Universal Studios Hollywood Previews Halloween Horror Nights

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features, Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood, In the Parks, Universal Hollywood, Universal Studios

frontpagepic_ITP_USH

Published on August 29, 2013 at 1:00 am with 8 Comments

Universal Studios Hollywood invited us up to the park this week to see first hand what horrific things are in store for their annual Halloween Horror Nights event.  This year, Halloween Horror Nights will run weekends from September 20-October 31st.  Universal is known for their distinctly immersive Haunted Houses & Mazes, with an attention to gory detail that few others can pull off.  Then, after the make-up demonstrations on the upper lot, we took a walk through the brand new Evil Dead: Dead Inside maze.

Fair warning here: Universal is renowned for their gory, highly realistic makeup effects that they use on their scare-actors.  If you have a weak stomach, you are better off stopping here.

Fair warning done? Ok! On to the gore!

IMG_0003

In true Murdy style, John took to the stage in the foyer of the Globe Theatre and addressed the crowd.  He explained that we were to be treated to a working make-up demonstration which would allow us to see the process by which normal actors are turned into hideous creatures for the delight of Halloween guests.  He also explained that in the center of the room, we would get a chance to see samples of the highly detailed costumes that have been created for the actors in the mazes and in the scare zones.

We enter a large room with five makeup stations off to the right, mask displays to the left, and costume displays in the middle.  At the opposite end of the room, there were two makeup stations where guests could try on some nasty makeup effects of their own.

The mazes this year are The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven, Black Sabbath 13 3D, Insidious: Into the Further, Evil Dead, El Cucuy, and Monsters Remix: Resurrected.

MAKE UP DEMOS FOR WALKING DEAD

Watching the scare-actors transformed into flesh-eating zombies was fascinating.  First a glue-like prosthetic was applied to the actor.  Then, as it dried, the artist begins to blend the flesh tones and blur the line between the actor and the artistry.

IMG_0021

IMG_0080

IMG_0129

IMG_0106

IMG_0115

IMG_0122

 

EVIL DEAD MAKE UP DEMO

This one effect is particularly fiendish and bloody.  The actress here needs to look as if she has cut her cheek wide-open.  In this case it will be up to the artist to create the illusion using prosthesis and paint.

IMG_0022

color is added …

IMG_0082

IMG_0133

IMG_0139

Larry Bones poses with one of his many creations.

 

IMG_0097

Just so convincingly cool.

Another actress from Evil Dead was enjoying a more subtle, but just as scary, application.  Makeup artist and coordinator for Halloween Horror Nights Larry Bones noted that of all the mazes this year, Evil Dead offered the most challenges.  When asked why he answered, “The effects are surprisingly intricate.  On one actor alone you will have a variety of prosthetic pieces applied to them.  Not just one face mold, but little nicks and cuts all over their upper body.  That takes a lot of time when you have a whole cast to get into makeup.”

IMG_0085

IMG_0087

IMG_0089

IMG_0093

MONSTERS REMIX: RESURRECTED MAKEUP DEMO

Here, one of the winning creations from the makeup reality show, Face-Off, recreates her design that will be used in the maze.  It is a futuristic take on Bride of Frankenstein and it looks great.

IMG_0094

IMG_0095

MAKE UP DEMO ON FISHBULB

Then they made me get in the chair. I figured that anything they’d do to me would just make me look better.  ;-)

IMG_0035

IMG_0043

The artist decided to use a sort of temporary tattoo for the basic foundation to go on my face.

IMG_0038

She had many to choose from, but I encouraged her to pick the worst one.

IMG_0054

It looked NASTY! I loved it.

IMG_0057

So much fun

COSTUMES

In the center of the room were some costume samples for  the various mazes.  It is impressive that, even though guests might see these pieces in a fleeting glimpse, Universal spends a considerable amount of time and effort on the creation of these wonderful costumes.

IMG_0058

Costume and mask for El Cucuy

IMG_0061

 

IMG_0064

The maudlin matron from Insidious: Into the Further

 

IMG_0065

Costumes from the scare zone The Purge

IMG_0067

Jack Nicholson?

IMG_0069

IMG_0070

A military costume from Black Sabbath 13 3D. This maze uses chroma depth 3D and is based on wild color tones. The blood and highlights are fluorescent.

