ask.
The park also features multiple scare zones, including Demon City, Silver Scream Queenz (my favorite) and the Chainsaw Rangers which is essentially my own personal version of the seventh layer of hell. The chainsaw rangers have a little surprise for anyone who stays until park closing. It involves the smell of gasoline hanging thick in the air and potentially enough adrenaline coursing through your veins to outlift Flo-Jo or lift a semi-truck with one hand. Or at least, that's my personal experience, individual results may vary.
Halloween Horror Nights runs select nights through October 31st. If you can swing it on a Thursday or a Sunday the lines will be a little kinder to you than they would be on a Friday or Saturday night. Visit the official site for dates, tickets and more info.
We can't give away all the surprises, but here's a little sneak peek at some of my favorite mazes: