Universal Studios Hollywood Sets Up Scares and Magical Thrills

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

Tagged: , , , , ,

Published on September 05, 2014 at 3:00 am with 9 Comments

It’s construction central at Universal Studios Hollywood. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has nearly one third of the theme park space behind construction walls as multiple projects continue. Both Fast and Furious Supercharged and the addition of the new Springfield land, based on The Simpsons television series, aim for a summer 2015 opening.  While these three gigantic projects are going on Universal sticks with the “show must go on” mantra and pushes forward with its popular Halloween Horror Nights event, as a result, the usual maze and scare zone construction is in full swing.  That’s not to mention the new parking structure that is being built to handle the larger crowds in the next few years.

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Entering the park, guests are warned that they may see some scary decorations.

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The main entry corridor.

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A standee in the entry plaza guides guests.

 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which will include Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, The Three Broomsticks, Olivander’s Wand Shop and Hogsmeade are all under construction and aiming for a summer 2016 opening.  We see that the walls have expanded slightly into the park and have swallowed up the doomed Flintstones BBQ.

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Hogsmeade is nearly all framed up.  We will begin to see work happen fast, more than likely after Halloween Horror Nights, that will put some “meat” on these skeletal structures.

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The Flintstones had served their last spare rib as The Wizarding World walls have swallowed the eatery.

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Around the corner we see The Three Broomsticks spires already heading into the next phase of work.

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Looking past The Three Broomsticks we see the back end of Hogsmeade that faces the massive show building for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

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Moving on to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, we can view the enclosed show building.

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There is also work being done to expand the just-built restrooms that are near the Studio Tour entrance.

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Springfield

What can I say, I’m nuts about The Simpsons.  Now that we will have our own Springfield USA to explore at USH, I’m totally psyched.  The steel framed structures are now showing some definition and the buildings are becoming more recognizable.  What’s more, the old Italian restaurant, Louie’s, has gone behind construction walls as well to be made over into Luigi’s, referencing a character on The Simpsons.

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The construction corridor leading from the Universal Plaza to The Simpsons and Studio Tour. To the left is the Special Effects show, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and the closed Louie’s. To the right are the Springfield buildings.

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Now onto the other Springfield façades.

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We can see the beginnings of the Krusty Burger Awning.

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Cletus’ Chicken Shack maybe?

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Lisa appears to be calling for more construction backup.

Halloween Horror Nights

Halloween Horror Nights is coming down to the last few weeks of preparation.  What makes it more difficult is the fact that the event, which begins on September 19th is an earlier opening than previous years. They are really coming down to the wire on some of these mazes.  However, we know they will pull it out.

Below is the full listing of mazes and scare zones.

The Walking Dead: The End of the Line

“The Walking Dead: The End of the Line,” inspired by Season 4 of AMC’s Golden Globe®-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning TV series. The bone-chilling maze will place guests at the heart of a harrowing journey to seek sanctuary at Terminus, an elusive destination that promises community for all.  Mirroring the terror that befell the residents of the West Georgia Correctional Facility, now overrun by savage walkers, the experience will send guests fleeing from the fallen prison into unknown territory as they stage a desperate battle for survival against flesh-eating walkers and ruthless humans.

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Terror Tram:  Invaded by the Walking Dead

The engrossing television series will seep into other parts of Universal’s backlot with predatory walkers prowling the secluded wooded areas of the movie studio. “Terror Tram:  Invaded by the Walking Dead” will take guests down the daunting path to Terminus, interspersed with landmarks and walkers from Season 4, including the “burned moonshine cabin,” “charred walkers” and “mud walkers.”

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From Dusk Til Dawn

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From cult horror film to breakthrough television series on El Rey Network, “From Dusk Till Dawn” will add a terrifying maze to its credits when filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s acclaimed supernatural show debuts as a menacing new “Halloween Horror Nights” experience at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, beginning Friday, September 19.

This all-new maze, inspired by the critically acclaimed television series, will thrust guests into the deviant world of “From Dusk Till Dawn,” where they will encounter sordid mythological creatures known as “Culebras,” serpent-like vampires who have tormented the earth for centuries.  Residing within the elusive and sinister nightclub, “The Twister,” located just over the Mexican border and above cursed ancient ruins, the “Culebras” prove to be a band of immoral and depraved beasts with a deadly agenda. As guests navigate the maze and venture deep within the bowels of “The Twister,” they will find themselves face to face with a cast of perverse characters, including exotic dancer, Santanico Pandemonium, a mysterious and irresistible “Culebras” femme fatale and Queen Vampire.

Based on the film of the same name, “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” is a supernatural crime saga centered around bank robber, Seth Gecko and his violent, unpredictable brother, Richard “Richie” Gecko, who are wanted by the FBI after a bank heist leaves several people dead.  While on the run to Mexico, Seth and Richie encounter former pastor Jacob Fuller and his family, whom they take hostage. Using the family RV to cross the border, chaos ensues when the group detours to a club populated by vampires and are forced to fight until dawn in order to get out alive. The series deepens the tone of the film, From Dusk Till Dawn, upon which it is based, adding new characters and backstories that expand the Mesoamerican mythology behind the creatures inside the club.