IMG_0071

IMG_0072

Yet another Killer Klownz scare zone. However, this one might be interesting as it delves into the more European influences and Gran Guignol theatrics.

IMG_0073

Raise your hand if you EVER thought Chuck was scary.

Looking over at the wigs and masks displayed, we see a variety of wonderful creations.

IMG_0074

This is the wig for the futuristic Bride of Frankenstein.

IMG_0078

A mask from Black Sabbath 13 3D

IMG_0079

More masks from the same maze

After the demos were complete, John Murdy, Larry Bones and their collection of ghouls returned to the foyer for one final photo op.

IMG_0168

IMG_0173

IMG_0180

That was pretty amazing but there was more in store for us…

EVIL DEAD MAZE PREVIEW

Just after the wonderful makeup demonstrations, Universal Creative Director John Murdy whisked us away in a van and took us down to the lower lot for a quick walk through the new maze Evil Dead.  This is a highly anticipated walk-through attraction that fans of the franchise and the designers alike have wanted to see created.

IMG_0280

John prefaced the tour with the caveat that what we were seeing was a work in progress.  Many of the sets are still in need of dressing, others needed final blood splatters. It was a real honor to be the fist to see the layout of the new maze and envision what it would look like with show lighting and monsters.  We don’t want to give away the flow of the maze but we will tease you with some interesting imagery.

Right off the bat, the experience will put you into the film.  As with one of the more disturbing moments,

IMG_0199_2

Mia is attacked by the trees surrounding the fateful cabin

This maze was the first time that Art Director Chris WIlliams and Creative Director John Murdy have gone the extra step and created floor textures and ceilings.  They felt that it was necessary as the cabin itself plays such an important role in the film.

IMG_0202_2

IMG_0201

Many theatrical effects are used to create startling illusions.  For instance, if you notice behind John, the wall is a little transparent.  During a key bit of audio, the wall will vanish, revealing monsters on the other side.


IMG_0203

IMG_0205

Don’t look in the basement.

IMG_0209

The scent cannons are used again.

IMG_0221

There will of course be the terrifying bathroom scene as well. Normally bathrooms are scary enough. But this one, oh boy!

IMG_0231-2

Does this look like your kitchen?

IMG_0240

Yes, there is a basement. Yes, it is scary.

 

IMG_0241

IMG_0242

The attention to detail and even the props are all carefully selected.  However, this is a maze with people shuffling through night after night.  Chris Williams is said to constantly be doing breakthroughs, attempting to tear props from their affixed spots to ensure things stay in place.

IMG_0249

IMG_0257

But one thing we CAN tell you is that you will experience the scene in the film in which the skies begin to rain blood.

IMG_0263

IMG_0264-2

We are excited to check out the terrors that await us at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights both here in Hollywood and in Orlando. If you’d like to join us for Halloween Horror Nights in either Hollywood or Orlando, join our Haunt mailing list and we’ll contact you with event information.


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.

Browse Archived Articles by

8 Comments

Comments for Universal Studios Hollywood Previews Halloween Horror Nights are now closed.

  1. SO EXCITED!

  2. I am so ridiculously excited for the Evil Dead maze.

  3. Thank you for the awesome article! I was a Knott’s purist until I visited Universal, now we make it a weekend and go to both. I cannot wait!

  4. I can’t wait for haunt season. Uni is absolutely amazing. Send out that event info Fishy!!!

  5. Very cool, Love to see fishbulb in the chair. Nice coverage HHN always does a good job, although it appears they are stepping up their game a bit. I guess Knott’s and Trapped and the new skeleton key for interactive fun have up the ante yet again , the battle continues……. I suppose that too will be offered next year at HHN 2014. The fans again benefit from the war, Let’s hope they keep trying to outdo one another !

  6. [...] Story 7: Hollywood does it right! [...]

  7. Damn…this year, USH’s HHN looks better than UOR’s HHN. And I’m gonna miss the California version. Sad face.

    Great pics and update!

  8. HHN 2013 looks amazing. ThemeParkHD has posted videos from opening night including all mazes, scare zones and the exclusive RIP Insidious experience. Who’s planning to go this year?

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrExANER5uNWTHir0yswUeThs5XtEkR3r

    Ps. Happy Halloween!