Halloween Horror Nights: Nowhere near as horrifying as promised


Julissa Rangel

Universal Studios Hollywood hosts its 20th annual Halloween Horror Nights event from Sept. 14 to Nov. 3.

Briana Lopez

Universal Studios Hollywood’s 20 year anniversary of the limited-time Halloween Horror Nights takes place now through Nov. 3 due to their appealing attractions and mazes.

The newly added attractions and mazes include “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” and a consistently gory Terror Tram. Other available attractions and mazes from previous years are “The First Purge,” an immersive attraction of AMC’s The Walking Dead, eerie smoke-filled scarezone “Holidayz in Hell” and a routine from popular dance crew the Jabbawockeez. The park’s most captivating attraction this year is its newly-added “Stranger Things” maze, inspired by the two-season Netflix original.

The park offers multiple ticket packages. The ticket in which I purchased was a September month pass for $100 and is no longer available. The month pass allowed me to go up to 11 nights though I only went four. General admission ranges from $75 to $97 and park passes range from $109 to $350 and allow visitors to return to the park from one day to 30 after their initial visit. Discounts are available to people who own Universal Studios season passes.

The event takes place on Thursdays through Sundays from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. commencing with an opening ceremony whose purpose is to unveil its heavily made-up characters and allow them to run among guests.

Last year’s selection variety in mazes were slightly better than this year’s, largely due to the frustrating fact that the American Horror Story maze was replaced with Stranger Things. The park’s Netflix original-themed maze was mesmerizing to fans for its vibrant details and perfect depiction of the show but in no respects was it scary. If you did not view the show, the maze will likely disappoint because of its lack of jumpscares. If you enjoyed the show, the maze is worth its drastically long wait time. The theme park’s Poltergeist-themed maze was also lacking in terror, instead delivering shrills over loudspeakers and strange visuals, including a swinging skull that practically slams into oncoming guests and generates unnecessary hissing noises.

The Jabbawockeez show was enjoyable but if you’re only visiting for a single night, you’ll likely have a limited amount of time and should visit other attractions, as it’s simply a dance routine. Other recommended mazes are The Horrors of Blumhouse: Chapter Two, Universal Monsters and chilling Trick ‘R Treat, based off of the 2007 horror film.

The park is much less crowded on weekdays, cutting down the length of maze lines by about half and allowing guests to experience more of the many attractions it has to offer. Though the park’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter is closed, rides like Revenge of the Mummy, based off of the action film series and wildly popular Simpsons Ride remain open until closing time.

Though on the pricier side, Horror Nights is well worth it to fans of horror, special effects makeup and terrifying mazes.