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Clowns 3D Music by Slash

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Infused with the rocker’s hell-raising electric guitar riffs, the ominous new “Clowns 3D Music by SLASH” haunted attraction is no laughing matter as it unmasks the psychological disorder known as Coulrophobia, a disturbing condition affecting those with an extreme and irrational fear of clowns.

The psychedelic 3D maze will horrify guests, taunting and tempting them with terror and treats as they parade through “Sweet Licks Frozen Clown Pops Family Amusement Center,” a dilapidated roadside attraction and one-time thriving ice cream factory run by deranged siblings and their mad clown father, Sweet Licks. As this demented trio schemes to restore the family business by luring visitors with free ice cream, guests will soon find themselves on the menu as the key ingredient of a sick new high-protein ice cream concoction.

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Dracula Untold:  Reign of Blood

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Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood” will introduce guests to the sadistic Transylvanian ruler Vlad Tepes, known as “Vlad the Impaler,” who infamously tortured his enemies by impaling them alive with a wooden stake and suspending their bodies. The foreboding maze will also shed an ominous light on the one-time hero, turned blood-thirsty-tyrant, who chose to embrace unholy powers in order to defeat his enemies.  “Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood” will spiral guests through Dracula’s eternal damnation, where the thirst for blood is never-ending.

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AVP: Alien vs. Predator

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AVP: Alien vs. Predator is a sci-fi horror franchise that brings together the two iconic species spawned from two blockbuster films, Alien and Predator, to create a terrifying crossover of eponymous monsters in a raging battle against mankind struggling to survive amid the chaos that ensues from these two vengeful creatures.  To mark the 35th anniversary celebration of Alien, and the 10th anniversary of AVP: Alien vs. Predator, “Halloween Horror Nights” guests and fans of these celebrated films will have a chance to live the horror of these diabolical beasts as they come face to face with the terror of Aliens and Predators.

The terrifying new “AVP:  Alien vs Predator” maze at Universal Studios Hollywood will answer the proverbial question asked by mankind since the beginning of time:  Are we alone in this dark, vast universe?  “AVP:  Alien vs. Predator” will once and for all shed light on the answer when it brings to life the violent creatures cohabitating our world as it pits two rival alien species in a fight to the death with Earth as their battleground.  This menacing maze will uncover a dangerous alien spaceship carrying a race of hunter aliens known as Predators and a threatening new alien life form that uses human hosts to propagate its species.  After crash landing in a remote section of America and escaping to the countryside, the alien and predator become hunter and prey with guests caught in the crossfire.”

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An American Werewolf in London

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Guests will begin their horrifying journey as they enter “The Slaughtered Lamb,” the English countryside pub movie fans will instantly recognize, and experience first-hand what the tavern patrons in the film meant when they cautioned, “Stay on the road, keep clear of the Moors and beware the moon.” After stumbling upon the overgrown wasteland known as the “Moors,” maze-goers will be forced to traverse through dense fog amidst sounds of savage growls and unknown peril ahead.

Along with “The Slaughtered Lamb” pub and the Yorkshire Moors, guests will recognize other memorable scenes and characters from the film – including the London Underground and gun-wielding demon soldiers. The famous “transformation scene” that inspired the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to create an Oscar® for achievement in makeup will also be featured in the remarkable maze experience.

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Face Off: In The Flesh

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The most twisted and gruesome character creations featured on Syfy’s hit competition series “Face Off” will be live and “In the Flesh” at both Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Halloween Horror Nights” events, beginning Friday, September 19.  Nightmarish creatures will surround guests on both coasts as the macabre visions of some of the most talented up-and-coming make-up artists’ from the show are brought to life.

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will feature an all new street experience with ten different character creations inspired by the acclaimed Syfy series, including a look designed by season 5 “Face Off” winner and Universal Orlando make-up artist, Laura Tyler. The hair-raising, horrifying characters will inhabit five unique and immersive environments within the scare zone, from eerie scarecrows that go to great lengths to protect a spine-chilling farmland to ghoulish brutes that haunt dilapidated castle ruins.

Universal Studios Hollywood’s all-new “Halloween Horror Nights” maze, “Face Off:  In the Flesh,” will recreate the morbidly disturbing inventions masterminded by visionary make-up special effects artists over the course of the show’s past six seasons.  Twenty-two original “Face Off” designs – from human-insect hybrids to horror villains, ancient mummies and zombies – will cascade throughout the dark corridors of the terrifying new maze bringing to life multiple incarnations of these select characters and adding to the cast of characters designed to scare the life out of every guest.  “Face Off:  In the Flesh” will also feature new sounds from acclaimed electro house artist “Figure,” who returns to Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Halloween Horror Nights” with a haunting mix of electronica-inspired dance music.

The wonderful Universal’s House of Horrors recently closed its doors permanently to make way for the new SyFy maze, then more retail and shopping.  We will miss the scares.

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No more House of Horrors on any of the wait time boards.

