By Fred Godlash @LA_Review
Universal Studios Hollywood kicked off Halloween early with a red carpet celebration for the opening of the 2015 Halloween Horror Nights. Celebrities included David Arquette (Scream), Tyrese Gibson (Transformers), Barry Bostwick (Rocky Horror Picture Show), Leigh Whannell (the Saw franchise), Lin Shaye (Insidious) as well as recording artist Travis Barker. After much fan fare from the red carpet the park opened and the zombies were let loose in the backlot. It was time for Halloween Horror Nights!
At first it was hard to get that eerie seasonal, leaves falling off a tree, fall feeling in the summer heat however, once you enter the studio and that artificial fog slowly rolls down the city landscape, you know it is time for the scares. In most cases when you go to a Halloween event with mazes you usually get a lot of guys in generic monster suits that jump out and scare you but what makes Universal special is that since they are a movie studio they have the advantage of using set makers, make up artists and famous horror directors to help create the fun.
John Murdy, who is the Creative Director for Halloween Horror Nights, worked with director Guillermo del Toro to create a labyrinth of scares in the “Crimson Peak Maze.” I thought this was a brave move for Universal since the film is not set to be released until October 16th with the majority of people not knowing what the maze was about as they entered the faux house. Before you enter there is a short film by Del Toro that explains the back story of “Crimson Peak” which he describes as “a living, breathing house.” The famous director known for his incredible imagination for all things fantastic did not disappoint, walking into that maze felt like a scene from Pans Labyrinth. It really is unbelievable to see what they built in such a short period of time.
Other noteworthy mentions from the event include The Walking Dead maze which has been updated to align with season five of the television series, AVP: Alien vs. Predator which can never be bad if you put an Alien and a Predator in the same room, and I have to mention the gruesome Insidious and Halloween mazes that look like you walked into a live set from the film. For laughs there is also a This is the End 3D maze that will change the way you feel about James Franco’s house forever.
If you are into that Halloween maze thing I suggest heading down to Universal Studios but do yourself a favor and pay for the front of the line pass, grab a giant Lard Lad donut, and get chased by members of “The Purge” with chainsaws. None of the above is good for your wallet but is definitely fun with a group of friends. As a side benefit you get to see the near finished construction of the new Harry Potter village that is on the upper level of the lot and should open sometime next year. Maybe I will be chased by wizards on brooms next year?