Social Media Editor
Halloween Horror Nights are back for the spooky season at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Fans can expect plenty of jump scares and impressive special effects in this year’s scare zones and mazes, both of which will immerse the audience entirely into an interactive nightmare.
As a horror movie fan and Halloween fanatic, this year’s lineup of haunted houses seemed like the best one yet. I have been to horror nights three times, once in 2019 and twice this year. Going once was not enough for me since my expectations were high this year after looking at the maze lineup.
This year, some of the classic mazes made a reappearance, such as “Halloween,” “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” and “La Llorona: The Weeping Woman.” The Terror Tram also returned to the lineup of haunted houses this year, featuring Jordan Peele’s “Us,” released in 2019, and “Nope,” released this year.
The majority of the haunted houses were all fresh material that left Horror Nights-goers screaming so loud that it could be heard while in the lines for the mazes.
It was not just the mazes that had people screaming. The scare actors were back and better than ever at the entrance and throughout various areas of the theme park. The Chainsaw Drill Team returned to the entrance of Universal Studios and to the plane crash section of the Terror Tram.
This year’s actors were focused on interacting with Horror Nights-goers as much as possible, whether that be chasing them off the streets and into the stores or supposed safe zones, or cracking jokes to ease the nerves of frightened guests. Many actors could be seen posing for pictures with guests or going all out in their act for a video.
A new addition to Horror Nights 2022 was the Death Eaters, “Harry Potter” main antagonist Voldermort’s loyal followers, in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In fact, the Death Eaters’ scares were the scariest for me since one actor made it a point to follow me throughout the Wizarding World of Harry Potter the entire time I was there.
Harry Potter fans will also recognize the makeover the Wizarding World of Harry Potter received. The area was flooded with green fog and Diagon Alley was filled with darkness, with Hogwarts illuminated in the signature Slytherin green colors. This signaled that the Death Eaters had taken over the Wizarding World and were wreaking havoc, the same way they do in the films.
The headliner maze for 2022 was “The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare.” While The Weeknd maze has plenty of hits for the artist’s fans to enjoy in the line and throughout the maze, this was the least scary of the mazes. It felt more like a six-minute rave that contained very apparent fake gore and violence all jumbled together and lacking a scare factor.
The jump scares did not land in this maze for me, but I did appreciate the artist’s desire to venture into horror and collaborate with Universal.
The jump scares did land in every other maze I went in. The Terror Tram’s scare actors were the most devoted to their role, especially those playing the Tethered from the movie “Us.” I had one actor lock eyes with me, not blinking the entire time, and smiling creepily at me as I walked through the scare zone.
For me, the “Halloween” and “The Horrors of Blum House” mazes were ranked at the top of my list of horror mazes. As a horror movie fan, I could appreciate the attention to detail in both of the mazes. As someone who enjoys feeling fear course through their veins from a good jumpscare, I must say that these two mazes left me scrambling towards the exit, but also eager to get back into the line to go through again.
The “Halloween” maze remained loyal to the original 1978 John Carpenter film while adding a modern twist to the ending of the maze by sending guests through a labyrinth of mirrors containing both Michael Myers props and scare actors.
“The Horrors of Blum House” followed the evil killer from the 2020 film “Freaky” and the child kidnapper from “The Black Phone,” made in 2021 but released in 2022. The “Freaky” portion of the maze was fun, complete with flashing lights and upbeat music from the comedy slasher. Then the maze transformed into darkness from “The Black Phone” as guests followed the protagonist, Finney, through his attempts to escape the Grabber’s dungeon.
The “Universal Monsters: Legends Collide” maze incorporated easter eggs from the original black and white Universal monster movies for diehards like me to enjoy, but still accepted the challenge of making horror movie classic figures terrifying for modern generation goers, like myself. This maze had the least expected jump scares, which also resulted in the best ones.
Horror Nights 2022 increased its fear factor more than ever, which only makes me excited for what Universal Studios may have in store for 2023.
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios will continue until Oct. 31. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit universalstudios.com, and prepare for a night of terrifying fun.
Taylor Moore can be reached at email@example.com.
Taylor Moore is a junior broadcast journalism major and LV Life editor for Spring 2023. In her fourth semester on Campus Times, this is her second time serving as LV Life editor. She has also served as social media editor and staff writer.