Universal Studios Hollywood Gets Centered, Gears up for Halloween

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features

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Published on August 22, 2013 at 1:00 am with 10 Comments

Welcome to another huge update from Universal Studios Hollywood. Let’s explore what’s happening at this theme park inside a working movie studio and see how the reconfiguration of the center of the park and new central plaza is coming along.  We also take note of the progress on the construction of the new Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem attraction.  Our big breaking news is regarding the annual Halloween Horror Nights event that is set to open on September 20th.  Let’s get right to work.

Upper Lot

The upper lot is still in the midst of major construction.  Not the least of which is the complete overhaul of the Central Plaza.  The new beacon of the upper lot is a tower, which evokes the golden age of cinema and the art deco movie palaces of Hollywood’s golden age.

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The central plaza will have shops and basic food services. It will also feature an interactive fountain for kids of all ages to play in.

Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem

The re-purposing of the Terminator 2 building is happening at a rapid pace.  What is striking about this version of Minion Mayhem is the sheer size of it.  In Orlando, they chose to tastefully theme one corner of  a “soundstage” for the entry but leave the rest of the building to mimic the surrounding movie studio aesthetic.  But here, in Hollywood, the attraction is being placed smack at the end of one of the more themed areas of the park, Baker Street.  They are somewhat obligated to give the attraction a more fleshed-out facade.  couple that with the broad size of the existing show building and, you can see the makings of a rather impressive entrance.

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Nothing has really gotten to the exciting stage yet at the old Coke water playground area.  This is the future home of Super Silly Fun Land, an extension of the Despicable Me universe. We are expecting a spinner attraction here.

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Halloween Horror Nights

All of the mazes for Halloween Horror Nights 2013 have been announced and, while one maze was resurrected and one franchise has returned, the entire event looks to be very promising.

Evil Dead – Maze (Mummy Overflow Queue)

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John Murdy, Creative Director for Universal Hollywood, has a long history of wanting to do something with the Evil Dead franchise.  Even before the remake came out, Murdy had been quoted as saying he would love to try his hand at creating a walk through experience featuring Ash and Sam Raimi’s maniacal undead. While the approach that both parks will be taking is going to be based off of the new film, we can rest assured that fans of the original will be happy, too.

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Insidious 2: Into the Further (Jurassic Park Queue)

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The terror begins even before guests enter the maze, as paranormal investigators Tucker and Specs anxiously forewarn them about the evil that lurks within. Visitors soon learn that the pair’s caution should have been heeded, as they traverse through the most frightening scenes from both films. The nightmare journey focuses on the evil spirit that has haunted the Lambert clan for two generations. Maze-goers will travel into the world of the dead to confront the malicious souls hell-bent on bringing suffering to the living.

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Black Sabbath 13: 3D  (Backlot)

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The new maze, based on the most twisted, darkest lyrics from Black Sabbath’s most popular songs will be the only attraction at the horror event to incorporate 3D video. This is a first for the event and we are interested in seeing how it pans out. The maze will feature scenes inspired by the legendary band’s recently released Billboard #1 album, “13.” A nightmarish landscape of doom will engulf guests as they enter “Black Sabbath: 13 3D” and traverse through horrifying graveyards, disturbing madhouses and bone-chilling battlefields. This maze will be on the studio backlot, giving guests the opportunity to walk in areas usually seen only from the tram!

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The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven  (Backlot)

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The Walking Dead, will be the basis for new mazes at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights.  The eerily authentic and disturbingly real maze experiences will place “Halloween Horror Nights” guests at the heart of the show’s once impenetrable prison, the West Georgia Correctional Facility, now overrun by hordes of flesh-eating walkers.  The mazes at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando will send guests through the walker-infested wilderness that surrounds the prison and into the seemingly utopian town of Woodbury, where gruesome secrets are concealed.

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JUST ANNOUNCED: El Cucuy (French and Baker Street)

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Based on the legend of El Cucuy, this Latin boogeyman story will come to life with the help of narrator Danny Trejo. Check back later today for more information on this maze (story developing).

Universal released this statement…

The age-old fear of “the boogeyman” comes to life at Universal Studios Hollywood in an all-new grisly twist, “El Cucuy: The Boogeyman,” as the latest in the lineup of award-winning “Halloween Horror Nights” authentically disturbing mazes opening September 20.  Adding to the torment of “El Cucuy’s” grim and dark legend is an exclusive and chilling narration by Danny Trejo, one of Hollywood’s leading villain character actors.

In Mexico, “the boogeyman” is known as “El Cucuy,” a mythical ghost-monster touting pointed teeth and razor-sharp claws. Some believe it is an evil spirit which lurks in desolate caves and ventures into the pueblos late at night, lying in wait under beds, in closets and on rooftops in search of disobedient children. The legend began as a cautionary tale told by parents warning their children to behave or “El Cucuy” would prey on them.  This generations-old myth has haunted children over the years as part of popular Hispanic folklore recited throughout Mexico, Latin America and the United States.

“I remember my mother telling me about ‘El Cucuy’ as a little kid and it freaked me out,” said Creative Consultant and Maze Narrator, actor/producer Danny Trejo.  “I grew up with it and I told it to my kids, too. I can’t wait to check it out at ‘Halloween Horror Nights’.”

