Another Halloween season means another Halloween Horror Nights terrifying Universal Studios Hollywood with brand new haunted mazes and plenty of costumed characters ready to deliver a fright.
The 2015 installment of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood boasts six mazes, four scare zones and a new Terror Tram experience. There’s even a new show from famed dance crew the Jabbawockeez, should visitors be looking for entertainment.
Did all of the offered scares deliver, though? After sampling all Halloween Horror Nights 2015 had to offer, Zap2it has compiled the hits and misses of the annual event.
‘Halloween: Michael Meyers Comes Home’
Absolutely the most impressive creation in 2015 by Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights team, the house recreates the feeling of the original film and puts guests in scenes ripped directly from the slasher classic. When you’re in there, keep an eye out for a very special message from the good people at Silver Shamrock.
‘Terror Tram: Survive the Purge’
After three years of a Terror Tram based on “The Walking Dead,” Universal Studios went in an entirely different direction be incorporating “The Purge” into the night, inviting guests to a purge party that quickly turns bloody and menacing.
‘The Walking Dead: Wolves Not Far’
Re-creating scenes and set pieces from Season 5, the 2015 “The Walking Dead” maze takes you through Terminus — among other locations — as you survive cannibals, walkers and more. While this is the fourth year with a “Walking Dead” maze, Universal keeps finding ways to keep it fresh.
‘Alien vs. Predator’
Say what you will about the movie “Alien vs. Predator,” but the Universal team went above and beyond with a horrifying maze that pits you between the two monsters — with plenty of face-suckers to go around.
‘Insidious: Beyond the Further’
After skipping 2014, “Insidious” returns with a remixed version of the “Into the Further” maze, complete with the smells of rotting flesh. Improving on the original “Into the Further” maze, the new incarnation also adds elements of “Insidious: Chapter 3.”
‘This Is the End 3D’
After a night of scares, it’s nice to have a bit of a laugh. That’s exactly what “This Is the End 3D” delivers. There’s plenty to laugh at, while the 3D elements also add a decent amount to the scares involved. The only downfall of this particular maze is the end. There will be no rocking of your body.
There’s one show for guests this year, a new dance spectacular by the Jabbawockeez dance crew. This performance was created for Halloween Horror Nights and it’s worth your time. It may not be particularly scary or Halloween-themed, but the mix of hip hop dance moves, fantastic lighting and special effects — along with a decent story taking place in a dream world — makes the Jabbawockeez a welcome addition to the proceedings.
When it was first announced that Guillermo del Toro was collaborating with Universal on a maze based on his upcoming film “Crimson Peak,” minds reeled. Del Toro is the exact kind of person you want designing a maze, with his visual aesthetic perfect for wanting to be scared to death. Sadly, something just doesn’t add up. The maze lacks any kind of story. While the maze itself is designed beautifully, the scares just don’t deliver.
This is a place where Universal will hopefully spend a bit more time focusing on in the future. The scare zones aren’t fully-formed mazes, but rather sections of the park that have been “taken over” by various themes. Out of the four scare zones at 2015’s Horror Nights, only one connected. “The Purge: Urban Nightmare” uses a piece of Universal’s famed New York Street as the setting of a purge attack that gets your adrenaline pumping as you head toward “Crimson Peak” and “Alien vs. Predator. Sadly, “Exterminatorz,” “Dark Christmas” and “Corpz” just feel more like space-fillers than genuine scares. That’s unfortunate, considering they’re the first things you see upon entering the park.
Lack of shows
While the Jabbawockeez show is a welcome addition after there were none in 2014, there needs to be more. It’s understandable why the part called off their “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” after being called out for being too offensive. There’s a number of shows they could fall back on for added entertainment in the park, though.
In the past, the park has presented a Halloween-themed version of their “Waterworld” show dubbed “Slaughterworld” that would be welcomed back with open arms. There’s also the long-lost “Chucky’s Insult Emporium” and even “The Rocky Horror Picture Show: A Tribute,” which was only presented one year, in 2009.