Scare Zones

A series of unnerving scare zones will also infiltrate “Halloween Horror Nights,” terrorizing guests as they navigate the darkness from one maze to another.

“The Purge:  Anarchy,” inspired by Universal Pictures’ disturbing blockbuster thriller will terrorize guests this year.

“The Walking Dead: Welcome to Terminus” will awaken swarms of predatory walkers in a gruesome scare zone situated adjacent to the new “The Walking Dead” maze.

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Additional scare zones will include, “Mask-a-Raid,” featuring hordes of blood thirsty cannibals masquerading as French aristocrats.

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“Dark Christmas,” a Pagan-themed area where demonic creatures hunt disobedient children and drag them to hell.

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And “Skullz,” based on the Native American legend of Wendigo, a malevolent supernatural half-beast monster with an insatiable appetite for human flesh.

Universal Plaza

It appears that a special event is being prepped in the Universal Plaza area of the park.  Judging by the props being displayed, it will more than likely serve as a kick off area for Halloween Horror Nights.

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Parking Structure

With the new attractions, Universal will see an increase in attendance.  Already planning on success, They are well underway on an addition to the parking structure.

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Fast and Furious Supercharged

Coming along on the last leg of the Studio Tour is Fast and Furious Supercharged.  Here we see the finale to the tour further along in construction.

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Outstanding Studio Tour Guide

It’s not often that we call out a Tour guide.  In fact, in covering the park we are often so focused on the sites around us, and getting the pics for you, that we end up with our attention elsewhere.  This week was an exception.  While riding through the lot, our tour guide Nikki kept the final tour of the day lively and, in fact, very very funny.

During one point the tram enters the Earthquake attraction and begins shaking violently.  Nikki going  along with the scenario told riders, “Remain calm, remain calm!  Close your eyes and think of your happy place.  Mine is Starbucks.  Oh Wait!”  She then turned on Dancing Queen from the Universal film Mama Mia on over the tram screens.  “See!  It’s fine.  It’s a dance party.”

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Nikki after Earthquake: The Big One on the Studio Tour.

 

This guide injected fun and energy into what could have been a very forgettable tour of the lot.  Nikki, you need to be recognized.

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Good Job Nikki!

With that we close out our visit to Universal Studios Hollywood. Be sure to check back next week as we plan to cover Knott’s Berry Farm and get the latest scoop from the farm. See you soon In The Parks.

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, has produced and edited many of the articles on MiceChat over the years.

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  • LoveStallion

    All hail Nikki.

  • Baloo

    I really wish they would do something about the special effects theater and show. This new show is terrible compared to the intimate special effect seating area and shows that were originally showcased int eh lower lot.
    Maybe it time for a complete re-do of that theater to be turned into smaller soundstages that could replicate the original show.

  • jcruise86

    Nikki rules! Universal attracts many talented cast members.

    A clown maze. Hmmm. Know anyone afraid of clowns, Mr. G?

    Mr. Gidney, OUTSTANDING update! Thank you!

    R.I.P.–or maybe not in peace–House of Horrors! Thanks to the most professional theme park monsters in Southern California who entertained us over the years. I hope Universal will debut a new, much improved, permanent House of Horrors for the 2017 Halloween Horror Nights. Please!

    Speaking of horror, only 22 nights till Micechat’s Knott’s Scary Farm event! All are invited to TGIFs for a beer at about 2pm, traffic permitting, before meeting and waiting with Micechatters at 2:30. No, I’m not buying the drinks. 🙂

  • doobwah

    Anybody know what the fate will be for Shrek 4-D? I’m not a huge fan, but on my last visit I noticed that they had to re-route the entrance through the opposite side of the building because of Harry Potter construction. I don’t see how they’ll be able to return the entrance to the original side once construction of Potter is complete. Will we soon see the demise of that attraction too?

    • mainejeff

      I’m guessing that Shrek’s days are numbered but it will not close until after Potter is open.

  • DisneyDoll

    All this gore in the mazes does nothing for me.

    • jcruise86

      ^ ^ I know what you mean. Universal had better special effects than Knott’s Scary Farm the year I went to both, and better make up, but that and just going rated R didn’t (for me) = the greater enthusiasm of Knott’s monsters and Knott’s humor. Still I hope these two have a decades long rivalry that elevates them to new (hopefully funny) lows each year.

  • Dereksdominance

    I disagree with so many of the decisions that Universal has made.
    I understand taking away the Fast and Furious and Mummy parts from the Studio Tour, but adding yet another 3d attraction?! We already have Shrek 4d, Despicable Me, Simpsons, Transformers, and King Kong. I just think it is such a waste of what could have been an amazing finale of the tour.

    Taking away the House of Horrors makes me not want to even bother with Universal anymore. Horror was born from Universal Studios and you take away an amazing and long haunted house…..for a souvenir shop? Complete bullshit.

    Honestly I only want to go to Universal for Waterworld, Jurassic Park, and The Mummy at this point. How long till they demolish these attractions as well?

    • Now We Lustre

      Crybaby. Then stay the hell out.

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