When Universal Studios Hollywood and Florida made the announcement that “American Horror Story” was coming to its Halloween Horror Nights celebration at the theme parks, by way of a haunted attraction, a community of horror fans were elated.
After all, “AHS” has come to become one of the leading horror franchises you’ll find right now, with its sixth season currently bewildering and terrorizing viewers on FX. There was some trepidation, though. After all, how hands-on would the creative forces behind the show be — especially co-creator Ryan Murphy?
Between new seasons of “AHS” and “Scream Queens,” as well as the development of the next “American Crime Story” and the new series “Feud,” Murphy’s a little busy these days. Luckily for fans of the series, nothing could stop him from putting his stamp on the haunted maze version of the show, starting with the initial pitch.
“It started as a conversation years ago. We’ve been huge fans of that property since it started on air,” Universal Orlando’s Creative Development Show Director Patrick Braillard explains. “FX has been a great partner with us in this process.”
When the time finally came, the creative teams for both parks came up with their own ideas and took them to the network at the same time, presenting them to Murphy.
“We went to FX and we pitched our maze thematics simultaneously,” he says. “So Ryan Murphy had the chance to look at our mazes side-by-side and go, ‘Wow, your attention to detail is on part with each other.'”
What came from the meetings were two very different experiences, exclusive to each park, both of which cover the “Murder House,” “Freakshow” and “Hotel” seasons of “AHS.” While Murphy was impressed with the work the teams put into their pitches, he still had some thoughts on how to better the mazes.
“Ryan had very particular notes for us,” Braillard says. “He thought it was a great idea for us to actually start the story where the story began. From there, we’re able to go off in different directions.”
That bit of guidance in particular is essential to the attractions, as they take viewers through each of the “AHS” seasons with a coherent story, while also terrorizing them with the likes of Twisty the Clown, Hypodermic Sally and a number of truly scary monsters — human and otherwise — from “American Horror Story’s” previous years.
Of course now that the “AHS” floodgates have been opened, fans of the show should keep their fingers crossed that this is just the first of many collaborations between Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights and FX. After all, who doesn’t want an attraction based on the current “Roanoke” season for next Halloween?
Halloween Horror Nights runs at Universal Studios Florida and Hollywood through Nov. 5.