Trejo’s distinctive gravelly, gruff and gripping voice deftly narrates the legend through the eyes of the monster and malevolently morphs into “El Cucuy.” Maze-goers will follow Trejo’s ominous voice as it guides them into disturbingly gruesome sights ravaged and pillaged by the shape-shifting trickery of “El Cucuy” including the scene of a child’s birthday party gone horribly awry. Distressing maze chaos continues in sinister scenes which lure maze-goers through a family room, a child’s bedroom and closet where the merciless attack of “El Cucuy” is witnessed in pools of blood with lifeless bodies exposed to reveal gaping wounds; toys, stuffed animals and clothing are scattered about in the struggle. Maze-goers soon find themselves entering “El Cucuy’s” evil cave; a cavernous macabre of horror where muffled cries for help signal impending torment ahead. 

“The ‘La Llorona’ maze we created last year was extremely well received by our guests and praised for its authenticity, so we’re excited to bring another infamous legend from Latino culture to ‘Halloween Horror Nights’,” said event Creative Director John Murdy.  “At its core, this legend is even more horrifying than ‘La Llorona’ because ‘El Cucuy’ is known to take on the form of trusted adults like a police officer or your grandmother as a way to approach victims so it’s the perfect subject matter for a maze. When I was writing the maze story line, I pictured Danny Trejo as the voice of the monster, so we’re thrilled to be working with Mr. Trejo to bring the terrifying legend of ‘El Cucuy’ to life at ‘Halloween Horror Nights’.”

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Monsters Remix: Resurected (Universal House of Horrors)

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The only year-round horror walk-through in the park will be closing soon to be made over into the maze Monsters Remix: Resurrected. As guests make their way through a rotting castle and actual sets from some of Universal’s most iconic monster movies, celebrated artist Figure will be pumping the maze full of dub step music madness.

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Building on the success of last year’s Monsters Remix maze, that placed classic monsters in a sort of dream-like rave setting, the updated version of the maze promises to have some new twists  Among them is the winning creation of Universal’s Design a Monster contest.  Christopher Oosting’s imagining of “The Invisible Man” will be prominently featured alongside a futuristic Frankenstein and his loquacious bride.

We can’t wait to see what happens in here this year.

Scare Zones

Three scare-zones have been announced so far: The Purge, Chucky and the Walking Dead. We are particularly interested in the Walking Dead zone on the backlot as guests will be dropped off on the classic sets which you usually only get to see from the tram. Now, you’ll have to fight your way through hoards of zombies to get to the two new mazes in this area. We assume that there are other scare zones yet to be announced.

Terror Tram featuring The Walking Dead

The Terror Tram will, once again feature the Walking Dead the theme this year.  Granted, this is the easiest and most popular of themes.  Zombies climbing around in every possible setting, waiting to get you is too easy to pass up.  But let’s hope they bring something new to the mix this year.

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Heavy work is being done to replace the walkways in front of the Bates Motel in preparation for the Terror Tram route.

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JOIN MICECHAT FOR TWO GREAT UNIVERSAL HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHT EVENTS:

Join us for a night of scary fun on opening weekend when MiceChat visits Universal Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights on Saturday September 21st.  

Then on October 17th come along with us for a night at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights.

For information on these and other Halloween events for 2013, please sign up for our Halloween Email Notification service . . . MiceChat Nights of Horror Email List – Click HERE


Will you be among the victims at this year’s Halloween Horror nights in Hollywood and Orlando?

 Discuss the MiceChat Nights of Horror events on MiceChat HERE

 

 

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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10 Comments

Comments for Universal Studios Hollywood Gets Centered, Gears up for Halloween are now closed.

  1. JOIN MICECHAT FOR TWO GREAT UNIVERSAL HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHT EVENTS:

    Join us for a night of scary fun on opening weekend when MiceChat visits Universal Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights on Saturday September 21st.

    Then on October 17th come along with us for a night at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights.

    I think that the first night (Sept 21) is supposed to say “Knotts berry Farm”, not “Universal Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights”

    • No, it’s right.

      September 21st – Universal Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights
      September 28th – Knott’s Scary Farm (tickets are just about to go on sale)
      October 17th – Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights

      More dates are being worked out for the other awesome haunts in the SoCal area too.

  2. I’m glad they’re giving that Minion thing a nice outside. The use of cheap Costco themed exteriors makes for a soulless park. Why make fake studios when actual working ones are below and throughout the tram tour

    I guess people can stop speculating that tower will be a duplicate of Carthay circle. That courigated metal building looks like its from the demolished DCA 1.0

  3. The Universal tower is better than the sign that used to be there but it sure is a clunky mess that does not do a good job of reaching to the sky. I think they were aiming for something elegant but it looks like a dress with too many buttons.

  4. I have big hopes for the Walking Dead maze as I am I huge fan of the show. I wonder if part of the maze will be in the prison corridors where T-Dog and Hershel were attacked. That would be pretty intense if they recreate that experience!

  5. Why does Universal need to mess with the classic Monsters? That rendering of the Invisible Man looks horrendous. A futuristic Frankenstein? Dub step music? No thanks, I will pass.

  6. I’m so excited for HHN this year! But after the crowding of last year, I’m trying to find information about the Front of the Line tickets and can’t find anything online- official or fan site.

    When one buys a HHN Front of Line, does that include their ticket to the event, or do you have to buy a ticket AND a Front of Line?

    • And of course one more Google search turns up my answer. -_-

      (For anyone else who’s interested, Front of the Line *does* include admission, at least it did last year)

  7. I really feel the line up for Universal Studios Hollywood is far superior to the offerings announced for Orlando.

  8. We will be at Knott’s meet-up for sure but bummed we will miss the Universal Hollywood meet-up. :( Hopefully next year!!! Have fun and see you in the fog @ Knott’s meet-up. :) CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!